Christianity is fundamentally immoral.
Debate Rounds (4)
1. Christianity allows for the scapegoating of responsibility and consequences, through the medium of Jesus Christ.
2. Christianity allows for people to live immoral lives, but still reach salvation by repenting and accepting Jesus at their lord and savior.
3. Christianity, if true, is damning 6.2 billion people, living today, to hell because they don't accept or known of Jesus Christ.
4. Christianity damns homosexuals to hell for being who they naturally are.
5. Christianity allows for complacency. People don't feel the need to aide in humanitarian efforts, because in their view, this life is a small and insignificant portion of their eternal being.
6. God is said to transcend time and space and have knowledge of past, present, and future. With this knowledge, he still allowed humans to develop into a failed experiment, he gave an Earth with limited and scarce resources, he allowed slavery and genocide to be acceptable in the Old Testament, and he doesn't do a damn thing to stop it.
7. God is said to be omnipotent, omnipresence, and benevolent. Given these three attributes, he is either apathetic, powerless, or cruel.
8. To quote Sir Richard Dawkins, "The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully."
9. Christians never act altruistically, in an organized humanitarian effort, without bring Bibles. How about just doing it for the sake of humanity?
And yes, I realize the New Testament is followed more than the Old Testament, but the core and basis of your God is nonetheless revealed to be sadist and failure.
First, I thank my opponent on what will be a hard-fought and emotional debate. As a menu of what's to come, I will discuss sin, sex, homosex, and aid, among other things.
Honestly, I'm uneasy about having such an overt religious debate. To all who are reading this and feeling like this Christian doctrine is being shoved in their faces and belongs somewhere else, I almost agree. I follow the belief "when you pray... pray to your Father in secret." (1) I detest Christians who feel the need to ostentatiously and publicly pray and preach. I believe Christians should be polite in public and pious in private. I am all for no establishment and free exercise. If you do not want to read this debate, by all means, do not. Now, it's time for debate.
== One by one==
I will be following my opponent's order, though I may group similar arguments. Please refer to his original arguments.
1 and 2.] Though Jesus Christ allows for the forgiveness of sins, he is in no way a get out of Hell free card. The Sacrament of Reconciliation (commonly known as confession or justification) does not provide complete absolution from sin. First, the priest asks the penitent to perform required certain tasks for penance. In the case of a person confessing a murder, the priest may go so far as to order the penitent to confess to police before receiving any forgiveness (2). As such, forgiveness is tied to real action. Second, sin still has effects in the afterlife. Besides Heaven and Hell, Christians believe in Purgatory, a place where souls are cleansed before entering Heaven. When standing before the entrance of a really nice house, a person must wipe his or her muddy shoes on a doormat before entering. Likewise, a Christian cleans the soul in Purgatory. Sins accumulated on Earth can be forgiven to allow entrance into Heaven, but they must still be paid off in Purgatory. The Council of Trent (an important meeting of the Catholic Church in the 16 century) said "If anyone shall say that after the reception of the grace of justification, to every penitent sinner the guilt is so remitted and the penalty of eternal punishment so blotted out that no penalty of temporal punishment remains to be discharged either in this world or in the world to come in purgatory before the entrance to the kingdom of heaven can be opened: let him be anathema." (3) And anathema roughly means "cursed to hell." So, though it is quite bleak of me to say, don't say that confession doesn't absolve one of Purgatory, or you'll be cursed to hell. Third, one who confesses only half-heartedly is not forgiven. "Harbor no illusions; God is not deceived." (4)
3.] This touches on an important Church doctrine, called Anonymous Christian. The belief is that someone who is either geographically or culturally insulated from the Christian message (think the Amazon or the center of North Korea) but who lives a virtuous life synonymous with a Christian life is also brought to Heaven. Pope John Paul II (the previous pope) said the Church gives "respect to the way in which the salvific grace of God... comes to individual non-Christians." (5) This next part is more contentious. John Paul II also argued that even people of *other* religions might be brought to Heaven because of their good-natured lives. He also said "God, who desires to call all peoples to himself in Christ and to communicate to them the fullness of his revelation and love, does not fail to make himself present in many ways, not only to individuals, but also to entire peoples through their spiritual riches, of which their religions are the main and essential expression." (5) Therefore, Christians hardly damn other religions but may even believe in their salvation.
4.] This one is going to be the weakest part of my argument, I confess. Christians have never looked too favorably on homosexuality. That makes me a rare Catholic then; I support same-sex marriage. After studying (I use that term generously, I'm no expert) the Theology of the Body (a fascinating subject, also heavily written on by John Paul II), I find few reasons why homosexual love and Christian love are mutually exclusive. Homosexual love, by its very nature, is anti-heteronormative. Yet, Christian love is no less so. Under the Theology of the Body, a person's "capacity for love as self-giving... bears the imprint of the person's masculinity and femininity." (6) Also, "every form of love will always bear this masculine and feminine character." (6) As Christian love already refuses the man-woman structure but rather adopts a structure of both persons having both masculine and feminine qualities, I'd be hard-pressed to believe that the same structure would not accept other forms of non-heteronormative love such as homosexual love.
5.] Hardly. Think Pro-Life and Anti-Death Penalty (two positions I am neither advocating nor criticizing right now). Christians have at their roots a commitment to the Preservation of Life, "the sincere desire to remain alive, or to keep another person alive." (7)
6 and 7.] Here, we'll have a commercial break to discuss another theory, that of Theistic Evolution. Although it is rooted in Creationism that God created the Earth in 6 days and rested on the 7th, we must take that in context with other passages. "With the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day." (8) "A thousand years in your eyes are merely a yesterday." (9) So, the "6 days" could have been the billions of years it took for Earth, its ecosystems, and the marvelous organs of humans to form. The 7th day is now, and it is in our hands. The first 6 days should be taken as a token of His power. If there has been genocide, slavery, and resource squandering, it is simply a fault in humanity and not necessarily God.
8 and his footnote.] Ah yes, it is true that the Old Testament (now designated OT) God is very vengeful compared to the NT God. However, there is a reason for that. The OT God was written about long before the birth of Christ, which radically changed our perception of Him. Though you're right that OT God is "the core and basis of" Him, it is not necessarily a true picture. Similarly, the math behind our oldest models of an Earth-centered solar system are the core and basis of astronomy, but they are not true; we have since proven a sun-centered model with new developments. Just like that, our image of God was incomplete before and is updated. "The past is incomplete, and thus can be 'filled' by new revelation. What such a view of history requires is that we take a 'big picture' view of the Bible and its interpretation of itself." (10) OT stories relate historical events and further possible God theories and motivations; the NT approves the history but updates those theories.
9.] In the directly quoted words of Dean Owen, a spokesman for World Vision, a U.S. based Christian aid group, " 'I can assure you that's not the case, because most of our staff in Somalia are Muslim.' " (11)
(1) Matthew 6:6
(2) Statement from my Deacon (I'll give you the name if you ask)
(4) Galatians 6:7
(7) bottom of page 328, http://books.google.com...
(8) 2 Peter 3:8
(9) Psalm 90:4
I see an overarching theme in most of your contending points; human interpretation and concession. Nearly everyone I have ever spoken to about the Bible inevitably veers towards double-standards and contradictions concerning the Bible:
- 'It is the literal word of God' ; 'but it is also metaphorical, liquid, and open to interpretation'.
- 'God knows everything in the past and future' ; 'but a lot of the stuff in the Bible is just the result of the time period'.
- 'God gave us free will' ; 'but he also has a plan for us'.
Accepting one part of these double standards ultimately renders the opposite statement false. The Bible, and religion, are not a buffet line - you cannot just pick and choose the items which you like and which you do not.
The Bible clearly and directly states that God is omnipotent and constantly steps in for assistance when asked through prayer:
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened." (Matthew 7:7-8 NAB)
If God is able to intervene at his slightest whim, the he is either apathetic, powerless, or cruel. Christianity tells people to pray for divine intervention, rather than implementing a proactive attitude; why? Because 'Jesus has got you covered'. Inaction and complacency are two immensely immoral activities/mindsets.
>>Main Point Reactions<<
1 and 2. I am very encouraged to find out that there are indeed Christians out there who believe that people from other religious can qualify for Heaven. I, however, have never met one of these people. I have gone to numerous Bible camps, attended religious debates, and have talked to countless Clergymen who are friends with my grandfather. The unanimous consensus among them; "Unfortunately, the only way to Heaven is through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. That is why it's so important for us to spread the good word."
This has been, verbatim, the response to 90% of the people I have spoken to - and this includes Clergy of the Church. I admire your more modern and accepting take on the Bible, but the sad fact of the Bible is that even the isolated, mentally-deficient, ignorant, and the young face damnation if they do not accept Jesus.
