Resolved: On balance, the Christian doctrine of Penal Substitutionary Atonement is ethically tenable.
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I, PRO, believe that, on balance, the Christian doctrine of Penal Substitutionary Atonement is ethically tenable. As CON, you believe that the Christian doctrine of Penal Substitutionary Atonement is ethically indefensible.
As instigator, PRO retains the BoP. CON is only required to rebut PRO's arguments.
On balance: All things considered.
Penal Substitutionary Atonement (PSA): For the purposes of this debate, PSA is defined as the doctrine that states that God, in the form of Jesus Christ, sacrificed himself of his own accord on behalf of humanity, paying the penalty of sin due to humanity in order to exercise mercy over humanity whilst upholding cosmic justice.
Ethically tenable: Not obviously or demonstrably unjust, all things considered. Able to be defended ethically.
R1- PRO Constructive & CON Constructive
R2-3- Fluid attack/defense. No set structure here.
1. No new arguments made in final round
2. No trolling
3. You must follow the debate structure
4. No plagiarism
5. Must follow debate definitions.
If the ruleset is broken, the penalty will be the loss of a conduct point. By accepting the debate, the contender accepts the RULESET and the RULESET PENALTY.
- RECALL that PSA is being defined as “the doctrine that states that God, in the form of Jesus Christ, sacrificed himself of his own accord on behalf of humanity, paying the penalty of sin due to humanity in order to exercise mercy over humanity whilst upholding cosmic justice.”
- When assessing whether a Christian doctrine is ethically defensible, we ought to understand the doctrine as the Christian would. Otherwise, CON will be debating a severely strawmanned perspective. In other words, we ought to understand the doctrine of PSA within the context of the Christian’s perspective, which assumes several realities: that there is a God, that that God exists as a trinitarian entity, that God is the moral-law giver and judge, and that sin (the violation of that law) exists and requires judgment from God to uphold the moral law.
- RECALL that “ethically tenable” is being defined as “Not obviously or demonstrably unjust, all things considered. Able to be defended ethically.” Thus, PRO's BoP is to show that a relatively strong defense of PSA can be made by the Christian. CON's BoP will be to show that the defense of PSA is weak. Furthermore, understanding what constitutes justice, or a violation of it, is key. And, in order to systematically categorize actions as just or unjust, a moral framework must be established.
Back to you, RM.
- Joel Feinberg and Hyman Gross, eds., Philosophy of Law, 2nd ed., (Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth, 1980), p. 286
- D. A. Carson, “Atonement in Romans 3:21-26,” in The Glory of the Atonement: Biblical, Historical, and Practical Perspectives, ed. Charles E. Hill and Frank A. James III (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2004), p. 133
- If you are a good Christian, you should be severely bemused by the idea of God using either his own body or son for the suicide-by-persecution arrangement that unfolded, primarily due to the omniscience of God.
- The entire idea is so utterly dumbfounded and irrational that there is no polite way to explore how absurd it is than to rip Christian ethical framework to pieces.
- This will have parallels to point 1 but essentially Jesus is either a severely abused and gaslit son of God or is impossible, either way around the PSA was sadistic and immoral under Christian ethics specifically due to how God treats Jesus in the situation and the way Jesus is duped.
- This has parallels to point 3 and point 1 but even point 2, the focus is that the duping of both Adam and Eve and later Jesus as well as all humans prior to Jesus and who grow up since Jesus with insufficient exposure to Christianity mean God's entire test of reality is broken and ethically untenable to be drawing conclusions on a human's soul/spirit.
- PRO reminds voters of PRO’s BoP: PRO must demonstrate that PSA is ethically tenable, that is, it is defensible to the point that it is not “obviously or demonstrably unjust.” Thus, for the purposes of this debate, as long as the question of PSA is sufficiently indeterminate to the voter, PRO has fulfilled their BoP. Similarly, if PRO can successfully sway voters that PSA is just, PRO has fulfilled their BoP.
- CON offers four main premises that he seeks to prove. PRO observes that these premises essentially boil down to two main claims: first, that God has structured the order of reality in an unethical way, which by extension condemns PSA as unjust, and second, that the “arrangement” of PSA was unjust as it was “abusive” in nature.
That said, the essence of CON’s case is simply this: “God’s ethical obligation was to structure the world such that PSA would never have been necessary.” PRO will respond to this claim.
- “...how exactly did God inhibit himself and why was God of a particular race, body type and even gender/sex of human, why isn't God a hermaphrodite? Jesus (known back then as Yeshua) was a male, probably more Hewbrew and Indian looking than anything like the simply brunette caucasian type of bodily, facial and hair structure that we see.
