I thank my opponent for setting up this challenge. As per the rules we'll be discussing if the Christian God exists or not. For its historical accuracy and timeless relevancy, I'll be using the LOLcat bible translation but probably won't have to refer to it much. As you might guess I have BOP, and so intend to show said God is unlikely to exist. Nobody can definitively prove either way, but let's take this debate on the balance of probabilities.
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I’d also like to thank my opponent for graciously participating in what must be a very mundane and familiar debate topic for someone of his impressive online debate experience.
I’d also like to thank him for accepting Burden of Proof and acknowledge his comment that, “Nobody can definitively prove either way” – as I see this as an immediate capitulation on his part I’ll definitely be bringing that comment back up at the end, but in the spirit of things let’s kick around a few of the old faithful arguments for either side anyway.
Pro’s role in this debate is to prove that God does not exist. Con’s role in this debate is to show reasonable doubt to that assumption. I just want to be clear that it is not my role to prove God’s existence, as Pro opened with, “Nobody can definitively prove either way”.
I’m very happy to proceed with my opponent’s choice of scripture translation, although as it is a paraphrase translation, I’ll reserve the right to draw on a more literal translation if required.
So let’s kick right in with the impossible Burrito.
The argument centres on the claim that God is All-Powerful, and then creates an illogical scenario that creates a paradox. If God was able to perform the task, then in doing so he disproves his omnipotence. If he fails to perform it then, again, he has disproved his omnipotence.
It’s one of many fun little logic plays that people like to pull out, but as with most of them, is ultimately wrong.
There are two possible explanations for this scenario. Either one is enough to demonstrate that his scenario is flawed.
The first explanation is that God IS Omnipotent – but only within the laws of logic. I don’t believe this discounts his omnipotence, and I certainly don’t see how it proves he doesn’t exist. Imagine I am an amazing sculptor. I can fashion anything conceivable out of clay. I can do things with clay that nobody ever thought was possible. One thing I will never be able to do is to make the clay turn invisible. I can’t do that because I can’t alter the nature of the clay.
Translate this to your Burrito conundrum.
God created Burritos. He knows everything there is to know about them and is capable of breaking them down to a molecular level and rebuilding them into anything he desires. He can absolutely heat them up to impossible temperatures. He can change the nature of the Burrito because he created it. BUT for him to create something that contradicts who he is – is impossible. He is God and his nature says that he can eat a Burrito of any temperature. He can’t change his own nature.
There is absolutely zero evidence in the Lolcat bible that God ever goes against his nature. To the contrary, Psalm 102:27* says, “u wil last furevr but u iz alwyz same”
This is the nice answer to your Burrito Paradox. The other (lazy) explanation which I can use says that YES, God CAN create a Burrito too hot for him to eat, and then YES he CAN eat it. It is impossible to do this and remain Omnipotent, and yet he can do it because, " Nothin iz imposubl for Ceiling Cat."(Luke 1:37)
We simply can’t conceptualise how this illogical impossibility can happen or what it would look like, but the fact that he can do it PROVES he is God.
Don’t think he can do it? Prove it! You say he can’t and I say he can. Until we know which one of us is right, you haven’t disproved God’s existence.
Did Jesus Exist?
I have to confess my opponent actually lost me here. I had several issues with his information. I’d like to genuinely list them here so that he can elaborate me before we discuss this point further:
1. The actual “daily grind” of Jesus’ life is described in all 4 gospels as well as Acts. Not sure why John didn’t make the cut?
2. When you say that they build on Mark – is that because Mark was alleged to have been written first?
3. When you say “Every Scholar” accepts that the resurrection part was added to Mark, are you referring to the fact that there was an empty space left after vs 8 of chapter 16 in two of the earliest dated copies of this book?
4. What is the "Q Source"?
Also, while we’re at it, would my opponent be able to tell me exactly how many references ARE required to prove that a specific man existed 2000 years ago? Especially since that specific man was not a monarch or even a lowly government official?
Also bear in mind that although there are many verses in the Lolcat Bible to say that Jesus Christ the man and God the creator are one and the same, there are many alternate interpretations on this that would state that they are separate entities. Personally I don’t think that proving Jesus didn’t exist refutes God’s existence unless you can prove Jesus was God. If my opponent would like to do so, I welcome it, I certainly don’t have any immediate plans to do it for him.
