Christianity inhibits US advancement
Debate Rounds (4)
For this debate, let's define advancement as 'development or improvement'
Before I begin, let me take this opportunity to point out that I am not here to attack Christianity or Christians. The debate is centered on the negative influence of Christianity (or lack thereof, as Con might argue) on the United States in key elements of advancement such as politics, finance, education, and our society in general. I am not arguing that Christianity is inherently bad, only that it's influence is having a negative impact on elements listed above. As such, I will accept the BoP and allow my opponent (Con) the last word. The first round is simply for terms/acceptance of those terms, beyond that there will be 3 rounds, 24 hours each. This is an open debate with open voting, voters will have 3 days to select a winner.
I will begin with education: I believe that Christianity has a negative impact on education in the US. The majority of the population follows the Christian faith and as such, approximately half of Americans believe the account of creation as presented in the Bible's book of Genesis.  This is problematic because it teaches that the Earth is ~6000 years old  and that God created all the animals in one day.  This is quite different from the views held by modern scientists that claim the Earth to be ~4.5 billion years old  giving ample time for current species to develop via evolution. This creates a major disconnect between education and religion as they quite bluntly contradict each other. As a nation, I believe we should embrace new knowledge on a large scale so that our next generation will be more intelligent and better equipped in the future world. Holding on to outdated beliefs will only harm our future. Science has given us a multitude of technological advances that have benefited us greatly, and by hindering the spread of knowledge I assert that Christianity (as well as other religions) impairs educational and scientific growth.
Christianity also makes the political scene more difficult to navigate, with religion clouding politics on a regular basis. Issues of little significance in the grand scheme are blown out of proportion if they touch on subjects that are important to Christian views. This is clearly evident in a prime example: gay marriage. For quite some time, gay marriage has been a focal issue of the US. It's getting continuous media coverage, while in reality, it's not that important. Yes, there are some issues that need to be addressed but we run into problems very quickly as we try to figure out which is more important: to uphold Christian beliefs that homosexuality is sin (and therefore gay marriage should be illegal) - OR - the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution which grants equal rights and banishes racism/sexism (also extended to gays/lesbians ) This much focus and attention on something as superficial as the difference between 'marriage' and 'civil union' seriously detracts from the amount of time we could be focusing on more important (in the grand scheme) issues like global warming, world hunger, poverty, diseases, etc. There are numerous examples, but another one that stands apart in the sheer amount of attention it's gained is employee contraceptives. While everyone is focused on arguing that condoms are against their beliefs, children die of starvation and diseases that we could cure! So not only does it have a detrimental effect here at home, but the political aftermath of Christianity's influence is hurting people in other parts of the globe as well. I assert that the US political scene would be simpler and more productive if Christianity did not exist.
The problems posed above have obvious trickle-down effects on finance and society in general. I certainly did not make the best case possible, but as I've stated I have no experience in debates. I apologize for my lack of eloquence, and greatly anticipate your response. Thanks again =)
 Genesis 1:25
 Fricke v. Lynch, 491 F. Supp. 381 (1980)
Pro stated, “You've [Con] stated in your acceptance that you believe I imply other religions benefit US advancement; this is actually not what I mean to say at all. Quite the contrary, I believe that religion in general has a negative impact on US advancement.”
Pro went against Pro's debate, which singles out “Christianity inhibits US advancement.” Pro must realize the debate title is the stake in the ground presenting terms and definitions in Round 1 to clarify, where the contender understands the debate parameters before accepting. Since Pro is “not experienced in debates,” Con will debate, what Pro “believes,” Religion inhibits US advancements.
In history, the New World was refuge for immigrants seeking religious freedom. Eventually the Colonies formed the US. Most of our founding Fathers were men of faith. For example, Thomas Jefferson stated the following in the US Declaration of Independence:
“... the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God ... We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Jefferson was influenced by John Locke. Locke also was a believer where he stated for example:
"The Law of Nature stands as an eternal rule to all men, legislators as well as others. The rules that they make for other men's actions must ... be conformable to the Law of Nature, i.e., to the will of God. Laws human must be made according to the general laws of Nature, and without contradiction to any positive law of Scripture, otherwise they are ill made."
