The Instigator
HandsOff
Pro (for)
Losing
39 Points
The Contender
Yraelz
Con (against)
Winning
48 Points

In general, religion is cute, cuddly, and nice to have around.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/21/2008 Category: Religion
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,806 times Debate No: 2853
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (26)
Votes (24)

 

HandsOff

Pro

I think most would agree that religion is nice to have around, whether they are believers or not. Christianity, for example, keeps people positive by giving them the hope that they will go on living forever. Also, many of the 10 Commandments mirror existing laws and/or encourage positive behavior (i.e. do not steal, kill, lie, commit adultery, etc.). Most religious texts are full of useful wisdom and examples of how to live happily. Christ promoted kindness, tolerance and brotherly love, among other virtues. The same could be said of Buddha and Mohammad. I personally know many people who would not be nearly as happy without their religious beliefs. I believe the United States would be a much gloomier place today if the average person did not have his religion.
Yraelz

Con

Yraelz forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 1
HandsOff

Pro

Based on the little time you spent on "cute" and "cuddly," I'm assuming you knew both were figures of speech. "Nice to have around" is the real question at hand. Also, it looks like you need clarification on my meaning of "in General." By this I mean in most cases, or most of the time. By pointing to the obvious exception of satanism, it seems you took it to mean ALL religions or ALL of the time.

"Let us start with the crusades."

My statement read: "Religion... IS nice to have around." The fact that there were periods of time when religion caused more harm than good is already acknowledged and is not at odds with my statement. So you reference to the Crusades/Inquisitions does not apply.

"Look at the wars even now"

This DOES apply, but can be easily overcome by citing the fact that today billions of people use religion daily for positive purposes. They do not let the bad deeds of the comparatively few cause them to renounce their religions or to believe their observances are no longer worthwhile.

"Religion has influenced almost every war that has ever been fought"

That encompasses quite a number of years, and again, we are talking about today. So let's talk about today. Today, BILLIONS of people will enjoy and benefit from their religion, as evidenced by its popularity. I would imagine that, also today, a few hundred will be killed or harmed in the name of religion. I hold that since far more will be helped than hurt, they should not be deterred by the actions a the radical few. This "taking the good despite the bad" is not uncommon. For example, millions use and enjoy automobiles each day despite the fact that thousands die in automobile accidents each day. I would not see you arguing against the fact that automobiles, in general, are nice to have around. As with the automobile, billions benefit from their religion each day, while relatively few are harmed.

"It radicalizes people."

Yes, as I mentioned above, it does create fanaticism. But, again, only in the minority. And even then, a relatively small number would allow their fanaticism to inspire violence. I consider fundamentalist Christians in to be fairly fanatic, but I do not fear them.

"... I don't consider Christianity or any of religion to be nice."

My opening argument handles most of this. I gave several examples of good deeds encouraged by religion, and you addressed none of them. Instead you cited witch burnings and other atrocities from long ago. The bottom line is that TODAY most religious people are encouraged to do good deeds and avoid evil.

"Handsoff says he knows many people who could not live happily without it"

I said they would not be nearly AS happy without it. There is no hope for an afterlife if you are an atheist. This does not give me or most other atheists the warm fuzzies. That is why atheism is such an intellectually honest position. It is a position based purely on objective reasoning, despite attractive emotional whims. Religion, on the other hand, provides comfort, purpose and hope to the many by promising a better earthly life and an even better afterlife. Even if the comfort experienced by the religious is a result of the placebo effect, its value is not diminish. And despite some bad apples, the good behavior and worthwhile deeds promoted by believers is generally beneficial.
Yraelz

Con

Second speech of the day. Here goes.

My opponent begins by arguing that cute and cuddly are simply figures of speech, this is true however does not discredit either point. Look to both of my points on the issue and the idea of fire and brimstone preaching. These are examples of religion in that status quo that are not nice at all.

From here we begin our argument concerning the crusades. My opponent simply argues that this is not happening in the status quo and therefor does not fall under the definition of "is". This point has no grounding what-so-ever, this would be like looking at a man who had killed 3 of your family members and saying, "hmmm he seems cute, cuddly, and nice right now, considering he isn't killing anyone." Except for the fact that we are talking about the crusades and inquisition here in which thousands died. The fact that it isn't currently killing people in mass doesn't change the fact that it is not cute, cuddly, or nice.