What about Evil?
There wasn’t really much of an argument here to actually rebut.
My Opponent paints a rather cartoony image of God as being a 2 dimensional “fairly nice chap” and postulates that if it were possible for him to remove Evil, then why wouldn’t he?
The fact is that as the Lolcat Bible states, God’s character is actually quite complex. “Hu Ceiling Cat pwns 2 knows am comprenz stuf lak judgmt An knowz And comprens An stuf?“ – Isaiah 40:13*
To reduce anyone – let alone God, to a single characteristic is a little lazy and insulting. I know my opponent is neither of these things, so I'd invite him to restate this case a little clearer if he likes to.
Without further clarification I can only assume that my opponent’s point is that if we can’t understand why someone does or does not do something, then that means that that person, (or God) can not exist.
This is clearly wrong but I guess I could use Syfy’s decision to cancel “Alphas” as a rebuttal. The fact I don’t understand WHY they didn’t renew something they had the power to renew doesn’t prove that they don’t exist. (only that they had no appreciation for Ryan Cartwright's acting)
I honestly don’t think this IS what my opponent is getting at here, but it’s not really up to me to make his case for him. The fact is that Evil is in the world, so if my opponent thinks that that fact somehow means that God doesn’t exist than I’d be interested to hear how.
The Lolcat Bible is full of references to God interacting with Evil in its various forms, so the fact that it exists doesn’t really prove anything one way or the other.
I’d like to thank my opponent again for bringing a case forward for this resolution. I’d like to again remind the judges that my role here is not to prove God’s existence, merely to refute his “proof” that God doesn’t exist.
I feel like I’ve done that for the two points I was able to follow him on, and I’m very keen to see if he has anything else to add.
*I’ve discovered that the Lolcat Bible actually has some pretty terrible omissions and errors in the way it numbers the verses. For the record, the references I have listed here reflect the actual verse, despite the fact that the Lolcat Bible may have that quote assigned to a different number.
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I'd like to thank my opponent for continuing the debate.
I would be happy to debate the issues of "What is Evil?", "Why do bad things happen to good people?" and even "Does God cause Disease?" but my opponent's contention that evil exists in the world, (a fact I don't deny) really does not prove that God doesn't exist. To think it has any bearing on that fact only serves to highlight my opponent's lack of understanding about God's character.
My opponent asks why these things exist in the world - his version of God wouldn't allow them to. Unfortunately we are not argueing the existence of my opponent's version of God.
Vote Con. All the cool kids are doing it.
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Well as we head into the final round I’d like to thank my opponent for the enjoyable debate.
My opponent has sought to provide evidence against the existence of God by two methods. I’d like to address those two methods directly.
My opponent says that because he can’t reconcile his personal view of who the Christian God purports to be with the injustice and evil he sees around him and observes in the Lolcat Bible –God must not exist. He also questions how anything can be “All Powerful” and yet limited by the laws of logic.
It’s clear I need to address these issues to establish the fact that the God of the Bible is not an impossible concept that can be denied purely because of his character and nature.
Explaining the true character of God takes a lot more time and space than I have available here so I’m going to use the afore mentioned story of Job to illustrate the parts that my opponent is questioning. It’s clever because he used Job against me and now I’m using it to prove my point of view. Lols.
Job’s Bad day
Better not cash in those Bible lesson vouchers just yet kids. My opponent has missed a few rather important aspects to this tale.Let me boil it down for you…
Job was a righteous man. This is more than just good or religious, this means he did the “right” thing in the eyes of God. As a result God blessed him with lots of land, wealth, kids and a hottie wife. This blessing was not because he earned it. God doesn’t work that way. God blesses whom he chooses to bless. Anyway, God asks Satan if he’s noticed how righteous Job is being. Satan sulkily replies that that is only because God has blessed him so much. If God removed all the good things from Job’s life, then he would surely curse God. This next part is crucial. God commands Satan to go and test Job. He sets a boundary that Satan can’t kill Job, but everything else is fair game. Now Satan was an angel. He knew the true character of God. He probably knows at this point that he was going to be losing this one. This is me saying to Bobby Fischer, “I’m going to move my Queen there! You’ll be done in 5 moves!” and him smiling and saying, “Go ahead.” If I were Satan, I would have probably backed down. He doesn’t get a choice though because God commands him.
