The Instigator
brittwaller
Pro (for)
Losing
32 Points
The Contender
scissorhands7
Con (against)
Winning
33 Points

Belief in an afterlife negatively impacts the world of practical affairs

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/24/2008 Category: Religion
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 8,066 times Debate No: 5477
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (80)
Votes (11)

 

brittwaller

Pro

This debate is about how the belief in an afterlife, be it Christian or otherwise, negatively impacts the temporal world in a large way. The issue is not whether "god" exists or not - this is basically irrelevant in this context as religion and its doctrines certainly exist, and this is where the problem stems from. Believers, whether they realize it or not, have faith in these doctrines and their fruitions, and not necessarily in an actual god, should such a thing exist, or what he/she/it may have actually "said," if anything.

I know many dislike the tactic of debating semantics, which I often use successfully (and sometimes not so successfully) and for that reason will allow it. However, unless you are really good at this tactic, I would avoid it because you will probably at best turn the debate into a grammatical gridlock, and at worst get completely torn out of the frame. In all, I hope we debate the issue at hand, and not waste time on useless sideshow distractions, as there is a plethora of arguments that can be utilized by either side.

RESOLVED: Belief in an afterlife negatively impacts the world of practical affairs.

Arguments

1. Many believers do not make a clear enough distinction between what is, i.e. the empirical world of known reality, and what possibly could be, i.e. the doctrines of their faith, specifically the concept of an afterlife.

Example: To the common functioning naked eye, the sky is for all intents and purposes blue. This is observed data. Beyond the atmosphere lies what we call space, the observable universe. These things are known. To the religious believer who has what may be termed "true faith," there also exist specific places known as heaven and hell, where a person will be either eternally rewarded or eternally punished, respectively, based on their actions during a relatively short, as well as temporally and spatially incidental, time alive on Earth. These concepts are not known, but are believed to be true regardless of the lack of evidence that ordinarily is needed to believe something -- this is religious "faith."

2. While this in itself might not be a problem, except in that it betrays a lack of rational thinking ability in said believer, and the inability to separate fact from fiction and fantasy, it soon becomes a problem. If a person's decisions and actions are influenced by their faith -- and I don't think it can be argued that they aren't -- and if that person is in a position of power over others, political office or such, then obviously a person of "true faith" will make policy decisions and the like, all informed by the possible yet highly unlikely and in any case unknown tenets of that "faith." These policies affect many people, depending on how much power the believer has.

Problems arise here because:
A. Not everyone affected shares the same faith, or even has faith at all. To subject others to policy based on one's own faith is tyranny.
B. Faith and what is needed in the real world to deal with problems often conflict.

Examples: Scientific fact versus religious dogma is seen in the battle over what should be taught in schools, creationism or evolution. Seeing as we are talking about *science* class, the choice should be obvious.
Another example would be justifying war, along with a slew of other atrocities, by claiming it is the "will of God." The Hebrews (apparently) did this in the Old Testament, the Popes did it during the crusades, and the current administration has done it with the "war on terror." To dictate morality to a secular nation (which the US is) based on one's faith is tyranny as well, but we see it done when it comes to sex education, reproductive justice, the "war on drugs," and other issues. Not all of this ties in with my overall resolution, it is simply an example of some things that happen due to the influence of faith on policy. The actual connections I will make clear in the next point.

3. This is my primary argument: When there exists belief in an afterlife, attention is taken away from the here-and-now of reality. There exists (at least in the mind of the believer) a safety net, as it were (I don't know any religionists that count themselves among those going to hell). Instead of focusing on how to actually make the world a better place, the people I am speaking of put their energy and efforts into 1) trying to get to heaven themselves, and 2) trying to convert (or kill, depending on the subject) others so that they will go to heaven as well. There is no empirical evidence for the existence of these places, but some people let the *concept* more or less rule their lives. They live *as if* this afterlife were a definite, not a remote possibility. No one really *knows* what happens when a person dies, but those with faith of this kind act like they know absolutely what happens, and act on that supposed knowledge to the detriment of their contemporaries and the world as a whole.

Rationalist: I hear you're joining the army so you can go to Iraq. Why would you want to kill people that have no issue with you personally? Why risk your life for a fight that isn't yours?

Christian: Because my country needs me, and god has called on me (second-hand) because my country is Christian and is at war. If I die, I'm going to heaven.
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Rationalist: I hear you're going to fly a plane into a building. Why would you do such a thing?

Islamic Fundamentalist: Because Allah is great and the infidels must pay for their lifestyles defying his will. When I die, I'm going to heaven and will have 70 virgins for the taking, so I'm not worried.
--------------------------------------------------------
Rationalist: Why are we destroying the planet, bit by bit? For money? Aren't you worried about what will be left for our children, and their children, etc?