Next we have my opponents argument that wars caused by religion don't matter at all. Main points:

1. Concession that wars happen and are caused by religion.
2. Absolutely no examples of where religion is used as a benefit.
3. Examples that contain religion being used as a benefit could be achieved just as well without religion. Just because I'm not saying, "Jesus loves you" while I am feeding starving African children doesn't mean they are not getting fed.

From here my opponent begins to argue that wars fought over religion don't matter because they are not today, please cross apply my point from crusades. He then goes on to justify the idea that religion helps many people by saying it is popular. This a fallacy quite commonly known as the appeal to popularity. The idea is simple, point out to people that many other people are doing something so that they feel they should do it. A common example would be on the middle school playground, "Hey Timmy, want to try some drugs? Everyone is doing them. Yum!" This is obviously fallacious. In this case the problem with my opponents point is the fact that a majority of children are brought up being religious. 18 years of having an idea ingrained in ones head is no basis for saying that religion is good because of popularity.

Next my opponent agrees that religion does create fanaticism. This is a point for my case. He goes on to say that relatively few cases actually inspire violence, thus I would like my voters to look to the fact that he agrees wars have been caused by religion. If wars are not violence I'm not really sure what is. My opponent is attempting to belittle wars, but in this day in age when wars have the chance to go nuclear they can be seen as the #1 largest impact. Wars, especially nuclear wars, outweigh any benefits.

Thus begins my opponents line of thought about religion encouraging good and discouraging evil. This idea has no founding in this debate for exactly two reasons.

1. No proof, until my opponent brings me some kind of proof that the "good" teaching of some of these religions actually have an impact on society we cannot accept this point as evidence in this debate.

2. Good and Evil are completely subjective and this website is an amazing example. Think of all the debates we have seen on this website about how Islam is the #1 threat to America. I have even had a debate on codified theistic satanism. Good and Evil are all a matter of opinion. Matters of opinion have 0 founding in debate.

Finally my opponent finishes his speech with this,

"There is no hope for an afterlife if you are an atheist. This does not give me or most other atheists the warm fuzzies. That is why atheism is such an intellectually honest position. It is a position based purely on objective reasoning, despite attractive emotional whims."

This is simply not true, an atheist still has hundreds of different philosophies to choose from, just because they are not accepting a deity does not mean that they suddenly have no hope what-so-ever. An atheist has every ability to believe that the body has a soul which will go on after death on some other plane. (Almost sounds like transcendentalism.) Under religion ones beliefs are nailed down and set as one predetermined thing. An atheist on the other hand has every opportunity to change his/her philosophy to whatever suites them. Take me as an amazing example, I believe everyone creates their own meaning in life. This makes me far happier than having to believe in a deity ever would. Atheism offers choice and as my opponent says, an intellectually honest position. Choice easily beats no choice and brings greater happiness.

In conclusion my opponent attempts to discredit my points about religion in the past and then attempts to prove that religion helps many through his appeal to popularity. The bottom line is this, religion is an intellectually dishonest position which creates radicalized viewpoints which lead to wars. This is EMPIRICALLY proven! The cycle has been perpetuated for thousands of years, and this is not something we can allow for in present times. War now has the chance to go nuclear, nuclear war outweighs every impact my opponent could possibly bring into this debate.

Thanks.
Debate Round No. 2
HandsOff

Pro

Oh no. I never thought I'd have to be debating the meaning of "is." I gave you many reasons as to why religion is nice to have around today and explained that most encourages positive thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Look at my round-1 paragraph again.

"Christianity, for example, keeps people positive by giving them the hope that they will go on living forever. Also, many of the 10 Commandments mirror existing laws and/or encourage positive behavior (i.e. do not steal, kill, lie, commit adultery, etc.). Most religious texts are full of useful wisdom and examples of how to live happily. Christ promoted kindness, tolerance and brotherly love, among other virtues. The same could be said of Buddha and Mohammad. I personally know many people who would not be nearly as happy without their religious beliefs. I believe the United States would be a much gloomier place today if the average person did not have his religion."

"until my opponent brings me some kind of proof that the "good" teaching of some of these religions actually have an impact on society we cannot accept this point as evidence in this debate."

See my opening argument again (do not kill, steal, etc.)

