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The existence of evil in the world makes it unlikely that the Christian God exists

4 points
0 points
adminadmin (PRO)
I thank my opponent for posting this challenge.

Christian God: The God described in the Bible. In general I'd like to use the NIV Bible, but am happy to go to the earliest original source texts if needed.

It is my contention in this debate that logically, the existence of evil precludes the existence of a Christian God.

Who is this "God"?
I'd like to highlight three particular traits of God in this debate.

First, god is good. I'll get to what exactly good and evil are in a second, but we don't need to deal with that yet because the Bible tells us this in abstractions. Luke 18:19 for you:

"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone."

The "Jesus" cited here is commonly known as Jesus Christ, whom Christians take their name from. As can be seen in this passage, Christians believe that God is good, and that God is in fact the ultimate standard for goodness.

Second, God is omnipotent (all powerful). In Job 42:2, Job says what he knows for certain about God:

I know that [God] can do all things; no purpose of [God's] can be thwarted.

Third, God is omniscient (all knowing). 1 John 3:20 states:

God... knows everything.

And fourth, God is omnipresent. Proverbs 15:3 remarks:

The eyes of the Lord are everywhere...

What is evil?
IF the Christian God is real, then evil MUST mean the absence of God. God is the ultimate standard for good after all, so if God was everywhere, everything would be good. However, God is also omnipresent, leading to a contradiction, since some things are bad. Think this is the best of all possible worlds? Then listen to Justin Bieber's song "Baby"; it will shatter that illusion in a moment.

Let's not presume God is real though. In this sense, evil is instead a lack of whatever is morally right. Philosophically, this is known as being ethical. However, standards on ethics tend to differ between societies. For example, I'm a committed pacifist, and yet statistically, you're probably not. In this light, being perfectly good is inherently self-contradicting. This can easily be externally validated in that I happen to not believe the God of the bible is always particularly good in his deeds.

But on a much wider level, the peculiar combination of good/all-powerful/all-knowing has long been recognized as inherently self-contradicting. To cite the famous riddle of Epicurus:

"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"

I look forward to reading my opponent's defences to these arguments.

The resolution is negated.

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-10-19 09:26:53
| Speak Round
zschmollzschmoll (CON)

The problem of evil can essentially be put into a proof form which I hope my opponent will not object to me organizing into a valid form of modus tollens.

1. If an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent god exists, then evil does not.

2. There is evil in the world.

3 Therefore, an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent God does not exist.

I will first address the two main points raised by my opponent in reverse order.

1. “Let’s not presume that God exists.”

There are many belief systems where the problem of evil is not a problem. Take Greek mythology. The deities had as many flaws as the humans they were ruling. Therefore, the problem of evil does not presume to address gods in that context because those gods are not omnibenevolent, omniscient or omnipotent. As a result, if we don’t presume that God exists, our debate is not going to get very far, and neither one of us has enough space to address all the possible arguments for the existence of God. I’m going to assume that we disagree on this one, but since the question asked about the Christian God, we have to at least suppose for the sake of argument that it is possible for God to exist unless the problem of evil shows otherwise.

2. “Evil must mean the absence of God”

My presence at a baseball game does not mean that I am a baseball fan. There might be an infinite number of reasons why I’m there, and none of them might be related to baseball. To bring this back to the argument, it hardly seems contradictory that God cannot exist in a world where evil does.

This brings me to my main point. In the logical proof above, this seems to be the insertion of an assumed premise.

There seems to be an assumption that God cannot possibly have a reason for the existence of evil. Note that I am not saying that God created evil. Rather, I’m saying that in this formulation presented by my opponent from Epicurus, there is the assumption that God would be created in our image. Because we see something that we believe God should not allow for, we question whether or not God can be all three of these things. That is a large presumption on our part to explain to understand and know the mind of God and to conclude absolutely that He would not be able to have a sufficient reason for allowing the existence of evil.

Of course, this will undoubtedly raise the question from my opponent which I will start to address here although I am sure we will talk about further.

What possible reason could God have for allowing evil to exist?

I am going to provide a possible reason although I do this with full recognition of my previous point that it is entirely possible for God to have a reason beyond what I present here.

However, when evil entered the world, it came through the rebellion of people against the will of God and His commandments. These people made a decision. Making a decision implies free will. This might be an area where my opponent challenges, but it seems to experientially hold true that each one of us has free will.

