The question of the existance of God is the most important question.
Debate Rounds (4)
God- A supreme being
Existence- current or in the past
Most important- overriding or surpassing all others in importance.
I accept the Con side of this debate and will argue that the question 'does God exist' is not the most important question that we, as human beings, can ask.
I'd like to define importance as: 'of much or great significance or consequence'
I won't pretend that I know what the most important question is, as I suspect and hope, that that question is different depending on the person. However, I'll offer a MORE important question; 'what makes you happy?'. I'll argue that this question is more important because:
1. The answer to the existence question is currently unobtainable. Without an answer to the question there will be no convincing certain people or groups that the, admittedly, very significant actions that they take in the name of religion, are or are not justified. Hence asking this question has little significance or consequence to the world.
2. The answer to the question 'What makes you happy?' is obtainable. Once the answer is discovered we can take action in order to gain said happiness. The pursuit of happiness drives actions and has great consequence.
While the belief in God drives actions and has consequence, belief in God has very little to do with people asking the question 'Does God exist?'.
Thanks for accepting, Con, and welcome to DDO. As far as etiquette goes, (this is not a rule for this debate since I didn't mention it in the first round), I've found it helpful and considerate to confine new arguments to all but the last round so both opponents can respond, and wrap things up in that final round. But we should probably leave further discussions about that to the comments tab.
On to the arguments:
I have a minor contention with my opponent's definition, in that it must be 'most important: of most or greatest significance or consequence.'
My opponent admits not knowing what the most important question is, but offers a question that he thinks is more important. I find this an acceptable method, as my opponent does not need to find the most important question, just one that is more important, or by some other means show my question is of lower worth than I have given it.
"What makes you happy?" has an obtainable answer for most people, as they know they have achieved it when they feel happy.
However, if the substance of the answer is unobtainable, wouldn't the question be moot?
For instance, if someone in severe pain, with an incurable condition were asked "what would make you happy," the answer may be unobtainable. Certainly, from an atheistic standpoint, death would end the pain, but also the possibility of all emotion, let alone happiness. Unconsciousness would have similar results. There's no guarantee of happiness, even in sleep. The best possible outcome is lack of sensation in this case. If there's nothing that can be done, what's the point of trying? If there's no point in trying, what's the point in asking? Not that happiness has no importance, but a person in this condition would have more important questions to ask themselves than that of enjoyment.
Is there a God? What are the implications of the two possible answers? If yes, there may be an afterlife, the Bible might be right, and now there's all that stuff about redemption and Heaven and Hell to think about.
If not, just pull the plug at this point.
I'm not trying to cherry-pick hypotheticals, after all, the fountain of youth has remained elusive, and we'll all end in a terminal position someday.
Is "does God exist" a question that cannot be answered? I'll have to guess at what Con means by this, as he didn't provide any sources or explain his logic.
Looking at this from another perspective, if there is a god of any consequence, we would think that he would interact with his creation and his worshipers or enemies on some level or another. The universe would most likely not match up to a purely material explanation for it's existence. So we would have social or at least scientific evidence of his interaction or initial creation.
On the other hand, if there is no spiritual presence of any consequence in the universe, there would be no good evidence for his interaction with people or the universe, and it's processes would have complete naturalistic explanations from start to finish.
Of course no person can know everything, but if all knowledge is necessary to come to any conclusion, no conclusion could ever be made. Based on all of what we do know, I believe one can come to a reasonable conclusion that one of the above scenarios is accurate, and the other is not.
i.e., an answer.
KingKhan forfeited this round.
To answer the question you posted, 'if the substance of the answer is unobtainable, wouldn't the question be moot?' I am in agreement with you, yes it would be moot. And that is the main point of my argument against the existence question being the most important question.
I also agree with you that the implications of the two possible answers to 'is there a God?' are staggering. That is, if the answer was obtainable.
This is where we seem to disagree. You argue this answer is obtainable. 'Based on all of what we do know, I believe one can come to a reasonable conclusion that one of the above scenarios' (God exists, or doesn't exist) 'is accurate, and the other is not. i.e. an answer'. Maybe I should have been more clear and said that there is no definitive answer. Sure, anyone can answer any question, but without a definitive answer, you are really just stating your opinion.
My personal beliefs aside, and given your statement I quoted in the paragraph above, I think two reasonable people can come to completely different conclusions, and thus there is no answer, only an opinion. I don't believe there is any scientific evidence for the existence of a God, and under our current definition of God, you can't prove he doesn't exist.
People can and do have their own beliefs about the existence of God, and to my previous point these beliefs are frequently strong and unchanging. Debating the existence of God, without the ability to prove or disprove a final answer, is a fruitless effort. As you put it, this makes the question moot.
I don't think a moot question can be the most important one. Do you?
We are in agreement that for most purposes, an unanswerable question is pointless, as answerable ones are more pertinent. However, people, reasonable people, come to the conclusion that God does or doesn't exist, and use this as a base for a core life philosophy. i.e. Atheism and Christianity. As this is the basis of so many people's world view, I'd say it is answerable, and pertinent.
Pro seems to think that 'people come to the conclusion that God does or doesn't exist', and the only way this supports his argument is if they come to this conclusion by asking themselves 'does god exist'. Religion is often inherited, not derived from internal pondering. Many of the most religious people would never dream of questioning their faith.
I'm sure there are examples of people who think and live the way Pro lays it out. But are there really that many people in the world that are affected by questioning the existence of God?
I leave it to the voters to answer this,
With the following groups of people alive today:
Devout religious folk (from all religions)
Less devout religious folk (from all religions)
Hard line atheists
The spiritual non-religious
The non-spiritual non-religious
and yes Agnostics
How many of these people would actually be affected if they stopped and thought 'is there a God?'.
How many of these people would actually be affected if they stopped and thought 'what makes me happy?'
Which of these questions is really more important?
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