"from here I will begin discussing the crusades"

You did that in your previous argument and after I mentioned that I was aware of horrible campaigns of the past. Now you bring it up again. You brought nothing new to the table in your 2nd argument other than the weight of nuclear threat. That would require us to debate the merits of religion based on what MIGHT happen. Again, I'm talking about religion in our everyday lives-- today. I supported this claim in my previous remarks, and they went not only unchallenged, but unrecognized by you. My case still stands.
Yraelz

Con

Alright my summary will be very brief indeed.

My opponent completely drops my round 2 argument under the good and evils of religion labeled point 1. This point said quite clearly,

"1. No proof, until my opponent brings me some kind of proof that the "good" teaching of some of these religions actually have an impact on society we cannot accept this point as evidence in this debate."

To elaborate a little bit. There are many texts out there that teach good things, that say good things etc.... but this does not mean that all of them have a good effect on our society, are interpreted in the right way, or even are considered.

Some people may live their lives exactly as if off the bible's word but this is a very small minority, and a minority that is clearly canceled out when the fact that religion has radicalized entire peoples and caused countless wars is considered.

Cross apply my point about fire and brimstone preachers. Radicalized Christians who have taken the idea in a totally different way.

Cross apply my point two that states good and evil is completely subjective, one religions good might be another religions evil. Look specifically to the example of this site and its many Islam debates to prove this point.

In summary my opponent's last speech clarifies that many religions have good teachings. My point is simply that these teaching have little effect on society and can even be misconstrued.

Finally my opponent argues that things religion have done in the past has no relevance now. Let me clarify, I'm not saying that you as voters should weigh the fact that religion has killed many people in the past. I am stating that religion, through empirical proof, kills people and is still killing people today. Saying that religion is nice just because its not committing a mass genocide at this point in time is like saying a murder is nice because at the moment he's only hurting people. =)

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3
26 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by HandsOff 9 years ago
HandsOff
Yraelz,
Not so cuddly. That's why I had to use the term "in general."
Posted by Yraelz 9 years ago
Yraelz
Check this out Handsoff =)

http://www.upi.com...
Posted by Yraelz 9 years ago
Yraelz
True that, but, I'm not sure saying the government has killed more than religion makes religion cute, cuddly or nice.

Like me saying that Jack the Ripper killed more than Sweeney Tod, therefor Sweeney is cuddly. ~.^
Posted by acas 9 years ago
acas
Yes, Religion is political. maybe you mentioned it, but governments have killed more in the pursuit of their own power than religions have, especially in the last 80 years(Mao-starving his people with agrarian policies- some historians say 20-40 million, Hitler with his economic left leaning policies, combined with state religion which he eventually would disolve, his murderous tactics, and finally Lenin/Stalin who basically killed a country along with millions of people in the name of equality. By the way I know Hands Off really well. FYI
Posted by Yraelz 9 years ago
Yraelz
Religion has always been mostly political. Its an easy way to unify people. -shrug-
Posted by HandsOff 9 years ago
HandsOff
Good point. I don't agree with why many religious people believe what they do, but it's hard to knock the pursuit of good behavior.
Posted by acas 9 years ago
acas
It is true religion mimics current laws or laws mimic bibical rules of behavior. religion is really a roadmap to good behavior, albeit the religious ferver we have seen in the middle east and the during the crusades. Recalling the crusades we should remember it was more political than religious as the moors were encroaching their beliefs and way of life on others as they moved forward in Europe. I certainly will yield to the "con" on the inquisition as it was abhorrent.

I think christianity has evolved, I am hoping other religions do the same and we can live peacefully with differences.
alicia
Posted by HandsOff 9 years ago
HandsOff
The only thing is, we agree on most of the damage people have done in the name of religion in the past. I also agree that people do some horrible things to day, but that they probably do not spoil the benefits enjoyed by religious people, as evidenced by their continued involvement despite the downside-- my automobile argument.

I try to whittled my topics statements down to an often overlooked, but irrefutable, fact. I may have made a mistake by not confining my topic to modern-day U.S. Using geography and chronology, we can find areas and times where religion caused much more bad than good. Since my goal is no to argue that which is not absolutely true, any future topic statement would be pretty narrow and difficult for you to defend. But I'm game.
Posted by Yraelz 9 years ago
Yraelz
Hey HandsOff, I would be interested in having another debate with you later on about this idea. Or anything about religion. Drop me a comment if you are interested.
Posted by HandsOff 9 years ago
HandsOff
Yeah, I was just messing with you.
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