If that is true, then within the Christian worldview, God would have given that will to humanity since nothing was created without God.

Why would God give humanity free will if it had the potential to be abused and turned into evil?

Perhaps because it is only through free will that love is possible. Love cannot be coerced, and if God wanted to have a true relationship with His creation as opposed to a planet of robots, then perhaps free will had to be necessary even though there was risk involved.

Ultimately, I’m sure we will debate this more, but at least in this opening statement, I hope that you can at least see how it is possible that God might have had a reason for allowing evil to exist which would therefore mean that my opponent’s claim is refuted.

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-10-19 13:50:40
| Speak Round
adminadmin (PRO)
I'd like to thank my opponent for continuing his case.

I'd like to begin by noting that in the previous round, I outlined a number of attributes of God. I further provided scriptural support for each of these. None of them has been challenged by my opponent, so we can presume agreement on them. I also note that con has not challenged the existence of evil, and presume that he has heard Justin Bieber to prove it.

Con's Case
At the very outset, I have an inherent problem with how con has framed his case. Con has agreed to my attributes of God, one of which is that God is perfectly good. Perfect goodness implies that God could not be more good. Even if there were some reason God had to allow evil to exist, that reason may be sufficient to a benevolent God, but cannot be sufficient to a perfectly good God.

Con begins his argument by claiming free will exists. We deny this. We make decisions entirely consistent with the findings of brain science. At a broad level, the human decision making process has been mapped already, it's just not something connected to our consciousness. Let me provide two examples of this. First, humans often make decisions they are barely conscious of. For example, most of the time, the human body isn't making a conscious decision to breathe, it just decides it. And second, we know (source) that the brain makes decisions well before we are conscious of them. Therefore experience isn't a particularly relevant factor. Our decisions are nothing more than the outcomes of the interaction of chemicals in our brains.

He claims this free will allowed a rebellion against God. You can't "rebel" against something all-powerful. This is true by definition.

He finally claims free will is required for love, which cannot be coerced. First, if love is merely a chemical interaction, then yes, it totally can be coerced. Second, con does not prove that love is good. We note that love can be just as destructive and creative, and therefore, don't accept that a world with love is the most good. Third, an army of robots is all a perfectly good God could allow inherently, because perfect goodness implies goodness is objective. Since there's only one standard of goodness, anything that isn't the same as that standard doesn't meet that standard. The very idea that God created anything at all is thus self-defeating.

In general con's case implies God is a reasonable fellow with a tendency to be nice, not the perfect standard of all goodness. Further, we find it pretty crazy that god needs to make trade-offs in the first place, since he is all powerful. He could change the laws of logic to allow free will and perfect goodness to co-exist.

My Case
I raised 3 points in this debate.

Evil = absence of God
God's relationship with good isn't like him attending a baseball game. It's like him BEING the game of baseball.

This is pretty easy to understand. In the Christian worldview, not only is God "good", but nothing else is good compared to God. Therefore God is perfectly good. If you're perfectly good, you're the standard for goodness. If you're everywhere, you're part of everything. Therefore everything is filled with the perfect standard of goodness. Think of Hitler like a stadium - if the game of baseball came to him, surely there'd be a game?

Good is self-contradicting
My opponent missed the point here. This argument also does not presume God does not exist. It simply shows that disagreement over ethics proves that one man's good is another man's evil. This lends itself to the fact that good is subjective, not objective, and thus "perfectly good" makes no sense.

Epicurean riddle
My opponent basically takes a position - god is able, but not willing. The riddle continues in this line "then he is malevolent". It's pretty clear that if somebody has the power to stop a crime, and doesn't, then they are in part responsible for the resulting harm. Such cannot be perfectly good.

The resolution is affirmed.

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-10-21 10:36:24
| Speak Round
zschmollzschmoll (CON)

I want to thank my opponent for continuing his case.

To respond to his responses about my points:

Free will is a debate in the scientific and philosophical communities. However, I would encourage you to read the source that my opponent has posted. Prominent scientist Chris Firth points out near the end of my opponent’s own source, “We already know our decisions can be unconsciously primed,” he says. The brain activity could be part of this priming, as opposed to the decision process, he adds.” This is not a settled issue in science as my opponent wants to believe it is.

Therefore, when you compare the fact that some scientists argue that free will does not exist with the evidence that other scientists believe it does and our experience with reality seems to point towards the fact that we make our decisions freely, the evidence seems to tilt towards the existence of free will. It certainly seems rational to believe that which simply conforms to reality in light of no real consensus to dispute that.

