The Instigator
MikelaC2596
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Nur-Ab-Sal
Pro (for)
Winning
39 Points

monotheism? are you sure?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 8 votes the winner is...
Nur-Ab-Sal
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/23/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,436 times Debate No: 24413
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (18)
Votes (8)

 

MikelaC2596

Con

I don't believe in the idea of one God only. I invite anyone to rebut my statement that monotheism is illogical and untrue. For the purpose of this debate monotheism can refer to either the Christian, Judaic, or Islamic God. Any further questions, definitions, or concerns can be addressed through messaging or comments.
Nur-Ab-Sal

Pro

I accept this debate challenge. Note that it is my burden of proof to show that monotheism is more likely than polytheism. Likewise, my opponent must show that polytheism is more probable than monotheism.

I will provide a few definitions which I hope my opponent agrees with.

Definitions

1. polytheism - the belief in and adherence to a religious or philosophical system that worships a plurality of deities [1]
2. monotheism - the doctrine or belief that then is only one God [2]; my opponent, however, has restricted this to the omnipotent deity of Abrahamic religions.

Sources

1. Hindson, Ed. The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics.p. 396 (http://goo.gl...)
2. Fowler, Jeaneane D. Perspectives of Reality. p. 20 (http://goo.gl...)
Debate Round No. 1
MikelaC2596

Con

There are many many aspects important to the life of humans. To believe they could only be orchestrated by a higher being is understandable. But to believe there is one large God who successfully is a master of all crafts seems over simplified. If humans are created after a high being, we should have similar characteristics such as the mastery of talents. As there are many talents, there are many masters.

Another matter, would your singular God live in loneliness, or would they be like all other creatures and gain companionship of their own kind? Would they really sit alone grasping at puppet strings on the earth? I doubt it.
Polytheism often presents deities as their own class who spend the majority of their time amongst themselves and only rarely meddle in humans personal affairs.
Nur-Ab-Sal

Pro

I would like to begin by thanking MikelaC2596 for her opening argument in support of polytheism.

Introduction

My opponent splits her argument into two main contentions: (1) that a humans created in a single deity’s image does not succesfully capture the talents that deity embodies, and (2) that a single deity is incoherent with “other creatures” because of perceived loneliness. I will refute these, and then offer a case for monotheism and against polytheism.

Rebuttal 1: Talent embodiment

My opponent states here, “[…] to believe there is one large God who successfully is a master of all crafts seems over simplified.” She subsequently states in place, “[…] we should have similar characteristics such as the mastery of talents. As there are many talents, there are many masters.” Unfortunately, there are multiple issues with this statement.

Firstly, my opponent states that a singular, omnipotent deity who is “master of all crafts” (I take this to mean omnipotence) is too simple of an explanation. Occam’s razor, however, is to the monotheist’s advantage here: “Occam’s razor implores us to choose the simplest explanation as long as it explains the phenomenon at hand equally well or better than the alternatives.” [1] This principle also holds up in court: “Jurists tell us that the simplest explanation is always the truest.” [2] Thus, because even as my opponent agrees, a single deity is less complex than a pantheon of multiple deities, and because a single God explains the origin of the Universe and of man just as well, if not better, than multiple Gods, it should be regarded with inherently higher plausibility.

My opponent then describes how “if humans are created after a high being,” then “we should have similar characteristics such as the mastery of talents.” My opponent is referring to Genesis 1:26, which states: Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness […]’” This passage basically states that there is an image of God (the “high being” in my opponent’s text) and that humans are in accord with His image. In Christianity, these means that God is the Logos, or the Word, as is his Son, Jesus, and we are we are transformed into this Image as a response to the grace of God. [3] This has little to do with embodying the actual attributes of God, such as omnipotence or omniscience, and has everything to do with core Christian (Abrahamic) doctrine. My opponent’s argument thus uses a false interpretation of the text, and what follows is a false conclusion based on this false interpretation.

Rebuttal 2: Loneliness

My opponent next states, “[…] would your singular God live in loneliness, or would they be like all other creatures and gain companionship of their own kind?” She continues, “Polytheism often presents deities as their own class who spend the majority of their time amongst themselves and only rarely meddle in humans personal affairs

The Abrahmic (Judaic, Christian, and Islamic) God is often described as immutable [4] and omnipotent [5]. A God that described with these attributes cannot be lonely because he is unchangeable in his current state (immutable) and has the power not to be lonely (omnipotent). By definition, the maximally great Abrahamic God is not lonely, because that would incoherently require a perfect entity to have an imperfect trait. Polytheist deities, on the other hand, are not omnipotent, [6] [7] and have the ability to be lonely, negating the “lonely deity” point even if had substance. Similar to the last point, the rest of her argument is a false conclusion based on the false premise of a singular deity’s supposed loneliness.

