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The Contender
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Christianity is a healthier lifestyle than atheism

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/23/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 761 times Debate No: 59438
Debate Rounds (3)
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In this debate I will be arguing that living by the teachings of Christianity is a more forward and healthy lifestyle choice than subscribing to atheism.

I define "healthy" contextually according to Oxford Dictionaries:
"Normal, natural and desirable"

I define "forward" according to Oxford Dictionaries as:
"Onward so as to make progress." This entails moral progression and the increasing of one's well being.

I define "Christianity" as:
Any person who accepts that Jesus was divine, died and was resurrected; somebody who accepts the teachings of the New and Old Testament to be divinely inspired. This includes both liberal and conservative Christianity.

I look forward to this debate and and wish my opponent the best of luck.


I'm looking forward to this debate.
Debate Round No. 1


I appreciate Dwint’s acceptance of this debate and look forward to engaging in what he has to say.

It is hardly unreasonable that, in the light of the New Atheist literature, you might feel compelled to admit that Christianity has had its fair share of moral horrors. Case after case we see Christian-inspired immorality: the needless slaughter of abortion doctors, the fervent burning of witches; the multiple crusades against Islam; the refusal of contraceptives; the practices of the Westborough Baptist Church; the subjugation of women – you do not have to go far to find them.

How, then, could anybody concede that Christianity is a healthier position than atheism? Is it not clear that it is the cause of so much suffering? It is my intention to demonstrate why I believe, as an agnostic, that Christianity is a far more constructive lifestyle choice than atheism. My argument is formulated as such:

P1) The gospel message is morally good

P2) Christians actively practice the gospel message

C1) Christianity is a healthy lifestyle

In order for my argument to be refuted, premises one and two must be addressed.

Premise #1: The Gospel Message is Morally Good

If New Atheist literature is all you have to go by, I can assure you that “religion” does not poison everything. If a Christian is asked for justification for a good deed, it would not be unreasonable for him to refer to the teachings of Jesus, the pillar of orthodox Christianity. Whilst the Old Testament is renowned for its barbaric portrayal of God, it is generally accepted that Jesus “fulfilled” the laws of the Old Testament both through his teachings and his crucifixion.

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished… [1]

Here we see Jesus’ claim to fulfil and his reference to his crucifixion, “until all is accomplished.” One example is the ceasing of animal sacrifices; theology asserts that Jesus’ atonement acted as the ultimate scapegoat.

With this in mind, it is worth looking at what the New Testament has to say. It is undeniable that the teachings of Jesus are considered to be morally good. His respect at the Samaritan widow at the well was culturally unheard of; his overall respect of women was unorthodox; his teachings on poverty were inspiring; his washing of the servant’s feet was humble and his actions towards the ailed were respectable. From the stories as described by the gospels, we can conclude that the gospel message is morally good.

It is not surprising, therefore, that there is only one doctrine deemed immoral by society’s standards: the doctrine of Hell. I will reject this refutation because it does not contain any injunction towards the Christian. Unlike the Qur’an, which advocates hostility towards infidels, the doctrine of Hell is not a command but merely that, a doctrine. It is this point which I wish to press: without this command, the doctrine oughtn’t impact the Christian’s lifestyle.

Thus, I maintain my first contention, that the gospel message is morally good.

Premise #2: Christians actively practice the gospel message

When I refer to the term “Christians”, I am speaking in infinitely broad terms. What exactly is a Christian? In my opinion, a Christian is anybody who accepts and lives by the teachings of the New Testament. Except, they don’t.

There is a very pointed difference between what Christians ought to be doing and what Christians actually are doing. As C. S. Lewis remarks: “When a man who accepts the Christian doctrine lives unworthily of it, it is much clearer to say he is a bad Christian than to say he is not a Christian.” [2] It is for this reason that I wish to argue that Christianity, in its “good” form, leads to the healthy lifestyle which I am defending. Let us name it “active” Christianity.