So, for instance, let's take Gandhi - undeniably one of the most moral and righteous men of recent history. Sure he may have had sinful thoughts (who hasn't), or other minuscule infractions, but let's say 99% of his being was peaceful and for the freedom of his people. The one major flaw (in God's eyes) is that he has not accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, even when he was aware of Christianity. In purgatory, his "cleansing of sins" would take about .5 seconds. If he saw the grandeur and divinity of Heaven, I have no doubt he would convert immediately and accept Jesus. But the Bible does not give him this chance. Just because he did not grow up in the United States of Western Europe, where Christianity is indoctrinated, he is damned.
3. Again, John Paul II is in no way warranted to change the interpretation. The Bible states there is no other way but through Christ. Anonymous Christian is merely a concession, compromise, and appeasement to those who point out the mass injustice, which is salvation through Christ.
4. Again, I applaud your modern approach to homosexual relations, but once more, it is the sad reality that the vast majority of Christians still see it as an abomination, a sin, and immoral - Because the Bible says so...
Love is the purest and most important force/feeling/emotion in all the world, yet it is regulated and deprived through the Bible. And it does not end in this life; homosexuality is a sin, and in your view, people go to purgatory to cleanse their sins. But you can't "cleanse" homosexuality. You cannot change the inherent nature and sexual orientation of someone. Thus, homosexuals are indeed damned.
5. Pro-life and Anti-Death Penalty are incredibly minuscule issues on the injustice spectrum. How about ending war, or genocide, or famine? Where is the Christian movement to end the unjust war in Iraq? Where is the Christian movement to stop funding the terrorist state of Israel?
And, I hate to go back to the OT God again, but he orchestrated mass genocides, plagues, floods, fires, burning sulfur rain, and destruction of, honestly, millions of people. I took the time to add up the death toll caused by God in the OT, and it is quite staggering. Where is the reverence for human life there?
6 and 7. Again, why is relativity of time in allowed in creation, but not in the 150 days Noah stayed on his Ark, or in the 900 years that the earliest descendants of Adam and Eve lived.
Another immortality stems from the blind acceptance of Biblical script as the means for explaining the universe. This causes close-mindedness and blind acceptance, which are two very scary things that often translate to other aspects of their lives.
And, are you saying that in this seventh day that God has abandoned us and plays no role in the state of current affairs. If so, I would classify you more as a deist.
(Also, on an unrelated note, why would God create the 'Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Bad' knowing full well they would violate the agreement. And blaming it on Eve is another example of the misogynistic nature of the Bible. Also, God lied; he told them they would die if they ate from the tree, and the Serpent (Satan) told the truth by stating that God was lying about them dying. Seems to me that this creation story was just a poor attempt by man, to discourage people from free and intellectual thought.)
8. I thought the Bible was the word of God? Why did God not possess the foresight to tell Abraham and the countless other's he spoke to that slavery was bad? In my opinion; simply put, because man faked it. And that is why the Bible is immoral. Because it was created to serve the interests of man, not God. Shellfish as an abomination? Really? I think God would have known that shellfish would be safe for consumption in a few hundred years, rather than just declaring them an outright abomination. The NT is just an attempt to water down what is the true nature of God in the OT.
9. Two years ago, my best friend's family went to Africa, through YoungLife, to set up Churches. I asked his father, 'why?'. His response: "Because they need to know the word of Jesus Christ. Sure, we could send food or medicine, but that only helps them in this life. We offer them eternal salvation through Christ".... Enough said.
I hate to turn this conversation towards the merits and legitimacy of the Bible, but I feel it is inevitable. The scripture versus modern practice of Christianity may differ, but I reiterate again that there is no question about the original statements of damnation in the Bible. I applaud your efforts for a more modern view, but the fundamentals of the Bible are indeed immoral. Finally, complacency and blind acceptance make it immoral and dangerous.
Whew, this is already quite passionate. I must humbly admit to my opponent that his arguments are quite well-thought and well-voiced. Yet, I must also point out that he has pegged me incorrectly in one aspect; I have neither "complacency" nor "blind acceptance." This debate in itself, many of the platforms I have expressed, and the slight gasp-and-heart-grab-and-faint effect they would have on many members of the Church should prove that I am hardly blinded by my faith. I acknowledge that the Pro was referring to most run-of-the-mill Christians, but I clarify my stance to qualify my next point.
== My Next Point==
Though the Pro has called in "the merits and legitimacy of the Bible" (a worthy subject area), I will call in the importance of interpretation.
-Inside of the Catholic world, the members of the Church and Jesus himself are inseparable. The Cathecism (which next to the Bible, is the most important Catholic collection of belief) describes the "intimate bond between Christ and his Church," (1) which is why in the Catholic world, the terms "the Body of Christ" and "the Church" are synonymous. The will and passion of God can not be separated from the Christian members. Yet, each of those members is respected in the ultimate scheme of things. "The body's unity does not do away with the diversity of its members: 'In the building up of Christ's Body there is engaged a diversity of members and functions.' " (1) The Church and all of its teachings are a composition of each one of its members. Each member's ideas and beliefs contribute to the faith as a whole.
-Outside of Catholic world, we would acknowledge the same thing. There is no pure idea of "Christianity" that exists in a plane just beyond humanity's reach, with clergy reaching forward and passing it back to others. Christianity exists in the thoughts and interpretations of every person. Though the Pro's topic is "Christianity is fundamentally immoral," there is no solid Christianity for me to defend. I am not trying to shirk my burden as the Con. I am trying to explain that if there are interpretations of Christian belief that are just and moral, then Christianity can be moral. Still, I won't be abusive with this argument; I won't find the most obscure interpretation that only 2 people believe in to make points. I will restrict myself to beliefs well-enough established to constitute a large portion of the Church and therefore the Body of Christ and therefore Christianity. Through this line of reasoning, I will prove that Christianity is moral.
== Putting Up My Dukes==
The Pro is right that Christianity is rife with "double-standards and contradictions concerning the Bible." Yet, any sufficiently large document or text is certain to be disputed. The novel Great Expectations has no less than 13 different interpretations (2), some competing with each other. Yet, Great Expectations is only about one-third the length of the Bible. The competing criticisms on Great Expectations hardly detract from the literary merit of the book, nor the gain in wisdom from having read it. Similarly, though the Bible may have competing and sometimes contrasting reactions, it does not affect the power of the faith as a whole and does not detract from its morality. So, I will not speak further on this issue, except for one more comment. The Pro has one particularly important example of contrasting statements, " 'It is the literal word of God' ; 'but it is also metaphorical, liquid, and open to interpretation.' " These statements directly affect my interpretation argument, so I will address them. Christianity is distinctly the second. Even the most Fundamentalist Christian would have to admit (after a lot of debate; they are pretty stubborn) that his or her belief in literalness is an interpretation. So, his or her belief is valued in the Body of Christ with everyone else's.
== A Powerless God, Possibly Needing some Red Bull==
God does step in for assistance, only not as easily as many would wish. The belief on this (for lack of a *credible* source, I must default to a good explanation made in the movie Evan Almighty) is that God does not grant qualities. For example, he does not grant patience but rather opportunities to be patient. He does not grant strength but opportunities to be strong. In this way, no person is given their destiny as a gift but is instead guided.
== Main Points==
1 and 2.] I guess my discussion of confession was satisfactory.
3.] I definitely don't want Gandhi to go to Hell, which is why I am proud to believe in Anonymous Christian. You have yet to meet "one of these people" who believes in it as well. That's interesting and quite unique. You also disagree with my source, and argue that "John Paul II is in no way warranted to change the interpretation." There is probably no person more warranted in clarifying Church belief than a former Pope (excluding possibly the current Pope). I quoted John Paul II here instead of a random Church website specifically because of his powerful and legitimate stance. If the Pope and core Church have a strong belief in Anonymous Christian, then on the subject of other religions, Christianity is moral.
4.] Here, I must concede that homosexuality is rejected by the Church almost immediately on face. But, I still defend through excerpts from the Theology of the Body that there are Christianity interpretations that support homosexuality. They may not be a major portion of Church belief, but it is there.
5.] Christians have been some of the most outspoken individuals and lobbyists in America on human rights issues. The Family Research Council (one influential Christian lobbying group) has spoken before Congress several times on curtailing deplorable conditions in China, as an example. And your comments about "mass genocides, plagues" are irrelevant to modern Christianity morality. Christians feel bad about those things too.
6 and 7.] Time, with the rest of the Bible, is certainly open to relative interpretation; some of those stories could have quite new revelations. Although, I would simply argue with your examples that for Noah and the descendants of Adam and Eve, they don't correspond to the "one day is like a thousand years" passages because they are humans, and those passages refer to God.
-Using Biblical script for explaining the universe does not necessarily cause "close-mindedness and blind acceptance." I believe the Biblical script if used in the theory of Theistic Evolution. That explanation is rather welcoming to science.
-God has not "abandoned us" but rather sharply limited his involvement compared to his work in the last billion years.
-Haha, and I like this short segment on Adam and Eve. He knew they would "violate the agreement" and He "was lying about them dying," and you ask why? Maybe He had bigger plans for humanity. He probably didn't want to wipe out the only two humans so early; He wanted them to reproduce until two descendants had this debate on DDO, which is certainly a site for free and intellectual thought.
