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Debate: Does "God" really exist?

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====Pro==== ====Pro====
-*'''God created all things well, all defects have occurred since.''' The Con argument here attacks the straw man who believes that God created all creatures as they are now. Of course they have changed since, but such changes have either been neutral or harmful. This is a result of the Fall, and not God's fault. For more on this, see [[Debate: Evolution]]. As to the dismissal of the Fall as a religious claim, God himself can be called a religious claim and yet the Con side are prepared to debate his existence seriously enough. Things should not be automatically objected to because they happen to be in the Bible. The Fall argument easily explains the defects and theists should only be defeated by this argument of their opponents if they do not believe that the Fall happened.+*'''God created all things well, all defects have occurred since.''' The Con argument here attacks the straw man who believes that God created all creatures as they are now. Of course they have changed since, but the vast majority of such changes have either been neutral or harmful. This is a result of the Fall, and not God's fault. For more on this, see [[Debate: Evolution]]. As to the dismissal of the Fall as a religious claim, God himself can be called a religious claim and yet the Con side are prepared to debate his existence seriously enough. Things should not be automatically objected to because they happen to be in the Bible. The Fall argument easily explains the defects and theists should only be defeated by this argument of their opponents if they do not believe that the Fall happened.

Revision as of 15:52, 17 August 2011

Background and context

Can God's existence be logically proven or disproven?

Pro

  • God is the only rational explanation of the existence of the Universe. The law of conservation of matter and energy states that the total amount of all the matter plus all the energy in the universe can never change, though matter can be changed into energy and vice versa, and that neither can be created or destroyed. However, at the Big Bang all of the matter and energy in the universe was created, which naturally leads us to the assumption that the Big Bang must have been caused by something which was not subject to these most basic laws of physics, and is therefore almost certainly not subject to any of them- why should it comply with some but not others? If this thing was not subject to the laws of physics, then there is no reason why it should be subject to them now. Being superior to the laws of physics also suggests that this thing must be eternal and unchanging since decay and change only take place on the physical plane. Of course, the Judaeo- Christian view of God complies easily with these concepts and is therefore the most rational explanation of our existence.
  • The Big Bang must have been caused by something superior to the constrictions of space and time. This is because, as pointed out by the Con side, time began at the Big Bang, and because space in that first instant was infinitesimally small. This fits in easily with our concept of God who is eternal (outside of time) and omnipresent (unrestricted by space). So even if all the matter and energy was within that small point already, the nature of the origin of the universe still points to a superior being.


Con

The Big Bang theory does not postulate that all matter was created at the point of the Big Bang. It postulates that all matter was compressed into a singularity so small that general relativity breaks down[1].

The quantum of time that can exists is Planck Time[2], which represents the time required for light to travel, in a vacuum, a distance of 1 Planck length (itself derived from the universal constants of the speed of light in a vacuum, Planck's constant, and the gravitational constant). With the universe compressed to a size smaller than one Planck length, time did not exist, and therefore the notion of 'before' is meaningless[3]. Time began as an inevitable consequence of the singularity expanding until it exceeded one Planck length.

This argument is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the physics involved in the Big Bang.

Moreover, even if the above were not true, there is no reason why we should prefer the Judeo-Christian deity over a whole host of others which could be - and would be claimed as such by their adherants - exactly as equally suitable for the Prime Mover role[4].

The question of design

Pro

  • God created all things well, all defects have occurred since. The Con argument here attacks the straw man who believes that God created all creatures as they are now. Of course they have changed since, but the vast majority of such changes have either been neutral or harmful. This is a result of the Fall, and not God's fault. For more on this, see Debate: Evolution. As to the dismissal of the Fall as a religious claim, God himself can be called a religious claim and yet the Con side are prepared to debate his existence seriously enough. Things should not be automatically objected to because they happen to be in the Bible. The Fall argument easily explains the defects and theists should only be defeated by this argument of their opponents if they do not believe that the Fall happened.


Con

Various life forms on earth, including humans, have a number of poor designs[5] (for example the reproductive process or vestigial organs). Such poor design is inconsistent with the concept of an "supernatural" designer, but is consistent with the predictions of the scientific theory of evolution by means of natural selection.

There is no credible evidence to support the claim that 'The Fall' actually happened. It is a religious claim not a scientific claim, which is incompatible with the incontrovertible evidence that changes since the supposed time of the Fall (whenever this is supposed to have occured) are not only neutral or deleterious but may also be beneficial, as seen in Lenski's E coli experiments[6] and Knox et al's Molecular evolution of bacterial beta-lactam resistance[7] among many others.

The burden of proof

Pro

Con

Any fundamental look at ontology or epistemology is made more complicated by the addition of one or more deities. Because we can have an objective axiomatic foundation for basic metaphysics without the need for a god, the burden of proof sits with the theist. A theist can therefore not presume a god with intellectual honesty.

