The Instigator
Leonardo
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
funwiththoughts
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

You Cannot Objectively Know Which Religion Is True (if any)

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Post Voting Period
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It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/29/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,399 times Debate No: 37128
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
Votes (0)

 

Leonardo

Pro

My opponent is expected to prove how we can objectively find out that any particular religion is in fact true, without the need of subjectivity or biases in finding the true religion. If my opponent believes in a 'true religion' which is an objective and universal truth and not that true religion is subjective to each person, then my opponent needs to prove this claim. Hence, arguing a Christian knows their religion is true, is wrong, as clearly biases in upbringing into that religion are present and not all followers of other religions agree. If my opponent chooses a specific religion and argues anyone can objectively find out that specific religion is true, then any person from any other religion should be able to reach the same answer objectively.

Isn't it a remarkable coincidence that almost everyone has the same religion as their parents? And it always just happens to be the right religion. Religion runs in families. If we had been born in ancient Greece, we would all be worshipping Zeus and Apollo. If we had been brought up as Vikings, we would be worshipping Thor and Wotan. How does this come about? Through religious childhood indoctrination.

So how can we objectively know which religion out of the over 10,000 religions in the world is the right one (if any)?

My opening argument is that religious childhood indoctrination is the reason why most people- that is an overwhelming majority- stay in the religion they are born in/religion of their parents. This shows that 'true religion' is subjective to each person being born into different locations and religions in the world. Hence you cannot objectively know which religion is true (if any).
funwiththoughts

Con

It is possible to know (although I myself do not), if one were, for instance, to time travel back to the beginning of the universe and observe creation. Another way would be to access God (if he does exist) and ask him. Neither of these is possible with current technology, but could be possible in the future.

Also, even assuming that "people always have the same religion as their parents" (source?), this has nothing to do with our abilities to find the true religion (although I do not believe there is any).
Debate Round No. 1
Leonardo

Pro

If you accept the theory of Big Bang, then you know creation began with it. By observing the Big Bang you cannot know objectively that God exists. You may interpret the Big Bang as being created by God, as many scriptures claim God created everything, but you can't see God creating the Big Bang. It happened, but without evidence that God caused it.

Explain what you mean by accessing God. If you mean spiritually through praying, then that is still personal belief influenced differently by particular religions and therefore is not objective.
If you mean access God by meeting him in the physical sense, then you should bear in mind that God is transcendent- beyond time and space, so for humans to meet God in this sense, even with developed technology, is by definition impossible. God may come into the universe/world to prove He exists, but this has never happened. People who claim to have met God can't prove it with empirical evidence.

You misquoted me. I did not write "people always have the same religion as their parents." Almost everyone (majority) has the same religion as their parents/the religion they were born into. That quote is by atheist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins (http://www.thinkatheist.com...). This is a fact for most people in the world. The evidence for this is that you can take any country with the major official religion. For example, in Saudi Arabia most people are muslims. The fact that most people stay in the religion of Islam in Saudi Arabia can be seen in the way that you can take the number of people who stay as muslims once born into a muslim family, then subtract this number with the amount of people who have converted to another religion from Islam, after being born in Islam. You will see that the majority number of people always stay in the religion they are born into. Hence, you can take any country world wide and see that most people have stayed in the religion they were born into, whilst only the minority of people converted to another religion which they were not born into.

The way this affects our ability to objectively search for the true religion (if there is any) is that if people are brainwashed into believing that the religion they have been brought up with is the only true religion, then these biased influences will create huge obstacles in knowing the truth of a religion objectively. This can be done by sending a young child to mosque or church every Sunday, labelling the child as a christian or muslim child, indoctrinating them with the belief of your own religion, so that even if they don't practise it completely and are religious, they will still at least believe their religion is true and others are wrong. 15, 20 or 30 years of indoctrination into one religion with very little knowledge about other religions, means that you will be less inclined to challenge your religious beliefs and leave your belief to try to find the true religion in an objective way.

