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An open discussion about religion in general

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/26/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 685 times Debate No: 60948
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (2)




I am not pro-religion or anti-religion necessarily.

I do believe that religion is a good thing for some people. It helps answer their questions. It gives them something/someone to look to in times of need. It gives them hope. In a perfect world, religion sounds great. However, we don't live in a perfect world.

In the modern imperfect world, religion is a controversial issue. Terrorism is the result of different religious beliefs. The Catholic church shuns gay people just because of their sexual orientation, which they cant control by the way.

Religion has its ups and downs. Im just curious to hear other people's opinions on the topic.


I am an anti-theist and I do believe religion is a detriment to the human species. I will try and touch on religion in general, but do to time and character limitations I will focus on Christianity. I will lay out the reasons why I feel religion does more harm than good. 1) I believe teaching children that they are going to Hell if they do not follow the word of a bigoted, genocidal, jealous, unjust, homophobic, racist, and malevolent God is borderline child abuse. 2) The Bible is just a book of myths. It is also a terrible book to live life by. 3) Believing in such nonsense makes people feel like they have answers, which you pointed out in your opening argument. If you believe a lie, it is still a lie. This belief will prevent you from seeking the truth. 4) I cannot omit the violence that religion has caused throughout history and right up to the present.

I will now be more thorough in my arguments against religion, and specifically Christianity. I will follow the numerical order laid out in the first paragraph.

1)Children are told that they will go to Hell and suffer for eternity if they do not believe the teachings of the Bible. How are kids supposed to grow up and think for themselves while being taught these evil things during critical phases of brain development? Christians regularly claim that their religion is one of peace and love, but how can that be justified when you could be punished eternally for a "thought crime"? God supposedly gave man free will but you better not choose any doctrine other than Christianity or you will be sentenced to an eternity of torture. This is brainwashing at its finest. A common argument against this stance is that the Bible teaches us morals. This is another fallacy of the so called "Holy Book". Yahweh, the god of the Old Testament, condones slavery, rape, genocide, and war. Is this the god that you feel comfortable teaching your children to worship? Fortunately, these evil, baseless claims are unreasonable and unsupported by evidence.

2)The Bible is said to be the word of God. If this were true there wouldn't be any contradictions, let alone as many as there are. Plus, many parts of the Bible have already been proved wrong by science. We now know that a bat isn't a bird as stated in the Book of Leviticus 11:13-19. The Bible also says the moon gives off light, which we know to be false (Isaiah 13:10, among others). The Bible also expects us to believe that an omnipotent God chose not to use his power to forgive man for original sin (which he created), but instead impregnates a teenage girl (taking away her freewill) with himself in the body of his son so she could give birth to himself/son and ultimately have himself/son slaughtered (because human sacrifice is moral) to save humans from going to the Hell that he created. Instead of providing proof for these claims, he decided to communicate through profits. Not only did these profits have conflicting accounts, but the first word from the Bible ever written was at least 40 years after Jesus" death. This is the equivalent of us currently not having any media and being a very illiterate culture, yet writing about Richard Nixon"s presidency. How accurate would that be?

3)Believing in a religion makes people that don"t have the answers feel like they do. This is a dangerous concept because if we think we have the answers, and it"s as simple as God, then we will not advance intellectually at the rate we could. Many people don"t believe in evolution because the Bible states that God created all. Evolution would alone disprove the Book of Genesis, and that would be a huge hit on the Bible"s reputation. Some Christians will not even give evolution a thought due to their staunch belief system. The problem here is that religion can impede or even restrict people from learning about the world around them. These conclusions are passed down from parents to offspring. This ignorance is being taught as truth and it is completely acceptable in many if not most societies. The issue for Christianity is that it does not have the evidence to back its claims like science does.

4)I have already stated that the God of the Bible was an evil, maniacal tyrant. But unfortunately it"s not just this character that has acted this way, but also his followers. Christianity doesn't exactly have the cleanest history. I"m sure everyone reading this has heard of the Inquisition, the Crusades, and the French Wars of Religion. This violence was all in the name of religion. It wouldn't be fair to just pick on Christianity though, so how about Islam? The Qur"an is a book full of hate just like the Bible, and sadly some Muslims interpret it as literal truth. When you look at 9/11, ISIS and their atrocities, and Hamas, you can"t help but to think that if the Qur"an and its faith didn't exist, neither would these terrible tragedies. There are two major conflicts currently in world news. These are obviously the Palestine/Israel war and the ISIS barbarity. I don"t find it that shocking that both are religious based.
Debate Round No. 1


Above, the con point of view was argued, therefore i will now argue the pro point of view more in depth.

Religion is something that gives people hope. It provides answers to questions. It does charitable things. Most importantly it unites people. Below I will go into more detail on those 4 points.

Religion gives people hope. The concept of heaven makes death a less scary to people. It is a place where people go after they have passed. That helps people know that even though their loved ones are gone, they are still there in spirit. Science could never make you feel that same way about death that religion does.

