The Loftus-Wanchick Debate on the Existence of the Christian God

Tom Wanchick challenged me to a friendly little debate on the existence of God, but that's not an interesting question to me. The reason is because the God Tom wants to defend stems from his Christian beliefs. He doesn't just want to show God exists. He wants to defend his Christian faith. Besides, even if God does exist he may only be a distant deity, which is not much different than having no God at all. So after some talk we decided to debate the existence of the Christian God. We shall do so here, and my opening statement is up (and also posted below). With a 600 word limit I cut to the chase.

Previously Tom debated Richard Carrier on Naturalism vs Theism. This present debate narrows his focus even more.

John's Opening Statement:
1) The Bible is filled with mythic folklore. Here are just a few examples: There isn’t any way to harmonize the creation accounts in Genesis with the age of the universe, granting the time necessary for galaxy, star, solar system, earth, animal, and human formation. The stories of Adam & Eve, Cain, the pre-flood ages of men, and the flood itself have no basis in historical fact. There are similar polytheistic stories like these which predate Genesis by as much as 350 years. Since older sources are to be considered the more reliable sources, then a monotheistic God was not involved, if these events happened at all. There is also no archeological evidence for the Israelites in Egyptian slavery for 400 years, or of their wilderness wanderings for 40 years, or of their conquest of Canaan.

2) I find it implausible to believe that a Triune God (3 persons in 1 who always agree?) has always and forever existed without cause and will always and forever exist (even though our entire experience is that everything has a beginning and an ending), as a fully formed being (even though our entire experience is that order grows incrementally), without a body (and yet acts in the material world), in a timeless existence (and yet creates time), having all knowledge (who consequently never learned anything), and who is the source of all complex information found in the details of the makeup of this universe. This God purportedly has all power (but doesn’t exercise it like we would if we saw a burning child), and is present everywhere (and who also knows what time it is everywhere in our universe even though time is a function of movement and bodily placement). How is it possible for this being to be called a "person," who thinks (which demands weighing temporal alternatives), and who freely chooses who he is and what his values are (even though we never find a time when such choices were made by him)?

3) This barbaric God commanded that witches and people who worship other gods should be killed. He commanded that men should rape women in the spoils of war, and even commit genocide. He allowed people to own slaves which could be beaten within an inch of their lives. He commanded that men should divorce their wives simply because they had a different religion, and women were pretty much defenseless without a husband. He demanded blood sacrifice in order to forgive sins. There is no cogent explanation for how Jesus’ death atones for our sins. He will eternally punish those who don’t see enough evidence to believe in Jesus, while not providing enough of it to believe.

4) The world this God created is not like the world we would expect to find if a good God exists. There is too much natural suffering in it for man alone to be blamed. The law of predation is simply unnecessary. If God exists he could’ve made us all vegetarians and made edible plants grow like weeds do today. If God exists he could end the wars between religious faiths by revealing himself more clearly in this world.

5) God revealed himself in a historically conditioned book before the printing press, even though almost anything can be rationally denied in history, even if it happened. For an omniscient being, he chose a poor medium to do so. I challenge Tom to find one passage in God’s OT revelation to be considered a prophecy (and not wish fulfillment) of the life, death, or resurrection of Jesus which singularly points to him.

28 comments: