The Instigator
Con (against)
3 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
0 Points

Is the moral argument for god's existence sound?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/13/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,065 times Debate No: 35559
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)




Pro will provide arguments to support the moral case for god's existence and I will provide criticism and rebuttals.

My opponent will make his/ her opening arguments within the first round and type the following into round 4:-

"No argument posted here as agreed"

Note: This debate is intended for someone who is, at least, familiar with the type of moral arguments used by theologians like William Lane Craig.


To begin, first let me express that I'm a Pantheist - not a Christian - and I will be defending the moral argument for God's existence from varied (but consistent) philosophical positions. A Pantheist is someone that believes the Universe is God, and my particular brand argues the view that the universe is sentient (self-aware) and has existential ambitions, one of which is the creation of intelligent biological life for companionship. I understand that Pantheism is not the subject of the debate, but it may have a foundation in some of my arguments should my challenger refute some of my more general positions. My primary task in this debate will therefore be the question that my challenger has posted:

"Is the moral argument for god's existence sound?"

I am not arguing whether the argument for God's existence is sound, for as a Pantheist, the answer is automatically YES! As the universe NECESSARILY exist and empirical evidence cannot be presented to refute this; all empirical evidence demonstrates that the universe exist.


Intelligent biological life exist on planet Earth. Humans in particular have great capacity to alter and effect the fate of the planet and ultimately have the power to destroy themselves with technology and destructive behavior. God, who created mankind as intelligent companionship, has a stake in man's interactions and behavior. Should man pose a threat to himself or others he can annihilate himself or vastly reduce the quality of life for other humans, thus making the experience painful and meaningless. God wants a world where the conditions for intelligent life are at least enjoyable so that man doesn't turn on himself or the delicate, mutable planet.

God establishes rules for man to obey, which includes rules that govern a person's interaction with other people and the planet. If man breaks those rules, God communicates to man that he will be punished in some painful way, so as to effect his decisions in the world and to make him more sympathetic of the concerns of other humans he shares the Earth with.

In a world where men can be selfish, murderous, greedy, excessively destructive to nature, unfair, and socially rebellious God serves as an existential moral authority, to establish order on planet Earth, and to punish civilizations, through plague, economic upheaval, and natural catastrophes, that threaten minimal comfort on Earth, intelligent equalizing progress, and mutual happiness and the existence of intelligent life in general.

The moral argument for God's existence is sound because he [it] has a stake in what he [it] has constructed over billions of years, chiefly to provide himself [itself] existential intelligent companionship, and therefore God must serve as the ultimate authority to other intelligent life, and must also be the cosmic disciplinarian when intelligent life forms disobey his moral instruction.

I will be presenting more specific examples of this argument in the next round . . . .
Debate Round No. 1


As my opponent has recognized, this is not a debate over general arguments for god's existence, rather, it is an argument over the soundness of any moral argument for god's existence. With that in mind, all non-moral arguments for god's existence will not be considered within this debate. I understand your argument for pantheism, and think its painfully arbitrary, but its an altogether different debate for another time.

Now, what moral arguments were given to demonstrate god's existence?

Well, my opponents opening case seems to come down to two main points:-

i/ God has a stake in this world.
ii/ God has rules, which he enforces through horrible pain and suffering.

Here, I have four main criticisms:-


None of these points, nor anything said in round 1, qualifies as an actual moral argument for god's existence. The opinions provided are personal and sentimental with little argumentative power, technically they are just assertions.


The opening case assumes god exists, this makes the entire case circular as no valid argument can assume the conclusion in the premise.

Please note that the pantheist argument offered at the start has no force here as this isn't the topic of the debate. The same principle applies to cosmological, fine tuning, historical, argument from contingency, etc

Also, a moral argument for god's existence could be unsound even if he/she/it was real as the argument could simply be coincidentally correct.


