The Instigator
Aziar44
Pro (for)
Losing
24 Points
The Contender
wpfairbanks
Con (against)
Winning
31 Points

Christianity has been more beneficial than detrimental to mankind.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+2
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 9 votes the winner is...
wpfairbanks
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/26/2009 Category: Religion
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,617 times Debate No: 7928
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (21)
Votes (9)

 

Aziar44

Pro

Well, this will be the second challenge for this debate, as my first opponenet failed to post a first argument, unfortunately. Oh well.

Anyway, here I would like to argue exactly what it says in the title: Christianity has overall been more of a benefit to mankind than it has been a detriment.

No partisan arguments may be used here, e.g. abortion, gay marriage, etc. Those are partisan issues that require their own debate.

In this debate, I would ask my opponent to stick to concrete examples, such as lives saved or lost or something like that. Nothing about people "being saved" will be said on my part, for example. So I can't use the whole "Christianity has saved everyone from Hell so it wins" argument.

Christianity has surely had some missteps over the years, but overall, it has benefited mankind more than it has harmed it. I will allow my opponent the first real argument and will make my response detailed and comprehensive.

Thank you to whomever takes me up on this.
wpfairbanks

Con

Well, my main reason for the delayed response is the fact that as PRO, you have not stated anything debatable. You do after all have the burden of proof, and until you indeed provide evidence to your claim, I am successful in the debate. I'll adhere the the Twain quote that it's "better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." So, in the next round, argue why exactly Christianity has been more beneficial than detrimental to mankind, and as for now, I have nothing to contend.
Debate Round No. 1
Aziar44

Pro

Fine by me, but I couldn't say anything until you had posted something. Now, we can begin!

I have several arguments why Christianity has been more beneficial than detrimental to mankind. What this debate will really be is just each side providing several examples of Christianity helping/hurting humanity and then trying to back up those claims. It will be difficult to get a perfectly objective look at this, so voters will just have to see which side provides the best evidence and the most substantiated claims in terms of benefit or detriment to mankind. Anyway:

1. Christianity played a major role in bringing about the scientific revolution.

Christianity caused scientists to search for ways of understanding "God's creation," or the world. The idea of a mechanistic cosmology stemmed from Christian thinking and replaced the rational observation that had been brought in by the Greeks in the time of Aristotle. "Scientists" were convinced that the way to understand the earth was through reason alone. Reasoning could be used to figure out the world. Christianity brought in testing and valued the manual labor involved in experimentation, which the Greeks did not value. The mechanistic cosmology meant the world would be viewed like a machine, and humans can take apart a machine to figure out how it works. This led to the scientific revolution and new way of thinking about science in general. All of this came from Christianity (and more specifically, Protestantism), and undoubtedly the scientific revolution has been extraordinarily beneficial to man in terms of medicine, technology, and knowledge in general.

http://www.bede.org.uk...
Edward Davis and Michael Winship, "The Scientific Revolution" Excerpt from Gary Ferngren's "Science and Religion" book.

2. Christianity has many charitable outreach programs, both large and small.

There are many Christian charities that go to other countries to take care of the poor and less fortunate. Also, many Christian churches have mission work that builds houses, provides money for schools, shelter, health care and more. Christianity has preached mission work to help those who are in need and many, many Christians and their churches take part in such activities that are not recognized nationally. Local churches and schools often do charitable work such as this. This is another way that Christianity has been beneficial.

http://www.christianpost.com...

3. Christians, because of their faith, were some of the most outspoken abolitionists in the US during times of slavery.

Yes, non-Christian abolitionists existed, but the Christian churches and its members were, many of them, staunchly against slavery. Did Christianity have its pro-slavery counterparts in the South? Sure. But the Christian argument for abolition of slavery was strong and tipped the scales greatly in favor of abolitionism.

Christian ideals have been used in other famous movements that fought for civil rights. Gandhi was a Hindu, but he openly talked about the various Christian ideas he used in his fight for justice in India. Martin Luther King Jr. also put forth Christian ideals in his fight for civil rights. Christianity was an influence on both of these men, and their actions have been extremely beneficial to Indians and African Americans, and beyond.

http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com...

4. Human rights have been espoused by Christianity and Christianity has played an important role in the recognition of human rights and individual rights.

Protestantism especially has been a proponent of individual rights and human rights. American Protestantism in the 20th century has had a strong focus on international human rights and individual rights in the US. Stemming from the Reformation, individual rights have led to people throwing off oppressive governments, multiple uprisings that dethroned monarchies, and ultimately, democracy - a representative form of government where every person has the right to vote and it is arguably the best political system to date, as genocides have never occurred in a democracy and with democracy comes economic growth and personal freedom and gain.

E. A. LIVINGSTONE. "Protestantism." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. 2000. Encyclopedia.com. 28 Apr. 2009

5. Christianity encourages many moral actions.

Murder, adultery, lying, etc. have all been condemned by Christianity. These are all fairly widely accepted as immoral practices, and yes, other religions have espoused these morals, but Christianity holds a majority population in the world and therefore has reached more people with these messages. Having a set of guidelines for how to live morally that includes "Thou shalt not kill" and "Thou shalt not commit adultery" is easier to take from a religion with a higher power than it is to take from just humans making up rules. Christianity's set of rules and standards for how to live have been beneficial in at least keeping people trying to not do these actions that have negative consequences.