For example, I have debated with Christians and muslims who have studied different religions but when it came to Hinduism or other religions which include polytheistic belief, they would say they don't want to study that religion as they believe that God is only one. However, I argued, if you had been brought up a hindu, believing and worshipping in different Gods would be natural and monotheism would be something alien which you would not want to go into as you had been indoctrinated with polytheism. This is one example which shows how religious childhood indoctrination stops us from objectively searching for and knowing the true religion (if there is any).

To sum up, you can't objectively know which religion is true (if any), as all people of different religions believe their religion and belief is right subjectively. This denotes that being indoctrinated into a religion has utmost influence on what religion you will believe in, which is a result of biased and sometimes dogmatic up bringing- not an attempt to objectively know the true religion (if any).

I welcome more reasons from you on how we can objectively find the true religion (if there is any).
funwiththoughts

Con

Who says that God cannot be physically detectible? Even if he/she/it is transcendent, an omnipotent being is still capable of taking on a physical form. If God exists, nothing is impossible. Also, I would add that not all gods are transcendent (the Greek gods are physical, for instance). True, the Judeo-Christian God is transcendent, but those are far from the only religions. And while it is true (as far as we know) that God has never come into the universe/world, it is still possible that it could happen.

If one observes the Big Bang, that alone would not prove or disprove God, but if God takes on a physical or detectible form pre-creation, then it would be possible to achieve this through time travel.

Also, my opponent has yet to present any arguments of his own. While he has talked about how almost everyone has the same religion as their parents, this does not really prove anything either way.
Debate Round No. 2
Leonardo

Pro

Criticisms To Your Arguments:

1. "Who says that God cannot be physically detectible? Even if he/she/it is transcendent, an omnipotent being is still capable of taking on a physical form."

If God had taken a physical form to present Himself to us and reveal the true religion, then everyone would know, as it then would be a scientific and empirical fact that this particular God exists and therefore which religion is true. However, this has never happened, as no God of any religion has been physically detected, which would empirically prove a particular religion is true.

2. "If God exists, nothing is impossible."

Let's put your statement to the test. Can an omnipotent God create an object to heavy for Himself to lift? If you say yes, then God can create it, but the object would be too heavy, which means there is something that is impossible for God. If you say no, then there is still something that is not possible for God. Hence saying that for God "nothing is impossible" becomes invalid. You may want to be more specific of how you define His ability to do anything.

3. "Also, I would add that not all gods are transcendent (the Greek gods are physical, for instance). True, the Judeo-Christian God is transcendent, but those are far from the only religions."

Even if some Gods are physical, they still can't be proved scientifically/empirically in an objective way which would prove a particular religion is true. Hence it matters little if you believe they are physical if they can't be objectively proved to exist.

4. "And while it is true (as far as we know) that God has never come into the universe/world, it is still possible that it could happen."

I agree it is possible. However it is also possible that the unicorn or the tooth fairy could come into our world. Until God comes into our world to prove a particular religion is right, it is not possible to objectively know which religion is true (if any).

5. Even if time travel becomes possible in the future (which I doubt as the past doesn't exist), it would still not be possible to detect God, as even if He took a physical form and created the Big Bang "pre-creation", before time and space began to exist, we cannot exceed this point even with time travel (as time stops at start of creation). Hence we couldn't know about God. Nevertheless, this time travel assumption does you little good to prove the motion false now today.

My Arguments:

1. I have shown in round 2 how people only subjectively know that their religion is true (mostly through indoctrination), which is why everyone of different religions believe their religion is right. This also indicates the lack of ability to objectively know which religion is true without being indoctrinated.

2. If the motion is false, then anyone from any religion should be able to objectively reach the conclusion that one particular religion is true. But there isn't a scientific and empirical way to be able to objectively know this, as it's subjective. Many arguments such as 'this holy scripture has evidence for the religion being true', can be applied to many different religions. So there is no objective method. If there were, then everyone who accepts the objective evidence would follow one particular religion and we would not have many different religions in the world.

You haven't presented any objective way of knowing that a religion is true which can be applied today so that everyone can know which religion is true (if any). It would also be helpful to specify which religion can be objectively known to be true. So far your general arguments about God can be applied to multiple religions, but you aren't proving how we can objectively know which specific religion is true (if any). This is what is required of you to refute the motion.
funwiththoughts

Con

"If God had taken a physical form to present Himself to us and reveal the true religion, then everyone would know, as it then would be a scientific and empirical fact that this particular God exists and therefore which religion is true."

Correct.

"However, this has never happened, as no God of any religion has been physically detected, which would empirically prove a particular religion is true."

True at the moment. However, this could change. If this were to happen, then we would know, so we CAN know-it's just not likely.

"Let's put your statement to the test. Can an omnipotent God create an object to heavy for Himself to lift?"

Yes. Then he would lift it anyway, because he's omnipotent and therefore not bound by logic.

"Even if some Gods are physical, they still can't be proved scientifically/empirically in an objective way which would prove a particular religion is true."

At the moment, this is true. However, if they were to appear to me and perform attributes to show their power, demonstrate knowledge to back up their age, etc. it would be possible for me to know that they were the true gods-therefore knowing that their religion is correct.

"I agree it is possible. However it is also possible that the unicorn or the tooth fairy could come into our world. "

Correct. So?

"Until God comes into our world to prove a particular religion is right, it is not possible to objectively know which religion is true (if any)."

Note that my opponent has modified his statement. His original statement was "you cannot know which religion is true (if any)." He has now added the modifier of "until/unless" which would mean it IS possible (but only in highly unlikely circumstances). Therefore we are, in fact, in agreement.

"Nevertheless, this time travel assumption does you little good to prove the motion false now today."

It was not stated that I had to prove how I could know "now today". Had this been stated in the opening, I would not have accepted the debate. However, it was not stated, and therefore my opponent is simply moving the goalposts.

"I have shown in round 2 how people only subjectively know that their religion is true (mostly through indoctrination), which is why everyone of different religions believe their religion is right. This also indicates the lack of ability to objectively know which religion is true without being indoctrinated."

Saudi Arabia (the only example you used) is a bad example because it does not have freedom of religion, and so most of the people who do convert would be afraid to admit it-hence tainting results. Furthermore, my opponent has still not provided a source for his claim that "you will see that the majority number of people always stay in the religion they are born into." He has only given a quote (note: not a study or fact) by Richard Dawkins, and given anecdotes about people he has met personally.

"If the motion is false, then anyone from any religion should be able to objectively reach the conclusion that one particular religion is true."

Not necessarily-not all information is available to everybody. If I have personally met a deity (I haven't obviously, but hypothetically), I could objectively know they are real, but noone else would.

"You haven't presented any objective way of knowing that a religion is true which can be applied today so that everyone can know which religion is true (if any)."

My opponent adds a new qualifier-he changes from saying that I must show a way which you can objectively know which religion is true, but has now changed it to say that I must show how EVERYONE can objectively know which religion is true TODAY. This is moving the goalposts and is a dishonest debate tactic.

"It would also be helpful to specify which religion can be objectively known to be true. So far your general arguments about God can be applied to multiple religions, but you aren't proving how we can objectively know which specific religion is true (if any). This is what is required of you to refute the motion."

You never stated that I had to use a specific religion-you only stated that IF I believe one religion is objectively true (which I don't), then I would have to show how in a way that is specific to that religion. Since I am an Atheist, I do not need to according to the rules you laid out. Again this is moving the goalposts.
Debate Round No. 3
Leonardo

Pro

1. Your argument that we can know, if God were physically detected, is a very weak argument as it is extremely unlikely God would make Himself physically detectable; when He hasn't done this so far in the history of humanity (which can be proved). For example with this argument, we could even know the tooth fairy or the flying spaghetti monster can exist if they were physically detected. Although this is unlikely it is possible so we can know if they exist- this is a weak argument, although a point nevertheless.

2. If you say yes and God would lift the stone anyway, this proves He can't do what the question is asking (which means He can't do something). The question is specifically asking for an object too heavy for God to lift. If He creates such an object, it is, by definition, impossible to lift for Him as it is too heavy. So there is something God can't do.