My opponent has argued:-

"God serves as an existential moral authority, to establish order on planet Earth, and to punish civilizations, through plague, economic upheaval, and natural catastrophes"

Yet, no argument or reason is given for us think that there punishments have any impact on human beings morally relevant behaviours. For example, earthquakes have no power over my moral compass or the ability to challenge the behaviour of the worlds psychopaths.

Thus, this assertion is also a complete non-sequitur.


The opening case heavily supports the evidential problem of evil as it concedes that, if god does exist, he visits suffering on innocent people of a scope and scale that would embarrass the most ambitious psychopath.

This is very strong evidence that god does not exist or at least isn't benevolent by any human understanding of the word.

The case is therefore, literally, self defeating.

I look forward to hearing some supporting examples in the next round.


My opponent presents allegedly excellent criticisms in Round 2 as to why a moral argument for God's existence isn't sound. However, all of these criticisms are unsound, and fail to acknowledge that moral codes (of which civil laws are included) is ultimately reinforced in a society by some authoritative body, whether it be collective society (through public shaming and criticism) a parent/guardian (who disciplines a child for doing something unacceptable), a teacher (who can remove a student from his classroom for acting outside of expected norms), a police officer (who can ticket or incarcerate an individual for breaking the law), a government (who can press charges against a criminal and prosecute them for state and federal crimes), or an international governing body (that can declare violations of international law and pose penalties and sanctions). Ultimately God's existential moral authority is as genuine and legitimate as any of these in establishing order among intelligent life on the planet.

My opponent argues that morality exist independently from the opinions and judgement of an authority--but this is untrue. Ultimately it is authoritative bodies (consented to or not!), or institutions, that determine rules, protocol, and laws for the optimal end of a community's comfort and survival. Moral codes, such as the Ten Commandments ("Mosaic Law", a foundation of modern civic laws) has this intended aim as well: To establish order for the optimal end of societal comfort, mutual happiness, and survival!

Not all institutions of authority are consented to, either, as in the case of a teacher/student relationship or a child and his parents. But some general (albeit humane) form of obedience is expected--and reinforced through other authoritative bodies (peace officers, the courts, the government) through established rules and laws.

My opponent also argues that plagues, natural disasters, economic upheaval and other horrible life-altering experiences do not have the power to change people. I very much disagree . . . and the evidence is overwhelming. Just as there are penalties for breaking civic rules (which have the intended aim of altering the offender's life, either by rehabilitating him or removing him from society), cosmic punishment also has an identical aim. Viruses like human papillomavirus and HIV have altered the course of sexual freedom around the world, forcing communities to rethink their relationship to sex; smoking has been linked to cancer, and this has the effect of either (1) forcing people to become more mindful about it dangers, or (2) potentially suffer the devastating effects of cancer; natural calamities likes tornadoes and hurricanes devastate communities (and takes away resources), which forces communities to re-evaluate their wants and their needs, and typically to become more frugal (lots of examples of this over the last two decades). Where there is mass death there is usually also the re-evaluation of life and a demonstration of sympathy for other members in society. Death and destruction re-awakens our concerns for our fellow man and has the effect of making us think less about ourselves.

The after-effects of calamity has brought awareness to the way we live, whether it's a Tsunami in Japan (which has forced nations around the globe to rethink the use of nuclear power), hurricanes and tornadoes (which is now altering U.S. official policy on global warming), or the loss of a great battle (which has forced nations to re-evaluate their positions on slavery, Nazi eugenics, the concept of a just war). There also exist examples of this in the economic sphere, where horrible recessions have forced communities to examine the effects of unlimited borrowing from banks, or unregulated business practices.

The modern world is itself a product of many, many bad experiences that were each examined by surviving communities for needed change, growth and maturity.

Cosmic punishment works!