Satan goes out and proceeds to tear down everything that Job has been given. It’s pretty much the worst day ever for this guy. Job has no idea what’s happening and doesn’t know why he’s being punished. All of this takes part in the first couple of chapters. During the next 36 (long) chapters. Job is counselled by some of his mates. They all have slightly different angles on it, but it basically boils down to, Job is being punished for something he did. Finally, another mate comes along and tells Job to stop being a baby, he’s not being punished, this stuff is just coincidence. Through all of this Job stops short of denouncing God, although he sure would like an answer. Satan has been defeated.
In chapter 38 God himself makes an appearance. In one short speech he basically tells Job to sit down and shut up. He is God and has no need to explain his actions or decisions to Job. Job sits down and shuts up. God shows mercy and doubles everything that Job had before. Except the Hottie wife.
It’s an awesome book and although laugh-out-loud funny in parts, has an awesome lesson in the last few chapters.
What does this say about Evil?Firstly it backs up the claims made in other parts of scripture, (my opponent has already referenced a few) that “bad” things do come from God. This belief is crucial to the Christian faith because if God is not the first cause of everything, then he's not God.
Secondly, it illustrates the fact that what Man perceives as “Evil” is not always “evil”. By definition, “Evil” is not a positive, it's a negative. Evil is Sin. Sin is a lack of God. God doesn’t cause sin because sin is just a by-product automatically created when we go against God’s rules. WE create sin through our own bad decisions.
Look at Job’s story through the lens of hindsight; the bad stuff that happened to him has strengthened the faith of millions of Christians throughout the ages. Same goes for the various martyrs my opponent has referenced. As a Christian, Job’s experience teaches me that:
a) Life is not going to be rainbows and unicorns just because God loves me.b) When bad stuff happens, it comes from God. That makes it good stuff. I might not understand it, but I can believe it.
c) I don’t need to ask, “Why”. I know why. God wants it to happen that way for his purpose. Not even God likes a backseat driver I guess.
It turns out that God DID know what he was doing after all. He is playing the long game, and if you believe the Lolcat Bible, so are we.
Not understanding WHY God causes bad things to happen is not evidence that he doesn’t exist.
That whole Burrito business
I’ve offered two possible explanations for my opponent’s scenario. My opponent suggests that with offering the lazy one, I’m not meeting my burden of rejoinder. That’s not the case, it’s just that the explanation can’t be developed any further! It goes like this…
PRO: If God is Omnipotent, can he heat a Burrito so hot nobody can eat it, and then eat it?
PRO: What! How?CON: I don’t know. He’s God I guess. He can do stuff that’s impossible.
PRO: But that means he’s not truly omnipotent.
CON: No, not being able to reconcile God’s abilities with our understanding of logic makes us not as smart as we think we are.
I’m conscious that this explanation requires faith, so I’ve added the second explanation as well.
I’ve already explained that contrary to what some people think, the Bible teaches us that God IS restricted in only being able to do things that don’t run contrary to his being. The major new point my opponent introduced in his last round was that God IS capable of things like causing deceit.I don’t have space to address each of his examples individually, but it’s ok because Job’s story demonstrates how God can retain his holiness despite causing events that result in sin. If my opponent cares to read the context surrounding each of his examples, he’ll see that in each, it wasn’t God that was sinning, it was man. Yes, it’s a detail. Suck it up. God is in the details.
This might be best illustrated by the card game, 500. A Perfect round could be described as winning every trick with the highest hand. But a Perfect round could also mean losing every trick with the lowest hand. This completes a Misère call. It is impossible for one person to perfectly win and perfectly lose the same round. That doesn’t mean the player was not perfect in that round.
The inability to do things against his nature does not refute the fact he has the power to do all things.
My opponent refused to acknowledge that there are many branches of Christianity that deny Jesus’ deity. Many of these also deny the bodily resurrection. Even the Catholic church is shaky on this one. I don’t think that placeing doubt on the truth of the resurrection completes his burden of proof that God doesn’t exist.