Christian Businessman: Well, money has the most to do with it, you're right. We could at least try not leave such a big mess behind, I suppose, but that would cost money. I'm trying to *make* money. Eventually I'll die and go to heaven, my children will inherit my estate, and by the time they have children Jesus will have already returned and saved those that can be saved, you know -- the apocalypse.
------------------------------------------------

I am aware my dialogues above are a bit caricatured, but they aren't off by much. To be clear, I am not talking about EVERY religious person out there. I am talking about those that can't differentiate between the absolutely real and the possible existence of an unknown and unknowable afterlife, and proceed to live as if this life were secondary to the unknown future. It would be like the difference in those that just go through the motions of worship, meaning they still attend church regularly, sing in the choir perhaps, celebrate Xmas, but don't really think that snakes talk or that Noah's ark was a literal story, as well as have a relatively clear understanding not only of the concept of separation of church and state but also *why* there is such a thing in the first place, versus those that do take the Bible literally and see this as the ONLY truth that there is. In other words, the group I am speaking of still operates in life (why would there be a debate if it were otherwise), but god/faith/doctrine/etc always has primacy, no matter what the situation.

If anything is a sin, it is forsaking the real and known for the fantastic and unknown.

I look forward to a good debate.

Britt
scissorhands7

Con

Definitions]

Sin - a term generalized in this debate to mean anything that prevents a person from reaching the after-life of his religion.

Example: In the Christian religion, it is a sin to kill a human. If the said Christian does not ask forgiveness from this sin, he will not enter the after-life. Thus killing for this person is a sin.

Example: In the Islamic religion, cursing Allah's name is a sin. If said Islamic does not ask forgiveness for this sin, he will not enter the after-life. Thus cursing Allah's name for this person is a sin.

After-life - a term generalized in this debate to mean the "good" place a person goes to after he dies if he is free from "sin"

Example: Heaven

[Negation]

I would like to thank my opponent for such a superb debate subject. I would like to take the time to state my feelings of the utmost respect for my opponent. I will proceed to highlight his main arguments and, in turn, negate each one using as much logic and factual evidence as is possible.

To start off I will try to sum up my opponents main points:

His main resolution is "belief in an afterlife, be it Christian or otherwise, negatively impacts the temporal world in a large way."

I hope this resolution will be sufficient seeing as how it differs from the primary resolution, because under that definition my opponent could easily be the victor by simply proving that in some way belief in the afterlife negatively affects the world.

1. To start off with, my opponents first main point (combined 1 & 2) is the following: (please correct me if I misstated this)

When political leaders and persons in power, hold the belief that they will be judged by their actions by (a) supreme
being(s), they make decisions that do not agree with those who do not have the same belief that they will be judged in the afterlife.

My opponent goes on to state, unless I am mistaken, that the said political leaders will make policies regarding their particular faith's values and rules (so to speak). While he brings up a good point, I would like to respectfully recall to his memory that this debate only involves the politicians belief in an afterlife, and that they will judged regarding their decisions.

While my opponent may go onto state that the said values and rules of that faith will influence where that said politician (or persons in power) goes in the "after-life", I would like to affirm that the majority of religions believe that a supreme being will judge whether they have been "good" or "bad". While I understand that the definitions of both "good" and "bad" is very relative in regards to the religious authority, I think my opponent can agree that the majority of religions (Islam, Christianity, and Judaism) are all based off of the same basic values in the old testament of the bible. Such as the ten commandments. Although I know this to be a large generalization, I would like to ask the readers to understand the character limit in these arguments.

Some examples my opponent gives are the following:
The negative effects of teaching creationism in school.
The Crusades causing destruction
Dictating Morality
Sex Education
Reproductive justice (which I'm assuming is abortion)
Drug Policies

2. The second point, which my opponent states is the majority of his argument, is this:

The belief in the afterlife negatively affects persons by taking the focus off of this world and putting it on the next.
This causes believers in the afterlife to stop contributing to this world.

Having summed up my opponents resolution (and I hope he will correct me if I excluded/included any piece of correct/wrong piece of information) I will continue on to refute his two main points.

1. To start off I would like to go over how in *most* religions, to get to the "after-life", a person has to remain free from "sin" (see definition above)

While my opponent has stated that the policies made by persons in power negatively affect the constituents who do not believe in the persons faith, I would like to call to memory that this debate is only about belief in the afterlife, and henceforth reaching it. In most religions, sin is a personal issue. It deals only with self.

