The Instigator
DanDebates
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
Puck
Con (against)
Winning
20 Points

American voters ought not be concerned with a candidate's religious affiliation

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/10/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 774 times Debate No: 4961
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (7)

 

DanDebates

Pro

I believe that American voters place too much emphasis on the religious affiliation of political candidates. While a good "Christian" president may try to influence the supreme court to end abortion, they may also be bombing and killing around the world.

The religious foundation that is so important to voters seems to crumble when it comes time for politicians to make decisions. If the majority of our political leaders really took their "Christianity" seriously, we'd be living in a much different country.
Puck

Con

"I believe that American voters place too much emphasis on the religious affiliation of political candidates. While a good "Christian" president may try to influence the supreme court to end abortion, they may also be bombing and killing around the world."

The two examples are certainly not exclusive. Many born-again Christians believe the end times are here/approaching and a sizeable majority of those believe it will be in their lifetime. A president that believes such a thing can (has/will) act towards such a goal. If you wish voters to discard the preferences of a president to see the end of the world come to fruition, the same person who has the metaphorical finger over the big red button of doom, then fine. I however consider that to be a very relevant consideration.

"The religious foundation that is so important to voters seems to crumble when it comes time for politicians to make decisions. If the majority of our political leaders really took their "Christianity" seriously, we'd be living in a much different country."

Not really. Natural impulse precedes religion. The bible can be used to justify all manner of behaviour. Slavery, genocide, infanticide, communism, separation of church and state, homophobia, love everyone equally etc. These can all be supported by bible quotes, so it is no surprise to see a range of 'non-Christian' behaviours amongst those of its professed faithful. It is a matter of perspective. It is as easy to justify the free love, opiate like, Jesus rhetoric as it is to justify the biblical, anti-happiness, seclusionist policies. So when you say "living in a different country" you really mean MY perspective of the biblical interpretation, or more likely, an interpretation told to you by others.

Why is that as relevant as any one person's policies? Simply because a profession of faith lets voters know about a person's level and use of reason. Any political candidate that professes to faith professes to abandon logic and deductive reasoning. Decisions they make will always be scrutinised under that one clause. They are willing to abandon reason for faith. Many voters see that as a positive sign of morality and character. I personally see it as a reason not to vote for a candidate. Those voters that see a person of faith as a positive aspect look to that person to safeguard their preferred morality of the nation as a whole. I see it as someone who believes, for example the Joseph Smith Jr. con, as a good sign of their level of reasoning.
Debate Round No. 1
DanDebates

Pro

"Many born-again Christians believe the end times are here/approaching and a sizeable majority of those believe it will be in their lifetime. A president that believes such a thing can (has/will) act towards such a goal."

A president who believes in the end times can or has or will act towards ending the world? Christ taught peace, not "help God bring about the end of the world". I would be interested to see any scripture that tells us to bring about with our own hands the end of the world.

"The bible can be used to justify all manner of behaviour. Slavery, genocide, infanticide, communism, separation of church and state, homophobia, love everyone equally etc. These can all be supported by bible quotes, so it is no surprise to see a range of 'non-Christian' behaviours amongst those of its professed faithful."

I'm not sure the Bible justifies ALL manner of behavior. It's misguided to take quotes from the Bible and call it Biblical support. It's imperative to thoroughly comprehend the real message of Jesus. Yes, the Bible lays out guidelines for keeping slaves, but Jesus Christ(ian) tells us how to treat our neighbors and enemies (no preemptive or redemptive violence, etc).

"It is as easy to justify the free love, opiate like, Jesus rhetoric as it is to justify the biblical, anti-happiness, seclusionist policies."

It's as easy? It's as easy to justify anti-happiness as it is to justify Jesus' explicit messages?

"Any political candidate that professes to faith professes to abandon logic and deductive reasoning."

Professing faith is not an abandonment of logic and deductive reasoning. One obviously doesn't apply these in faith (hence the meaning), but they haven't necessarily abandoned it in their lives. Do you believe everything that you do because you logically deduced it?

Honestly, I think a lot of religious profession in politics is pandering. I think that like most religiously hollow people, politicians are more interested in the good feelings of religious profession than actually living it.
Puck

Con

"A president who believes in the end times can or has or will act towards ending the world? Christ taught peace, not "help God bring about the end of the world". I would be interested to see any scripture that tells us to bring about with our own hands the end of the world."

I never stated that he did. His followers however wish to see the fruition of the same book he is in. In case you forgot, the NT is not all about Jesus.

"I'm not sure the Bible justifies ALL manner of behavior. It's misguided to take quotes from the Bible and call it Biblical support."

Again, that is a perspective based bias of yours. How else do you garner BIBLICAL support for an act without quoting the bible?

"It's as easy? It's as easy to justify anti-happiness as it is to justify Jesus' explicit messages?"

Yes. Yes it is. Denial of self happiness is a common theme.

"Professing faith is not an abandonment of logic and deductive reasoning. One obviously doesn't apply these in faith (hence the meaning), but they haven't necessarily abandoned it in their lives. Do you believe everything that you do because you logically deduced it?"