These are several of the arguments why Christianity has been more beneficial than detrimental to mankind. I'm sure we can delve into selected topics more so in the next round, as well as delve into my opponent's arguments.
wpfairbanks

Con

Alright, my contentions to your five points are as follows, and I intend on my contentions also acting as counter arguments in themselves.

1. Copernicus and Bruno may disagree. In the age of the scientific revolution, the Church saw science as a direct threat to the status quo, and well into even the modern age, the main leaders of the Protestant sects are denying well accepted scientific theses (ie. evolution & geologic time scale). Not that this completely relates to the scientific revolution, but there is a trend, which must be acknowledged, between the incompatibility empirical reason and faith, which one doesn't only see in the Catholic Church stunting discovery in the 15th-19th Centuries, but in the modern day Protestants as well. Moreover, from a historical perspective, scientifically, philosophically, artistically, and politically, the greatest advancements man has seen since the Renaissance, have come from the Greeks and the Romans. Now, several debated factors played into the decline of the Roman empire, but high on the list, is the emergence of Christianity in the Roman Empire. In fact, just following Constantine's acceptance of Christianity in Rome, Europe plunged into the Dark Ages, where any sort of intellectual irreverence was punishable by death. It goes with out saying, that because of the emergence of Christianity, scientific development was retarded immensely. After 700 years of absolute devolution(and a low quality of life), Italy rose to prominence during the Renaissance, not BECAUSE of Christianity, but in spite of it. The High Renaissance thinkers, true, may have been Christians, but even more so, were secular humanists (which placed importance on life and development itself, instead of the afterlife exclusively, as the Christian ruled Medieval Ages had). This re emergence in the importance of reason, attributed to the findings of Greek and Roman (pre-Christian) manuscripts, or those held by the non-Christian Arabs, who were making mathematical and scientific advancements all of this time. One mustn't look far to see Christianity as a limiting factor on science for 1750 years.

2. I will most certainly concede Christian organizations have done good for developing countries, but at the price of rather blind indoctrination. In Africa, this indoctrination has led to genocide, faith based as well. Once again, a turn to history best serves this topic justice. Look at the missionary work done in the 19th and 20th centuries in sub-Saharan Africa, and how this led to imperial colonization and the deaths of hundreds of thousands. Not to mention the work of Spanish and Portuguese missionaries in the 15th and 16th centuries in Latin America. I will concede that the work that Christians have done through charity overall has been more beneficial than detrimental in the late 20th century, but with a more historical perspective, the atrocity some missionary work has caused, makes this issue a mere wash, and a weak point in why Christianity as a whole has been more beneficial.

3. Following what we now know was the Second Great Awakening in America, just about EVERYONE was a Christian. And sure, Garrison, Brown, and Fredrick Douglass were great Christian Abolitionists, but they did after all pray to the same God as Preston Brooks, Stephan A. Douglass, and just about every white southern slaveholder. The conflict was mainly between the Old Testament, which contained much slavery, and the New Testament, which for the most part condemned the practice. The first abolitionists were actually the founders, like Jefferson, Adams, Paine, and Franklin, all of which were abolitionists, and critics of Christianity. The best and most definitive tool against slavery came from Jefferson's immortal words in the Declaration (which was by the way edited to remove clauses denouncing slavery; Jefferson, not exactly a Christian). Oh, and it wasn't Christianity that tipped the scales towards abolition, no scales were tipped, but rather based off of sectional conflict. It was the Davis' unconditional surrender that ended slavery. Yes, Christianity was an influence on many of the civil rights leaders, but this argument isn't worth taking up, for I could cite some not so nice people who were also influenced by Christianity. It's again, a wash at best.

4. The three main uprisings that dethroned monarchies were the Glorious Revolution in England, the American Revolution (not a dethroning of a monarchy, but oppression none the less), and the French Revolution. All of which were secular and ideological, all of which were not Christian. The French Revolution in fact took back the Church's land in France. Your argument here is not too clear, and from here, it looks like you're claiming that American Protestantism is the 20th Century led to democracy. So if you would be so kind to revise....

5. First off, Christianity does not hold a majority of the population in the world. 6.5 billion people, 2 billion Christians, you do the math. Thus you're first point is invalid. I would also disagree that taking guidelines from a religion is "easier" than from a law. For lies apply to everyone, and religious guidelines only apply to those who follow the religion. Christianity's codified morals are not superior to any other teachings. My parent's instilled these values in myself, yet they are non-religious. The values are from before the Bible or Jesus, and as Jefferson argued, may be innate. You say that "Christianity's set of rules and standards for how to live have been beneficial in at least keeping people trying to not do these actions that have negative consequences." I say these moral are obsolete, and haven't been held up by the religious and religious officials, and if many devout Christian's cannot obey, they are quite arbitrary. And, if we really want to get into the morals instilled in the Bible and not just the ten commandments, I would love to dust off my nasty little Old Testament for you. May I say, 'Exodus anyone???'

Thank you
Debate Round No. 2
Aziar44

Pro

1. Copernicus would actually agree with me. There is a common misconception that the Church saw Copernicus's theory of heliocentricity as a threat when it came out. This is, however, false. They saw it as helpful, in fact. Pope Gregory XIII used it to make the calendar. Copernicus himself was a member of the clergy! The Church saw no danger in it. Copernicus's book espousing his theory was not banned when it was published and they did not put it on their list of prohibited books when he wrote it. They did not have a problem with Copernicus's theory at all.

Williams, Patricia. "Science and the Bible in Dialogue: In the Beginning" The Fourth R: July-August 2008.
Howell, Kenneth. "God's Two Books: Copernican Cosmology and Biblical Interpretation in Early Modern Science" Notre Dame, 2002.

The myth of conflict between science and Christianity is a strong one, but scholarly research has lead to more correct interpretations.

Greek thought would not have been preserved without Christianity. Through the Dark Ages, Christian scholars and monks, wanting to keep their writings intact, kept a multitude of Greek literature and writings alive. In effect, Christianity did help spark the Renaissance by keeping Greek thought alive.

Yes, reason was indeed helpful, but Greeks thought that the world could be figured out by reason alone. They looked down on experimentation, which Christianity valued. So, the combination of Greek reason (which was preserved by Christianity) and a mechanistic cosmology and value for labor led to the scientific revolution. Christianity played a huge part. My citations are the same as in Round 1 for Point 1 for these arguments.

As for Bruno, I am aware of his unseemly fate. However, he too was a monk and a Christian. He, as well as most other scientists during his time and for centuries afterwards, was convinced that his exploration and discovery were a way to better understand God. This was a common theme for scientists even up to the days of Gregor Mendel (in the field of genetics) who also was a monk who believed that scientific inquiry was a way to better understand God.

It is the theory of God's Two Books. His one book is the Bible. The other book is the world around us, and as you must study the Bible to know God, so must you study the natural world and figure out how it works. This was possibly the largest contributor to the scientific revolution.

2. Could you please cite sources for your knowledge? Thank you. If you cite your statements then I will indeed consider it to be a wash.

3. Yes, it was Davis' surrender that actually ended slavery. Perhaps I phrased it poorly, but Christian abolition movements tipped the scales in favor of attitudes about getting rid of slavery. Obviously, this was not the major point of the Civil War, but it is a benefit to mankind nonetheless. Also, abolitionist movements were heavily Christian in England when the fights over slavery were going on there.

Would you do me the favor of naming some of those not so nice people? I've got Gandhi and MLK as two examples of Christianity benefiting mankind greatly, so I would appreciate it if you would name those unsavory characters. Thank you again.

4. "And in the 13th-century, Franciscan nominalists were the first to elaborate legal theories of God-given rights, as individual rights derived from a natural order sustained by God's immutable laws of "right reason". For these medieval thinkers, not even the king himself could violate certain rights of the subject, because the idea of law was attached to the Bible-based conception of Christian justice."

These God-given rights heavily influenced the later thinkers who espoused personal liberty and individual rights. People such as Locke and Jefferson were influenced by these earlier Christian thoughts. (http://www.newsweekly.com.au...)

"In declaring the equality of all human souls in the sight of God, Christianity compelled the kings of England to recognise the supremacy of the divine law over their arbitrary will. 'The absolutist monarch inherited from Roman law was thereby counteracted and transformed into a monarch explicitly under law'."

Roman times had absolutely no conception of individual rights. Everything was done for Rome, or for the patriarchal unit. Christianity sparked the idea of equality under God's law and individual rights did indeed stem from Christianity, and subsequently, were used in 17th and 18th century political philosophies that we know so well today.

5. Ah, I meant majority in terms of religion. Christianity holds the majority population in terms of religions. 1/3 of the world identifies as Christian. Second is Islam with 21%, so on and so forth. This is what I meant by majority population. Poor phrasing on my part. What I should have said is that it is the dominant religion of the world. (http://www.adherents.com...)

I will tailor this argument towards Jesus, more so. Jesus is a figure that most people would say is quite admirable, whether you are Christian or not. The figure of Jesus is someone that Christians want to emulate. Being Christ-like is an important part of Christianity, and the morals that Jesus espoused (alms to the poor, loving thy enemy, etc.) are ones that are beneficial to mankind. Christians attempt ( I do say 'attempt') to follow these rules in order to better the world and also to make sure they are being like their God.

There are also numerous reform movements such as the temperance, educational reform, child labor illegalization, etc. that have been led by Christian organizations.

Also, the earliest universities in the West were developed by the Church. Christianity, though not the only influence for the beginning of universities, did indeed set up the first ones in Western Europe. This is another benefit to mankind.

All of the aforementioned effects of Christianity are beneficial.
wpfairbanks

Con

1. The Church put "On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres" in 1616 on the Prohibited Books List [1]. So, true he was not persecuted, his scientific work was blacklisted. Galileo may though agree with me. I was using these two as examples, and even if the Copernicus example isn't accurate enough for you, scientists were persecuted for their beliefs, and I know you cannot deny that. Your argument that "Copernicus's book espousing his theory was not banned when it was published and they did not put it on their list of prohibited books when he wrote it" may be true, but you are being very semantic. It WAS banned 73 years after his death, and remained banned for quite some time, therefore, they obviously DID have a "problem with Copernicus' theory at all." And the notion that "Copernicus himself was a member of the clergy!" is a bit redundant, for the main educational institutions at the time were for the clergy! It was almost impossible to self-education without knowing Latin and Greek both of which Copernicus and the other intellectuals of the day learned from religious institutions (because secular institutions were not allowed). This knowledge was essentially excluded from the masses by the Church. Stupid constituents are obedient ones.

