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THBT: Atheism is, on balance more reasonable than Christianity.

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THBT: Atheism is, on balance more reasonable than Christianity.
--
Definitions:

General terms:

· Christianity - the religion based on the person and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, or its beliefs and practices. In particular, Christians prescribe to the literal belief in the existence of an omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient and omnibenevolent being.
· More reasonable - To be an option that is based on or uses better judgment and is, therefore, more fair and practical
· Atheism - A lack of belief in the existence of God or Gods.
· Reasonable - agreeable to or in accord with reason; logical.

PGA2.0 Requested Terms:
The argument from Morality:
· Morality - the degree to which an action is right or wrong. Morals often describe one's particular values concerning what is right and what is wrong.
· Ethics - 1. the discipline dealing with what is good and (evil) bad and with moral duty and obligation
2a: a set of moral principles: a theory or system of moral values. Ethics can refer broadly to moral principles, one often sees it applied to questions of correct
behaviour within a relatively narrow area of activity

Biblical Evidence - Internal and External:
· Eschatology - the study of final things.
· Biblical Typology - the aspect of biblical interpretation that treats the significance of Old Testament types for prefiguring corresponding New Testament antitypes or fulfilment.

Life's Ultimate Questions - Worldview Analysis
· Worldview - the most fundamental (core) philosophical beliefs and assumptions a person holds about the universe and the nature of things.

Logic:
· Logic - a particular way of thinking, especially one that is reasonable and based on good judgment.
· Aristotelian Laws of Logic
· Law of Identity --> X = X, 2)
· Law of Non-contradiction --> X ≠ non-X.
· Inductive Argument - an argument that is intended by the arguer to be strong enough that, if the premises were to be true, then it would be unlikely that the conclusion is false.
· Deductive Argument - a guarantee of the truth of the conclusion provided that the argument’s premises - are true.

Bones Requested Terms:

The argument from Gratutuious evils:
· Evil - morally bad, cruel, or very unpleasant.
· Good - morally excellent; virtuous; righteous; pious:

Occams Razor:
· Occams Razor - The principle of theory construction or evaluation according to which, other things equal, explanations that posit fewer entities, or fewer kinds of entities, are to be preferred to explanations that posit more.

--

Contentions:

Bones will substantiate his burden of proof with the following four contentions:

· The Anti-Kalam Cosmological argument.
· The argument from Gratutuious evils.
· Occams Razor
· The Anti-Ontological argument.

PGA2.0 will substantiate his burden of proof with the following four contentions:

· Life's Ultimate Questions - Worldview Analysis
· Biblical Evidences - Internal and External
· Morality and Ethics and finally
· Logic

--

Rules:
1. No arguments made in bad faith i.e, kritiks.
2. No new arguments are to be made in the final round.
3. Rules are agreed upon and are not to be contested.
4. Sources can be hyperlinked or provided in the comment section.
5. A breach of the rules should result in a conduct point deduction for the offender.

Round 1
Pro
Thx PGA2.0, I am excited to get this debate finally started. 

-- 

Prelim: 

BoP: 

The resolution of this debate is as follows:

Atheism is, on balance more reasonable than Christianity. 

Here, the terms Atheism and Christianity ought to be clarified. As definitions have been stipulated in the description, the resolution can be interpreted as :

A lack of belief in the existence of God or Gods is, on balance more reasonable than the belief in the the person and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth and the existence of an omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient and omnibenevolent being.

Immediately, the nature of this debate becomes clear - this is a conversation whereby a lack of belief is judged against a belief, and where the veracity of each is in contest. Here, we ought introduce Russell's teapot:

Russell's teapot is the analogy which shows that the philosophic burden of proof lies upon a person making empirically unfalsifiable claims, rather than shifting the burden of disproof to others.
Furthermore, Hitchens Razor can also be applied: 

Hitchens's razor is an epistemological razor articulated as"what can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence."
As such, I declare the burden to be on CON, on the basis of 

  1. how the burden operates as shown by Russell's teapot 
  2. the principle of Hitchens razor 
Atheism: 

Another preliminary point which ought be clarified is the definition of Atheism, provided both above and in the description. Notice that Atheism is only a lack of belief - it is not an oath to materialism, objective morality or even science. It is simply a lack of belief. Take, for example afairism, the lack of belief in fairies. Such a title can only convey one thing about a person - that they believe that fairies do not exist. It does not mean that they are Conservative or Liberal, it does not mean the believe in science nor does it mean they believe there to be a beginning to the universe. It is simply a lack of belief in fairies. Much the same can be said for Atheism. Thus, questions such as "how did the universe begin", or "does objective morality exist" are not important, as an atheist does not tautologically prescribe to any particular belief in these questions. They merely lack a belief in God. 

--

Contention I: Anti-Kalam Cosmological argument

The Kalām Cosmological Argument (KCA), popularised by theologian Dr William Craig's operates by asserting the metaphysical impossibility of actual infinities and invokes a God to terminate the infinite regress. The argument takes the following syllogism. 

  • Everything that begins to exist has a cause;
  • The universe began to exist.
  • Therefore, the universe has a cause.
This argument is fundamentally predicated by what is known as the A-Series of time. In this series, events are ordered as futurepresent, and past. Futurity and pastness allow degrees, while the present does not. Craig himself states:
 
“From start to finish, the Kalam cosmological argument is predicated upon the A-Theory of time” 
Conversely, from the perspective of the B-Series of time, events can be ordered according to different series of temporal positions in a two-term relation which are asymmetrical, irreflexive and transitive. 

The fundamental difference between the A and B series of time is that while events continuously change their position in the A series, their position in the B series does not. Craig describes asserts that:

“On a B-Theory of time, the universe does not in fact come into being or become actual at the Big Bang; it just exists tenselessly as a four-dimensional space-time block that is finitely extended in the earlier than direction. If time is tenseless, then the universe never really comes into being, and, therefore, the quest for a cause of its coming into being is misconceived.”
Thus, with the knowledge of the competing series of time, I shall form the basis of my anti-Kalam cosmological argument. 
 
p1: If the universe is caused, the A-series of time is true 
 
p2: The A-Theory of time is untrue
 
c1: The universe is uncaused
 
==
 
p1: If the universe is caused, the A-series of time is true 
 
This premise is valid via truism and corroborated by Dr Craig. 
 
p2: The A-Theory of time is untrue
 
Preconditions for Causation 
 
  • The Oxford languages dictionary defines causation as that which relates to cause and effect. Where an event involves a cause and results in an effect, causation is associated. By virtue of truism, without a cause preceding an effect, causality must be absent. Moreover, the time between any cause and effect must be a finite and measurable number. Hence, it can be drawn that causality is inherently tied with the arrow of time, as the cause would have to precede the effect by a finite amount of time. 
    • Moreover, the nature of causation requires that cause “X” and effect “Y” both be logically possible, either contingently or necessarily. For example, it is impossible that there exists a cause of which results in the effect of a circular square. Hence, it is necessary that the coherence of causality lies in logical, physical and metaphysical laws/axioms. 
      • Therefore, the nature of causation is inherently incumbent on logical, physical and metaphysical laws/axioms. If something is incoherent or breaks the laws of logic (circular square), it cannot be caused. Thus, the idea of a caused universe is ultimately illogical, as prior to the origin of the universe, there were neither time’s arrow nor physical/logical laws. As the necessary conditions for causation to take place did not exist prior to the Big Bang, it is unjustified to speak of causation as the cause of said effect.
      • As the A-series of times affirms the proposition of a caused universe, and the conditions of a caused universe are wholly illogical, the A-series of time is inaccurate. 
The B-series of time 
 
As alluded to in the introductory, the B-series of time is an alternative theory, of which the general scientific consensus affirms. In short, the theory asserts that the universe is tenseless and exists with one time and three spatial dimensions, where there is no objective passing of time. This is a contrast to the A-series, which asserts that only the present moment is true. 
 
Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity supports the B-Theory of time and refutes the A-theory, on the following grounds; 
 
  1. General Relativity (GR) depicts a universe where time is an axis in a 4-dimensional, block universe. 
  2. Special relativity (SR) holds true that the laws of physics are the same, regardless of the frame of reference. This means that people can disagree on the present moment but are all equally correct. 
GR
  • Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity depicts a universe where time itself is an axis in a 4 dimensional, spatial plane. The theory provides an infused description of gravity and space-time and shows that space-time can be curved and distorted by objects with a large mass. Gravity, caused by large objects warping the fabric of spacetime, affects not only the movement of an object through space, but also the object's passage through time.
    • Consider the words of Marina Cortês, a cosmologist from the Royal Observatory of Edinburgh.