3. If the only way to objectively know which religion is true, is by its God coming to this world to prove His power to you, it seems you will never be able to find out, as we know this won't happen, regardless of the possibility. Also, if this were to happen, this would be classified as a religious experience which is subjective to different people, so this experience would still not be an objective way of knowing which religion is true.

4. Just because something is possible does not mean it is likely or that evidence supports this theory/possibility. The chances of God physically presenting Himself on earth are the same as the tooth fairy doing that.

5. I agree it is possible to know God objectively exists if He presented Himself on earth to everyone (not just to you or one person, as this becomes subjective), however, you can use this argument to justify it is possible to objectively know everything which can exist. For example, my opponent could have used this argument to prove it is possible we can objectively know if a 1000 legged sea monster and the tooth fairy exist, if they presented themselves to us. Of course everything can be possible if it were presented to us, but this argument is still not a strong one to make, as anything and everything the imagination allows becomes possible (although extremely unlikely).

6. I have not modified the statement by using the word 'until' in one of my statements you quoted. The sentence was in the context of your argument that it is possible to objectively know God of a religion exists if He presented Himself to us. I argued until He does that, we cannot know objectively which religion is true, as your only argument apparently is that we can know which religion is true if God came to earth and proved Himself. As far as your arguments of 'is possible and you can know', refer to my arguments number 4 and 5 above. You haven't given any more arguments or ways to refute the motion, other than if God came to earth we can know which religion is true.

7. I haven't moved the goal post by asking you to prove the motion false now, which means I would like to know by the end of this debate how it is possible to objectively know which religion is true and not many years into the future. The motion is still the same. The sentence you quoted from me ("Nevertheless, this time travel assumption does you little good to prove the motion false now today.") was in the context of your argument that we could know if God exists and which religion is true by time travelling back to "pre-creation", when technology develops in the future. This is impossible because time started with Big Bang and if God created it you couldn't go beyond the Big Bang. You are relying on the possibility of time travel in the future to objectively know which religion is true. Even if time travel becomes possible, I've already explained how you still can't reach beyond the Big Bang with time travel to meet God. Hence your argument bears little relevance to refute the motion.

8. Although I only used Saudi Arabia as an example to demonstrate, I also mentioned in round 2 "Hence, you can take any country world wide and see that most people have stayed in the religion they were born into, whilst only the minority of people converted to another religion which they were not born into." If you want other examples then take Norway and America, two Christian countries in which most people who are born in Christian families have stayed Christians. It is a fact that most people stay in the religion they are born into in any country. To see this for yourself (http://www.nationmaster.com...), you don't need me to show you sources for every country, anyone who is interested can look up the number of Christians born in America and subtract that number with converts from Christianity to another religion in America. If you honestly believe most people don't stay in the religion they are born into, then many countries like Pakistan wouldn't have majority of muslims living there and America and Sweden wouldn't have Christians as the majority population living in those countries. But they do and it is a fact!

9. Anyone willing to accept the objective evidence to know which religion is true would reach one same religion. Obviously if someone doesn't have access to this objective evidence or just doesn't want to accept it, then they won't know. However, anyone going through the objective method of knowing which religion is true, would arrive at one same religion. There is no such objective way of finding the true religion in this world.

Unless you had evidence to support your personal statement that you have seen a deity, we would say your claim to know this religion's God is true, is subjective- not objective. It's your subjective belief and opinion that this deity is real, not objective which you can prove.

10. Once again, I haven't changed the motion. The motion is still the same debate title above. "You cannot objectively know which religion is true (if any)" The word 'you' applies generally to anyone reading the motion, not just my opponent, although it is up to you to refute the motion. If you prove it is possible to objectively know which religion is true, then anyone and everyone following your objective method should find the true religion (if any). For example, if I state 'you can objectively know 1+1=2 or the earth is a sphere' I am not only referring to one single person when I say 'you', I mean that if everyone accepts the objective evidence I present for the statement of the earth being a sphere, then everyone would arrive at the conclusion that the earth is a sphere.

11. If you are an atheist and don't believe in a religion, you still should be clear of the motion which I clarified in round one:

"My opponent is expected to prove how we can objectively find out that any particular religion is in fact true, without the need of subjectivity or biases in finding the true religion."

