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A religion can be evil

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/25/2015 Category: Religion
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 394 times Debate No: 72330
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
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Many religions are regard to as 'evil' or 'barbaric' in the multicultural society of today. Do you believe that a religion can be 'evil', and why?


Hey bud! I'll give this a go, first debate on here!

I assume I let you go first, right? Do we agree on the commonly accepted definition of evil?

adjective: evil

profoundly immoral and malevolent.
"his evil deeds"
synonyms:wicked, bad, wrong, immoral, sinful, foul, vile, dishonorable, corrupt, iniquitous, depraved, reprobate, villainous, nefarious, vicious, malicious; More
malevolent, sinister, demonic, devilish, diabolical, fiendish, dark;
monstrous, shocking, despicable, atrocious, heinous, odious, contemptible, horrible, execrable;
informallowdown, dirty
"an evil deed"
antonyms:good, virtuous
(of a force or spirit) embodying or associated with the forces of the devil.
"we have been driven out of the house by this evil spirit"
harmful or tending to harm.
"the evil effects of high taxes"
synonyms:cruel, mischievous, pernicious, malignant, malign, baleful, vicious; More
destructive, harmful, hurtful, injurious, detrimental, deleterious, inimical, bad, ruinous
"an evil spirit"
antonyms:good, beneficial
(of something seen or smelled) extremely unpleasant.
"a bathroom with an evil smell"
synonyms:unpleasant, disagreeable, nasty, horrible, foul, disgusting, filthy, vile, noxious
"an evil smell"

noun: evil

profound immorality, wickedness, and depravity, especially when regarded as a supernatural force.
"the world is stalked by relentless evil"
synonyms:wickedness, bad, badness, wrongdoing, sin, ill, immorality, vice, iniquity, degeneracy, corruption, depravity, villainy, nefariousness, malevolence; More
"the evil in our midst"
a manifestation of this, especially in people's actions.
plural noun: evils
"the evil that took place last Thursday"
synonyms:abomination, atrocity, obscenity, outrage, enormity, crime, monstrosity, barbarity
"the evils of war"
something that is harmful or undesirable.
"sexism, racism, and all other unpleasant social evils"
synonyms:harm, pain, misery, sorrow, suffering, trouble, disaster, misfortune, catastrophe, affliction, woe, hardship
"nothing but evil would ensue"

Debate Round No. 1


Lets go with:
Evil: To inherently cause harm to others

Can a religion be this cause to harm? Can a religion be evil?


I think it is 100% possible for religion to be the cause of harm, and so if that is the definition we are using of evil.. then it can be evil as well. Religions are a particular systems of faith and worship, so if that faith and worship involves causing harm to others, then would it not be evil?

Take the religion of the Aztecs. They had numerous occasions which called for human sacrifice. I think it's safe to say that is relatively harmful to those on the receiving end of the sacrificial implement.

ISIS, not Islam in general, is following what it believes to be the tenants of its religion. They are committing mass murder and executions at the behest of their religious beliefs, would you not then consider their religion evil? I'm not saying they are true Muslims or that Islam in general is evil, but the skewed brand of Islam that ISIS follows is undeniably evil.

Another example would be the Inquisitions and witch hunts perpetrated by the Catholic church throughout its history. Most certainly all of the followers of Christianity at the time were not evil, but a system that condones the torture and murder of non-believers should be seen as evil. Christianity has changed quite a bit since that time period, so I'm not saying Christianity in its current form is evil, but at several times throughout its history it has been.

There have been numerous religions throughout the ages that have advocated torture, murder, human sacrifice, even child sacrifice. It could be argued that if the sacrifice was made willingly, then it wasn't evil... but that still leaves the sacrifices which were forced on captives or at least unwilling participants. If harm was caused to another without their consent, that is an evil action. I feel confident that the guiding force behind that harm is evil, and in the case of a ritual sacrifice that would be the particular system of faith and worship (religion).
Debate Round No. 2


If we assume that individuals are in control over their actions, then the religion that they may follow has not caused the conflict. Is Islam the cause of the attacks of ISIS? Can a faith cause harm? I'd argue that as a faith is an idea, and as an idea cannot physically damage someone, the religion has done no harm. If i made a poster that told you to shoot you neighbour, would i have caused the death? Or would it be the individual wielding the weapon?

It may be so that if there had been no religions in the world that the examples of harm you gave previously may not have happened. However, that does not make the religion to blame. Should a manufacturer of kitchen knives be responsible for a stabbing using one of their products? Should a car manufacturer be responsible if a man loads it with explosives and drives it into his ex wives house? Is that car or knife manufacturer evil because someone who used their products caused harm to others?

If an individual has a choice to cause harm or to not, and they so happen to be in this position because they believe something, they can still chose to commit the harm or not. The individual gets to decide. This may have consequences for them, but they are still in control of their actions. Therefore i stand on the fact that a religion cannot be evil.


happyjuggler forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by missmedic 1 year ago
The events of 11 September 2001 indicate that religion can be evil and should be questioned. Those events were not caused primarily by economic or political grievances against the United States, even though such grievances can possibly be legitimately offered as contributing factors. The events were primarily caused by religion. The perpetrators acted in the sincere belief that they were doing the bidding of their deity and that their martyrdom would be instantly rewarded with a heavenly environment including 72 virgins for their pleasure. Religion is not benign.
Posted by vi_spex 1 year ago
buy bull, see life flow, whirld, mirror clue, prop ally, pro babble, joyking
Posted by PatrickTheWise 1 year ago
I'm sorry spex, Live is not equal to Love, there is a different letter...
Posted by vi_spex 1 year ago
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