The Instigator
Jedd
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
heather07
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Humans can have morality without God.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/5/2016 Category: Religion
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 505 times Debate No: 86087
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (0)

 

Jedd

Pro

Humans can have morality without God.

Have morality: principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior.
Without God: Without knowing God exists (I believe he doesn't.)

Pro will argue that humans can differentiate between right and wrong without God. Con will argue that God or a holy book teaches moralities otherwise unknown to man. Burden of proof is shared.

No limitations on what to write in any round.

___

Well, here we are, again. Religion is just some kind of spiritual support, I'm not going to deny that, but don't ever use your holy book as a science textbook, ignorantly denying evidence and proof; and in this case, lashing out that only believers of your God have morality.

Please, humans have the ability to know right from wrong without believing in any religion. Any child who grows up in an atheist society wouldn't behave like a bear or gun down everyone they see, even if they have never heard of God.

This is a basic opening point. Good day.
heather07

Con

A moral conscious isn't necessarily innate.

You argue that morality is the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior, and I completely agree with that definition of morality. However, in order for that to support your conclusion, that humans can have morality without God, you would have to assume that this behavior is innate.

It can be argued that the majority of complex human behaviors, such as what is and is not morally accepted by society, is learnt and not necessarily an innate behavioral response.

Religion teachings are fundamental devices for conveying morality. I'm not suggesting that you have to believe in God in order to have a moral compass. As I also identify myself as an atheist however, I believe that religious teachings provide the necessary framework for learning and developing what is morally right or wrong.
Debate Round No. 1
Jedd

Pro

'A moral conscious isn't necessarily innate.'

I didn't say it is, nor is this idea relevant in any way with any God.

'However, in order for that to support your conclusion, that humans can have morality without God, you would have to assume that this behavior is innate.'

No, I most certainly do not have to make that assumption. Simple as it is, parents can teach the child right from wrong, not to stab people with pencils or burn animals or something. Dogs don't believe in God but yet they can still learn to love you, respect you through building a relationship and mutual love, and not act like they caught rabies. This is all done through learning from outward sources and not innate, and also that it has nothing to do with religion.

'It can be argued that the majority of complex human behaviors, such as what is and is not morally accepted by society, is learned and not necessarily an innate behavioral response.'

This contradicts your previous sentence.

'Religion teachings are fundamental devices for conveying morality.'

No they aren't. As the examples (and common sense) have showed, one doesn't need any teachings of any religion to have morality. One can lead a pretty righteous life without ever hearing of religion.

'I'm not suggesting that you have to believe in God in order to have a moral compass.'

Me too, what a coincidence.

'As I also identify myself as an atheist however, I believe that religious teachings provide the necessary framework for learning and developing what is morally right or wrong.'

Again, religion has nothing to do with anyone learning morality. Something to consider: even theists agree that the Bible or any other holy book was written by man, inspired by God; or that Prophets like Jesus or Muhammad were sent by God, giving us the first ever connection between man and God. So how did people acquire morality before that? Did everybody in the world need saving by your savior before he arrived here? And the people who were in Africa or China or wherever Jesus couldn't reach, are they doomed to a fate where they have no morality?

I feel like spewing friendly fire in debating another atheist about this matter. Religion is nothing more than a spiritual support, a shoulder to lean on, to tell you you're loved in hard times. That's in no way bad, but don't start lashing out and saying everyone has to have a religion to have morality.
heather07

Con

This first point I would like to pick you up on is "As the examples (and common sense) have showed, one doesn't need any teachings of any religion to have morality." I am inclined to question the relevance of your "examples" to the argument of human morality. Firstly there is no need to use the plural 'examples' as you have actually only provided one example "Dogs don't believe in God but yet they can still learn to love you, respect you through building a relationship and mutual love, and not act like they caught rabies." Comparing the human capacity to understand right from wrong to that of a dog is a weak statement. One of the main features of human society that sets us apart from the animal word is our ability to have such strong beliefs therefore you cannot so simply compare human behaviour to that of an animal.

In response to your statement that "religion has nothing to do with anyone learning morality" I can do nothing to disagree. It is a shame that you believe it to be necessary to spew "friendly fire in debating another atheist about this matter" and I assure you that just because I do not recognise the existence of God does not mean that I cannot appreciate and value religious teachings. Religion has been a significant part of our heritage for many years and religious teachings have, over time, been embedded into modern culture whether you recognise the existence of God or not. You have no evidence that religion has "nothing to do" learning what is right or wrong furthermore, by making this statement you are disregarding the influence religion has had on creating the society we recognise today. By this I am referring to the core teachings of many religions such as to be kind, to give charitably, to love, not to murder and not to thieve. These teachings that have been passed down the generations always influencing what we believe to be right and what we deem as wrong.

I invite you to add some substance to your point of view rather than just criticising mine. I think you will find that attacking your opponent for the majority of your debate is a poor way to convey any real reasoning behind your own conclusion.

Religion has always played a vital role in that human society as always deemed moral and it is impossible to prove that we would be the same without it. Therefore I reject the notion that the human race can be moral without god.

P.s A large proportion of African culture are of a Christian faith furthermore, it is believed that Jesus travelled to Egypt in his youth therefore the idea that the African culture was never within the 'reach' of Jesus is a weak assumption. In addition, China is a multi-religious society with Buddhism having the most influence. And yes the Buddhist culture has its own depiction of 'god' In fact: "According to a latest survey, 85% of Chinese people have religious beliefs or had some religious practices and only 15% of them are real atheists. (The real atheists here refer to those who do not have faith in any religions nor had any activities related to religions or folk customs.) 185 million people believe in Buddhism and 33 million have faith in Christianity and believes in the existence of God. Only 12 million people are Taoists," (http://www.travelchinaguide.com...) which shows that religion can still play and important role in modern society.
Debate Round No. 2
Jedd

Pro

' I am inclined to question the relevance of your "examples" to the argument of human morality. Firstly there is no need to use the plural 'examples' as you have actually only provided one example "Dogs don't believe in God but yet they can still learn to love you, respect you through building a relationship and mutual love, and not act like they caught rabies." Comparing the human capacity to understand right from wrong to that of a dog is a weak statement.'

My examples:
1) Any child who grows up in an atheist society wouldn't behave like a bear or gun down everyone they see, even if they have never heard of God. -Round 1. Ignored.
2) Parents can teach the child right from wrong, not to stab people with pencils or burn animals or something. This is all done through learning from outward sources and not innate, and also that it has nothing to do with religion. -Round 2. Ignored.
3) Something to consider: even theists agree that the Bible or any other holy book was written by man, inspired by God; or that Prophets like Jesus or Muhammad were sent by God, giving us the first ever connection between man and God. So how did people acquire morality before that? Did everybody in the world need saving by your savior before he arrived here? -Round 2. Ignored.
4) Dogs don't believe in God but yet they can still learn to love you, respect you through building a relationship and mutual love, and not act like they caught rabies. -Round 2. Placed very special emphasis upon.
5) And the people who were in Africa or China or wherever Jesus couldn't reach, are they doomed to a fate where they have no morality? -Round 2. Placed very special emphasis upon.

I will deal with the example about the dog first, no. 5 later on.

'Comparing the human capacity to understand right from wrong to that of a dog is a weak statement. One of the main features of human society that sets us apart from the animal word is our ability to have such strong beliefs therefore you cannot so simply compare human behaviour to that of an animal.'

So, in that, do you mean the human ability to understand morality is because they have beliefs? Does that mean that all little pooches have to act mad because they have no particular religion? I fail to comprehend why this is a weak statement, as well as why I cannot compare the two, as you have given no relevant reasons. Again, anyone and anything can be taught morality without religion.

'Religion has been a significant part of our heritage for many years and religious teachings have, over time, been embedded into modern culture whether you recognise the existence of God or not. You have no evidence that religion has "nothing to do" learning what is right or wrong furthermore, by making this statement you are disregarding the influence religion has had on creating the society we recognise today. By this I am referring to the core teachings of many religions such as to be kind, to give charitably, to love, not to murder and not to thieve. These teachings that have been passed down the generations always influencing what we believe to be right and what we deem as wrong.', along with your P.s and the 5th example.

This is the fun part. Again, who stopped the writers of the Bible from killing each other before they wrote the book? What prevented everyone from murdering anyone they see, what made them love and to do charity before the writing of the holy books? Obvious as it is, it was man that wrote the holy book that made religion's teachings, and therefore religious teachings came from man!

Even if you say religion existed before the holy book, then who made the teachings then? Did some angel swoop down and said the secrets to live a righteous life? It was all still man.

'I invite you to add some substance to your point of view rather than just criticising mine. I think you will find that attacking your opponent for the majority of your debate is a poor way to convey any real reasoning behind your own conclusion.'

Thanks for the invitation, I feel very welcome. But so far, all of my points of view still stand, and none of yours remain alive. And no, I find that attacking my opponent is a great way to convey my reasons, as I am doing now.

Also, do you realize that only one of your statements now do not go out of topic? All the while you have been saying religion, religion, religion. Read the title again, it says God!

