The Instigator
brittwaller
Pro (for)
Winning
44 Points
The Contender
pcmbrown
Con (against)
Losing
42 Points

Belief in an afterlife negatively impacts the world of practical affairs

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 13 votes the winner is...
brittwaller
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/7/2009 Category: Society
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,523 times Debate No: 8548
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (11)
Votes (13)

 

brittwaller

Pro

Salve all. I had this debate some time ago against a friend, but the arguments given by my opponent led the debate somewhat astray. I've been out of practice for a minute so I decided to post again and possibly meet a few newbies in the mean time.

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.
------------------------------------------------------
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
pcmbrown

Con

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."
I concede this to be the case. This is the root cause of belief in an afterlife. However, as my opponent concedes, this point alone does not present a problem, and thus, its refutation is unnecessary.

2. "If a person's decisions and actions are influenced by their faith" Belief in an afterlife is a function of faith. My opponent has not linked belief in the afterlife to the impacts he makes in this point. Therefore, the entirety of his "proof" lies with his third argument.

3. "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." How do these people "try to get to heaven" if not through making the world a better place? Further, those intent on converting others compose a very small section of the religious population. They are outweighed by those who have a positive benefit. This contention is the only one with actual linked impacts, and does not connect to the previous two. Therefore, until he warrants the claims in his third contention, none of his impacts stand.

Example conversations:
1. War is certainly a practical affair. I fail to see how this supports the resolution.

2. Note that the Fundamentalist's primary reasoning is to uphold the will of Allah, not to get it on with a series of virgins. Further, these radical Muslims compose an infinitesimal portion of the religious community.

3. This scenario is ridiculous, the businessman's belief in the afterlife has not fueled his business practices. This justification is almost never used. The main incentive is greed.

"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."

This debate concerns any persons who believe in the afterlife, not just those who hold it to be of ultimate importance.

Con:

1. Most religions contain a basic set of morals and values. These, along with true faith, are considered to be the manner in which one ascends to "heaven", and the rejection of them leads to "hell". These values are almost universally positive. Charity is one of the 5 main pillars of Islam [1], while the Ten Commandments ban theft, murder, and adultery [2]. These are clearly of positive impact to the world of practical affairs. Note that adherence to these beliefs is far more common than conversion efforts and jihad. Thus, belief in the afterlife has a positive impact.

Thanks for posting.
Debate Round No. 1
brittwaller

Pro

Thank you for accepting this debate, I can see it will interesting.

First I will answer my opponent's rebuttals to my argument, then his argument as CON, namely that belief in the afterlife has a positive impact on the world of practical affairs, and finally develop my own argument further.

1. "I concede this to be the case."
- Excellent. We are in agreement so far.

2. "Belief in an afterlife is a function of faith. My opponent has not linked belief in the afterlife to the impacts he makes in this point. Therefore, the entirety of his 'proof' lies with his third argument."
- Let me first say that I was not attempting to formulate a "proof," but trying to make a point building up to my primary argument - that point in this case being "belief in the afterlife is a function of faith" (http://dictionary.reference.com..., def. #2 in the sense that we are discussing), and that faith, in that it is a product of the human mind and not subject to any proof, can and often does have disastrous consequences as it by definition ignores any evidence to its contradiction, or even doubt. Belief in the afterlife is a function of faith, therefore belief in the afterlife is irrational because faith is irrational. Clearly, this point is not about the impact of belief in the afterlife, but about the possible effects of faith. It naturally follows, though, that if a person believes in an afterlife that they have faith (as it is a function of faith) and all of the issues I brought out are about or involve faith. Your rebuttal does not stand.

3. "How do these people 'try to get to heaven' if not through making the world a better place?"
- The word "better" is so subjective and relative that in this context it can mean nearly anything. For the faithful, suicidal jihadist the way to both get to heaven and to make the world a "better" place is by dying in service of Allah, which in this case means ridding the world of infidels. For the Crusaders, the way to get to heaven and make the world a "better" place was to capture and convert the lands and peoples of the Bible. Etc Inquisitors, Witch-burnings.

