The Instigator
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6 Points
The Contender
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0 Points

Is religion a force of evil in the world?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/11/2015 Category: Religion
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 417 times Debate No: 78575
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




Anyone accept?
Use Round 1 as just answer to this question.
Thank You.


I accept, and before we continue, would you mind listing the definitions of Religion, force and evil? There are many different things that come to my mind when you say Religion, and what I am thinking may be totally different then what you consider "religion" to be. I just want to be on your page, Good luck!
Debate Round No. 1


Religion: the belief in & worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God/s and acting on their supposed fervent in their doctrines.

Force: coercion or compulsion, especially with the use or threat of violence.

Evil: Morally bad. Causing harm or injury to someone. Crimes against humanity. Doing evil deeds that normal people regard as immoral, because they believe they have unproven divine permission.

Religion looks forward to the destruction of the world, perhaps half aware that its unsupported arguments are not entirely persuasive, and perhaps uneasy about its own greedy accumulation of temporal power & wealth, religion has never ceased to proclaim the Apocalypse and the day of judgment.
Religion comes from the period of human prehistory where the bawling and fearful infancy of our species, and is a babyish attempt to meet our inescapable demand for knowledge (as well as for comfort, reassurance, and other infantile needs). Why do religious people look so forward to the annihilation of everyone? That seems to be so callous and inhuman.

Faith is the surrender of the mind; it's the surrender of reason, it's the surrender of the only thing that makes us different from other mammals. It's our need to believe, and to surrender our skepticism and our reason, our yearning to discard that and put all our trust or faith in someone or something, that is the sinister thing to me. Of all the supposed virtues, faith must be the most overrated.

Now of the commandments, the first three are entirely about fearing the author of the audits, entirely about being terrified of someone you're enjoined to love. I don't know about you, but the idea of compulsory love has always struck me as a bit shady, especially if you're ordered to love someone who you absolutely must fear. So, the first three are: look out for me, and keep at least one day of my way or you'll be terrified full-time.
Is it too modern to notice that there is nothing[in the 10 commandments]about the protection of children from cruelty, nothing about rape, nothing about slavery, and nothing about genocide? Or is it too exactingly"in context"to notice that some of these very offenses are about to be positively recommended?

is it moral to believe that your sins, can be forgiven by the punishment of another person? Is it ethical to believe that? I would submit that the doctrine of vicarious redemption by human sacrifice is utterly immoral. I might, if I wished, even if I didn't know you but I just loved the idea of you(compulsory love is another sickly element of Christianity),I could say if I really loved someone who had been sentenced to prison if I say I'd serve your sentence, but I can't take away your responsibilities. I can't forgive what you did, I can't say you didn't do it, I can't make you washed clean. The name for that in primitive middle eastern society was"scapegoating."You pile the sins of the tribe on a goat, you drive that goat into the desert to die of thirst and hunger. And you think you've taken away the sins of the tribe. This is a positively immoral doctrine that abolishes the concept of personal responsibility on which all ethics and all morality must depend.
It has a further implication. Im told that I have to have a share in this human sacrifice even though it took place long before I was born. I have no say in it happening, I wasn't consulted about it. No, no, I'm implicated in it, I, myself, drove in the nails, I was present at Calvary, it confirms the original filthy sin in which I was conceived and born, the sin of Adam in Genesis. Again, this may sound a mad belief, but it is the Christian belief. Well it's here that we find something very sinister about monotheism and about religious practice in general: It is incipiently at least, and I think often explicitly, totalitarian. I have no say in this. I am born under a celestial dictatorship which I could not have had any hand in choosing. I don't put myself under its government. I am told that it can watch me while I sleep. I'm told that it can convict me of"here's the definition of totalitarianism"thought crime, for what I think I may be convicted & condemned. And that if I commit a right action, it's only to evade this punishment and if I commit a wrong action, I'm going to be caught up not just with punishment in life for what I've done which often follows axiomatically, but, no, even after I'm dead. In the Old Testament, gruesome as it is, recommending as it is of genocide, racism, tribalism, slavery, genital mutilation, in the displacement & destruction of others.
Only toward when Jesus, makes his appearance are those who won't accept the message told they must depart into everlasting fire. Is this morality, is this ethics? I submit not only is it not, not only does it come with the false promise of vicarious redemption, but it is the origin of the totalitarian principle which has been such a burden and shame to our species for so long. I further think that it undermines us in our most essential integrity. It dissolves our obligation to live and witness in truth.