A contradiction of course. It is not a belief if it is logically deduced. As explained in R1 it is a measure of one's use of reason. 'God exists' is a pervasive metaphysical stance.

"Honestly, I think a lot of religious profession in politics is pandering. I think that like most religiously hollow people, politicians are more interested in the good feelings of religious profession than actually living it."

Ignoring the logical fallacy of your statement, one can play to a voting block and still have a religious faith. The two experiences are not exclusive. The fact that a politician may, is another good reason to base any voting preference.
Debate Round No. 2
DanDebates

Pro

I'll try to use Puck's assertions to lay out three possible scenarios regarding religious affiliation:

1. As Puck said, if perceptions of religion are extremely relative, it all depends on our perspective. Then, because there cannot be an agreed upon "definition" of what a religion is about, it really doesn't matter what religion a person says they are, and therefor, voters shouldn't care.

Then perhaps...

2. People (and I believe this is your position, Puck) aren't so much interested in what religion a candidate is, but rather that they would abandon reason for faith to believe any religion. Of course we all accept "truths" every day based on varying degrees of faith. We cannot logically explain everything we believe to be true, but that seems to be OK. So decisions of faith aren't really as nutty and dangerous as some would make them out to be.

Beyond this, regardless of religious affiliation, do you think all presidential decisions come from logical reasoning? They use logical reasoning based on information that they TRUST is true -- information that they, you might say, have faith in. Do they exhaustively try to prove or disprove intelligence they receive? I doubt it.

So whether they profess to be religious or not, they will receive information, often believe it to be true based on FAITH, and then make decisions based on that information. Kinda sounds like what religious folks do.
Puck

Con

"1. As Puck said, if perceptions of religion are extremely relative, it all depends on our perspective. Then, because there cannot be an agreed upon "definition" of what a religion is about, it really doesn't matter what religion a person says they are, and therefor, voters shouldn't care."

Straw man. Firstly it was the claim of belief not perceptions of. It is the fact they profess faith, not the faith itself that is the issue in regards to rational faculties. Secondly voters perception of a candidates faith is irrelevant if the candidates themselves state their belief e.g. Born-again, Mormon.

"People (and I believe this is your position, Puck) aren't so much interested in what religion a candidate is, but rather that they would abandon reason for faith to believe any religion."

No, I stated that a person's belief is both an indicator of future action and an indicator of use of reason. Many see any claim of faith (Christian, no matter how bigoted or cultish) as a positive aspect in a candidate in regards to their own interests. In both cases a person's faith is relevant.

"Of course we all accept "truths" every day based on varying degrees of faith."

Contradiction. A truth requires no faith.

"We cannot logically explain everything we believe to be true, but that seems to be OK."

By whose standards? If it cannot be logically deduced and it is still believed, that is not "OK".

"So decisions of faith aren't really as nutty and dangerous as some would make them out to be."

US policy in Jerusalem can be tied directly to "decisions of faith". War is not dangerous?

"Beyond this, regardless of religious affiliation, do you think all presidential decisions come from logical reasoning? They use logical reasoning based on information that they TRUST is true -- information that they, you might say, have faith in. Do they exhaustively try to prove or disprove intelligence they receive? I doubt it."

It is a good thing because they don't? As I mentioned in R1, it is a measure of one's use of rational thought. The current administrations fiasco in Iraq is a fine example of what happens when intelligence is taken on "faith".

"So whether they profess to be religious or not, they will receive information, often believe it to be true based on FAITH, and then make decisions based on that information. Kinda sounds like what religious folks do."

You have changed your definition of faith for this round, but no matter. It is not by necessity based on faith. It is based on a traceable series of resources. The president or whomever concerned can then rationalise on the basis of that information and their sources. No faith is necessary. Does that sound "like what religious folks do"? No. Use of logic and reason is not faith and faith is not the sole domain or the superlative process for making decisions.

Clearly a candidate's religious preference has relevance. It has relevance for those opposed to the advances of Dominionism in US politics and law. It has relevance to those voters who want a religious candidate to vote for. It is relevant because of its possible influence on future policies.

Regards, Puck.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Nofate 8 years ago
Nofate
Good debate you guys! A subject I have been debating with people fairly often. I definitely have to side with Puck on this one, though I can't vote because of the rediculous cell phone # identity confirmation requirement :( If your president believes in the biblical end times, (as most of ours have in recent elections) then the result will be VERY detrimental to the prospect of the continued existance of mankind. Period.
+1 imaginary doesn't count vote for Puck!
Posted by DanDebates 8 years ago
DanDebates
In my final round, when i say three possible scenarios, i actually meant two. :)
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 8 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
"Christianity is one thing - we all know the "Christian" stance in politics is dripping with hypocrisy - but people might be concerned if they find out that their elected official is a Devil worshipper or what have you..."

I think we'd be better off if they were :D.
Posted by Zerosmelt 8 years ago
Zerosmelt
this is really tempting... but seeing as i'm flying home soon i dont know if id have time.
Posted by Danielle 8 years ago
Danielle
Christianity is one thing - we all know the "Christian" stance in politics is dripping with hypocrisy - but people might be concerned if they find out that their elected official is a Devil worshipper or what have you...
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