"Further, those intent on converting others compose a very small section of the religious population."
- By the same token, one successful suicide bomber, one religiously inclined (we might say "extremely faithful")
tyrant or dictator, or ruler of any kind for that matter, has much more impact on his victims or his subjects (respectively, although sometimes both) than the whole of them ever had on him, by way of murder or by policy.

"They are outweighed by those who have a positive benefit."
- This is a highly dubious claim, re: above points. What is your standard of valuation in deciding the quantitative difference between harm and suffering versus charity and goodwill?

"This contention is the only one with actual linked impacts, and does not connect to the previous two. Therefore, until he warrants the claims in his third contention, none of his impacts stand."
- You interpret my style incorrectly. The numbers represent points, culminating in the observation that belief in the afterlife has a negative impact (I would not deny that religious charity and goodwill do exist, re: my comment on primacy in R1) on the everyday world. Point One is a very general observation about belief and the general irrationality of believers. Point Two is a more specific observation about faith, which believers have, some of its real and possible implicit and explicit effects on the practical world, and the irrationality of religious faith. Point Three is the impact: the conclusion that the irrationality of belief in an afterlife -after having established my first two points, and now refuted your rebuttals - can be and is ultimately more dangerous than beneficial to the everyday world.

The example conversations were intended more as an anecdotal intermission than to be taken literally, obviously. However, they do deserve scrutiny.

1. "War is certainly a practical affair. I fail to see how this supports the resolution."
- War is an *extremely negative* practical affair, at least for the dead, wounded, maimed, disfigured, relocated, and their friends, relatives and loved ones - which I think can be said quite certainly outnumber those that profit from war. It supports the resolution in that it is either consciously or subconsciously, evidently, easier to die or kill for irrational fantasies - faith, as it were, with a view to an afterlife; it is a cushion.

2. "Note that the Fundamentalist's primary reasoning is to uphold the will of Allah, not to get it on with a series of virgins. Further, these radical Muslims compose an infinitesimal portion of the religious community."
- The will Allah in this case is to kill yourself and others (infidels) in his name. For this you are rewarded. It isn't the idea of 70 virgins I'm focusing on - it's the idea of an eternal afterlife.

3. "This scenario is ridiculous, the businessman's belief in the afterlife has not fueled his business practices. This justification is almost never used. The main incentive is greed."
- Indeed, you are exactly right. The businessman's belief in the afterlife didn't fuel his business practices, but the example specifically said "Christian Businessman," which means a sincere Christian. He didn't rape the earth to get to heaven, but he believed that the afterlife was real, via irrational faith, and felt comfortable enough that this life is not the "final reality," as it were, that raping the earth was excusable. The cushion of forever appears again. Yet you are also correct in that his main incentive was greed, which is generally considered to be a sin; thus the forced hypocrisy that religious belief in general causes is exposed . I have yet to meet a Christian who believed they were going to hell - though they have all* said they feared it - in spite of glaring instances contradictory to their own professed ethic. That is only a small portion of the opportunity this example affords me to bring out about the idea of a "Christian Businessman, " but for now I digress.

"This debate concerns any persons who believe in the afterlife, not just those who hold it to be of ultimate importance."
- Incorrect. This debate concerns everyone alive, in a sense, because the irrational beliefs of others - namely the belief in an afterlife - so often do have an impact on the lives of innocent strangers, primarily in a negative way, so I hold.

In response to your brief CON argument, I believe I have covered nearly everything in the points above. I have already admitted the existence of charity, etc, above.

Your argument is noted but fails to disprove my resolution.