Example: Delilah is the president. Deliah considers a policy regarding abortion. Delilah's religion states that abortion is a sin. Delilah enacts no policy restricting abortion.

This is not a sin because Delilah herself did not commit abortion

Example: Delilah is a person. Deliah's religion states that abortion is a sin. Delilah commits abortion.

This is a sin.

My opponent, so far, has made the mistaken notion that by not making policies that uphold religious beliefs, a person will not go into the after-life.

However my opponent has forgotten a key component. Policies regarding religious doctrine or the upholding of it only stem from a persons faith, not a persons belief in the afterlife. If a person does not make said religious policies that affect constituents, that person will still enter the afterlife because not making policies for other people is not considered a personal sin because the person in question has not actively committed that sin them self.

Therefore my opponents examples regarding his first point:
The negative effects of teaching creationism in school.
The Crusades causing destruction
Dictating Morality
Sex Education
Reproductive justice (which I'm assuming is abortion)
Drug Policies

Stem not from a persons belief in the afterlife, but stem from their faith.

Additionally the issue regarding the crusades was a sin of both religions involved. Because all religions held the belief that killing a human was a sin no matter how it was done. Furthermore the crusades were waged more for political reasons than religious, although religion was the main reason. The crusades stemmed from greed and corruption of political leaders. Not their faith.

Dictating morality stems from a persons own character not their faith's beliefs.

The other examples (in my opinion) directly stem from their belief in their faiths principles and not because the process of not enacting said policies will prevent them from reaching the afterlife.

2. Continuing with my opponents second main point.

My opponent goes onto state that religious members essentially treat this world as a waiting room so to speak and in turn contribute nothing to its success.

However, I would like to remind my opponent that in all three major religions (and additionally minor ones that I don't have the space to name) the act of charity plays a huge role.

And this role of charity does not simply including giving money to the church. It extends to the poor in many cases. If in the next example my opponent would like examples of religions advocating of charity and making this world better, he need only ask and I will post the scripture thus advocating it.

Additionally, with regards to making this world a better place. I'm sure you will find that everyone has a different definition of what "better" is will be completely different.

However I can assure you that religions advocate changing this world for the better. So I negate that religious members simply wait around for the next world to come. Most religions advocate the opposite.

I would like to thank my opponent for his excellent opening statement and excellent debate topic.
I look forward to his next sequence of arguments that prove that belief in the afterlife effects this world in a large way.
Debate Round No. 1
brittwaller

Pro

I want to thank scissorhands7 for accepting this debate. I'm sure it will be enjoyable.

pt 1:

"His main resolution is "belief in an afterlife, be it Christian or otherwise, negatively impacts the temporal world in a large way."
I hope this resolution will be sufficient seeing as how it differs from the primary resolution, because under that definition my opponent could easily be the victor by simply proving that in some way belief in the afterlife negatively affects the world."

-Incorrect. It was quite clear in my R1 what the resolution to be debated was. It was the title of the debate and followed the word "RESOLVED" as well. Therefore I must reject your change of resolution. I will, however, meet you halfway.
RESOLVED: Belief in an afterlife, be it Christian or otherwise, negatively impacts the temporal world.
Fair enough? In any case, it won't matter too much as of yet.

"1. To start off with, my opponents first main point (combined 1 & 2) is the following: (please correct me if I misstated this)
When political leaders and persons in power, hold the belief that they will be judged by their actions by (a) supreme
being(s), they make decisions that do not agree with those who do not have the same belief that they will be judged in the afterlife."

-So far so good, although they may also make decisions that I do agree with. Politicians that do have the same (lack of) beliefs as I do, although I'm not sure there are any, may also make policy decisions I do not agree with. However, if the disagreement were on the subject of some of the topics in the examples listed, it would not have anything to do with religion, as most arguments against the legalization of drugs, abortion, teaching creationism, and non-abstinence only sex education do. There would automatically have to be a reasoned argument against [X], because religion would not be a factor.

pt 2:

My opponent goes on to state, unless I am mistaken, that the said political leaders will make policies regarding their particular faith's values and rules (so to speak). While he brings up a good point, I would like to respectfully recall to his memory that this debate only involves the politicians belief in an afterlife, and that they will judged regarding their decisions."

-Incorrect. This is where my opponent begins goes lose me. My point is not that the people I am speaking of will make legislation or policy directly about their faith, but that they will be influenced in action by the tenets of their faith, one being the existence of an afterlife. If by "judged" my opponent means by a higher power, this is not what the debate is about. It isn't about the effects of their policy concerning them (the religionists), but about how the effects of their influenced decisions affect the world at large.

"While my opponent may go onto state that the said values and rules of that faith will influence where that said politician (or persons in power) goes in the "after-life"..."

