The Instigator
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2 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
8 Points

Majority of Higher Education Institutes indoctrinate students with Anti-Theistic Beliefs

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/28/2014 Category: Education
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,178 times Debate No: 55566
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (15)
Votes (2)




Higher Education = education beyond high school, especially at a college or university.

Indoctrination =
to teach (someone) to fully accept the ideas, opinions, and beliefs of a particular group and to not consider other ideas, opinions, and beliefs.

Belief system is a set of mutually supportive beliefs.

Belief is an acceptance of a statement to be true.

"God does not exist" is one example of a statement accepted as being true.

Most Colleges and Universities have a ruling body that accept this statement as true. These places of "higher" learning have curriculum to indoctrinate students into Anti-Theistic belief system.

First round for acceptance.

"The only thing to interfere with my learning, is my education" - Einstien


I accept as I am feeling brave.

Good Luck.
Debate Round No. 1


1. The Anti-Theistic belief system.

First I want to establish the doctrine I assert is being in-doctrine-ated onto university and college students.

Anti-theism is the active opposition to the belief that at least one god exist. This from the prefix "Anti-", which means against, and the root word "theism", which is a belief in god or gods.

Let's examine the beliefs that are beings instilled. They are a combination of Materialism, Atheism, Naturalism, Secularism (M.A.N.S). Together these philosophies form an interconnected web of mutually supportive beliefs.

Materialism is theory that all phenomena originate from material interactions. This theory supports Atheism in it's principle to deny god. Even if we account for a soft atheism, like agnostic, we have the reasoning for "no knowing" based in materialistic evidence. Both reject the idea of accepting any metaphysical concept. Naturalism is the belief that nothing exists beyond the natural world. It is implied the natural world is a world consisting of only material and material interactions. Atheist without a god to attribute events to, then explain these events with naturalistic reasoning. Secularism is the viewpoint that public activities and decisions be uninfluenced by theistic beliefs. Secularism is a practical application of the tenets espoused in Materialism, Atheism, and Naturalism.

This belief system of M.A.N.S is an anti-theistic irreligion. It is the Anti-Theist doctrine being instilled in University and College students.

2. Indoctrination Program:

A. What constitutes an indoctrination program.

"For those who stubbornly seek freedom around the world, there can be no more urgent task than to come to understand the mechanisms and practices of indoctrination. These are easy to perceive in the totalitarian societies, much less so in the propaganda system to which we are subjected and in which all too often we serve as unwilling or unwitting instruments." - Noam Chomsky

Indoctrination for many is a pejorative term. But indoctrination does not need to be a forceful or deceptive brainwashing. In fact many colleges, universities, academies, and military have programs similarly named "new recruit indoctrination". Indoctrination is to teach (someone) to fully accept the ideas, opinions, and beliefs of a particular group.

41% of scientist do not belief in God or higher power. This is 10 times the general public's response to the same questions. [1]

The Richard Dawkins Foundation has the mission statement: "The mission of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science is to support scientific education, critical thinking and evidence-based understanding of the natural world in the quest to overcome religious fundamentalism, superstition, intolerance and suffering."[2] (bold for emphasis)

This Atheist organization implies science education as a way of decreasing religious belief. Notice this advocates a Naturalistic world as well. Many Atheist point to the pew report as being evident that the most scientific minds reject God. The difference between the general public and the scientist is the scientist attended many more years of institutional training.

So the correlation is increased years attending college or universities, cuases a decrease in religious or metaphysical beliefs. A change in beliefs occurred and the change was to adopting a M.A.N.S based belief system. Indoctrination.

University of Delaware made this prevalent indoctrination even easier to see when in 2008 it had a Ideological Re-education program for new students. It was eventually discontinued after the University President received public outrage. University of Delaware labeled the class as having the following goal for students to "adopt highly specific university-approved views on issues ranging from politics to race, sexuality, sociology, moral philosophy, and environmentalism"[3]

B. Rejection of counter beliefs.

Another facet of indoctrination is to enforce students not to consider contrary theories or beliefs.

a. Materialism:

Quantum Physics is the study of the most fundamental irreducible parts of our reality. Werner Heisenberg, famous quantum physicist, said "The ontology of materialism rested upon the illusion that the kind of existence, the direct 'actuality' of the world around us, can be extrapolated into the atomic range. This extrapolation, however, is impossible... atoms are not things"

He goes on to claim: “The atoms or elementary particles themselves are not real; they form a world of potentialities or possibilities rather than one of things or facts"

Niels Bohr, a pioneer of 20th century quantum physics, "An independent reality, in the ordinary physical sense, can neither be ascribed to the phenomena nor to the agencies of observation"

The analogy of Schrodinger's Cat illustrate that at a fundamental level reality is in a juxtaposition until measured or "observed".
This is not a debate on the soundness between Idealism, Dualism, or Materialism. Just to bring attention to the fact that phenomena of this world as described by institutions are in materialistic terms. [4]

b. Atheism:

Sounds like something out of the movie, "God's Not Dead", but a student at Florida Atlantic University is allegedly suspended for not following a professors instructions to write "Jesus" on a piece of paper and stomp on it. [5]

Schools below college level, at least in the U.S., are by law to follow a separation of church and state. Colleges and Universities are not under this law and can freely explore differing views, even if those views are metaphysical in nature.

c. Naturalism:

Any and all events that prescribe a creative event apart from a intelligent human, is ridiculed and rejected. Evolution is not just the dominant theory expressed to explain everything biological in nature, but is the only one ever addressed. Academies take this Evolutionary process all the way back in time till it breaks down, and assume abiogenesis.[6]. Universities teach there is no other worldly explanation for the emergence of the universe, well actually I guess they do. Academies espouse it was another universe.

Even things that were traditionally saw as "mind" or metaphysical in nature are now explained as neural interactions.
Why is naturalism such a basic philosophy to the M.A.N.S beliefs system? Maybe because as Alvin Plantinga, University of Notre Dame, states in his paper "Naturalism Defeated" [7] "But if naturalism is true, there is no God, and hence no God (or anyone else) overseeing our development and orchestrating the course of our evolution."

d. Secularism:

The willful separation of all public decisions from religious or spiritual principles. If Secularism is to succeed in removing such a powerful influence, what does it advocate to be it's replacement? Traditionally secular societies are cultures in which Secularism: Refuses to commit itself as a whole to any one view of the nature of the universe and the role of man in it.

Secularism has a variety of interpretations and implementations across the globe. But when investigated 3 things are common. Neutral or excluding of religion (soft Atheism) and reasoning by way of naturalism and materialism. [8]

M.A.N.S is proselytize by university teachers and curriculum.



Thanks to my opponent for an interesting opening round . I will start this round with an opening statement, and then move onto some key rebuttals. However, I will leave rebuttals mostly till the final round.

Opening Statement

It is my sincere hope that this argument does not boil down into a semantics debate about what the word majority means. In fact, I hope my opponent can agree that a majority is a number above 50 %. It is my position that the majority of Higher education Institutes do not promote an anti-theistic agenda. This said, then I should elaborate on why I believe far more than 50 % of higher education institutes do not promote anti-theistic belief. This can be done easily by looking at the numbers.

Theology: the study of religious faith, practice, and experience : the study of God and God's relation to the world. (1)
Divinity: the formal study of religion, religious practices, and religious beliefs. (2)

Here is a list of the top ten higher education institutes in the world.(3)The "yes or no" next to their name indicates a school of theology or divinity. Surely not what would be expected from institutes that are promoting anti-theistic belief. In fact the only two universities that do not have a theology department are those that are purely science based i.e. Caltech and MIT. However, even these universities promote religion and MIT has a chaplain on staff. (4,5)

Worlds top ten higher education institutes:
1) Caltech - no
2) Oxford - yes
3) Harvard - yes
4) Stanford - yes
5) MIT - no (but do have a chaplain on staff for beliefs of students)
6) Princeton - yes
7) University of Cambridge - yes
8) University of California, Berkeley - yes
9) University of Chicago - yes
10) Imperial College London - yes
Additionally, multiple universities in the USA are state universities. This means that do not prohibit and cannot prohibit against religion against as it would be a violation of the constitution. So all these state universities are not anti-theistic.