Back to you

Britt
pcmbrown

Con

PRO:

1.No problems here. However, note that this point is merely explains the root cause of belief in the afterlife, and provides no support for the resolution.
2.My opponent isn't establishing a causal relationship here. Yes, faith can have negative consequences, and belief in an afterlife is an indication of faith. However, belief in an afterlife does not result in any of these consequences. The resolution states that belief in the afterlife, not faith, negatively impacts the world of practical affairs. Therefore, this point is totally irrelevant. Belief in the afterlife does not cause faith. Ergo, it does not cause the problems associated with faith.
3."The word ‘better' is so subjective and relative that in this context it can mean nearly anything." The phrase "a better world" arose in your argument. However, I will assume that a better world is marked by a greater amount of utility: "a measure of relative satisfaction [1]. "For the Crusaders, the way to get to heaven and make the world a "better" place was to capture and convert the lands and peoples of the Bible. Etc Inquisitors, Witch-burnings." All of these examples are irrelevant to the debate, as the debate concerns only the present. Of course, the jihadist example is relevant. However, I negate this point on the grounds that jihadist act out of faith, not out of a belief in the afterlife. Hence, that specific belief has no negative influence. My opponent must prove that the jihadist and the religious tyrant act on the basis of belief in the afterlife, which he has not done. If my opponent can prove this, he must present the actual impacts: deaths caused by suicide bombers, policies imposed by religious tyrants. These clash with my case, which I'll discuss later.

Examples:

1.Every war will be justified by some method. Nationalism, desire for land, or "righteousness", can easily provide justification for any armed conflict. Furthermore, faith is often used to justify war without belief in an afterlife proving to be of any importance. Essentially, war would exit to the same extent without this belief.
2.The jihadist acts in order to fulfill Allah's will, not in order to achieve an eternal afterlife. It is his "duty", not a manner of getting into Heaven.
3.The Christian would act out of greed regardless of his beliefs. Further, this justification is rarely, if ever, used. Thus, my opponents example is ridiculous, and cannot establish a causal relationship between belief I the afterlife, and the raping of the Earth.

CON:

My opponent has not negated my point, and thus must show that said belief has a detrimental impact in excess of its positive effects. Religious charity is, in many religions, a necessity for achieving Heaven. Zakah, Islamic charity, comprises the majority of welfare in the Muslim world [2]. My opponent has refuted neither this, nor my point that religions condemn murder, theft, etc., as sins. These sins result in banishment from Heaven. My opponent's examples are rare, and have had far less of an impact than my own. He has yet to prove otherwise.

"Incorrect. This debate concerns everyone alive, in a sense, because the irrational beliefs of others - namely the belief in an afterlife - so often do have an impact on the lives of innocent strangers, primarily in a negative way, so I hold."
Alright, I was merely ensuing that you weren't limiting the scope of the resolution.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
brittwaller

