Instigator / Pro
Points: 28

The God of Christianity does not exist

Finished

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After 4 votes the winner is ...
Virtuoso
Debate details
Publication date
Last update
Category
Religion
Time for argument
Two weeks
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
One month
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
Characters per argument
20,000
Contender / Con
Points: 18
Description
In this debate, I will be showing that the God of Christianity does not exist. The burden of proof is shared. It is incumbent on me to improve that he does not exist while my opponent must bring forth arguments to show that he does.
Round structure
1. Opening
2. Rebuttals
3. Defense
4. Close
Round 1
Published:
Let me begin by thanking my opponent for accepting this debate, I look forward to an exciting exchange. In this debate, I will be defending two arguments in support of the proposition the God of Christianity does not and cannot exist. These arguments will be the problem of evil (POE), the argument from Biblical defects (ABD).  
 
I. The POE
 
1.     If an omnipotent, omnibenevolent, and omniscient god exists, then evil does not exist.
2.     There is evil in the world.
3.     Therefore, an omnipotent, omnibenevolent, and omniscient god does not exist.
 
In the words of the Greek philosopher Epicurus, “Is God unable to prevent evil, then he is not all-powerful. If God is not willing to prevent evil, then he is not all-good. If God is both willing and able to prevent evil, then why does evil exist.”
 
For the purpose of this debate, I will be defining evil as actions or things that are harmful to the well-being of persons. The Jewish philosopher Maimonides identifies three categories of evil: natural evils such as earthquakes and hurricanes; evil done to others, such as murder and rape; and evil we do to ourselves, such as a smoker developing lung cancer.
 
Let’s look at his first category of evil. In 2017 a hurricane Maria ravaged through Puerto Rico killing more than 4,000 people [1]. Where was God? Why wouldn’t an all-loving God divert the hurricane to the Atlantic Ocean for it to dissipate? Why did God an all-loving allow thousands of people to be left without power for months? If God truly is all-powerful, then He could have created a world without hurricanes or diverted the hurricane so no-one dies. Another good example is childhood cancer and diseases. All you have to do is walk into a children’s hospital and you can clearly see that there is no God. According to the National Cancer Institute, it is estimated that more than 11,000 children were diagnosed with cancer in 2019 and more than 1,000 innocent children died. Again, I ask where is God?
 
In the second category of evil we have evil done to others. In the holocaust, more than 11 million Jews were killed. They were starved, beaten, forced into labor, and died brutal deaths in the gas chambers. Again, where is God? In the words of Israeli Supreme Court justice Halam Cohen, “If there is Auschwitz, there is no God.” [4] In the United States, thousands of children have died in school shootings. In 2012, 27 innocent children and teachers were killed in Newtown [5]; in 1999, 13 innocent children were killed in Columbine [6]; and in 2018, over 18 innocent people were killed in Parkland [7].  If God had the ability to prevent genocide and shootings but chose not to, then he is an accomplice. In law, an accomplice is “A person who knowingly, voluntarily, or intentionally gives assistance to another in (or in some cases fails to prevent another from) the commission of a crime.” [8] If God chose not to intervene, then he certainly is an accomplice.
 
I will readily concede that the third type of evil is the most justified. If we have free will, then we have the free will to inject harmful substances. We should not be surprised when we face the consequences. However, this evil often kills innocent people. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 30 people die each day in drunk driving accidents [9]. According to the American Lung Association, 2.5 million innocent people died from secondhand smoking from 1964 and 2014 [10]. Again, I ask where is God in this evil?
 
II. ABD
 
This syllogism is a modified form from Theodore Drange’s argument from Biblical defects [11]:
 
  1. f the God of Christianity were to exist, then the Bible would be God’s only written revelation.
  2. Thus, if that deity were to exist, then he would see to it that the Bible is perfectly clear and authoritative, and lack the appearance of merely human authorship.
  3. Some facts about the Bible are the following:
    1. There are significant textual variations that change the meaning of the text;
    2. There are significant contradictions; and
    3. It contains ethical defects.
  4. Therefore [from C], the Bible is not perfectly clear and authoritative, and has the appearance of merely human authorship.
  5. Hence [from B& D], the God of Christianity does not exist.  
I doubt anyone would have a problem with the first two premises. If God were to exist, then there can be no errors in the Bible. What about the third premise? Here are some of the most damming evidence against the Bible.
 
1. Textual variations
 
There are over 400,000 variations in the Gospels. While most of these are minor, there are some that matter a lot. For example, in Mark 1:41 when Jesus heals the leper, was Jesus angry of full of compassion [11]? In John 7:53—8:11, did Jesus have an encounter with the adulterous woman? Most scholars say no. Even the apologist site Got Questions notes [12]:
 
“The Greek manuscripts show fairly clear evidence that John 7:53—8:11 was not originally part of John’s Gospel. Among the manuscripts that do contain the section, either wholly or in part, there are variations of placement. Some manuscripts put the pericope adulterae after John 7:36, others after John 21:25, and some even place it in the Gospel of Luke (after Luke 21:38 or 24:53).”
Another great example is the ending of the Gospel of Mark. Bible scholars overwhelmingly agree that Mark 16 ends in verse 8: “Then they went out and ran from the tomb, for terror and bewilderment had seized them. And they said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.”  
 
It’s easy to see why a scribe would add to the ending. Obviously, Mark cannot end without any appearances of the resurrection, but that’s exactly what it does. There are two endings of Mark. The first is the long version, but there is also a shorter version [13]:
 
“And they promptly reported all these instructions to Peter and his companions. And after that, Jesus Himself sent out through them from east to west the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation."
Finally, did Luke understand Jesus’ death to be a substitutionary sacrifice? It depends on Luke 22:19-20
 
19 Then he took bread, and after giving thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And in the same way he took[d] the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
The NRSV notes: “Luke 22:20 Other ancient authorities lack, in whole or in part, verses 19b-20 (which is given . . . in my blood).” [14]
 
2. Contradictions
 
Matthew and Luke tell the story of Jesus’ birth; however, they are contradictory. For example, in the genealogy, who was Joseph’s father? In Matthew 1:16 it is Jacob, but in Luke 3:23 it is Heli.
 
In Luke’s narrative, Jesus’ family comes from Nazareth to Bethlehem to be registered for a tax. They stay in Bethlehem for 40 days and returns to Nazareth after Mary circumcised Jesus and fulfilled the temple rituals. However, in Matthew, Jesus is born in Bethlehem, flees to Egypt, and then moves to Nazareth after Herod dies. The chronology of this account cannot be reconciled.
 
3. Ethical defects
 
Richard Dawkins famously stated: “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” [15]
 
In the Book of Job, Satan appears before God and the heavenly court. Job is an innocent man who is blameless and upright. What does God do? He suggests Satan for Job to be tested and allows him to be tortured just to win a bet with Satan (see Job 2:3).
 
In Psalm 137:9, the Bible says those who kill infants in war will be blessed.
In Ex. 21, God permits a slave owner to beat their slaves to death, but only if they survive for a day or two.
 
In Deuteronomy 22:28-29, God forces a woman to marry her rapist:  
 
“28 Suppose a man comes across a virgin who is not engaged and takes hold of her and sleeps with her and they are discovered. 29 The man who has slept with her must pay her father fifty shekels of silver and she must become his wife. Because he has humiliated her, he may never divorce her as long as he lives.”
The man is required to pay her father 50 shekels because it is considered a property crime. Women were considered property and a woman who is raped is worth less for a dowry.
 
5. Summary
 
In summary, the Bible cannot be the word of a loving God. There are many contradictions of consequence and many ethical defects. If God were all-good, this is not the Bible he would have written. If anyone follows the Bible, they would be a criminal in pretty much every country.
. Similarly, an invisible pink unicorn cannot exist because
 
III. Conclusion
 
I believe that I have proven my case. The God of Christianity cannot exist.
 
IV. Sources
1. https://www.worldvision.org/disaster-relief-news-stories/2017-hurricane-maria-facts
2. https://www.cancer.gov/types/childhood-cancers
3. https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/documenting-numbers-of-victims-of-the-holocaust-and-nazi-persecution
4. https://hartman.org.il/Blogs_View.asp?Article_Id=1493&Cat_Id=275&Cat_Type
5. https://www.businessinsider.com/who-were-the-victims-of-the-sandy-hook-shooting-2017-12
6. https://www.cnn.com/2013/09/18/us/columbine-high-school-shootings-fast-facts/index.html
7. https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/02/15/586095587/17-people-died-in-the-parkland-shooting-here-are-their-names
8. https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/accomplice
9. https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving
10. https://www.lung.org/quit-smoking/smoking-facts/health-effects/secondhand-smoke
11. For a detailed analysis of this, I recommend reading the notes from the NET Bible. Note no. 77: https://netbible.org/bible/Mark+1
12. https://www.gotquestions.org/John-7-53-8-11.html
13. https://carm.org/bible-difficulties/matthew-mark/ending-mark-really-scripture
14. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+22%3A19-20&version=NRSV
15. Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion
 
 

Published:
This is a classic debate. Always has been, always will be, at least until such time as someone, God, if no one else, exhibits the undeniable evidence in His favor. One might argue, even then, that the evidence is not sound. Privilege, I suppose, is the grand gift of agency; even the privilege to deny.
 
Let me note, first, Pro’s #8 comment in the Comments tab: “It’s all about faith, not evidence.”Pro may not accept biblical, or for that matter, other scriptural reference, but since pro has not defined sourcing limitations, and since, clearly, such volumes that some consider holy writ exist, whether or not one believes their content, one may apply the same denial for the same reason to Scientific American,for example; a monthly magazine to which I once subscribed and considered as a reliable source of information. As past issues are now available online, I no longer subscribe. Men and women write it. So was, for example, the Bible. I see no evidence that God wrote one jot or tittle of it. Inspired, yes, by my observation.
 
So, I will claim first, that it is all about faith andevidence. I will cite, first, from Hebrews in the New Testament, which gave about as valid a definition of faith as I have ever observed: “Now faith is the substanceof things hoped for, the evidenceof things not seen.”[1][ bolded for emphasis]
  
This is Paul, the Apostle, writing an epistle to the Hebrews – understood as Jews, then, and said of himself, “I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus… yet brought up in this city [Jerusalem].”[2]
 
Relative to the verse from Hebrews, Paul allows that “faith” is a “substance” of things for which hope is the delivery of that substance. The Oxford English Dictionary [hereafter, “OED”] has several definitions of this word, but highlights a first definition, which then splits by two subsets. I’ll key on two of them; theological, and philosophical.
 
“Substance: 1. Senses relating to the nature or essence of something.
“i. Substance [theo]: the divine essence or nature, esp, as that which the three persons of the Trinity are united as one”
“ii, Substance [philo]: A being that subsists of itself; a distinct individual entity; [also gen.] a thing, being”[3]
 
Note that the substance is a matter of hope according to Paul; it is not necessarily a current acquisition, but something to be revealed in a future, but accessible time to come. Paul follows this hope by saying that faith is the “evidence of things not seen;”evidence understood to mean proof of a thing beyond a reasonable doubt, as in a court of law, or as empirically derived knowledge in a scientific theorem, but not currently seen. Apparently, “faith” is an ability to “see” with eyes that are not those mounted as a pair in the heads of humankind. I suppose Paul might have meant “spiritual eyes;” those tools of the Spirit, which know by a sense beyond the typical five physical senses we humans, share: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch.
 
We depend on these senses for much of what we call “empiric evidence,” or even “truth.” Loss of them is a tragic consequence, virtually negating ourselves from our world.
 
However, are we limited to these five? We know there are other, lesser beings with which we share the earth which possess other senses, such as echo location, and sensitivity to earth’s magnetic field. Is it, then, possible, since these other creatures mostly also share these five senses with us, that humans have access to additional senses? The idea may not be so impossible to consider. Is it possible that one of them may align with Paul’s definition of “faith?” A substance delivered by hope, and evidence of things unseen by human, physical eyes?
 
Paul does not tell us that this substance and evidence are matters to be assessed by our typical senses, however, he does tell us that these things are revealed to us: “For by it[faith]the elders obtained a good report.”[4] That is, a thing was revealed to them that they had not known before it was revealed. There is other evidence of revelation, and that it is from God: In Matthew, we read of the experience when Jesus asked his apostles whom others said Jesus was, and they replied that some thought he was John the Baptist, or Elias, or Jeremias… Jesus then asked, “But whom say ye that I am?
“And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
“And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”[5]
 
A careful read of the following verses, which many consider the evidence that Peter was “the Rock” upon which Christ’s church was founded, will expose a different interpretation; that revelation is the rock upon which Christ’s church is founded.

Revelation, then, that sublime communication from God, which many consider to have ended with the end of the Holy Bible, is an ongoing phenomenon, ongoing to anyone who expresses the faith described by Paul. Ongoing, because one may ask: why did God appear and speak to men in ages past, even up to 2,000 years ago, but has since ceased this activity? 
 
No wonder people such as my opponent, believe God does not exist. They’ve seen no modern evidence that He still communicates. Even many who believe God exists stop at the point of embracing the idea of modern revelation form God. They will even pray that all suffering of mankind cease, as if they expected this revelation, but no other, and on the basis of the apparent failure of God to comply, lose their faith and determine He is not, or He would remove the suffering.
 
They ignore an important consideration. They who still believe insist that God is omniscient and omnipresent. I agree; He is. However, I also believe that having such power does not compel Him to express that power. My neighbor, who is at some distance from my home, has the power to knock down the fence between our properties. So do I. That we mutually agree to keep it in place is the simple demonstration of this point of having power, but not necessarily inclined to use it.
 
There is an argument that God does not exist because it does not make sense that an unembodied God should make an embodied man [and the rest of the world, as well], to achieve an unembodied state, like that God, except that man cannot become like God, they say, therefore, He, God, made an embodied man to… or else an embodied man made an unembodied God to… it’s a circular reference by whichever reference of who made whom.
 
So what, pray tell, insists that God is unembodied? Yeah, yeah, there’s that scripture [conflict?] in John, “God is a Spirit…”[6] and that feeds the above argument with the circular reference. No one gets anywhere on a merry-go-round. My opponent argued, in Comments that he had, “three arguments: the problem of evil, biblical defects, and contradictory properties.”[memo: this was all written up to now before Virtuoso posted his first round, and he has combined the second two arguments into one]On the whole, I will argue these matters by rebuttal in round 2, but for now, I will close on the matter [but not entirely – I’ll leave some for rebuttal] of “contradictory properties.”
 
Yes, I’ll acknowledge there are plenty of biblical contradictions, so Pro need not argue the point too heavily; I’ll likely agree with him. [memo: again, I’ve pre-written this and now that Virtuoso has posted round 1, I wholeheartedly agree with all he says about this, with a couple of exceptions I’ll develop later, while disagreeing on conclusions drawn, but will restrain until round 2 rebuttal]. Where I think we’ll separate is that in spite of these contradictions, I still believe the Holy Bible to be the Word of God as far as it is translated correctly. In no wise do I suggest the Holy Bible is infallible. That this is so is evident just by a comparative read of the translations and transcriptions from the predominately Hebrew texts of the Old Testament, and predominately Greek texts of the New, into the popular languages of today; i.e. Latin, English, French, German, etc. Pro has acknowledged this point, but, even if translations were spot on correct, there would still be perceived contradictions, as Pro has also addressed. Does this mean the Holy Bible is not the Word of God? No, it means it is the product of inspired men. Even inspired men make mistakes, even while discussing the truth. The Holy Bible simply is not a product manufactured by the power of God. Neither is the Torah, the Qu’ran, and many other examples of holy writ outside of the Abrahamic religions. They are the products of men. As Pro offered, “…the Bible is not perfectly clear and authoritative, and has the appearance of merely human authorship.” 
 
However, lets look at the products of science: Is the concept of geocentrism true science? It once was, a mere 2,500 years ago. So was heliocentrism in the 17thcentury, just 400 years ago. Now? No. Contradiction, yes; backward and forward, because galactoctocentrism is no longer the accepted science, either, but it was.
Scientific contradiction?
 