8.] The Bible *is* "the word of God," but in the sense that it was written by prophets under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. As such, it has a divine nature to it but also a human nature, one that can have made mistakes in its proposed theories. Yet, the Bible itself is not "immoral." Possible interpretations are immoral; 1st century Christianity might have been immoral.
9.] This is a good reason for me to avoid YoungLife. However, other Christian aid groups like World Vision not only limit missionary action but employ local people of other religions.
Good luck to the Pro in the next round.
(1) Line 789 http://www.vatican.va...
(3) My copies of Great Expectations and The New Catholic Answer Bible, with 525 pages and 1394 pages, respectively
I said many times in my last response that I respect how you are NOT of the normal Christians, and that you do have progressive attitudes towards many issues. However, this exception to the rule can not justify the vast majority of Christians.
1. I hate to say it, but what respect does the Catholic Church still hold. Mass pedophilia, corruption, ties to the mafia, money laundering, and hiring hit-men makes them an unreliable source in my eyes. And yes, these are all acts committed by members of the Catholic Church in the Vatican. And if you say that the Church and Jesus are inseparable, isn't that coveting a false idol?
Pope Benedict XVI just came out two days ago and declared the Jews are exonerated for their role in the murder of Jesus Christ. What took the church 2,000 bloody years to finally concede that point.
In my eyes, the Catholic Church is merely appeasing and conceding points which are so obviously inflammatory. This is hypocritical and is not the true word of God form the Bible.
2. You just called the Bible a "sufficiently large document of text". This is clearly a statement which devalues the Bible's legitimacy. The main claim by Christian's is that the Bible is not "just some book", but is the infallible word of God. Your statement points to the contradictory opposite. And you just admitted that Christianity is the latter of the two statements regarding the Bible, which is that it is interpretations and metaphors... this devalues the stance of absolute morality which is what most Christian's claim.
3. Please provide examples of God stepping in for assistance. Because I didn't see him stopping genocide, or rape, or murder, or disease, or famine, or nuclear war, or droughts. And please do not provide an example of a miracle, because I guarantee this miracle could be dispelled using chemistry, biology, physics, or psychology.
4. Your discussion of confession was not satisfactory, because it did not address my questions about only Christian's having the opportunity to reach purgatory.
5. Anonymous Christian does not possess any legitimate Christian merit. It is again merely a concession and accommodation to meet more modern standards or morality and intelligence. You may think that Pope has merit to change the Bible, and out of all Catholics, he undoubtedly does; but no human should be able to change the "word of God", as it has been called so frequently for the last 2,000 years.
6. You cannot defend the Church's stance on homosexuality. I applaud your efforts, but it is clearly stated as a sin. And a sin which cannot be "cleansed" in purgatory, because it is inherent nature, not a choice.
7. The fact that there is a lobby group for Christianity shows hypocrisy. Jesus was clearly a socialist, yet Christian's are using an immoral capitalist system to further their beliefs. How about instead of spending all that money for lobbying, how about they go to China and directly help the people? Foreign policy and diplomacy are much too slow to address these conditions.
8. Wait, so God wrote the creation story, but humans wrote the genesis stories? How can you say that with a straight face?
Why would God sharply limit his involvement compared to the last billion years, if now is BY FAR the time when he is needed most? When genocide, war, murder, rape, starvation, drought, and hopelessness are at all time highs.
Your Adam and Eve argument is counterintuitive and mute. They could have still procreated with eating from the tree of knowledge. They simply would have just not had suffering.
And please look up "Lillith". She is Adam's first wife. Not known to many Christians, I'm sure.
9. Thank you for furthering my initial and most prevalent point, Christianity is fundamentally immoral. You may change and alter the book all you want, but you still can't cover up the obviously immoral points which I have previously stated.
10. I will concede that people can do good in the name of the Christ, but I just wish that they could do it for the sole reasons of humanitarianism and altruism, rather than "for God".
Oh, and I have read the Bible twice in my life, so people in the comment section, do not call me an "ignorant atheist". I can almost guarantee the only Bible sections you have ever read are the one's pointed out to you from your pastor. I used to be a Christian, but I simply could not compartmentalize religion, and not use rational and intellectual thinking for that one section of my life. I wish I could be a Christian, but my brain simply won't let me.
You are a very respectable debater, Christian, and intellectual, and I thank you for your time spent in this debate. I find your points very interesting, and far beyond the typical responses I get from my Christian friends.
Ninja_Tru forfeited this round.
== Good Game==
This debate was fun and enjoyable and I am as impressed with my opponent, who is few cuts above most religious debaters I have seen, as he is with me. I wish him good luck with the voters.
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