Pro

Thank you for your response.
1. This point needs no further scrutiny, as my opponent has conceded this to be the case. However, just as my opponent would have you note that "this point is merely explains the root cause of belief in the afterlife, and provides no support for the resolution," I would have you note that this point is the framework from which I build my case. I have already said that this point wasn't necessarily a problem in-itself; however, it should be understood within the entire context of my argument, not as an island.
2. "My opponent isn't establishing a causal relationship here."
- Actually I am, and you are doing a great job of assisting. You freely admit, first, that "belief in an afterlife is a function of faith," with which I agreed. Then in R2 you write "yes, faith can have negative consequences, and belief in an afterlife is an indication of faith." From here it seems logical that belief in an afterlife, insofar as it is a function of faith, can have negative consequences as well.
"Belief in the afterlife does not cause faith. Ergo, it does not cause the problems associated with faith."
- Again, you are correct - partially; we already agree that belief in an afterlife is a function of faith, not vice-versa. As such, it is possible and logical that belief in an afterlife can, does, will, and has cause(d) *some* of the problems associated with faith, as it is a function of faith, and is therefore completely relevant. If the resolution were "Faith, via belief in an afterlife, impacts..." nothing in the debate would be different. The specific problems are made clear in the next point.
3. "The phrase 'a better world' arose in your argument. However, I will assume that a better world is marked by a greater amount of utility: 'a measure of relative satisfaction.'"
- Such an assumption is only proof that you missed the point I made about the word "better" and more specifically the phrase "better world." It means whatever it means to whatever subject (person) - and that's all.
"All of these examples are irrelevant to the debate, as the debate concerns only the present."
- Says who? You? What happened to not "limiting the scope of the resolution"? Let's go ahead and use a strict definition of the word "present" so that neither of us can use any evidence whatsoever...
"Of course, the jihadist example is relevant."
- I'll return to this.
"However, I negate this point on the grounds that jihadist act out of faith, not out of a belief in the afterlife. Hence, that specific belief has no negative influence. My opponent must prove that the jihadist and the religious tyrant act on the basis of belief in the afterlife, which he has not done."
- Incorrect. My claim isn't that every example I mention is primarily motivated by a desire to get to (the good part of) the afterlife of whatever religion. My claim is that the idea of an afterlife (which the people I'm talking about believe in sincerely) has influenced their actions in some way, generally a negative one. The idea is there; it is in-itself irrational (which my opponent has conceded), and therefore has an irrational affect on their thoughts and actions. The jihadist and the religious tyrant both believe in an afterlife - which is after all a function of faith. They want themselves (and others?) to be in their afterlife, and act accordingly - to whatever their own notions of getting there involve.
- I feel I must now call attention to the double-standard my opponent has set up: when belief in an afterlife has a positive impact (charity, etc.), it is because of belief in an afterlife. However, when it has a negative impact, it is due to faith and not specifically the afterlife. This is intellectually disingenuous.
To go on and claim, as he did above, that "...that specific belief has *no* negative influence" is nearing nonsense. I have already explained how primacy fits into this debate and have admitted that religious charity, etc., may be connected with a belief in an afterlife, although I hold that the negative effects are greater than the positive. Now, my opponent has created a new burden of proof for himself - that belief in the afterlife "has *no* negative influence" - in addition to simply arguing that belief in the afterlife has a positive impact (and that it can I freely admit.)
"If my opponent can prove this, he must present the actual impacts: deaths caused by suicide bombers, policies imposed by religious tyrants."
- Fair enough.
http://www.usatoday.com...
http://www.hindustantimes.com...
http://www.religioustolerance.org...
http://www.commondreams.org...
As for religious tyrants:
http://www.aina.org...
Of course, there are numerous examples of religious tyranny throughout history, including but not limited to: forced circumcision by the Hebrews on their conquered foes, the subjugation of women in the Judeao-Christian-Muslim tradition, the closing of the Academy by Justinian, and of course the Inquisition.
1. "Every war will be justified by some method... Essentially, war would exit[sic] to the same extent without this belief."
- Certainly war would continue to exist, and there are good reasons for fighting that involve neither religion, faith, or a belief in an afterlife. The point is: Would those who have died or killed others in whatever war have been as comfortable as they were in doing so if they did not have the cushion of eternal bliss in their minds? Some would, yes, but I doubt it for the vast majority.
2. "The jihadist acts in order to fulfill Allah's will, not in order to achieve an eternal afterlife. It is his "duty", not a manner of getting into Heaven."
- Incorrect. Islamic martyrs go to heaven, thus it is a way of getting into heaven.
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
and especially: http://en.wikipedia.org...
"The Christian would act out of greed regardless of his beliefs..."
- If so, then this only serves to expose the superficiality and hypocrisy of Christian belief. The point is (again): they were comfortable enough with their (supposed) future to act in the way they did.
If there is a heaven or a hell, which there is no good reason for supposing there is, then what good is the temporal world to the believer?
-
A Reprise
Christian Soldier [sidenote: there could be no such thing according to the basic doctrines of Christianity]: Well, today I killed twenty enemies! I hope they burn in hell forever! But they got ten of our guys - God bless them, they're in a better place now. Why don't you come fight for us?
Rationalist: I don't want to die, as this life is a reality and your 'afterlife' you go to when killed is a fantasy.
-
Jihadist: Today I'm going to blow myself up, along with dozens or even hundreds of people I don't know. I will simultaneously do Allah's will, achieve martyrdom, and go to heaven to boot!
R: You need psychiatric treatment *immediately.* Please get as far away from me as possible.
-
Christian Businessman: Your credentials are good, I'd like to hire you to chop down thousands of acres of rainforest. I will pay well.
R: No thanks, there are more valuable things than money - like trees.
CB: You should reconsider - this life is short and tomorrow isn't promised to us.
R: Exactly.
CB: You worry too much. You should do what you can while here - God may take any of us anytime.
R:
-
CON
1. Charity, just like war, would exist without faith or belief [x]. See also double-standard above.
2. A religion's doctrines may condemn war, but religions thrive on it.
pcmbrown