"If my opponent believes in a 'true religion' which is an objective and universal truth and not that true religion is subjective to each person, then my opponent needs to prove this claim."


I assumed my opponent would be a follower of a religion (as most people are) however, by accepting the debate, you should be aware the motion requires you to prove a specific religion is objectively true (regardless of your own faith, although, if you were a believer, I thought you may have wanted to use your own religion): 'You Cannot Objectively Know Which Religion Is True (if any).' As you see, I have specifically said 'which religion', which, in case you misinterpreted the motion, is asking for a specific religion. 'Which religion' means you have to prove how it is possible to objectively know which religion is true, even if you don't follow one yourself. I haven't said in round one that by accepting the debate, if my opponent is an atheist or agnostic, that they can ignore the 'which religion' part of the motion. This should be obvious!

In conclusion, everyone should vote for the motion, that you cannot objectively know which religion is true (if any), as I have demonstrated through my arguments how many ways of knowing the true religion, is subjective; there is no objective method. You may argue your holy scripture or teachings of religion are unique, but so can anyone else of another religion claim. It just proves again how everything is subjective when it comes to the 'true religion'.

My opponent's arguments were mainly that you can time travel back to creation to meet God and God can come into the world to prove His religion right, however, I have refuted both of these arguments in the debate.

Bear in mind if you present new arguments in round 4 I won't be able to respond to them, as this is my last round.

Thank you funwiththoughts for this interesting and engaging debate.
funwiththoughts

Con

"1. Your argument that we can know, if God were physically detected, is a very weak argument as it is extremely unlikely God would make Himself physically detectable; when He hasn't done this so far in the history of humanity (which can be proved). For example with this argument, we could even know the tooth fairy or the flying spaghetti monster can exist if they were physically detected. Although this is unlikely it is possible so we can know if they exist- this is a weak argument, although a point nevertheless."

The debate is not called "is it likely that you will know which religion is true." It is still possible, therefore it is not something that "cannot" happen. And you acknowledge that it is possible, although unlikely, hence agreeing with my position.

"2. If you say yes and God would lift the stone anyway, this proves He can't do what the question is asking (which means He can't do something). The question is specifically asking for an object too heavy for God to lift. If He creates such an object, it is, by definition, impossible to lift for Him as it is too heavy. So there is something God can't do."

This assumes that God is bound by the law of identity. This is impossible, because he created it.

"3. If the only way to objectively know which religion is true, is by its God coming to this world to prove His power to you, it seems you will never be able to find out, as we know this won't happen, regardless of the possibility."

My opponent asserts this won't happen, but does not give any reasons. It is possible, however unlikely, and therefore it is not something that cannot happen.

"4. Just because something is possible does not mean it is likely or that evidence supports this theory/possibility."

The debate is not called "does evidence support a particular religion?" or "Is it likely that you will know which religion is true?" If you CANNOT do something, then you cannot do it, under ANY circumstances.

"The chances of God physically presenting Himself on earth are the same as the tooth fairy doing that."

Correct. And if this were to happen, we could objectively know that the tooth fairy is real.

"5. I agree it is possible to know God objectively exists if He presented Himself on earth to everyone (not just to you or one person, as this becomes subjective), "

My opponent admits it is possible to know God objectively exists (and presumably by extension, which religion is true). This is all I am saying.

"however, you can use this argument to justify it is possible to objectively know everything which can exist. For example, my opponent could have used this argument to prove it is possible we can objectively know if a 1000 legged sea monster and the tooth fairy exist, if they presented themselves to us. Of course everything can be possible if it were presented to us, but this argument is still not a strong one to make, as anything and everything the imagination allows becomes possible (although extremely unlikely)."

This is absolutely, 100% correct, and does absolutely nothing to refute my argument. It is still possible to know, however unlikely, which is all I am saying.

