The Instigator
kikiki
Con (against)
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The Contender
Lupricona
Pro (for)
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Do secular values make us value human life less?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/21/2017 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 11 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 617 times Debate No: 99195
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
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kikiki

Con

I have recently watched a video made by Prager University called "Are humans more valuable than animals?" in which Dennis Prager talks about how secular values have made us value human life less. Although there are some flawed arguments and bad logic it still intrigued me.

Rules:
Round 1: acceptance,
No name calling (it's childish and ruins the debate).

Good luck.
Lupricona

Pro

I accept the debate. Good luck!
Debate Round No. 1
kikiki

Con

So this debate is all about secular values vs. Judeo-christian (and Islamic) values and which make us cherishe the human life more.

Since the abolition of Judeo-christian values in favour for secular values we have seen a great rise in tolerance of other people. I will take for example the plantations of Ireland in the late 16th and early 17th century. The English monarchy wanted for the Protestant English to take as much land as possible from the Catholic Irish. Although this was also motivated in part due to resentment between the Celts and the Anglo-Saxons, religious differences have played a huge role in the land grab by the English. Today, no secular country, other than Israel, is commiting such a thing.

We have also gotten rid of such things as religious persecution, something that, unfortunately, has happened many times throughout history and is continuing in some countries today *cough *cough islamsucks *cough *cough.

There have also been numerous witch trials throughout history, most notable the Salem witch trials, but the tradition does continue in Africa. And there is backing for such acts in the Bible (Exodus 22:18 KJV - "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.").

There is also the fact that Judeo-Christian values include slavery. The slave owners in the South have constantly referred to the Bible so they can continue to own slaves, and they are right (Leviticus 25:44-46).

The more people have strayed away from religion the better the quality of life has become for them. This is why, for example, Macedonia and Moldava (two very religious countries) have some of the lowest human development index in Europe, whilst Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, USA and Canada sport some of the highest HDI in the World.

Although these can be attributed to technological development let's not forget that organized religion which has interfered with human affairs has hindered technological development for a very long time (Islam had a good run at the start, but they lost steam) because of fear that technological and advancements would take away the Church's power.
Lupricona

Pro


Thanks, Con, for your opening arguments. I will now present my opening case:



Judeo-Christian values will lead to society valuing human life more in general than would secular values.



People of religious faith tend to live longer, happier lives (1). One reason this might be the case is that because people who hold religious values tend to dedicate more time to something bigger than themselves. They help out charities, join more communities, and hold common beliefs that bring them closer together with like-minded people.



Another reason is that atheists tend to be more left-leaning politically (2). This means that they tend to advocate a bigger and stronger government, which restricts the rights of the citizens. With such a violation of human dignity, secular values tend to lead towards totalitarian societies.



The last reason that secular values are inferior is because they contain no logical consistency. With the removal of religion from society, the justification for morality also goes out the window. Objective morality necessarily requires God to exist, while secularism must concede moral and cultural relativism. This type of relativism causes the most division, because then everyone in society develops their own paradigm of moral thought, and each person's morals contradict each other. In a secular society, a majority of people in a democracy might vote for legal abortions, which shows that they do not value human life at all.



References:


1 http://www.webmd.com...


2 http://www.pewresearch.org...


Debate Round No. 2
kikiki

Con

I need to stress out that the life-span of atheists compared to religious people has nothing to do with secularism or secular values. It simply states that if you have something to comfort you, you will live longer, which is only logical.

Also, the donations argument, when stripped down to its core, is not very effective. Muslims give more money to charity than Christians or Jews.

"More than three in 10 Muslims, Catholics and Jews donated money during 2012.
Followers of Islam gave an average of $567 compared to Jewish givers who donated around $412, according to the survey of just over 4,000 people in the U.K.
Christians gave considerably less. Protestants donated an average of $308, while Roman Catholics gave around $272, the poll found. Atheists averaged just $177." - ICM Researh

There's just one problem. Religious people mostly give money to their religious institutions and religious charities. For example, people in Utah give more to donations than anyone else in the US

"Households in Provo, Utah, give away the most as a percentage "" 13.9% of discretionary income. For the state as a whole, 10.6% of Utah"s discretionary income goes to charity, well ahead of second-place Mississippi at 7.2%.

The state"s giving nature largely comes from its sizable Mormon population, a faith that heavily emphasizes tithing of at least 10%. Research shows that close to 90% of Mormons say they tithe regularly." - Time

http://religiondispatches.org...

http://nccs.urban.org...