Con

1. Good to go.
2. My opponent has made a huge error in his logic. Faith results in both belief in the afterlife, and in negative consequences. However, this fails to show that belief in the afterlife has these negative impacts. My opponent cannot just state this as fact, he must actually demonstrate the empirical link between belief in the afterlife, and negative societal impacts.
3. "What happened to not 'limiting the scope of the resolution'" I am not limiting the scope of the resolution. The resolution specifies "impacts" not "impacted" or "has impacted". As circumstance similar to the Inquisition, etc., do not currently exist, they are irrelevant to the debate. An adherence to the tense of the resolution does not constitute "limiting the scope".
I must restate that the behavior of religious tyrants and suicide bombers does not result from belief in an afterlife, but instead, from promoting the will of their God. My opponent has not demonstrated a link, and therefore, his impacts fall.

Double Standard:
I have made a distinct link between belief in the afterlife and positive societal impacts. My opponent has linked faith to his impacts, however, he has not made the connection that the resolution requires. Impacts apply only if the link between said impact, and belief in the afterlife is established.

I simply will not concede any negative influences until my opponent proves them to be derived from a belief in the afterlife. His examples, religious leaders and jihadists, are inapplicable. Both act in order to fulfill Allah's will, not in order to achieve Heaven. They feel that God's will is just, and hence, attempt to promote "justice".

Examples:
War: Belief in the afterlife provides comfort, but it is not the cause of war. A nation will start wars, and form an adequate military force, without this belief.
Jihad: All Muslims go to Heaven. Martyrs act in order to fulfill Allah's will.
Businessman: My opponent hasn't established a causal relationship. Greed causes his actions, not belief in an afterlife.

CON:
Zakat, as one of the Five Pillars of Islam, is a requirement, under Islam, to enter Heaven. Hence, Zakat is performed with the explicit goal of entering Heaven. Zakat constitutes the majority of welfare in the Islamic world. The Ten Commandments outline a series of rules, the violation of any of which can result in eternal damnation. Adherence to the Commandments is, therefore, a result of belief in the afterlife.

My opponents points do not link to belief in the afterlife, but instead to faith itself. I have shown a direct connection.
Debate Round No. 3
brittwaller

Pro

In case I run out of room, as in the last round, I just want to thank my opponent for an entertaining, enjoyable, and civilized debate.

1. Excellent.

2. "Faith results in both belief in the afterlife, and in negative consequences. However, this fails to show that belief in the afterlife has these negative impacts."
- So you concede that "belief in the afterlife is a function of faith," and that faith can have negative consequences, but hold that belief in the afterlife, though a *function of* faith, not only has good impacts on the temporal world, but that it has *no negative impacts* whatsoever. As I brought out in the last round, you are burdening yourself with two arguments: negating my resolution with " belief in the afterlife has a positive impact" is very different than negating it with "belief in the afterlife has no negative impact at all." I refer again to my point on primacy, and that of the double-standard my opponent has introduced.