Religion also answers questions. In the Bible, everything is explained. If a child wants to know where people go after they die, then heaven is a great answer. People look to the Lord in times of need and pray to him. God is not a wish granting factory, he simply answers questions and provides support.

Many churches do very charitable things. They do things from collecting clothes for needy children, to raising money for certain foundations, to making food for the homeless. Religion encourages giving back to the community.

Finally, religion unites people. It gives everyone a sense of family and community. Your church can and will support you when times get tough. The Bible says that all are God's children. Religion is one thing thay two very different people can agree upon.


First off I would like to thank Pro for having an open mind and willing to argue either side.
I will argue your points in order.

First you state that religion gives people hope. You clearly state the concept of heaven as the reason why. What about the concept of Hell? As stated in my opening, I am an atheist. According to scripture I am going to Hell. If my mother was a devout Christian and knew I was an atheist, how would this thought make her feel? Her son would be tortured for an eternity. That provides worry, not hope. The fact that theists are taught the concept of Hell goes directly against your argument. Unless you want to state that it provides hope because "I hope I don't go to Hell". You state "That helps people know that even though their loved ones are gone, they are still there in spirit." I argue nobody "knows" this.

Your second argument is that religion answers questions. I submit that I can answer every question you throw at me. That doesn't make what I say true. What I deduce from this statement is that you do not value truth. I interpret that as, it is better to lie to someone to make them feel better than to admit a lack of knowledge. You also state the Bible explains everything. Again, this does not make it true. I already made it clear in my opening statement that there are flaws in the Bible. I will also argue that the Bible does not explain everything. "I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet." (Timothy 2:12). Explain that. I would also like an explanation for this: "Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves." (Numbers 31:17-18). If God could create everything out of nothing, then why did he need a rib to create Eve? What did the carnivores eat on the ark? I could go on and on with Bible verses but I won't. I will ask questions about real life that the Bible cannot explain. The Bible does not explain why innocent children are dying daily due to starvation. The Bible does not explain ancestry in evolutionary terms. In fact it contradicts it. The Bible doesn't explain why the only source of light God gave us also gives us cancer. The Bible doesn"t explain how plants lived without the Sun, which according to the Book of Genesis is true. Also, you think "heaven" is a great answer for a child who wants to know where he/she goes when they die. I have a better answer. 'I don't know'. The difference between this belief and the belief in Santa Claus is that children grow out of believing in Santa. I don"t mean to repeat myself, but is Hell a "great answer" for children regarding what happens if they don"t live by an old book and believe in a God based on poor evidence? Not only is this concept brainwashing, but it is also blackmail. Next you site prayer as a positive. I'll ask you, is asking for something and not receiving it a positive? Multiple studies have shown prayer does not work. I will list sources at the bottom of this round. How many people do you think pray for the victims of ISIS? Did God do anything about that? If I were to sit in a corner and talk to my imaginary friend George, I'd be considered crazy. But if I did the same thing, but instead of George I called him God, I'd just be a Christian. You do say that he answers questions and provides support. I still have yet to hear an answer for why there are starving children, even though people ask "why" on a daily basis.

Your next argument is that churches do charitable things. I will not deny this, however there are many secular organizations that also do charitable things. Christopher Hitchens said it best. He posed a challenge that I will pose to you.
"Name me a moral action committed by a believer, or a moral or ethical statement uttered by one. That could not be made or uttered by a non-believer."
This is your challenge. I can name many immoral or evil actions committed in the name of God and their beliefs. Warren Buffet who is the 3rd richest man in the world pledged to give 99% of his wealth to charity. He is atheist. Bill Gates is the 2nd richest man in the world and he's donated over $26 Billion to charity. He is atheist. Pat Robertson is the wealthiest Evangelical Christian in the world and has donated almost nothing to charity. You make the claim that religion encourages giving back to the community. While that may be true in most cases, explain why many churches expect the community to give back to them. Churches are tax exempt. Paying taxes, by definition, is giving back to the community. Pat Robertson and Joel Osteen are self proclaimed "men of God" yet there are poor, poverty stricken people suffering all around the world while they live....well I"ll post links to show you how they live.

Lastly, you state that religion unites people and its one thing that two very different people can agree on. While this may be true, what happens when they don't agree? I'll answer that one. Terrorist attacks, the Crusades, and the Israel/Palestine conflict are just a few examples of direct religious disagreement. The Bible does state that we are all God's children, but he did send his only "true" son to get brutally tortured and eventually murdered. I refuse to accept this whole concept. What kind of parent sacrifices his son when he has the power to accomplish his objective with omnipotence? Also, if we are all his children, what kind of parent sends his kids to an eternity of torture based on their beliefs and not necessarily their actions? If you believe we are all God's children because the Bible says so, then you must believe he murdered millions of his own children. Tell me, is that positive?