Observe that we once considered there were but four elements: earth, air, water and fire. Is that contradicted today? Need I cite? There are plenty of other examples, such as the nature of DNA, which Darwin poked at, among others, and, some twenty years later, more was discovered of the phenomenon of DNA, but only by an enterprising Swiss physician/researcher who decided to make serious inquiry by use of the discarded afterbirth of some unidentified birth [amniotic sac, placenta, and umbilical]. From refuse, we made the first significant foray into understanding the stuff of human genetic patterning. Not necessarily contradictive, but certainly ironic.
 
That there are biblical contradictions, I’ll agree, but Pro’s stool of three legs is now two [or one since he has combined two of them]. Contradiction just got whacked, because the phenomenon occurs to science, too. It’s a balancing act from here on, and I have given a suitable offering to exhibit faith, but I have not yet given evidence for God. The path to that evidence is faith, that elusive sixth sense.
 
How does faith work? Rather, how do we work with faith to acquire knowledge, to see “the evidenceof things not seen?”
 
Oh, how I wish Paul had extended his 11thchapter of Hebrews, because I am confident he knew the path of hope, to faith, to knowledge of God. Perhaps he did, and it has been maliciously removed [I cannot prove that, and will not make the attempt], or ignorantly removed [same disclaimer], or, it was never there [same disclaimer]. 
 
Well, fortunately, Pro’s quote by Richard Dawkins in round 1 is relevant: “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction:…” Yes, as one would expect some character of fiction sitting atop the heap of despicable characteristics that follow to be. By this description, that fellow istruly vile, and Dawkins spares no horses in the description… of a fictional fellow. So, if it is fiction, why is Dawkins, a renowned atheist, so wrapped around the axle on the subject? If it’s fiction, enjoy the story, and move on to the next book.
 
However, contrary to Pro’s claim, citing a modified syllogism from Theodore Drange “If the God of Christianity were to exist, then the Bible would be God’s only written revelation.”According to whom? Teddy Drange? Who’s he? Well, I know who he is, and he has a doctorate in philosophy and religion. I know of another fellow. Richard Bach. He’s an author. No, he doesn’t have credentials like Drange, but his credentials are biting: “The greatest sin is to limit God. Don’t.”[7] I agree. Who will tell God He cannot reveal anything more than the Bible? Doesn’t the Bible conclude with the verse: “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:”[8]
 
In truth, how can there be more scripture revealed after that? Well, because as John was writing those words on the Isle of Patmos, the “Holy Bible” did not yet exist; that was not the book to which he referred. It was his book, Revelation, his scroll upon which he was writing. John, having witnessed much, knew better than to limit God.
 
So I will offer, for example, the Book of Mormon, which describes exactly the formula we seek in putting action into hope and faith to deliver a knowledge of God: And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.”[9]
 
As there is no substance to the claim that God does not reveal anything anymore, and that only the Bible can be the sole revelation to Christendom, on the say-so of a man, a man, by the way, who claims there is no God [so, what else is he going to claim?], I, also being a man, declare that God can speak to any damn fool He pleases, thank you very much.
 
I will particularly raise this claim against many Christians who also believe God stopped talking to man when he revealed to John the words God knew would conclude His Bible some hundred years later, and has clammed up since.
 
Why? Because weclaim He no longer reveals to man? Tell me when we were granted omnipotent power to cause that. Omniscient power. Blasphemy, then? I didn’t limit God. Y’all did that. I’m claiming He still reveals to man, and always will.
 
So, study the words of Moroni above. He gives a formula as dependable as 1+2+3+4+5+6+7 = ∞. The following formula may be used in conjunction with the latter simple sum by saying:
 
                                                This < ∞   
                                                     𝚺       1   
                                                 N = 1    N

Which effectively says: sum the reciprocols of natural numbers given in the first formula until the total is above infinity. In other words, repeat the first formula exactly until cows come home and you have acquired all the truth you need and want.
 
If the truth you seek happens to be: “Does God exist,” ask, as noted by Moroni’s formula, “Does God exist?” If all elements of the formula are engaged under the conditions noted, then refer to the end of the fourth, and the fifth verse. No further citation needed; try the formula as given. Citation will occur, direct from God by personal revelation, just as He revealed to Peter the divinity of Christ. I am serious. But, as the prophet, Yoda said: “Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.”
 
 
 
 
 
*all references to “OED” are linked to a paid members-only site that cannot be accessed by non-members. Unless you are a member, you must take my word of honor on these definitions. I swear upon my faithful quoting of same.
 


[1]Holy Bible, Hebrews 11: 1

[2]Holy Bible, Acts 2: 3


[4]Holy Bible, Hebrews 11: 2

[5]Holy Bible, Matthew 16: 15 - 17

[6]Holy Bible, John 4: 24

[7]Bach, Richard, Illusions, the adventures of a reluctant messiah, Dell, 1977 

[8]Holy Bible, Revelation 22: 17

[9]Book of Mormon, Moroni 10: 4, 5



Round 2
Published:
Thank you, fauxlaw, for your arguments. I just want to point out that your arguments are incredibly difficult to read. Having a wall of text makes your arguments hard to follow and many of your paragraphs are nothing more than word salads. I do thank you, however, for posting headings in the comment section. 

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I. It’s about faith and evidence

This is probably the biggest reason why I'm not a Christian. Within the scientific method, we must analyze claims based on evidence, observation, and experimentation. If a theory fails to make valuable predictions, or if its predictions fail, then that model ought to be scrapped. When we learn more about the natural world through new tools, instruments, and software, we often have to revise our theories.

My opponent brings this up within the geocentric debate. We once thought that the Earth was stationary and the heavenly objects revolved around us. We now know that the Earth revolves around the sun, and the sun is just of many stars and many solar systems in the Milky Way alone. Was this a bad guess? Of course not. However, when we learned that the Earth didn't' revolve around the Sun, the Church did not like that and tried Galileo for heresy and forced him to recant [1]. Imagine a world where science doesn't change with new evidence. If we were still hanging on to those old religious ideas, then we would quite literally still be in the dark ages. 

Whenever we learn about the sciences, the phenomena we once ascribed to gods and goddesses have proven to be nothing but the works of nature. We once thought that the lightning we see were the works of gods like Thor and Zeus,  the rising and setting of the sun used to be the gods such as Ra who is riding around in a chariot, and the work of creation was once ascribed to a deity who created the universe in 6 24-hour days. The more we learn about science, the more we learn that there is no man behind the curtain. 

The fact that it's merely about faith instead of sound objective evidence is actually a strong argument against God's existence. Indeed, Drange writes [2]: 

(A) Probably, if God were to exist, then there would be good objective evidence for that.
(B) But there is no good objective evidence for God's existence
(C) Therefore, probably God does not exist.
If God is a being who is all-loving, then he would want to have a relationship with his creation, thus that relationship would require sound evidence that he exists to begin with. However, there is no evidence that such an all-loving God exists. God is a lot like the deadbeat dad who goes and hides away and writes you a contradictory letter when you turn 18 and complain how bad your mother is. 

II. Bible Contradictions/Revelations

It's rare that I have an opponent who agrees with me. My opponent agrees that there are serious mistakes within the BIble and serious contradictions, yet the only positive evidence con cites for the existence of God is this Bible, which he admits is full of mistakes. Let's read through the ABD one more time: 

  1. f the God of Christianity were to exist, then the Bible would be God’s only written revelation.
  2. Thus, if that deity were to exist, then he would see to it that the Bible is perfectly clear and authoritative, and lack the appearance of merely human authorship.
  3. Some facts about the Bible are the following:
    1. There are significant textual variations that change the meaning of the text;
    2. There are significant contradictions; and
    3. It contains ethical defects.
  4. Therefore [from C], the Bible is not perfectly clear and authoritative and has the appearance of merely human authorship.
  5. Hence [from B& D], the God of Christianity does not exist.  
This is a valid syllogism and so if the premises are true, then the conclusion has to be true. My opponent effectively concedes the third premise by admitting the Bible has contradictions, textual variations and ethical defects. The only way for Con to avoid the conclusion is by showing how God, an all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving God could allow such defects in His book. God's only written revelation is that which has the appearance of being written by mere humans. 

My opponent brings up the book of Mormon. What does that have to do with this debate? Why should we have any weight and faith in the BoM? 