3. "I am not limiting the scope of the resolution."
- I beg to differ.

"The resolution specifies 'impacts' not 'impacted' or 'has impacted.'"
- I now refer you to my R1 disclaimer on semantics. Let me say that 1) my opponent should have made this argument at the beginning of the debate; and 2) if we are going to 'adhere to the tense of the resolution' then necessarily neither of us may present any evidence and everything said in this debate is for nought. This is because I have no evidence of the specific "present" (the exact moments that it took me to write this sentence), and that when my opponent reads this sentence what evidence I did present will be in the past, and when the debate is judged everything we both wrote will be in the past, thus making it irrelevant by his own standard.

"I must restate that the behavior of religious tyrants and suicide bombers does not result from belief in an afterlife, but instead, from promoting the will of their God. My opponent has not demonstrated a link, and therefore, his impacts fall[sic]."
- I have given both theoretical and empirical data to support my resolution. To make the point again: if person [x] believes in an afterlife, and then accordingly acts on his subjective knowledge of what it takes to get to the afterlife, or the better part of it, and that action involves murder (for instance), then the belief in an afterlife has had a negative impact on the practical world. For the person who committed the murder (re: Inquisition) it was the appropriate thing to do, both for their own eternal future and that of their victim, in their mind. My opponent may accept or deny the Inquisition as evidence if he likes based on the "tense of the resolution," but he cannot deny that what I just wrote is a historical and logical fact.

"I have made a distinct link between belief in the afterlife and positive societal impacts."
- I never denied that that belief in an afterlife may possibly have some positive impacts. So first, a straw man. However, all of the positive impacts he has so far listed would exist without said belief, just as war would. Some people are naturally generous and charitable, but as an unreligious person, if I had to choose between a religious person giving me a dollar out of charity or not killing me because we differ in our views, I would choose not being killed. Second, there are other systems of morality and ethics that provide reasons for being charitable or not committing murder that do not involve the afterlife at all - utilitarianism, for example. Third, I can simply redirect my opponent's own negation of my resolution back to him on this point: I hold that these so-called positive impacts were a result of faith, and not specifically belief in the afterlife.

"Both act in order to fulfill Allah's will, not in order to achieve Heaven. They feel that God's will is just, and hence, attempt to promote 'justice.'"
- By fulfilling Allah's fictional will they automatically go to Heaven, as you said.

CON
"Zakat, as one of the Five Pillars of Islam, is a requirement, under Islam, to enter Heaven. Hence, Zakat is performed with the explicit goal of entering Heaven."
- I dealt with this above.

"The Ten Commandments outline a series of rules, the violation of any of which can result in eternal damnation. Adherence to the Commandments is, therefore, a result of belief in the afterlife."
- I dealt with this as well, but let me add that though adherence to the Ten Commandments *might* be a result of belief in the afterlife, it might just as easily be (for the "Commandments" pertinent to this debate) an incidental obedience to federal and state law. I also find it ironic that in the Bible the Hebrew god gave the the commandment "Thou shalt not kill" immediately before commanding his people to conquer the promised land, which according to Bible killed many.

In closing, I bring the argument full-circle. My opponent has made much of "faith" and little of "belief in an afterlife," while trying to create a distance between the two things. It should be said, in keeping with my (and my opponent's) argument as it has been presented throughout the debate, that faith is a kind of belief - the kind that is not subject to questions, doubts, or empirical evidence. As he has said so brilliantly, "belief in the afterlife is a function of faith." It is thus logical to say that the religionists who believe in the afterlife as if it were a real, physical place, have faith that the afterlife exists. They then act according to the criteria of whatever their particular, wholly incidental faith requires - *to get to the afterlife.* And the requirements - depending on what they are - can, do, and have had a disastrous impact on all of human society throughout history.