Obviously, then we should look at the private universities, as these higher education institutes can discriminate if they so wish. Below is a list of what some people consider the top private universities in the USA.(6) Again this list shows that discrimination is not prevalent , as all these universities have a school of theology and/or divinity.

USA top ten private universities.
1) Brown - yes
2) Colombia - yes
3) Cornell - yes
4) Dartmouth - yes
5) Duke - yes
6) Harvard - yes
7) Princeton - yes
8) Stanford -yes
9) University of Pennsylvania - yes
10) Yale - yes

So whats left? Maybe a sample of other Universities in the world that are not based in the USA. So below is a continuation of the top ten universities in the world from different countries to see if they also have a theology or divinity school. The number indicates the rank.
Worldwide trend
14) ETH Zürich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich - No (Science School)
20) University of Toronto - Yes
21) University College London - Yes
23) University of Tokyo - Yes
26) National University of Singapore -Yes
31) University of British Columbia - Yes
32) London School of Economics and Political Science - Yes
34) University of Melbourne - Yes
35) McGill University - Yes
36) Karolinska Institute - No (Medical School)

If you will look at all these lists, the one thing you will notice is that the only universities that do not have religious studies are specialized higher education institutes. This be expected as they do not have a multitude of other departments like music, art or acting.

I believe the numbers talk for themselves to show that higher education institutes are by no means anti-theistic as my opponent claims.

Key Rebuttals

The majority of my opponents arguments rest on the fact that science is anti-theistic. However, even if this is true (my opponent has not sufficiently proved this) it is not relevant to this debate as I have shown that the majority of universities are not purely science based. Additionally, if science is so anti-theistic then my opponent needs to explain why the majority of scientists are not anti-theistic "41% of scientist do not belief in God or higher power".

In other words to win this debate, my opponent has to show that the majority of higher education institutes do not promote theology in anyway. I do not believe this is possible as I have pointed out above.

The argument that science is anti-theistic is a red herring, as according to my opponent only 41 % of scientists are atheists and not anti-theists. Additionally, attacking evolution is a another red herring, as it does in no way show that higher education institutes are anti-theistic.

Finally on a side note, agnosticism is not a position of faith (or weak atheism) agnosticism is purely a position on the validity of claims. As such I can be a gnostic theists or an agnostic theist, depending on how strong my belief in a deity is.

I now hand the debate back to my opponent.
Debate Round No. 2


I want to thank my opponent for this debate.

My opponent begins by addressing if majority has been adequately addressed. I think his first flaw is making Theology equal divinity study. Theology is the philosophical study of God and how it relates to humans. One can expect a theology course to be more exclusive in it's teachings if it were in part to make a career in religious circles.

But theology can also be a descriptive course of study in which a variety of religions across the world are looked at and none are said to be right or wrong. Further more the religious study is seen as a humanities study and attempt to explain in social context the human desire or need for a god. By no mean states that a God exists. The difference could be the studying scripture to be part of a church, or studying churches to understand mankind's fascination with gods and god. Some even advocating making the distinction clearer and banning the former from public universities.[1]

So a theology course is not the same as advocating a theistic view of reality. Nor is it the same as a divinity study found in course work for religious career paths.

My next contention with this line of reasoning is just because a majority of schools over, let us assume as my opponent has, a theistic advocating theology course, does not mean the majority of the campus student body is exposed to that teaching.

Many of the schools offer an Art course. To state that this the majority of universities instill an art appreciation into students would be a gross exaggeration. I say we should only count the courses that are required my schools. Science course work and lab work are all required, writing, math, and in the field of humanities a student could elect language. So Science classes are required by every student. But theology is not.

When I brought up evolution it was not an attack on the validity of evolution. It was clearly to point out that the theories and explanations of the world with live in are all M.A.N.S. type of explanations. It should be noted that evolution s a description of life's changing process and is not a theory about it's origins. And yet the abiotic origins of life are taught along side evolution, despite other equally explanatory theories being present.

I feel I have to show that there is a belief system, mutual supportive -isms, that are indoctrinated into the majority of students in the majority of universities.

This is not a science against religion debate. It is to show that the core of the academic doctrine is a world that presupposes the absence of any god. So much so that core ideologies such as materialism and naturalism have been described as poor explanations for the reality we live in. But they are the only ideologies that make a god impossible. And that is why they have to be taught from top to bottom in higher education centers.

Has focused mostly on the term majority. As I said I think a fair approach would be the majority of universities instill in the majority of their students this doctrine of Materialism, Atheism, Naturalism, Secularism.



Firstly thanks to my opponent for an entertaining debate. I have enjoyed it immensely. Its always fun to debate topics that are not run of the mill.

Regarding theology versus divinity, that is a distinction that can be made. Yet the fact that the study of various religious ideas exists (i.e. theology and or divinity) goes a long way to proving this debates proposition faulty. Also, multiple of the departments listed above also have a branch that is used by persons entering the faith.

Regardless, whether the students are entering these courses to become a priest/preacher/wiccan priest? etc. or not is not relevant to the topic. What is relevant is that these departments exist. These departments would not exist if the higher education institutes wanted to indoctrinate students in anti-theistic ideology.

Regarding the article cited in the previous round, if anything it shows that universities are not anti-theistic.(1) It shows that some universities are questioning whether to separate their theology from their religious studies into two separate departments. This does not mean universities want to get rid of religious studies. So we can conclude that firstly, universities want to promote religious studies by creating their own department. Secondly, this article is saying that religious studies exist in theology departments which is contrary to your previous description of theology courses.

In this debate I believe I have sufficiently shown the premise to be flawed. In fact my opponent has also shown the premise to be flawed.

Confidently, I now hand the debate over to the voters.

Debate Round No. 3
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 2 years ago
Great thanks. Good luck with the schedule as well.
Posted by Mhykiel 2 years ago
Yes my own schedule demands the same. it's going to be tight but i hope to submit tommorow morning
Posted by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 2 years ago
@Mhykiel: Is it possible to post your argument as late as possible. I will be out of town from later today and dont want to forfeit.
Posted by Mhykiel 2 years ago
@Sagey agreed. Indoctrination programs strive to keep a person from critically assessing the presented belief systems.
Posted by Sagey 2 years ago
The idea of an open education is to question all beliefs, including your own.
Posted by Mhykiel 2 years ago
I said most in Round 1. I added majority to the resolution. Thank you Envisage.
Posted by Envisage 2 years ago
This is an insane resolution you are trying to defend here..

You would need to show that all of higher education equate to anti-theistic indoctrination.... That's just retarded. You should rethink the resolution you are trying to defend.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
No problem.
Posted by Mhykiel 2 years ago
I appreciate it. Thank you Whiteflame.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
That's better. Just didn't want you to end up having a semantics debate :)
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Sagey 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:23 
Reasons for voting decision: I think Pro has mistakenly considered Proselytizing as Indoctrination, you can put knowledge in front of a student (especially at higher school and university age) and still not make them think. Indoctrination is a forceful instilling of one belief while denying them the ability to question that belief and depriving them of access to opposing beliefs. Students of higher education age would retaliate in such a education system. There is no denial of theistic beliefs nor metaphysical concepts, which are encouraged in art students and covered in philosophy which is considered necessary at the highest standard of attainment even in Science. Education at the higher level is always about putting knowledge in front of the student and hoping they will choose rationally and wisely from what is presented. Which is not always the case. If they are influenced by the likes of nutjobs such as William Lane Craig or Ken Ham they will likely make Irrational, Idiotic choices.
Vote Placed by Enji 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I would have liked to see a discussion of Pro's initial argument by Con, however Con's argument both pertains to the resolution and sufficiently shows that the majority do not indoctrinate students with anti-theistic beliefs. The given definition of indoctrination is relevant here; Con argues that most prestigious universities do have schools of theology or divinity and offer religious teachings and majors and hence they do teach and consider other opinions. Pro's rebuttal to this was unconvincing; he argues that the majority of theology courses do not consider or advocate theological viewpoints. Con turns his source against him here; the reasons presented for keeping them separate included promoting understanding of the beliefs of others which is easier with personal distance. Arguments to Con. Sources to Con for turning Pro's key source defending Pro's rebuttal to Con's arguments.