Locke, Two Treatises on Government, Bk II sec 135. (quoting Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity, 1.iii, § 9 )
Locke was influenced by the Laws of England, for example:
“Becaufe one is the law of nature, expreffly declared fo to be by God himfelf; the other is only what, by the affiftance of human reafon, we imagine to be that law.”
In modern English:
“Because one is the law of nature, expressly declared so to be by God himself; the other is only what, by the assistance of human reason, we imagine to be that law.”
The scholar Frederic Bastiat stated:
“Life, faculties, production--in other words, individuality, liberty, property--this is man. And in spite of the cunning of artful political leaders, these three gifts from God precede all human legislation, and are superior to it. Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.”
It would seem the belief in God played a large role in political renaissance during the Enlightenment era. Reading the works of those political scholars, and even those in the scientific field (Sir Isaac Newton) and many others of that era, you get the impression the Laws of Nature is the handwriting of God. There was little reference to man’s written scripture about God.
In summary, they believed in God, and since God created everything, that includes the Laws of Nature. Therefore, the Laws of Nature is the handwriting of God and the scientific method was a way to study God's handwriting. On the other hand, for those of faith, including preachers and prophets, should be careful when studying man’s written scripture about God. We must remember man is fallible, and those who study such scriptures may misinterpret of what God wants; therefore, God gets--and, in some cases, God help us all.
Relative to our Unalienable Rights. Unbeknownst to Thomas Jefferson, he discovered, not developed, a primeval working function or life’s bio-program found throughout all living-systems. He claimed a polished version of this primeval function, within the scope of humanity, giving it the label of Unalienable Rights in the celebrated form of, “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Jefferson's concept of Unalienable Rights became the foundation to the US Constitution, which sparked a social experiment within a short period of 200-years, changed the world like no other society in recorded history, through the fruits of technology, food production, and medicine, the stables of human existence throughout the world today. A compelling example of what happens when our Unalienable Rights are free to flow within the awesome machinery of nature.
John Adams, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, once said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other” (http://www.john-adams-heritage.com...).
In the US, the traditional view of morality rest with religious organizations which blossoms through the home. Today's educational systems are becoming schizophrenic about the importance of morality in a secular changing society, and who is responsible for its teachings; while the popular trend is to remove God from government and belittle the influence of God in US history.
If society does not have a good understanding of morality, more complicated laws emerge trying to keep the peace, institutional public surveillance becomes commonplace, militarization in law-enforcement is noticeable. Complicated laws morph into plundering dictates, while regulations kill economic freedom. In addition, the leaders of government are also part of this population having similar moral standing. If government controls education, then the moral decline will result in a soft tyranny.
Today the US is in a post Constitutional era while the ruling-class embraces a slow cancer known as the progressive “living constitution,” and this cancer has metastasize. Today's Congress represents the lobbyist not the people, while the President, unconstitutionally, has a “pen and a phone” to make law, the administration branch (a fourth branch, not part of the Constitution's three branches) is made up of hundreds of departments (IRS, NSA, EPA, etc.). These departments employ hundreds of thousands of non-elected government employees, writing regulations having the same power as law, to control, monitor us, etc. Today, the people are essentially out of the loop, except on Election Day, and look what choices we have.
The US is in a soft tyranny relative to our Constitutional founding that was to support and protect Unalienable Rights. For example, if my Friend Pro lives in the US, Pro probably did something “illegal” today. If the government wants to incarcerate Pro, or spoil Pro's day, or freeze Pro's bank accounts, etc., they could because there are so many laws on the books, on the average we commit 3 felonies a day.
As Lavrenti Beria, chief of Josef Stalin's secret police, once stated, “You bring me the man, I'll find you the crime” (http://www.qotd.org...).
Funny how many in the US, still feels they live in a free country. The price a nation pays for lack of moral education. Compliments to our government controlled educational system.