Active Christianity abides by what Christians ought to do. This is manifest in biblical scripture: Proverbs describes the richness of the giver; Luke irks all of Christianity by issuing them to sell all of their possessions; Acts describes the goodwill of the early Church [3] – perhaps John puts it the most succinct: “But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?” [4]

These imperatives would be considered by most to be moral tenets. An active Christian has these moral commands taught to him for fifty-two Sundays a year in addition to personal prayer and biblical study. Thus, we can expect an active Christian to be adhering to these doctrines by donating to the poor, helping the sick and generally aiding those in need. [5]

What, then, say the statistics? If our reasoning is anything worthy of credit, we should expect positive input from active Christians. Lo, the odds are ever in our favour.

Alain de Botton, an outspoken atheist, published “Religion for Atheists”, a book detailing everything secularists can benefit from religion. Botton writes on religious benefits concerning education, community, art, architecture and good will. [6] Perhaps a notable example is that of encouraged kindness amongst Christians; “..the Church asks us to leave behind all attachments of Earthly status. It is the inner values of love and charity rather than the outer attributes of power and money that are now venerated.” [7]

The Hoover Institute is not sparing in its stark revelation of secular giving rates. According to the statistics, 91% of believers are more likely to donate money to charity compared to a 66% chance amongst secularists. The study also shows how believers are 67% more likely to volunteer time, 23% percentage points above secularists. The most interesting point made, however, is that, “practicing a religion is more important than the actual religion itself.” [8]

Conclusion: (Active) Christianity is a healthy lifestyle

If we accept both premises one and two, we can conclude that Christianity is, in fact, a healthy lifestyle. With regular exposure to the morally good New Testament, Christians will be more likely to

practice moral teachings. Unlike atheism, which has no imperatives to its name, active Christianity is a lifestyle choice, one that benefits both society and the individual. Indeed, those of religious affiliation are reported to have several medical benefits. [9]

Is it not a leap of logic to accept that active Christians, living by a morally good doctrine, is a healthier lifestyle choice than atheism? I think not!

[1] Matthew 5 : 17-18, NIV

[2] C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p4

[3] Proverbs 11: 24-25; Luke 12: 33; Acts 2: 45, ESV

[4] 1 John 3: 17, ESV

[5] Spiritual disciplines taught: Philippians 4: 8 combined with 2 Timothy 3: 16, ESV.

[6] Alain de Botton, Religion for Atheists, contents page

[7] Alain de Botton, Religion for Atheists, p32

[8] The Hoover Institute, Religious Faith and Charitable Giving, reference coming

[9] The American Psychologist, reference coming



The obvious problem with this argument is that it proves that Christianity is a healthy lifestyle, but doesn't attempt to show how it is healthier that atheism. I don't have to prove Christianity is an unhealthy lifestyle, I have to prove that it is equally healthy or less healthy than atheism.

The next problem is the conclusion of the argument, "Christianity is a healthy lifestyle" . Based on P1 and P2, the only logically valid conclusion is "Christians are morally good"

Being morally good doesn't make the lifestyle healthy. Healthy was defined as "normal, natural, desirable". What is normal and what is desirable is purely subjective and cannot be efficiently debate. I would like to instead focus on which lifestyle is more natural.

The examples my opponent provided to prove Christians are morally good were "donating to the poor, helping the sick and generally aiding those in need". It is natural for human beings to help each other, so you could say Christianity is a natural, healthy lifestyle. However, my opponent's argument didn't mention many other New Testament doctrines:
"Turn the other cheek" is a central doctrine of Christianity. It is still a morally good doctrine, just like helping the poor. It is not, however, a healthy doctrine. It doesn't come natural to human or any other animal to "turn the other cheek". It isn't natural not to fight back. Revenge is natural, it is, based on my opponent's definition, healthy, but it is condemned by Christianity.
The New Testament always talks about forgiveness. Jesus forgave the soldiers, the guy on the cross, then died to forgive all of our sins. My opponent showed that Christians live according to the gospel. This means that they also forgive anyone that hurts them. If they invite someone in their home and the next morning their car is gone, they will invite the same person in their home again and instead of calling the police, they will just pray for his soul. This is far from a healthy lifestyle. Christianity can be beneficial for society, but it can also be destructive for the individuals and even society, since a good Christians will never call the police if they saw a murderer or a thief.