My argument is that belief in the afterlife has, has had, and will continue to have a negative impact on the world of practical affairs. The most basic negative impact is that people are acting out of faith - a necessary component of belief in the afterlife - to achieve entry to an afterlife which there is again no good reason to suppose exists. That is, more simply put, all people that believe in an afterlife do to some extent neglect the world in which we live and know exists - because they are chasing ghosts, as it were. The supposed good impacts of belief in the afterlife can, do, have, and will continue to exist without belief in the afterlife. By applying Ockham's Razor, we see that belief in the afterlife is superfluous to its possible good impacts, but that its negative impacts are dependent on the belief itself.

Thank you again for a most excellent debate.

Britt
pcmbrown

Con

1. ....
2. My opponent must establish the relationship between belief in the afterlife, and negative consequences. He has not done so. To say, "faith has negative impacts, belief in the afterlife is a function of faith, therefore, said belief has negative consequences" is a logical fallacy, and cannot establish proof. I am not adopting two burdens, merely stating that my opponent has not established negative impacts.
3. I mentioned tense in a later round, because my opponent presented past examples. The problem had not arisen prior. A resolution in the present tense permits a great deal of evidence. Jihad and Zakat are examples which occur presently, and are therefore applicable. The Inquisition, a event which occurred long ago, is irrelevant to a debate which specifies "impacts". Applicable evidence consists of events that have some bearing on our world at present.

My opponent has not linked his evidence to the resolution. Many of his examples are not motivated by belief in the afterlife. They simply wish to fulfill the will of God, or to uphold the authority of the Church. Inquisitors were simply performing their duties, or were intent on upholding God's will. Their intent was not to achieve Heaven. My opponent merely links his examples to faith, not to belief in the afterlife. With my own examples, I have specifically shown the connection. Zakat is a requirement, under Islam, to enter Heaven. Thus, it is clear that the motivation is religious. My opponent cannot demonstrate that charity would exist to the same extent without belief in an afterlife, though it is the case that war would exist independently. Charity in the Middle East is almost entirely religious, while hundreds of wars have arisen from non-religious conflicts. Further, belief in the afterlife is far more effective than a mere moral system at promoting moral actions. Which statement has a greater impact: "Murder is immoral" or "If you commit murder, you will be damned eternally."?

Many jihadist wish to promote "justice", by defending Allah's will. Their object is not Heaven.

Commandments: Adherence to the Commandments can clearly be shown to be due to a belief in the afterlife. Christians believe that, if they stray from the Commandments, they will be damned.

My impacts, Zakat and the Ten Commandments, clearly link to belief in the afterlife. My opponents' do not. He has made links only to a broader faith, and expects us to illogically assume that they result from belief in the afterlife. They do not, but are instead derived from other elements of faith, e.g. a skewed sense of justice.

Thanks for a great debate, thanks for reading, and vote Con.
Debate Round No. 4
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by HistoryasIS 7 years ago
HistoryasIS
Well for me being a christan and reading the new testament etc... just makes me more to be like Christ.

My goal is not to "earn heaven" or my motives are just for geting into heaven but just to help others in their life with money giving etc........ And bu this I do not know know this holds a negative aspect.
Posted by threelittlebirds 7 years ago
threelittlebirds
I think Pro should have used this vid.
Posted by Conor 7 years ago
Conor
lol, i appreciate that you took my insult seriously.
Posted by wjmelements 7 years ago
wjmelements
Of course he is being skinned. Brittwaller is an amazing debater and pcm is a novice.
Posted by brittwaller 7 years ago
brittwaller
I apologize for the ugly spacing of my R3 argument - character limits....

Britt
Posted by Conor 7 years ago
Conor
You kidding me, dude? Pcmbrown is being skinned alive by brittwaller!
Posted by tBoonePickens 7 years ago
tBoonePickens
I think con is totally wining.
Posted by Conor 7 years ago
Conor
pcmbrown is getting ripped apart.
Posted by Puck 7 years ago
Puck
Welcome back :).
13 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by Volkov 7 years ago
Volkov
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