Thus, it is harmonious with Einstein's Theory of Relativity that the future and past are already encoded into the “block universe”. From the block time perspective, the past, present and future are equally real. 
 
Such a universe renders the A-Series of time false.
 
SR. 
Furthermore, the B-theory is also affirmed by Special Relativity, which asserts that it is impossible for two events to occur at exactly the same time if those events are spatially separated. This is a result of how objects moving at a quicker velocity will experience time slower when compared to stationary objects. Hence, this too refutes the A-theory, as it demonstrates that there is no “real present” and that an event can be perceived in different frames of reference. 

2.II.II.I Retrocausality
 
  • As has been observed in the quantum world, “backwards causation” can be achieved by linking time-symmetry and retrocausality. Retrocausality means that, when an experimenter chooses the measurement setting with which to measure a particle, that decision can influence the properties of that particle in the past, even before the experimenter made their choice. In other words, an effect can change the cause. Scientific research provides an abundance of facts which provides support for retrocausal quantum theories, in which the future influences the past. Huw Price, a major proponent of retrocausality in quantum theory laws out an argument which suggests that any quantum theory that assumes that 
  1. the quantum state is real, and 
  2. the quantum world is time-symmetric (that physical processes can run forwards and backwards while being described by the same physical laws) 
  • must allow for retrocausal influences. Moreover, experiments such as the Delayed Choice Quantum Eraser designed by Yoon-Ho Kim aim to prove the existence of backwards causation. The said experiment is a rather complicated construction - it is set up to measure correlated pairs of photons, which are in an entangled state, so that one of the two photons is detected 8 nanoseconds before its partner. The result indicates that the behaviour of the photons detected 8 nanoseconds before their partners is determined by how the partners will be detected. Undeniably, this should act as proof of backwards causation, in that the effect has affected the cause. 
    • Moreover, quantum entanglement further affirms this point, and shows that when a particle is observed and its wave function collapses, the entangled particles interact with each other retrocausally. 
    • Furthermore, revisitation of the famous Bell Theorem, which was once under great scrutiny finds that the quantum non-locality observed in nature in the form of statistical correlations violating Bell’s inequality can be understood as the signature of retrocausal effects
      • These such findings are incongruent with the A-series of times, as the A-series is reliant on the axiom that the cause comes before the effect. As the studies I have provided prove that this axiom is false, it is conclusive that the block universe theory is not only harmonious with Einstein’s Theory of Relativity but also makes sense of theories which would be deemed utterly absurd under the A-Theory of time.
c1: The universe is uncaused

With this conclusion, it is then possible to enter the findings into the final syllogism of this argument. 

p1. If God exists, the universe was caused. 
p2. The universe was not caused 
c1. God does not exist. 

-

Contention II: Gratuitous evil

  • p1. If God exists, there would be no gratuitous evils (GE). 
  • p2. There are gratuitous evils in the world. 
  • c1. God does not exist.
p1. is true by virtue of truism. By definition, a GE is a type of evil of which creates no good. A GE does not lead to virtue, does not teach a lesson, and is completely unjust. A GE definitionally cannot be cannot be justified by "free will" or "compensation in a latter life", for such would be a God justified good. By definition, a GE is inexcusably immoral. Thus, as God is omnibenevolent (all loving, infinitely loving) he would not allow gratuitous evil to occur. 

p2. is also verified by truism. To assert otherwise is to dictate that every single bit of suffering that exists is necessary. Take, for example, the victims of the holocaust. The Nazis systematically murdered an estimated six million Jews and an additional 11 million people during the war, totally a rounded 17 million people. PRO's position is that at least 1 of these deaths was not necessary. CON's is that every single one was necessary. On top of them all being necessary, CON's position further entails that every second of suffering was also necessary - God could not have jumped in even a mere second to alleviate a sliver of the agony, as that would suggest that gratuitous evils exist.

c1. Thus the conclusion is upheld. God does not exist. 

-

Contention III: Anti-ontological argument

p1. The creation of the universe is the most marvellous achievement imaginable. 

p2. The merit of an achievement is the product of 
  • Its intrinsic quality and 
  • The ability of its creator 
p3. The greater the handicap of the creator, the more impressive his achievements are. 

p4. The most formidable handicap possible for a creator would be there non-existence 

p5. Therefore, if we assume that the universe is the product of an existent creator, it is conceivable that a greater feat would be to create the universe while not existing. 

p6. An existing God would not be a being greater than which a greater cannot be conceived, as an even more formidable and incredible creator would be a God which did not exist
 
c1. God doesn't exist. 

-

Contention IV: Occam's razor 

  • The Occam's Razor, also known as the law of parsimony states that “plurality should not be posited without necessity”. The principle deems a theory most likely if it has the least ontological commitments when compared with other theories. The principle can also be expressed as “entities are not to be multiplied beyond necessity”. Thus, my application of Occam's Razor can be framed by theism versus metaphysical naturalism. Whilst Metaphysical naturalism has only two ontological commitments (the physical universe and the laws that govern it), Theism has three commitments (the physical universe, the laws that govern it and a divine being). 
    • Hence, the theory of which God is not necessary is, according to the law of parsimony, more likely.
-

Conclusion: 

I have substantiated my claim with 4 arguments - the Anti-Kalam Cosmological argument, the argument from Gratuitous evils, Occam's Razor, the Anti-Ontological argument. Such arguments thoroughly negates the veracity of Christianity and thus uphold the resolution. 
Con
I thank Pro for his painstaking efforts in accommodating some of my definitions in the Description.

BoP

Pro argues, "Atheism is a lack of belief"; therefore, the BoP lies solely on the Christian framework. I beg to differ. I see it as lying with the person making a claim, especially in such philosophical matters as dealing with the nature of origins. Pro is making claims. The debate is about which position is more reasonable, Atheism or Christianity. I wholeheartedly agree with Pros' shared BoP in a previous debate on the existence of God. His third rule in that Description stated: 


In R1 of that debate, Pro stated:

It operates as follows, 


Pro uses Russell's teapot analogy showing the philosophical burden lies 'upon a person making empirically unfalsifiable claims.' Russell's worldview interests, friends and sphere of influence, and his liberal view on sex and marriage did not coincide with the Christian worldview; he rejected it. He had a bias and vested interest at stake. I do not see his position as neutral. 

“I do not pretend to be able to prove that there is no God...The Christian god may exist; so may the gods of Olympus,...But no one of these hypotheses is more probable than any other: they lie outside the region of even probable knowledge, and therefore there is no reason to consider any of them.”

“That is the idea -- that we should all be wicked if we did not hold to the Christian religion. It seems to me that the people who have held to it have been for the most part extremely wicked. You find this curious fact, that the more intense has been the religion of any period and the more profound has been the dogmatic belief, the greater has been the cruelty and the worse has been the state of affairs. In the so-called ages of faith, when men really did believe the Christian religion in all its completeness, there was the Inquisition, with all its tortures; there were millions of unfortunate women burned as witches; and there was every kind of cruelty practiced upon all sorts of people in the name of religion."

Russell's 'facts' on the Inquisition and witch death toll (see Statistics) is high and possibly exaggerated. Most sites I read ranged from 3,000 to 300,000. Compare that to the death toll from atheistic regimes during the 20th-Century. For the Inquisition death toll,
 

His point, "in the name of" Christianity very often does not reflect its teachings, as is the case with prophecy. I will mention Russell's view on prophecy (the Second Coming)* under Biblical Evidence. 

Pros examples (Russell and Hitchens) come from people who had a vested interest in promoting (and did) their worldviews, that of agnosticism and atheism. 

Thus, I disagree with Pros R1 contention that the BoP rests solely with me. Furthermore, the Description stated:

"Bones will substantiate his burden of proof with the following four contentions..."
 
As for Pros definition of atheism, 

"Notice that Atheism is ONLY "a lack of belief."

That definition is not accepted in Christian circles, and some online dictionaries and websites describe atheism not only as Pro does but also,

"Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods." 

Pros definition is influenced by his worldview, something I will discuss in more detail under Life's Ultimate Questions - Worldview Analysis

While the etymological roots of the word atheism trace to the 5th century B.C.E., 

"The actual term atheism emerged first in the 16th century."