The main reason why atheism is more natural than Christianity is because atheism allows humans to do what they want. Christianity controls human behavior, it tells them when to feel sorry, when to help people, when to pray, when to have sex and so on. It is more natural, and therefore healthier, to control your own life and not do whatever the Bible tells you to do.

Also, my opponent didn't show how Christianity is a forward lifestyle. I will argue that it isn't a forward lifestyle. Forward was defined as "moral progression and the increasing of one's well being". Moral progression is almost impossible for Christians. Their morality is based on the Bible and hasn't changed significantly over the years. Christianity encourages its followers to stick to what the Bible teaches them and not change their moral codes. This is the reason why Christians hate homosexuals and still consider homosexuality a sin, even after it has been proven not to be a choice. The fact that Christian morality is based on the Bible means Christianity cannot be a forward lifestyle.
Debate Round No. 2


I thank my opponent for his time and effort in composing a rebuttal. I would also like to apologise for omitting some references at the end of my opening argument; they will be recorded amongst the other references at the end of this rebuttal. It has also become apparent that the formatting has not worked as intended. Again, I apologise for any inconvenience that might have caused.

I will address each rebuttal with a separate heading.

Lack of proof on the part of atheism

My argument against atheism is constructed as follows:

  1. P1) Atheism has no morally good doctrines
  2. P2) Atheism does not encourage morally good acts
  3. P3) A morally good lifestyle equates to a healthy lifestyle
  4. C1) Atheism is not specifically healthy

Given the conclusion that Christianity is healthy, it would follow that Christianity is healthier than atheism.

Logical inconsistency

My opponent challenges the logical conclusion derived from my two premises. It is true that my argument included a supressed premise: morally good acts are considered healthy. Whilst I assumed I would not have to illustrate this, I will waste no time in addressing it.

What, then, are the key doctrines of Christianity? I will demonstrate how these doctrines, which have been proven to be morally good, also validate the following:

  1. P3) A morally good lifestyle equates to a healthy lifestyle

I will use, as evidence, the following:

  1. (1) Mental well-being (evidence for "forward")
  2. (2) Abstention from harmful activities (evidence for morality and health)
  3. (3) Prayer as a placebo (evidence for "forward")

It is undeniable that the current medical evidence points to a significant correlation of religiosity and well-being. Consider, for example, the study done by the American Psychologist: “higher levels of an intrinsic religious orientation have been associated with better mental health, including self esteem, meaning in life, family relations, a sense of well-being, and lower levels of alcohol abuse, drug abuse, and sexual promiscuity...” [1]

Another journal article corroborates that a “consistent” positive correlation was found between religiosity and well-being. [2] This consistency is once again demonstrated by a review of different studies, all of which confirm my first piece of evidence. [3] I conclude, therefore, that (1) serves as evidence for a healthy lifestyle.

The standard Christian doctrine of “thy body is a temple” is a theology which promotes the sanctity of the human body. Active Christians refrain from excessive drug and alcohol consumption, both of which have adverse effects on the human body. [4]

Finally, prayer has been demonstrated to hold several positive effects, including relaxation, placebo, and the positive emotional effects worship and prayer entail. [5]

Given the truth of my three evidences, we can safely conclude that Christianity is a healthy lifestyle. Whilst my opponent claims “normal” and “natural” to be subjective, it is too premature an assumption to simply dismiss them. If I asked whether or not Albert Einstein was intelligent, to say that it is “subjective” would be ludicrous! When dealing with subjectivity we appeal to the majority.