Changing topics, my opponent claims that you cannot rebel against something all-powerful. I claimed that God gave humanity free will. Therefore, while God could have quashed the rebellion, He will simply gave up His right to control humans as robots. That does not make Him any less omnipotent if God chooses not to utilize a prerogative He has. 

Certainly, love can be a bad thing. It can be perverted and twisted. However, when a God such as the Christian God who is by definition perfect as I agreed to above, then I don’t see how the love of God could be anything less than perfect love. That simply follows if the definition is correct.

If God is good, then He can create things that are good. It is like humans have offspring that are humans. Humans are capable of creating others humans. Therefore, a good being is able to create something that is good, namely the universe in the beginning. Free will is not a bad thing. I emphasize that because it is the abuse of free will that is the problem. It is certainly not self-defeating that God would create anything. That doesn’t follow.

One final point my opponent brings up about my case is actually very important to address, but I ran out of room in the first round. Did God have to make trade-offs? I do believe God is all-powerful, but being all-powerful and being able to do that which is logically impossible are different. If God wanted to create people that had free will, then they had to be free. God said that say that people have free will and then dictate what those people did. That is inherently contradictory.

I will continue my position then with the question posed by my opponent. Could God change the laws of logic? It seems to me that God did not create the laws of logic. Rather, they are the evidence that we see in the world of a consistent and comprehensible system inherent in the mind of God. The universe is logical because It is not as if the laws of external to God, but they are part of His character inherently.

A few quick challenges to my opponent’s positions before I wrap up for this round.

He asserts that evil is the absence of God. He asserts that God is part of everything. Christian theology does not teach that God is part of everything. In the definitions agreed to above, it speaks about God being aware of and seeing everything, but I would not agree to this kind of pantheism that God is in the trees and rocks as a part of everything.

In regards to his second point, if the Christian God exists, then it really does not matter whether people disagree over the definition of good. God is the lawgiver.

In regards to the riddle, it is a huge assumption to believe that there could be no possible reason God would not allow evil for a greater good. 

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-10-21 11:45:41
| Speak Round
adminadmin (PRO)
Thanks again to con.

Con's hardly done enough to answer me
In the last round con gave barely 5 sentences of attention to my case, and left most of my analysis uncontested.

It seems to me...
Disregard con's personal beliefs that have no support in the bible. They're not relevant to this debate.

Unsettled issues
It is not my burden to settle whether the christian god exists or not. It is simply to show that the existence of evil calls into question the existence of god. Of course it's entirely possible that God exists and evil exists, but that paradoxically, evil is still problematic for our understanding of God's existence. That's all I need to prove to win this debate.

For the record, if you read the source, it notes that the evidence isn't tilted at all, but my opponent hasn't provided any evidence anyway.

The christian god isn't some old man on a cloud
There is literally zero support for this view. God isn't some dude who is weighing up how to make the world as good as possible like con implies. There are too many problems with that, and indeed, it directly contradicts the bible. For example, Christianity teaches that God is unchanging and the standard for goodness.

In this sense, Christians define good as being "god-like". Therefore, there is no possible way God could "allow evil" in a Christian theology, any more than the game of baseball can allow participants to play soccer. God cannot do anything evil, because if God did, Christians would define it as "good" - of course, given that God doesn't change, Christians believe this is a perfectly objective standard.

Oh, and no, I didn't assert this. I took this from the mouth of Jesus in round 1. God is the perfect standard for good.

The christian god can do illogical things
Having established that god is omnipotent, my opponent has managed to catch himself in a contradiction, as he now claims god has limited omnipotence. When the bible says God can do all things, it evidently means all things, not just all logical things, or all things con wants it to mean. If con is setting this debate in a Christian context, he better be able to back this up with scripture, and resolve this basic contradiction.

God rebelled
Con is now claiming the people didn't rebel against God, but God against the people, by "giving up control". Here's the issue with that: if free will is an expression of our own rationalizations of costs and benefits, then the costs and benefits of doing good and evil had to exist prima face. If evil did not exist before free will, we could not have chosen it when God gave up on humanity.

God's love as perfect
Even if God's love was perfect, con's case calls for maximizing human love, since all agree that for God's love, no evil is required.

Con missed my point on the army of robots
Cool name aside, if the universe was "good" in the beginning as con asserts - was the universe God? No, because it was "less good". And that requires a different standard to exist, which we might call "evil".

