Abrahamic religions should come clean about their filthy scriptures
I will, of course, go into more detail about slavery, genocide and suchlike. For now, though, let's start with torture:
The bible and qur'an allow torture. No, not quite.
The bible and qur'an condone torture. No, not quite enough bite.
The bible and qur'an recommend torture. No, no, that sentence will not suffice either.
The bible and qur'an explicitly command torture. Ah, that's better!
The bible, considered to be the holy word of the most wise and kind being that could possibly exist by many, literally (and without much literary skill) commands its gentle reader to become a torturer and perform acts of profound immorality. The case is often made that the intended recipients of these commands are not modern man; okay, so what? That these commands even exist (and get regularly reprinted) is an offence against humanity. C'mon, people, we can do better than this. Especially since stoning is still practiced today.
The qur'an is just as bad, but is even harder to excuse by way of explaining that some of the ideas are simply ancient and don't apply today (indeed, there are a very large number of Muslims who actively support stoning to death).
Is it not time for all moderate Jews, Christians and Muslims to unite in open honesty and admit that the bible and the qur'an are chock-full of some wicked and immoral teachings? Because I, for one, can't quite trust religion until the mainstream is prepared to stand up and make that statement - I think you people OWE the World that... most of you are mainstream, middle-of-the-road, decent, stand-up people who do not hold radical, extreme and dangerous ideas... but, if you lot are not prepared (and you so rarely are) to admit that some of your core texts are often wicked and immoral, I lay part of the blame for your religious extremists at your door and I despise the bigotry that you help support. You are (perhaps accidentally) covering for them by promoting your religion (as the religious generally are fond of doing).
So, how about it? How about a bit of honesty from these institutions that claim to teach perfect morality and improve the behaviour of their flocks?
Torture. Actual torture. Who's in favour of actual torture? Who thinks that torture is morally acceptable in any circumstances? Who prefers forgiveness and kindness and tolerance (which you're all so keen to promise the World your religion encourages)? I vote for a World in which no torture ever happens, under any circumstances, ever, ever, ever. I say that torture, in all its forms and for whatever purposes always is, will be and ever has been immoral. Who's with me? I suspect the vast majority of mankind... in which case, let's all admit that the bible and qur'an are simply wrong, wicked and immoral. That message needs to get to the extremists in this World... they need to know that they do not have the backing of an almighty God who gives them permission (or reward) for doing wicked things and they need to know that they also face the disgust of the vast majority of right-thinking human beings around them, even those who may share the same cultural heritage and have learnt to revere the same Bronze Age, Iron Age or Medieval literature.
I apologise to the gentle reader for this next bit (the bit above I make no apology for) - and I warn you that I will be graphic in the next paragraph:
Has anybody considered just what stoning to death means? It's torture, plain and simple... except that it's torture by group. Can you imagine (for the crime of converting to another faith, or of adultery, blasphemy, disobeying your parents, etc) being forcibly dragged by a baying crowd to a hill outside the city gates; can you imagine having your wrists bound tightly behind your back whilst you beg your city-fellows (brothers, sisters, cousins, children, parents, neighbours, friends) to stop? Having your neck attached to a post, tightly, by rope... and then the torture begining in earnest? Can you imagine the slow accumulation of bruises and lacerations, broken bones, perhaps going blind in one eye, dizzy from lack of blood, spitting your own teeth between quieter and quieter and eventually silent pleas for it to end? Hearing, perhaps, squeals of delight from former friends - "burn in hell, filthy adulterer"! Can you imagine two of the crowd throwing rocks at you being your own parents?
Who here in all faith can say that this either was, is or could be a morally acceptable form of punishment for any society? This is barbaric behaviour, even by Bronze Age standards! Can you sometimes-seemingly-dimwitted people not understand that it simply doesn't make sense that a perfect, powerful, moral creator-god wanted things to be that way?
There is no justification for this idea, and wriggling about like Christians often do is poor show; it's just not a decent way to behave. Shame on any Jew, Christian or Muslim who cannot state clearly that torture never was, is not, and never should be acceptable behaviour. Shame on you, your personal take on religion disgusts me... I don't think that you'd have a problem admitting that "torture never was, is, nor ever could be acceptable" if you hadn't been infected by these pernicious holy writs (read "Bronze Age ethics") of which you are so fond.
It actually goes on today, by the way, making it a real issue. This is tough reading:
Could we unite in common sense and say that this practice, whilst a very real part of our shameful history is now to be a thing of the past? Could we clearly say that it was always morally offensive? Could we say that we are universally ashamed of it being a part of our human past? Could we unite and say that no moral god that we are happy believing and trusting in could possibly have wanted such a horrible, horrible thing to happen?