Its usage derived from,

"French athéisme (16c.), with -ism + Greek atheos "without a god, denying the gods," from a- "without" (see a- (3)) + theos "a god" (from PIE root *dhes-, forming words for religious concepts)..." [1]

'Denial' of the biblical God became apparent before and during the French Revolution and the "Age of Reason" (the Enlightenment). Science (and to some degree scientism) and secular humanism (man as the measure of all things) largely replaced God as the intellectually tenable elitist belief. A cultural paradigm shift happened, edged on by Darwin's theory of evolution. The New Atheism brought a brutal core denial or hostility towards religion. Recently, for propaganda reasons, the traditional "denial" meaning of the word shifted to "lack of belief."

Additionally, only "lack of belief in God" leaves a worldview vacuum that requires a filler belief, another means of explaining existence. 

Atheism is utilized in one of two contexts,
1) mystically or spiritually, and
2) materialistically.
I will tackle the materialistic side in this debate.

***

R1 - Opening Arguments - Why Christianity is more reasonable
R2 - Critique of Pros position
R3 - Rebuttal and closing arguments

***

1) Life's Ultimate Questions - Worldview Analysis
What is a worldview? It is a core set, web or system of beliefs through which a person interprets or views the world. 
How we make sense of the world depends on where we start. Since all worldviews work from basic, core presuppositions, I want to contrast Christianity with Atheism; which is more reasonable (sensible, rational, logical) to believe? The fundamental presupposition atheism works off is lack of belief in or denial of God or gods. I say denial because atheists, in their thinking, live life as if God or gods do not exist. The core presupposition Christians work from is belief in the biblical God. In evaluating these beliefs, both hold some philosophical and "empirically unfalsifiable claims" to make sense of existence.

Axiom presuppositions of a worldview or core beliefs try to answer life's ultimate questions regarding:
i) Metaphysics/Cosmology/Ontology/Origins - How did the universe get here? Where did I come from? What are we? Are we more than physical? What caused us? 
Why do we exist? What is real? 
ii) Theology - The concept of God
iii) Axiology, --> What difference does it make? Is there meaning?
  • Morals
  • Values
iv) Teleology - Is there an ultimate purpose or goal? 
v) Epistemology - How do we know? 
vi) Destiny - What happens to us when we die?

(Note: 'Why' questions can expose an intent, a purpose)

Andrew Montano identifies twelve in addressing the Naturalistic Worldview (a view included in atheism): 1) Theology/Concept of God, 2) Metaphysics/External Reality, 3) Epistemology/Knowledge, 4) Ontology/Origins, 5) Anthropology/Psychology/Humanity, 6) Location, 7) Axiology (Morals), 8) Axiology (Values), 9) Predicament, 10) Resolution, 11) History, 12) Future/Destiny. [2]

Ronald H. Nash, Worldviews in Conflict, p.26, lists five significant elements of a worldview: 1) God, 2) reality, 3) knowledge, 4) morality, 5) humanity. 

Pro, in his R1 opening arguments, tackles the question of God (i.e., Atheist lack of belief in God is a belief), evil in humanity (morality and humanity), reality (cosmology and ontology) while stating the inconsistent claim that atheism is not a belief system. 

*** 

Contrasting Worldviews - Three Core Beliefs:
i) Origins
ii) Axiology 
iii) Epistemology:

i) Cosmology/Origins - How did we get here; how and WHY did the universe and life originate? 
--> Origins of the universe
  • Christianity - The axiom or starting point is God as Creator. Biblical revelation is the vehicle.
  • Atheism - The starting point is usually material naturalism or the natural realm. Science and scientism are the vehicles.
  • Christianity - Explanation: Creator.
  • Atheism - Explanation: Philosophical naturalism, materialism. 
  • Christianity - Agency and intent behind the universe --> God.
  • Atheism - Accidental, random. It just is.
What agency does atheism have for the universe? Without intentionality, it is purely by chance that things begin. Does the universe have a cause? The atheist doesn't know, although he offers many theories. The Standard Big Bang Model (SBBM) is the most accepted, which gives the universe a beginning. It is evidenced by:
  1. Expansion of the universe (observed by the redshift in light from observable galaxies).
  2. General Relativity (time, space, and matter appear co-related; you can't have one without another).
  3. The Second Law of Thermodynamics/Entropy seems irreversible in a closed system.
  4. Cosmic Background Radiation (CBR) from the SBBM. Norm L. Geisler, Frank Turek, I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, p.76-84. 
Of course, with Atheism, there are many theoretical models. It depends on the scientist's thinking and which cosmological model is supported, or preferred. That is the extent of certainty. Scientism does not have what is necessary for certainty. I chose the SBBM because it confirms the biblical teaching of the universe's beginning.

Problems with the atheistic worldview:
a) Atheists use scientism instead of science.
  •  No one observed the universe's or life's origin, 
  • Nor can these origins be repeated. 
Thus, there is a philosophical naturalism to the atheist's belief in this regard.

b) How does the atheist explain the uniformity of nature or nature's laws? How can they know the future will be like the past or present, or as Greg Bahnsen pointed out, will the sunrise tomorrow just because it has in the past?
c) Why should they think so without intent or mind behind it?
  • Why does the atheist find mathematical laws that describe how nature operates? These laws appear to be discovered, not invented. They are principles working long before someone put a formula to them. Being able to express them mathematically is a reason for a Mind behind the universe. 
  • How can the universe have meaning or purpose without intent (thus intentional Being) behind it? 
  • Pro brings up the problem of gratuitous evil. He needs to explain how atheists get the concept of evil.

Christianity's Solutions:
Christianity explains and can make sense of universal constants and nature's laws. There is a Mind, design, and thus purpose behind the universe. 
a) The universe displays God's nature and glory. It points to Him in the anthropic principle (not too hot, not too cold; just right) and His mindfulness towards us. 
b) The laws of nature affirm what the Bible says: 

"The heavens tell of the glory of God; And their expanse declares the work of His hands. 2 Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge."

c) The Christian belief system has what is necessary for truth, certainty, and answers to life's most ultimate questions, the WHYS of existence. The improbability of such constants without intent and purpose is a magic elixir to the atheist, seemingly appearing out of nothing. (as long as someone can think such absurdity, beyond observation and experience, they pass). The atheist system of thought is not reasonable.

--> Origins of life  
  • Atheism - Life comes from non-life. Where is it witnessed? The universe does not appear to be conscious. Where do consciousness and being come from? 
  • Christianity - Life comes from the living; being from a necessary Being. God is conscious. (simple)

ii) Axiology - see Morality and Ethics.** 
  
iii) Epistemology - How do I know; what is truth?
  • Atheism - Our knowledge is only as good as the extent to which we know things through our reasoning, and our fallible minds are the limit to our certainty. 
  • Christianity - Providing the Christian God exists, we can KNOW and have the certainty to the extent He has revealed; even further through induction by thinking His thoughts after Him, as many of the founders of modern science did. Henry M. Morris lists over a hundred Bible-believing Christians who were instrumental in founding a field of science. (I believe) Johann Kepler (1571-1630) coined the term "'thinking God's thoughts after Him,' a motto adopted by many believing scientists since his time." Henry M Morris, Men of Science, Men of God. p. 13.  
John Herschel (1792-1871) - "All human discoveries seem to be made only for the purpose of confirming more and more strongly the truths come from on high and contained in the sacred writings." Ibid, p. 42.

A worldview needs to pass tests for:
  1. Internal logical consistency, coherence --> Corresponds with reality?
  2. Factual Adequacy --> Do the facts check out?
  3. Existential viability --> Is it livable, or is it philosophically hypocritical/inconsistent? 
2) Biblical Evidence - Internal and External
a) The biblical God's existence is evidenced in the texts by:
i) The revelatory nature of the biblical narrative.
  • Thousands of times, human writers reveal God as speaking and prophesying. (God spoke -123 times; God said - 600 times; the Lord spoke - 377 times; the Lord said - 1088 times)
  • Explicit statements in the Bible are called God's word. (The word of the Lord - 449 times)
  • Explicit statements about the Spirit of the Lord/God - (115 times)
ii) An if/then covenantal relationship to a nation. (280 times in the OT)
  • Israel, the northern and southern kingdoms, are a historical people confirmed by secular history.
--> "[T]wo dates are known with certainty on every Old Testament timeline. Those dates are the destruction of the northern kingdom of Israel by the Assyrian king Shalmaneser V in 722 BC (and Sargon II after), and the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple of Solomon by the Babylonians under King Nebuchadnezzar in 587/6 BC."
  • Secular history traces and confirms many biblical narratives, people, places, and events. 
-->, i.e., the HittitesKing David, and many more.
 iii) By those who claim to be eyewitnesses of Jesus. 
iv) The early church fathers preserved quotes and references to both testaments.
 
b) Prophecy was written before the facts:  - i.e., the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 and the destruction of the Old Covenant.
  • Reasonable - Every NT writing dates before the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. (see John A.T. Robinson, Redating the NT [3])
i) Fact - there is no mention of an already destroyed city or temple in the NT writings.