If you"re going to be a serious grown-up person, and appear to defend religion mainly catholic church, you simply have to start by making a great number of heartfelt apologies and requests for contrition and forgiveness. Now you might ask. You"re fully entitled to ask, who am I to say that? Well, in the jubilee millennium year of 2000 the Vatican spokesman Bishop Piero Marini said, explaining a whole sermon of apology given by His Holiness the Pope, given the number of sins we've committed in the course of twenty centuries, reference to them must necessarily be rather summary. Well I think Bishop Marini had that just about right, I'll have to be summary, too. His Holiness on that occasion"it was March the 12th, 2000, begged forgiveness for, among some other things, the crusades, the Inquisition, the persecution of the Jewish people, in justice towards women, that's half the human race right there, and the forced conversion of indigenous peoples, especially in South America, the African slave trade, the admission that Galileo was right, and for silence during Hitler's Final Solution or Shoah. It doesn't end there, there are smaller but significant"equally significant"avowals of a very bad conscience. These have included regret for the rape & torture of orphans & other children in church-run schools in almost every country on Earth. These are very serious matters, and they're not to be laughed off by the references to the occasional work of Catholic charities. I think that there will be an apology for what happened in Rwanda, the most Catholic country in Africa, where priests, nuns & bishops are on trial, for inciting from their pulpits and on the Church"s and radio stations the massacre of their brothers and sisters. Staying in Africa, I think it will one day be admitted with shame that it might have been in error to say that AIDS is bad as a disease, but not quite as bad as condoms are bad, or not as immoral in the same way.

If God exists, we have to do what he says, if he doesn't, we can do what we like. Now just apply this in practice and theory. Is it not said of God's chosen people and is it not said to them by God in the Pentateuch that they can do exactly as they like to other people? They can enslave them, they can take their land, they can take their women, they can destroy all their young men, they can help themselves to all their virgins, they can do what anyone who had no sense of anything but their own rights would be able to do, but in this case with divine permission. Doesn't that make it somewhat more evil?

The empirical evidence, so-called adduced, that a religious faith can lead to greater health and well-being, I, in a sense, do not doubt it. In other words, I can easily imagine those who think they are the special object of a divine design, feel better for thinking so. If you're going to claim this for one, how are you not going to claim it for all? Do we not hear incessantly that the Hamas organization in Gaza is a provider of welfare to the poorest of the poor? For all I know, it's true. It not only says nothing about the validity of their theology, but it must say a certain amount at least about our willingness to think wishfully,They say"Don't judge religion by its fundamentalists and its extremists."No, why should I? I don't have to. I judge it by its foundational texts & I judge it by the statements of its authorities. Take a case from the Muslim foundational documents, the Hadith, which have equal conical authority. They say if someone becomes an apostate, leaves or changes their religion, they must be killed. The sentence is death. Don't anyone be telling me that's a metaphor.
Back to the cure for poverty--It eluded people for a long time--is called the empowerment of women. If you give women some control over the rate at which they reproduce, if you give them some say, take them off the animal cycle of reproduction to which nature and some religious doctrine condemns them, and then if you'll throw in a handful of credit, the floor of everything in that village, not just poverty, but education, health, etc. will increase. Try it in Bangladesh, try it in Bolivia, it works. Name me one religion that stands for that. Wherever you look in the world and you try to remove the shackles of ignorance and disease stupidity from women, it's invariably the clerisy that stands in the way.

Divine permission given to people who think they have God on their side enables actions that a morally normal unbeliever would not contemplate. The mutilation of genitalia of children, who would do that if it wasn't decided that God wanted it? Morally normal and intelligent people find themselves saying fatuously wicked things when this subject comes up. The suicide bombing community is entirely faith based. The genital mutilation community is entirely faith based. Slavery is mandated by the Bible.