-I never made this argument. I am under the impression that there is no proof of an afterlife, and therefore no reason to believe in one. It is a problem when leaders, people in positions of power, etc., create policies based on the assumed unilateral truth of their beliefs, and not on rational arguments based on empirical evidence or what I would call "universal" morality. That is, there are arguments to be made against abortion, the legalization of drugs, etc, that DO NOT include the power of Christ (or any other god-concept.) The religionists I am referring to do not make these cases, though, because the influence of their belief system (their "faith," in one sense) and the idea that THEY and few others know THE one and only truth about some of the greatest mysteries and problems in the world, and it's "their way or the highway," so to speak, has corrupted their

pt3:

...minds by making them dogmatic: the answers (assuming we are even asking the right questions) are already there, thus no search for truth exists, with all of this leading to the net fact that such people are unassailable to reason.

"2.The second point, which my opponent states is the majority of his argument, is this:
The belief in the afterlife negatively affects persons by taking the focus off of this world and putting it on the next.
This causes believers in the afterlife to stop contributing to this world."

-Partially. The first statement is fully correct, except that I would emphasize again that "this world" (the world of practical affairs, the temporal world) is known as real, in general, and that the "next [world]" is an unknown. There's no getting around this, as I see it, because of the infectious dogmatism I make in my first argument. I would add to the second statement my point is not that believers in an afterlife stop contributing *in any way* to our current world, but that they significantly contribute in a way that impedes not an easily deconstructed abstract such as "progress," but general humanitarian efforts toward things which one might think they would agree with, on the face of it, from a glance at their own given morality (peace on earth, helping the less fortunate, ending suffering, compassion, no killing, no lying, no stealing, the importance of moderation, etc.)

"While my opponent has stated that the policies made by persons in power negatively affect the constituents who do not believe in the persons faith, I would like to call to memory that this debate is only about belief in the afterlife, and henceforth reaching it. In most religions, sin is a personal issue. It deals only with self."

- Incorrect. The debate deals with the effects of a belief in the afterlife, and is about the world of practical affairs as a whole, not about self. I also fail to see the relevance of the points about sin my opponent makes.

pt 4:

"My opponent, so far, has made the mistaken notion that by not making policies that uphold religious beliefs, a person will not go into the after-life."

- I made no such argument or claim.

"However my opponent has forgotten a key component. Policies regarding religious doctrine or the upholding of it only stem from a persons faith, not a persons belief in the afterlife..."

- In the cases we are speaking of, a person's faith necessarily includes belief in the afterlife, so the two go hand-in-hand, if not perpetuate each other. This is also irrelevant as per above.

"Therefore my opponents examples regarding his first point:
[see list]
Stem not from a persons belief in the afterlife, but stem from their faith."

-We are still on my opponent's mistaken counterpoint, but I will address it anyway. First, I will not speak in terms that already assume the existence of either sin or the afterlife as known truths. Second, why do these people have their "faith" in the first place? To be "saved" and make it into "heaven"/avoid "hell," from the long-range perspective. Thus is created a race to get not only themselves to "heaven," but to try and take everyone else with them and persecute/minimize those who do not agree or want to go, by their tyranny of the majority in most places.

-Crusades conceded, except that I am willing to take religionists at their word, and the Crusades were ostensibly religious wars.
-A religionist is more likely to dictate/legislate morality.
"...and not because the process of not enacting said policies will prevent them from reaching the afterlife."
-This was not the point I was making.
"... Charity..."
-Being charitable doesn't equal being religious. I hope there is more than charity that religionists rely on as their positive contribution.
-Their idea of "better" is so drastically different than evidence suggests it should be in respect to all other issues mentioned because their ability to think critically has been compromised, as I mentioned above.
I see nothing in my opponent's refutations to suggest my thesis is incorrect.
scissorhands7

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for his invigorating rebuttal. I would like the voters to know that a personal conflict arose with my opponent that is thoroughly acceptable to myself. I would ask you to disregard the "brittwaller forfeited this round" and refer directly to the comments section where you can find my opponents rebuttal. It is within the character limit, and this redirection should in no way affect who you vote for.

For clarification purposes I redefined the definition to make sure there were no loopholes. I strive to clarify the resolution in full early in the debate.

I'll start with my opponents primary point:
"Incorrect. This is where my opponent begins goes lose me. My point is not that the people I am speaking of will make legislation or policy directly about their faith, but that they will be influenced in action by the tenets of their faith, one being the existence of an afterlife."

My opponent has stated that the policies politicians make will be influenced by their belief in the afterlife.