“One of the oddest facts about the New Testament is that what on any showing would appear to be the single most datable and climactic event of the period – the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70, and with it the collapse of institutional Judaism based on the temple – is never once mentioned as a past fact. “ - John A.T. Robinson

ii) Fact - Israel no longer exists in OT covenant relationship after AD 70. 
--> No more animal sacrifices for the atonement of the people's sins. Jesus is now our sin offering. 
--> No more animal sacrifices for a peace offering to God. Jesus is now our peace with God. 
--> No more Levitical priesthood acting as mediators between Israel and God. With the changing of covenants comes a changing of the law.
--> No more feast days. Fulfillment is in Y'shua/Jesus!
--> No more temple or temple economy. 

  • Reasonable - Almost every NT writing warns of a soonnearquickly coming judgment that no NT writer said had happened.  
  • Reasonable - The primary audience of address in the NT is OT Israel; the Jew.  
  • Reasonable - The OT writings were written before the 1st century AD.  
iii) Many Dead Sea Scrolls were written before the 1st century AD and contained biblical "books" and passages. 

c) The Internal consistency of the Bible is understood by prophetic evidence:
God speaks before the fact occurs. Facts point to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Old Covenant in AD 70. Daniel 9:24-27Daniel 12:1-4, 7-9, 13 with Luke 21:23Luke 21:25Luke 21:23
i) "This age" in the NT can refer to no other age than the generation Jesus came to while under the Old Covenant Law and the Prophets
ii) "This people," it is reasonable to believe, refers to the Jews during the time of Jesus. 
iii) "This generation" refers to the generation Jesus came to. How can it refer to another generation?
iv) The "age to come" speaks of the New Covenant age. --> The New Covenant is an everlasting covenant. Through His grace and mercy, the New Covenant depends on what God does, what He accomplishes on our behalf.
v) The Old Covenant was an if/then covenant. It depended on what the people did.
vi) The "Second Coming" is audience relevant, speaking to the 1st century Jews, something even Bertram Russell* seemingly understood yet saw no evidence for because he said:

"For one thing, He certainly thought that His second coming would occur in clouds of glory before the death of all the people who were living at that time."

Russell and many Christians mistook the nature of His coming, "in the clouds" or "in the glory of His Father."

d) Biblical typology confirms its uniqueness from other world religions:
ii) What applies to Jesus/Y'shua in the OT physical reality is explained and understood in the NT physical reality with:
Thus, the OT revelation is understood more fully, more meaningfully in the NT, and finds fulfillment in the NT times. Both testaments describe historical realities. 

The Physical/Spiritual Connection:
--> 1st Exodus 40 years, one generation - 2nd Exodus 40 years, one generation. 
--> 1st Passover, blood on two doorposts and lentil - 2nd Passover, blood on the cross beams and top of the stake
--> 1st Moses, a prophet who leads his people to the Promise Land - 2nd Moses (Y'shua), a prophet who leads His people into the Promise Land.
--> 1st Crossing from Egypt (bondage) to freedom - 2nd crossing from spiritual bondage to freedom.
--> 1st manna from heaven - 2nd Manna from heaven.
--> Mount SinaiMount Zion.
--> Moses before God - Jesus before God.
--> Physical land - heavenly spiritual land.
--> Old Jerusalem - New Jerusalem.
--> Two blood covenants.

f) External evidence for the destruction of the Temple, City and Old Covenant is historic:
i) Many Dead Sea Scrolls date to before the Christian NT and contain prophecies (see The Messianic Prophecies and the Scrolls plus Two Major Prophets and the Dead Sea Scrolls) from copied OT writings.


Here is an extensive list. [5]

"Cave 1, which was excavated in 1949, and Cave 4, excavated in 1952, proved to be the most productive caves. One of the most significant discoveries was a well-preserved scroll of the entire book of Isaiah." [6]

II) Josephus (The Wars of the Jews) and other historians confirm many biblical accounts on the destruction of the temple and city plus the taking captive of the people to other lands.
 
e) Biblical Manuscript Evidence is Reliability! 

Anyone who says "no evidence" is not critical to many of the facts presented above. Thus, it is most reasonable to believe the Bible is true, and if the Bible is true, then atheism is false.

3) Morality and Ethics**
"Confusion will be my epitaph
As I crawl a cracked and broken path
If we make it, we can all sit back and laugh
But I fear tomorrow I'll be crying
Yes, I fear tomorrow I'll be crying...
Knowledge is a deadly friend
When no one sets the rules
The fate of all mankind, I see
Is in the hands of fools." - King Crimson, Epitaph

Who sets the rules for morality if there is no absolute, objective, universal, immutable standard and measure? Can Pro show there is without God, or does finite human preference become the standard? If so, why is that "right" or "good?" Because Pro says so? So Pro must show that morals are real, objective, absolute, more than subjective feelings. What makes his thoughts any BETTER than mine if they are just feelings? Once we use a qualitative measure, we must refer to something to judge the value against, some qualitative standard, something immutable. If not, Pro is again in a vicious cycle of relativism, claiming his views are better than mine because he likes them. To argue "better" (better than what?) implies there is a best. Can Pro show the a priori necessary conditions for moral knowledge via his finite mind? The Christian position has what is required; omnibenevolent, omniscient, immutable Being. Can Pro show how values arise from an amoral universe? 

"If there is no God, everything is permitted." ― Fyodor Dostoevsky.

Concerning atheistic goodness, what does Pro point to as his measure? There are lots of conflicting atheistic values. So, does Pro have a fixed, unchanging standard? In an ever-changing world of ideas, how does Pro maintain the identity of good (A = A)? A thing is what it is, not something else.

Making Sense of Morality and Ethics
  • Atheism - Lacks an objective, immutable, universal standard for the 'good.' Thus, it lacks a fixed identity. A =/= A.
  • Christianity - God is objective (in the sense of omniscience, knowing all things), immutable (does not change), universal (His goodness applies to all). Therefore, A = A. 
  • Atheism - The universe is amoral; it is not a sentient being. It does not have what is necessary for morality - mindfulness. 
  • Christianity - God is omnibenevolent, the greatest possible good. He, as a sentient Being, has what is necessary.
  • Atheism - The universe is ultimately meaningless, having no purpose.
  • Christianity - Ultimate meaning is a relationship with God, which gives purpose to life. 
  • Atheism - No ultimate justice for Hitler. His crimes outnumber his sentence.
  • Christianity - God is just.
  • Atheism - Not justifiable.
  • Christianity - Justifiable.

Atheisms appalling moral record during the 20th-century shows it is not more reasonable than Christianity. 

According to Theodore Beale:
  • There has been a confirmed twenty-eight countries with avowed atheists at the helm in world history.
  • In these historical regimes, with eighty-nine rulers, more than half have engaged in democidal acts of the sort committed by Stalin and Mao. [7] 
  • An estimated "40,472,000 [to] 259,432,000 human lives" taken in the last 100 years. [8]
Atheistic China and human rights abuses; a few examples:
  • The Laogai - "at least 1,100 known forced-labour camps is driven by hard-line ideology, Communist Party directives...[9]
  • The Laogai use group think, control, and repression on undesirable groups; "a political tool for maintaining the Communist Party's totalitarian rule." "[T]he Laogai crushes the human spirit and often tortures the human body...[ibid]
  • Organ harvesting (12:03 min) for profit has been a government policy for those sentenced to death sentence since 1984. [ibid]
  • Baby eating and abortion (until recently, one child per family) are human rights violations and dehumanizing.
  • Chinese Militarism [10] and Economic Expansion threaten the region and view global dominance. 
  • China is a primary exporter of fentanyl to the USA. [11] (see 10:35 min)
4) Logic
What are the atheist's preconditions for the laws of logic? The Christian contends the laws are universal, eternal, require mindfulness, are immaterial, must be immutable, and are undeniable in making sense of anything. Can the atheist affirm there is ever a time when the laws do not apply (A=/=A)? Are the laws contingent on human thinking, or independent and necessary for making sense of anything? The same qualities equate to God's mind and character - eternal, immutable, immaterial in nature, applying universally, and yes, necessary!