Omnipotence paradox

Pro

  • It is possible for an omnipotent being to exist. The Con argument here is based on a misunderstanding of what the authors of the Bible meant when they described God as omnipotent. They meant to say "omnipotent as far as is logically possible", but of course people would have known what they meant so there was no need to elaborate like this. It would also have unnecessarily interrupted the flow of the poetic or prophetic passages in which omnipotence is generally ascribed to God in the Bible. It's like rounding statistics to make them more impressive or memorable. Its more a question of common sense than anything else.


Con

A person that uses the broken concept of omnipotence immediately runs into an issue. The omnipotent character lacks the power to create a task he/she cannot perform.

The Pro claim that the Bible intended its use of omnicience to be interpreted as different from the actual definition of the word is backed up with no evidence and is utterly valueless.

Where did God come from?

Pro

  • The atheist's argument that not having a previous cause deprives God of existence holds no water. The premise of the design argument which explains the need for a creator is not that everything has a cause, but that everything that has a beginning must also have a cause. The universe cannot be the first cause because it has a beginning- the Big Bang. But since God has always existed and never had a beginning there is no need for him to have a cause. Since in order to create the universe its cause must be free from certain laws of physics, it is only logical that it may easily be free from the necessity of a beginning as well.

Con

That the universe had a "beginning" is a strawman position, it is possible the universe always existed and further highlights the lack of of a fundamental understanding of the physics behind the big bang theory.

This is also special pleading, criticising the universe as requiring a specific deity without apply that same criticism to the deity.

Which deity?

Pro

Con

People who believe in a specific deity are atheists for all gods apart from their specific god or gods. They do not provide any objective way of favoring one belief system over the other.

Objective evidence

Pro

Con

There is no objective evidence for any specific deity. Any ontology provided is described in wholly negative terms such "not material" or "above nature". Any attribute given to a specific god is usually simply stolen from reality, and not god-like.

Problem of Evil

Pro

  • God is good and all powerful. The only reason that he allows the existence of evil is because he is not a control freak and as a rule lets his creation have free will. This is morally right. God will not force his creatures to obey him because it is when we choose to obey him that he is pleased. Evil is entirely the fault of created beings.

Con

If a monotheist argues that their deity is an always good or morally right and has power to stop evil, then evil should not exist. To paraphrase Epicurus: Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can, but does not want to. If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, but does not want to, he is wicked.

Faith: Is faith enough to make God "exist"?

Yes

  • Believing in God causes Him to exist (at least conceptually). Who is god, really? If we ask ourselves this question, we might get a variety of answers, depending on out religion. But, if we search deeper, we will find that, the concept of "God" really began when early man did not understand natural phenomenon, and, he worshiped them, because he feared them. Over the years we have begun to understand, but we cannot let go of the concept, because we need to believe in miracles. In a world of despair, we believe in God and in his miracles. And because we believe in him he does exist. Moreover, not believing in God does not imply that God doesn´t exist.

No

  • Reality is independent of consciousness. The human brain constructs knowledge by analyzing sensory experiences, it does not receive knowledge directly from reality. Thus, human beings are capable of being in error-- of believing things that are not true. Thus, to believe that God exists does not imply that God actually exists.

Bible: Does the Bible come to us directly from God?

Pro

  • Many things are made out of a "master" plan. We have no reason not to believe that there is no powerful being behind the existence of matter, time and space. this 'master' plan can be seen on the symmetrical things like human, animal plants and so on.


Con

"Many things are made out of a "master" plan" ...and history has taught us that such masterplans are often unwelcome.

This argument is fallacious, being an argument from ignorance. We have no reason not to believe lots of things, but this does not make them true.

With regard to the specific claim of symmetry being evidence of a masterplan, it should be pointed out that evolutionary theory demonstrates how such symmetry need only evolve once before it will passed on to all decendents. Work on acoelomorphs[8] suggests that Hox genes being duplicated by random mutation and thereafter being selected provide a credible mechanism for the development of symmetry with no need for an intelligent designer.

Is the existence of a God necessary?

Yes

  • Whether God exists or not, it is clear that mankind desperately needs him. This is because of our easily corruptible nature- which history has shown. With no leader society falls into chaos and anarchy, with weak, frequently changing leaders we fall into a process of dithering politics and slow moral decline, and with corrupt dictators we are subjected to human rights abuses and restrictions of freedom of speech etc. But God cannot be corrupted. Those who follow him will not be treated badly by him but will still be able to maintain their moral standards. God is the only hope for humanity, those who reject him reject humanity's last hope.


No

The Universe Does Not Require Gods The concept of 'god' can mean many different things - or perhaps it can mean anything, given the apparent limitless number of characteristics which various believers assign to their gods. Any time someone asks you why you don't believe in any gods, make sure you ask them what they mean by 'god' in the first place. Chances are, it's simply not something which requires belief.

See also

External links and resources:


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