III. Conclusion

In my opening statement, I brought up two pieces of evidence for the non-existence of the Christian God: The POE and ABD. My opponent stated he'll address the POE in the next round, but accepts that there are Biblical defects. Until he addresses can address the first two premises in the ABD, then I have won this debate. 

Thank you. 

Sources






Published:
I It’s about faith and evidence: Do or do not, there is no try[1]
 
I.a Pro makes a valid argument for how, by the scientific method, we analyze the visible universe, and the world. Our claims of their true natures are derived by “evidence, observation, and experimentation.” And he makes an agreeable assessment that historic limitations in our abilities in these three elements of the scientific method have resulted in inaccuracies that we have had to revise to maintain our confidence that we understand the objects of our studies’ true natures. I entirely agree, and would close the matter of our mutual understanding on this point, but for Pro’s subsequent argument in round 2 that “The fact that it's merely about faith instead of sound objective evidence is actually a strong argument against God's existence.”
 
I.b I do not accept, and did not argue in round 1 that “it’s merely about faith…” which is why I turned the phrase from Pro’s argument in the Comments, post #8, “It’s about faith, not evidence”to “it’s about faith andevidence.” We could add, “observation and experimentation” to the first analyzing element, “evidence.” I will make that assertion here, and Pro may or may not agree.
 
Then I would maintain that while evidence [+ o + ex] are standard scientific methods, the same applies to faith, as I argued in round 1, by virtually exactly the same means, thus the definition of “faith” offered from Paul, the Apostle in his Epistle to the Hebrews, as an exercise to spiritually see “substance” for things which are hoped for [an exercise of experimentation] and “evidence” of things unseen [an exercise of observation] by spiritual eyes.
 
I.c By that exercise, I contend that Drange’s logic [ABD]:
 
(A) Probably, if God were to exist, then there would be good objective evidence for that.
(B) But there is no good objective evidence for God's existence
(C) Therefore, probably God does not exist.
 
is flawed.  First, he begins his if/then with a qualifier, “Probably,” an admission of doubt, and that is nowhere to begin an argument of logic. The philosopher, RenéDescartes, posited a construct we now call “Cartesian doubt.”[2] It works something like this: imagine an architect wanting to build a structure on a piece of land covered with sandy soil; not a good foundational element. He might attempt certain logic to address his problem:
 
            [A] If a bedrock foundation were to exist, then there would be good objective evidence for that.
            [B] But there is no good objective evidence for bedrock.
            [C] Therefore, probably a bedrock does not exist. 

If asked how the architect could have arrived at his conclusion, one might suggest that just because he does not see the bedrock beneath the soil, this is not evidence that it is not there. He needs to dig. Actually, there are better methods than that, now, without wasting the time and energy to dig only to discover there is no bedrock. One example: we have sonic equipment that can measure the relative density of soil and rock.
 
The lesson is that Drange did not dig. He made no effort to see “substance” beyond his limited physical experimentation [application of hope] nor to see “evidence” beyond his physical observation [spiritual sight].
 
I.d It is the classic dilemma proposed by the prophet, Yoda, of Star Wars fame: when Luke Skywalker landed his spacecraft in a swamp where he was to meet Yoda, Yoda suggested he move the spacecraft to solid ground by use of the “force.” After a failed attempt, declaring, “I can’t.”Yoda said to Luke, “That is why you fail. Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.”[3]
 
I.e How many times do we, too, in pursuit of knowledge or ability, admit, “I can’t.” It is the final straw of a string of negative attitudes that begin with, “I’m not smart enough,” “I need books to learn,” “It will take too long,” The obstacles are greater than I can overcome,” “ The cost is too great,” and concludes by “I can’t.” This sequence is from a book of my authorship, titled “The Road Taken, an analysis of life choices,”an extended essay that plays off of Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken.I will not cite it [contains information considered too personal to reveal here], but it is available on Amazon Books.
 
The author, Richard Bach, once wrote, “Argue for your limitations; they’re yours.”[4]
 
I.f Did Drange even try? Let alone fail? He will not tell us that. That would be an admission of doubt, which he did, anyway, in his three-step logic.
 
So, we return from a failed logic to one that stands as unchallenged: “Now faith is the substanceof things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”[5][bolded for emphasis]
 
II Bible Contradictions / Revelation:  It comes on good report[6]
 
II.a My opponent, as I expected, agreed with my argument that the Bible contains contradictions and even errors, so I think we can bury that notion as a bone of contention. So, it remains to be discussed is whether or not there are other sources to confirm the existence of God [the Christian embodiment of Him, I should add, since that is the launching verbiage of this debate. On that score, however, I know my “embodiment” is not typical of the plurality, if not the majority of Christendom. I’ll ignore that for now with the intent to address it in round 3. 
 
II.b So, on to revelation, which I feel needs a cogent definition which I hope my opponent would acknowledge if [big IF, for Pro’s sake] God does exist: “Revelation: The disclosure or communication of knowledge, instructions, etc., by divine or supernatural means.”[7]*
 
First, I will acknowledge that my personal opinion alleges that this communication includes the potential for divine personal appearance to convey the message, and that this is part of the divergence between my faith [denomination], and a large representation of Christendom who do not consider the physical embodiment of God as a condition in which He exists. It is not my purpose, however, to use this condition of godliness as a ruse to unravel my opponent’s intent by his debate of nonexistence. 
 
II.c As I understand my opponent’s syllogistic argument from Biblical defects [ABD], it is based upon a modification of Drange’s previous three-step logic noted above in I.c, as proposed by Pro in his rounds 1 & 3. The modification reads:
 
1.    If the God of Christianity exists, then the Bible would be God’s only written revelation.
2.    Thus, if that deity were to exist, then he would see to it that the Bible is perfectly clear and authoritative, and lack the appearance of merely human authorship.
3.    Some of the facts about the Bible are the following:
a.    There are significant textual variations that change the meaning of the text;
b.    There are significant contradictions; and
c.     It contains ethical defects.
 
II.c.1 Starting in reverse order with 3.a, .b, and .c, above, I will agree with all points listed. They are evident by any careful, critical read of the entire Holy Bible, both testaments, which I have done, personally, so I need no convincing of the point.
 
II.c.2 Regarding 2, God, if He exists, [playing devil’s advocate] did and does not create perfect entities like Him. We, the human family, are far from perfect, and never have been. Neither Adam, himself, nor Eve, were perfect. We are less so, so many generations downstream, just as so-called “pure” water from a fresh source may still have impurities we should filter out before drinking. Any further downstream, that filter becomes all the more needed. Further, we all die, we, and every creature and plant on earth. Death is the ultimate imperfection. Finally, nothing we create is permanent. All things of our hands wear out, dissolve, and become useless. 
 
II.c.2.a It is we, humanity, who are the guardians of all that God created on earth, though not necessarily in heaven. The earth and its creatures are in our hands for the dominion [management] of all things God created on earth, so that we may learn, precept upon precept, how to conduct that management.[8]
 
II.c.2.b In our imperfection, we learn, precept by precept, how to become perfect, as was God’s original intent for our existence.[9]
 
II.c.2.c We further have it on good authority that God was not the original author of any of the currently canonized scripture:
 
            “And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I reveal unto you concerning this heaven, and this earth; write the words which I speak.[10] [bold added for emphasis]
 
but allegedly served only as inspiration of the texts; men and women are responsible for the texts as we have them today, transliterated, and translated as poorly as they were, either in ignorance, or by intent to corrupt the language as distilled from the inspired minds of prophets, etc. Again, using the “pure” water analogy, as that water [scripture texts] has fallen, literally, from fresher sources, tumbling through the centuries as down a mountain stream, it has suffered ignorant contaminants. Not to put an odious spin on it, but as one may carelessly piss into the wind in the direction of the stream. Or, one may, with purposeful intent, walk into the stream, unzip, and relive one’s self in a corrupting flow.
 