The one statement: 'Religion has always played a vital role in that human society as always deemed moral and it is impossible to prove that we would be the same without it. Therefore I reject the notion that the human race can be moral without god.'

'I'm not suggesting that you have to believe in God in order to have a moral compass.' -Round 1.
heather07

Con

I would like to begin by identifying why I have focused my argument religion in general and not just God. In response to your request inviting me again to "Read the title again, it says God!" I would like to draw your attention to your initial statement in round 1. You specifically stated that "Con will argue that God or a holy book teaches morality" therefore I see no reason that my choosing to expand my reasoning to holy texts and the value these religious teachings has on society is off topic in any way shape or form. Especially considering you specifically encouraged "No limitations on what to write in any round."

Furthermore, you stated that "it was man that wrote the holy book that made religion's teachings, and therefore religious teachings came from man" you don't seem to take into consideration that any holy texts are Gods teachings and often interpreted as the words of God.

Your argument appears heavily based around asking rhetorical questions about religion and generalised statements about parents teaching their children about morality. Religion has always influenced what we teach our children about what is right and wrong. The teachings that have been embedded into our society over countless generations to suggest that learning morality "has nothing to do with religion" is ignoring that many of the lessons that parents will convey to their children may have some connection to a religious teaching, no matter how vague.

I see no reason why you cannot make a connection between someone's moral compass and their beliefs especially since the majority of what people do is motivated by what they believe to be the right thing to do. Religion still has a very strong influence over modern society, there teachings are generally well known to the majority of the population and it is impossible to argue that religious texts do not preach morality and encourage humanity to be charitable and kind. Taking this into consideration even if you do not practice a religion you presumably are aware of many religious teachings and even agree with some. Therefore, holy texts and religious teachings do play a very predominant role in conveying morality because they are so accessible and influential. Furthermore, even the very basics of religious teachings can be accepted by atheists as similar to their own believes.
Debate Round No. 3
Jedd

Pro

'No limitations on what to write in any round' means you have no restraints on whether to rebut or make a new point. Not that it matters much to the debate, though. 'Con will argue that God or a holy book teaches morality' Good observation! I value a worthy opponent. Your arguments are valid. I'll shoot them down the good old way.

'you don't seem to take into consideration that any holy texts are Gods teachings and often interpreted as the words of God.'

Traitor! I'm already swinging my lightning bat round and round just like that Stormtrooper. You are not an atheist at all!
Holy texts are God's teachings? What, He flew down to Earth and opened a school? How else would you know it was taught by God? Some angel wrote the Bible and contacted a publisher? Oh, Jesus was your messenger. Before he was born there were no moralities and He was the first non-psychopath then? Again, holy texts were wrote at most by a few kind people, and then incorporated into religion. But before that, there was still morality, proving human conscience was what wrote religious teachings, not God.

'Your argument appears heavily based around asking rhetorical questions about religion and generalised statements about parents teaching their children about morality.'

And yet, they are solid, logical points that you are unable to rebut.

'Religion has always influenced what we teach our children about what is right and wrong. The teachings that have been embedded into our society over countless generations to suggest that learning morality "has nothing to do with religion" is ignoring that many of the lessons that parents will convey to their children may have some connection to a religious teaching, no matter how vague.', 'Religion still has a very strong influence over modern society, there teachings are generally well known to the majority of the population and it is impossible to argue that religious texts do not preach morality and encourage humanity to be charitable and kind. Taking this into consideration even if you do not practice a religion you presumably are aware of many religious teachings and even agree with some. Therefore, holy texts and religious teachings do play a very predominant role in conveying morality because they are so accessible and influential. Furthermore, even the very basics of religious teachings can be accepted by atheists as similar to their own believes.'

Ah, I see your point. A weak one. Let's say religion never existed at all, no Bible, no ISIS. People would undoubtedly still be living their lives with morality. Why? Because there was morality before religion, there always has been. Does the law have anything to do with religion? No. The laws were written by people, judging with their own conscience what was right and wrong. Conscience is the writer, religion is nothing more than a publisher who barges in and says, 'everything in the book is relevant to me! Remember, it was me who made these values, therefore you all should give full credit to me!'

'I see no reason why you cannot make a connection between someone's moral compass and their beliefs especially since the majority of what people do is motivated by what they believe to be the right thing to do.'

That, my friend, is called conscience, something all humans are well equipped with, and has nothing to do with religion. Basically sums up my main point.

Oh, and by the way, I'm still waiting for a point which can't be easily gunned down.

