The Instigator
Pro (for)
3 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Does Religion cause more harm than good to the human race?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/8/2015 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 501 times Debate No: 83629
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (8)
Votes (1)




This debate is open to anyone who disagrees, however, I only have a few guidelines:
-Please be knowledgeable of of Theism, Religious History, and History in general, you do not have to be Religious yourself, but please be knowledgeable in those subjects.
-Please be polite in this debate, please do not troll, if you wish to be a part of this debate, and I hope that it will cause a good open dialogue.
-And yes, so that Con, and everyone else knows, I am an Atheist.
-In the first round, please clearly define your position on the subject, and use the definitions given below:

Religion- A system of beliefs that attributes the creation of the universe, and everything residing within it, to a God, Goddess, or multiple Gods/Goddesses

Good- Something that is beneficial to the largest possible demographic.

Harm- Something that is detrimental to the largest possible demographic.

While these are not the official definitions, these are the ones that would most suit both sides of the debate, I will also place my opinion below:

I believe that Religion is of a major detriment to the human race as a whole, and that the human race would have been better off without the concept of Religion.


The fact that Religion is an existing thing is quite beneficial to the world and people as a whole. The reason I say it is beneficial is because it adds diversity and multiple opinions on certain issues of the world. I have also known people that have gotten out of depression because their religious belief gives them a spiritual view of the world, and it gives them purpose. I have been in the spot saying that Religion is bad once, but I now realize that peace through diversity is better than everyone having the same exact traits, it would make the world bland.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank Con for being respectful on the subject, and in my opinion, saying that Religion is nothing bad harmful is, in my opinion, most defiantly false, and will admit that Religion has stimulated the human imagination, and has caused the people of the human race to create stunningly beautiful works of art and architecture, such as:
-The Pyramids
-The Haigha Sophia
-The Sistine Chapel
-The Vatican
-The Notre Dame
-The Grand Temple Of Tenochtitlan
- The Chitza Ita
And so much more

While this is most defiantly true, and i am a very avid scholar or Religion (I have read the Bible (Catholic, Protestant, and Eastern Orthodox, as well as the Qur'an, and Torah.) I agree that Religion has had a positive effect on our species, but, because this is debate, I will state my opinion as follows:

Look at the cost of Human Lives due to Religious wars, as well as sacrificial religious practices:

Some well known Religious Wars are-

The Crusades- A name that is used to classify many wars that take place between the 11th and 13th centuries between the factions of Christianity and Islam over little more than Religion and land-gain, with the Pope of 1095 (Urban II) Claiming that they must attack Islam in the name of God, and that all Christians who participated would receive a free pass into the gates of Heaven in the end, a low estimate puts the death toll at at least 500,000 deaths of civilians alone.

German Peasants War- In 1524, the King of France imposed different taxes on the Dutch Church than the French Church, and the rules of Dutch Catholics wee also changed, the peasants rose up against the taxes, and in the end, 200,000 poor farmers and untrained soldiers were slaughtered, with the King of France, in 1525, hanging all who were left to death, leaving the death toll at an estimated half million peasants, and an untold amount of french soldiers, dead.

Nigerian Civil War- Between 1967 and 1970, the Christians and Muslims of Central Africa fought over religious and ideological differences, it is said to be the most violent and most costly n human life of all religious wars, having, when it reached its climax, a body count of over 1,000,000 soldiers, civilians dead.

Thirty Years War- Between 1614 and 1648, a series of wars were fought across all of Europe, largely between the Holy Roman Empire, France, Spain, and Sweden, for conflicts between Catholic and Protestant beliefs, in one of the major conflicts alone, 800,000 soldiers and civilians are estimated to have died.

Not to mention the sacrifices of the Aztec and Mayan Societies, who, in one year, as estimated in History Extra, were said to have sacrificed as many as 20,000 people a year according to Aztec accounts, but, when special occasions, such as the temple of Huitzilopotchli being constructed in 1487 (Before the Spaniards 'Discovered' the 'New World') It is also estimated that 80,400 people were sacrificed/

So, as a result of all of the religious wars and sacrifices listed here (There are so many more, but for the sake of shortness, i've only put in 5 examples)

The death toll (in low estimates) From all the events listed above, is a total of 2,900,400 people. An image of a small portion of that amount of people is linked below:

Imagine that amount of people throughout history being pointlessly slaughtered over religious beliefs, dying in wars that accomplished little to nothing, the pure waste of it all, lives that could have been spared if humans never adopted religious beliefs.

Cant wait for round 3!


RhinoOz98 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Ayden_Linden forfeited this round.


RhinoOz98 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Ayden_Linden forfeited this round.


RhinoOz98 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


Ayden_Linden forfeited this round.


RhinoOz98 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by TheKryken 2 years ago
Yet underlying that first statement is the belief that the world really is the way you see it; you believe (with or without evidence) that your eyes are not lying to you, that your senses are not impaired in some unknown way. To think rationally, you must adhere to the belief that the world really is the way you see/touch/hear/smell/taste it. Otherwise, you end up with ideas like, "Was the world created 15 seconds ago with all memories intact," or "Is everything I see the result of a futuristic hallucinogenic drug test?"