People of all faiths, unite and help make ammends for all the wickedness that your religions have dumped on the poor suffering human race: admit that the god you believe in never supports torture (i.e. your holy texts contain a whole steaming pile of ****)... either that, or admit that your personal brand of religion has a vengeful, spiteful, nasty, beastly God and that you follow Him unthinkingly, so that the rest of us can cross the street and walk a little further away from you; I wish I had a time machine so that I could send you back to become an Aztec sacrifice and have your beating heart ripped from your living carcass. Except that I don't, I wouldn't and I couldn't - I am too morally upright for that, unlike you with your dangerous pro-torture stance... What I do literally hope (and would pray for if I believed in any gods) is that the majority of the World (decent, reasonable, morally upright human beings) will agree with me that torture was not, is not and could not be acceptable and when you realise that you are in the minority, you will have pause to rethink your moral framework.
Pro tried to make arguments in Round 1, but they are seriously flawed. This is the result of several things:
1. Misunderstanding of the question: The debate is not only whether the scriptures of Abrahamic religions are flawed morally, but whether the religions (by which I presume you mean those who follow the religion) should admit to the world that the scriptures are morally flawed. To do this, you must prove the following:
- The holy scriptures of ALL Abrahamic religions are morally flawed
- It is a moral responsibility of ALL of those who follow ANY Abrahamic religion to admit the immorality of their scriptures.
BOP is on Pro to prove both. To do this, Pro must not go on a long rant about the immorality of certain practices, as is done in round 1, but prove that the practice is both explicitly commanded by ALL Abrahamic religions' scriptures, prove that it is indeed immoral by ALL standards, not personal standards, as well as that it is the moral responsibility of the followers of said religions to admit to the world that their religion's scriptures are immoral as a result of said practices.
You've got your work cut out for you, I'm afraid.
Con's only responsibility is dispute any of the necessary arguments.
Finally, I ask you to please be somewhat civil, and not attacking on religion. I'm going to be civil, avoid offending you, and I won't press my opinions on you. I ask that you kindly do the same.
Thanks, and I wish my opponent good luck.
Thanks Con, for accepting the debate; I agree with some [but not all] of things that you say in R1... let's roll!
I do entirely understand my onus to debate in order to carry the resolution; it is my job as Pro to persuade the gentle reader to find in favour of the motion; however, this does not equate to the strong claims of absolute proof that Con lays out in R1.
The main Abrahamic Religions are Judaism, Christianity and Islam . Christianity has a following of over 2 billion ; Islam has a following of over 1.5 billion . Together, then, the Abrahamic Faiths account for about half the World population.
RationalWiki  says the following:
"The most fundamental document in the Abrahamic faiths is the Torah, the first five books of the Bible."
So, looking back at what Con says in R1, I disagree that I have my work cut out since I merely have to show that the Torah contains some filthy ideas; then I have to make the case that anybody who actively promotes a faith that spreads the Torah owns a responsibility to include a clear warning that there are some immoral ideas contained therein. I will, of course, include the Qur'an (and perhaps the haddiths) to be sure of speaking to all the major Abrahamic faiths, knowing that whilst Islam considers the Torah to be holy scripture, it is not as revered in that faith as is the more modern Qur'an (Qur'an is top trumps, haddiths second, Torah third).
When Con says I must "prove that it is indeed immoral by ALL standards, not personal standards", this is just nonsense (and contradicts Con's commitment to not press their opinions on me). Whilst I understand that theists of all stripes lay claim to some sort of absolute morality, the reality is that morality is subjective; we each form personal moral choices and I need not PROVE anything: it is merely my job as Pro to persuade the gentle voter that some of the things in the Torah and the Qur'an are profoundly immoral by their standard (even if that is religiously based); then, of course, to persuade the gentle reader to come along with me in finding that followers own a moral duty to make sure that the religion they promote does not get abused; I feel confident that nobody who spreads religion would want to think that they were causing any harm... therefore I don't think it will be too much of a stretch to persuade even the religious that it would be a good idea to prevent any possible harm from arising as a result of their actions.
Still, if you would like some sort of authority behind the idea that torture is immoral, we could turn to the Geneva Conventions .
Or we could look to excellent articles such as  or ; or perhaps the book Because It Is Wrong .
Or, if anybody has the stomach for it, you could watch a public stoning and make your own mind up . Please don't watch that video if you are young, frail or squeamish.
Simply put, I think that the vast majority of mankind already agrees with me on the simple point that torture is always (or as near as damn it always) wrong; however, it's unfortunately not all of humanity. I suggest that it would be a good thing for those of us who do agree that torture is immoral to stand up and be counted; hopefully this will gently encourage those who think that torture is morally defensible to think a little harder; likewise with genocide and slavery (both of which I will return to in later rounds).