Thus, if I presented a man with the chance of being healthier (i.e., Christianity) or the chance of being the same, I would assume he would pick the former. Hence our definition of “desirable.” Not only is Christianity healthy in a physical sense, it is also healthy in our debate-specific definition. (See natural below)

Forgiveness as destructive

My opponent has confused the idea of Christian forgiveness with justice. He incorrectly assumes that forgiveness excludes justice; rather, it should be the opposite. When a priest visits a prison, he is not petitioning for their release. Instead, he is appealing to reformation. A child should not be let off “because they are forgiven” but rather punished and then forgiven. They should not be regarded as mutually exclusive.

In order to be convinced that Christian forgiveness is destructive, it should be expected that Con provides evidence that this happens regularly.

Christianity as unnatural

If we view Christianity in the light of natural selection, it would follow that decreasing the risk of harm would be considered beneficial. Indeed, to endure harm would be to decrease that organism’s chance of reproducing. Thus, given my evidences, Christianity does has an advantage in terms of natural selection.

Also, there is accumulating evidence for theistic tendencies at birth. [6]

Christianity as a “forward” belief

If we accept my opponent’s challenge as true, that Christianity cannot be “forward” in a moral sense, then we should be expecting to find the same widespread misogyny, homophobia and racism as was observed in the past. My opponent seems to disregard alternative interpretations as opportunities for moral progression. As our understanding of a culture and a society grows, we can draw different conclusions. My opponent might be interested in a liberal view on women [7] or a liberal view on homosexuality. [8]

I would also like to note that Christianity has shaped society in numerous ways; our ideas of equality and the founding of the education system, for example. Today, the nation welcomes Christian initiatives such as Home for Good [9] and the local food banks, which “insist that it is Christian-led.” [10]

Sadly, we find little to praise amongst the atheists of society. The commonly touted Richard Dawkins Foundation is, ironically, campaigning to “remove the influence of religion in public policy.” [11]


I understand that the majority of my rebuttal has been addressing why Christianity is a healthy lifestyle rather than comparing it to atheism. However, my sole contention is this: because atheism lacks any motivational doctrine, it is incapable of matching Christianity in terms of well-being, moral progression, charities and initiatives. Until my opponent can demonstrate that atheism draws level with or surpasses those qualities, we have no reason for assuming that Christianity is not healthier than atheism.

[1] The American Psychologist, p5,



[4] Smoking,; Alcohol,


[6] The New Scientist, 2012; excerpts found here:




[10] Trussell Trust, p25,


Missed References:

The American Psychologist [see 1]

The Hoover Institute,



P1) Atheism has no morally good doctrines
P2) Atheism does not encourage morally good acts

Since atheism is not a religion, it doesn't have any doctrines and doesn't encourage anything. This doesn't mean atheists can't act in a morally good way. Atheism is simply about lack of belief. The fact that a person doesn't have faith in a supernatural entity doesn't make that person immoral. Being an atheism means rejecting God, not rejecting morality. Just like Christians, Atheists are raised and live in a society that cares a lot about morality and condemns immoral behavior. Society has a huge impact of individuals. As long as the society you live in pressures you to act in a morally good way, you will. The fact that the Bible also encourages this kind of behavior has little impact. Most immoral actions are also punished by law, so you can't say that Atheists are free to be immoral or have no reason to act in a morally goon way. If Atheism was less healthy that Christianity, then most atheists would be in prison. Statistics show that the number of atheists in prison is very small[1]. Atheists don't believe there is a God that imposes morality, but this doesn't have a real impact on their behavior, not as long as society condemns immoral actions.

(1) Mental well-being

Mental well-being can be achieved in a various ways that don't require belief in God. An atheist is just as likely to achieve mental well-being as a Christian, because religion doesn't play any role in achieving mental well-being.[2]

(2) Abstention from harmful activities

Atheists are aware of the negative effects of drugs and alcohol and they are likely to choose not to abuse them. This is another type of behavior that society discourages and condemns. As long as atheists are part of this society, they are just as likely to abuse alcohol and drugs as any Christian.
Furthermore, the famous AA 12 steps are directly targeted as Christians, as the 12 steps include:
"Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him."
"Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs."
"Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings."[3]

It is obvious that most AA members are Christians.