And you do believe you exist, because there is evidence that you do. However, you may also be no more than a thought in the mind of some unknowable being of immense power.

Everything is filtered through a belief; or more accurately, a worldview.

If you view nature with the belief that God does not exist, then everything you see will be a result of natural causes, because God does not exist. If you view nature with a belief that God may exist, then you may be lead to believe that nature is the result of a Creator.
Posted by missmedic 2 years ago
Knowledge comes from awareness of the world, or understanding gained through experience. Although people may believe in what they know, knowledge has no requirement for belief .
Examples: I may have knowledge of a story, poem or song, but I have no need to believe it. I know the rules of many games, but I do not believe in games. I know the mathematics of calculus, but I do not believe in calculus. I have knowledge of information, but I do not believe in information. I have direct knowledge of my existence through sensations, thought, and awareness, but I do not believe I exist: I know I exist (even though I may not know how I exist).
Posted by TheKryken 2 years ago
"Belief is the state of mind in which a person thinks something to be the case, with or without there being empirical evidence to prove that something is the case with factual certainty."(Wikipedia)

"an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists." (Google)

You perceive everything through the belief that God does not exist. You also perceive life through the belief that when you jump, you will come back down, because there is evidence that this is so.

I would argue that you cannot obtain knowledge without belief.

You believe that what you see is what is real; otherwise, genuine knowledge is impossible. You believe that we are not all test subjects of a hallucinogen, because otherwise you could not truly think anything to be real.

I happen to operate under the belief that God is real. I then explore science based on that belief, and it does not inhibit my capacity to know truth.
Posted by missmedic 2 years ago
Many people misunderstand what constitutes belief and what does not. For many, belief has so infiltrated their minds, that everything perceived or thought incorporates a belief for them, including all of their knowledge and experience. This hierarchical, top-down, approach, in effect, puts such a person entirely within a world of solipsistic reasoning. Why? Because all thoughts describe a belief for them and since beliefs only occur within the mind, every belief refers to the self.
Although one can believe in knowledge, one can obtain knowledge without owning beliefs; although one certainly accepts their own beliefs, not all things accepted require beliefs.
Posted by TheKryken 2 years ago
Your belief that no faiths establish truth could be a barrier to your understanding of the world, could it not?

Rational thinking requires you to at least address the question, "What if you're wrong?"
Posted by missmedic 2 years ago
Does rational thinking require the adherence to beliefs at all? Does productive science, ethics, or a satisfied life require any attachment to a belief of any kind? Can we predict future events, act on data, theories, and facts without resorting to the ownership of belief?
Beliefs and faiths do not establish "truths" or facts. All things we know about the world, we can express without referring to a belief. Even at its most benign level, beliefs can act as barriers to further understanding.
Posted by TheKryken 2 years ago
Just some thoughts. We know how many lives have been hurt by religion; we can't calculate how many lives could have been saved if it had a broader reach.

In 1848, Marx published the Communist Manifesto.
In 1859, Darwin published Origin of the Species.
In 1882, Nietzsche proclaimed, "God is dead."

These ideas started to take hold, and developed/influenced the development of communism, the eugenics movement, and the beginning of God taking a back seat to naturalism/atheism.

Then you have the Russian revolution, the millions murdered by Stalin, the horrors that in part resulted from the eugenics movement (such as the belief in the supremacy of the Aryan race), and the weakness of morality in the German church.

Using the lowest estimates from, the total death tolls of WWI, WWII, and the Russian Civil War is >85,000,000.

How many of these lives could have been saved if the German theologians had taken a stronger stand for their faith, and not let screwed up idealists take over? What if Marx's ideals had been influenced by religious morals?

Anyways, good luck in the debate!
Posted by RookieApologist 2 years ago
Hello, I'm new here, so I'm not sure if this type of comment is appropriate when I'm not actually in a debate. If it is not, then please correct me and I won't do it again.

While I like the topic of the debate, I'm of the opinion that we should not put all religions into one broad category and then make the claim that religion then does more harm OR good to the human race. Just as an example, as a Christian I may feel that Christianity has done more good than harm, but I may feel that Islam has done more harm than good. Am I to then take the average "harmness" score to decide on the actual answer of overall harm vs. good?

I'm also of the opinion that while some the wars you mentioned certainly had religious contexts, there were other contexts (such as politics) involved as well. But I will wait for the answer to the first question before I add more to the discussion, since I'm not sure I'm in the right place here in adding these comments. Thanks!
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Midnight1131 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro showed the real life effects of religion in the number of lives lost in religious wars. This argument consisted of actual lives lost, which outweighs Con's argument, which was just talking about religion makes people happy and gets some out of depression. Pro's argument had more weight because they were able to provide actual numbers in amount of lives lost.