The Instigator
Helen_91
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
darthebearnc
Con (against)
Winning
45 Points

Children brought up with religion are more likely to have better moral than those who are not.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 8 votes the winner is...
darthebearnc
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/28/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 649 times Debate No: 67603
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (8)

 

Helen_91

Pro

First round is acceptance, second round for arguments, third for attacks and fourth for defence.
darthebearnc

Con

I thank my opponent for creating this debate and look forward to a great time. Good luck!
Debate Round No. 1
Helen_91

Pro

Thank you to darthebearnc for accepting this debate. I apologize for the error in the title, which should read "morals" and not "moral." I look forward to debating with you!

It is my argument that children who have been brought up with a religion are more likely to have better morals than children who are not brought up with a religion. I do not seek to argue in favour of or against any particular religion.

Some religions suggest that eating certain foods is immoral or that drinking alcohol and dressing in a particular way is immoral etc. It would be easy to become embroiled in a religion specific debate however, for the purposes of this argument I seek to focus on acts considered universally immoral such as murder, idolatry and adultery.

My arguments in support of this stance are twofold;

1) The unavoidable link between religion and morality.

Religious individuals have a heightened sense of a greater purpose and a sense that someone is watching over them. Morality and religion are unavoidably intertwined. Religion lays down the foundations of morality by instructing us to behave in a certain way and to refrain from certain vices. For instance the 10 commandments in Christianity guide us to honour our parents and to not; steal, kill and commit adultery amongst other things. Atheists by contrast are driven by instinct alone which may be innately moral but equally may not. Religious individuals however, whether intrinsically moral or not are likely, by virtue of their religion, to be guided to take a moral path. Religious people have an additional incentive, as it were, to be have morally in order to please their God(s) or to be seen as a moral person and a representative of their religion. This incentive is one that atheists clearly lack.

The Dalai Lama once stated that; "Every religion emphasizes human improvement, love, respect for others, sharing other people's suffering. On these lines every religion had more or less the same viewpoint and the same goal." This is something that can be seen in all religious scriptures from the Bible, to the Torah and the Quran as well as all others. All religions teach of respect to others and borne from this appreciation is moral guidance not to kill, not to commit adultery, not to steal etc. All religions include a strong sense of what is and isn't right and link this to the shortcomings of others in religious stories and the strength and morality of God(s) to be followed.

2) Retribution.

As has been indicated above, atheists rely solely on instinct and a vague sense of right and wrong as taught to them by friends, family etc. For atheists the only retribution to any immoral wrongdoing is that of being frowned upon or judged by others (in the case of adultery) f and at most, the threat of a punishment at law such as a fine or prison (theft, murder.) Ofcourse, with retribution lying in the hands of humans through their judgment or through man-made law, it is clear that such a retribution cannot be guaranteed. A person who kills or steals may never be caught, may be caught and tried in a court of law and found not guilty or may be caught, tried, found guilty and then given a definite punishment that cannot possibly endure.

Religion however, poses a more serious threat of retribution to those who believe. God is omniscient and so retribution for wrongdoings is inevitable and unavoidable unless one truly repents (a religious ideal and incentive). With this in mind, the possibility that one might go to hell on judgment day after death (Christianity, Islam etc) or that karma will ensure the immoral are punished (Buddhism) underlies religious teaching and acts as a further incentive to religious individuals to act in a moral way. For those who are not religious, there may be no repercussions to immoral behaviour.
darthebearnc

Con

I would like to thank my opponent once more for creating this debate and wish her the best of luck. Thanks! :D

In my first argument, I will be countering my opponent's main claims, and provide evidence that religion can actually be harmful (not helpful) to raising children in the process.

Rebuttals -

My opponent has provided two main points in her first argument that support her contention, claiming that there is an unavoidable link between religion and morality and that religion provides the threat of retribution for children. I will now attempt to rebut her claims:

1. The Unavoidable Link between Religion and Morality - My opponent begins her argument by claiming that there is a link between religion and morality. She asserts that religious people have a better sense of purpose and that religion provides moral principles in a way that atheism and science alone cannot. My opponent's overall argument relies on the principle that science and atheism (lack of religion) by themselves cannot provide proper morals in the way that religion does. However, this is simply untrue. As seen throughout national and international societies today, atheists can have the moral values and principles necessary to raise a child without religious dogma. Where, might you ask, do atheists get their moral basis from? The answer is simple. Virtuous atheists usually derive their morals from any of a variety of logical and reasonable ethics systems, the most popular and widely-used of which is utilitarianism. Utilitarianism, described simply, is a system of normative ethics professing that the morality of an action can be tested based off of how it maximizes happiness and reduces suffering [1]. Those who follow the ideology of utilitarianism believe that an action is moral if it causes oneself and others be happy, and is immoral if it causes others to suffer. Obviously, this objective moral system does not require a God or religion, but is useful when determining whether an action is good or bad. What, might you then ask, is the logic behind utilitarianism? The logic of utilitarianism essentially falls under the quite obvious principle that happiness is good, and so it is therefore good to maximize the amount of happiness in the maximum amount of beings that are able to experience such a feeling. Similarly, utilitarianism promotes the quite true idea that suffering is bad, and so it is therefore good to eradicate as much suffering as possible from beings that can experience suffering. As shown, utilitarianism is one of many, many useful systems that the non-religious can use as a moral basis - for more information on the ideology, go to sources [2] and [3]. While some might argue that there are 'problems' with utilitarianism (a proponent of the system can easily refute these 'problems'), there are even more real problems with religiously-based morality. For example, the holy texts all three major Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) promote hate, violence, and even murder in some situations [4] [5]. Nobody, especially a child, should be brought up believing that hate, violence, and murder are okay - to indoctrinate a child with such beliefs is the actual immoral thing to do. Utilitarianism and other moral similar systems used by atheists contain all the good aspects of religious morality (kindness, friendliness, etc.), though lack the bad aspects (violence, hatred, etc.) As shown, non-religious ethics systems can provide a morality equal than or greater to morality inspired by religion, and should definitely be used when teaching children the difference between right and wrong. My opponent claims that only religion can lay down the foundations of morality, though does so untruthfully. Religions contain texts and practices condoning harm, violence, and hatred, while atheistic ethics systems such as utilitarianism only contain principles of kindness, happiness, and universal altruism.

2. Retribution - My opponent's next argument relies on the idea that religious people are required to be moral due to the threat of retribution/judgement for immoral acts, while atheists are not required to be moral because they do not have to fear punishment for their actions. This argument, like the last, is fallacious. My opponent begins by stating that atheists "rely solely on instinct and a vague sense of right and wrong" taught to them by others - as explained above, this is not true. She then argues that the threat of retribution is much worse for the religious than the non-religious. This is also untrue. According to the system of utilitarianism (as well as a variety of similar ideologies), an act is immoral if it causes suffering. An atheist obeying the utilitarian ideology would know that his/her actions are immoral if they cause suffering, and would know not to commit such actions because of their consequences for others. This is what laws are for - to prevent people from committing strongly immoral acts (theft, murder, etc.) through fear of retribution (imprisonment). Obviously, the legal system provides a clear sense of retribution for all people, regardless of religious affiliation. In a perfectly non-religious and utilitarian world, the legal system would be based off of whether an action intentionally causes happiness or suffering - this legal system, like the current one, would provide retribution for law-breakers in the form of imprisonment, etc. The moral atheist who follows the utilitarian or a similar ideology knows what actions are right/wrong and understands that doing something wrong will lead to another's suffering - the guilt and sadness caused by another's suffering, as well as the utilitarian desire to make everybody happy are forms of retribution that keep the non-religious from committing immoral acts. Guilt, sadness, fear, and punishment under the law are permissible forms of retribution - the concept of 'Hell' is absolutely unnecessary. Furthermore, teaching the concept of eternal torture to a child is harmful - nobody but a bad parent would willingly tell their child that they will face eternal damnation for, let's say, being gay or eating shellfish. All major religions that teach of the concept of Hell (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, etc.) also teach that you will be cast into Hell for doing absolutely non-immoral things including being a homosexual, wearing certain fabric mixtures, trimming your hair/beard, wearing clothes normally worn by the other gender, touching a pig carcass, or doubting God's existence [5]. It would be horribly immoral to tell your child that they will face retribution for doing any of the above things. While the religious moral system mandates retribution for a variety of random acts, the utilitarian moral system mandates retribution only for actions which actually cause others to suffer. Through this information, we can safely draw the conclusion that it is better to raise your child using a moral non-religious ethics system than an ethics system derived from religious dogma.

Before ending my argument, I will provide a few examples of what children would be taught using utilitarian and Biblical morals:
Situation 1: Homosexuality
Utilitarian Parent: "I'm fine with you being homosexual because it makes you happy and doesn't make anyone suffer."
Religious Parent: "I'm not okay with you being homosexual because the magical sky man says so and I have to listen to him."

Situation 2: Planting on Sabbath
Utilitarian: "Let's plant a garden tomorrow because it's fun and we can have fresh veggies!"
Religious: "You can't plant a garden tomorrow because it's Sabbath and the magical sky man says so."

Situation 3: Wearing a Shirt with Polyester & Wool
Utilitarian: "You can wear that shirt because it makes you happy."
Religious: "You can't wear that shirt because the magical sky man says so."

Thanks! :D

Sources:
1. tinyurl.com/r6l7b
2. tinyurl.com/m85wro4
3. tinyurl.com/m59nbam
4. tinyurl.com/ybqke53
5. tinyurl.com/k3zup28
Debate Round No. 2
Helen_91

Pro

Helen_91 forfeited this round.
darthebearnc

Con

My argument is extended. Thanks! :D
Debate Round No. 3
Helen_91

Pro

Helen_91 forfeited this round.
darthebearnc

Con

Vote Con!
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by prodigalchild 2 years ago
prodigalchild
I would have to counter-propose a question for the Instigator, Helen 91. Do you, personally, feel the desire to murder, steal, rape or commit adultery? Is it only your belief and fear of a higher being's judgment that keeps you form committing immoral acts? If so, than perhaps your argument has merit.

The basis of your argument is that human beings, as a species, are not only predisposed to committing immoral acts, but are instinctually and unrelentingly compelled to commit such acts. Because you kept this debate free from religious specificity, I would have to assume you feel that having any set of religiously proscribed values trumps having your own individual moral guidepost.

I would argue that that premise is false. The reason I don't commit such immoral acts such as murder, rape, adultery, etc. is not out of fear of retribution, but from having an inherent moral compass and compassion for humanity and life which allows me to understand that such acts are morally wrong and would cause me a lifetime of painful memories and horrors if I were to commit such an act. I am not afraid of "hell" or "jail" as you would believe. Fear doesn't stop me. The lack of desire stops me.

I would venture a guess that the same percentage of religious and non-religious persons commit immoral acts and that religion, while people will state the opposite, doesn't really play a large role. I am an attorney and nearly every criminal I have encountered in my profession has followed a religion of some sort. That didn't stop them from killing, stealing, raping, etc.
Posted by darthebearnc 2 years ago
darthebearnc
ikr
Posted by vi_spex 2 years ago
vi_spex
how is being told what to think feel and do moral?
Posted by TheNamesFizzy 2 years ago
TheNamesFizzy
Do you actually believe that?
8 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
lannan13
Helen_91darthebearncTied
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Vote Placed by Geographia 2 years ago
Geographia
Helen_91darthebearncTied
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Vote Placed by 1harderthanyouthink 2 years ago
1harderthanyouthink
Helen_91darthebearncTied
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Vote Placed by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
Helen_91darthebearncTied
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Vote Placed by Zarroette 2 years ago
Zarroette
Helen_91darthebearncTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con's counter-arguments went unrefuted, and so this wins Con argument points. Sources go to Con because they helped him/her make the winning argument. Conduct to Con for Pro's round forfeits.
Vote Placed by TheJuniorVarsityNovice 2 years ago
TheJuniorVarsityNovice
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Vote Placed by Danielle 2 years ago
Danielle
Helen_91darthebearncTied
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Reasons for voting decision: self-explanatory
Vote Placed by danhep 2 years ago
danhep
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Reasons for voting decision: Fft.