To clarify my rebuttal to this point:
I have shown in R2 that a politicians belief in the afterlife cannot possibly affect the policies they make. Instead as I have shown and will continue to affirm is that politicians policies are influenced by their belief in the religion and its values instead of by their belief in the afterlife.

The difference between the two is clarified in my R2. To summarise:
The concept of sin is the main component of achieving the afterlife. To achieve admittance in the afterlife a person (in all three major religions: Jewish, Islamic, Christian) a person must remain free from sin. Therefore we can only conclude that for a politicians policies to be affected by their belief in the afterlife, it in turn must be affected from their avoidance or prevention of sin. As is shown above, sin is a personal concept and only applies to self choices.

Example: In the bible it is implied that homosexual activity is wrong.
Person A may consider homosexuality a sin.

If Person A does not make policies restricting homosexuality, he is not considered to have sinned because Person A did not commit the sin personally.

However if Person A engages in sexual activity then Person A has sinned.

Since sin is a personal concept, the policies a politician makes cannot be influenced by their personal avoidance of sin (since making/not making a particular policy is not considered to be a sin), therefore we can conclude that the policies a politician makes can in turn not be influenced by their belief in the afterlife, but strictly by their belief in that faiths values which is entirely separate (in this instance) from their faith.

Next my opponent states:
"It is a problem when leaders, people in positions of power, etc., create policies based on the assumed unilateral truth of their beliefs"

I agree, as I have been arguing these decisions are made from the values of their faith and not in their belief in an afterlife.

Example:
Bob is a Jobu. The Jobu's religion states that their is no afterlife, all members turn to dust. Instead they believe Jobu created earth and all good things in it, and set up rules that they must obey. Bob is elected president. Here Bob's policies are influenced by his religion and not by his belief in the afterlife.

This is similar to those who believe in an afterlife. Since policies are not affected by the personal concept of sin, their policies are influenced by their belief in religion, not belief in afterlife.

Next my opponent states:
"I would add to the second statement my point is not that believers in an afterlife stop contributing *in any way* to our current world..."

1. My opponent has conceded that believers in an afterlife contribute to our current world in some way.
2. My opponents second argument which is purely opinion, has no factual backing to it.
Furthermore:

The Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey (sccbs) was undertaken in 2000 by researchers at universities throughout the United States and the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research. The data consist of nearly 30,000 observations drawn from 50 communities across the United States and ask individuals about their "civic behavior," including their giving and volunteering during the year preceding the survey.

The differences in charity between secular and religious people are dramatic. Religious people are 25 percentage points more likely than secularists to donate money (91 percent to 66 percent) and 23 points more likely to volunteer time (67 percent to 44 percent). And, consistent with the findings of other writers, these data show that practicing a religion is more important than the actual religion itself in predicting charitable behavior. For example, among those who attend worship services regularly, 92 percent of Protestants give charitably, compared with 91 percent of Catholics, 91 percent of Jews, and 89 percent from other religions.
http://www.hks.harvard.edu...
Additionally there are numerous ways I could show that people bearing religion give to charity

My opponent goes onto state that he doesn't understand the points I am making about sin.

I affirm that sin is the only thing preventing a religious person from reaching the afterlife (see definition). Sin in most religions only refers to the choices made by an individual choices that are known as sin by religious rule. Since sin is the only thing keeping a person from the afterlife we can conclude that the only effect from believing in the after life is the avoidance of sin. Since sin is personal we can denote that belief in the afterlife does not affect a politicians policies religion does.

"- In the cases we are speaking of, a person's faith necessarily includes belief in the afterlife, so the two go hand-in-hand, if not perpetuate each other. This is also irrelevant as per above."

A persons faith includes a persons belief in the after-life - conceded, however a persons belief in the after-life does not fully include a persons faith.

Example: Bob believes in Christianity. Bob does not interpret that the earth was created in 7 days. Bob believes in an afterlife, therefore Bob does not advocate creationism teaching.
Joe believes in Christianity. Joe does interpret that the earth was created in 7 days. Joe believes in an afterlife. Therefore Joe does advocate creationism teaching.

As you can see in this example a persons policies derive from their belief and interpretation of faith not belief in the afterlife.

"We are still on my opponent's mistaken counterpoint..."

1. I am assuming they are for purposes of the debate to show a religious perspective and due to the nature of the debate. The argument of whether or not they exist should be restricted due to the nature of our debate.

2. It is not my purpose in this debate to show why humans have a religion. Or to prove that religion itself does or does not negatively affect the world. I simply must show that belief in the afterlife does not negatively impact the world. Through logic I have shown how the two differ and how belief in the afterlife affects personal decisions and not ones that influence policies or the world as a whole.