God did not have to make trade-offs
Con still ignores that a world without human love and without free will would be more "good" in christian theology than the actual world we're stuck with.

We note that God's presence is literally everywhere, not just his perception. This is repeated frequently in the bible, but God himself says this in Jeremiah 23:24.

It matters that people disagree
Even if God were the "lawgiver", who's to say another couldn't define the word "good" in a different way? Isn't that inherent to the idea of free will?

Since good is an expression of a moral outcome, and our moralities differ, the concept of perfect goodness undercuts the idea that God could exist in the first place, since you cannot maximize a moral outcome that you cannot objectively define.

No possible reason
Even if God had a good excuse for being malevolent, it doesn't change the fact that God is malevolent.

The resolution is affirmed.

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-10-23 02:26:41
| Speak Round
zschmollzschmoll (CON)

Thanks again Pro.

In response to his claim that I did not contest his case, I did that in both rounds. I don’t want to use up my limited room with things I have already said, but please refer to the previous rounds.

For the record as well, I do agree that we are not debating the existence of the Christian God.

Another slight clarification which I guess is a term we have never defined, but you need to show it is unlikely that God exists rather than problematic. Since we never defined unlikely, I have been assuming less than 50% probability. After all, then something else would be more likely. I just wanted to clarify what I have been assuming, and if you have been assuming something different, maybe we better sure we are on the same page.

I think you have misrepresented what I meant by tilted. The scientific evidence is still up for debate as regards to whether or not free will exists. Your article shows that there are scientists on both sides. Therefore, I said that in the case that we do not have definitive scientific evidence on either side, our own human experience is the next best thing to refer to in this situation. Therefore, it seems reasonable to choose the one that corresponds with the reality of our understanding that we have free will.

I have never made that representation of the Christian God as an old man on the cloud; simply a straw man. However, I would contend that if the Christian God has created, then at some point, He certainly made decisions about how to create.

It seems to me that you keep wanting to come back to this idea that God created evil, and that Christians are determined to justify even the evil that you claim God created as good. I have not said that at all. Rather, I have said that God gave humans free will which is good. If free will is good, then God did not create evil but rather humans have committed these acts by abusing the good thing God provided. In order for you to continue this line, I think it is necessary for you to now claim that free will is bad. Otherwise, I have provided a probable reason that God provided something that is good to humanity but has been abused by humanity which disputes your claim.

In regards to God not being able to do illogical things, I will start from Genesis 1:1. If God created the heavens and the earth, then it was impossible that God did not create the heavens and the earth. I don’t see how that is a contradiction of omnipotence. However, if you are claiming the position that it is possible for God to have the power to do illogical, then certainly the problem of evil is no problem. Your alleged contradiction is undercut, so if I can play by those rules, the debate is over now. Will you let me?

How is God rebelling against humanity the equivalent of Him providing them a gift of something that was good? Please expand in the following round.

Sure, maximizing human love particularly of God. How could humans have a relationship with God if they could not love Him?

Army of robots: a good God can create a good universe. Like can create like. No issue

Trade-offs: you have made the claim it would be better. Please expand on why.

Pantheism: this problem is not even a problem if God has a sufficient reason for allowing evil.

In regards of defining good, I did not say that human perceptions cannot possibly be different, but rather I said that there is one standard of good. We have the free will to say whatever we want, but if God is the lawgiver, it doesn’t mean that our perception changes that standard.

God being malevolent: if God has a sufficient reason, then how can you classify Him as malevolent? If God does not have a reason, then you may.

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-10-24 03:45:33
| Speak Round
adminadmin (PRO)
Next best thing
First of all, con has never responded to any of my unique points for why our experience isn't a good measure. Second, just because scientists disagree on a topic does not invalidate the conclusions of a scientific study. And third, we deny that our experience lends us to a certain conclusion on this topic. I've noted several examples of this, such as unconscious decision making, as counterpoints con has never engaged with.

God as making decisions
There's two inherent contradictions here. First, we have already established that God is immutable, and therefore incapable of decision making - the decisions are already made. Second, we have established God is omniscient, and therefore would know what he would decide without needing to even make the decision. This is profoundly relevant. God cannot allow a little evil for a lot of good - that trade off is logically inconsistent with the nature of god as the bible describes him.