"6. I have not modified the statement by using the word 'until' in one of my statements you quoted. The sentence was in the context of your argument that it is possible to objectively know God of a religion exists if He presented Himself to us. I argued until He does that, we cannot know objectively which religion is true, as your only argument apparently is that we can know which religion is true if God came to earth and proved Himself. As far as your arguments of 'is possible and you can know', refer to my arguments number 4 and 5 above. You haven't given any more arguments or ways to refute the motion, other than if God came to earth we can know which religion is true."

All of this is irrelevant, because the fact is, if God came to Earth we can know. My opponent admits to this, but insists this doesn't count because it's "unlikely" (it is still possible, though.)

"Anyone willing to accept the objective evidence to know which religion is true would reach one same religion."

Well yes, but since the method I have laid out has not happened as of yet, then this bears little relevance.

""My opponent is expected to prove how we can objectively find out that any particular religion is in fact true, without the need of subjectivity or biases in finding the true religion."

My method does allow one to find a particular religion. I cannot say which, as it would depend which God comes to Earth.

""If my opponent believes in a 'true religion' which is an objective and universal truth and not that true religion is subjective to each person, then my opponent needs to prove this claim." "

Quote-mine. This is saying that IF I believe this claim (which I don't), then I have to prove it. Since I don't believe in the claim, there is no need for me to prove it.

"As you see, I have specifically said 'which religion', which, in case you misinterpreted the motion, is asking for a specific religion. "

Actually, the motion says "You cannot objectively know which religion is true". If we take the full context, rather than quote-mining two words, then we can see that it is simply asking for a way to know which religion, but does not actually ask which religion.

"'Which religion' means you have to prove how it is possible to objectively know which religion is true, even if you don't follow one yourself"

I HAVE proven that you can objectively know which religion is true. I just didn't say which religion. My method would work for any number of different religions, but whichever one it ended up working for, we could objectively know that that is the true religion.

"My opponent's arguments were mainly that you can time travel back to creation to meet God and God can come into the world to prove His religion right, however, I have refuted both of these arguments in the debate."

You have indeed refuted my time travel argument. However, you did NOT refute that God can come into the world to prove His religion right-you only said it was unlikely (which would still make it possible, thereby making his claim that you CANNOT know invalid) and said it could be used for a number of different arguments (Certainly true, but not relevant to the resolution at hand).

Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Leonardo 3 years ago
Leonardo
CatholicTraditionalist- Yes. The evidence for this motion is on my side and the burden of proof is on you to prove the opposite, as you can objectively know the motion is true by carrying out the objective experiment of asking different people what religion is true. The fact that the result of this objective experiment will be that the true religion is subjective to each person, proves that it is an objective truth that one cannot objectively know which religion is true.

You are asking me to verify something that has already been verified by the objective experiment of asking different people the question about the true religion. It doesn't work that way.
Posted by CatholicTraditionalist 3 years ago
CatholicTraditionalist
Leonardo, is it an objective truth that one cannot objectively know which religion is true?

Don't just answer, but instead think very carefully about the question I'm asking you. Then give an answer.
Posted by Leonardo 3 years ago
Leonardo
CatholicTraditionalist- There are different beliefs on this motion. So far in my life I personally believe it is not possible to objectively know which religion is true (but maybe I find out it is possible in the future, all my beliefs are subject to change). The contender disagrees with the motion, so in their opinion the motion is not true, you can ask them as well if what they claim is true, but it's subjective to each person you ask this.

The reason I agree with the motion is that if it were possible, then anyone from any religion should be able to objectively reach the conclusion that one particular religion is true. But there isn't a scientific and empirical way to be able to objectively know this, as it's all subjective.
Posted by CatholicTraditionalist 3 years ago
CatholicTraditionalist
the Pro claims that, "You Cannot Objectively Know Which Religion Is True (if any)". Therefore my only question to the Pro is this,,, Is what you claim true?

Think very deeply about the question I am asking you.
Posted by Leonardo 3 years ago
Leonardo
If everything is subjective, including all religions, then all religions are true for the people following them. This doesn't prove an individual's religion to be truer than the other religions, if the religion's truth can't be approached objectively.
Posted by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
While everything is subjective, the degree to such is probably the important thing.
No votes have been placed for this debate.