He's right that physical evidence for this event is scant. We have a few eye witness accounts and not much else. This could be because it happened almost 2000 years ago and the main evidence literally got up and disappeared. And other than eye witnesses, what possible hard evidence could he leave anyway?
Faith is strongest when people believe without seeing. If God were to divinely reveal himself to you today in a show of lights a loud booming voice – how many would believe, and how many would be looking for a scientific explanation of what they experienced?
My Opponent can no more disprove the resurrection than he can the idea that God doesn't exist.
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I'd like to conclude this debate by sincerely thanking Admin for the effort he's put into organising his defence of the motion.
There are two possibilities. Neither one can be proven. Whatever you decide when it comes to the question of whether God exists or not will require science's old enemy, Faith. The problem is that your potential eternal life is on the line.
The evidence Pro has presented to you to convince you that should trust him that God doesn't exist is:
1) God's omnipotence is impossible because he can't heat a Burrito to point that he can't eat it. I've explained that this is a illogical paradox. This creates an issue where God would have to go against his own being. The fact is that God can manipulate everything, and nothing can manipulate God. That makes him all powerful. I've used the Bible to demonstrate that there are actual several limitations to God's omnipotence, all pointing to fact the fact that he can't do something that would deny his own nature.
There is also the less-tasteful-but-just-as-valid idea that God CAN have it both ways. We can't even begin to understand how that would be possible or what it would look like, but if anyone could pull it off, it'd be God. This answer, while seemingly absurd, is just as absurd as the hypothetical initial scenario.
2) Jesus. My opponent tried to create doubt around Jesus. First the fact that he existed at all. When that was looking shaky, he shifted and focussed on whether Jesus rose from the dead. He claimed that by disproving Jesus' resurrection, he would prove that the Christian God couldn't exist. He completely ignored the fact that many branches reject the idea of a bodily resurrection, including, most recently, the Catholic church. Ultimately the case against Jesus comes down to one expert vs another. Nobody knows where Jesus' body is. Does that mean he rose or was lost? Yes we have eye witness accounts, but do you believe them? Again, one expert says they are credible, another says they are not. Reasonable doubt, more information required.
When this point is boiled down, I don't see that there is any evidence against Jesus or the resurrection significant enough to stake my life on.
3) Evil. My opponent tried to convince us that God could not possibly exist because his character runs contrary to the evil we see in the world today. Unfortunately the incorrect idea that God is some super nice guy who rewards the good and punishes the bad like some sort of cosmic referee is an opinion held by many people today. Even some Christians push this view and then struggle to explain why they find themselves being subjected to the same trials and tribulations as the non-believers.
The FACT is that the Bible is very clear on the character of God. It reveals a God who is real and three dimensional. Not some made up character in a mildly diverting story. I explained some of the more obvious things referenced, Bad things happening to Good people, why God allows his elect to suffer... it is beyond the scope of this debate to describe and explain every attribute of God.
But it's ok because, IF God exists, it is entirely reasonable that we mere humans would not be able to fathom the reasoning behind his actions. The Bible is VERY clear on all of the issues my opponent has raised and while we might not like some of the answers, we can't say that they are not there.
There is nothing in this point that supports the idea that God doesn't exist - there never was.
Other than explaining away the alleged contradictions and errors my Opponent bought up, I have not presented a case to support God's existence. This has been a deliberate action on my part. My role here was not to convince you that God exists, only that there was no significant obstacle to that belief. People voting CON will not be saying they think God exists, only that I have successfully defused my opponent's evidence to point where, well, it could go either way.
There was more evidence he could have bought up, but he didn't. Many of his points demonstrated a real lack of understanding of what the Bible actually says about God and his character. The way he speaks about the eye witness account of Mark makes it clear that he sees it as a story rather than a historical account. With this preconception it's understandable that he finds the actual content not quite as readable as the Hunger Games.
Ultimately his case for the motion was entertaining and persistent but was it enough to base your eternal life on - or would you want more?
Thank you for following this debate.
The Cool kids, the Nerds, the Jocks, even the Drama Geeks; they're all voting CON. You should too!
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