So, let's have a little look in detail at some of the ideas contained within the first five books of the Holy Bible, the terrible Torah:
Leviticus 24:13-14 
13 Then the Lord said to Moses:
14 Take the blasphemer outside the camp. All those who heard him are to lay their hands on his head, and the entire assembly is to stone him.
Numbers 15:32-36 
The Sabbath-Breaker Put to Death
32 While the Israelites were in the wilderness, a man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day.
Deuteronomy 13:6-10 
6 If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, "Let us go and worship other gods" (gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known,
7 gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other),
8 do not yield to them or listen to them. Show them no pity. Do not spare them or shield them.
9 You must certainly put them to death. Your hand must be the first in putting them to death, and then the hands of all the people.
10 Stone them to death, because they tried to turn you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
Deuteronomy 17:2-7 
2 If a man or woman living among you in one of the towns the Lord gives you is found doing evil in the eyes of the Lord your God in violation of his covenant
3 and contrary to my command has worshiped other gods, bowing down to them or to the sun or the moon or the stars in the sky,
4 and this has been brought to your attention, then you must investigate it thoroughly. If it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done in Israel,
5 take the man or woman who has done this evil deed to your city gate and stone that person to death.
6 On the testimony of two or three witnesses a person is to be put to death, but no one is to be put to death on the testimony of only one witness.
7 The hands of the witnesses must be the first in putting that person to death, and then the hands of all the people. You must purge the evil from among you.
Deuteronomy 22:23-24 
23 If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her,
24 you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death—the young woman because she was in a town and did not scream for help, and the man because he violated another man’s wife. You must purge the evil from among you.
I personally think that should suffice for now; there is, of course, plenty more to choose from. I suggest that anybody responsible for spreading the bible (and the idea that it represents ideal morality) should add a warning that admits that there are profoundly wicked and immoral bits... just in case anybody were to act on them today. Then again, there are many who won't admit that these things are wicked and immoral and will hold that these are the perfect commandments of a perfect God. To be honest, such people scare me a little bit; I think that you've got to be a little bit dark in the heart to read these things and agree with them. Anyhow, since stoning to death is going on today, possibly aggravated by the Torah, it is my position that there is a strong case that holds that moderate followers of the Abrahamic Religions own a responsibility to do what they can to prevent the extreme elements of their own religions from taking these instructions too literally - oh, it does happen - just see Christian Reconstructionism !
Now, let's have a brief look at the Noble Qur'an:
Quran 5:33 
The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement
Quran 8:12 
I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.
I don't think that the majority of Muslims believe that it is right to cut the fingertips and heads off atheists and people of the "wrong" faith... BUT... that's what their holy scriptures require! I think that anybody responsible for copying these filthy ideas (and spreading the idea that the Qur'an is the perfect Word of God) should add "but there are some wicked and immoral bits". To not do so is to be pro torture of what we would normally term "innocent people".
In response to Con's request for me to be civil and "not attacking on religion", I say this: bollocks! I will certainly try to be civil and loving to all human beings, even if they have been poisoned by religion, but if you think that I'm going to be civil towards the filthy religions that poison this benighted planet, you've got another thing coming. It's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it: somebody has to stand up and be counted; to offer some resistance to the wickedness!
 http://www.iran-e-azad.org...;(warning - cannot be unwatched)
HomelySherlock forfeited this round.
As promised, I'm afraid that it still falls to me to examine the gruesome subjects of slavery and genocide. I'll tackle the first in this round (Round 3) and I'll leave genocide to Round 4. Hopefully at some point my opponent will grace us with something approaching an argument and I'll have something to rebut by the time we get to Round 5.
Slavery is wicked and immoral. I may say so; I may assert so; it is, of course, merely my moral judgement... or, is it? Here's the thing: the vast majority of the World is foursquare against slavery; slavery has been made illegal in every single country on Earth  and is, fortunately, slowly on the way out.
There are two things that have happened to me many times that disgust me to my core (both have even happened on this very site); I have been engaging Theists in debate or discourse and come accross two ideas:
1. Slavery is not always immoral.
2. "Slavery" in the Bible should be called "indentured servitude".
It really bothers me that a religion could so distort the natural human moral compass such that somebody could say something as wicked as "slavery may be moral" or "biblical slavery was moral"; and it really bothers me that religion could so distort the learned human ability to read and understand such that anybody could (in the face of direct quotations) claim that the Bible was not staunchly for the most wicked and immoral form of human ownership.
