The Instigator
danielawesome12
Con (against)
Losing
2 Points
The Contender
TruthTrust
Pro (for)
Winning
11 Points

Is religion necessary in humanity

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
TruthTrust
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/17/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,334 times Debate No: 32594
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (0)
Votes (3)

 

danielawesome12

Con

the 1st round accept sides, 2nd debate, 3rd refutation.
TruthTrust

Pro

I'll take the pro side on this debate. This is my first time to debate on this forum so please excuse any faux pas I might make.
Debate Round No. 1
danielawesome12

Con

It is my belief this religion is unnecessary in humanity
source: http://voices.yahoo.com...

When dealing with religion it is necessary to understand what religion is. Merriam-Webster give four definitions three are applicable to the use of religion in this article:
1 a : the state of a religious b (1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
2 : a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
4 : a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith

History of religion
The belief in gods has existed sense the dawn of civilization and probably predates civilization. Historically people believed in many gods in fact historically polytheism was the rule rather than the exception. These gods usually ether governed or were personifications of aspects of nature and humanity.
But where did the idea of gods come from? Humans have a tenancy to see agency where there is none[1] and people thousands of years ago lacked the knowledge of how the world worked, why the sun moved across the sky, why it rains, etc. These two things came together to produce primitive religion, people explained unexplained phenomena with gods spirits and other supernatural agents.
But where did monotheism come from? Ancient polytheistic religions had many gods but they didn't necessarily worship every god in a pantheon, some worshiped a single god but believed in others. This is called henotheism. There is evidence that ancient Israelites were henotheistic. The use of the word "us" and "our" instead of "I" and "my" in Genesis[2] indicate that the ancient Israelites were polytheistic. The first commandment indicates that the ancient Israelites believed in other gods but worshiped Yahweh above all other gods[3] and there are indications that the ancient Israelites believed Yahweh was the greatest of the gods[4]. It is not clear at what point but at some point the Israelites changed from a henotheism to monotheism[5].
While Judaism is the oldest monotheistic religion in existence today it was by no means the first. Atenism is a religion started by Pharaoh Akhenaten in the 1350's BCE. The only god of it was the Aten, a sun god. The religion was the state religion of Egypt during the reign Akhenaten. After the death of Akhenaten the succeeding Pharaoh Tutankhamun restored Egypts state religion. Later Pharaohs disassembled Akhenaten's temples and erased Akhenaten, Tutankhamun and Ay (the Pharaoh who succeeded Tutankhamun) from the official list of Pharaohs and attempted to erase them from Egyptian written history.

History of religion
The belief in gods has existed sense the dawn of civilization and probably predates civilization. Historically people believed in many gods in fact historically polytheism was the rule rather than the exception. These gods usually ether governed or were personifications of aspects of nature and humanity.
But where did the idea of gods come from? Humans have a tenancy to see agency where there is none[1] and people thousands of years ago lacked the knowledge of how the world worked, why the sun moved across the sky, why it rains, etc. These two things came together to produce primitive religion, people explained unexplained phenomena with gods spirits and other supernatural agents.
But where did monotheism come from? Ancient polytheistic religions had many gods but they didn't necessarily worship every god in a pantheon, some worshiped a single god but believed in others. This is called henotheism. There is evidence that ancient Israelites were henotheistic. The use of the word "us" and "our" instead of "I" and "my" in Genesis[2] indicate that the ancient Israelites were polytheistic. The first commandment indicates that the ancient Israelites believed in other gods but worshiped Yahweh above all other gods[3] and there are indications that the ancient Israelites believed Yahweh was the greatest of the gods[4]. It is not clear at what point but at some point the Israelites changed from a henotheism to monotheism[5].
While Judaism is the oldest monotheistic religion in existence today it was by no means the first. Atenism is a religion started by Pharaoh Akhenaten in the 1350's BCE. The only god of it was the Aten, a sun god. The religion was the state religion of Egypt during the reign Akhenaten. After the death of Akhenaten the succeeding Pharaoh Tutankhamun restored Egypts state religion. Later Pharaohs disassembled Akhenaten's temples and erased Akhenaten, Tutankhamun and Ay (the Pharaoh who succeeded Tutankhamun) from the official list of Pharaohs and attempted to erase them from Egyptian written history.[6][7]

Effects religion and theism have on the modern world
Before I go on I want to say that I know most religious people in the developed world and non-religious people who believe in a god or gods are not bad people nor would they try to block or censer information or scientific findings that contradict their beliefs. But they are not the problem.

The main problem with religion particularly theistic religion is that they are authoritarian in nature and it is that authoritarian nature that makes it dangerous. Whether the authority is Yahweh, Allah, some other god, the king of the gods, priests, preachers, rabbis, mullahs, or a book, the authority is the authority and the authority is right regardless of what others or you say and think. The authority is not to be questioned.
This is exemplified in Islamic terrorism; those who fight and kill the infidels are "martyrs" and will go to heaven. They are on the side of Allah and Allah supports their action. This in their minds justifies actions like attacking civilian targets including woman and children. They believe they are justified in the eyes of Allah so they can do such things and get reworded for them in the afterlife no matter how illogical, irrational or how ineffective the tactics are.
The creationism movement in the U.S. also exemplifies it; the bible is true and inerrant, science contradicts genesis thus science is wrong no matter what the evidence says. This is exacerbated by the idea that their version of Christianity is the right one and those that do not follow the Christian religion are doomed to suffer in hell forever. So they end up trying to push their religion into schools and when that fails they try to push a pseudoscience into schools in order to try and replace scientific theories with theistic explanations.[8]
But the best example are those who attempt to justify Yahweh or Allah cruelty in the bible or Qur'an and the Christian or Muslim concept of hell (the eternal suffering one, not the modern concept of a separation from Yahweh/Allah/god) by arguing that Gods actions are always good because he is God. That no matter how cruel and evil an action obviously is, it is good because God is the creator of the universe.
Its not hard to imagine how such authoritarian mindsets can have profound effects on the world. Imagine some one with a mental illness having such a mindset, some one in a position of power with such a mindset or someone with access to the nuclear button who has such a mindset.

Religion promotes beliefs in unsubstantiated claims; the existence of god(s), demons, magic, spirits, the afterlife, etc. These beliefs in unsubstantiated claims do effect how people view them selves and the world.
While in the developed world most people have left ideas of demons and magic behind and their beliefs in spirits are limited to souls and mostly harmless ghosts but in the in parts of the world that are more superstitious these beliefs still exist. In many parts of the world people are still killed for being witches[9][10][11][12][13]. But aren't these witch hunts caused by superstition and ignorance not religion? Of course superstition and ignorance plays a large part but religion plays a part too.
TruthTrust

Pro

I could argue for Religion on the merits of Faith in the Divine and its necessity for the Soul. But while I believe these, I"m not interested in pursuing any of them today. I"m interested in proving the necessity of Religion by more material elements of proof. What is its practical impact for the individual? What is it good for?

Disease is not all that different no matter where it"s found whether in the human body, the human psyche or within human culture. It saps the hardy health of the body. It takes away our energy, leaving us ill-prepared for active participation in life. It creates chemical or mental imbalances. It disintegrates and destroys. It is truly the closest companion of death. I suggest that Religion acts as an immune system within the individual"protecting him against depression and anxiety.

Religion is necessary for the prevention and cure of Depression and anxiety in the individual.
Duke University Professor Mark Chaves wrote a paper entitled "The Decline of American Religion?" noting a steady decline in Religious affiliations and ties in America since the 1960s with a more marked decline since 1990. Jean Twenge of Sand Diego State University published a paper noting a dramatic increase in anxiety and depression in young people since the 1950s (A Cross Temporal Meta-Analysis of the MMPI). Interestingly, she noted the shift in young peoples goals. They shifted from "intrinsic" goals (developing a meaningful philosophy of life in large part) in the 1950s to "extrinsic" (material rewards and others opinions) in modern times.

I would assert that there is no better tool for the instilment of a meaningful "philosophy of life" in young people than a Religion taught them from the time they are born. I would also argue, in addition, that by definition #4 of your proffered definition for Religion that all philosophies of life whether individual or collective are included within said definition. Therefore this "Philosophy of Life" this preventative measure against depression"which 21 million Americans are now depressed by the way and it is the 11th leading killer in our country"is identical to your definition of Religion. This is what people desperately need and yet you want to take it from them? It is the immune system that prevents the rampant disease of depression, but you would say that it is not necessary that it is a pipe dream, a fancy? :shakes head:

Not only is Religion an excellent preventative against depression and anxiety and all the pain and death that those diseases cause, but it also provides an excellent treatment for those afflictions. In 1907 the noted Psychologist and Philosopher William James (brother of the novelist Henry James) published a book entitled "The Varieties of Religious Experience". In this book he noted the ability of Religion to provide a particularly uplifting and beneficial emotion an "enthusiastic temper of espousal". I myself have noted this very emotion upon attending services and I have also noted a particular side effect it has"it makes my own depression disappear for several hours. But don"t take my word for it, James noted this same propensity in his studies. He noted several cases, even including that of the novelist Tolstoy, who somewhere in their lives (and often as in Tolstoy"s case when they are in possession of all of the money they can ever use and all the fruits of a life well lived) all the happiness and satisfaction simply falls out of them and in these matters which they once found so much joy. Money, prestige, family they all seem petty vanities and the lives they built become "dry as dust". Tolstoy contemplated suicide, many do and unfortunately many accomplish it.

What is to be done for these poor people? James noted the solution from Tolstoy"s own life. Tolstoy underwent a conversion"a complete and total conversion he was rescued by Religion. There are many stories of such conversions. But, James noted, "the Deliverance must come in as strong a form as the complaint," in order for this to succeed. Given the depths of these depressions there can be no truly effective curative than 1. A Religion with its strength in a church and people outside of that of the weak sufferer to help pull him through, and 2. A Religion that transcends the material conditions which often afflicted him in the first place. While all Religions possess the preventative mentioned above, fewer possess the curative mentioned here"although I would suggest it can be found in both Western Religions and in some of those stemming from the Far East.

How can you say that these aspects of Religion are not necessary to people in our society? A prevention and a curative for Depression and Anxiety should be seen as a boon, instead it"s seen as an evil. I would suggest that Religion may be treated, for those who distrust seeing more, at least as a tool both for their own psychic well being and for that of their fellow men and women. I would also suggest, given the growing evidentiary support for Religion (I haven"t even mentioned studies on the positive aspects of prayer), that denying its necessity appears more and more as the true conceit, the true fancy, the true fairy tale. But then perhaps we may make our own Pride as our Stars in the heavens, our Sun and Moon, our Holy Vale and worship it as the "savages" once worshipped their Stars in the heavens, their Sun and Moon and their Holy Vale. Perhaps we do and I wonder which is the more pernicious error?
Debate Round No. 2
danielawesome12

Con

I don't believe believe non-religious really affects your health or spirit. People don't desperately need answers to what we shouldn't be able to comprehend, I haven't been religious since I was 11 when discovered how much the bible is wrong http://answers.yahoo.com... to be specific when I discovered it described the world as flat. http://answers.yahoo.com...
In the time since I discovered this I've had a lot of deep thoughts and decided to treat all fairly and to always be happy because you can only be happy for so long. (my favorite songs)
https://www.youtube.com..., https://www.youtube.com...
Before this, I was always whiny, ignorant, self-absorbed, and loved garbage that has no meaning. (Linkin Park)
TruthTrust

Pro

First of all I would like to make it quite clear I am attacking my opponents arguments and not attacking my opponent. Also, I apologize if I've gone a little overboard while on he offensive Danielawesome--no harm meant. With that said:

1. The fundamental problem with my opponents argument is that it does not address the proposition head on. The proposition is: Is religion NECESSARY in my humanity. My opponent is arguing the negative so we would presumably hear some arguments about how groups of humanity have gotten by without religion or how humanity can function perfectly in its absence. We do not receive any argument on the point, actually. In fact my opponent's argument only mentions the word "necessary" twice. Once when it repeated the proposition and once when it spoke of the necessity of having a definition for Religion. In fact from this argument we've learned more about the necessity of having definitions within a debate then we've learned about the necessity, or lack thereof, of Religion to humanity.
What we receive instead are arguments about how religion is somehow bad or harmful. An attribute entirely irrelevant to the necessity of a thing or group.

It"s NECESSARY that we breathe in order to stay alive and yet every breath we take brings us closer to death therefore harming us. By the logic of my opponent's argument this breathing would thus be harmful and therefore somehow unnecessary. So we should all just stop breathing and kill the patient to instill the cure. Ridiculous. The ridiculous always follows in the trail of the irrelevant or fallacious. Similarly, it might also recommend that a scalpel is not necessary for surgery because it wounds the patient, or an antisceptic not necessary for treating wounds because it kills bacteria, etc., etc.

All these point to the fact that this argument is, properly, a Red Herring fallacy. Subtly related, but in truth entirely irrelevant to the proposition at hand. The proposition does not call upon us to castigate this or that group--it calls upon us to do something very practical--to address the necessity of an aspect of culture to humanity. This would call for the negative example illustrating how humanity may exist without Religion, not how religion has made this or that action.

2. For the sake of argument, but not ceding the legitimacy of point #1, I"ll assume that my opponent"s argument was addressing a proposition relevant to his points. Let"s say something like "Religion is bad or harmful". The problem with all of the arguments on this point is that they show a lack of distinguishment or distinction.

There are what, several billion people on the face of the planet who practice one religion or another? My opponent"s argument takes actions from fanatical muslims and far, far right Christians and assigns them to this entire class of Religious followers. In fact, it specifically cites as the problem Muslims whose "mind(s) justify actions like attacking civilian targets including woman and children." As well as Christians who "push their religions into schools." I would suggest that the majority of the billions of religious practitioners BY FAR do not routinely go about killing civilians or even take actions which "push" their religion on schools. These are distinct subcategories within a much, much larger whole.

The fallacy committed here is that of a Hasty Generalization. Popular in politics, this is where an argument erroneously draws a conclusion about ALL members of a group from evidence that comes only from a small selected sample. This despite the reasonable likelihood that this minority trait is not reflective of the whole. Here, the argument takes the most violent, radical or difficult minorities (they are signifigant minorities even within their own religions) within the category of religious people and attributes their actions and motivations to the whole--several billion strong and of which something like 99+ percent do not engage in anything like these activities (in fact they practice just the opposite). At such a high percentage, statistically these attributes may just as "legitimately" be applied to humanity as the whole. Then we could argue that we are ALL both aggressively intolerant of science and enjoy killing people. Again, ridiculous and shows the lack of properly drawn distinctions within a class within my opponent's argument.

3. His argument states: "The main problem with religion particularly theistic religion is that they are authoritarian in nature and it is that authoritarian nature that makes it dangerous." And "The authority is not to be questioned."

This is just a misreading of the process of religion. Counter examples would include that most Catholics do not follow many of the dictates of the Pope, Protestants make their own interpretations through reading the text of the Bible and questioning it, entire tracts have been written in Hebrew, I"m sure, questioning this or that action of God. Christ himself questioned God just before his death. With the exception of a few fundamentalist groups, Religion is a process which calls upon every faculty of the worshipper, including their ability to interpret and question their God in good faith.

4. My opponent's argument ends with the assertion that "religion promotes beliefs in unsubstantiated claims." I would suggest that my opponents arguments rely on assertions with just as little substance, if not even less than those of the Religion they mock: relying as they do on confusion on the very topic, fallacies, hasty generalities and ignorance as to the nature of Religion.
Debate Round No. 3
No comments have been posted on this debate.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Daktoria 4 years ago
Daktoria
danielawesome12TruthTrustTied
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Total points awarded:22 
Reasons for voting decision: Con provided rash arguments such as referring to polytheism and henotheism which have nothing to do with whether or not religion is necessary. Con also makes a hasty generalization in projecting the sample of radical authoritarian Islamists to the whole while ignoring the value of religion in general. Pro, on the other hand, never explains why religion is "necessary". He only explains why it's possibly beneficial in providing psychological and social benefits, but doesn't explain why religion needs to be where these benefits originate from. This debate had lots of problems.
Vote Placed by MassiveDump 4 years ago
MassiveDump
danielawesome12TruthTrustTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro used evidence. Con went on personal experiences, yahoo answers, and linkin park.
Vote Placed by jackintosh 4 years ago
jackintosh
danielawesome12TruthTrustTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I feel the argument was better fought on the side of Pro in this particular debate. Pro had better sources as to the benefits of religion vs Con, who if anything gave a decent case as to why Extreme religion is not necessary.