Prayer doesn't work:

Joel Osteen's living pretty well. Pat Robertson too. Meanwhile in Africa".
Debate Round No. 2


I personally am neither an athiest nor a theist. I havent quite found a label for what I am, but I do not practice any specific religion, nor do i go to church. Just putting that out there so that you dont think im a crazy religious freak or anything.

One thing that I do believe is that everyone should have an open mind about everything. You should never shoot something down immediately just because you feel differently. How does this apply to religion/the current conversation? Well, i think that athiests are a bit closed minded. Just because science doesnt back up certain aspects of religion does not mean that they are not true. After all, people thought that flies came from rotting meat and that the earth was flat. Science can be wrong. Im not saying that science is wrong about God or religion, but who are you to say that God doesnt exist? Who am i to say that God does exist? We are all entitled to our opinions. God's existance can not be proven by anyone or anything, not even science.

Now, to accept your challenge where you stated "Name me a moral action committed by a believer, or a moral or ethical statement uttered by one. That could not be made or uttered by a non-believer." You ready for my answer? I shall respect all of God's children. Above you stated that you dont believe that we are all God's children, therefore you could not say that unless you were a) lying or b) being hypocrytical.

All in all, religion is a personal thing. It's not just the Catholics and the Muslims and the Jewish people. Religion is what you believe and why you believe it.

Even atheism is a religion, afterall.


Again, I want to express my appreciation to Pro for being willing to take either side of this argument.

I do think this proved to be a liability though. After I had taken the Anti-theist side, Pro willing accepted the pro-religion stance, which argues that religion, (we both focused on Christianity) is more of a positive on society than a negative. Although this is the common belief, I clearly laid out multiple arguments indicating the contrary to be true. Pro could not refute one of my arguments, while I exposed and vanquished all of her/his.

“One thing that I do believe is that everyone should have an open mind about everything. You should never shoot something down immediately just because you feel differently. How does this apply to religion/the current conversation? Well, i think that athiests are a bit closed minded.”

1) I don’t think Pro understands what atheism is. Atheism is the lack of a belief in a god or gods. It’s nothing more, nothing less. Again, I stand strong on my belief that religion does more harm than good. Did Pro really think after reading my arguments that I just shot it down ‘immediately’ because I feel differently?

2) Pro believes atheists are close minded. I will explain why it is the religious who is the close minded. I don’t claim that I am 100% right there is no God. I agree that it would be foolish to do so. But why should I give it any credence without any proof? If I were to tell you that an invisible leprechaun exists, would you dismiss it or keep an open mind? Anyone who dismisses it uses the same concept that an atheist does. The only difference is the unproven mythological character that is being referred. It’s the Theist, in my opinion, that generally will not change their stance. Why doesn’t a Christian worship Allah? Do you think he/she is close minded because they believe their scripture is the correct one? There have been thousands of gods believed in throughout history and everybody is atheist to the vast majority of them. I just go one god further.

3) Pro answered the challenge to my question; however she/he took it out of context. Neither Christopher Hitchens nor I meant word for word, but in the context of the phrase or action.

I could replace “God’s children” with “homosapiens”, and the context of the statement would be identical. It would basically read: I respect everybody.

4) I cannot close this debate without touching on something Pro stated that is just flat out wrong. Pro made up their own definition for ‘religion’, then made a false statement about atheism.

“religion is a personal thing. It's not just the Catholics and the Muslims and the Jewish people. Religion is what you believe and why you believe it.”

That was followed up with:

“Even atheism is a religion, afterall.”

I guess not believing in unicorns must be a religion too.

Those were not the correct definitions.

Religion:1) The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods:

2) A particular system of faith and worship:

3) A pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance:

As I said earlier, atheism is not a belief system. It is just the lack of a belief in a deity.

Calling it a religion is equal to telling Christians that their religion is that they do not believe in Allah.

In closing I would like to rehash that I backed up all of my arguments, and none were refuted. Pro’s arguments were feeble and exposed. I would like to close this debate by thanking Pro once again for posting this debate and willing to take either side.

Vote Con

Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by guylaquit 3 years ago
Not sure why you claimed the Catholic church shuns gay people when in reality the Catholic church shuns nobody and only believes that the act of homosexuality itself is a sin, not that the person is bad.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I suppose the presumptive BoP should be on Con, for going first. Though Con also got to go last--which means that Pro hobbled herself from the get-go. And what the specific resolution was was never really specified by Pro. it seemed to be a nebulous "is religion good/bad", without a specific threshold. Pro made some unsupported assertions, particularly regarding atheists as a whole (calling them close-minded). Con responded with some similar sentiments regarding believers. In the end, this came down for me to the harms that Con pointed out--they were concrete. The benefits that Pro pointed out seemed rather nebulous and flimsy, and easily rebutted by Con. As such, I'm giving the points to Con, who argued more clearly explaining his arguments. Pro might have done better with a bit more rigor to her arguments. As always, happy to clarify this RFD.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: it's a discussion, so I believe it should not be treated as a debate