My opponent is wrong!
Debate Round No. 2


I'll start by clearing up a misunderstanding, my opponent claims:-

"My opponent also argues that plagues, natural disasters, economic upheaval and other horrible life-altering experiences do not have the power to change people. I very much disagree"

I am not claiming that horrible events do not have the power to change people. Rather, I'm claiming they don't have any power to create a moral society or discourage wrongdoing. This is supported by evidence since natural disasters and immorality coexist without any contradiction. Also, horrible events will not correct the behaviour of a psychopath because psychopaths, by definition, do not feel empathy and simply don't care when someone else is suffering.

Moving on, the main argument within my opponents last response appears to be:-

a. Bad things happen.
b. Humans adapt to these bad things.
c. Therefore, these bad things actually help in the long run.

This argument has four main flaws:-

1. This isn't a moral argument for god.

2. This view is completely compatible with atheism.

3. Theoretically, these adaptations wouldn't be necessary if god had fine tuned a universe more conducive to human flourishing.

4. Not all bad things have a silver lining, some things are gratuitously harmful and never did anyone any good! This is supported by evidence and observation.

Now, my opponent also seems to be arguing that morality require a moral law giver. He attempts to demonstrate this by referring to different forms of authorities, i.e. government, police, parent, teacher, etc

Again, there are several problems here:-

1. Human authorities do not prove the existence of non-human authorities.

2. Legislation is not identical to morality, i.e. its possible that at least some legislation is or has been morally wrong.

3. Authority is not identical to morality. Hitler had authority, that didn't make his judgements morally correct.

4. Most meta-ethical theories do not require a moral law giver; essentially, only divine command theory makes this assumption. If my opponent wants to show that divine command theory is true then he would need to either:-

a/ show that every alternative is wrong.
b/ Show that divine command theory is logically necessary.

Since he hasn't done either, the claim is merely an unwarranted assertion.

5. Plato's Euthyphro dilemma:-

"Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?"
Plato, Euthyphro

Here, Plato is presenting us with two possibilities:-

a/ An authority supports a moral claim because it is true.
b/ A moral claim is true because an authority says so.

If a/ is true then morally transcends authority and my opponent is wrong.
If b/ is true then morality is arbitrary as it's based on someone's subjective opinion.

It should be noted here that b/ isn't usually taken seriously as it begs the question, what happens if the authority claims rape is ok? If b/ were correct then this would make rape ok, resulting in a reductio ad absurdum.

My opponent also mentioned the ten commandments as a foundation for morality. Here I want to make a couple of points.

1. The only commandments taken seriously are painfully self evident, i.e. don't kill each other, don't take each others stuff etc. These axioms were grounded in human hard wiring long before anyone wrote the first version of the Torah. This is supported by the work of Prof. Paul Bloom [1].

2. The remaining commandments are simply ridiculous and have no bearing on morality or modern legislation, i.e. you shall have no other gods before me, thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain etc.

With all my opponents arguments defeated, and as I am running out of characters, I will finish this round by pointing out, again, that the list of human suffering in my opponents response supports the evidential problem of evil which renders his argument self-defeating.



I completely agree with you, antitheist.

If a God exist it is most certainly evil!

Great argument.
Debate Round No. 3


Thanks Juan.

That was an enjoyable argument.


The truth is there is no moral argument for God's existence. God's methods are brutal, violent, unfair, sinister and really can't be defended unless you're the object of his blessing.

If a God exist, he is necessarily a devil!

No further argument.
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Juan_Pablo 5 years ago
I want to congratulate you. The truth is that God is necessarily evil, even if he were to exist, because he is no better than the worst tyrant--who most of us publically condemn for insane cruelty anways.

You're completely right. God would be evil.
Posted by AntithesisTheist 5 years ago
I also struggled a little with the character limit in round 3. However, It was good in a way as it forced me to make my case more succinctly.
Posted by Juan_Pablo 5 years ago
I hit the character limit in Round 2, but I think I did an excellent job in presenting my case!
Posted by Juan_Pablo 5 years ago
What I mean in Round One is that I'm not a "conventional" Christian. I do subscribe to some Christian philosophy; I posted my Round One reply without correcting this.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by ModusTollens 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Concession