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The Contender
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Christianity is a force for good in the world

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/11/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,221 times Debate No: 26163
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (3)
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I have the position that Christianity is NOT a force for good in the world, as it is on you (the pro) to open and say why it IS a force for good in the world. My opponent will start the debate now, explaining why Christianity is a force for good.


I accept IanScottWilson's challenge, and I wish him luck in this debate.

As the Pro in this argument, I will be arguing that Christianity is a force for good in the world. Before I can make my case, and if it fine with my opponent, I will set forth some definitions to help clarify the meaning of my argument.

good (adj.): 1."You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:39)

force (n.): 4. power to influence, affect, or control; efficacious power

note: I implemented a functional definition of "good" from the Bible which I will explain in part 2.

In my argument, the definition of Christianity will apply in the general sense that it is commonly used: to all denominations (Protestant and Catholic) which accept the teachings of the Holy Bible as the single authoritative word of God, and the belief in the Holy Trinity (God the Father, Jesus the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit). The definition of "world" may apply to all people, societies, governments, etc. throughout the debate.

My opening statement will be constructed in to two parts. First, I will begin by arguing that Christianity is a force in the world, and then secondly by clarifying that Christianity is a good force. If both parts can be held valid and true, then the resolution may be upheld.

1. Christianity is a force in the world

The resolution before us requires me to argue that Christianity is a force for good in the world. At first glance, one should notice that this resolution can be considered in two parts. The first part is that "Christianity is a force". This portion of the resolution is not particularly difficult to uphold. Force, if we are to consider the definition above, is used to define a power that can influence people. Christianity, by its very virtue of being a renowned world religion, fits within this description of force.

a. It is widely known that Christianity is the most commonly held religion throughout the world, with and estimated 2.1 billion adherents (3). The next closest competing religion is Islam with 1.5 billion adherents (4). While it is generally, understood that Islam is the fastest growing religion is recent years, the truth remains that Christianity is not only an influential religion, it is hard to doubt that it is the MOST influential religion in the world.

b. Christianity influences the way people think. For instance, in the United States, many debates on social issues find their dividing line on the basis of of Christian thought. In the issues of homosexuality and abortion, Christianity is generally used as the basis for one's opposition to such choices/lifestyles. Many times, though in not all cases, people turn to Christianity as help for conquering addictions of various sorts. It even prompts millions of people to make a conscience decision to attend Church services on Sunday mornings throughout the year.

2. Christianity is good

While establishing Christianity as a force in the world is quite easy, arguing that it is in fact a force for good is much more difficult. Much of this has to do with the fact that the word good is used quite subjectively, and it can mean many things to different people. At this point I should admit that as I Christian, I have certain bias in that I believe that what is truly "good" can only be good if it exists under the authority of scripture. Put differently, I believe that for something to be good it must fit within the parameters of what the Bible says is "good".

This debate is not about what I think is good, but in order to answer the resolution we must have some fixed standard of good that goes beyond the vague wording of the definition I have already provided.

What is good? The ultimate standard of what is good is what is pronounced in the ten commandments (5), which Jesus summarized in Matthew by saying "You shall love the Lord your God with all you heart and with all your should and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: you shall love your neighbor as yourself" (6).

So what he have here is that the standard of good, according to Christianity, boils down to love for God and love for neighbor.

While the first commandment I consider great, the second summarization "you shall love your neighbor as yourself", is what will be considered in this debate because the language most readily applies to the resolution that Christianity is a force for good in "the world", which includes our fellow human beings or "neighbors".

As part of loving our neighbors, the teachings of Christianity command:

a. "Love your enemies" (Matthew 5:44) - This is a message of peace, calling for people to show love even to those hate them. This is a radical doctrine. Love, as it has already been defined, is the prime component of "good" according to the definition set by Jesus.

b. On multiple occasions throughout the gospel, Jesus advocates caring for the poor, weak, and needy. So does the Apostle Paul in his epistles in the new testament. Again there is huge emphasis on reaching out to others and caring for their physical and spiritual needs.

To recap, Christianity is a force because it is a a prominent world religion that has demonstrated an influence over the way people view the world and live their lives. It is also a "good" force in the world because according to a standard of good set by the Bible, part of what it means to be good is to "love our neighbors", or in essence love our fellow human beings in the world. This commandment for good or "to love" implies an unlimited list of tasks or actions that show love or goodness to the world.

I apologize for any haziness in my argument. It is late as of right now.

I wish my opponent luck in round two.
Debate Round No. 1


I shall take what my opponent says in order. The first thing I would like to say is that I sincerely thank him for acting Christ-like and not just Christian. As is obvious I am an atheist and I find this argument to be extremely easy, on my part, with so much hatred, racism, murder and all around bigotry for my opponent to explain that it should be quite simple for me to debunk anything that is said, and I shall do so. I quite strongly thank my opponent, civil though he is, for an opportunity to tear down this quite flimsy argument.