"Historically, Religious groups have received the largest share of charitable donations. This remained true in 2015, and the sector saw an increase for the second year in a row. With the 2.7% increase (2.6% inflation-adjusted) in donations this year, 33% of all donations ($119.3 billion) went to Religious organizations. Much of these contributions can be attributed to people giving to their local place of worship." - Charity Navigator

https://www.charitynavigator.org...

Now, that doesn't mean that religious people only give because of God and reward. Many do it out of the kindness of their heart. But atheists simply do not donate to religous institutions and religious charity which affects their charity score.

I can't speak for all secularist liberals, but, personally, I don't care about the size of the government, as long as it is not too involved (too big, as conservatives say). I only want the government to effectively take care of problems that are plaguing the country, like the crumbling infrastructure, the enormous debt the US has on it's hands, the minimum wage which can barely pull you through (7,25$ an hour),the fact that the minimum wage was higher in 1968 than now (8,68$ adjusted) and, worst of all, Wall Street, whose bailout which costed around 16 TRILLION dollars!

http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org...
http://www.pewresearch.org...
http://www2.census.gov...
http://www.forbes.com...

I must also say you are projecting a bit since if you believe in an all-knowing, all-present and all-seeing God, then how do you have privacy? And didn't the Catholic Church severly punish those who acted and thought in a way they did not like? How is that a respect of privacy? Also, until Obama became president, many Republicans supported NSA surveillance. It was only when the Democrat Obama took power that the opinions flipped (Democrats and Republicans have no consistency at all). Also, Bush, who was a very religious man, has also conducted unauthorised surveilance, just like Obama did, but Democrats and Republicans will always support their candidates.

http://www.pewresearch.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...(2001%E2%80%9307)

And now we come to the great philosophical question: "Is man worth anything without God?"
I would say yes. In fact, a human's life is worth even more if there is no God. Why? If a God truly existed and if an afterlife truly existed, then what is life on Earth worth? What is life on Earth compared to an eternity in heaven or hell?
We should just stop trying to save people because God will take care of them and they will spend eternity in heaven (or, most likely, hell). The fact is that people's belief in God hasn't stopped them from going to war with other people (Jihads and Crusades), commiting massacres and genocides (Armenian Genocide, Bosnian Genocide, Rhineland massacres, etc. etc.)...
Also, there is no such thing as objective morality. What may be seen moral today might be seen as barbaric tommorow (e.g.: eating meat) and what some other civilisations see as moral (e.g.: stoning adulterers) is seen as barbaric here.

If there is no God, then humans get only one chance. There is nothing after this Earthly life. If I kill someone and he goes to heaven, so what? I have actually made the ultimate sacrifice. I accepted hell so another man can get heaven. If I kill him and there is no God, then I have taken away all his memories, all that he could ever have hoped to be. And my conscience and empathy wouldn't let me do that.

Also, your abortion argument fails as if you read the Bible God himself preforms abortions in Hosea 13:14-16. Exodus 21:22-23 says that if a man hurts a woman and it causes her to miscarry he needs to pay a fine. That means that God doesn't see a fetus as a human being since the punishment for murder in the Bible is death (Leviticus 24:17). Jeremiah 1:4-5 only refers to Jeremiah. God knew Jeremiah because he ordained him to be a prophet. He also demands abortions if a woman

Also, God has nothing against killing people who don't follow him and supports the death penalty:
Exodus 23:23
Exodus 11:9
The flood story
Leviticus 21:9
Leviticus 26:21-22
Joshua 10:39-40
Deuteoronomy 28:53
Lupricona

Pro


Thanks, con, for your rebuttals.



I will now respond to my opponent's opening arguments from round 2:



Tolerance/Persectution



My opponent has argued that since the rise of secular values, we have seen a higher tolerance in nations. This claim does not appear to me to be true.



All of the major regimes in the 20th century were secular in nature, and millions of people died as the result of those values.



Also, while there have been times in history where religious people acted in ways that weren't tolerant, one has to realize that acting that way is in contradiction to the values of the religion. Christianity was the first religion in the world that taught that every man was created by God, and everyone was equal to join the religion. So, even if there are points in history where people claimed to hold the Christian values while also acting contrary to them, this does not prove the resolution.



My opponent also claims that persecution has diminished since secular values have become more prominent. Is this really true? Looking at drone strikes alone, Obama killed around 3,000 people, with around 100 of them being civilians (1). This doesn't take into account the number of people the soldiers have killed. Also, nearly 2,000 American soldiers have died in Afghanistan (2). This lack of respect for human life shows what happens when secular values reign supreme.



Witch Trials



The salem witch trials is not analogous to the prohibition of witches in Old Testament Law. One has to recognize the context in order to make comparisons. For one, the Christians killing the witches were doing so, not for religious reasons, but were using the excuse to specific people. We don't know the whole context of life in Old Testament times. The witches in that cultural and time period may have committed awful acts- child sacrifice was a big practice back in those days. The reasons that witches weren't permitted to live may have justifiable positions.



Slavery



Again, context is key. The slavery that the bible allows is different than the modern understanding of slaves. Slavery in the Old Testament was indentured servitude- people who were poor and had no means of money were allowed to sell their future labor in order to survive. Also, after 7 years of labor, they were then considered free, being then able to subsist without servitude. This was their type of welfare system.



Quality of Life



My opponent shows correlations between different countries, showing some countries have higher standards of life. First off, it's hard to show that the reasons why some countries run better than others have to do with religious reasons, when there are so many other variables taking into account. If my opponent wants to prove this, he needs to show how religion causes nations to have lower qualities of life.



Technological Advancements



The scientific revolution was started by Christians, and most of the predominant scientists in history dedicated their search for knowledge because of their beliefs in God, not despite of it. This argument is wholly inaccurate.





References:


1 https://www.nytimes.com...


2 http://www.cnsnews.com...


Debate Round No. 3
kikiki

Con

You've really strained my mind. Good job. It took me a lot of time to come up with come back arguments.

1. Yes, Communist Russia has killed many people under Stalin's regime. But Stalin was an unchecked, power-hungry, war-mongering murderer. He saw all who in any way challenged his power as the enemy. This included organized religion and he violently persecuted Christians, Muslims and Jews. But atheists and secularists were also on his radar. He didn't kill anyone "in the name of secularism". He killed to stay the cult of personality he was.

Hitler was a Catholic Christian. Nazi Germany was heavily Protestant. He hated atheists because he thought that they were a part of the "godless left" i.e., communists. He said this in his speech in Berlin:
"We were convinced that the people needs and requires this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out." - Adolf Hitler; Berlin; October 24th 1934

"I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator" - Adolf Hitler; Mein Kampf; pg.: 45

"The Government of the Reich, who regard Christianity as the unshakable foundation of the morals and moral code of the nation, attach the greatest value to friendly relations with the Holy See and are endeavouring to develop them." - Adolf Hitler; Berlin, February 1st 1933

And there's the Oath that Nazi soldiers gave: https://www.youtube.com...

Now of course, there were atheists that DID support Hitler, but many Christians supported him as well. He was power-hungry and killed everyone for his own benefit.

And Pol Pot was the same as Stalin or Hitler. He was power-hungry and psychotic. But unlike Hitler, Pol Pot and Stalin never said or claimed that what they were doing was "in the name of atheism/secularism".

Not like Charlemagne, the Inquisitors, the Crusaders, the Jihadists, Godfrey of Bouillon, Tamerlane etc. etc...

Also, I have researched a bit about why would people accuse other people (mainly women, although men were also often accused) and I have found some reasons why:

"Women who lived independently often earned livings as midwives or as healers. Religious zealots often mistook the potions and natural remedies they brewed as magical or spellbinding because their powers were so mysterious and superseded those of God. As a result, religious leaders felt their authority threatened. Likewise, those who felt no need to be part of the extreme religious movements that took place throughout Europe and the American colonies rebelled. As a result of their refusal to be affiliated with the church, they were accused of being in cahoots with Satan.
It is even thought that the hysteria that caused the Salem witch trials, in particular, may have been the direct result of rye poisoning, which causes symptoms similar to those described by many of the accusers. Sometimes people also simply conspired against those with whom they felt they had some sort of vendetta. Because there was little anyone could do to disprove that a woman was a witch, it was a prime way to eliminate foes." - https://www.reference.com...

"In January 1692, 9-year-old Elizabeth (Betty) Parris and 11-year-old Abigail Williams (the daughter and niece of Samuel Parris, minister of Salem Village) began having fits, including violent contortions and uncontrollable outbursts of screaming. After a local doctor, William Griggs, diagnosed bewitchment, other young girls in the community began to exhibit similar symptoms, including Ann Putnam Jr., Mercy Lewis, Elizabeth Hubbard, Mary Walcott and Mary Warren. In late February, arrest warrants were issued for the Parris" Caribbean slave, Tituba, along with two other women"the homeless beggar Sarah Good and the poor, elderly Sarah Osborn"whom the girls accused of bewitching them." - http://www.history.com...

On the topic of child sacrifice, Jephthah sacrificed his own daughter on the orders of Yahweh in Judges 11:30-Judges 11:39:
"And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord: "If you give the Ammonites into my hands, whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the Lord"s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering."

Then Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and the Lord gave them into his hands. He devastated twenty towns from Aroer to the vicinity of Minnith, as far as Abel Keramim. Thus Israel subdued Ammon.

When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of timbrels! She was an only child. Except for her he had neither son nor daughter. When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried, "Oh no, my daughter! You have brought me down and I am devastated. I have made a vow to the Lord that I cannot break."

"My father," she replied, "you have given your word to the Lord. Do to me just as you promised, now that the Lord has avenged you of your enemies, the Ammonites. But grant me this one request," she said. "Give me two months to roam the hills and weep with my friends, because I will never marry."

"You may go," he said. And he let her go for two months. She and her friends went into the hills and wept because she would never marry. After the two months, she returned to her father, and he did to her as he had vowed. And she was a virgin."

I got to admit, this story is very sad and it kind of got to me.

Slavery:
Bible and the Qur'an are completely ok with slavery (although, honestly, the Qur'an promotes freeing slaves). Your counterargument only applies to Israelite slaves. Here's what it says about slaves from foreign lands:

(Leviticus 25:44-46): "Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. 45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. 46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly."

Quality of life:

Egypt is very rich in resources, yet Egyptians are quite poor 3,340 $ per year http://data.worldbank.org...

Here's the poverty structure of the US

https://data.ers.usda.gov...

And here are the most religious

http://www.livescience.com...

There is an evident correlation between poverty and religious conservativism. Ok, this may be a coincidence. But then there is the teen birth rate: http://www.citylab.com...

You cannot deny the religious conservativism has caused higher teen birth rates due to their hate of planned parenthood and sex education.

Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Denmark. Oh boy, I don't think I have enough characters to explain all the things they are doing right. I'll do that in the next round. The point is, they are the most secular countries in the World and they enjoy some of the highest living standards.

Technological and scientific advancments:

Here's a list of scientist who were persecuted by the Church

Michael Servetus
Galileo
Henry Oldenburg
Copernicus
Giordano Bruno (executed)
Charles Darwin
and many, many more.

These people didn't intentionaly go against the word of the Church, it is just that their research led them that way. Almost all of them were theists and Christians (yes, including Darwin).

Also, Buddhism forbids killing and it is older than Christianity. Not because human life is sacred, but because of human descency. Also, the Romans, the Greeks and the Persians had laws prohibiting murder and human sacrifice (most of the time) waaaaay before Jesus spread his word. And their laws were not based off of religion.
Lupricona

Pro


Thank your for your rebuttals.



I will now respond to your arguments from round 3:



Religious Charity



My opponent has shown that other religious groups share more of their money with charities than do Christians. I concede that point, but Christians still share more than atheists, and religious people as a whole have better values than secular values.



My opponent raised the argument that the reason that atheists donate less is because they don't have shared institutions, like churches, that religious people do. However, this argument doesn't help his resolution. Religious people will tend to create institutions and communities for themselves, communities that unite people and that are willing to help out others in need. Atheists aren't as likely to do this, and the underlying reason is merely because of the religious values versus the secular values.



God and Government



My opponent raised the issue that the Catholic Church has persecuted people in the past. Yes, this is true, but the Catholics did this in spite of the principles that Jesus had laid out.



My opponent also argued that not just secularists, but even religious people can desire bigger government. Christian republicans desires more surveillance. Given that this is a strong point, that merely being Christian doesn't mean people won't push for a bigger government, I should probably concede and drop this argument. Religious principles aren't enough to show whether a person will push for more or less government.



Is Man Worth Anything Without God?



My opponent argues that, if there is a God, and there is Heaven and Hell, then life on earth wouldn't be meaningful, rather the afterlife would be meaningful. Conversely, he argues that not having an afterlife makes life on earth more valuable, as this is all that there is. I don't think this argument is very logical.



If an afterlife exists, then the only way to achieve heaven is to life a good life on earth. That means that every decision made is meaningful and has very serious consequences. Conversely, if there is no afterlife, there are no serious consequences. Morality shouldn't be valuable, so people ought to do what's in their best interest, whether its right or wrong. People should steal and murder if they know they can get away with it. Why not? There wouldn't be any eternally serious consequences for them.



My opponent states that there is no objective morality, which is good, because that is consistent with the secular framework. However, this shows why religion is superior to secularism, as religious values do have objective morality. Religious values show that something is truly and absolutely wrong, while secularism has no strong defense against immoral activity. Based on secularism, any society can decide whatever moral values they prefer, whether it be slavery, human sacrifice, prostitution, or whatever else is decided.



My opponent lastly references a lot from the Bible. These references are from an ancient text, far removed in time and culture. Extrapolating those values from that culture to ours is not an easy task, and I argue that my opponent is careless in how quickly he makes assumptions about those values.


My opponent brought up abortion in the Bible, which was referring to a man hurting a woman in a way that accidentally killed the baby. This is unintentional killing, and I deem that it isn't fair to punish someone by death for accidentally killing someone.



He also brought up how God killed people in the Old Testament. Humans are not allowed to kill each other, as we are on the same moral field. However, God is the Creator, giving him the rights to end any life that He has created. I see no inconsistencies here.


Debate Round No. 4
kikiki

Con

I'm really sorry for having to talk about the Bible right now because I don't want to offend you.

"Ephraim is blighted, their root is withered, they yield no fruit. Even if they bear children, I will slay their cherished offspring." - Hosea 9:16

That is Yahweh talking in first person about how he will slay the unborn children of Baal Peor.

Not to mention all the Bible verses about violence and persecution I have cited.

Also, Jesus supports all the laws of he OT:

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest part or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place." - Matthew 5:17

"Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law" - John 7:19

Let's not forget the death penalties for not following them:
1. Exodus 22:20 and Mark 16:16,
2. Deuteronomy 27: 1 5,
3.Leviticus 24:16, Matthew 12:32 and Mark 3:29,
4. Exodus 31:15 and Numbers 15:32,
5. Exodus 21:17,
6. We can skip this one because there is too much hypocrisy in this commandment to go over,
7. Leviticus 20:10

The last three don't really have a punishment.
So saying Jesus wouldn't agree with the violence of the Catholic Church is preposterous. Remember as well he is the same deity that drowned the entire World.

Charity

It matters not to whom do the proceeds of the charity go to. If Judeo-Christian values make us value human life less then why would secularists, atheists and deists ever donate to charity since they will receive nothing in return. Charity is prescribed to Jews and Christians and Muslims. There is absolutely nothing that should motivate a non-believer to give to charity except his empathy and kindness. Again, many religious people do it out of the kindness of their heart. When I was a Muslim I gave to charity, not for reward, but out of the kindness of my heart (hopefully there are no Islamic extremists on this site), but the fact that people like Bill Gates and so many more people give millions of dollars to all kinds of charities with no expectation of a reward has a lot of weight. And there are atheist charity organizations that help those in need like:
Goodwill,
Rotary,
UNICEF,
Engineers Without Borders,
Doctors Without Borders,
and many more.

Is Man Worth Anything Without God?

If a perfect being of divine knowledge and grace cares so little about human life and is allowed to end it and destroy it, then what am I, a fallible human to go against him?
And why is it that if we were to talk about the brutalities Muhammad has committed during the conquest of Arabia, you would agree with me a 100% that he is an evil, barbaric warlord. So why is it that when Moses, Joshua, Jephthah, David, Solomon or David do the exact same thing, but a hundred times worse, we have to look at the historical context? Why don't we look at what Stain or Mao have done from a cultural and historic context?
And why is it that God can kill his creations, his "children" because they didn't follow him and he will still be seen as good and holy, but when a woman terminates a fetus because she cannot take care of it, or has a deadly defect it is an abomination? Doesn't really make sense.
Also the "He created you" argument is invalid. Does giving birth to a child mean you have the right to abuse it?
Lupricona

Pro

My opponent argued that the 20th century regimes were not secular. However, I argued that they were not religious in nature, and if they weren't, they are then by default secular. This evidence was shown to prove that we have not grown more tolerant over time, as shown by the past century.

My opponent also quoted many passages of the Bible, but didn't really elaborate or draw any real conclusions from them. He seems to be taking them completely out of context, and does nothing to show how the moral values they prescribe seem to be immoral.

My opponent also made more correlations between povert and religious conservatism, but still didn't prove this to be the case. There are too many factors in play to make assumptions as to why some people are poorer or richer, and there may be other factors that cause both wealth and religion. I could also give examples of wealthy religious people- would that disprove your correlation?


My opponent makes many attempts at arguments, but none of them stick.
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by kikiki 11 months ago
kikiki
Hey man Lupricona, could we finish the entire debate and not stop in the middle of it, please? It happens to me all the times.
Posted by canis 12 months ago
canis
Secular values makes it possible to value as humans.
No votes have been placed for this debate.