Fletch290 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Don't anyone say that religion, in this case Christianity, does not IMPOSE. What if you reject this offer, what are you told? What have you been told by centuries of Christians if you reject this offer that took place by means of a torture to death of a human being that you didn't want and should have prevented if you could? What if you reject the offer? And if you accept it you have eternal life and your sins are forgiven. Oh, great. What a horrible way to abolish your own responsibility and get your own bliss. I don't want it. Oh, you don't? Well then you can go to hell. This is not imposed? This hasn't been preached to children by gruesome elderly virgins backed by force for centuries? This hasn't poisoned whole societies? No, of course it's imposed, it's not voluntary. The Pope of Rome, as I call"the Bishop of Rome, Mr. Ratzinger, Herr Ratzinger"has recently said actually it's worse than that: only my version of Christianity can get you salvation, there is only one way. I say it here on There's only one. You presumably don't believe that because if you're an Anglican, but on what basis do you tell the Pope that he's a heretic? Once you grant this stuff, once you start with this white noise chat about redemption, where's it going to end? Of course there's nothing voluntary about it and I must say the book of Revelations seems one of the less voluntary texts of the"all it does is look forward gleefully to Apocalypse, and to the passing away of this veil of tears into our ultimate destruction. This is morality? I don't think so.

Well, here"s how religion has this effect, it is derived from the childhood of our species, from the bawling, fearful period of infancy. It comes from the time when we did not know that we lived on an orb; we thought we lived on a disc. And we did not know that we went around the sun or that the sky was not a dome; when we didn"t know that there was a germ theory to explain disease, and innumerable theories for the explanation of things like famine. It comes from a time when we had no good answers, but because we are pattern-seeking animals (a good thing about us), and because we will prefer even a conspiracy theory or a junk theory to no theory at all (a bad thing about us). This is and was our first attempt of philosophy, just as in some ways, it was our first attempt at science, and it was all founded on and remains founded on a complete misapprehension about the origins, first of the universe, and second, about human nature. We now know a great deal about the origins of the universe, and a great deal about our own nature. I've just had my DNA sequenced by National Geographic. You should all, by the way, get this done. It"s incredibly important to find out how racism and creationism have been abolished by this extraordinary scientific breakthrough, how you can find out your kinship with all your fellow creatures originating in Africa; but also, your kinship with other forms of life including not just animal but plant, and you get an idea of how you are part of nature, and how that"s wonderful enough. And we know from Stephen Hawking and from many others, Steven Weinberg and many other great physicists, an enormous amount now about what Professor Weinberg's brilliant book calls the "first three minutes," the concept of the Big Bang. And we can be as sure as we could probably need be that neither this enormous explosion that set the universe in motion, which is still moving away from us in a great rate, nor this amazingly complex billion dollar"billion year period of evolution, we can be pretty certain it was not designed so that you and I could be meeting in this room. We are not the objects of either of these plans. These plans don"t know we"re here. I"m sorry to say, wouldn"t know or care if we stopped being here. We have to face this alone with the equipment, intellectual and moral, that we"ve been given, or that we've acquired, or that is innate to us. And here"s another way in which religion poisons matters: it begins by saying, well, why don't we lie to ourselves instead, why don"t we pretend that we"re not going to die, or that an exception can be made at least in our own case if we make the right propitiations or the right moves. Why do we not pretend that the things like modern diseases which we can sequence now, sequence the genes of, like AIDS, are the punishment for wickedness and fornication? Why don't we keep fooling ourselves that there is a divine superintendent of all this because it would abolish the feeling of loneliness and possibly even of irrelevance that we might otherwise have. In other words, why don"t we surrender to wish thinking? That poisons everything, in my opinion. Right away, it attacks the very basic integrity that we need to conduct the scrupulous inquiries, investigations, experiments, interrogations of evidence that we need to survive and to prosper and to grow. And it's no coincidence, no accident that almost every scientific advance has been made in the teeth of religious opposition of one form or another that says we shouldn"t be tampering with God"s design. I suppose the most recent and most dangerous one of these is the attempt to limit stem cell research. But everyone could probably think of other forms of scientific research and inquiry, especially medical that had led to religious persecution, in reprisal. Thirdly, it"s an attack, I think, on what"s also very important to us, our innate morality. If there"s one point that I get made more than another to me when I go and debate religious people, it's this, the say, "Where would your morals come from if there was no God?" It"s actually"it"s a question that"s posed in Dostoyevsky's wonderful novel The Brothers Karamazov, one of the brothers says"Smerdyakov, actually, the wicked one, says it: "If God is dead, isn"t everything permitted, isn"t everything permissible? Where would our ethics be if there was no superintending duty?" This, again, seems to me a very profound insult to us in our very deepest nature and character. It is not the case, I submit to you, that we do not set about butchering and raping and thieving from each other right now only because we"re afraid of a divine punishment or because we"re looking for a divine reward. It's an extraordinarily base and insulting thing to say to people.