Round 2
Pro
Thx PGA2.0

Observations: 

  •  CON's method of argumentation throughout the debate is to simulate a theoretical conversation between atheists and theists in an attempt to expose the inconsistencies of the atheist position and then articulating the theist's world view as more accurate. They use subtitles such as "problems with the atheistic worldview" followed by "Christianity's solution". I assert that the "problems" with the atheistic worldview are not actually problems and that voters ought to only consider the solution provided by Christianity as this is most harmonious with the scientific method. 
    • In the scientific method, in order for a hypothesis to be successful, experimenters must prove that the hypothesis is true by showing that it can make testable predictions, not by showing that alternatives are faulty. Take, for example, drug X which cures cancer. If a scientist wants the drug to be approved, they need to show that it cures cancer at an acceptable rate. What they can't do is say "all the other drugs on the market don't work, therefore my drug works".  
    • Unfortunately, this is exactly what my opponent has done with the supposed "atheist problems". His argument can be simplified to "the atheist has problems therefore theism is superior". This is known as the God of the Gaps, which is the theological perspective in which gaps in scientific knowledge are taken to be evidence or proof of God's existence.
    • What my opponent needs to do is to support his thesis, not disprove others.
--

Prelim: 

BoP: 

CON rejects my usage of Occam's razor and Hitchens razor on the grounds that they "come from people who had a vested interest in promoting (and did) their worldviews, that of agnosticism and atheism". Such is an example of an ad hominem attack, that is, the attack of a person's membership in a group or institution. We ought judge the veracity of a statement by testing its relevance to our society, not by the status of it's speaker. 

Even if I were to concede the definition of atheism - the burden does not change. Consider the case of the garden bed fairies. If I were to assert that there are invisible, intangible, inaudible and indetectable fairies dancing in my garden, would it be reasonable for me to approach a skeptic and state "well you don't believe in these fairies so where's the evidence?". Obviously, the burden is on the fairists, not the afairists, regardless of how we bicker over definitions. 

--

Atheism: 

CON doesn't mention this point, however, it is crucial to this debate and worth me reitirating what was stated. 

Notice that Atheism is only a lack of belief - it is not an oath to materialism, objective morality or even science. It is simply a lack of belief. Take, for example afairism, the lack of belief in fairies. Such a title can only convey one thing about a person - that they believe that fairies do not exist. It does not mean that they are Conservative or Liberal, it does not mean the believe in science nor does it mean they believe there to be a beginning to the universe. It is simply a lack of belief in fairies. Much the same can be said for Atheism. Thus, questions such as "how did the universe begin", or "does objective morality exist" are not important, as an atheist does not tautologically prescribe to any particular belief in these questions. They merely lack a belief in God. 

Even if we accommodate for CON's desired definition, though I believe it to be inaccurate, the point still stands. Atheism is the belief that there is no God, it is not an oath to materialism, objective morality or even science. 

--

Rebuttals:

Life's Ultimate Questions:

1) Life's Ultimate Questions - Worldview Analysis

CON first opens which this statement. 

Pro, in his R1 opening arguments, tackles the question of God (i.e., Atheist lack of belief in God is a belief), evil in humanity (morality and humanity), reality (cosmology and ontology) while stating the inconsistent claim that atheism is not a belief system. 
Atheism is no more of a belief system than afairism or awitchism. As I stated in the preliminary subsection atheism, titles such as afairism can only convey one thing about a person - that they believe that fairies do not exist. It does not mean that they are Conservative or Liberal, it does not mean the believe in science nor does it mean they believe there to be a beginning to the universe. Atheists do not prescribe to one set of world view - some are materialists and some are solipsists, some prescribe moral objectivism and others prescribe nihilism. 

CON's argument can be divided into multiple sections. 

  • i) Origins
  • ii) Axiology 
  • iii) Epistemology
i)

CON poses 2 problems for the atheist position. 

  1. No one observed the universe's or life's origin, 
  2. Nor can these origins be repeated. 
I invite voters to refer to my observations at the start of this debate. However, as these are easy objections, I will reply. 

1. The direct observation of an event is not necessary for the confirmation of its existence. Take for example literally everything that is behind you. We can know with practical certainty that the world exists without needing us to observe it. 

2. The replicability of an event is not necessary either - we cannot replicate what happened yesterday yet we know that it once existed. 

CON poses multiple questions for PRO. Again, refer to observations. 

  1. How does the atheist explain the uniformity of nature or nature's laws?
  2. How can they know the future will be like the past or present?
  3. Why does the atheist find mathematical laws that describe how nature operates?
  4. How can the universe have meaning or purpose without intent (thus intentional Being) behind it? 
1. There is not an "atheist" position on questions like these. There is the position of the solipsists, the materialist and those who prescribe to quantum mysticism. However, their positions are not relevant here. This debate is simply the lack of belief in God vs belief in God. Furthermore, scientific research finds that the laws of nature are not so constant, and that the strength of electromagnetism - one of the four fundamental forces of nature, seems to vary across the universe

2. Inductive reasoning and the validity of scientific determinism - the assumption that if you drop a ball 100 times in the exact same conditions, the same results should be yielded. 

3. I adopt a non-platonic view on mathematics known as logicism, that is, mathematics is an expression of logic which holds only so much as its axioms correlate with reality. Mathematics works because that is what we have designed it to do, so much so that when it doesn't work, we alter it's axioms so that it does. To ask why mathematics is effective is to ask why reason is effective. Take, for example, a spiral nebula. The logarithm describing the nebula is not in the nebula, it is in your understanding of the nebula.  

4. Meaning derives from the physical world : it is simply the value and significance something has to a living organism—whether it is good or bad for the organism's survival and flourishing. Humans, with our extravagantly embellished evolution of consciousness, have evolved to be a highly complex meaning-seeking species. The meaning we attach to events and to our sense of self is as richly layered and interconnected as our complex neural networks.It is a human habit to infer deliberate intention to events in self-referential ways. Adopting a secular worldview entails recognizing that meaning is a human attribution and things do not happen for a predetermined reason, unless of course caused by deliberate human action.

Now, CON offers Christianity's solution, which, as I stated in my observations, is the crucial part. Unfortunately, much of the "proof" consists of using theism as a lifebuoy for all the questions which atheism alleged cannot answer. Don't know how the universe started? Just plug in God. Don't know why mathematics is so effective? Plug in God. Don't know why natures laws are constant? Plug in God. CON states: 

  • Atheism - Life comes from non-life. Where is it witnessed? The universe does not appear to be conscious. Where do consciousness and being come from? 
  • Christianity - Life comes from the living; being from a necessary Being. God is conscious. (simple)
Two problems. 

1. Even though I have refuted CON's criteria of what makes a hypothesis unusable (the fact that no one witnessed it), that very standard would not allow for Christianity to be true, as, in CON's model, no one witness God making man. 

2. Furthermore, CON's declaration that God is simple is simply false. A being capable of continuously monitoring and controlling the individual status of every particle in the universe cannot be simple. Worse yet, other corners of God's consciousness are simultaneously preoccupied with the doings and emotions and prayers of every single human being. 

ii)

Refer to Morality and Ethics. 
  
iii)

CON makes a statement which epitomises my rebuttal. 

Christianity - Providing the Christian God exists, we can know...

IF God is real, THEN X problems will be solved.  CON has been thorough in exclaiming the problems which Christianity can solve, however, has not proven that God is real. 

--

2) Biblical Evidence - Internal and External

Before I rebut this section, I wish to introduce David Humes "Of Miracles", in which he states: 
  • no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous, than the fact, which it endeavors to establish
      1. God is defined as a being possessing infinite attributes, thus, using Hume's principle, only a miracle of which is even more miraculous than an infinite beings existence will be sufficient in proving God's existence. From reason alone, even if Jesus were to be observed by the entire population, such would be a finite miracle, which, though miraculous, is not as extraordinary as an infinite being. 
        1. Thus without even looking at the evidence in this section, David Hume's "Of Miracles" principle debunks the argument from biblical evidence. 
CON provides a total of 12 arguments in 3 sections. 