II.c.2.b I submit this has been the corruptive actions [not by the exemplary relieving] of men throughout the existence of biblical texts, be they scrolls, folios, or bound books. As a result, it does not really matter if biblical texts were written by the hand of God, or not. In man’s hands, even perfect documents have been corrupted.  Witness:
 
            “And after these plain and precious things were taken away it [the record of the Jews]goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles; and after it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles, yea, even across the many waters which thou hast seen with the Gentiles which have gone forth out of captivity, thou seest—because of the many plain and precious things which have been taken out of the book, which were plain unto the understanding of the children of men, according to the plainness which is in the Lamb of God—because of these things which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, an exceedingly great many do stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them.”[11]
 
Nor does it matter whether or not God was able [but God is omnipotent, if He exists] or in the time and place [but God is omniscient, if He exists], to protect the original manuscripts, or He is not God, some will argue. The reason for it not mattering in either case is not that God is not God, nor did not ever exist, but because there is a third, singularly significant option that ABD argument #2 is not proven by Pro:
 
II.c.2.b.1 God, who many Christians feel is all-powerful, and therefore must act all-powerfully, therefore is the totalcause of everythingon earth. I do not agree. God is not the total cause of anything; even creation.[12],[13],[14] Just because God is omnipotent and omniscient, God is not compelled be either. To be so, relative to man’s thoughts and actions, God must violate one of several natural laws by which even He must abide; that man would have not just life, but free agency.  Witness:
 
            “Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.”[15]
 
II.c.3 Relative to 1 in the ABD sequence I see no link in the if/then statement of 1 simply by the evidence that God, if He exists, [playing devil’s advocate] did and does not reveal truth to man [what else would he reveal? Other entities are responsible for untruth][16]on a single occasion, even as the Holy Bible, itself, is not a contiguous, single revelation to any one man. Witness:
 
“And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works, neither to my words. For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”[17]
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
* The reference to the OED is a paid membership only site. Casual inquiry by non-members into it is forbidden by the site. I swear, as if a witness in a court of law, that my quotation of content is factually accurate.



[1]Lukas, George, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back,20thCentury Fox, 1980

[3]Lukas, George, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back,20thCentury Fox, 1980

[4]Bach, Richard, Illusions, Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah,Dell, 1977

[5]Holy Bible, Hebrews 11: 1

[6]Holy Bible, Hebrews 11: 2

[8]Holy Bible, Genesis 1: 28

[9]Pearl of Great Price, Moses 1: 39

[10]Pearl of Great Price, Moses 2: 1

[11]Book of Mormon, I Nephi 13: 29

[12]Holy Bible, Genesis 1: 26

[13]Holy Bible, Genesis 3: 22

[14]Pearl of Great Price, Moses 2: 1

[15]Book of Mormon, II Nephi 2: 27

[16]ibid

[17]Pearl of Great Price, Moses 1: 38, 39

Round 3
Published:
The atheist Christopher Hitchens famously wrote, "That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.” This is known as Hitchens Razor. In this debate, the ultimate burden of proof is shared. Both of us must present a case that would defend our point of view. I must present a case to show that the Christian God likely does not exist whereas my opponent must provide evidence that the Christian God does exist. Thus far, my opponent has done a poor job on his part. Let's dive in. 

I. The Problem of Evil

This argument is completely dropped. Please extend across the board. 

II. Faith and evidence/biblical defects

Here's where I see to be the problem: My opponent's sole evidence that he provides is the Bible, yet it's the same Bible that he admits is full of contradictions, ethical defects, and textual variations. Also, what does the Book of Mormon have to do with this debate? This is about Christianity, not Mormonism. If I would have known my opponent was arguing for a Mormon understanding of Christianity, I would have included a large section dedicated to debunking the lies of Joseph Smith and the many errors in the Book of Mormon. Finally, many of your sentences and paragraphs are almost incomprehensible. It is really difficult to make out exactly what you are arguing. 
Published:
I Christopher Hitchens has never met God
 
I.a What Christopher Hitchens wrote, who “famously wrote,‘That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.’” is famously irrelevant to the argument since he misunderstands the scope of evidence available. 
 
I.a.1 For the first clause, Hitchens is looking in a candy jar for a proper diet, and concludes that nutrition is a myth. Either nutrition is a proven necessity for sustenance of a meaningful and enduring life, or it must be acknowledged that candy is not nutritious.
 
1.a.2 For the concluding clause, Hitchens is crying for evidence when laughing that evidence is immaterial if dismissal was always the intent. Either evidence, observation, and experimentation, elements my opponent suggested are revered as the proof of truth, or its dismissal without evidence, observation, or experimentation [all three must be applied, not just one, or two] is an act of ignorance.
 
1.b I conclude that Christopher Hitchens is either malnourished, at best, or starving, at worst.
 
II The problem of evil: it loses
 
II.a My opponent accuses my lack of discussion on this point. In contradiction to a concept Steppenwolf[1] once sang about, ”…Fire all of your guns at once and explode into space,”I do not, and am not obligated to reveal all in the first or second round. Dramatic effect, and all that Hollowood nonsense. [Not a spelling error in ignorance, but intended personal reference to the current quality of Hollywood activism]
 
II.b Since this third round is my denouement,the problem of evil has its cue: stage left. Virtuoso proposed, in round 1, quoting the Greek, Epicurus, “Is God unable to prevent evil, then he is not all-powerful. If God is not willing to prevent evil, then he is not all-good. If God is both willing and able to prevent evil, then why does evil exist.” 
 
I have difficulty finding a volume in which, attributed to Epicurus, this quote is stated. I see a summary by a David Hume.[2] I see a @#$%$$%! Wiki citation.[3] I see a goodreads.com citation, but it has just the quote and no reference to the volume used as a source.[4] The best I could find is from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy[5] which offers and extensive review of Epicureanism, and dances around the quote well enough to demonstrate an Epicurean atheism, but, sadly, not the quote. As I am aware of the quote previously, in many contexts, I will acknowledge it. 
 
II.c However, as a trilemma model, it makes flawed assumptions:
II.c.1 That if God is omnipotent, He is obligated to use his omnipotence.
a.    Really? Why? I have the power to take down the fence between my neighbor’s property and mine, thus preventing the land’s arbitrary limitation of size. Should I? No, there are greater laws than my inclination that I am obligated to keep.
b.    Just so, God has laws, even those He has established, to which He is obligated to show deference, and which override even His omnipotence. It is His version of keeping a higher law at the expense of a subservient law. One of those higher laws being his promise to offer man free agency, even to disobey Him, causing suffering among mankind.
a.    “For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so … righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad.”[6]
 
II.c.2 That God is obligated to prevent evil. Refer to the scripture quoted above, II.c.1.b [a]
 
II.c.3 That God is both able [has the power] and obligated [willing to use the power] to prevent evil.
 
II.c.3.1 As the rebuttals of II.c.1 and II.c.2 refute the first and second part of the trilemma, II.c.3 is rebuttal to the third part, since it depends on the other two.
 
III. Christians assert that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are not Christians.
 
III.a This appeals to me as a nonsense argument, trapped in the belief that “Christian” is not a generality, a non-specific designation. As evidence, @$!$!%!! Wiki cites 96 separate, just English translations of the Holy Bible.[7] Numerous factions of “Christianity,” all claiming devoted worship of the root character, revere these: Jesus Christ. That “Christian” is a solitary denomination is to ignore and deny the sun, moon, and stars. 
 
III.b My opponent argues that this debate is “about Christianity, not Mormonism.” I concur, but, I quote from the title page of the Book of Mormon, written by the namesake prophet, 1,600 years ago, engraved in the gold plates from which the volume was translated: “The Book of Mormon, an account written by the hand of Mormon upon plates taken from the plates of Nephi… an abridgement of the record of the people of Nephi… written by way of commandment, and also by the spirit of prophecy and of revelation…to the convincing of the Jew and the Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations.”[8]
 
IV. Evidence, Observation, and Experimentation are the actions by which faith is borne out, in spite of the defects in holy writ: witness the signature of God across the universe
 
IV.a That volume, the Book of Mormon, further asserts more than just being another testament of Jesus Christ. It reveals the very means by which evidence, experimentation, and observation of its truth, and all truth, may be practiced to obtained the results desired:
 
IV.a.1“And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.”[9]
 
IV.b This is a suggestion of doing physical and mental activity, and all of it attending a spiritual purpose: to know truth.  If, with a few substitutions in the text to terms most people would understand and agree was useful, and ignore their biased claim that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are not Christians [else why do they call themselves by that name?] see if the commentary is valid and worthy of attempt:
 
IV.b.1 “And when you shall receive this book by your father of how to be a productive member of society, I would advise you to ask him, your father, even in his son’s name, your older brother, if these things are not true; and if you ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in your father and your brother, that he, your brother has done all that his father did, and that he wishes you would also do, your brother will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the spirit of your father. And by that power, you may know the truth of all things.”
 