To end my turn, I'm here to say religion is just for spiritual support, nothing more. Don't use any holy book as your science textbook, nor does religion deserve any credit in the human morality. In this case, it is just something trying to gain attention for what human conscience has done for us. I cringe to even think that the only thing that prevents us humans from being a civilized species is some book with the words of an invisible imaginary dude floating in the sky.
heather07

Con

First of all by definition an Atheist is "A person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods" (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...) I have already openly stated in round two that I do not recognise the existence of a God, if you need further evidence I also don't believe in fate, luck or karma. I just value the religious teachings and recognise the importance and influence of religion in modern society. However, I appreciate your reference to the new Star Wars movie (I must admit that I am a fan) FUN FACT: Jedi is also a religion "0.7% of England and Wales are members of the Jedi church as per the last UK census (2001). Brighton by far as the most consolidated jedi population, where 1 in 50 people are Jedi's" (http://www.jedichurch.org...) I hope this pleases you as then you can be just as dismissive towards the beliefs of a Jedi as you are with the beliefs of a Christian or a Muslim.

The majority of the world still identify themselves with a religious group. According to the Washington times "There are 5.8 billion religiously affiliated adults and children around the globe, representing 84 percent of the 2010 world population of 6.9 billion"" That can be broken down to:

2.2 billion Christians (32 percent of the worlds population).
1.6 billion Muslims (23 percent).
1 billion Hindus (15 percent).
500 million Buddhists (7 percent).
400 million people (6 percent) practising various folk or traditional religions, including African traditional religions, Chinese folk religions, American Indian religions and Australian aboriginal religions

Clearly religion still has a place in our society and plays a massive role in conveying morality. Their teachings are still relevant and accessible to modern society. Therefore, you cannot deny that religious preachings play a massive role in teaching morality. I feel like the majority of your argument has veered a little off track. You seem to be so focused on proving that God doesn't exist that your argument lacks any real relevance to morality.

For example " religion is nothing more than a publisher who barges in and says, 'everything in the book is relevant to me! Remember, it was me who made these values, therefore you all should give full credit to me!" it appears to me that you are focused on a completely different agenda of diminishing the beliefs of those who have faith rather than supporting your own argument. "To end my turn, I'm here to say religion is just for spiritual support, nothing more." That is a rather bold statement to conclude on and you are perfectly entitled to that opinion however, whether you personally disregard religion or not does nothing to support your argument.

You have suggested a number of times that there was morality before religion however, considering how long religion has influenced our culture and the way we have evolved as human beings I find this statement weak. "The world's oldest religion still being practiced today is Hinduism but, in what is considered 'the west', the first records of religious practice come from Egypt around 4000 BCE" (http://www.ancient.eu...) Therefore to suggest that "Because there was morality before religion, there always has been" is such as vague assumption to make it I could just as easily have said there has always been religion. There is no way to prove which of these statements is accurate. However, what we can actually prove is that religion has been embedded into our culture for nearly as long as culture has existed. If religion never existed at all then who knows what would happen. It is perfectly logical to suggest that if religion never existed what we socially consider to be right or wrong would be very different to what we consider today. Furthermore, what we consider to be morally acceptable changes as society changes therefore, what would have been considered socially acceptable 600 years ago for example wouldn't necessarily be considered morally acceptable today and vice versa. Therefore, it is impossible to suggest that without these influences we would be the same society and have the same moral values as we have today.

To conclude. Religion has culturally and historically had an irreversible influence over what we consider morally acceptable in modern society and without religion we would not have the moral expectations we have today. Religion is an important tool for teaching morality to children, religious texts are relevant, accessible and provide the necessary framework for learning about what is right and what is wrong. Furthermore, a lot of the core teachings of any religious text can be applicable by those who do not recognise the existence of god. Therefore I believe that religion plays a vital role in shaping moral society.

Thank you for such a interesting debate, I have enjoyed conversing with you. Well played.
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Peepette 1 year ago
Peepette
RFD Cont. S&G adequate usage exhibited by both. Conduct was mutually respectful.
Posted by Peepette 1 year ago
Peepette
RFD: Pro contends that morality can and does exist without religion, dogs" behavior toward humans (contentious) and children brought up atheist behave morally. Con makes point that religion, even prior to writings of holy books existed and is ingrained into society. Pro rebuts that laws are not based on religion but by conscience. Although both sides make good points, Con's rebuttals regarding the ingrained nature of religion in society throughout the history, and awareness of such is known to people who do not practice is more strongly argued. Conduct, S&G, and source points tied. Con uses sources to validate his points but, as "common knowledge" items were not influential toward his end.
Posted by Jedd 1 year ago
Jedd
bump
Posted by Jedd 1 year ago
Jedd
you too m8. well played
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