Free will as a force for evil
It logically follows that if free will is responsible for all evil, and god created free will, then god caused the existence of evil, because but for the concept that god created free will, evil would not exist given that premise. It's not a simple "free will is either good or bad" dichotomy - it might be a bit of both.

"If God created the heavens and the earth, then it was impossible that God did not create the heavens and the earth."
This is an application of the law of the excluded middle, a principal in logic. Genesis 1:1 does not state that god could not have broken the law of the excluded middle in creating stuff. The biblical position, which I cited last round, is that god could have done these things, even if he didn't do so here. Further, there's no reason to suppose he didn't: the bible also doesn't go on to say "... but god didn't also not create the heavens and the earth, for that would be impossible for the Lord", and thus it is wrong to exclude this in a christian theology.

If God can do the illogical, there is no problem of evil
Even if this were true, to believe in god one would then need to believe in the existence of an entity which can do the illogical, which is quite a stretch. If god absolved himself illogically, it hardly engenders faith. The problem of evil, though, is as much a problem with the world as with God, since if the world does not exist, neither do good nor evil, and the problem goes away. Since the world is logical, even if God were illogical, the problem of evil would remain.

Free will = good gift
God made non-goodness permissible with the gift in con's view, and in so doing, limited his own exercise of power, which is bad because as we've established, in Christian theology god's power and goodness are literally the same thing.

How could humans have a relationship with God if they could not love Him?
This hinges on human relationships with god being good, something that con never proved. God never had to make a trade-off.

Why would it be better without? Because then there is no trade-off, and no evil, and nothing but good. Good is better than evil, so in Christian theology, free will is bad. Instead Christianity calls its followers to submit to the various moral codes outlined in the bible.

Good god can create a good universe
Except God clearly didn't. Both of us agree that God failed to create a good universe.

"if God has a sufficient reason for allowing..."
This is old-man-on-a-cloud thinking. God doesn't "allow" evil, and if god did, then that "evil" would be good in christianity. I've explained this in every single round, so I hope the message has come through by now, given that it's never been answered.

There is one standard of good
This is a presumption con must prove, not merely assert. Is killing wrong? Well, I think euthanasia is ok. We have differing morals.

I had more to say
But, as seems to be the theme of this debate, I ran out of room. Oh well, I've covered the key points. Good luck for the final round.

The resolution is affirmed.

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-10-25 19:55:36
| Speak Round
zschmollzschmoll (CON)

I’m going to apologize for jumping around here, but I want to conceptually bring some of these points together.

First, I have affirmed that God created the universe good. We did not agree that the universe was created imperfectly.

I will now address whether or not free will is good. Since we are operating from the presupposition of the Christian God existing as defined in our first statement, if it is a gift that comes from God, then it is good because as we are both affirmed, God cannot do that which is evil.

This of course leads to the point about free will as a force for evil. Free will is not evil in and of itself; the abuse of free will being evil does nothing to diminish the goodness of free will itself. Every human being has the potential to murder, but that does not mean that we all evil because we are murderers. Very few of us are murderers.

While we’re on the point of free will, in regards to the study Pro mentions, I would like to submit a perspective as to why free will does seem to exist (http://chronicle.com/article/Alfred-R-Mele/131166/). All I am saying in regards to the one study that my opponent presents is that the science seems to be in dispute here. Therefore, it seems more than reasonable to assume that our perception of reality is valid. Believing in free will is not anti-scientific, and I don’t see the unique points my opponent made in regards to the specific area other than that one article.

Moving on to this idea about God not making decisions, I don’t follow his point. If God is unchanging, then why does not necessarily mean that God cannot make decisions? Why couldn’t God not change creation if He wanted to? It involves a decision as well as nothing about God changing.

In regards to the point about God being able to do things that are not logically possible, I’m not going to continue on that line. You brought up that it was possible for the Christian God to do that which was logically impossible. It is not a part of my argument and does not limit omnipotence as I already explained.

For the rest of the time that I have here, I am going to go back to this idea of sufficient reason and the old man in the clouds. Maybe I’m not explaining myself clearly. The problem of evil is:

1. If an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent god exists, then evil does not.

2. There is evil in the world.

3. Therefore, an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent God does not exist.

The first premise is clearly the problematic one. It is important to point out that if this type of God exists and has a sufficient reason for allowing evil to exist, then it is not necessarily true that evil does not exist.

The logical problem of evil goes out the window. After all, the following proof is just as valid as the one I just presented.