"Being charitable doesn't equal being religious."
Nor does being religious not equal being charitable.

My opponent so far in this debate has shown how religion negatively impacts the world. My opponent however has not refuted my evidences that belief in the afterlife does not negatively impact the world. The majority of my opponents arguments are personal opinions rather than factual evidence or logic.

I have in turn proven how belief in the afterlife does not negatively affect the world.

I would like to thank my opponent for his intelligent and well-thought rebuttal and look forward to his final argument.
Debate Round No. 2
brittwaller

Pro

I will have to deal with my opponent's points rather quickly so that I will still have time for a closing argument due to his skilled tactical responses.

My opponent's arguments:

1) "...a politicians belief in the afterlife cannot possibly affect the policies they make. Instead as I have shown and will continue to affirm is that politicians policies are influenced by their belief in the religion and its values instead of by their belief in the afterlife."

- First, I am speaking of more than *just* politicians and the policies they make. I must note that I believe my opponent has fundamentally either misunderstood the debate or give him credit for trying to change the topic. He stated the following points in rebuttal previously:

"...this debate is only about belief in the afterlife, and henceforth reaching it."
"...this debate only involves the politicians belief in an afterlife, and that they will judged regarding their decisions."
"...My opponent, so far, has made the mistaken notion that by not making policies that uphold religious beliefs, a person will not go into the after-life."
"If a person does not make said religious policies that affect constituents, that person will still enter the afterlife because not making policies for other people is not considered a personal sin because the person in question has not actively committed that sin them self."

These are all straw-man arguments that I never made in the first place and are as said irrelevant.

I must also note that this was in fact not my "primary point." Due to my opponent's movement of where I actually put this argument you might believe that it was. Do not. I clearly labeled my primary argument in R1 as point number three, where it says "This is my primary argument." Very clever!

All my opponent has done to refute my actual primary argument is make the claim that charity impacts the world in a positive way, and that this is somehow to the credit of the religious in the majority of cases. I responded by saying that being charitable does not equate to being religious, he then responded by saying "Nor does being religious not equal being charitable" after a long set of statistics. Agreed. The point is that neither religion/non-religion is mutually exclusive to charity.

The fact is, for the true believers in the major religions of the world (which all include a belief in the afterlife), this belief (which I admit is a part of faith) provides a cushion and a justification for a number of actions that impact the world in a negative way. See my examples from R1, all of which were of individuals making bad or careless choices due to the fact that they believe in the afterlife alone, not due to any other tenet of faith.

Any time a person puts themselves in a position where they may lose their life, which is alright because they *believe* they *might* go to a place that *might possibly* exist it impacts the world negatively. Any time a person does lose their life because of this belief, whether they are the fundamentalist terrorist bomber who thinks he is going to be with 70 virgins soon or the people the bomber killed, the world is impacted in a negative way. Add up all of the religious wars throughout history, all those that went ahead with decisions that affected themselves negatively because of the cushion of the afterlife specifically, and then all those that suffered because of the original decision of some other person, and you have quite a negative impact.

2) My opponent then makes the case that it is not the belief in the afterlife that affects the actions of believers, but the faith itself. "Faith" is what disables the critical thinking ability to make the idea of the afterlife believable in the first place. I am glad my opponent made this argument, however. His own example brings out that a faith can exist without an afterlife. If only! Think about how much more reluctant so many people would be to steal, die, or kill for things that *might exist* if they weren't brainwashed to believe that this *possibility* does in fact exist with a certainty and that they are going there when they die.

That religion or faith are in themselves a detriment to mankind I fully concede. However, I am making a specific indictment of the effects of the afterlife belief itself.

That the "faith" is there before the specific afterlife belief I fully concede as well. However, it is the afterlife belief that provides the cushion and the comfort required for such things as the Crusades, fundamentalist bombers, and the devaluation of life in general by all religions (I am a [religion x'er] and I must go to war with [religion y'er] because my locality is majority [religion x] and I was raised like that, and in doing so will have done god's will and will therefore get into the afterlife) to take place.

As said, if more people did not believe in an afterlife, then more people would be reluctant to risk their lives for their faith. The comfort and cushion would be removed from their outlook on this life if they knew that this life were all that existed, and they would have no choice but to focus their FULL attention on this life and this world.

Does every individual that believes in an afterlife have a large negative impact on the world? No.
In general, has the belief in an afterlife large positive impact on the practical world? No.
In general, has the belief in an afterlife had a substantial negative impact on the world? I believe I have shown it has.

I would like to thank my opponent for this entertaining and enjoyable debate. I await his final round eagerly.

