The Instigator
Stephen_Hawkins
Pro (for)
Winning
9 Points
The Contender
AeneasPhebe
Con (against)
Losing
1 Points

This House Believes that God does not Exist

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Stephen_Hawkins
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/3/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 974 times Debate No: 37321
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (2)

 

Stephen_Hawkins

Pro

A simple enough debate. I hope to welcome my opponent into debating formally on this website by a topic I am sure he will want to take up and enjoy. God is explicitly one found in the Christian tradition, with the common characteristics we crudely ascribe (powerful, good, intelligent, etc.) My friend can of course define Him more specifically.

The first round is for acceptance (and definitions). The second and third round are for arguments, while the final round is for concluding remarks. I look forward to his response to this, and wish him luck!
AeneasPhebe

Con

I accept. Good luck to my opponent.
Debate Round No. 1
Stephen_Hawkins

Pro

Thank you to my opponent. I’ll be running a series of arguments against the existence of God in the Christian sense. My argument shall take the form of a milk stool: the first arguments shall be against the possibility at all of proving that God exists: the two unique arguments from falsifiability: Kierkegaard case and Ayer’s case. The second crutch will be the argument from evil. Finally, my third crutch is against the possible existence of Christian truths, against both miracles and historicity. This is a large number of cases to get through, so I shall start quickly.

The Falsifiability Cases

Kierkegaard’s case runs simply. God is a being which we cannot understand. He has so many complex properties, and each of them so immense they are unexplainable in the normal realm. His omnibenevolence for example cannot be explained from our merely mortal position. To prove something exists is difficult, but we “reason from existence, not towards existence.” We say “A being exists which is omnipotent, omniscient, etc.”[1] and say this is what we call God, rather than prove God in his entirety. Compare how we prove God to how the judiciary works: “A court of justice does not prove that a criminal exists, but that the accused, whose existence is given, is a criminal”1. In other words, we get things which already exist, and ascribe characteristics to them. God already has an infinite number of characteristics, and we cannot prove there is a spiritual force which has them all. There are numerous deities similar to God, including denominations of Christianity which claim God, yet they are certainly not all correct. For every attribute God is shown to have, there are thousands that are unproven. God requires a leap of faith, making belief itself impossible to justify on any rational grounds.

My second case is from Ayer, which argues God dies “the death of a thousand qualifications”[2], as God is unfalsifiable. Consider when someone tells us that God loves us like a father loves his child. We are reassured. But then we see a child dying of an inoperable cancer. His earthly father is driven frantic in his efforts to help, but Heavenly Father shows no sign of concern. Some qualification is made — God's love is "not merely human love" or it is "an inscrutable love," perhaps — and this is compatible with the claim "God loves us as a father (but of course…)." We are reassured again. But then perhaps we ask: what is this assurance of God's (appropriately qualified) love worth? What does this love mean? It is not a love we mean when we use the term. When one says “God loves”, qualifications are so endlessly given that God’s love is no different from apathy: the idea of God becomes unfalsifiable liturgy, where every event proves his love. If the child dies, he is in heaven, God is great – if the child lives, though, God saves him; God is still great. What can occur to disprove a character of God? Religion, then, becomes “irrefutable because [it is] untestable; and by this criterion are therefore meaningless”[3].

The Case for Evil

The problem of evil is a simple enough argument. Consider you see a woman being mugged and raped in the corner of an alley. Imagine you have a stun gun in your hand, and now how to use it. You have the ability to stop an evil being committed: therefore, we would all agree, we ought to stop that woman being mugged and raped. Yet God, we are led to believe, has the tools to stop evil taking place, as well as the moral righteousness to stop the rape taking place. So why does evil exist? Some respond that God protects our free will, which justifies his inaction. This has three problems: the woman’s free will of course is being infringed upon, so God’s inaction infringes still upon free will. Secondly, if infringing on the free will of the rapist is immoral, then I must allow these atrocities to continue, which is abhorrent and blatantly ludicrous. And finally, this explains moral evils, but not natural evils: why is it that the world has tsunamis, earthquakes, animals that kill us, diseases that plague our existence, dirty water, nuclear radiation, an endless list of destructive ills that maim, torture or kill us, when a God has the power to stop it?

My second “Argument from Evil” is one from technology. Compare the life of a working class woman in Britain or America a thousand years ago to today. The technological and political advances today give that woman so much more freedom and liberty and happiness and general quality of life. So what reason is there not to have granted that woman a thousand years ago – or the first couple – the boons of technology? Free will of course is a moot point here: we had resources to build these technologies, and in a sense of resources we had some, such as fire and wood, but lacked harder metals and the ability to use them. Instead, we spent thousands of years toiling vainly, doing things that took days in the past that take minutes to do now, like manufacturing clothes or working the land. The lack of technological aid implies the inexistence of a God, similar to the existence of the gratuitous suffering of the innocent.

The Case Against Christianity

My final case is one specifically against the Christian God and religion. I’ll state here my case against the historicity of prophecy, and then later move on to my case against miracles. The prophecy I’ll criticise though is the inflammatory Ezekiel. He is very entertaining to read, but simply fails to be accurate even the most adamant bibliophile must admit. Ezekiel’s prediction was that the city's destruction would be complete and permanent:

"The merchants among the peoples will hiss at you; you will become a horror, and be no more forever". God, according to Ezekiel, states: “I will bring against Tyre from the north Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, king of kings, with horses, with chariots, and with horsemen, and an army with many people. He will slay with the sword your daughter villages in the fields; he will heap up a siege mound against you, build a wall against you, and raise a defense against you. He will direct his battering rams against your walls, and with his axes he will break down your towers… I will put an end to the sound of your songs, and the sound of your harps shall be heard no more. I will make you like the top of a rock; you shall be a place for spreading nets, you shall never be rebuilt, for I Yahweh have spoken,"(emphasis added)(Ez. 26)

He doubly mentions Tyre’s complete permanent destruction by Nebuchadnezzar, yet its falsehood can be verified by a simple visit to your public library. Ezekiel prophesied that Nebuchadnezzar would destroy Tyre and that "you (Tyre) shall never be rebuilt" (26:14) and "shall be no more, though you are sought for, you will never be found again" (26:21). History, however, records the fact that Nebuchadnezzar not only didn't destroy Tyre, he didn't even capture it. The New Encyclopedia Britannica 1978 states: “ and in 585-573 (B.C.) [Tyre] successfully withstood a prolonged siege by the Babylonian king Nebuchadrezzar II”, and Encyclopedia Americana 1984 states: “Nebuchadnezzar II, subjected the island to a 13-year siege (585-572) without success”. The city was only taken by Alexander, hundreds of years later. But even if we are to assume Ezekiel got the name wrong (and catastrophically wrong at that), “The city did not lie in ruins long. Colonists were imported and citizens who had escaped returned. The energy of these with the advantage of the site, in a few years raised the city to wealth and leadership again”[4]. The Bible’s prophecies are bunk.

With that, I pass over to my opponent for his round. Thank you.



[1] Søren Kierkegaard, Philosophical Fragments

[2] Antony Flew, Theology and Falsification

[3] A.C.Grayling, The God Argument

[4] Wallace Fleming, The History of Tyre

AeneasPhebe

Con

AeneasPhebe forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Stephen_Hawkins

Pro

Vote PRO.
AeneasPhebe

Con

AeneasPhebe forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Stephen_Hawkins

Pro

Vote PRO.
AeneasPhebe

Con

I did not mean to accept this debate. I wrongly thought it was another one that was sent to me. This is my fault and my bad and I accept the defeat. I was not prepared to debate this subject at hand and had to work 4 days in a row - 12 hours a day. I would like a postponement or tie but if not then vote Pro.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by johnlubba 3 years ago
johnlubba
lol, Since when does finding an ark prove the existence of God? My sides are splitting.
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 3 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
leojm, they found it on seven separate occasions, all in completely different places. Care to give the specific fraudulent example? The most prominent one is the one that a group of Chinese labourers set up in order to earn masses of money from the archaeology community, but only the non-specialist evangelists took it seriously (and therefore is internet prominent).
Posted by leojm 3 years ago
leojm
God does exist and there is proof. Hence they found Noah's ark.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by johnlubba 3 years ago
johnlubba
Stephen_HawkinsAeneasPhebeTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: ff
Vote Placed by Mikal 3 years ago
Mikal
Stephen_HawkinsAeneasPhebeTied
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Total points awarded:51 
Reasons for voting decision: concession