Now, I have enough hope in natural human spirit; I have enough trust that people are good; I have enough naivity, you may say, to believe that the vast majority of people would be happy to say "slavery never was, is not, nor ever shall be morally acceptable". Again, like the first two rounds, all I am asking of the Abrahamic Faiths is that their religions (yes, Con, I mean the people - but with a suitable extra weight of responsibility for their elite members) simply make this statment clearly: "slavery never was, is not, nor ever shall be morally acceptable"; to do so is, essentially, to come clean about their filthy scriptures, since they are in favour of slavery. I hold responsible any religion that peddles the idea that slavery could ever be acceptable in a World where slavery still exists; if you promote the Torah or Qur'an and don't add the warning "but slavery is not okay" then I do accuse you of having blood on your hands; maybe only a drop or two, but it's there; you have helped to make the World a worse place.
So, does the Bible say that slavery is okay, as I claim it does? What about the Qur'an?
Leviticus 25:44-46 
Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life.
Exodus 21:20-21 
Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.
1 Peter 2:18-20 
Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. (yup, God apparantly enjoys watching slaves suffer unfair beatings!)
Qur'an (33:50) 
O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those whom thy right hand possesses out of the prisoners of war whom Allah has assigned to thee. (n.b. this means "you may rape your slaves")
Qur'an (23:5-7) 
Who abstain from sex, except with those joined to them in the marriage bond, or (the captives) whom their right hands possess,- for (in their case) they are free from blame, but those whose desires exceed those limits are transgressors. (n.b. this also means "you may rape your slaves")
Qur'an (4:24) 
Also (prohibited are) women already married, except those whom your right hands possess. (n.b. this means "you may rape your married slaves")
Both books, as you can see (at least one of those is revered by at least 99% of people of Abrahamic faiths, probably 100%) clearly state that slavery is okay. It is my simple case that anybody promoting these books by buying them, copying them, preaching from them, telling people that they are the perfect word of a perfectly moral god... anybody so doing has a moral responsibility to add "but the torture and slavery contained therein is wrong"; stick with me for the fourth round and we'll see if we can't expand the required addendum to include genocide.
I propose that it would be a better World if the leaders (and followers) of the Abrahamic Religions could unite and sign up to the following statement:
"Slavery, torture and genocide always were, are now and ever shall be immoral and wicked acts - if our holy scriptures (which we have helped promote) have given the opposite ideas to people then we are truly sorry: the scriptures are wrong on these points."
Simply pretending that there was some sort of justification for why we find such filth (or claiming that it is not, in fact, filth) in apparantly perfect books of moral teaching (as is so common amongst religious people who I have debated) is dishonest; and in the light of so many of our human sisters and brothers suffering slavery, torture and genocide still today, it is morally unacceptable; well, it is in my book and I hope that I will be able to persuade the gentle voter to agree with me.
When America was in the midst of civil war, largely fought around the issue of slavery, the Confederacy used the bible to justify their pro-slavery stance; here are a couple of choice quotes from Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy :
"If slavery be a sin, it is not yours. It does not rest on your action for its origin, on your consent for its existence. It is a common law right to property in the service of man; its origin was Divine decree"
"It [slavery] was established by decree of Almighty God...it is sanctioned in the Bible, in both Testaments, from Genesis to Revelation...it has existed in all ages, has been found among the people of the highest civilization, and in nations of the highest proficiency in the arts...Let the gentleman go to Revelation to learn the decree of God - let him go to the Bible...I said that slavery was sanctioned in the Bible, authorized, regulated, and recognized from Genesis to Revelation...Slavery existed then in the earliest ages, and among the chosen people of God; and in Revelation we are told that it shall exist till the end of time shall come. You find it in the Old and New Testaments - in the prophecies, psalms, and the epistles of Paul; you find it recognized, sanctioned everywhere."
And Jefferson was right; right, at least, that the holy scriptures said exactly what he said they said... in my book, he couldn't have been more morally wrong if he tried. If it's possible for people to be so wrong by adhering to scriptures, shouldn't we require that they come with warnings? I should say so... I would say that if there is even a 1% chance of a repeat of people literally using the scriptures to justify wicked and immoral acts then people should promote those writings with extreme caution and adequate warning.
Muhammad was, after all is said and done, another slave owner (and slave raper ) who justified slavery by argument of divine sanction. Slavery, rape, torture and genocide are always wrong - and excusing such immorality by recourse to divine sanction would count in my book (if I believed in a god) as being the ultimate blasphemy. I cannot understand how any human being could even dream of claiming that a perfectly sane and moral god would ever sanction such things. I wish the World would come to its senses!
People of Abrahamic Faiths: Do you believe in a god who supports slavery, rape, torture and genocide? If you do, I think that you're dangerous and, if you don't, understand that you have a responsibility (when you promote your scriptures) to make sure that your holy texts do not get so abused as to create people who do. Can I get an Amen?
HomelySherlock forfeited this round.
AndyHood forfeited this round.
HomelySherlock forfeited this round.
AndyHood forfeited this round.
HomelySherlock forfeited this round.
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