Argument 1: Polytheistic/Monotheistic Omnipotence

I have already shown that polytheistic deities are not omnipotent (take the Greek pantheon [6] and the Egyptian pantheon [7] as examples; likewise, multiple omnipotent deities present obvious logical inconsistencies). It is therefore unlikely that a polytheistic pantheon would have the ability to explain the origin and nature of the Universe, life, or morality, as Abrahamic religions do. A singular deity can explain these phenomena because it has a single purpose, a single objective, which is self-evident in the consistent nature of the Universe, whereas a set of Gods with no standard purpose cannot explain this universal stability. Without an omnipotent control over the Universe, a bickering and changeable set of deities cannot account for its solid, established nature.

Argument 2: Anthropomorphism

Polytheism is overly personified: “Real polytheism is rationally unfounded and overly anthropomorphic.” [8] The argument here should be clear: polytheistic religions show an undeniable manmade basis and have little actual divinity – or what makes a god a God. It should be noted that the Abrahamic God is often personified as a way to ease contemplation, and is not really viewed as distinctly human [9] whereas polytheistic deities were always viewed as humans, usually with enhanced size, beauty, and power. [10]

Conclusion

My opponent has not provided any substantial arguments in favor of a pantheon of gods. She agrees that monotheism provides a simpler explanation, but misinterprets the creation of man in a divine image as to be based in the concept of talent – and has not shown, even if it were true, how polytheism explains this better. She argues that a single deity would be lonely, but does not account for the immutability and omnipotence of a single God, and its incoherence with a trait such as loneliness. Lastly, polytheistic deities are nt consistent with the stable, singular nature of the Universe, and are too anthropomorphic to be taken as serious, divine entities. Ergo, monotheism is more probable than polytheism.

References

1. Bernbeck, Reinhard. Ideologies in Archaeology. p. 208. (http://goo.gl...)

2. Hillis, Newell. “Immortal Life.” Homiletic Review vol. 67. p. 317 (http://goo.gl...)

3. Louth, Andrew. Genesis 1-11. p. 50 (l). (http://goo.gl...)

4. Alexander, Myrna. Behold Your God. p. 79 (http://goo.gl...)

5. Ibid, p. 36

6. Meier, Christian. A Culture of Freedom. p. 92. (http://goo.gl...)

7. Pinto, Paulo. In Search of the Lost Phallus. p. 469. (http://goo.gl...)

8. Taylor, James. Introducing Apologetics. p. 99. (http://goo.gl...)

9. Neusner, Jacob. The Incarnation of God. p. 11. (http://goo.gl...)

10. Bulliet, Richard, et al. The Earth and Its Peoples. p. 116. (http://goo.gl...)

Debate Round No. 2
MikelaC2596

Con

I am impressed by your rebuttal. I have yet to present my proofs of polytheism, as you say. I present these here.
"And God said, `Let us make man in our likeness and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea....' genesis 1:26-27
"Behold the man has become as one of us to know good and evil, and now lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat and live forever...." gen 3:22
Yahweh executed judgements even against their gods. Num 33:4
God has taken his place in the divine council;in the midst of the gods he holds judgment. Ps. 82:1
Many times the Bible alludes to multiple gods. such terms as: bene (ha)'elohim "sons of God" (Gen. 6.2, 4; Deut. 32.8-9; Job 1.6, 2.2, 38.7), ‘elohim "gods" (Ps. 82.1, 6), bene elim "sons of gods" (Ps. 29.1, 89.7), and bene ‘elyon "sons of the Most High" (Ps. 82.6). Moreover, the council itself is referred to by such appellations as the adat ‘el "council/assembly/congregation of ‘El/God" (Ps. 82.1), sod qedoshim rabbah "great council of the holy ones" (Ps. 89.8), sod YHWH "the council of Yahweh" (Jer. 23.18), and sod eloah "council of God" (Job 15.8) are used.
More and more biblical scholars are finding evidence that implies that the Hebrew God is Yahweh, the highest of a counsel of gods, similar to Zeus in Greek legends.
The omnipotent deity you speak of may exist, but he is not alone. He rules over an entire class of deities.
Nur-Ab-Sal

Pro

I would like to again thank MikelaC2596 for continuing the debate.

Introduction

Unfortunately, my opponent seems to have dropped every rebuttal and argument that I made in favor of a new argument. I will take the drops as concessions, but I will extend my arguments against polytheism/for monotheism throughout the debate to be fair. Instead of continuing her same arguments, such as those from talent embodiment and loneliness, she has constructed a new argument, that Abrahamic monotheism is actually polytheism in disguise.

Rebuttal: Biblical polytheism

My opponent makes an interesting argument here that I was not expecting. She provides us a list of biblical passages that she believes depict a pantheon of Abrahamic Gods rather than a single omnipotent God, which is the most accepted view among Biblical scholars.

Opponent’s passages

Genesis 1:26 – “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’” I already explained the meaning of this passage in my last rebuttal. Refer to the final paragraph of “Talent embodiment” to understand the meaning of this passage within Christian doctrine.

Genesis 3:22 – And the LORD God said, ‘The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.’” I’m not quite sure how my opponent believes this to be example of polytheism in the Bible. It is merely describing how Adam (a human) has become like those (God and angels) in the Heavens or in Hell: he has knowledge of good and evil.

Numbers 33:4 – Meanwhile, the Egyptians were burying all their firstborn sons, whom the LORD had killed the night before. The LORD had defeated the gods of Egypt that night with great acts of judgment!” My opponent mistakes the simple use of the word gods to mean that the Hebrews worshipped many gods. The passage clearly shows the metaphorical dominion of the true monotheistic God over the false ancient Egyptian pantheon.

Psalms 82:1 – God stands in the assembly of the Angels and among the Angels he will judge.”A clearer translation of this passage shows how gods and angels can be confused with one another , and “angels are not worshipped in Judaic tradition.” [1] Therefore, they cannot be interpreted as separate deities.

These are the only specific passages my opponent refers to, and, as you can see, she basically misinterprets all of them to give a false impression of Biblical polytheism. In some of these, she mistakes the description of pagan pantheons as actual Biblical deities, and in some she mistakes angels as deities. None of them, however, describe multiple deities. What follows in my opponent’s argument is a mistaking of the “council of God” to consist of other deities. The council of God is referring to angels. Likewise, the term “sons of God” do not refer to begotten sons, but rather his children – humanity. These phrases can be confusing, but they surely do not refer to multiple deities.

Passages that show monotheism

My opponent has found vague passages that do not even refer to multiple gods, but rather pagan gods or angels. Here are a selection of several possible passages that describe without a doubt the God of the Abrahamic religions is the only true divine entity.

Psalms 86:8 – “No pagan god is like you, O Lord. None can do what you do!” This passage is quite clear in its meaning; it distinguishes the one deity (O Lord) from the gods (other translations of the text make this plural) of pagan religions, thus distinguishing the monotheistic Yahweh from polytheistic pantheons. Exodus 15:11 provides similar text.

Deuteronomy 4:35 – Yahweh, He is God; there is no other besides Him.” This passage is also apparent in its exegetical meaning. It clearly states that Yahweh is accompanied by no other gods.

Isaiah 45:21 – Is it not I, Yahweh? And there is no other God besides Me, A righteous God and a Savior; There is none except Me.” For the same reason as above, Jews clearly believed in only one God.

Jude 1:25 – To the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore!” This serves to prove within Christianity that Jesus is in fact the same deity as God, and also clearly says the only God.

For a full list of passages that prove Biblical monotheism, see http://goo.gl...

Argument 1: Polytheistic/Monotheistic Omnipotence

As stated in the Introduction, I extend this argument.

Argument 2: Anthropomorphism

As stated in the Introduction, I extend this argument.

Conclusion

As I stated before, my opponent dropped all of my rebuttals and arguments. She instead assembled an argument for Biblical polytheism by accumulating multiple misinterpretations and describing them as proof of Biblical polytheism. I have shown they were either referring to pagan gods, such as those of the Egyptians, or angels, which are not worshipped as deities. Afterwards, I provided a list of passages that show the God of the Bible clearly declares to be the only God. I thus conclude that within the context of the Bible, monotheism is still more probable than polytheism.

References

1. Urubshurow, Victoria. Introducing World Religions. p. 4. (http://goo.gl...)

Debate Round No. 3
MikelaC2596

Con

My statement showed that the God of Israel himself refers to other beings of his own kind. Participating in this debate feels like reading unorganized scrabble tiles. I feel like amphibology and straw men fallacies have risen.
Congratulations Sir, your talking in circles has made me decide to concede.

Next time I'll be sure to clarify what the debate is truly about.
Nur-Ab-Sal

Pro

I'm not quite sure what my opponent means by "I feel like amphibology and straw men fallacies have risen." I have done nothing but provide valid arguments, and valid refutations. If I have attacked a strawman anywhere, my opponent should have pointed out where and how.

My opponent has graciously conceded, and I urge voters to take this into account.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 4
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Man-is-good 4 years ago
Man-is-good
Never mind about that question. Con apologized for "seeming so childish".
Posted by Man-is-good 4 years ago
Man-is-good
Well, this is again obvious. Con failed to demonstrate how a polytheistic view would explain the constant state of nature and made several mistakes--arguing that man was created with the attribtutes (when it was the Image that would be induced through a reception of divine grace of his Maker) or that the aspects of the Abrahamic God would mean that he is lonely (his immutability and omnipotence discredit this) in the beginning rounds, or misinterpreting a set of passages to indicate biblical polytheism. Moreover, Con failed to address Pro's arguments, especially in regards to the logical probability of polytheism when measured in regards to Occam's razor, and so forth.

Con did not have a distinctive structure/organization to her arguments, did not use sources, and, despite conceding, chose to write that "I feel like amphibology and straw men fallacies have risen.
Congratulations Sir, your talking in circles has made me decide to concede" and indirectly disparaging Pro's arguments. As a result, Con loses points in spelling and grammar, sources, and conduct.

And by the way, Con, who's to speak of "amphibology and straw men fallacies" when you could not address Con's arguments, make the link between the undefined nature of the God to biblical plurality, the nature of the debate---logic vs. empirical proof, etc, and so forth?
Posted by Chrysippus 4 years ago
Chrysippus
Since there is no verse that clearly describes God as the chairman of God, Inc, any proof of a plurality of gods in the bible will involve a great deal of logic.
Posted by Nur-Ab-Sal 4 years ago
Nur-Ab-Sal
I'm still not quite sure what you mean, but it's fine.
Posted by MikelaC2596 4 years ago
MikelaC2596
Sorry for seeming childish. I should have clarified the debate wasn't about logic, it was about proof. The scriptures I cited were because of the wording not the meaning. Thanks for putting up with me nur-ab-sal.
Posted by Truedark 4 years ago
Truedark
too bad it would have been inresting to see her come up with it
Posted by Nur-Ab-Sal 4 years ago
Nur-Ab-Sal
She conceded and finished the debate a few minutes ago.
Posted by Truedark 4 years ago
Truedark
well then she should find those versions and revise her argument.

i will be following this debate but i do think i will be voting for the pro side of this topic
Posted by Nur-Ab-Sal 4 years ago
Nur-Ab-Sal
I didn't even know this was going to become a Biblical debate. I thought it was going to be about the logic of polytheism vs. the logic of monotheism. It started out that way, but then in the next round she made it centered on the Bible.
Posted by Truedark 4 years ago
Truedark
I think that both oponents should look back for greek and Hebrew versions of the scriptures they quoted as over time the true meanings can be lost in translation
8 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Vote Placed by Doulos1202 4 years ago
Doulos1202
MikelaC2596Nur-Ab-SalTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Con's arguments were refuted again...and again until see later conceded. Arguments, sources and grammar to Pro.
Vote Placed by AlwaysMoreThanYou 4 years ago
AlwaysMoreThanYou
MikelaC2596Nur-Ab-SalTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con conceded, and before that Pro was likely to achieve a blowout win anyway.
Vote Placed by MouthWash 4 years ago
MouthWash
MikelaC2596Nur-Ab-SalTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Ho ho ho!
Vote Placed by Man-is-good 4 years ago
Man-is-good
MikelaC2596Nur-Ab-SalTied
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Reasons for voting decision: See vote in the comments...This vote will not be very long, though.
Vote Placed by Chrysippus 4 years ago
Chrysippus
MikelaC2596Nur-Ab-SalTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Concession by Con, after her arguments were thoroughly refuted.
Vote Placed by Xerge 4 years ago
Xerge
MikelaC2596Nur-Ab-SalTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Concession
Vote Placed by vmpire321 4 years ago
vmpire321
MikelaC2596Nur-Ab-SalTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Concession by con ):
Vote Placed by Lordknukle 4 years ago
Lordknukle
MikelaC2596Nur-Ab-SalTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Lol