Instigator / Pro

Does a god exist?


The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

Winner & statistics
Better arguments
Better sources
Better legibility
Better conduct

After not so many votes...

It's a tie!
Publication date
Last updated date
Number of rounds
Time for argument
One day
Max argument characters
Voting period
One week
Point system
Multiple criterions
Voting system
Contender / Con

pro: Argue in favor of god (me)
con: Argues against god.

The debate will take place in 3 rounds:
1: Opening argument
2: Rebuttals
3: closing speeches

Round 1
Hello folks, I would first like to thank Kiana for coming to this civil discussion. You mentioned that you were agnostic in the comment section, so I hope you can at least find viable evidence for God throughout this conversation. I'd also like to address my stance on this. I'm a gnostic theist, and I will argue this from a Christian view, although I won't argue which god it is specifically.
Addressing the atheist view
I would like to begin by emphasizing the substantial burden of proof required to negate the existence of God and, consequently, to render belief in Him irrational. It is essential to recognize that there are numerous arguments advocating for the existence of God, which I will expand upon later in this discussion. In order to establish a case for the non-existence of God, one would need to refute each of these arguments comprehensively.
Even in the absence of tangible evidence for God's existence, I maintain that belief in God remains a rational position to hold. As Blaise Pascal put it, we stand to gain immeasurably and risk nothing by embracing belief in God. However, it is crucial to note that the focus of this discourse is not centered on the question of belief itself but rather on the examination of whether God indeed exists and whether there exists substantial evidence to substantiate such a claim.
the evidence for God
Throughout these arguments, I will list a basic premise to make the arguments more intelligible and simple. In the rebuttal phase of this debate, I invite Kianna to identify the premises to which Kiana may object and the reasons for doing so.
1: The cosmos existence
This evidence focuses on the evidence for God's existence based on the universe. Why do we exist? The premises go as follows:
1: Everything that exists has a reason for existing, either found in an external cause or by the necessity of its own nature.
2: If the universe has a cause, that cause must be God.
3: The universe exists.
It then logically follows:
4: The cause of the universe is God.
5: God exists
I first feel the need to expand upon premise 2 and why that cause would be God. When we refer to the universe, we are referring to space, time, and matter, so whatever caused the universe must be spaceless, timeless, immaterial, and non-physical since it created space, time, and matter. There are only two things that fit this description. an abstract object or an unembodied mind. It can't be an abstract object because abstract objects can't do anything; that's part of being abstract, so it must be the latter, which is a traditional understanding of god.

2: the fine-tuning argument
This argument has no fancy premises; instead, I will provide you with numbers that suggest an intelligent design of the universe. [1]
1: If the initial explosion of the big bang had differed in strength by as little as 1 part in 10^60, the universe would have either quickly collapsed back on itself or expanded too rapidly for stars to form. In either case, life would be impossible.
2: Calculations indicate that if the strong nuclear force, the force that binds protons and neutrons together in an atom, had been stronger or weaker by as little as 5%, life would be impossible.
3: Calculations by Brandon Carter show that if gravity had been stronger or weaker by 1 part in 10^40, then life-sustaining stars like the sun could not exist. This would most likely make life impossible.
4: If the neutron were not about 1.001 times the mass of the proton, all protons would have decayed into neutrons, or all neutrons would have decayed into protons, and thus life would not be possible.
5: The chances of evolution resulting in humans were 1 in 10 to the power of 40000. That's a 1 followed by 40,000 0s, yet it happened; isn't that miraculous? [2]
quote for the evolution number:
" cannot have had a random beginning...The trouble is that there are about two thousand enzymes, and the chance of obtaining them all in a random trial is only one part in 10 to the 40,000power, an outrageously small probability that could not be faced even if the whole universe consisted of organic soup. If one is not prejudiced either by social beliefs or by a scientific training into the conviction that life originated on the Earth, this simple calculation wipes the idea entirely out of court....The enormous information content of even the simplest living systems...cannot in our view be generated by what are often called "natural" processes...For life to have originated on the Earth it would be necessary that quite explicit instruction should have been provided for its assembly...There is no way in which we can expect to avoid the need for information, no way in which we can simply get by with a bigger and better organic soup, as we ourselves hoped might be possible a year or two ago."
I would like to build on my previous list of descriptors for God. Based on this, I would also argue it's intelligent. I would also argue that it is immensely powerful to create space and time, a 4D concept. And also personal since it decided to create; it's not like the universe was caused by a natural fart. So the descriptors for this cause are:
immensely powerful
personal creator of the universe
These are all descriptors of God.

Challenging the rationality of atheism
The most common form of naturalism is that we live in a natural world that can be explained through our best theories and laws in science. In order for your world view to be rational, you must have an explanation for your rational thoughts. Rational thought is governed by the laws of thought [3]. If your view can't account for the laws of thought, then your view must be irrational. The issue with naturalism and the laws of thought is that science presupposes the laws of logic, so to use them to justify it would be circular reasoning.
3: The Resurrection
Alright, and now onto my final argument: the resurrection of Christ.
1) If the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth happened, then it must have been from God.
2) The resurrection happened.
3) God is real.
I first feel the need to justify the existence of Jesus of Nazareth; there are multiple writers from the time of Jesus who talk of him and Christians.
The first non-Christian author to mention Jesus is thought to be the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (born Yosef ben Matityahu), who wrote a history of Judaism in about the year 93, the famous Antiquities of the Jews. In his writings, he mentions a number of figures from the New Testament, including Jesus, John the Baptist,
In the Antiquities, Josephus writes: [4]
Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he [Ananus] assembled the Sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned
Scholars point to the Roman historian Tacitus for confirmation that the crucifixion of Jesus actually took place. In his Annals, he records the death of Jesus at the hands of Pontius Pilate: [5]
Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judæa, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind.
It is also worth mentioning what Tacitus wrote about the torture of Christians. [5]
Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired. Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man's cruelty, that they were being destroyed.
My point is, why would you lie about a resurrection if you got tortured for it and got nothing in return? This isn't some big-footed believer or ill-conceived spaghetti monster; this points to genuine belief in the resurrection.
I believe that the burden of evidence is far too heavy for Kiana, yet I am open to hearing her objections to the argument. Instead of attacking strawmen, I'll wait for Kiana's response.

[1] - THE FINE-TUNING DESIGN ARGUMENT By Robin Collins From Reason for the Hope Within
[2] - Fred Hoyle and N. Chandra Wickramasinghe, Evolution from Space [Aldine House, 33 Welbeck Street, London W1M 8LX: J.M. Dent & Sons, 1981), p. 148, 24,150,30,31).
[3] - The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. (1998, July 19). Laws of thought | Definition, Theories, & Facts. Encyclopedia Britannica.
[4] - The Antiquities of the Jews, by Flavius Josephus. (n.d.).
[5]  - Wikipedia contributors. (2023). Tacitus on Jesus. Wikipedia.
Thanks to Seth for initiating this debate. 

Burden of Proof
I would first like to clarify my burden of proof in this discussion.  I am, as stated, agnostic, however, since I have been given the burden to prove a Christian god does not exist, I will be arguing in favor of the atheist point of view, which is the belief that the existence of God or gods is impossible and (per Pro's wording) irrational.

The Spinoza Approach
Proving the impossibility of something is, as Pro pointed out, difficult (but not impossible). Proving the irrationality of something is a great deal simpler. One deals with an absolute, the other, perception. To tackle both, I will utilize the approach of philosopher Baruch Spinoza by demonstrating the existence of a thing that excludes the existence of the thing in question.

  • I can prove fire is not cold by demonstrating the existence of cold things and how their properties exclude those of fire. If cold properties do not include the properties observed in fire, then fire cannot be cold, and it would be irrational to perceive it as such. 
  • Similarly, if one one perceives occurrences in nature as designs by a Christian god, and if I, in turn, prove those occurrences to have scientific explanations supported by observable evidence, then the existence of said observable evidence is incompatible with the existence of a Christian god and will therefore exclude a Christian god's existence. 
For each argument in favor of God that Pro presents, I will implement the Spinoza approach to dismantle them.  By the end, the voters should decide between Pro and Con who has provided the more adequate evidence.

With that out of the way, I'm prepared to present my rebuttals. Pro appears to have already presented theirs in the opening round but can extend or present more in the official Rebuttal round if need be. 

Thank you

Round 2
Thanks to my opponent Kiana I am very thankful for this discussion and happy with her response.

Addressing The Spinoza Approach
To be frank Ive never seen the Spinoza Approach taken in a theistic debate although I am open to hear the objections and cant wait to address them in the closing speech phrase.

This draws my rebuttal period to a close since as Kiana said she is agnostic. Back to you Kiana.
Ran out of time, y’all. I’ll tackle my rebuttals and summary in the final round. Thanks, Seth, for your patience 
Round 3
sadly Kiana had a last second errand so she missed her deadline. I'm sure she had good reason so in this phrase ill address the judges so they may judge her arguments correctly. Since I cant address them like I intended to in this phase the judges will have to look on them with great criticism. She said she was going to use scientific evidence that could contradict my arguments. For example on the cosmological argument I listed she may say that the big bang is a reason for its existence even though the big bang doesn't refute it, in fact it reinforces premise 1. As pope Francis said: [1]
The Big Bang, that today is considered to be the origin of the world, does not contradict the creative intervention of God, on the contrary it requires it’
So I must empathize that the judges look on Kiana's arguments with great criticism.

Thanks for this civil discussion Kiana, back to you.

[1] - Jazeera, A. (2014, October 30). Pope: Big Bang theory does not disprove God. Science and Technology News | Al Jazeera.

Greetings, and thanks again for the patience. There are some personal matters that have unfortunately conflicted with this debate on my end, but I will try to be as comprehensive yet concise as feasibly possible.  I'll be addressing the main points of Pro's arguments and respond with the Spinoza approach for each. Pro's arguments will be presented in quotes for easy following. With that, I'll hop right into my rebuttals:

Rebuttal #1: The cosmos existence

1: Everything that exists has a reason for existing, either found in an external cause or by the necessity of its own nature.
2: If the universe has a cause, that cause must be God
3: The universe exists.
It then logically follows:
4: The cause of the universe is God.
5: God exists

"When we refer to the universe, we are referring to space, time, and matter, so whatever caused the universe must be spaceless, timeless, immaterial, and non-physical since it created space, time, and matter. There are only two things that fit this description. an abstract object or an unembodied mind.

There are two prevailing theories as to why the universe exists:
    1. The Big Bang - a rapid expansion of energy resulted in a domino effect of light, stars, atoms, and elements   
    2. Schwarzschild cosmology - our observable universe  is contained within a black hole that resulted from a self collapse in a larger, parent universe
Neither of these theories include an abstract body (for the first, energy is neither a body nor abstract, it is an acceleration of chemical resources, and for the second, a Black hole or "pre-universe" is not abstract either).
Nor do either of these theories include a deity, or "unembodied mind" as Pro put it, as no mind is involved for things to merely react to one another. Therefore with the existence of these theories, especially the Big Bang, which is the leading theory with evidence supported by the Lambda CDM Model, we can conclude that existence of a God in the "traditional" sense is excluded, and therefore not a viable explanation.

"When we refer to the universe, we are referring to space, time, and matter, so whatever caused the universe must be spaceless, timeless, immaterial, and non-physical since it created space, time, and matter.

Additional note on the above: the logical progression of this particular statement is dubious as something like matter does not *need* to be created from something that is without matter in order for to exist, in fact, there are three pieces of evidence that directly contradict such assumptions:
1. within the observable universe around us, matter is often and quite literally created from other matter.
2. the universe in its most base definitions is *all observable time, space, and matter* meaning it is ever-expansive and therefore has the capacity to generate itself as it extends, infinitely, in all directions.
3. something can be created from nothing. (this is particularly worth noting as pro-creationists may question where energy and chemical reactions come from).  

Rebuttal #2: the fine-tuning argument

Expanding from the above for the different theories. 

it's not like the universe was caused by a natural fart. 
it very well could have been. 

Rebuttal #3: The Resurrection
My two points of contention are simple here:

1. Mentioning of Jesus / versions of Jesus and his crucifixion doesn't prove a resurrection happened. Pro does not provide any evidence in their argument that suggests a resurrection occurred.
2. Even if a "resurrection" did occur, it wouldn't be evidence for a god.

There are plenty of historical figures that fit the profile of Jesus, and it makes sense Judaism would touch on it since it is an Abrahamic religion with cross-sections with Christianity. 
People have "died" and come back to life, and that has not been categorized as a resurrection. As it were, there is no evidence of anyone dying for three days straight only to come back to life. Pro also doesn't provide evidence of that, so I don't think I need to further expand there.

This isn't some big-footed believer or ill-conceived spaghetti monster; this points to genuine belief in the resurrection.

This is a great way to end this discussion because the conceit of my argument is that just because you believe in something doesn't mean that something is real. 

I thank everyone for their time.