First of all, I am sure that there is no disagreement with the fact that Christianity IS a force in this world, that fact seems quite obvious as a non-force would hardly be able to destroy so much. My opponent is also right in saying that for him to win he must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Christianity is not only a force, but that the force is good.

My first contention, more of an outrage really, is at this extremely frightening definition of good. He would claim that good, as he knows it, comes from the bible. At this we should shudder and take flight for I cannot think of a more respected book in the history of humankind which has shown to be downright evil in terms of morals. Let us not cherry pick the good from the bible, as it is sometimes there, but also beware of the horrible things it would command us to do. This includes, but is not limited to, keep slaves, not allow women a voice in hardly any matter, mutilate your child"s genitals and indeed murder your child if you hear the voices telling you to do so, and last but mist certainly not least is the commandments from god ordering the genocide of several different peoples. This, comrades, I hardly call good morals.
As for his true def
inition of morality which is another form of the golden rule, I must point out that this does not originate from Judaism or Christianity (certainly not Islam) but is, in fact, innate in our species because it is beneficial. That is to say I do not believe, and neither do any respectable scientists (among them Laurence Kraus and Richard Dawkins), that there is in our universe and objective, absolute morality. However, I must also concede on this point that the golden rule should seem like a quite basic tenant of ethics, so long as the one proclaiming it is a good person to start with. As Christopher Hitchens has said, the golden rule is only as good as the person using it. You wouldn't want Charlie Manson treated like you want to be treated.

So, I would see the golden rule as a very basic explanation of the term good. I wish, also, to present what I view as good: universal suffrage, human rights, freedom of expression, and overall comfort-ability of life. I am a humanist, and I adopt their principles.

I do apologize, as well, for having to continue to debate the good, but I shall do it very quickly. My opponent refers to the ten commandments as what he views as good. I say hogwash; they are a very poor list of morals with the first three or four only having to do with God being jealous and vein, while the others are very loosely relevant. I would say the only two commandments that can be called "good" are do not murder or steal, which would seem to make god a hypocrite. And once again, I say that morals are generally self-evident, but we should understand good as far as the UN declaration of human rights does, or those of the beliefs of the Humanist Association.

Now, onto the real debate. I do certainly not consider loving my enemies to be good. Actually it is a rather disgusting idea. No, I shall not love my enemies, I shall hate them. For to be my enemies, they must have done something that was not love, and hate will be returned. This is clearly not a moral principle. And neither does it show that Christianity is a force for good in the world.

As far as Jesus caring for the poor, I wish! If only, I say, the Christians acted like their Christ. If only Jesus" social policies were followed and socialism was adopted. If only the words of Jesus were carried out by Christians. Again, the gospel has little to do with how Christians have acted for nearly two thousand years. The question is if Christianity is a force for good, not whether Jesus said some rather sweet things.

I offer, then, that my opponent has NOT fulfilled the task by showing that Christianity is a force for good, but also understands good as something most would consider evil. As a result I shall write why Christianity is evil, and needs to be abolished.

Shall I start with the Spanish Inquisition, or perhaps the many Jews that the Vatican handed over to the Fuhrer, the somewhat silent acceptance and cheering on of the third reich, or even, maybe, I shall start with the lover of poverty Mother Theresa. No, I need but name one thing, currently occurring, which shows, beyond a reasonable doubt, that not only is Christianity not a force for good in the world, but is indeed evil. That is Ratzinger's position of "AIDS is probably pretty bad, but condoms are worse."

For such a statement to be made, by a rich man who is evidently not interested in making the world a better place, who was a member if Hitler Youth, who would have hundreds of thousands of people (men, women, and children) die, who has the audacity to call himself the mouth and ear of God, my comrades, this is not a good force in the world. With over a billion Catholics, Christianity can be said to be mainly part of this sick and twisted non-idealist, totalitarian faith.
In conclusion, I wish to say this: one may do good as a non-believer, indeed perhaps more than a believer (we certainly commit less crime). Christianity is NOT a force for good in the world, and for my opponent to say otherwise, he would need to explain away all of the actions of this wretched company (the Vatican).

I leave him then with a challenge. I will call it the Hitchens challenge:

Name for me one moral or ethical action that a believer can do, that a nonbeliever cannot do.
Also, name one evil action ONLY a believer could do.

I am sure that you will not be able to solve the first, as there is no answer, but the answer to the second pops so easily into everyone"s head: the list is far too long.


angrypenguin75 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


IanScottWilson forfeited this round.


angrypenguin75 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


IanScottWilson forfeited this round.


angrypenguin75 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


IanScottWilson forfeited this round.


angrypenguin75 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Zaradi 5 years ago
Are you talking about the faith itself or the people who follow the faith?
Posted by emospongebob527 5 years ago
good- of a favorable character or tendency.

bad- failing to reach an acceptable standard.
Posted by socialpinko 5 years ago
What do you mean by "good" or "bad"?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by CriticalThinkingMachine 5 years ago
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