VOTE PRO, as I have shown that the belief in an afterlife certainly has a negative impact on the world of affairs.

Britt
scissorhands7

Con

[Definition]

Straw Man Tactics - A straw man argument is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position To "set up a straw man," one describes a position that superficially resembles an opponent's actual view, yet is easier to refute, then attributes that position to the opponent.

I would like to thank my opponent for his prompt, intellectual response

In this final rebuttal I will attempt to clarify my positions and produce summarized reasons for the negation of my opponents resolution and subsequently for the reasons to vote Con.

My opponent begins by criticizing my first negation. While his analysis is correct that this debate is much more than about politicians he makes a critical error.

By not contesting my point that politicians make their policies strictly based off their religion and not based on their belief in the afterlife, my opponent has conceded the idea that religious persons (both in power and not in power) make decisions influencing people other than themselves based off of their religion and not based off of their belief in an afterlife.

As I have shown in examples from my previous rebuttals the two can be (and are) separate concepts. I agree with my opponent that the concept of an afterlife is a part of religion. However my opponent either purposefully or unintentionally misunderstands my point. While the concept of an afterlife is part of relgion, the afterlife by itself is not religion.
In this debate my opponent has been attempting to prove that the concept of religion (at least in his opinion) has negative impacts on the world and thus in association with religion the concept of the afterlife likewise negatively impacts the temporal world.
To show a more clear example of my position:
My opponent is walking into a classroom and selecting a group of students who have negative attitudes towards learning. My opponent is concluding that since the majority of students in this classroom have negative opinions towards learning, subsequently the entire class has a negative attitude towards learning.
My position in this debate has been to show that the concept of an afterlife does not have a negative effect (meaning that when the positive and negative impacts are weighed on a scale, the scale would be greater than or equal to a neutral impact) on this world.
If the point of this debate was to truely show that religion itself has a negative impact on the world, then I would like to apologize to my opponent as well as voters, however since my opponents resolution indicated that the concept being debated was that of an afterlife, I would like to contend that this no stawman concept.
If anything, my opponent has been using straw man tactics to turn this into a debate reguarding religion as a whole rather than about the belief in the afterlife as a slew of his points have been directly involving religion and have had no basis at all in reguards to the concept of the afterlife.
The next argument that my opponent states is that the majority of his argument suggests that the concept of an afterlife produces negative effects because people
1) trying to get to heaven themselves
2) trying to convert (or kill, depending on the subject) others so that they will go to heaven as well.

1. As I have shown, sin is the only thing preventing a person from reaching the afterlife. Sin is purely a personal concept. The avoidance of sin, and the prayer of forgiveness for it, can to me only suggest positive effects, not negative ones as my opponent has indicated, but shown no examples of. Nor has he contested by definition of sin or its role respecting the decisions of politicians.

2. Furthermore as I have stated in my primary rebuttal (R2)

"Additionally the issue regarding the crusades was a sin of both religions involved. Because all religions held the belief that killing a human was a sin no matter how it was done. Furthermore the crusades were waged more for political reasons than religious, although religion was the main reason. The crusades stemmed from greed and corruption of political leaders. Not their faith."

Subsequently my opponent conceded this concept in his next rebuttal (R3 found in comments section when he stated)

"-Crusades conceded"

When my opponent conceded this point, I assumed that he had conceded number two of his primary argument in this debate. Since in my refutation of the crusades I stated how killing was a sin and prevented a persons entry to the afterlife, I assumed that when my opponent conceded this point he conceded all points reguarding wars or suicide attacks in reguards to the afterlife. If I have been mistaken then I thoroughly apologize to my opponent.

"Islam does not promise 72 virgins, or any forms of reward whatsoever for anyone who commits suicide. It is a totally absurd lie. The virgin myth has understandably received more than its fair share of publicity due to its hilarity and "romance". The image of a lunatic suicide bomber taking his pick from 72 luscious virgins fires up the imagination of anybody with a libido. At the very least, it makes for a particularly gratifying affirmation for those who would love to see Islam go down the gutters. The harsh punishment that Islam bestows upon its followers who commit murder and suicide has been spelt out very clearly in the Quran: But let there be amongst you Traffic and trade by mutual good-will: Nor kill (or destroy) yourselves: for verily God hath been to you Most Merciful! If any do that in rancor and injustice, soon shall We cast them into the Fire: And easy it is for God. Chapter 4 (Surah An-Nisa): Verse 29 - 30
Narrated Jundab the Prophet said, "A man was inflicted with wounds and he committed suicide, and so Allah said: My slave has caused death on himself hurriedly, so I forbid Paradise for him." (Bukhari Volume 2, Book 23, Number 445)
Narrated Thabit bin Ad-Dahhak:"And if somebody commits suicide with anything in this world, he will be tortured with that very thing on the Day of Resurrection. (Bukhari Volume 8, Book 73, Number 73)"

Again I sincerely apologize to my opponent for bringing in new points of information in the last rebuttal and giving him no room to defend such a case. I merely thought my opponent had conceded this premise upon conceding the crusades. I apologize for my incorrect assumption.