The absolute morality that a religious person might profess would include what,
1. stoning people for adultery,

And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. Leviticus 20.10

2. death for apostasy,

If thy brother ... or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods ... Thou shalt not consent unto him ... neither shall thine eye pity him ... But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. Deuteronomy 13.6-10

3. punishment for breaking the Sabbath?

They found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day ... and the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones. Numbers 15.32-36

My point is religion brings more harm than good. For example:
Why does one do the right thing, or what one hopes is the right thing, when no one's looking? Why does a Muslim cab driver go to all the trouble to come back to my apartment building when I didn't have his number to return a large sum of money I left on his back seat, said it was his religious duty. But if I allow him to say that that's his religious duty, what am I going to say when he says it's his religious duty to veil his wife or to blow himself up, or to impose Sharia Law? If you grant it once, you have to grant the whole thing.
Any moral non-believer can bring the wallet back just as the muslim did but a non-believer has no god to tell them to treat women as slaves, stone people for adultery, kill a room full of people all because the mighty allah said so.

The suicide bombers in Palestine are driven by religious doctrine. Have you read the manifestos of these suicide bombers? Have you seen the videos they make? Have you seen the manifestos they put out? The propaganda that they generate? These are not people in despair. These are people in a state of religious exultation. Who are promised everything. Who are in a state of hope. Who are in a state of adoration for their evil mullahs. And for their filthy religion. It's this that makes them think they have the right to kill others while taking their own lives.

It is to excuse the vicious, filthy forces of Islamic jihad to offer any other explanation but that it is their own evil preaching, their own vile religion, their own racism, their own apocalyptic ideology that makes them think they have the right to kill everyone in this room, and go to paradise as a reward. I won't listen, nor should you, to anyone who euphemizes or excuses this evil wicked thing.
-- Christopher Hitchens

These are all evil religious based doctrines and ones that could not have been done by a non-believer of any religion. I will go back to my question I proposed in the debate:

You are to name a moral action undertaken or a moral and ethical statement made by a believer (I dare say you can do it). You are then to say that you cannot imagine a non-believer making this moral statement or undertaking this moral action.


Think of something wicked that only a believer would be likely to do or something wicked that only a believer would be likely to say. You"ve already thought of it. The suicide bombing community is entirely religious. The genital mutilation community is entirely religious.

Human decency is not derived from religion. It precedes it. Thank You.


Fletch290 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by roguetech 1 year ago
"that a religious faith can lead to greater health and well-being"

There is, as yet, no evidence to support this claim (other than using a rather broad "can"). Studies have shown that religiosity is correlated to certain mental and physical health benefits. However, that does not address "faith", let alone specifically "religious faith". They do not compare religion to other beliefs systems. Essentially, the only conclusion we can draw from them - aside from causality not being determined - is that IF you are going to be religious, be more religious.
Posted by Fletch290 1 year ago
Sorry I missed the deadline pro, I have been very busy.
Still not much of an excuse
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by lannan13 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture