Instigator / Con
Points: 49

Prove that your God is real

Finished

The voting period has ended

After 7 votes the winner is ...
vsp2019
Debate details
Publication date
Last update
Category
Religion
Time for argument
Twelve hours
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
One week
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
Characters per argument
6,000
Contender / Pro
Points: 39
Description
Which God do you believe in and why? Define your god and give me your best reasons for believing.
Round 1
Published:
You posted this in the comments section of my previous debate. I would like to respond to that in this debate here. 

"I'll give you my personal experience with God and His Holy Spirit:
I was in a Catholic church/school for a memorial for an aunt I'd never met. Off to the left side of the hall where they did Mass, there was a small, intimate room dedicated to the Virgin Mary. There was a small, blue-paned window, a statue of Mary, a red-velvet kneeling bench, and a bunch of lit candles.
As soon as I stepped over the threshold, my body immediately felt heavy, like there was not just one soul in it, but two. The feeling almost forced me to my knees, like it had a strength of its own, like it was a spirit. I looked over at the prayer bench, and I felt immediately drawn to it. It was compelling to the point of draining my strength. I turned away and walked quickly out of the room. But the feeling stayed, until I was on the other side of the hall, staring at stained-glass windows. It wasn't quick to leave either, and my knees shook.
Here's the kicker: other members of my family have experienced it. And there was really no explanation. The air wasn't any different, I was completely sober, and I'm the opposite of claustrophobic- I thrive in enclosed spaces. There was no explanation but the Holy Spirit."

I have a few things to say concening this experience of yours. 
>I cannot know what it is you experienced exactly as I am not in your head. 
>I do not believe that the experience you experienced went exactly as you said.
>I believe that you may genuinely believe what you stated above. 

Let me give some reasons for my opinion.  

It is probable that you surround yourself with people who said they experienced that too. You have heard these stories before. Therefore, you went in hoping you would experience that. You may not have explicitly thought that you wanted this experience. Deep inside, you most probably did. Now you went to that church/school with these expectations. I have been in churches multiple times before and the architecture is amazing, it is so quiet inside one can easily feel very calm, the scenery is amazing. It seems to me that once you experienced that, you immediately assumed you were experiencing a second soul in your body and all you stated above. However, it is much more likely that you went in expecting you would experience what everyone else did and tricked yourself into thinking that. 

Think of a Muslim child who goes into a Mosque and experiences the exact same thing you experienced. Their body feels heavy like there was more than one soul in there, they feel so intensely that they have to leave said mosque. This reminds me of my aunt who shares a different non-abrahamic faith. She went to a temple and experienced the exact same thing you experienced. Just like you, the child is sober and not claustrophobic so is my aunt. She never drinks or smokes and she is not claustrophobic. 

However, you three reach a different conclusion. 

>You became convinced of the Holy Spirit
>The Muslim child became convinced of Propher Muhammad
> My aunt became convinced of her paganism.

How do you know that your experience rightly leads you to your christian faith and not any of the other ones out there? In fact how can you show that this experience is not simply highly biased and very subjective. 

All of us are highly subject to all kinds of biases. If I am walking outside and see a pretty girl looking in my direction, I am likely to think she is checking me out. However, it could well be that she was looking at the guy behind me, she was looking at me but with disgust or that she was thinking at her own stuff but unconsciously happen to look in my direction. She may not even have noticed I was there. 

How do you know your conclusion(belief in your God) is reasonable?



Published:
Thank you for the opportunity to debate, and now I'll begin, using your response to my comment to start my argument. 

Firstly, I generally am with my mother and stepfather, who are not religious in any way. Both are agnostic. On the other hand, my father is a Baptist Christian, as is my stepmother, but I only visit them occasionally and over the summer. We rarely had theological discussions at the time of the encounter. Second, at the time of the memorial, I was an atheist. I believed in no god or spirits. I recognize that it is possible that I had a bias, however, it is unlikely. My father didn't speak to me of the Holy Spirit and how it felt to him, although I was forced to go to church with him on occasion.

You said: "I have a few things to say concerning this experience of yours.
>I cannot know what it is you experienced exactly as I am not in your head.
>I do not believe that the experience you experienced went exactly as you said.
>I believe that you may genuinely believe what you stated above." 

To answer:
> Good point, and I cannot expect you to.
> It is possible, as it happened several months ago. What I do remember most clearly is the feeling of heaviness and the fact that my body felt full. Too full. 
> And I do. 

"It is probable that you surround yourself with people who said they experienced that too. You have heard these stories before. Therefore, you went in hoping you would experience that. You may not have explicitly thought that you wanted this experience. Deep inside, you most probably did. Now you went to that church/school with these expectations. I have been in churches multiple times before and the architecture is amazing, it is so quiet inside one can easily feel very calm, the scenery is amazing. It seems to me that once you experienced that, you immediately assumed you were experiencing a second soul in your body and all you stated above. However, it is much more likely that you went in expecting you would experience what everyone else did and tricked yourself into thinking that." 

Whilst a valid point, I went into this Catholic church expecting to be bored by the sermon delivered in memory of my aunt. And no one had told me what the Spirit felt like ever. The only reason I went into that room was that I was curious. 

"How do you know your conclusion(belief in your God) is reasonable?"

I'll give you another story. One day, I decided to pray for guidance on the path of careers I should take. It was one of the first prayers I ever made, and I figured in prayers you're supposed to ask for something. 

So I do, and I go through the rest of my day, basically forgetting about the prayer I made. A few days later, I glance at a TV. There is an ad for the U.S. Navy on there. It looks appealing, so I search for jobs within the Navy, and lo and behold, there's a career I want to do: being a CTI. 

While it is possible that this was a coincidence, I don't think it is. Believing, to me, means suspending my disbelief to an extent. I think of the possibilities that God creates, and as such, it seems my prayer was answered. As they say, God works in mysterious ways. That is how I know it was God who I felt in that church. Because my prayer directly addressed to him was answered. 

Quick Question: What temple did your aunt go to?
Round 2
Published:
" Firstly, I generally am with my mother and stepfather, who are not religious in any way. Both are agnostic. On the other hand, my father is a Baptist Christian, as is my stepmother, but I only visit them occasionally and over the summer. We rarely had theological discussions at the time of the encounter. Second, at the time of the memorial, I was an atheist. I believed in no god or spirits. I recognize that it is possible that I had a bias, however, it is unlikely. My father didn't speak to me of the Holy Spirit and how it felt to him, although I was forced to go to church with him on occasion."

Just based on your account, it is clear that the theists who surround you tend to be Christian. You went to church on occasion. You probably met mostly christian people around you. Think of the Muslim child. He grew up in a society with mostly Muslims in there(his parents may be agnostics too but people around him are most likely to be Muslim). Think of my Pagan aunt. Her husband's family are all part of that faith so she is surrounded by them. Now think of a child whose parents are atheists, who lives in a society where god is never mentioned. That child has never heard of the word god, religion etc... That child has no idea what Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism etc even mean. What are the odds that the child will grow up to be a Baptist Christian?


You used the example of praying and seeing your prayer come true.  If you prayed and your prayer came true for you to find your career path, then  can you pray right now to cure every  terminal cancer patient right now? If it does not work, either your God is not powerful enough to cure cancer, your God cares about your career more than other people suffering painfully from cancer or simply there is no relation between praying and seeing the ad on tv. If your god actually cures cancer today itself in all the dying patients, we will hear about that in the biggest newspapers. This will go viral soon. So go ahead. It by then of the day I will keep an eye out for the news of every single dying cancer patient getting healed up instantly.

You failed to answer my actual question. I will repeat it here. How do you conclude that the experience you had can only be explained by the existence of the God you believe in and not anything else? I used the example of my Pagan aunt and a Muslim child to demonstrate that one can use your experience to justify different gods. So how do you determine that the only explanation for what you experienced can only be explained by your god? Out of respect for my aunt's privacy, I do not wish to divulge which religion she is a part of. Plus, it is irrelevant to my point. I only brought that up because she had the same experience that brought her closer to her faith.
So I will repeat my question:

How do you determine that the existence of your god is the only possible explanation for your experience?

Published:
"If you prayed and your prayer came true for you to find your career path, then can you pray right now to cure every terminal cancer patient right now?"

I could, but I doubt my prayer would be answered. Because God only answers prayers that come from the righteous and are for a good reason. If I prayed for that, it would be for me to prove I'm right and lord my edge over you spiritually. Not exactly a good reason. If I'm praying from the bottom of my heart, will no evil intentions whatsoever, then maybe they would be healed. But who am I to know what God's plan is?

"How do you determine that the existence of your god is the only possible explanation for your experience?"

I can't. I admit I can't. But it made sense to me because I was in a church, a place for God, and I was in a shrine to the Virgin Mary. Like I said in a comment on your previous post: 

"The room I entered was a small one, perhaps 10 feet wide and 12-15 feet long, with a ceiling 6-7 feet tall. (Apologies if you use the metric system.) It was placed to the left side of the hall, which was around 500 feet wide, 1000 feet long, and maybe 500 feet high. The room was filled with normal tea-candles, around 30-50 of them, all lit. As the door was open, I will argue that air pressure would not have changed in any way, shape, or form, as air would have cycled through comfortably. The heating system was not on, as it was a decently warm day, with no need for A/C either.

If I recall correctly, common sense and knowledge proclaim that fire produces smoke, which can reduce oxygen intake, which can potentially cause hallucinations. From smoke comes carbon monoxide. But, as I said before, the room was open, so there was no way for the smoke to collect in such a way that I would have hallucinated from lack of oxygen, as it was not a visible thing, but a physical feeling.


The only medication I take is Vyvanse, 30 mg of it, which CAN cause psychosis, but describes the only hallucinations felt as "seeing or hearing things that are not real. And this side effect is rare, very rare.


So I couldn't create a rational, scientific explanation for the phenomena. So I turned to the spiritual. It seemed to me that it was His Holy Spirit, as I was in a Catholic church. (There's that bias.) I might have missed something, but I do not believe so.
Round 3
Published:

"I could, but I doubt my prayer would be answered. Because God only answers prayers that come from the righteous and are for a good reason. If I prayed for that, it would be for me to prove I'm right and lord my edge over you spiritually. Not exactly a good reason. If I'm praying from the bottom of my heart, will no evil intentions whatsoever, then maybe they would be healed. But who am I to know what God's plan is?"

If you pray for that, you are asking God to save the lives of a lot of people here. You're not just proving you're right, you are also saving the lives of people. So if praying works, pray to your God to make this happen. 

I would like you to realise that it could well be that the one time it worked in your favour, this was just a coincidence. Because if it works, prayer should work everytime. Not just once in a while. Working once in a while is the same as just chance.

"I can't. I admit I can't. But it made sense to me because I was in a church, a place for God, and I was in a shrine to the Virgin Mary. "

Think about this. If you were in a Mosque and had that exact same experience, would you not be a Muslim today?
                            If you were in a Synanogue and had that exact same experience, would you not be a Jew today?
                            If you were in a hindu temple and had that exact same experience, would you not be a hindu today?

Being a believer in a God impacts your life in many ways. You should not have this massive worldview unless you are justified to believe it. I genuinely believe you are not a stupid person. You clearly know you don't have enough evidence to justify this belief. 

The experience you had, it could just be nothing. As you admit yourself, you don't have enough evidence to justify being a christian. 

"So I couldn't create a rational, scientific explanation for the phenomena. So I turned to the spiritual. It seemed to me that it was His Holy Spirit, as I was in a Catholic church. (There's that bias.) I might have missed something, but I do not believe so."

Let me explain to you why this argument is bad. 

You cannot explain how you felt therefore it must be the Holy Spirit?


Is it not more plausible that what actually happened was something else that has nothing to do with the supernatural even though you yourself cannot figure it out?

For eg I cannot explain how sand is formed because I am not an expert on sand. I am really dumb when it comes to that. However, just because I dont know how sand is formed, that does not mean that the only reasonable explanation is that the Holy Spirit created sand. The best answer is to say "I don't know". 

I understand you take these medications and I sincerely hope that, whatever it is you go through, that you get better soon. Take care of yourself.

Still, just bear in mind that sometimes it's okay to say "I don't know" but just because you don't know why something happens, you cannot then put a God there as the answer. 


I would like to show you these youtube videos, Its not really necessary to back up my position as my position is strong enough on its own.
They are a series of videos on critical thinking and how to formulate proper beliefs and how to improve your thinking skills. They are not related to religion but they teach
                                                                 https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLVrg5xLmCvhFp5oUTNUAmea6UJDPEhzyZ 
 
Whether you watch them and take notes and learn from them, that is all up to you. 




Forfeited
Round 4
Published:
My opponent has unfortunately forfeited their last round. I will now summarise our whole exchange today.  

Their main argument can be written in this form:
> This experience can only be explained by the existence of the Holy Spirit. 
>I have experienced this
>Therefore I have experienced this which can only be explained by the existence of the Holy Spirit. 

I am willing to agree that the proponent did have an experience. However, I don't believe that the explanation PRO gave is actually what happened. 

My rebuttal was against the premise: "This experience can only be explained by the existence of the Holy Spirit."

I pointed out how people of other faith explain similar experiences for their faiths as well. So I asked PRO how they determine that their faith is the only possible answer. PRO conceded that they cannot determine that. 

Then PRO went on to say that they could not determine the scientific explanation for what they have experienced.  Their exact words were:
"So I couldn't create a rational, scientific explanation for the phenomena. So I turned to the spiritual. It seemed to me that it was His Holy Spirit, as I was in a Catholic church. (There's that bias.) I might have missed something, but I do not believe so."

My response to that was simply that, just because you do not know what it is that PRO cannot explain what they experience, that does not mean they can put their God as an answer. The reasonable way to go is to simply say: "I don't know what I experienced." Adding any supernatural explanation without enough good evidence to back that up is unjustifiable. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. That which can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence. 

PRO mentioned that they once prayed for a job and saw an ad on tv about a job application the next day.

I responded to that by saying that they should now pray to have all terminally ill cancer patients. PRO responded that God would think that their prayer is not sincere. My response was simply that PRO would be praying to have a lot of people to recover and stop suffering. The fact that praying for this did not work simply indicates that prayer only works at the same rate as chance. In other words, prayer does not work. 


PRO state that they felt two souls in their body when they were in church. This is a common explanation by many superstitious people. However, there is little evidence to back that experience up. In fact, in most analysed cases, it turned out that the people actually experienced some form of cognitive biases(1). 

"The evidence of science, when brought together with an ancient argument, provides a very powerful case against the existence of a soul that can carry forward your essence once your body fails. The case runs like this: with modern brain-imaging technology, we can now see how specific, localized brain injuries damage or even destroy aspects of a person’s mental life. These are the sorts of dysfunctions that Oliver Sacks brought to the world in his book The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat.4The man of the title story was a lucid, intelligent music teacher, who had lost the ability to recognize faces and other familiar objects due to damage to his visual cortex."

The article goes into a longer depth but for the sake of the debate here, I will not post the whole thing. You can click on the source linked below to read the whole thing. To conclude, there is no reason to believe that PRO actually experienced a soul but there is even evidence that what they experienced can be better explained by psychological biases. Why go for this highly complex, unjustifiable explanation(with no evidence) when the simplest reason works just fine(PRO only experienced a psychological moment and then attributed all kinds of supernatural experiences to it)?

It is unfortunate that PRO did not respond to the previous round. It seems that PRO also recognised that they are not justified in their beliefs and I was genuinely interested in having a conversation with them. As I said, PRO seems intelligent and I am sure they can get to reason and develop a proper reasoning process that they can substantiate with evidence. 

PRO needs to bear in mind that no scientist(actual experts in the field) have been able to prove the existence of souls. In fact, they have been able to disprove souls in many cases. If someone would be able to prove the existence of souls, it would be the experts who have carried out all kinds of experiments. Proving the existence of souls would give them a lot of fame and money. Every news source would talk about them, they would make a lot of money if they could prove that. They have significant reasons to prove such a thing. If they themselves end up not be able to prove souls but instead they are able to prove the non existence of souls in most cases. 

"The only medication I take is Vyvanse, 30 mg of it, which CAN cause psychosis, but describes the only hallucinations felt as "seeing or hearing things that are not real. And this side effect is rare, very rare."

As I mentioned, I sincerely hope that PRO is able to get better and recover from whatever they are experiencing. There are plenty of resources available if they are looking for therapy. I will provide some a link below to professional therapists who will be able to help them(2).

This was an interesting conversation. My final advice:
(1) Look at the evidence first and then reach a conclusion.
(2) We only have this one life, there is no time to waste on believing falsehoods and basing one's life on that.
Sources:
     



Forfeited
Added:
--> @oromagi
Done.
#21
Added:
--> @bsh1, @Ramshutu
Thx, Ram. Bsh, pls. delete my vote at your convenience and I will re-vote with correction.
#20
Added:
--> @bsh1, @oromagi
For the vote competition I would only consider votes removed as insufficient as “removed votes”, revoting and changing your mind are fine and will not garner a deduction. Its within the spirit of the competition
#19
Added:
--> @Pinkfreud08
*******************************************************************
>Reported Vote: Pinkfreud08 // Mod action: Not Removed
>Points Awarded: 1 point to Con for conduct
>Reason for Mod Action: The vote was found to be sufficient per the site voting policy standards.
************************************************************************
#18
Added:
--> @bsh1
Let's let it ride. My motives are selfish and at vsp2019's expense for which I apologize to vsp2019 but I'm hoping the consequences to vsp2019 are minimal while the potential benefit for me could prove significant.
#17
Added:
--> @oromagi
I don't need to delete it, since a tie vote is not net-harmful to either side. If you're willing to leave it a tie vote, I can keep it. If you want it gone, I can delete it.
#16
Added:
Well, it may kill me in the vote-off but it wouldn't be fair to withhold for my benefit. I guess u need to delete?
#15
Added:
--> @oromagi
Would you like to re-vote, or leave it as-is?
#14
Added:
--> @bsh1, @PsychometricBrain
You are right. Haste makes Paste, I always say.
#13
Added:
--> @oromagi
Did you intend to cast a straight tie vote? Seems like you wanted to award conduct, but forgot to. Do you want me to delete it so that you can re-cast it?
#12
Added:
--> @vsp2019
I agree. I apologize for forfeiting, I had some things to do and unfortunately couldn't reply either time.
Contender
#11
Added:
--> @oromagi
I think you may have misclicked in your vote, the conduct point was awarded to neither debater in your vote.
#10
Added:
--> @Chitty-Chitty
Its unfortunate you forfeited both rounds but still it was fun engaging with you.
Instigator
#9
Added:
I was asleep, sorry.
Contender
#8
Added:
--> @Chitty-Chitty
I see it now.
#7
#7
Criterion Con Tie Pro Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
conduct to Con for Pro's double forfeit
#6
Criterion Con Tie Pro Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
This did not appear to be a debate. The resolution wasn’t well defined - neither side argued for their end of the resolution, and what was argued seemed more an interrogation of one parties personal experience. As such, it was not fully clear how what either pro or con fit into the resolution tarmac ans so it was not possible to weigh the arguments, or individual burden.
As a result I am forced to tie arguments.
Conduct to con for the forfeits.
#5
Criterion Con Tie Pro Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
"Pro ff 2 rounds which is poor conduct"
- pinkfreud08
I feel the same way about this debate.
#4
Criterion Con Tie Pro Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Pro ff 2 rounds which is poor conduct
#3
Criterion Con Tie Pro Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Forfeiture.
This honestly felt like a conversation between two people, and not a formal debate to be judged.
#2
Criterion Con Tie Pro Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Con rightfully pointed out that Pro's interpretation of his epiphany could well have been influenced by personal biases and that someone who was primarily surrounded by Muslims may have become deeply attracted to Islam because of a similar experience in a mosque. I also liked Con's reference to possible unconscious influences leading to the behaviour in the church which provides a naturalistic explanation contrary to Pro's supernatural interpretation. Pro tries to rebut this by explaining that his environment is not actually all that Christian, although it is evident that it still is primarily Christian as both his father and step mother are Christian. Pro then outlines his conscious expectation of boredom in the church, which does however not address Con's point that unconscious influences could have led to his religious experience. Due to forfeits in subsequent rounds, no further argument points can be awarded as there was no opportunity for Pro to defend his position. Therefore, arguments to Con as Pro's reasons for believing in God were questioned and successfully shown to not be convincing beyond reasonable doubt due to naturalistic explanations (e.g. unconscious influences) having just as much explanatory power and possibly even more as they can also explain the religious experiences of other faiths (e.g. Islam)
While I understand that 12h rounds can easily be missed, conduct goes to Con nonetheless as Pro accepted this debate with the knowledge that the time limit is short
As this debate centred around personal experiences, the only sources that were presented related to Pro's prescription medication use and air pressure having little influence on his religious experience, which while true, did not sufficiently support his position to warrant awarding sources points.
Both debaters had reasonable S&G although a bit more structure would have made the debate more legible.
#1
Criterion Con Tie Pro Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Pro forfeited 2 Rounds so in order for me to actually provide a vote based on other criteria I would have to see a complete debate. That wasn't the case so my vote is based on conduct and my reason is Pro forfeited 2 Rounds and Con didn't forfeit any Rounds.