Though I do realize that my assumption that my opponent conceded the points made on crusades by itself is not incorrect. However he brings up this concept again as a basis for his victory in his final rebuttal when he states:

"cushion and the comfort required for such things as the Crusades,"

So while my opponent states that the concept of afterlife produces the negative result of crusades and terrorist attacks, I do have to disagree that the concept of afterlife is responsible and have to propose that the corrupt people who have alterior motives in this aspect use a distorted concept of the afterlife as a tool. So as I have stated in my example of the crusades, it is corrupt leaders and politicians who skew the concept of the afterlife. The concept is simply a tool, had it not existed these same people would use other tools of deception to further their ambitions.

So as I have negated throughout this debate the concept of reaching the afterlife (by avoiding sin and asking forgiveness for mistakes) produces no negative effects. This has not been negated by my opponent. Furthermore the concept of afterlife is used as a tool of deception by corrupt leaders to further a cause. The concept of the afterlife is not at fault, the people deceiving others through it are.

I would like to thank my opponent for a well-thought debate and would welcome more debates of this polite and intellectual stature in the future. I would like to part with the utmost respect for my opponent as a friend and as a fellow debater.

Please provide reasons for your votes.
Debate Round No. 3
80 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by scissorhands7 8 years ago
scissorhands7
*constantly changes his vote and awaits joshandr30 to tie it up again*
Posted by Kleptin 8 years ago
Kleptin
Kleptin- Voting as a Cleaner

Conduct- Both participants had remarkable conduct. They were both very professional, respectful, and model representatives of how debaters should act. If possible, I would award both of them points, but since I cannot, I must tie.

S&G- Arguments were presented cleanly on both sides, both had excellent organization, spelling, and grammar. Again, another tie.

Arguments- This was an intense debate. Both participants made very professional arguments. However, more than once, both participants were talking past each other and there were significant communication problems. I am slightly disappointed that so much of the debate was centered in reinterpretation and clarification, as it detracted significantly from both sides. Points are awarded to PRO, because I found that CON's primary argument, the dichotomy of Sin and the Afterlife in terms of the actions taken based on those concepts by people in positions of power, was an insufficient argument. Sin is only applicable when given an afterlife, the connection is inseparable. Therefore, PRO's argument that this will influence the world stands.

Sources- Although PRO seemed to know his data fairly well, CON was the only one to incorporate data into his argument in a relevant way. Points for sources go to CON.
Posted by scissorhands7 8 years ago
scissorhands7
Seems like some white conservative republican christians voted against me in all fields.
Posted by bthr004 8 years ago
bthr004
"everyone has a negative impact on the world, those with a belief in the afterlife are a subset of everyone"

-- ie; Broad assumption.

Everyone has a negative impact on the world, and since some of those everyone happen to believe in an afterlife, they to are bad on the world.

Well, I cant argue with that resolution. You win I guess.
Posted by brittwaller 8 years ago
brittwaller
That has nothing to do with the resolution. You (and probably others) think that I am simply anti-religious - everyone has a negative impact on the world, those with a belief in the afterlife are a subset of everyone.

"11 to 25 says differently."

Since when is that a measure that can be trusted as correct?
Posted by bthr004 8 years ago
bthr004
11 to 25 says differently.

Again, do you feel that those who have no belief in an afterlife, have had more, less, or equal impact on the world in a negative way.
Posted by brittwaller 8 years ago
brittwaller
I have to disagree.
Posted by bthr004 8 years ago
bthr004
Pretty broad assumption.
Posted by brittwaller 8 years ago
brittwaller
It's not a matter of agreement. Somewhere, someone has the views I pointed out. That in itself has a negative impact on the world:)
Posted by bthr004 8 years ago
bthr004
Caricatures: Exaggeration by means of ludicrous distortion of parts or characteristics.

Agreed.
Obviously unsound.

As you could understand, if one does not agree with your "examples" backing your resolution, odds are slim they will offer you the vote. ---> (this is directed to anyone in general, not just Britt.)
11 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by 1Devilsadvocate 4 years ago
1Devilsadvocate
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Reasons for voting decision: Counter brittwaller V.B. for himself
Vote Placed by brittwaller 7 years ago
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