Section A 

CON's i) argument is essentially that God's name is written a lot of times in the bible, therefore he exists. By this standard, Harry Potter also exists because his name is in some book quite a few times as well. 

ii) articulates the destruction of two separate kingdoms. I fail to see a relation to the resolution. 

iii) claims that there were eyewitnesses of Jesus, however the source CON uses is simply the bible. Moreover, the sources cited do not offer historians any opportunity to fact check these witnesses. Such would be akin to me stating that the entire dining hall was documented in seeing Harry Potter therefore he exists. Further Still, eyewitness testimonies are notoriously inaccurate.

iv) is literally that people quoted the testaments. I fail to see a relation to the resolution. 

Section B - fulfilled prophecies?

i) PGA2.0 states 

  • the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 and the destruction of the Old Covenant. Every NT writing dates before the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. (see John A.T. Robinson
    • Fact - there is no mention of an already destroyed city or temple in the NT writings.
From my understanding, the following is what CON is attempting to articulate: 

p1. Fall of Jerusalem occured in 70 AD. 
p2. NT was written before 70 AD. 
p3. There is no mention of an already destroyed city in the NT. 
c1. ?

If the NT was written before the fall of Jerusalem, why would it be mentioned in the NT? In fact, it would be more of a miracle if it was mentioned in the NT. 

ii) is essentially just that some scrolls were written before the 1st AD. CON needs to establish the significance of these scrolls and what they actually predicted. 

Section C

CON asserts in this section that God spoke before the facts occured, and that bible verses were written before events. However, they fail to acknowledge that the Bible is a big game of telephone, with people passing down stories throughout the generations. The Gospels, for example, weren't written down until at least 50 years after the death of Jesus. Such would be akin to revisiting the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, minus the videotape, minus the journalists, minus Walter Cronkite, and with only a handful of witnesses, none of whom are the ones writing these stories down. The oldest complete New Testament manuscript we have dates back to the mid-4th century, more than 300 years after Jesus died.Most of the old manuscripts we have come from the Middle Ages and it wasn't until the 17th century that we finally got the King James Version of the Bible.

Section D

PGA2.0 states 
Lord Voldemort was also revealed as a physical being in the Goblet of Fire. 

Section F (where's section E?)

This section declares that Gods exists because there is external evidence for the destruction of the Temple. Even if the benefit of the doubt were given and a temple was prophesied to be destructed, this is in now way impressive, given the extensive errors in the bible.

--

3) Morality and Ethics

Before I begin my rebuttals, I am compelled to direct voters towards my preliminary statement under Atheism. CON's argument here is essentially "there is something we don't understand, that is, morality and its origins, therefore atheists cannot explain it, God exists". Such an argument is a textbook example of "the God of the Gaps" fallacy. 


To steelman CON's argument, the following are his talking points. 

  1. Without God, there is no objective standard for good and bad. 
    1. "Pro must show that morals are real, objective, absolute, more than subjective feelings"
  2. PRO must provide a moral standard 
    1. "does Pro have a fixed, unchanging standard?"
  3. Atheists have committed appalling crimes therefore is is not more reasonable than Christianity. 
    1. "Atheisms appalling moral record during the 20th-century shows it is not more reasonable than Christianity"

1. 

PRO asserts that God is necessary for an objective morality to exist. First, he must prove that 

  1. God can create an objective morality which humans can understand. 
  2. An objective morality is necessary. 
I wish to show that the first point is void on the basis of Hume's Guillotine, known as the Is-Ought problem. 

The is–ought problem, as articulated by the Scottish philosopher and historian David Hume, arises when one makes claims about what ought to be that are based solely on statements about what is. Hume found that there seems to be a significant difference between positive statements (about what is) and prescriptive or normative statements (about what ought to be), and that it is not obvious how one can coherently move from descriptive statements to prescriptive ones. Hume's law or Hume's guillotine is the thesis that, if a reasoner only has access to non-moral and non-evaluative factual premises, the reasoner cannot logically infer the truth of moral statements.

With such, an objective morality is impossible. Consider the following hypothetical conversation (inspired by CON's form of argument). 

  • Theist: Objective morality exists 
  • Atheist: How does it exist? 
  • Theist: Because God exists 
  • Atheist: How do you know God exists? 
  • Theist: The argument from X, Y and Z. 
  • Atheist: How do you know arguments X, Y and Z are true. 
  • Theists: Because they are logically sound. 
  • Atheist: How do you know logic is sound? 
Fundamentally, there is no objective truth which can be derived. The most CON can say is that we ought follow the rules of the bible, however, this puts them on the same playing field as the atheist. CON cannot arrive at an ought from purely is statements. I directly challenge them to do so. Even if God exists, CON cannot prove it objectively. 


2. 

Again, I must emphasis once more, there is no such thing as an atheist morality. Some atheists believe in objective morality, some believe in subjective morality, some believe in no morality and some don't even believe that you exist. 

3. 

The entire point CON makes is that atheists have done evil things. Without even pointing to the crusades and burning of witches and homosexuals propelled by Roman Catholics, the point is fundamentally fallacious. I can assure you that all the "atheists" who committed the crimes were also "afairists", and "asantaists" and "aleprechaunists". Does such a lack of belief create violence? In fact, it seems that the opposite is correct. Non-religious countries experience greater economic growth, atheist communities fare better than religious societies, and also that poor nations have the highest proportion of people who identify as religious. But even if this were not the case and theist countries were far more prosperous that atheists, this would in no way demonstrate any validity of religion - only that it has societal benefit. 

--

4) Logic 

Using the existence of logic to justify the existence of God is circular. The statement "God created and proves the existence of logic" itself requires logic to comprehend. Logic precedes our understanding of God. CON only believes in God because he believes it to be logical. 

PGA2.0 states:
  • Can the atheist affirm there is ever a time when the laws do not apply (A=/=A)?
Can the theist prove that God is necessary for the existence of logic without using logic? The reason for your belief in God cannot be an alleged creation of God. 

--

Conclusion:

CON's major flaw in this round is his tendency to fall into the God of the Gaps fallacy. Much of their argument consists of poking holes at the "atheist" position (which isn't really the atheist position, it is the objective morality position, the materialist position etc) and concluding that as their are no other alternatives, God is the answer. 
Con
Thank you!
 
Observations:
The irony is, while Pro charges, "Atheism is, on balance, more reasonable than Christianity," he makes a claim about which position is more reasonable. Thus, he should share the BoP. Instead, he dismisses that he holds a worldview linked to atheism. He drives the whole theoretical conversation to the Christian worldview (i.e., 'Con's method of argumentation' and BoP) while perhaps not recognizing his primarily philosophical and theoretical position/worldview and the problems generated. His four philosophically argued points are "stimulating" the conversation, too. He forgot to look in the mirror. My aim is not to stimulate but to compare and contrast the Christian strengths more reasonably.   
 
Pros two bullet points answered
  • The scientific method utilizes both means to prove a hypothesis (not one), confirming the hypothesis true or displaying too many anomalies to continue embracing the hypothesis. Anomalies cause scientists to start looking for alternatives. Thus, my position is justifiable. Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, stated a paradigm shift occurs when a theory starts building up anomalies and problems it can't solve because they question the reasonableness of the hypothesis. (See also [1]) The scientist is looking for a better explanation. The same is valid here. The very nature of the debate questions what is more reasonable, so I ask the reader not to be fooled by Pros semantics. Philosophically, is it more reasonable to believe mind behind the universe or a chance universe? Atheists deny a personal God/gods, whether for lack of belief or other underlying issues such as supposed self-autonomy or worldview/life experience conflicts. 
  • Yes, I have identified these bottlenecks of the atheistic worldview, positions for which the atheist cannot give a satisfactory or more plausible answer. That is part of the Christian position in undermining Pros position of "lack of God/gods." It showcases that atheism cannot make sense or provide a more reasonable argument for their position of "lack of belief," or outright denial of God, whether through the contradictory/inconsistent nature in how they live* or through an outright statement of God not existing.
  •  Perhaps Pro does not recognize that I supported my thesis with evidence and by disproving or doubting his "likely validity." I supplied the Bible and its teachings, supported by internal and external evidence. I also showed Pro's viewpoint on origins as less plausible, considering where he would start without God. Instead of God of the Gaps, Pro is guilty of Science of the Gaps. Atheists reason that because we cannot prove God through the scientific method, God does not exist, or there is a lack of evidence. That is false. I did not base the totality of my claim solely on "God said it, I believe it" but on evidence and common sense. Both sides can use Genetic Fallacy and Appeal to Authority. 
 
