The Instigator
Molokoplus
Pro (for)
Losing
14 Points
The Contender
KRFournier
Con (against)
Winning
32 Points

Christianity Exists to Control

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/24/2009 Category: Religion
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,967 times Debate No: 7085
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (7)

 

Molokoplus

Pro

Anyone who accepts, I am grateful, as this is my first debate here, and I am looking forward to it. My argument is that Christianity exists now only because people have passed it down generation to generation. Christianity's real goal was to subdue and threaten people into obeying secular laws, through fear of Hell. The Bible states that any ruler in place must inherently possess the mandate of heaven, otherwise, the ruler would not be in their position of power. By disobeying this ruler in any way, one goes against God and must be punished by the torments of Hell. This is the basis of my argument, that people only continue to believe in Christianity because the original story HAD to be good enough to make the populace believe it, and therefore belief became a family tradition.
KRFournier

Con

I gladly welcome my opponent to Debate.org and wish him the best of luck in this and future debates. I hope he finds this community agreeable.

My opponent offers an interesting theory, and I can only hope he intends to back his claim with compelling evidence. Since, however, my opponent has not yet offered evidence to support his allegations, I will defer my rebuttal and focus on my case against the resolution.

In order to fulfill the resolution, my opponent will have to show that Christianity, at some point in history, was solely intended as a means of population control. It will not be enough to cite events in which rulers or churches used Christian influences to control the masses, for this shows how it was used by certain groups or individuals for selfish gain. To illustrate further, if I were to claim that guns exist to murder, it would be insufficient for me to point out that people have been known to use them as such. To prove my claim, I'd have to show that guns were made solely as murder weapons. To be refuted, one would merely have to show that guns were intended for another purpose, such as self defense or hunting, with murder being an unfortunate abuse.

The best way to determine the intent of Christianity is to examine what we know of its founder, Jesus of Nazareth. His ministry is recorded in the four biblical gospel accounts, and he is mentioned in other Christian, Roman, Jewish, and Gnostic writings. Jesus reveals his own intentions in John 18:37 when he tells Pilate, "In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth." This statement, made on the eve of his crucifixion, is the most direct evidence that Jesus had no interest in social control. Indeed, he soon thereafter died a martyr's death. (http://www.religionfacts.com...)

The fact that martyrdom marks so much of early Christianity also speaks directly against my opponent's allegations. Indeed, if Christianity was intended to control the masses through fear of hell, why would the rulers of that day make every attempt to suppress it? The apostles Paul and Peter were martyred by Nero (http://www.religionfacts.com...). Why would he do such a silly thing if he could use it to bring order into his empire? The reality is that Christianity posed a threat to his empire. In fact, Christians were persecuted throughout Rome for failing to submit to the deified state until Christianity was finally legalized by Emperor Constantine in 313 A.D. (http://www.religionfacts.com...). There is simply no case to be made that Christianity was fabricated for control.

Only ardent belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ through the Apostles can explain how it continued to grow and flourish amidst so much persecution. You might not agree with Christianity's doctrines. You might consider them outmoded or untrue. But to insist that Christianity was built upon anything other than sincere religious belief is quite simply poor scholarship. The resolution, therefore, stands negated.

I eagerly await my opponent's evidence to support his claims.
Debate Round No. 1
Molokoplus

Pro

I appreciate you for being a literate and knowledgeable opponent, and for accepting this debate topic. Prior to my proof of my theory, I first state that Christianity was founded based on a religious belief. This is indubitable truth. Jesus, whatever one may believe about his holiness or lack thereof, lived with the purpose in mind of spreading knowledge and wisdom. The only thing that I state here is that the Christian Bible, and therefore belief, contains within it passages that dissuade any citizen from rising up against an authority. From http://www.biblegateway.com...; the passage of Romans 13 states:

Submission to the Authorities

1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. 7Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

I do not cite any specific usages or citations of this, because any given usage of this passage is tainted by the ruler or governing body's other motives. I only state that, in Church, any congregation will have heard this passage. Even without the Church's influence, most respectable Christians will have read this passage. Whoever wrote this particular segment clearly meant to convince any potential threats or uprisings that their planned actions would go against God's will. As the governing body of any public is not omniscient, they instead bring religion into play to counter any unknown menace. Must not this scenario have occurred many times: A man thinks of killing an unjust ruler, for it would bring peace to his people. However, he recalls that the Bible forbids him from going against the wishes of any ruler, for, if a ruler is in power, then God wants him in power. And so another threat is eliminated before it takes shape.

As for the Romans, who are notorious for the subjugation and persecution of Christians, I have only this to say. Nero and the subsequent rulers who persecuted the Christians becasue it was "in fashion" to do so. While Emperors would have had their reigns made easier by welcoming Christianity, doing so would have been extraordinarily dangerous. Many people vied for the position of Emperor, and many were waiting for a chance to assassinate their Emperor on a pretext of saving the people. Therefore no ruler until Constantine had the motivation to enforce any new religion that went against the official state religion. As for Constantine, his story is that, as he was fighting a battle and losing, a giant cross appeared in the sky. Rallying his troops under this symbol of power, he won the battle, and subsequently enforced Christianity as the new official state religion. What may have happened however, was that he realized the ability of a religion that offered a choice of afterlives as a powerful tool.

I harbor no ill will towards Christianity. This is not to say that Christians are in any way stupid or manipulative. My only assertion is that Christianity, with its concept of the punishment of Hell and the eternal reward of heaven, was pushed so heavily because of its ability to control people and dissuade them from being problems to a ruler.

I express my admiration at my opponent's writing ability and style. I very much look forward to reading the forthcoming rebuttals, which I am sure will be well thought out and difficult to counter.
KRFournier

Con

I much appreciate my opponent's thoughtful, timely, and well written response.

My opponent is accurate in stating that submission to the civil magistrate is demanded of Christians as made clear in Romans 13. It should be noted, however, that Paul did not fabricate this teaching out of thin air. The verses prior (Romans 12: 19 - 21) reiterate that Christians are not to be vengeful--that wrath belongs to God--and even that was supported by references to the Old Testament (Deut. 32:35, Prov. 25:21-22). Jesus himself clearly taught submission to the governing authorities. He "ordered the payment of taxes to Caesar (Matthew 22:21), declared that the authority of the procurator, Pontius Pilate, was given to him 'from above' (John 19:11), prophetically identified the armies of Vespasian and Titus as those of God himself sent for the purpose of destroying those evil men and burning their city, the city of Jerusalem (Matthew 22:7), submitted to arrest, even illegal and unjust arrest (Matthew 26:47-56), refused to allow Peter to defend with the sword against such an outrage, and meekly accepted the death penalty itself, which the state unjustly exacted, and which Christ had ample means of avoiding (Matthew 26:53), but did not." (http://www.searchgodsword.org...).

Indeed, submission to the state is taught by the founder of Christianity himself. Yet, as my opponent states, "Jesus, whatever one may believe about his holiness or lack thereof, lived with the PURPOSE in mind of spreading knowledge and wisdom." [Emphasis added.] Contrast this to his opening argument in which he says, "Christianity's REAL GOAL was to subdue and threaten people into obeying secular laws, through fear of Hell." [Emphasis added.] It seems my opponent is conflicted as to Christianity's motive. Though he undoubtedly did not intended to contradict himself, he should attempt to resolve the discrepancy in his final round.

The purpose of my gun analogy in Round 1 is to draw a distinction between the intended purpose of a thing and its realized use. A screwdriver is intended to drive screws, but its handle--in the absence of a hammer--works in a pinch to pound in a nail. My opponent commits the composition fallacy by taking a teaching of Christianity and concluding that, because the teaching exists, it was designed for that purpose alone. Indeed, the Christian is taught not to kill an unjust ruler to bring perceivable peace--that vengeance belongs to God. But the intent behind the instruction is to set the Christian apart from worldly values, to identify the Christian as belonging to a greater kingdom, the Kingdom of God. The teaching is a particular tenant driven by a transcendent purpose.

In order to fulfill the resolution, my opponent must provide evidence indicating that Christianity was created as a device for governments to control their people. It would be helpful, then, to cite historical documents to reflect these motives, of which my opponent has offered none. When we do turn to history, we find the opposite to be true. Christianity was resisted, condemned, or violently opposed for several centuries. In Rome, Christians were seen as upsetting the public morals in their stubborn insistence that there was One True God (http://patriot.net...) until Constantine granted them clemency.

My opponent is accurate in Constantine's testimony of encountering a cross in the sky, which he used to win the moral support of the increasing number of Christians in his army. In poor fashion though my opponent then says, "What may have happened however, was that he realized the ability of a religion that offered a choice of afterlives as a powerful tool." Without proof, such statements are mere guesses. He goes on to say, "My only assertion is that Christianity, with its concept of the punishment of Hell and the eternal reward of heaven, was pushed so heavily because of its ability to control people and dissuade them from being problems to a ruler." Statements such are these are the things conspiracy theories are made of. They offer profound speculation in the absence of proof. I do hope my opponent intends to offer historical data to support his hypothesis in his closing statements.

In the meantime, I urge the readers to consider heavily the sheer lack of evidence for my opponent's position juxtaposed to my citing of historical documents in refutation. Christianity exists because it's truth claims were sincerely and deeply believed, not because some rulers had the bright idea of creating a tool of control. It's purpose is to proclaim the Kingdom of God to the world. The fact that it teaches submission to state authority is circumstantial and insufficient in fulfilling the resolution.

I look forward to my opponent's final arguments.
Debate Round No. 2
Molokoplus

Pro

Molokoplus forfeited this round.
KRFournier

Con

I must say, I am a bit disappointed. This debate was interesting and I hoped other members would have a chance to read it. Given my opponent's forfeit of his final round, however, this debate will not appear in the normal lists.

For those that do read this debate, I remind you that my opponent did not offer any evidence to support his allegations. While imagination is useful in consider what might have been, only history can tell us what actually happened. The truth is that Christianity is not the clever fabrication of ruling authorities as a means of controlling its constituents. It is a religious movement, perpetuated by belief and defended in martyrdom. As such, you should vote CON.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by wjmelements 8 years ago
wjmelements
Defaulted CON.
Posted by TheSkeptic 8 years ago
TheSkeptic
Points to KRFournier for forfeit. Good debate you two, hopefully the darn weekend work won't get in the way next time :).
Posted by Molokoplus 8 years ago
Molokoplus
KRFournier, I am deeply sorry for what must appear an intentional forfeiture. I really had a busy weekend and did not see that you had posted a response. Regardless, you thoroughly won this debate. I should have done more research before posting. Hopefully we can debate again when I have honed my skill.
Posted by Johnicle 8 years ago
Johnicle
OH... and PM me for questions
Posted by Johnicle 8 years ago
Johnicle
Do you want to join in on a tournament? It is starting on March 1st.

go to www.cazoic.com for info... sign up in the forums
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by vorxxox 8 years ago
vorxxox
MolokoplusKRFournierTied
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Vote Placed by The_Booner 8 years ago
The_Booner
MolokoplusKRFournierTied
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Vote Placed by wjmelements 8 years ago
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MolokoplusKRFournierTied
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Vote Placed by wpfairbanks 8 years ago
wpfairbanks
MolokoplusKRFournierTied
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Vote Placed by s0m31john 8 years ago
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MolokoplusKRFournierTied
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Vote Placed by TheSkeptic 8 years ago
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MolokoplusKRFournierTied
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Vote Placed by KRFournier 8 years ago
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MolokoplusKRFournierTied
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