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Introduction - Ben Brown

Well, first off, I'd like to say that I feel honored to have this opportunity to engage in a formal written debate. Most of the other people I have talked to about formally debating have backed out or claimed that they wanted to embarrass me in front of their friends or given me some other lame excuse not to sit down and really try to come to an answer to this question. I thank you KingDavid for addressing this serious question with the respect that it deserves. You know, I find it funny that when I ask people if they want to debate the existence of God, they claim there is no debate. I really don't know how to address this answer. Yes, there obviously is a debate or I wold not be asking you. I can only hope that these people will at some later date realize that hey, there is a debate. Neither side has made it blatantly obvious that God does or does not exist. Maybe they'll get hold of the transcript of this debate. Who knows? Well, Does God Exist? The question looks like a simple one. Three words. And it looks like it has a simple yes or no answer. Well, does it? I don't think so. I think there's one word in that question that is a bit confusing. "God." What exactly is the definition of God? I think this is the first thing we must address when we try to answer that question. Who or what is God? What qualities does he have? What is it like to know this being? I think that when looking at questions such as these, we can't really paint a coherent picture of what God is. Since I am arguing the negative side of this debate, I really don't know what sorts of arguments KingDavid will use. I can only assume he will use arguments of the design, cosmological, or ontological types. But these types of arguments can't really get off the ground until we establish what God is. It doesn't really matter how tight an argument for the existence of God is, if the nature of God is such that God can't exist, the argument fails. So I think before we can really address the question "Does God Exist?" We've got to define what exactly God is. The reference for the word 'God' is not clear. Take for instance two sentences. Firstly, 'God made the heavens and the earth.' Secondly, 'Bill Clinton made dinner and cake.' Now, we can look at the second sentence and know exactly what we mean by 'Bill Clinton.' I could say, "Bill Clinton is the president of the United States" or "Bill Clinton is the man sitting in the Lincoln Bedroom of the White House right now" or "Bill Clinton is the guy standing right there." You see, all of these definitions have something outside -so to speak- of language -something you can check on. However, when we look at the first sentence, we can't define 'God' outside of language. We could say, "God is the all-powerful being to which all is owed" or "God is a being outside of our universe" or "God is the morally perfect judge of our lives." But if we don't know what we're talking about when we say 'God,' we're going to be just as puzzled with these definitions. So before basic arguments get underway, let's try to define exactly what it is we're trying to prove exists.