1. An omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent god exists (assumption in the conditions of the debate)

2. There is evil in the world.

3. God can possibly have a sufficient reason for allowing evil to exist in the world.

4. It is possible for God to exist despite the fact that the world has evil.

Obviously we are debating over 3. I have proposed that perhaps free will is a sufficient reason for allowing the existence of evil. I have provided reasons why this is a likely reason for God allowing evil

To reiterate what I said in the first round, this is only a possible explanation but it is one that seems to have explanatory power. However, even hypothetically if everything I have said up until this point is wrong and God allows evil for an entirely different reason than free will, my opponent has yet to show that it is unlikely that God has a sufficient reason for allowing evil.

I am looking forward to the final round and thank my opponent

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-10-26 13:19:38
| Speak Round
adminadmin (PRO)
I'd like to thank my opponent for this debate. To conclude, I'd like to briefly summarize the debate as I see it.

Bear in mind that if ANY of my 3 individual arguments stand, I win this debate.

Good is not everywhere
I explained in R1 that in Christian theology, god is equivalent to good. God is also everywhere. However, good is not everywhere, leading to a contradiction.

Con argued a baseball game analogy, but dropped it after my rebuttal. He then argued this was pantheistic, but dropped that after I cited the bible. Then he dropped it altogether.

Ethics are not objective
Con's only counterpoint here was essentially just "IF God exists, then ethics are objective". Sure, but evidently, ethics are not. People disagree on ethics all the time. Therefore, we have empirical evidence that ethics are not objective. Beyond that assertion, con has done NOTHING to rebut this argument. He hasn't proven omnibenevolence is at all possible, let alone likely, given we have all this evidence against the fact. Believe it or not, there are even some people who can tolerate Justin Bieber.

Epicurean Paradox
I suspect my opponent has decided only to rebut this one, as it was the one he was prepared for.

Con's response has been that God had a good reason for allowing evil. That response has a number of implicit premises, most of which I have attacked. For example, that Christianity is certain that the mind of God does not reason at all. God doesn't sit up there thinking "how can I best maximize good while allowing love?" - that's old man in the clouds thinking. I rebutted that in 3 ways, and none of those rebuttals have really been answered by con. To take another example, God does not need to make trade-offs. First, it may not even be impossible to do. And second, even if it were, the Bible clearly teaches, in multiple passages (one of which I cited) that God can do the impossible. I also rebutted the point that this means there is no problem of evil, and con dropped this too.

Let's review con's "reason" anyway, for the sake of argument (con had to prove both to rebut my point). Con says free will is good, but we abused it. First I attacked the premise that we have free will. I have presented scientific and empirical evidence against that claim, while con has (in the penultimate round) presented a survey with a tiny sample size, conducted by a guy who was paid millions in research grants by a Christian organization. If anything, the claim is shaky at best. Second, I argued whether free will is good. Con's only remaining argument - "if it came from God it must be good" - presumes God, so it is not a strong argument. Prefer my analysis that without free will, con's problems would all be resolved much easier. In particular, con dropped all his points regarding love.

In conclusion
Con never really engaged with 2/3rds of my case, and on the third point, spent most of his time explaining a convoluted and loophole-filled mess of a "reason" - that doesn't even answer the paradox! It assumes God isn't omnipotent AND that God isn't omnibenevolent, because it paints God as trying to make the world as good as possible. Further, con has cited no biblical support for his particular views.

Doesn't this all seem a little far-fetched to believe? If believing in God was hard enough, con claims you also have to believe in a whole load of extra material, material that doesn't even stack up particularly well. If believing the one thing was hard enough, surely it's a stretch to accept all of this? And then that still wouldn't solve for the majority of my case.

The resolution is affirmed.

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-10-28 09:15:32
| Speak Round
zschmollzschmoll (CON)

I have been accused of avoiding arguments. Let me try to explain why. Remember that this entire question is whether or not it is unlikely that God exists given the existence of evil in the world.

The argument I have made throughout this entire debate is that it is certainly logically possible that God has a reason for allowing evil. It should be rather self-evident that God did not need to make about reason known to humanity. Given that we are not omniscient, it is possible that there is a reason we do not know about. Yes, that was only one third of my opponent’s argument, but it was also the only part of my opponent’s argument that really addresses the question.

If it is true that God has a sufficient reason for allowing evil to exist, then the problem of evil is not a problem. The debate goes my way if this is true.

That is why I have stuck to this idea presented a positive case as to why free will is a sufficient reason.

First off, I understand that free will have to exist in order for this to be true. From the article I posted as well as the one that my opponent shared, it should be obvious that science does not uniformly deny the existence of free will, and if you want to do your own research beyond our debate, you’ll find more of the same.

Therefore, it does not seem reasonable to reject that which seems obvious in our daily lives. Free will simply seems that reality, and in the absence of having a good reason to doubt that, science is not the trump card my opponent wants it to be.

I’m not going to rehash my entire debate, but my logic can essentially be summed up into the following:

1. If God has a sufficient reason for allowing evil, the problem of evil does not make the existence of God unlikely.

2. Free will is a sufficient reason for God allowing evil. (And even though my opponent repeats this claim again in his final speech, allowing humans to have free will does not impinge on the omnipotence of God)

3. Therefore, the problem of evil does not make the existence of God unlikely.

Why my opponent made some points that I did not engage with very much:

The objectivity of ethics is really irrelevant. It doesn’t matter if people disagree on what constitutes ethical behavior. There is a huge difference between ethics being objectives and everyone agreeing on them. I really didn’t think that this point was worth countering and similarly does not really speak to the issue.

Good not being is not everywhere is a mischaracterization as well. I think the baseball game analogy holds. Isn’t it possible to be somewhere without being guilty of the activity taking place? I am an American, but I am not guilty every time another American does something that is wrong. I simply don’t think this is a very strong objection.


Given two irrelevant arguments and one relevant argument that is admittedly a technical and complex idea, naturally I had to focus on that which was of immediate concern.

Also, we set the rules in the beginning about the definition of the Christian God. I affirmed that. In the last round. My opponent says that I did not defend omnibenevolence, but that isn’t something I need to defend. That was in the definitions. We agreed on that at the beginning, and he agreed to that as part of who God is. Therefore, why would I bother defending that if my opponent is going to agree that we are assuming a being who is omnibenevolent? My opponent wants to recharacterize what we agreed on here in the last round, and that simply isn’t a great tactic.

Bottom line, I have been defending the idea that free will is a sufficient reason for allowing evil. If that is true, then my opponent has not even a reason for it to be unlikely that God exists given the existence of evil.

Thank you for the debate.

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2015-10-28 10:43:23
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Yeah, not complaining, just commenting :-).
Posted 2015-10-24 10:16:30
Hey, you can't complain, you're the one who set the character limit!

Art of summarizing is definitely a tough part of debating.
Posted 2015-10-24 03:56:20
Do you find yourself running out of room on this on every round? There is always so much more to say
Posted 2015-10-24 03:48:27
I was actually hoping you in particular would respond so we could finish. Sorry I have been off the website for a while, but I thought this might be a fun one to create :-)
Posted 2015-10-18 09:22:50
At last, a chance to actually finish a debate with you! :D
Posted 2015-10-18 02:05:12
The judging period on this debate is over

Previous Judgments

2015-11-05 04:33:49
True Capitalist AcolyteJudge: True Capitalist Acolyte
Win awarded to: admin
I had to read this debate several times before coming to a definitive conclusion. There was excessive rhetoric, excessive conjecture as well, and the debate as expected descended into irrelevancies. As such I felt that the debaters were speaking past one another on multiple occasions. This is what ultimately decided the debate.

In particular, Pro said "God is also everywhere. However, good is not everywhere, leading to a contradiction." This line met the resolution as well as Pro's previous arguments of a similar tone. Con's line of thought relied upon the idea that God allowed evil to exist purposefully through free will. This was very understandable since it would be independent beings of God who are evil. However, this point was not substantiated in this debate enough to negate the resolution. Con's attempts to refute Pro's line of thought seemed unsatisfactory to be deemed a refutation but merely a contestation.

The debate resolution was cleverly put together. The resolution strangely favored Pro. It is very strange considering most debates favor Con. Con in this debate had to affirm his premises before he could even bother attempting to refute Pro's arguments. Con ended up having to affirm free will to refute Pro's arguments. I felt that Con's attempt to affirm free will was vague and based on intuition and conjecture rather than facts or observations.

I think Pro did an adequate performance in meeting the resolution. Con put far too much effort into this debate. Con's first mistakes were in the first round. Con should of focused on refuting his opponent's points rather than attempting to offer counter arguments. Con ended up being trapped in his own counter arguments in this debate. I would recommend Con to just focus on refuting his opponent's points when in the position of Con.
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