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Has Religion Been Beneficial (Pro) or Derimental (Con) To Soceity As A Whole?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/4/2015 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,201 times Debate No: 74727
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (13)
Votes (1)




Hello, the first time I opened this debate, it was for a specific opponent, who sadly declined. I would still love to argue the point that Religion has been mainly detrimental to society instead of beneficial.

This debate is open to anyone who may want to argue the point that religion is beneficial to society.

Thank You in advance to whoever may accept this debate and may the best one win.


I would like to accept and present the side that Religion has been beneficial to society. I await your first argument.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank You For Accepting. I will begin the second round by stating my reasons for my point.

The first- Ancient and Modern Discrimination. Throughout history up even until modern times religion has been a KEY factor in discrimination. Examples:

When the Japanese banned Christianity and Europeans

In In India during the Muslim invasions, Muslims rulers even created LAWS banning Hindus from practicing and having the same rights as Muslims.

During Medieval times, when the roman catholic church ruled, those who were not Christian were persecuted greatly
In the roman empire, Christians were persecuted greatly by the polytheistic rulers

And here where I live, in The U.S.A, throughout history and even today, those who don't believe in Americas form of Christianity or a similar religion, are looked down upon .

These are just a few of many many examples of how Religion gives us a reason, gives us a cause in our minds, and in other peoples minds, to say its okay to discriminate against one another. This separates cultures, preventing them from coming together and accomplishing things beyond our wildest dreams, advancements in mathematics, science, etc. But because of religion this often cannot be accomplished. Do not misinterpret what i am saying. Do I think that religion is the only cause of discrimination and non-cooperation between people? Of course not. But I do feel that it did indeed set us back greatly throughout history and today. Both the Hindus and the Arabs made huge advancements in mathematics but were both blinded by there hate for one another religion they didn't come together, work together to make stronger advancements . Which leads me to conclude that Religion separates us room one another and allows us to discriminate against each other.

My second point - Religion has caused several large mass killings throughout recent and modern times:
Religion has been the justification of many mass killings throughout are world, all over the world. It also has been the way to unite people to these mass killings. And make hundreds of people kill others for no reasons other than to kill.

Let me just list some:

The Crusades: These were wars fought and lead by christian European to win back the "Holy Land" (Jerusalem) from Muslim rule. In the first crusade, a large army of Christians made it to the Muslim ruled city and well, killed everyone. Men, women, children, killed basically every one in the city and everyone that they saw for no other reason because they felt that city was "Special". One person describes the city eing "ankle deep in blood" this is an exaggeration but it shows you just how violent these people got, because they united under one religion to try and wipe out another from what they thought was "their" city. Read here: for more information.

Aztec Sacrifices: Thousands of people were burned, their hearts ripped out and thrown down steps, for the sake of sacrificing people to there "gods" killing thousands, hundreds more volunteered to be killed and sacrificed as they thought it was pleasing to the gods. Sometimes even children.

The Jim Jones Suicides: This took place where cult leader Jim Jones, convinced his followers that the end of was coming and that they needed to get ready to enter heaven. He had his followers murder there over 276 children, and then had his 600+ followers kill themselves.

The Spanish Inquisition: This was a time period in which Jews were killed violently, mass converted, force baptized, because they were not converted. I will not go into deep detail as it was extreme complex. Please read here for more information:

Witch Hunts: These happened in both Europe and Salem. Women accused of being witches were often tried, and submitted to various types of torture, such as being burned on a stake or cross. Being dunked into water for minutes but not allowed to drown, etc. Often tortured until they admit to being a witch to simply escape the pain of the torture.

The Holocaust: This was probably the most horrible, religion justified mass killing of all time in which over 6 million Jews were killed en mass from concentration gassing chambers. Millions more were submitted to the harshet conditions on planet earth in work camps. Nazi soldiers wore the words "GOTT MIT UNS" meaning "God is With Us" on their belt buckles.

I could go on and on and on and on and on about the different mass killings caused by religion but i have a limited character count. This leads me to my second conclusion that religion has been the justification anduniting factor of mass killings of literally MILLIONS of lives.

My last and final point- Scientific Oppression:
Specifically Christians, during the dark ages took anything scientific as bad, or "taboo" and was considered religious heresy. Because of this for almost 1000 years scientific advancements were held back. We cold not imagine if science and math were allowed to have flourished during the times, what would have happened.

This leads me to my third conclusion that religion has furthered suppressed our scientific exploration of the natural world, preventing us from making real advancements. And setting us back nearly a thousand years .

All of this leads me to my final conclusion that because of the discrimination, murder, and scientific oppression, religion has been extremely detrimental and suppressive to society, science, and humanity.


First of all, anything can be discriminatory, all it requires is something to blame it on. Racism is a far larger issue than religion. Look at America.

Religion has brought many great things. The entire western civilization is practically based on religion. The reason why we do certain things is religion. Christmas? Religious activity. Easter? The exact same. Take away religion and you'll find that science suffers. The father of genetics was a devote Christian. Gregor Mendel laid the basis of the entire genealogical science ( ). Religion & Science Are Not "At War" with each other as you would imply. Religion and science are both dedicated to seeking the truth, just different truths. Science and math seek scientific truths while religion seeks spiritual truth. You wouldn't look at a textbook to decide whether it is wrong or right to kill someone or to take over the planet, just as you wouldn't check the Koran, or Bible or Torah to find out the electron arrangement for chlorine (2. 8. 7 for those interested).

Architecture- back in the days gone past, Egyptian mythology and Greek mythology was a religion. It gave us monuments. The Parthenon. The US senate building is even influenced.

You talk about religion being the cause of mass killings. So was land. People killed each other over a plot of land. People in areas of Africa killed each other over water. In fact the entire human civilization killed each other over the pettiest things. gold, food, land and recently two got into a brawl over android VS iOS. So in reality, blaming religion as a basis of bad things is both backward and stupid. Many people believe that the USA and Britain invaded Iraq for oil, for example, but I imagine very few of those people believe that oil is therefore "evil". Take your example of the holocaust. I'm pretty sure that if Hitler said "I want you to fight for me to take over the world!" It wouldn't gain any support. People tend to avoid sacrificing themselves for a maniac.

What you fail to realize is that religion was a major factor in what we know about the past. We know what happened in China many centuries ago because some monk carefully wrote it on a scroll. It is a major factor in history and what we know. Without religion, we would have lost many millions of valuable pieces of information.

Moving onto the next point, since you live in the US, religion gave the world America. Most of the Founders were Deists including Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine. The reason that so many people were willing to travel across a vast ocean was to escape religious persecution. Their dedication to their religion made America possible. This is why religion, even though it has had bad moments was the reason why progress happened. Progress happened because religion forced it to happen.

Moving onto the 21st century, religion creates wonderful charities and organizations:
Salvation Army
Christian Children"s Fund
St. Jude"s Hospital
Habitat For Humanity International
Promise Keepers
World Relief
Remuda (Eating Disorder help)
Christian Aid Canada
Christian Aid USA
International Needs
International Prison Ministry
The list goes on. This only a fraction of what is out there.
Some Christian organizations are corrupt, but so are many secular organizations as well. Let us not forget that in the wake of Hurricane Katrina it was churches who stepped up, even more than the government did.

Now a major thing that religion has spread is DEMOCRACY. Let us not forget of "Manifest Destiny" which is the belief that American influence must be spread as a charitable act. This brought democracy round the world.

You say that religion " say its okay to discriminate against one another." Sarajevo is a city where in the past, was a city with Islam, Orthodoxy, Judaism and Catholicism coexisting there for centuries. It isn't fine to discriminate. If you read the bible, it says to love your neighbor as you love yourself. Regardless of religion.

This is where most people who are true with their religion would agree with me. Religion in it's pure form is not violent, nor is is dangerous. It has been a force of good throughout history. Mother Teresa for example.

You talk about how religion was the cause of wars. If religion didn't exist, what would happen then? Wars would then be fought over Patriotism. So by the same logic you would be arguing for the dissolution of government, which would lead to anarchy.

To summon up my point, religion was never for violence, nor is it for wars or deaths as my opponent would make you believe. It is a force for good. It has brought change to the world. Both good and bad. Philosophy is a lot to do with religion and religious reasoning. No religion would take the world backwards. No Religion would mean that countries wouldn't exist, people wouldn't be born. No Religion would mean that science in fact would take a step back. Therefore, I say again, in the grand scheme of humankind, religion has been a good thing for the world.
Debate Round No. 2


TheSubtleMechanic forfeited this round.


Since TheSubtleMechanic did say why an argument may not be posted, I'll end it round 3 here.
Debate Round No. 3


TheSubtleMechanic forfeited this round.


Well, it still seems that my opposition is still not typing anything, so, I'll start by saying this. Religion was the cause of both progress and blocks. Without religion, empires would not be around, entire swathes of history missing. Artifacts gone. Without religion, the western civilization would be non-existent. Unbalanced. Progress gone. The theory of evolution was thought up by a religious man.

In religions as large and ancient as Christianity and Islam there were bound to be extremists, Atheism is, after all, a trend that has started only relatively recently. Atheists are just as capable of being cruel and tyrannical, for example: Stalin. Stalin killed 20-60 million people. Most religious people don't have evil plans or try to destroy the world. Only a small group.
A true religion will make sure the world is peaceful, loving and harmonious. True religion brings equality to those who need it.

TO emphasis my point, religion is NOT a bad thing, only a small group who take it and abuse it. Hitler for example did that. Took the faith that the German people gave him and used the powers to take over most of Europe. Religion therefore has been a positive influence across the world.
Debate Round No. 4


TheSubtleMechanic forfeited this round.


To summon up my point, Religion has had a overall net benefit to society. We cannot avoid wars, we can however use religion to try and get people to go to war. But that is not always the cause. Patriotism has caused wars. Many things cause wars. Religion has helped people world wide through charities and noble acts by certain individuals. The world cannot change for the better if there isn't an attempt at philosophy and that is what religion tries to find out. Not wars and death. So let me say that again- Religion is a good thing for the world.
Debate Round No. 5
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Apollo353 3 years ago
Hope you get well soon.
Posted by TheSubtleMechanic 3 years ago
*broken 3
Posted by TheSubtleMechanic 3 years ago
I have recently broke n3 ribs, and as it hurts extremely bad to sit and type, i will try and post my argument soon, but it will be later than i like.
Posted by Spaztech 3 years ago
Religion has been both beneficial and detrimental, especially when concerning "society as a whole". Religion pre-dates Christianity and most modern faiths by at least a hundred thousand years. Religion was the means in most societies by which the rules of society were proscribed. Religion with all it's faults has been the glue that has held society together for a very long time.
At it's core, religion is just a set of beliefs, this belief structure allowed the first humans to start working together in large groups. Humanities greatest achievements come when we work together as a group. Concerning "society as a whole" I believe religion has been more beneficial than detrimental.
Posted by drag0vien 3 years ago
1. lol (Yes I start my sentences with lol followed by brackets!) placebo curing cancer... "A 2010 review carefully analyzed more than 200 studies that included a placebo group along with a "no treatment" group. The reviewers found that placebo treatments don"t have major effects on illness"
I think it's more reasonable to assume that patients get better on their own or exaggerate their symptom improvements to please their doctors. It's really only pain and nausea that can get treated with placebo.
I did find a STORY about a person who had their cancer temporarily cured by placebo but that was ONLY ONE STORY and I didn't find any proof for it.
2. Interesting, I can't exactly find what books were preserved so I can't say that scientific knowledge was preserved. It only directly mentioned that latin literature was preserved.
3. "Only 7 (10%) of all the wars (and the same percentage of 20th century wars) had clear religious motivation." An example would be the crusades during 1097 and 1291. So yes, religion does cause violence.
Still, all of this doesn't outweigh the negative effects that religion has caused. And please, we know there are stupid people out there, you don't have to keep pointing that out. We also already know you're an atheist, no need to say it twice.
Posted by TheSubtleMechanic 3 years ago
Well by your logic your stating that during the crusades, inquisition, witch trials there was a state of mass insanity which is in fact quite silly.
No, the reason of religion was used to unite these people and think they were doing the right thing by killing off random people. These people had no other alternative motive for doing the things they did, they got no gain from committing mass suicide such as with Jim Jones. I'm not saying they were all idiots for doing it because of the placebo effect, i'm simply saying religion was used to control there minds to cause them do things that without religion to hold control, fear, and unity among them they would not have done.
Posted by peteranify 3 years ago
1.Placebo Effect is shown to help much more than headaches as i stated in previous comment.

There is a source for you, drag0vien. If you took, maybe, 2 minutes to research, you would find the source....

3. It does not CAUSE violence as I stated in previous comment.

Just so you guys know, I am atheist myself, but I am tired of other atheists who think religion is to blame on almost all violence and all holding backs on science. When its just some stupid people using religion as an excuse for their insanity/stupidity.
Posted by peteranify 3 years ago
Faith is not necessarily believing in God; trust is also Faith because people trust without critically thinking about its credibility/evidence.
Therefore, trusting doctors can also be defined as faith in doctors.
Faith in doctors is the reason why placebo effect works on patients just like believers get cured with faith in their priest or pastor.
Placebo effect not only treats mental diseases, it is proven to also cure major diseases. In fact, some report it cured cancer, heart diseases, and numerous others.
I never said Placebo effect is out of science; religion used science of placebo to treat patients (although they were not aware it was placebo effect).

Do you really think the monks would live in the middle of nowhere for their entire life without religion? Who would volunteer the entire life dedicated to copying books without religion?
Yes I do agree that there were/are times when religion hold back science.

People who wants to make violence will somehow justify their violence regardless of the existance of religion. Other justifications include: for equality, for our nation, for economic reasons, for stability, for human rights, etc. Does it mean equality, nation, economic prosperity, stabilty, human rights should be to blame for the violence just because violent people made these justifications?

The greatest example of non religious nations are USSR, China, and North Korea. They were three countries that officially promoted atheism, but they killed so many innocent lives. As an atheist myself, I am not blaming this on atheism. However this do show that excess or lack of religion does not increase or decrease violence. It is only used as a justification of violence. And even without religion to justify, there are plenty of other ways to justify the violence.
Posted by drag0vien 3 years ago
Firstly, to generalise more than %50 of atheists and call them as stupid as religious people... Interesting.

1. Wow, curing some headaches is such a big plus yayyyy... Not to forget that the placebo effect also works on nonreligious people. And what about all the times that the placebo effect didn't work? Having religious people thinking that God can cure anything, even their 2 year old son who died from starvation
is completely ignorant. Having 'Faith' is the most fallacious position to be in.
You can sometimes call it a plus, you can call it a minus, but the minus is far greater than the plus. The plus isn't even that good to be called 'beneficial.'
2. Sorry, but I'm having a hard time finding the source. But I will blindly go with what bearwithme (for now) says and assume that religion did not save knowledge.
3. Yes, religion causes war. I don't see it to be a point though unlike the atheists you pointed out in your comment.
Your first point was weak, your second point was not backed up, your third was a refutation that no one argued.
Posted by BearWithMe 3 years ago
Placebo's can treat stress, but are very limited, and how are placebo's outside of science? They have been studied and practiced. Faith cannot cure diseases. You are exaggerating placebo and acting as if it's outside of science when it's not. Religion did not save that knowledge, the particular people did. Religion has held back science quite it a bit in turn. A justification of war can cause war. What atheistic world? People today are mostly religious still, albeit a lot of religious agnostics, but still religious. Without Islam those extremists would not have an excuse.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by daem0n 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct: Con forfeits. Arguments: Pro asserts that all the problems Con says were caused by religion would have happened anyway for different reasons, and Pro lists some good things caused by religion. Con has no response.