Look, I completely get your argument for scientists trying to understand the workings of God. Mankind had been theistic for ages, and thinking that men were trying to find the workings exclusively of the Christian God is absurd. It was more of a pantheistic/deistic ideal, not one necessarily pertaining to the Christian God, even if these men were Christians. Einstein said he was trying to find the laws of god, and he meant it more figurative, I think you should consider this view.

As for the monks keeping in tact Greek documents, this is true to an extent, but the majority of the remaining documents were either discovered archaeologically or retained by Muslims.

2. Well, my main sources are four friends I go to school with, 3 are from Sierra Leone, and one is from Nigeria. They are the most indoctrinated, blind Christians I have ever met, and they are fine to admit it. they state they were persecuted in Africa for being Christian, and the original colonization in Africa was by missionaries, this is consensus amongst historians.

here are some interesting articles about religious wars in Africa:

http://barthsnotes.wordpress.com...
http://atheism.about.com...
http://pewforum.org...
http://findarticles.com...

whether the Islamics or Christians are right, it doesn't matter, but the point is, is Christianity is a detrimental force in the region. Also, not to get too topical, but, the Pope denouncing sexual protection as a way of cutting down AIDS is quite a bother too.

3. I understand what you are trying to say, but Southern slavery-advocates were also citing scripture as well, for example:

However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

So, I just cannot buy that Christianity was a benefit in the Civil War era, and if it really was, wouldn't there have been no Civil War. It was in fact the bloodiest American war in history.

And come on. Do you really want me to start naming evil Christians?? Alright. Here it goes:
-Pope Stephen VII
-Pope Clement VII
-Pope Leo X
-Pope Urban VI
-Pope Alexander XI
-Pope Boniface VIII
-Pope Benedict IX
-Jerry Faldwell
-Pat Robertson
-Samuel Parris
-Pope Alexander II
-Michael VII
-Judas!!! (a bit of a joke, although he was a Christian in the traditional sense)
-Godfrey of Bouillon
-George bush!!!
King George III
on and on for ages. I don't want to keep this up. but the stronger point is that many upon many atrocities were committed IN THE NAME OF CHRISTIANITY, yet although Ghandi and MLK were Christians, I doubt that they were such great people and exclusively did what they did BECAUSE of Christianity. but I wouldn't argue that it did influence their lives.

4. Look, just because Prof. Augusto Zimmerman has a thesis, doesn't make it scripture, and just because you cited it, doesn't make it true. I disagree with Zimmerman on a fundamental basis. The notion of individual rights goes back to the Code of Hammurabi, the Greeks, and yes, the Romans in the Roman Republic (not to be mistaken with the Roman Empire). Nothing has arguably done more in history to imprison ands restrict individual rights than Christianity, once again, examine the Middle Ages. Now, as I affirmed back in contention 1, people like Jefferson believed in rights as being inalienable, endowed by the Creator. But, my dear sir, Jefferson and the majority of Enlightenment thinkers (those who proposed individual rights as being a governmental matter) were Deists!! Like many of our scientists as well. Jefferson would have never attributed his brilliance on natural rights to Christianity. Or as he said, "Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned. What has been the effect of this coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites".
Ouch. And the idea of "equality under God's law and individual rights" stemming from Christianity, I would say, is dead wrong. It stemmed from the original Greek democracy, and although only aristocrats were allowed to vote, it nonetheless defined a basis of equality.

5. Alright. But if I may be so contrarian, may I ask WHY Christianity is the dominant religion? Well, because they have the most people. Why do they I ask? Well because they conquered more of the world than anyone else. Not exactly a Christian virtue.

Anyways, please do not ruin this argument with the statement you espoused: "I will tailor this argument towards Jesus, more so. Jesus is a figure that most people would say is quite admirable, whether you are Christian or not." Your resolution was "Christianity has been more beneficial than detrimental to mankind", not 'the morals of Jesus have been more beneficial than detrimental to man kind' in which case, I would have not challenged. But Christianity is not necessarily moral in practice. Again to quote Jefferson, "The clergy converted the simple teachings of Jesus into an engine for enslaving mankind and adulterated by artificial constructions into a contrivance to filch wealth and power to themselves...these clergy, in fact, constitute the real Anti-Christ."

You finish your argument by stating some benefits of Christian colleges and organization, which I do agree, are beneficial.

You conclude with the very revealing argument that "all of the aforementioned effects of Christianity are beneficial." Oh and yes, I agree! Christianity has been beneficial to mankind. I concede. Unfortunately for your argument, you stated that it has been MORE beneficial than detrimental, which it has not. The atrocities committed cannot be outweighed with the petty work of Christian Organizations in the 20th Centuries, or the moral teachings of a Jewish man in 20 a.d.

Thank you

1. http://burro.astr.cwru.edu...
Debate Round No. 3
Aziar44

Pro

1. Sure, some scientists were persecuted for their works. But what Christianity did for the scientific revolution was much greater than any of the small things that it did against scientists. Galileo was prosecuted because he upset the Church hierarchy. But Christianity did not impede science because it was against the science. They were against him because he upset the Church hierarchy. So Christianity still was not against fostering science then.

"Look, I completely get your argument for scientists trying to understand the workings of God. Mankind had been theistic for ages, and thinking that men were trying to find the workings exclusively of the Christian God is absurd. It was more of a pantheistic/deistic ideal, not one necessarily pertaining to the Christian God, even if these men were Christians. Einstein said he was trying to find the laws of god, and he meant it more figurative, I think you should consider this view."

- Greeks and Romans did not try to figure out the world in order to glorify God, though, for example. They were the main scientific influences before the scientific revolution. If you could give some examples of those seeking to glorify a god/gods before those who tried to glorify the Christian idea of God? Many of those scientists who were trying to glorify some deity through scientific inquiry during/around the time of the Scientific Revolution were Christian; therefore, they were indeed trying to glorify a Christian God. Please, provide some examples of scientists who contributed a lot to science that were trying to glorify some other kind of god (and not just people who were religious and scientific - that is not the same).

The amount of good that came from Christianity's contributions to the scientific revolution cannot be denied. Why did science not arise in China? Why not in Asia? Or Africa? None of these places had Christianity. Christianity's value of experimentation and mechanistic worldview directly led to the Scientific Revolution (I have cited this before). Without it, the Scientific Revolution would not have occurred.

2. I concede that this is an example where Christianity has been detrimental. How many lives have been lost? Do you know? I was wondering...

3. Your list of "evil" Christians is long, yes, but how much of an impact in history has each of those men had? Gandhi and MLK were undoubtedly influenced by Christianity, and their civil rights and social justice movements have made them two of the most important figures of the 20th century. Also, Gandhi and MLK are both considered very influential in the entire realm of history. How often is Samuel Parris brought up? In the book "The 100" which gives a list of the most influential people in history, no one on your list even makes it to runner-up status. Gandhi makes it to runner-up status and both he and MLK are on various other lists of most important and influential people.

Now, I am not saying that name recognition means they did more. However, Gandhi has certainly been more influential than many of the people on your list, insofar as we can see (Bush, Faldwell and Robertson probably will not be extraordinarily well known in 60 years, but we can't really judge yet).

The influences of MLK and Gandhi combined are arguably much greater than the influences of all those popes combined and everyone else on that list. Fame is not necessarily an indicator of greatness, but most people can't name a single thing any one of those popes did. How significant was their impact? Also, how negative was it? You name names, but what did they do? Gandhi put forth the idea of passive resistance, freed his country from colonialism and influenced philosophy greatly. MLK led millions to the idea that blacks and whites are equal. He led a revolution that otherwise might have failed without him (since Malcolm X was the other, more violent option). African Americans have many of their rights in the US because of Martin Luther King Jr. And I could go on with Pope John Paul II's great accomplishments and how Christianity was indeed beneficial there. (http://www.time.com...)

4. Well, your disagreement with Zimmerman has a lot less of a basis than what Zimmerman says, no offense. Please explain and cite your information that individual rights were alive in the Greek and Roman times please. Oh, I know Jefferson was a Deist and did not like organized religion all that much. Still, is there not the Jefferson Bible? He picked and chose what he wanted, but he was indeed influenced by Christianity. (http://en.wikipedia.org...)

The Greeks felt there were "natural slaves." Is that equality? That some were born strong, so they were then natural slaves and others were born smart so they were born naturally slave-owners? This is not a metaphor either - there were slaves. Greek times were hardly the start of actual equality. Aristotle and Socrates, two of the most important Greek thinkers of their time, were in fact AGAINST equality. Sure, Greek democracy existed - in one place, Athens, for about 50 years. It then died. Women, slaves, and "foreigners" (immigrants) were not allowed to vote as they were not citizens.

The Christian ideal of "equality under God's law" DID have an impact on individual rights. You can say it is "dead wrong" all you want - that does not falsify this claim.

5. I concede your point about the teachings of Jesus not always being followed. There are those do follow and there are those who don't, so this may be a wash.

CONCLUSION:

Christianity has been more beneficial than detrimental to mankind, overall. Though people have killed other people in the name of Christianity and its ideas were misused in ways that had a negative impact on some people, it is overall a positive. Here is why:

- MOST IMPORTANT REASON - The Scientific Revolution would not have happened without Christianity. There is a great deal of scholarly research showing this that I have cited. Christianity is why it occurred. Its value for experimentation and its mechanistic cosmology were integral. Also, it preserved much important Greek literature through the Dark Ages. Here are some benefits from the Scientific Revolution:

The discovery of bacteria. This led to the realization of what diseases were
Medicines of all sorts, which have helped to cure diseases all over the world
Development of scientific institutions which lead to discoveries in chemistry, genetics, physics, astronomy, biology, etc.
More accurate understanding of the human body - how to both draw it and heal it. (art and science)
Laid the foundation for all modern science
New worldview of how the universe functions

Millions of lives have been saved, bettered, and improved by the Scientific Revolution. This benefit alone, of Christianity, is enough to outweigh any of the detriments. There are still other benefits.

- Great civil rights leaders such as MLK and Gandhi have been influenced by Christianity. Christianity's teachings have had an impact on those two, as well as Pope John Paul II, all the scientists in the Revolution who wished to glorify God through scientific inquiry, and even Deists like Jefferson.
- Christians set up the first universities in the West - a MAJOR benefit to mankind.
- Christian outreach programs help the poor in other countries in many ways.
- Individual rights partially derived from the Christian ideal of "equality under God"

All of these benefits of Christianity far outweigh the detriments. The lives saved through the Sci. Revolution, the knowledge from those universities and the freedom from those civil rights fighters is much more than any negative impact it has had.

I have cited my sources very well and shown Christianity to be more of a benefit than a detriment to mankind. I thank my opponent and all viewers. Vote PRO!
wpfairbanks

Con

Thanks for this debate.

1 "If you could give some examples of those seeking to glorify a god/gods before those who tried to glorify the Christian idea of God?" The Parthenon, probably the greatest architectural achievement of the Ancient world, was built to house the gods. Hermes was the god of science and invention, and scientists often times experimented in the name and honor of He. So I hope that fits as an example. " Please, provide some examples of scientists who contributed a lot to science that were trying to glorify some other kind of god (and not just people who were religious and scientific - that is not the same)." you're spinning a pantheistic ideal.

"The amount of good that came from Christianity's contributions to the scientific revolution cannot be denied. Why did science not arise in China? Why not in Asia? Or Africa? None of these places had Christianity." PLEASE sir, do not be silly.

http://en.wikipedia.org...

yes, science in China! And probably more than Europe until the SECULAR Renaissance!!

http://en.wikipedia.org...

NOOOOO science in non-Christian India?? Make it stop, make it stop!

http://en.wikipedia.org...

Islamic science? Oh brother.

http://www.crystalinks.com...

Science in Greece? Wait, Greece was pre-anno Domini. Strange.

An excerpt from http://www.nobeliefs.com.... Cannot put it better myself.

"Please understand that these kind of Christian apologetic arguments fail for several reasons which fall into the trap of several well known fallacies including: appeal to ignorance (failing to understand the history of Christianity in how it barred scientific thought, and in many cases still does); confusing correlation with causation (just because a scientist accepted a religion doesn't mean his science derived from it); and non sequiturs (it doesn't follow that just because a few scientists believed in God that science resulted from it). The myth also spreads through the bandwagon fallacy (appealing to the popular notion that Christianity began modern science), and confirmation bias (list all the Christian scientists, but exclude their rejection of dogmas that conflicted with their science).

Just because some Christians did scientific work or that the Church helped fund scientific research has nothing to do with the founding or even the advancement of science. Not only does it not follow, but the historical record shows that science progressed in spite of Christianity, not because of it.

From its very beginning, the Church has served as the largest stumbling block against scientific progress in the history of mankind. When Constantine established orthodox Christianity in 325 CE (at the Council of Nicaea), scientific investigation virtually stopped. Up until that time, Greek and Roman science and medicine stood at the pinnacle of reasoned thought. With the aimed destruction of any thought that went against religious dogma, the Christians tried to destroy every pagan and scientific literature including the great libraries of the world.

The destruction of the library of Alexandra (the greatest learning center in the world) and the murder of Hypatia by Christians in 415 CE, marked the beginning of the Dark Ages. As Ruth Hurmence Green once wrote, "There was a time when religion ruled the world. It is known as The Dark Ages." The Priests of Christianity kept the public from education, including the study of their own Bible. Only the hierarchy of the Church allowed education for themselves, and when their thoughts went against their own dogmas (as eventually it would have to) they barred it as heresy. It came from the Church itself that tried to destroy free scientific inquiry, even amongst its priests.

When Christianity took over Europe, scientific and engineering advancement virtually stopped. The great Roman aqueducts represented one of the greatest engineering feats of the ancient world and provided clean water to cities and industrial sites for centuries. When the Christians took over they no longer supported these great public services and the aqueducts became ruins -- monuments of the past glory of Rome. Christianity banned the Roman bath houses and bathing itself became an act of sin. The ancient Roman sewers no longer worked. For centuries after, Christians lived in filth, ignorance, and disease."

And modern intelligent design, and the refutation of Natural Selection because of religious belief, is a plague to science.

I hope you can see you the flaws in your logic

2. since Africa is too much of a mess (partly to due Christianity), it's impossible to get a population census, therefore, no, I do not know exactly how many lives have been lost in Africa, but it is too many regardless.

3. It's been about 50 years since MLK and Ghandi, so I see it as a bit foolish to call their legacies as larger than 9 evil popes. We just hear of them more due to their recent nature.

"The Christian ideal of "equality under God's law" DID have an impact on individual rights. You can say it is "dead wrong" all you want - that does not falsify this claim."

Oh I agree that it did 'impact' individual rights. But just like the brilliant George Orwell wrote, "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." And ideally, yes, Christianity enhanced natural rights in the divine sense, but take the sale of indulgences for example. Sure, everyone is "equal" in God's eyes, but after accusing others of witchcraft, heresy, dissent, or paying off the Church, surely in the eyes of the "christian god" some must be more equal than others.

4. "still, is there not the Jefferson Bible? He picked and chose what he wanted, but he was indeed influenced by Christianity" No, he was influenced by Jesus Christ, not Christianity. In fact, the creation of the Jefferson Bible was an attack on Christianity, not a endorsement.

As for human rights in Greece, http://library.thinkquest.org...

"It was in ancient Greece where the concept of human rights began to take a greater meaning than the prevention of arbitrary persecution. Human rights became synonymous with natural rights, rights that spring from natural law . According to the Greek tradition of Socrates and Plato, natural law is law that reflects the natural order of the universe, essentially the will of the gods who control nature. A classic example of this occurs in Greek literature, when Creon reproaches Antigone for defying his command to not bury her dead brother, and she replies that she acted under the laws of the gods. This idea of natural rights continued in ancient Rome, where the Roman jurist Ulpian believed that natural rights belonged to every person, whether they were a Roman citizen or not."

5. Thank you

I am not going to go into a long appeal to why Christianity is more detrimental than beneficial. My arguments stand as they are, as they should.

Thank you
Debate Round No. 4
21 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by tBoonePickens 8 years ago
tBoonePickens
Mr Smith, you prove my point exactly: it's the cultures that were made extinct and not the people. And even that's not completely true because their cultures have very heavy influences from the native cultures. Yes their DNA contains Native, African, and European mix but the dominant majority of the DNA is definitely native. Don't try to play the race card on me; your the one who mentioned skin color not I. In Argentina and Uruguay, the majority of the population is European (mostly WWI & WWII migration) but there are still plenty of people that are native. Also, in Carri bean the indigenous people were wiped out (especially Cuba's cannibal natives) but even today 61% of Puerto Ricans & Dominicans have Taino DNA.

The bubble comment isn't a justification of anything it's there to show that it's a slanderous comment because had they (Spanish) or anyone else "come in peace" the same thing would have happened; therefore, it is an unjust and biased accusation.

However, it is funny that you point out that killing 250,000 people "is dwarfed" by the killing of 1,000,000. I would have expected you to say that they are both bad but...My here point is that there was nothing "special" about the Spanish conquest as all conquest is brutal and the Natives aren't immune to that same criticism. Just because they lacked the knowledge to able to do it more effectively doesn't excuse them. They had slaves, conquered other tribes, committed human atrocities, etc. Just like everyone else.

Why Latin America is poor today? Just read the book Chavez gave to Obama: it's everyone else fault except Latin America, that's why. Utter nonsense. It's because of commies & socialists like Guevara, Castro, Chavez, who promote the victim mentality and use it to advance communism & socialism.

Funny how you didn't address the natives that or on the northern (Anglo) border? Cause what happened here makes Spanish America look like a breakfast cereal commercial!
Posted by Mr_smith 8 years ago
Mr_smith
Mr. Pickens, I am disgusted by your attempt to justify the Spanish Conquest.

Your comment that everyone in central and south america is a native is highly offensive to me. Where did you draw this conclusion? From the color of their skin? You think that they're natives becuase they aren't pale? Having hispanic origins myself, I can tell you that very very few people in latin American are still true Mayans, Aztecs, or Incas. Most people are a mix of Native, European, and often African descent. In fact, in Argentina, many of the people are pure European--with no native blood at all.

Your claims that it was better for the natives not to "stay in a bubble" doesn't justify the savage murder of millions of natives. Connecting natives to the 'old world' doesn't entail killing them.

Additionally, I have to point out that the number of people murdered by the conquistadores absolutly dwarfs the number of people who were sacrificed.

You claim that the Spanish conquest advanced the native cultures. That's not true at all. Why do you think that most of Latin American is poor today? Cause the conquistadores killed them all and tried to enslave them (but couldn't, because they were dead). The Mayans and Aztecs also had mathematical calculations far more advanced than the ones in Europe at the time, especially in the field of astrology.

And lets not forget when the Conquistadores brought over the Africans to work their ranches and farm their crops. Slavery didn't go too well, now did it.

And all this bloodshed in the name of a "loving God" and "gold". Well the God I believe in isn't short of cash, mister.

If only you knew any of the real history because the Spanish Conquest or any of the real pain it caused...
Posted by tBoonePickens 8 years ago
tBoonePickens
Imperialism is not a Christian virtue. And I guess you would have had them stay in a bubble and not interact with the outside world, right? Nonsense. The moment they would have interacted with the outside world that would have happened anyways, whether that interaction was peaceful or not.

To say that most of the peoples in S. and C. America are not predominantly natives is ludicrous. They may have some European in them but they are MOSTLY native. As a person who has traveled extensively to this area I can attest to that; as can anyone who goes there. Apparently that's something you may not have learned from the ivory tower. BTW, if it was Europeans coming over the Mexican border illegally into the US, no one would be complaining...but it's not, is it.

1% to 2%, whatever...I guess human sacrifice is acceptable to you when it's only 1% of the population. Utter nonsense.

The fact that S. America doesn't rock is thanks to commies & socialists like Guevara. As far as John Cabot goes, his name was Giovanni Caboto and was also from Genoa like Columbus and approached Spain & Portugal first (the world super powers at the time) but they turned him down. So he went to Newfoundland and did what? Where are the Newfoundland natives (or any semblance of them) now? Exactly. Extinct. And the vikings...you wanna talk barbarity, they made the Romans look like Sesame Street.

Now lets look at Anglo North America. Where are the natives now? Yeah exactly. On a handful of sh..box reservations (if they're lucky they get to run casinos) some where. Go to ANY South/Central American city and I defy you not to be able to find a native...go to any city in the US and I defy you to find any native at all.
Posted by wpfairbanks 8 years ago
wpfairbanks
They did not purposely spread disease, but through imperialism and indoctrination they did, both of which are Christian fueled virtues.

There are hardly any natives in South America. The only ones are those who've never come in contact with outside culture. Every other "native" race is a mix between European and Native American descent. Everyone knows that. No no, I shouldn't generalize, YOU didn't know that.

20,000 to 250,000 a year? Thank you sir, for proving my point. Since the 96% is a CONSENSUS fact amongst historians, and historians agree there was approx. 25 million people in the Americas before Europe intervened. Therefore, that would be what, .01 to 1% of the population? I may speak "utter nonsense", but it's correct nonetheless.

Yes, western civilization rocks, I totally agree. But South America doesn't rock (not in the western sense, even though the Brazil and Argentinian Soccer teams are a treat to watch), North America does, and John Calbot was the first to discover this utopia, since the vikings. Columbus was a thug.
Posted by tBoonePickens 8 years ago
tBoonePickens
wpfairbanks, are you saying that the Spanish & Portuguese deliberately spread disease in the new world? I hope not cause that would be an utter lie. And I guess that the natives would have had to construct "bubbles" to interact with the rest of the world...or maybe diseases had to take their natural course through the world.

"...killed off what most historical anthropologists would put at about 96% of the native people..." There are over 400 million people in North & Central America & Carri bean today; are you implying that only 4% of them are not native? I can assure you that it's closer to 96% that are native.

"...most people sacrificed was about 60,000 out of a population of 1,000,000..." Utter nonsense, the figure is much higher; in one ceremony in Tenochtitlan over 80,000 people were sacrificed. When the Spanish arrived, some scholars believe that it was 20,000 to 250,000 sacrifices per year!

Anyways, sure there were some bad things that happened (you gotta break some eggs when you make an omelet) the Spanish & Portuguese also immensely helped out and advanced those cultures by centuries. And like (but not as barbaric) their Roman kin (whom they learned how to conquer from), the Spanish & Portuguese conquered but also let themselves be conquered (by mixing in.) Western civ rocks, man!
Posted by sabrafink 8 years ago
sabrafink
This was an interesting debate guys! Very secular; maybe now someone could debat judiaism as well! It would be much different, but interesting and fun none the less.
Posted by wpfairbanks 8 years ago
wpfairbanks
Mr. Pickens,
Think about your comment. The diseases passed in attempted indoctrination by the Spaniards and Portuguese killed off what most historical anthropologists would put at about 96% of the native people. The most people sacrificed was about 60,000 out of a population of 1,000,000. Which is 6%. You do the math. and swords, both in the anatomical and militant sense, were used to rape and murder natives.
Posted by tBoonePickens 8 years ago
tBoonePickens
Mr_Smith, if you care to notice, all those countries where the Conquistadores went to all have aboriginal people there...so much for the sword...or perhaps it's another kind of "sword" that was used! Hahaha! And ask yourself how many hundreds of thousands of people were saved by Christianity from being sacrificed in sacrificial rituals by the natives. Please.

It's like the age old "all the wars were cased by religion" garbage you always hear. Yeah, WWI was caused by religion, WWII, Vietnam, Korean war, Russian civil war, Iraq, all cause of religion right? Yeah, I thought so.
Posted by Aziar44 8 years ago
Aziar44
Mr_smith - I'm with you there. Like Gandhi said, "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."

I just thought I'd take the Christian side for the challenge. I had a good opponent too.
Posted by Mr_smith 8 years ago
Mr_smith
I like the idea of Christianity--just not the Christians that come with it.

btw, Christianity was real nice when the conquistadores arrived in Latin American bearing the cross and the sword (but mainly the sword).
9 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Vote Placed by tBoonePickens 8 years ago
tBoonePickens
Aziar44wpfairbanksTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by A51 8 years ago
A51
Aziar44wpfairbanksTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by sabrafink 8 years ago
sabrafink
Aziar44wpfairbanksTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:16 
Vote Placed by Aziar44 8 years ago
Aziar44
Aziar44wpfairbanksTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by Molokoplus 8 years ago
Molokoplus
Aziar44wpfairbanksTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 8 years ago
RoyLatham
Aziar44wpfairbanksTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:50 
Vote Placed by Danononian 8 years ago
Danononian
Aziar44wpfairbanksTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:16 
Vote Placed by wpfairbanks 8 years ago
wpfairbanks
Aziar44wpfairbanksTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by MTGandP 8 years ago
MTGandP
Aziar44wpfairbanksTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:05