(3) Prayer as a placebo

It is true prayer has a beneficial placebo effect. However, prayer can also be harmful. Christians believe God watches over them, helps them overcome certain situation and generally help them everyday. The Church and the Bible teach Christians that if they pray and don't sin, God will help them. This kind of blind faith can determine Christians to pray and wait for divine help instead of fighting in order to help themselves. Prayer has positive as well as negative effects and therefore cannot be used as evidence that Christianity is healthy.

"He incorrectly assumes that forgiveness excludes justice"
My opponent defined Christians as " somebody who accepts the teachings of the New and Old Testament to be divinely inspired." The Bible clearly encourages to forgive instead of judging. Christians should only believe in divine justice, not in earthly justice.

"Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven" (Luke, 6:37)
"There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?" (James, 4:12)

Obviously, Christians don't practice this particular teaching, but they should. My opponent referred to "active" Christians throughout his arguments, defining them as Christians who actively practice the teachings of the Bible. Only active Christianity can be considered healthy, since only active Christians will help those in need as much as they can( as my opponent showed in the 2nd round). These active Christians would surely also practice the Bible's teachings regarding forgiveness. This means that a Christian who always helps people would also never turn in a murderer.

Therefore, active Christianity if more harmful than healthy.

"decreasing the risk of harm would be considered beneficial"
The only way Christianity decreases the risk of harm is by not allowing alcohol and drug abuse. I proved that most alcoholics are Christians, so Christianity has no natural benefits. Going back to the very important "turn the other cheek" doctrine, Christianity can actually be harmful for people, making it unnatural.

" there is accumulating evidence for theistic tendencies at birth"
This proves nothing. Theism doesn't mean Christianity. Even if it could be proven that babies are born theists, they could very well believe in Brahma.

"we should be expecting to find the same widespread misogyny, homophobia and racism as was observed in the past. "
Society did change over the years. It is unreasonable to expect Christians to burn homosexuals at the stake in the 21st century. This doesn't change the fact that Christianity still considers homosexuality to be immoral, they still consider masturbation and pre-marital sex immoral. The Christian practices have changed, there is nothing to debate here, but certain aspects of morality remained unchanged for 2000 years. Atheists are more opened to moral progression because they don't have any doctrines they must respect.

"Sadly, we find little to praise amongst the atheists of society."
Most scientists are atheists. Technology is advancing faster and faster thanks to non-religious scientists. Atheism has a huge impact on how we thinks. Even if they don't convince Christians there is no God, Atheism is responsible for theories like Old Earth Creationism or Intelligent Design which are far more reasonable than Young Earth Creationism. If Atheism never threatened the credibility of Christianity, Christianity would've never accepted those theories.

I want to mention that throughout this debate my opponent ignored the fact that not all Christians are saints. Just because Christianity has healthy doctrines it doesn't mean that all Christians will never use drugs, be violent, ignore a person in need or be immoral. Even active Christians that believe in all the morally good doctrines of Christianity will sin. Christianity is not nearly as healthy as my opponent described it, because all of those doctrines will be ignored by Christians at some point.
Atheism is in most cases just as healthy as Christianity, since religious beliefs don't have a considerable impact on well-being or initiatives. Also, atheism is more natural than Christianity. I also showed that destructive behavior such as alcohol abuse in more common among Christians than atheists. Moral progression is also encouraged by atheism. In conclusion, atheism is healthier and more forward than Christianity.

Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Hariex 2 years ago
Thanks to Dwint for a great debate.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Codedlogic 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro showed that Christianity can be a healthy lifestyle. But failed to show that it was healthier than atheism.
Vote Placed by MrJosh 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: As CON pointed out, if we are to evaluate Christianity as a lifestyle, we must evaluate all of it, not just the nice fuzzy bits. Arguments to CON because of the bad bits he pointed out