That is the entire sense of what is recommended in the Book of Mormon. If you can trust your father and brother, both of whom have only your best interest at heart, and who do not have the intent to deceive you, and you can prove the evidence of their words by observing their actions according to their words, and by experimenting yourself by their words, their words are proven. If you cannot, you’re on your own, and the consequences are yours. That’s it. No magic. No mumbo-jumbo. No trilemma. No deception, because it’s all about you doing the work, pondering the process, and reaping the harvest. You plant the seed, nourish it, tend it, prune and cultivate it, it will grow fruit you can taste and savor. Or, don’t, and be biased and critical that you know better than your father and brother, even God the Father, and His Beloved Son, Savior and Redeemer of the World, even Jesus Christ, and follow, instead, the world’s wisdom, which is demonstrated to be contrary to its own commitment of evidence, observation, and experimentation. 
 
Is that what Christopher Hitchens did before he started writing? Before Epicurus started writing? Before Virtuoso started writing? Writing is an awesome responsibility. I know; it is my profession. When I’m studying a conceptwith which I am unfamiliar, but desire to know it truths, the process described in IV.a.1 is exactly what I do, even when the subject is as far removed from religious issues as can be. It does not matter; Truth is truth, regardless of its subject. As such, it has access by this process, which is exactly the same description as evidence, observation, and experimentation. It’s just involving People who some, like Hitchens, do not acknowledge because they stumble on the proof. They don’t follow their own advice, and that’s just… what? Blind?
 
IV.c If it’s a signature one desires, written on the universe as evidence of its Maker, then look for the signature. Here’s one, and its describer was no prophet of scripture, but was just as valid. Actually, there are two examples:
 
IV.c.1 When Michelangelo happened upon the chapel to continue his work on the Pietà,his unfinished labor of love and devotion featuring the body of the dead Christ laying in the lap of his mother, literally dead weight for a woman likely not older than 50 years of age, he was incognito among a few men commenting on the work. He was horrified to hear one remarking his question of who the sculptor might be, because it was, as was customary for Michelangelo to leave pieces unsigned. Another said, “He is our own Gobbo of Milan.”

 
That evening, Michelangelo locked himself in the chapel, and, with mallet and chisel, etched into the wide hem of the bodice of her robe, crossing her heart, the Latin words, “MICHAELANGELUS BONAROTUS FLORENTINUS FACIBAT” Translated: “Michelangelo Buonarroti made this.”
 
The work was of such unquestioned quality that Michelangelo may have thought the identity of the sculptor should have been obvious. Shamed, he made it so. Such is the devotion that could be applied to making the “earth and heaven.” It, too, has a signature:

 
IV.c.2 There is a phenomenon of nature spread throughout the plant and animal kingdoms of a repeating ratio that is, itself, a perfect design element that is even present in our artistic endeavors, architecture, engineering, mathematics, and even in writing structure. The practitioners of these industries may not be fully conscious of expressing it; it just “looks right.” The phenomenon is called the “golden ratio,” or sometimes “golden mean,” which is 1:1.618. It is the structure of the mathematic Fibonacci sequence. It is expressed in each segment, compared to the last, of the chambers of a marine nautilus. It is expressed in several dimensional features of the human body, and of other animals, it is expressed in the petals of flowers, whose petals appear in combinations matching the Fibonacci sequence. It is roughly expressed in the distances from the sun the planets in our solar system, and the distance across the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and their distance from one another. It is seen in the architecture of spider webs, the structure of hurricanes, the dimensions of the DNA molecule, in the curl of an elephant’s trunk, and an iguana’s tail, and an octopus arm, the spiral of galaxies, the increasing length of the digits of a human hand, features of the human face in profile, and other features of the human body, and on, and on, and on…[10]
 
IV.c.2.a The Greek translation of the English “word” is λογος, as is expressed in John 1: 1 relative to God. What is not so well known is that another meaning/translation of the Greek λογος is… ratio.[11] Galileo Galilei said of Earth’s nature: “The laws of Nature are written in the language of mathematics ... the symbols are triangles, circles and other geometrical figures, without whose help it is impossible to comprehend a single word.”[12] And of God: “Mathematics is the language with which God has written the universe.”[13]
 
I know no better arguments for the existence and signature of the Christian God, and God of all, across the universe than these. I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen, and amen, worlds without end.
 
 
 
Round 4
Published:
I do apologize to my opponent, but I won't be able to make a full argument in this round. I just got a full-time job and it's quite physically demanding. That said, allow me to go over some voting issues and explain to the voter why I think they should vote pro. 

I. Drops

My opponent effectively drops the Problem of Evil. He also concedes that the Bible does contain contradictions and errors. This is important because I laid out in syllogism form that if the Bible contains these types of errors, then the Christian God cannot exist. My opponent drops the other two premises as well. 

II. Faith and Evidence

The burden of proof is the obligation to prove one's assertion. In this debate, the BOP is evenly shared. I have to provide evidence that the Christian God does not exist while my opponent must bring forth arguments showing that the Christian God does exist. All that my opponent gave me are Bible verses and faith. Faith is the most dishonest position one can take because it's taken on faith, not evidence. 

Please vote Pro.


Published:
First, my congratulations to Virtuoso. Work is a virtue, and she is a generous friend. Protect your hands. Music is another virtue, and she is beautiful to behold.
 
As this is the final round, and, by the structure established by Virtuoso, no new arguments will be presented, but I do have virtuous protection of my own to offer by way of closing my side of the debate to curry favor with voters by dismantling fences.
 
I The problematic fence: The POE: it lost in round 3; is dismantled in round 4
 
I.a My opponent accused my lack of discussion of the problem of evil in round 3. My opposing argument in round 3 was a simple reference to a rock band of the 60s, Steppenwolf, to wit,I was not going to fire all of my guns in one round. I specifically intended, and said as such in round 3, that I was reserving the POE argument for round 3. Contrary to my opponent’s claim in his round 3, I addressed POE in section II: The problem of evil: it loses. I the offered a total of 3 arguments demonstrating how evil loses:
 
I.a.1 My opponent offered in round 1 a quote by Epicurus, a Greek philosopher, who said, “If God unable to prevent evil, then he is not all-powerful. If God is not willing to prevent evil, then he is not all-good. If God is both willing and able to prevent evil, then why does evil exist?” 
 
1.a.2 My rebuttal in round 3 offered flawed assumptions in this trilemma:
 
1.a.2.a  If God is omnipotent, He is obligated to use His omnipotence.I countered with the argument that no one, even God, is compelled to use all they power they possess.  I offered the gift of free agency from God, that He allows our evil thoughts and actions, or our good thoughts and actions. I offered the scripture describing our condition of facing opposition: “For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so … righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad.”[1]
 
1.a.2.b. If God is unable to prevent evil, He is not all-good.In rebuttal, I pointed to the scripture referenced in 1.a.2.a, above, that not only does God not try to prevent evil, He actually instructs that opposition in all things, including good and evil, is necessary to obtain righteousness, holiness, and good. 
 
1.a.2.c. If God is both willing and able to prevent evil, then why does evil exist?” As I noted in round 3 addressing this third part of the trilemma, this, too, is addressed by the rebuttal points of the first two parts, above; that opposition in all things is not only evident in our lives, but has purpose to obtain the three virtues noted immediately above.
 
I.b My opponent argued in round 1 that if God existed, he would remove all suffering from man, such as my opponent charged in round 1 concerning the atrocities of the Nazis and natural disasters. No supporting argument was given but for one from Theodore Drange, whose argument was a negative syllogism. Refer to his round 1 argument, II A.B.D., and my round 2 rebuttal, I.c through I.f, effectively matching Hitchens’ starvation with Drange’s lack of evidence by observation and experimentation; he didn’t “dig.”
 
The effort to charge that God was missing in action during the atrocities of the Nazis, and natural calamities, did not grasp my rebuttal of round 3, section II.c.2
 
I.c My opponent’s round 3 offered Christopher Hitchins, an atheist, who offered: "That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.” Observe my round 3 rebuttal, I.a through I.b, of Hitchen’s figurative malnourishment, or starvation, “looking in a candy jar for proper diet.”
 
I.c.1 If readers and voters of this debate are looking for Pro’s rebuttal to the candy jar, look in vain. It was dropped.I conclude Hitchen’s remains in starvation.
 
I.d As these arguments were all rebutted totally in my round 3, I question why my opponent accused my drop of them. They are not only not dropped, but remain well in hand, and rebutted without comment by my opponent recognizing that I’ve not only rebutted, but have offered purpose to the rebutted condition that Epicurus, Hitchens, and Drange were wrong on all three Epicurean points.
 
II It’s about faith and evidence, this fence: “Faith is the most dishonest position one can take”
 
II.a In his round 2, my opponent charged that “it’s merely about faith instead of sound evidence…,”and he quoted a similar trilemma as proposed by Epicurus. He concludes in round 4 that, “Faith is the most dishonest position one can take.”He accused that all I offered in rebuttal were Bible verses.
 
II.b I disagree on all three charges, and rebutted them all in round 3. I conclude that my opponent did not read my round 3 rebuttals/defenses, because they are more than Bible verses. In my round 3, section IV, I offered rebuttal by quoting a Book of Mormon source describing how faith works to obtain evidence, and that it was the fulfillment of my opponent’s original argument that truth was an accomplishment of Evidence, Observation, and Experimentation. The verse I offered addresses these three principles as being achieved by “[trusting] your father and brother, both of whom have only your best interest at heart, and who do not have the intent to deceive you, and you can prove the evidence of their words by observing their actions according to their words, and by experimenting yourself by their words, their words are proven. If you cannot, you’re on your own, and the consequences are yours. That’s it. No magic. No mumbo-jumbo. No trilemma. No deception, because it’s all about you doing the work, pondering the process, and reaping the harvest. You plant the seed, nourish it, tend it, prune and cultivate it, it will grow fruit you can taste and savor. Or, don’t, and be biased and critical that you know better than your father and brother, even God the Father, and His Beloved Son, Savior and Redeemer of the World, even Jesus Christ, and follow, instead, the world’s wisdom, which is demonstrated to be contrary to its own commitment of evidence, observation, and experimentation.” [My round 3, section IV.b.1]
 
II.b.1 My opponent, by denial of applying this process, is denying his own introduction of these three terms: Evidence, Observation, and Experimentation. The problem with his denial is that he dismisses the option that these activities can be physical, mental, and spiritual in nature, as I continued rebuttal in round 3, IV.c. I refer the reader/voter to this rebuttal. If this is dishonest, then I declare Evidence, Observation, and Experimentation as useless exercises, because my rebuttal is nothing but these activities.
 
II.c I argued in round 1 that “…faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”[2] As support for this unseen evidence, I also offered in round 1 the argument that the evidence of things seen is supported by our observation and experimentation of things sensed by our five recognized senses. However, I also argued for the phenomenon of nature that there are additional senses displayed in lower animals than man, using such nature as location by sense of the earth’s magnetic field, and by sense of echolocation; senses humans appear to not possess. However, must we conclude, therefore, that man is incapable of additional senses? The thought is not a natural conclusion when the search for evidence is so elusive, limited to just five senses. Must we conclude that if evidence cannot be obtained and experimented upon by a pentagon of senses, that such geometry should therefore be limited to that? The thought makes reason stare. Just mathematically, the pentagon is hardly the shape by which we are limited. What of hexagons, octagons, or other polygons of greater sides than five?
 
II.c.1 No, Paul, in the epistle to the Hebrews said there was evidence available by unseen senses. I argued in round 1 that faith is that elusive sense, and I offered in round 3, by exacting steps of a process to see by faith the unseen facts we cannot obtain by use of a mere five senses. Or are we not the “paragon of animals,” as Shakespeare nobly addressed us?[3]
 
II.c.2 Read over, once again, dear readers and voters, the arguments, rebuttals, and defenses I’ve produced, contrary to my opponents objection that they are not there in three rounds; that they are dropped. What has dropped, my friends, is a valid rebuttal from my opponent to my claim that our senses number more than five, and that by additional sense, that sense my opponent calls “dishonest,” merely on the basis that it has not ever been tried, that by faith-sense, we prove God does exist and has purpose beyond displaying his thoughts and actions upon our demand, as if a performing monkey to a human organ grinder.
 
What has dropped, my friends, is the burden of proof that God does not exist, offered merely by the excuses of naysayers who construct negative arguments that the monkey cannot demonstrate His existence. His existence denied, as if by saying so, He is erased. There has been no other positive evidence presented by my opponent. His is an empty field, but for weeds. When was any proof ever given by evidence, observation and experimentation by proof of a negative? It cannot hold logic. It is, in the word of my opponent, “dishonest.” 
 
Therefore, your only course is a vote for Con, who does argue, and has presented the evidence that God is neither the monkey, nor the organ grinder, but the Creator of them all, the Creator of their purpose of existence, including yours and mine, by evidence, observation, and experimentation on the word: Faith. Faith in God. Faith in Christ. Faith in ourselves to know these two precious truths.
 
I am grateful to Virtuoso for this spirited debate.
 
 
 
 
 
 



[1]  Book of Mormon, II Nephi 2: 11


[2]  Holy Bible, Hebrews 11: 1


[3]  Shakespeare, Hamlet,II, ii



Added:
--> @Shamayita
I agree with Virtuoso. Thank you.
Contender
#34
Added:
--> @fauxlaw
Thank you, my friend.
Instigator
#33
Added:
--> @Jeff_Goldblum
Thanks for your commentary. At least you had the decency in your vote to mention both participants and you made a sound judgment between us.
Contender
#32
Added:
--> @Virtuoso
Congratulations on winning the debate. Your arguments were well done, and I thoroughly enjoyed debating the subject.
Contender
#31
Added:
--> @nmvarco
Thank you for your vote.
Contender
#30
Added:
--> @Shamayita
Thank you. i'm glad you enjoyed the debate.
Instigator
#29
Added:
--> @BrotherDThomas
In your vote, you declare wonder of which God is being debated. Hint: Read the debate proposal, "The God of Christianity does not exist." If your vote is as careless as your wonder... Hmmm?
Contender
#28
Added:
--> @BrotherDThomas, @Ragnar
Hell of a vote-bomb, BrotherDThomas. Good thing your vote did not change the outcome of the debate.
#27
Added:
This is very interesting. Arguments are really strong. Loved this.
#26
Added:
--> @fauxlaw, @Virtuoso
---RFD (1 of 2)---
1. problem of evil
Pro opens with a syllogism, and expands it with:
1.1 natural evils: Cancer and natural disasters, pretty much speak for themselves.
1.2 evil done to others: Going to just summarize pro’s case here with the powerful quote he offered: “If there is Auschwitz, there is no God.”
1.3 evil we do to ourselves: With pro conceding that it’s most easy to justify, I’m giving the other two my attention instead.
Disorganized, but con makes a decent defense against the omnipotence problem: “having such power does not compel Him to express that power”
Much later he insists that the problem of evil does not matter because evil will lose. The big one to me is natural evils, which do not have any obvious connection to free will. Con seems to state this was refuted someone didn’t do the work of digging deeper for an answer to next major contention. I’m also drawn back to the Halam Cohen quote.
2. argument from Biblical defects
Pro’s case apparently got harmed by the limited types of lists and bullet points.
So almost a half million variations of the gospels, and disagreement as to where stories are supposed to be organized.
Internal disagreement on such things as genealogy, place of birth, residences… Jesus is not going to get a security clearance.
Ethical defects are noted (throwing up in my mouth at the rapist part, as I usually do). Con defends the Dawkins quite since God is fictional (I think I get where he meant to go with that, it’s a good question to ask Dawkins, but it’s giving up a lot of ground in a debate when you’re trying to disprove the notion that God is fictional).
Con does pretty good against the Bible must be the only authoritative evidence of God point (FYI, calling him Teddy Drange initially caused him to not show up when I cross referenced). And offers the Book of Mormon. Pro commits a major pet peeve of mine, by claiming “yet the only positive evidence con cites for the existence of God is this Bible,” which with the book of Mormon is untrue (at least until such time as that is challenged as not being for the Christian God but rather the Mormon God … pro questions this validity at the very end of that round, the next round while con cites the book of Mormon, he never calls it out by name, and seemingly does not defend the overall relevance beyond using a renewed stream analogy complete with people intentionally pissing in it (his words, not mine)). Pro extends “This is about Christianity, not Mormonism.” Con says there’s some golden plates which say Mormonism is Christianity. … I think if Mormonism counts as Christianity is a debate worthy topic, but by default it does not (it is indeed an Abrahamic faith, much like Islam and Catholicism).
Con concedes: “there are plenty of biblical contradictions,” but disagrees with the conclusion. This is a risky bit, as the Bible is normally key evidence as the one making the claims.
Con argues that science evolving proves contradiction does not disprove anything… Ok, I am not understanding this whataboutism.
Pro defends that science uses learning, making it more reliable in the long term. Con says the bible uses virtually the same standard including experimentation, and argues that much like a builder the disbeliever must first fully invest in trying to believe in God before they can dismiss.
Con insists on the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence: “I see no link in the if/then statement of 1 simply by the evidence that God, if He exists, [playing devil’s advocate] did and does not reveal truth to man”
Pro counters with a Christopher Hitchens quote: "That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.” Con basically counters that on the basis that Christopher Hitchens is not a prophet of the lord, his opinion on God existing or not is worthless.
3. Counter Case
Con opens his counter with the rhetorical comparison to Scientific American. It took me a minute to get the connection to the bible he was going for, but I get it.
I believe con argues there are some humans with additional senses, to which proves God must exist.
Con cites how long it has been since God appeared to anyone. Pro seemingly leverages this with a deadbeat dad comparison.
#25
Added:
---RFD (2 of 2)---
Arguments:
See above review of key points.
This is stated in the description to have shared BoP. This becomes a major weighting point for me, as it is not about if pro outright proves the unprovable, but rather who does a better job supporting their ends of it. Pro leveraged cancer and natural disasters. Con basically threw out the Christian holy book, suggesting we should use a different one, and even double checking the comment section I am not seeing any pre-agreement to that extension of Christianity against the status quo.
I’m going to call this a weak victory for pro.
Sources:
Both put in good effort on their research.
S&G:
Even under revised systems I would not penalize this, but it is worth noting that organization was a boon to pro and a bane to con.
#24
Added:
--> @Jeff_Goldblum
Thanks for voting
Contender
#23
Added:
Made it thought the first round of this. I'll try to get back to it, but I have a lot going on tomorrow. So here's my preliminaries from R1.
1. problem of evil
Pro opens with a syllogism, and expands it with:
1.1 natural evils: Cancer and natural disasters, pretty much speak for themselves.
1.2 evil done to others: Going to just summarize pro’s case here with the powerful quote he offered: “If there is Auschwitz, there is no God.”
1.3 evil we do to ourselves: With pro conceding that it’s most easy to justify, I’m giving the other two my attention inuste
Disorganized, but con makes a decent defense against the omnipotence problem: “having such power does not compel Him to express that power”
2. argument from Biblical defects
Pro’s case apparently got harmed by the limited types of lists and bullet points.
So almost a half million variations of the gospels, and disagreement as to where stories are supposed to be organized.
Internal disagreement on such things as genealogy, place of birth, residences… Jesus is not going to get a security clearance.
Ethical defects are noted (throwing up in my mouth at the rapist part, as I usually do). Con defends the Dawkins quite since God is fictional (I think I get where he meant to go with that, it’s a good question to ask Dawkins, but it’s giving up a lot of ground in a debate when you’re trying to disprove the notion that God is fictional).
Con does pretty good against the Bible must be the only authoritative evidence of God point (FYI, calling him Teddy Drange initially caused him to not show up when I cross referenced). And offers the Book of Mormon.
Con concedes: “there are plenty of biblical contradictions,” but disagrees with the conclusion. This is a risky bit, as the Bible is normally key evidence as the one making the claims (I later see the Book of Mormon offered as better evidence for the Christian God; I'm curious where that's going to go in this debate).
Con argues that science evolving proves contradiction does not disprove anything… Ok, I am not understanding this whataboutism.
3. Counter Case
Con opens his counter with the rhetorical comparison to Scientific American. It took me a minute to get the connection to the bible he was going for, but I get it.
I believe con argues there are some humans with additional senses, to which proves God must exist.
Con cites how long it’s been since God appeared to anyone.
#22
Added:
I'm going to vote on this. (declaring this to better hold myself accountable)
#21
Added:
Three days remain for voting.
#20
#4
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Good debate on all sides, hard to choose.
#3
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
.
First thing, these debates on whether a God exists or not, always start out by the misnomer of which God are you talking about?! Is this so hard to include in the beginning of the debate? I am assuming that the two debaters are talking about Yahweh/Jesus of the Christian faith.
Unfortunately, the pseudo-christian fauxlaw dances around the Maypole to long before he finally brings forth his assumed answer to the question at hand. Which for the most part represents the term “Huh, what did he just say?”
Since I am the only TRUE Christian upon this forum, because I follow ALL, and I repeat, ALL of Jesus’ inspired words within His JUDEO-Christian Bible, I am in a Catch-22 situation regarding Yahweh/Jesus. He exists within the scriptures, and partially outside of the scriptures, where embarrassingly He only shows up approximately 70 years after His death when Josephus mentions His name through interpolation!
Nonetheless, since I have to accept Jesus as a serial killer of innocent children, abortion of same, and just being a real SOB at times within the Bible, therefore at times I do not want Him to exist, but at the same time, He has to exist for the Bible to come true in every way. :(
.
#2
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
See comments:
https://www.debateart.com/debates/1872/comment_links/26982
#1
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
A dead tie. I'm not a big fan of it, especially after reading a lengthy debate like this, but that's my honest assessment.
Here are my assessments of the major points of contention:
POE - A solid opening argument for Pro. After reading his outline of POE, I believed Pro had done a decent job of demonstrating that the Christian God, as defined, is a logical contradiction. Presumably, this means he doesn't exist. I awaited Con's reply, as I could imagine some ways to counter. To my understanding, Con essentially offered two defenses: 1) God has decided not to violate our free will. 2) Evil needs to exist for good to exist. There were problems with both of these, both in terms of execution and logic. With respect to execution, in the case of #1, Con alternated between describing God as incapable of violating our free will and unwilling to. The difference is enormous in the context of POE. With respect to logic, in the case of #2, I wonder why there needs to be so much evil in the world. Can't we get just the minimum amount necessary to establish the existence of good via contrast? Despite my issues with Con's counters, Pro had no reply, so I have to consider POE to be a virtual draw.
ABD - I had a problem with this from the start. Pro asserts that if God exists, the Bible would not have the appearance of flawed human authorship. Says who? Con eventually offered some less-than-clear rebuttals to this, which was sufficient for me to consider this a draw as well. If Pro had participated in the debate more meaningfully, this (as well as other areas of contention) may have yet worked out for him.
Faith as a 6th Sense - Con tried to argue that since some animals have senses we humans don't, maybe we have a special 6th sense: faith. A review of my notes indicates Pro didn't address this, but frankly, he didn't need to. At best, this argument establishes the possibility that Faith is a 6th sense. But it fails to prove that it is a 6th sense. This argument fails to assist Con in meeting his BoP.
Faith and Evidence/Evidence through Faith - The center of Con's argument seemed to hinge on that handy passage from the BoM where they basically say "close your eyes, and if you want to believe, you will!" Confirmation bias at its finest. Again, Pro didn't respond to this besides trying to say BoM was off-limits in the debate, but that didn't really matter to me. This is such an obviously flawed argument that I won't award Con any credit for it, even if his opponent failed to mount a meaningful counterattack.
For these reasons, arguments are a tie. Con prevented Pro from meeting his burden of proof, while Con's arguments were prima facie unable to meet his burden.