- “Why was this the form of God? What exactly was the idea? Even more interesting is that if God is capable of undergoing wilful split personality disorder on command, are the rest of us actually just personas that God has inserted into? This entire notion tears apart the fabric of Christianity. Why did God then mutilate himself at will by wilfully ignoring his omniscient awareness of Judas and the plot? Also, why did God let Jews, Hindus (of the Shaivism and Vaishnavism variety) and plenty of pagan variations of faith exist deluded and having an unfair shot at the test that determines if they end up in Christian heaven or hell beforehand.”
“Theists often will negate the idea of God being responsible for Eve's sins by the idea of 'free will' which is why I said, body, brain/mind and soul. That is a huge Kritik to their 'free will' scapegoat and drives home a point that does not require me to back atheism whatsoever. God makes the souls, knows their nature and has absolutely infinite precision and accuracy in knowing how they will respond to scenarios and react, in tandem with body and brain structure as well as hormones, to any stimuli, environment, situation so on and so forth that God provides them.What I am accusing God of is the idea of God itself/himself being responsible for Eve sinning, responsible for all of our sins.”
- Philosophical Considerations:
“The fact that his son (or split personality roleplaying as a son) had to undergo humiliation, isolation, persecution and all kinds of things to 'forgive' us and 'cleanse' us of the sins that primarily revolve around some women eating an apple... It's just absurd.”
“It would literally, not metaphorically but literally, be like me grabbing some random person, talking them into killing themselves and saying 'they died for your sins' and releasing every single prisoner that I could release since they no longer did their crimes. Why did I say random person? Jesus himself wasn't among the sinners... So...Or, was he? I don't even follow because if Jesus was human and came out of the womb of Mary wasn't he stained with the sins of Eve and those who followed her too?”
“apparently we all share blame so then how do we get judged as individuals and not a collective when at the gates with St. Paul and such and told whether we go straight to heaven, undergo rehabilitative purgatory or go straight to hell? I genuinely don't comprehend it.”
“…Was everybody after Eve sinned and prior to PSA via Jesus Crucifixion going to Hell?...Did Jesus dying flip it around then and send everyone to heaven since we were cleansed of sin?”
Isaiah 14:12“How you have fallen from heaven,O star of the morning, son of the dawn!You have been cut down to the earth,You who have weakened the nations!2 Peter 1:19So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.Job 38:7When the morning stars sang togetherAnd all the sons of God shouted for joy?Revelation 22:16“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”Revelation 2:28and I will give him the morning star.Numbers 24:17“I see him, but not now;I behold him, but not near;A star shall come forth from Jacob,A scepter shall rise from Israel,And shall crush through the forehead of Moab,And tear down all the sons of Sheth.
If this passage contains a reference to the fall of Lucifer, then the pattern of this passage would seem to fit that of the Ezekiel 28 reference—that is, first a human leader is described, and then the dual reference is made to a human leader and Satan.
It is significant that the language used to describe this fits other passages in the Bible that speak about Satan. For example, the five “I wills” in Isaiah 14 indicate an element of pride, which was also evidenced in Ezekiel 28:17 (cf. 1 Timothy 3:6 which makes reference to Satan’s conceit).
As a result of this heinous sin against God, Lucifer was banished from living in heaven (Isaiah 14:12). He became corrupt, and his name changed from Lucifer (“morning star”) to Satan (“adversary”). His power became completely perverted (Isaiah 14:12,16,17). And his destiny, following the second coming of Christ, is to be bound in a pit during the 1000-year millennial kingdom over which Christ will rule (Revelation 20:3), and eventually will be thrown into the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41).
5“Lord,” said Thomas, “we do not know where You are going, so how can we know the way?”
6Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. 7If you had known Me, you would know My Father as well. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.”
8Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”
9Jesus replied, “Philip, I have been with you all this time, and still you do not know Me? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words I say to you, I do not speak on My own. Instead, it is the Father dwelling in Me, performing His works. 11Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me—or at least believe on account of the works themselves.
12Truly, truly, I tell you, whoever believes in Me will also do the works that I am doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14If you ask Med for anything in My name, I will do it.
Matthew 19:26And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”Genesis 18:14Is anything too difficult for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”Job 42:1-2Then Job answered the Lord and said, “I know that You can do all things,And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.Isaiah 26:4-5“Trust in the Lord forever,For in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock.“For He has brought low those who dwell on high, the unassailable city;He lays it low, He lays it low to the ground, He casts it to the dust.Luke 1:37For nothing will be impossible with God.”Acts 26:8Why is it considered incredible among you people if God does raise the dead?Jeremiah 32:27“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?”
Psalm 147:5Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.1 John 3:20For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.Hebrews 4:13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.Jeremiah 1:5 ESV / 253 helpful votes “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”Isaiah 40:28 ESV / 241 helpful votes Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.Acts 1:24 ESV / 216 helpful votes And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosenMatthew 10:30 ESV / 216 helpful votes But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.1 Chronicles 28:9 ESV / 215 helpful votes “And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever.Jeremiah 23:24 ESV / 189 helpful votes Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.Romans 11:33-36 ESV / 168 helpful votes Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.Psalm 147:4 ESV / 164 helpful votes He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.Isaiah 40:13-14 ESV / 154 helpful votes Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord, or what man shows him his counsel? Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding?Job 28:24 ESV / 145 helpful votes For he looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens.Romans 11:33 ESV / 138 helpful votes Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!Isaiah 46:9-10 Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’Isaiah 42:9 Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.”Psalm 139:1-4 To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.Psalm 139:4 ESV / 128 helpful votes Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.Psalm 147:4-5 ESV / 123 helpful votes He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.Psalm 139:1-6 To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. ...John 21:17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.Psalm 56:8 You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?Job 34:21 “For his eyes are on the ways of a man, and he sees all his steps.Job 37:16 Do you know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge,Matthew 6:8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
1 John 1:9“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”Hebrews 8:12“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
If anyone sins, doing any of the things that by the Lord’s commandments ought not to be done, though he did not know it, then realizes his guilt, he shall bear his iniquity (Lev 5:17).Deuteronomy 24:16
Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children, nor shall children be put to death because of their fathers. Each one shall be put to death for his own sin (Deut 24:16).Job 19:4
And even if it be true that I have erred, my error remains with myself (Job 19:4).Proverbs 9:12
If you are wise, you are wise for yourself; f you scoff, you alone will bear it (Pr 9:12).Jeremiah 31:29-30
In those days they shall no longer say: The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge. But everyone shall die for his own iniquity. Each man who eats sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge (Jr 31:29-30).Ezekiel 18:20
The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself (Ez 18:20).Ezekiel 33:6
But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand (Ez33:6).Matthew 12:36-37
I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned (Mt 12:36-37).Romans 14:12
So then each of us will give an account of himself to God (Ro 14:12).2 Corinthians 5:10
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil (2 Co 5:10).Galatians 6:4-5
But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load (Ga 6:4-5).1 Timothy 5:8
But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever (1 Timothy 5:8).Hebrews 13:17
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you (Heb13:17).
- PRO’s BoP: “PRO must demonstrate that PSA is ethically tenable, that is, it is defensible to the point that it is not “obviously or demonstrably unjust.” Thus, for the purposes of this debate, as long as the question of PSA is sufficiently indeterminate to the voter, PRO has fulfilled their BoP. Similarly, if PRO can successfully sway voters that PSA is just, PRO has fulfilled their BoP.”
- PRO’s statement that: “in order to explore the topic at hand fairly, both PRO and CON must deal with Christianity as presented in the Bible and as best understood by Christian theologians. Otherwise, CON is not debating the genuine doctrine of PSA at all, but rather a new doctrine of his own invention.”
- PRO’s argument regarding Meta-Ethics: “Under the Christian perspective, moral law for humankind arises out of God’s command, and God’s command itself arises out of God’s own, invariable divine nature. Because of God Himself being the standard of morality, the Christian argues that God’s justice is necessitated and assumed by virtue of his Godhood, thus rendering any action he partakes in beyond human scrutiny. Thus, one ethical defense of the atonement is simply that it lies beyond human scrutiny. If this sounds like a simple cop-out, consider that human fallibility is highly assumed in Christianity.
- PRO’s argument regarding the framework of threshold deontology:
“In other words, given moral considerations of a certain weight, the rigid axioms of deontology can be permissibly suspended, such that party A’s unjust treatment of party B would be justified in the cosmic court of law in favor of minimizing other, disastrous moral ramifications.”
“Pro's framework is flawed. If Christians support an ethically untenable thing, it is ethically untenable even if they all support it. Furthermore, if I can prove their own ethical framework in other areas contradicts the entire purpose and viability of PSA, I have proven that they are wrong about their own ethics being tenable in the first place.Ethical tenability ought to rely on the framework that within that ethical realm there is a logical and justifiable way for the actions in PSA to match coherently and consistently with the rest of the ethics that you, as a reader, can say is correct and tenable to uphold for a Christian.”
The word deontology derives from the Greek words for duty (deon) and science (or study) of (logos). In contemporary moral philosophy, deontology is one of those kinds of normative theories regarding which choices are morally required, forbidden, or permitted. In other words, deontology falls within the domain of moral theories that guide and assess our choices of what we ought to do (deontic theories), in contrast to those that guide and assess what kind of person we are and should be (aretaic [virtue] theories). And within the domain of moral theories that assess our choices, deontologists—those who subscribe to deontological theories of morality—stand in opposition to consequentialists.