Con has stated that
" Since Pro is “not experienced in debates,” Con will debate, what Pro “believes,” Religion inhibits US advancements. "
I assert that such distinction is trivial because over 3/4 of Americans are Christian, and it does not affect the topic of debate. I believe Con is (still) confused as demonstrated in their acceptance
" I (Con) would like to learn from Pro, what religion Pro is using as a reference to claim "Christianity inhibits US advancement? "
I claim that 'Christianity inhibits US advancement',
Con has also stated that
" Today's Congress represents the lobbyist not the people "
I could not agree more! In fact, I agree with several points Con made in his rebuttal. However, there is little in Con's rebuttal that is relevant to this debate, with most of the text being devoted to the history of religion in the US. Events of the Enlightenment era and other times are insignificant in regards to this debate.
Con does nothing to contest my assertion that Christianity (as well as other religions) impairs educational and scientific growth.
Con also fails to address my assertion that the US political scene would be simpler and more productive if Christianity did not exist.
Based on these facts alone we can conclude that Christianity inhibits US advancement.
Con is waiting for the Burden of Proof (BoP) from Pro that “Christianity inhibits US advancement.”
Pro cherry picked some scripture terms in Round 2 but failed to prove how Christianity “has a negative impact on education.”
In fact, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) summary, “In grades 4 and 8 for both reading and mathematics, students in private schools achieved at higher levels than students in public schools...” In general, those “Christian” schools did better or the same as public schools.
As for politics Pro's criteria centered on the “prime example: gay marriage.” That debate should also include the historical cultural norms of marriage and biology, which Pro failed to mention and differentiate.
If “Christianity inhibits US advancement,” why is it, that in a short period of 200-years, the US changed the world like no other society in recorded history, through the fruits of technology, food production, and medicine, the stables of human existence throughout the world today?
" Con is waiting for the Burden of Proof (BoP) from Pro that “Christianity inhibits US advancement.” "
and goes on to say
" Pro [...] failed to prove how Christianity “has a negative impact on education. ”
I argue that this is false, as I've demonstrated that Christianity is responsible for the fact that approximately half of Americans believe creation as presented in Genesis which contradicts the scientific consensus. It is quite apparent that this is not an isolated event, as Christianity also teaches that the Earth is around 6000 years old, while the USGS (cited in round 2) and the scientific community at large agree that the age for the Earth, and hence the Solar System, is shown to be 4.54 billion years with an uncertainty of less than 1 percent! (It is worth noting that this uncertainty allows for some debate on the exact age of the earth, but several billion years is quite a stark comparison to 6000 years.) It follows that Christianity fosters misbelief. This fact alone indicates that Christianity has a negative impact on education, fulfilling my BoP.
Con also argues that
" “Christian” schools did better or the same as public schools. "
citing a study conducted by NAEP. Con fails to recognize that the study claims
" The average private school mean reading score was 18.1 points higher than the average public school mean reading score [...] The only exception was that the average difference in adjusted school mean scores between Conservative Christian schools and all public schools was not significantly different from zero. "
This suggests that while private school students benefited altogether, the private Conservative Christian school students did not benefit from attending private school versus a public school in regards to reading. The study also claims
" The average private school mean mathematics score was 12.3 points higher than the average public school [...] The average difference in adjusted school means between Conservative Christian schools and all public schools was -7.6 points (i.e., a higher average school mean for public schools) and was significantly different from zero. "
I'd like to emphasize the statement in parenthesis above: public schools had a higher math score than private Conservative Christian schools, despite the fact that private schools fared better than public schools overall. The study goes on to say
" The data are obtained from an observational study rather than a randomized experiment, so the estimated effect should not be interpreted in terms of causal relationships. "
The statement in bold above is a direct quote contained in the study, and brings additional discredit to Con's point of including the study to refute the resolution.
Con then states
" As for politics Pro's criteria centered on the “prime example: gay marriage.” "
This is simply not true! The issue of gay marriage is a prime example of how religious political issues of little significance to the majority of the population (less than 4% of American adults are LGBT according to the Williams Institute review conducted in April 2011 ) are more renowned than more pertinent issues such as poverty which affects nearly 50 million Americans (16% of the population, including almost 20% of American children, lived in poverty in November 2012 according to the US Census Bureau). As reported by the NY Times, the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism found that in 52 major mainstream news outlets, combined coverage of poverty amounted to far less than 1 percent of all front-page articles . Pro asserts that gay marriage would receive far less political attention and media coverage in the US if our largely Christian population did not agree that homosexuality is such an unfavorable (and therefore controversial) topic. This would allow for more focus on practical issues such as poverty, global warming etc. This also fulfills my BoP.
Con closes by saying
" If “Christianity inhibits US advancement,” why is it, that in a short period of 200-years, the US changed the world like no other society in recorded history [...] "
As Pro stated in round 2, events of other times are insignificant in regards to the resolve which states 'Christianity inhibits US advancement.' Whether or not Christianity inhibited US advancement in the past is of no relevance to this debate. In fact, Con's rebuttals are overrun by numerous insignificant red herrings and questionable citations that do little to negate Pro's arguments.
In closing, Pro has fulfilled the BoP by demonstrating that Christianity has a negative impact on education, scientific growth, politics, and therefore US advancement. Vote Pro.
Pro's repeated infatuation of man's written scripture believing the Earth is 6000 years old, somehow, this fantasy condemns all Christians, and therefore, “inhibits US advancement.” Con again must remind Pro, this “77%” Christian population helped made the US the most advance country known to mankind throughout recorded history.
Pro stated, “77% of the adult population identifying with a Christian religion.” That “adult population” put man on the moon, no other country did that. That population invented, developed, and manufactured: electric generation, the transistor, airplane, light bulb, the phonograph (aka CD player), motion pictures, telephone, television, harness atomic energy, the PC, the internet, Windows, Apple, iPhone, Debate.com, many other technological advances, countless medical achievements, including mass food production, etc. Oh the humanity, thank God for Christians and those founding Fathers of the US inspired by religious faith.
With all due respect to Pro, Con feels Pro would be best in a debate dealing with such Christian nuances dealing with the “6000 year” issue, etc. and to scientifically debunk them. Instead Pro claims such fibulas Christian beliefs are responsible for inhibiting the advancements of the most advance country known to mankind.
If Pro's claim is true that “77% of the adult population identifying with a Christian religion,” is in some way “inhibits US advancement,” then, the empirical data should reflect that other countries, atheistic or dominated by some other religion, should be more advance than the US.
I understand Pro's distress in religious dogma and its effects on our global society. May I add, on the day after the US 9/11 memorial, today's bloodshed throughout the world is giving religion a bad name.
What is religion? It is simply a belief in something that transcends you. Throughout recorded history all human cultures possess some form of belief, aka religion. Not one was found to be atheistic.
According to Dictionary.com (http://dictionary.reference.com...):
Religion: “a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.”
I (Con) must admit to be a Christian, and I also contributed to the scientific community throughout my career. During my parochial education, I did not come from one of those “Conservative Christian schools,” but a proud graduate from a Liberal Christian institution, where we studied John Locke, Edmund Burke, Charles Montesquieu, Adam Smith, and many of the great political scholars.
As a scientist, I understand the importance of religion. Paraphrasing Dictionary.com on the definition of religion relative to the Laws of Nature, a set of Laws that created humanity. These Laws are the “cause, nature, and the purpose of the universe,” where these Laws are “considered as the creation of a ... agencies” (aka the Cosmos), “usually involving devotional and ritual observances,” (aka the scientific method), “and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs;” hence, the genesis of a moral code via life's Unalienable Rights of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness;” as these Rights are part of the Laws of Nature.
Pro failed to prove that “Christianity inhibits US advancement.” Con presented, what the world already knows, that the US is the most advance country known throughout recorded history. Therefore, thank God for those “77%” Christian population demonstrating the importance of Christianity achieving US advancement.
In closing, I wish my Friend Pro a long, healthy “Life” with ample freedom (“Liberty”), in the moral “pursuit of Happiness.” Enjoy your Unalienable Rights, compliments from the scholars of religion and science, during your life's vacation from nonexistence. We must remember, like all vacations, they are far too short.
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