BoP:
Pros view - No burden, no accountability, folks! 
 
Pro charges an ad hominem attack by me on Hitchens and Russell, whereas I quite rightly pointed out there is no neutrality in their held positions. I am not stating something untrue. I have good reasons to believe both set out to undermine Christianity and had a vested interest and bias in attacking Christianity. Pro makes unwarranted assumptions that depend on the reader accepting his conclusions. He never attacked or countered my arguments with contrary evidence for Hitchens or Russell. 
 
Con suggested I rejected Occam's Razor. I did not. More on this later.**
 
Atheism:***
Pros "afairists" analogy or "lack of belief in fairies" is, IMO, a faulty analogy:
1. Afairists do not necessarily disbelieve or hold a lack of evidence for God's existence but may include a God as Creator. Atheism does not. 
2. Afairianism is not a worldview and does not comprise explanations for life's ultimate questions. Atheism does.
 
Read an atheist site. The atheist's denial or lack of belief excludes God in explaining reality. Thus, they have alternative BELIEFS about existence and worldview answers to ultimate questions on origins, axiology, epistemology, destiny, etc. Those EXCLUDE God completely as an explanation but explain by natural methods. I rightly pointed out that there are problems in doing so. Once the atheist jettisons God, they are left with (physicalism) empirical material evidence alone with which the laws of logic or science do not comply. Such laws are immaterial, absolute, invariable, unchanging, and necessary for making sense of physical things.
 
Many atheists in name, just like many Christians, fail to think of why they hold their positions(the unexamined life). That does not diminish the evidence that shows that atheism, as a whole, is a belief system. It takes FAITH to believe what the thinking atheist does (one who examines the position), and 'atheism' is a word that holds particular connotations to it, as I noted in R1. Additionally, the atheist continually smuggles in ideas that deny God, or God as the best explanation, living as if God does not exist while borrowing from the Christian framework (inconsistency). 
 
Andy Bannister, The Atheist Who Didn't Exist, lists several reasons why atheism is a belief system (Ch. 2):
1. The statement, atheism is a lack of belief... proves too much. i.e., It means that inanimate objects can be atheists for stones lack belief in God too.
2. The atheist makes many positive claims that are either true or false such as "there is lack of evidence for God's existence." Beliefs are true or false.
3. There are atheist buseschurcheshumanism associations and clubsbooksphilosophers and prophets. These people have all kinds of beliefs about God while denying Him. Pros beliefs about my understanding of God's existence show he understands what I mean by the Christian God (see Description).
4. Consequences follow by denying God's existence, such as not having sufficient justification for the moral good or evil. Our intrinsic value is diminished.
5. Atheistic lack of evidence in God does not isolate itself there. It must reorient itself in explaining everything via an alternative method and belief (materialism, naturalism, and scientism).
6. Atheists hold common beliefs driven by their ideology. i.e., Physics and astrophysics explain the world and universe, biology and evolution explain life, and chemistry explains its composition and how it changes. Atheists identify with particular thinking about life, the world, and the universe. I have listened to numerous atheists on Unbelievable.
 
Claiming lack of belief gives the atheist free reign to criticize other beliefs with no accountability - no defence needed.
 
"Our belief is not a belief." - Christopher Hitchens ibid, p. 32
 
Finally, if atheism is only a lack of belief in God's existence, how can Pro argue that atheism is, on balance, more reasonable than Christianity? Based on what? More inconsistency from his side. 
 
Rebuttal of Pros R1:
 
1. AKCA
Pros AKCA revolves around his P2 and only works if the B-series of time is correct.(P2)  
 
In presenting the AKCA Pro, seems under the impression that because something can be thought, it must be more reasonable and is in danger of falling under the guise of scientism (Ontological scientism),in its many forms as outlined by Andrew Ter Ern Loke, God and Ultimate Origins,p.3-4 
 
Further, Loke cites George Ellis in pointing out the limits of science and where it crosses the line into philosophy with his five examples (see also the four philosophical areas of assessment, p. 6). 
Examples:
  1. Unable to manipulate the original conditions,
  2.  Limited ability to observe a) distant regions, and b) early times,
  3. Inability to test the physics relevant to the earliest times,
  4. Philosophical choices shape the nature of cosmologic arguments,
  5. Philosophic choices will strongly influence the resulting understanding. ****
All these points can apply to Pros AKCA. Remember, we speak of theories and philosophical possibilities that have some evidence. Pro appeals to the general scientific consensus being right. 
 
How much can we know without God revealing? Fine-tuning arguments show the universe to have constants acting uniformly (see The problem of uniformity)and sustainability as described by mathematical equations that find the best answer with mind, not unintentional chance happenstance. Christians find reasons why physical things function (intentionality and purpose). To exclude God from the universe is to exclude certainty as to why it is here. Science can "only investigate processes that occur in time."[2]. We exist as A-series beings. We have a past, present, and future. We note physical time corresponds with Genesis 1:14-19. Day is separate from night by earth rotation; seasons correspond to the tilt of the earth's axis in orbit around the sun, a complete rotation signifying a year. We understand that these rotations give meaning for us in determining past, present, and future. They can be measured. Thus, they make sense in the A-theory of time via a Creator. Why would we expect to find such precision and measurements in our universe without a Creator?
 
The common sense image of time:
(1) The world was not created five minutes ago. 
(2) Time exists everywhere. 
(3) You can stop in space but not in time. 
(4) Every event has a duration, a length of time it lasts. 
(5) No event fails to occur at some time or other. 
(6) A nearby present event cannot immediately cause a distant present event. 
(7) The past is fixed, but the future is not
(8) Time is continuous rather than a sequence of discrete moments. 
(9) Time has an arrow
(10) Given any two events, they have some objective order such as one happening before the other, or else their being simultaneous. 
(11) Time passes; it flows like a river, and we directly experience this flow. 
(12) There is a present that is objective, that every living person shares, and that divides everyone’s past from their future
(13) The correct measurement of time is independent of the presence or absence of physical objects. [3]
 
 McTaggart’s A-theory is the fundamental way to understand time; ... past events are always changing as they move farther into the past; ... “now” is objectively real; ... ontologically fundamental objects are 3-dimensional[ibid]
Additionally, the BB points to a beginning for the universe, matter, space, time, energy. Pro ignores this contention. So, what makes Pro think that the universe and time were not created with humanity(tensed - past, present, future) in mind and that God, not the universe, is (tenseless, timeless, non-temporal - I AM)? It is a priori commitment.
 
Regarding Einstein's supporting B-theory, on,
1. General Relativity,
 
"When forced to summarize the general theory of relativity in one sentence:
Time and space and gravitation have no separate existence from matter." (Albert Einstein)
 
If one had a beginning, all had.
 
2. Special Relativity Refutations cause doubt:
2. Gratuitous Evil:
Pros P1 is false, rendering the conclusion void. 
  • God as sovereign has a purpose/reason for permitting evil so that good will come of it; the saving of lives for eternity. God made humans in His image and likeness, giving them the ability to reason, love (or not), and choose. Robots are programmed, not free to choose. God created Adam (the only human being, other than Jesus, with the ability not to sin) "very good," without evil. God gave Adam (our federal head) the chance to know God and freely love Him. Using his free choice, Adam took from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that God commanded he not partake. At the Fall, his nature was transformed by this knowledge of doing contrary to God's goodness. God separated Adam and Eve from their close relationship with His purity and goodness so that humanity would learn they cannot live a perfect life separated from God. History is our witness that humans do evil, yet God is merciful and gracious. Before Adam even sinned, God provided a solution to the problem of evil, His Son and His work on our behalf (those who believe) that meets both God's satisfaction and justice
  • There are two aspects of God's will, His permissive will and His sovereign will.
  • As a righteous Judge, God punishes evil in one of two ways; through the voluntary action and life of the Son, or we answer directly for our sin. Evil is addressed in God's time.
  • God will not take an innocent life without restoring it to a better life.
  • God is not the author of evil; humans are.
  • Evil does not vanish with a lack of belief in God. Pro recognizes there is still evil, even though he believes there is a "lack of evidence" for God. He still needs a suitable explanation for it, one I challenge he produces without an objective, immutable, absolute reference point. And what is "the good" to Pro? He sneaks away from answering.
  • When atheists label God evil, who are they charging?
  • How can Pro identify evil without referencing the good? 
  • Is justice ever achieved for the evil done in an atheistic framework (I.e., Stalin, Mao)? 
3. Anti-ontological Argument:
Pros P1 and P4challenged:
  • P1: Pros idea of the universe as "the greatest achievement possible" is subjective. I could argue that God's Word, His being, His plan of salvation, humans, and a myriad of other things are greater.
  • P4: Anselm speaks of the Christian God as the greatest possible being. The universe is not a being in the same sense of having sentience. By nature, the Christian God is personal, self-existenteternalunchanging, and true. He does not lie
  • A creator that does not exist is not a creator; it is illogical, impossible, and self-refuting. Thus, non-existence is not an option of such a God and does not follow. 
 
4. Occam's Razor(Plurality should not be Posited Without Necessity)**
The key is Pros two ontological commitments.  
1) Pro fails to supply what is necessary for Metaphysical Naturalism by only stating:
  •  the physical universe
  •  the governing laws. 
Pro assumes nothing is necessary for those two entities. They just are (circular reasoning).
 
"Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein(3:41 min)
 
2) I could claim that Theism has only two commitments:
 
  • the necessary God (Being),
  • His mind.  
God (the intentional, omniscient, omnipotent, immutable, omnibenevolent, eternal)explains why the universe exists. As simple as that. From His mind comes the governing laws; gravity, matter, space, A-series time, energy (the laws of thermodynamics). You neglect the cause or explanation of the physical universe and its laws for why they exist. Answer: It just is.  
3) Simplicity can be largely subjective as to what is necessary. And explanation would necessarily rely on good logic.
 
"We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are true and sufficient to explain their appearance." - Isaac Newton (3:32 min)
 
What does Pro have to   explain their appearance? Nothing. 
  
Rebuttal
 
1) LUQs - WA
See Atheism.***
 
Pro Voter Referral Rebuttal:
1. These are largely philosophical issues with a vast array of possibilities. The question is, which worldview is more reasonable?
2. With both points, I question whether this is science or scientism? See Examples ****
 
Pro answers "there is [no] atheist position" to my four questions. As an atheist (presuming), he does answer using a naturalistic explanation. 
I respond:
1. Without the uniformity of the laws of nature, science would be impossible (randomly different results). 
2. If the universe has no intentionality (random), Pro could not do science. 
3. Logic requires a mental process, as does a mathematical calculation. The laws of logic and the #1 is intangible and abstract, whereas physicalism does not explain their existence. As an atheist, what is the defacto position - physicalism, empiricism? Pro says we design mathematics to work. Not true. We discover laws operating before our existence and can express them mathematically. Physics describes a universe that is a mathematical system. Mathematics is mindful. 
4. A value(meaning) is qualitative, not quantitative. You can't touch the number 1, smell it, hear it, see it, or feel it, for it is an abstract CONCEPT. Where in your brain does it exist? Pros evolution of consciousness, what a laugh. It does not explain a) what is necessary for consciousness, b)how life comes from non-life, or c) how consciousness is physical.
 
Pro offers scientism as his lifebuoy. 
  • Don't know how the universe started? Plugin scientism. 
  • Don't know why mathematics is effective? Scientism!
 
Two Problems
1. The Bible attests to being a revelation from God, in which He says He made man in His image and likeness. It follows we never witness life coming from the non-living. It is assumed from Pros origins that it can, and the same about consciousness. The biblical position has what is necessary; life from the living. Pro can't say what is necessary. Thus, Christianity is more reasonable than his atheistic, physicalist beliefs. 
2. With God, one thing is no more complex than another since His mind is omniscient. He speaks, and it is so. 
 
iii) I gave reasonable proof. Pro does not accept it because of his confirmation bias. 
 
2) Biblical Evidence
 
Hume is not an authority on the Christian God. (Appeal to Authority)
What could be more reasonable than an omniscient being's existence and revelation, the greatest being conceivable? 
 
short and long refutation of Hume's "Of Miracles."
 
A
i) Pros argument misrepresents my argument. In conjunction with i) the other points (A-F)support reasonable evidence. 
ii) It shows that prophecy is reasonable to believe combined with all the other listed points. Secular history confirms tons of biblical events. 
iii) The Bible is a collection of different authors, some attesting that they had witnessed Jesus alive before and after the resurrection. Simon Greenleaf, a fine legal mind and expert on evidence, wrote "a Treatise on the Law of Evidence (3 vols.,1842–1853), and which remained a standard textbook in American law throughout the Nineteenth century." He "applied the canons of the ancient document rule to establish the authenticity of the gospel accounts, as well as cross-examination principles in assessing the testimony of those who bore witness to the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.[6] 
 
Pro would have to prove why it is unreasonable to believe the prophecies were written before the events. He did not. 
Secular historians attest to Jesus also. [7] And what is a reasonable explanation for the spread of Christianity? 
 
Harry Potter is a known fictitious person. You can't prove Jesus was. 
iv) The relationship is the unity or connectedness of the message.
 
B
i) The conclusion? The internal evidence (take Revelation [8]), time statements, audience relevance, and external evidence (see 10-20) makes it most reasonable to believe the gospels and epistles were written before AD 70; thus, the prophecy indicates it came before the event. The NT never mentions the fall of Jerusalem, one of the most important events in Israel's covenant relationship. It ended it, as warned and foretold. 
 
ii) The Daniel and Isaiah scrolls prove prophetic books came before prophetic events. 
 
C
Pro claims the Gospels were not written until at least 50 years after Jesus. What is his source? An atheist without credentials. Dr. Kenneth Gentry gives evidence that refutes Pros claims, Dan Wallace on the reliability of the NT.
 
D
Pro offers Lord Voldemort. How does the evidence relate in its detail and historicity? 
 
F
Pro offers biblical errors. Here is a list of alleged contradictions answered. Here is another. And another.
 
3) Morality and Ethics
First, Pro pigeonholes my position (GoG). Morality is a philosophical issue in trying to understand what is necessary for it and the more reasonable worldview for the Good. I did show what was necessary and explained why. Since Pros worldview lacks omniscience, is relative, subjective, and changing, how does he determine the good? He evades the question by redirecting.
 
Answering his points
1. Objective morality reflects God's nature. The Ten Commandments are laws we should and should not do. 
2. Without a fixed identity (A = A), how can Pro say something is good or evil?
 
Pro brings up the Is-Ought Problem. The is-ought problem reflects on how you get a prescription(what ought to be) from a description (what is). The is-ought fallacy comes into play with materialism, naturalism, or physicalism. It tries to stick an ought to an is. A description describes, not prescribes. 
 
Without presupposing God, Pro must answer morality from a naturalistic position or via the confines of his mind. Why should I trust those confines? Pro says, "there is no objective truth which can be derived." That is self-refuting. The statement claims objective truth. And how can he know that? It is more reasonable to believe that morals are objective or there are no such things. Does Pro want to say there are no such things? If not, he must develop a necessary objective, unchanging standard. I directly challenge him to do so or show me why what he says is "good" or "better" or why any other qualitative judgment he makes is so. 
 
 Pro again charges, "there is no such thing as an atheistic morality." He is right unless he can produce that elusive objective, absolute, unchanging, standard! He can't make sense of morality without first presupposing God. All the while, Pro uses qualitative terms (inconsistent). Pro does not have what is necessary to make sense of morality unless he borrows from the Christian framework. From the Christian perspective, I can explain why he knows some things are evil (like torturing innocent children for fun). Pro innately knows in his inner being that torturing children for fun is wrong, but from his worldview perspective (no God), can Pro say and show such things are 100% evil? He seems to think so because he charges God with doing evil. Or, once again, does all Pro has in explaining evil the retort that he doesn't like it (preference)? Is that more reasonable than the Christian position?
 
Pro then brings up the crusades, witch burning, and homosexuality. He must explain why he "feels" these things are evil other than his opinion. He has not done that. Pro is stuck claiming that atheism is not a belief; therefore, he holds no accountability for his thoughts. He can remain silent.
 
Pro then attacks the strawman. He switches the argument away from morality to economic growth and poverty. He thinks that because someone lives better, that makes them more moral. The question remains, how does Pro as an atheist, holding to naturalism and physicalism, devoid of God as his default, make sense of morality? He hasn't given an example he can make sense of it (that I am aware of), which I find more unreasonable than my Christian position. 
  
Conclusion:
Pro, as an atheist, or defending the atheistic position (of lack of belief in God) must show why his standing is more reasonable than the Christian position. He has not done that.


Round 3
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