The Instigator
Mikeee
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
JustCallMeTarzan
Con (against)
Winning
20 Points

Materialism is the cause of the development of Atheism

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/3/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,867 times Debate No: 18603
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (12)
Votes (5)

 

Mikeee

Pro

Pro must prove that materialism contributed largely to the development of atheism.

Con must prove that atheism would develop regardless of the material world.

Terms:

Materialism/material world: preoccupation with or emphasis on material objects, comforts, and considerations, with a disinterest in or rejection of spiritual, intellectual, or cultural values.

Atheism: the doctrine or belief that there is no God.

First round is for questions and acceptance only
JustCallMeTarzan

Con

An unusual topic...

I have a couple proposed amendments to Pro's definitions, burdens, etc...

First, Con's real burden here is to show that materialism does not cause atheism, not necessarily that atheism would exist independently of materialism. It's a minor distinction, but might have some impact on how I address Pro's argument.

I have no problem with Pro's definition of materialism. That said, a definition of the material world is needed, because what Pro has given is ONLY a definition of materialism - i.e. the "material world" cannot possibly be "preoccupation with or emphasis on material objects" - the former is a noun, while the latter is a verb describing what one does with that noun.

So I propose the definition of "material world" to be simply the collection of concrete objects around us - those objects or sensations that can be described by sight, smell, touch, taste, or sound.

With that, I look forward to Pro's argument.
Debate Round No. 1
Mikeee

Pro

Sorry if there was any confusion about wording and definitions of "materialism", I am coming at the perspective of the ownership of "thing" or "wealth", whatever definition Con wants to use is fine with me, it won't affect my argument.
Most of today's religions emerged from around the same time period of a few thousand years. People eventual adopted these new ideas of "god" and "faith". The development of widely practice religion did two important things. Firstly, it had an appeal to lower class citizens who had little and turned to faith for salvation. Second, it created a social class of "holy people" or priest.

If you look at the origins of these faiths, you will find some similarities. Ancient Chines philosophies such as Confucianism, Daoism, and Legalism, came from a time of chaos and political and social instability. In ancient India, the development of a caste system helped to maintain social order.
Eventual things change, times of prosperity and "golden ages" come, and people gain wealth. Because Hinduism in India had a strict social hierarchy, there is a demand for a new religion, or religious reform. Buddhism became widely popular in India, opposed to Hinduism, because it did not address strict social classes and hierarchy, thus, it appealed more to the people of lower caste.

Original Buddhism, along with many other reformed religions, was much different than it is today. Original Buddhism called for an individual to give up all worldly goods and anything that caused desire, and to become one with nature.
As more and more classes of people increased their wealth, they did not want to give it up. Before, religious moral, such as not being tempted by worldly possessions, was not hard because most people did not have much, so they had little to lose. Now, because of newly gained wealth, people DID have something to lose, and they did not want to give up their wealth.

Religion only reformed when necessary, to keeps its appeal to the people. If reaching true salvation called for you to give up everything you owned, most people did not want anything to do with it, thus, raising question of why you would need to give up all worldly things to achieve true salvation, and, if true salvation was in absents of worldly goods, then why you one want to achieve it?

Because people's morals changed, religion changed. If religion lost its appeal, or did not support certain morals, people disregarded it, and sometimes even denied it as even being true.

Conclusion;

Society changed, morals changed, religion either was changed or disregarded, thus starting atheist beliefs (disbelieving the existence of a god)
JustCallMeTarzan

Con

Pro's contention, as I understand the resolution, is essentially that Materialism causes Atheism.

His argument proceeds with the following contentions:
  1. Religion created two classes of persons - priests & non-priests;
  2. Among the non-priests, the less one had, the more appealing religion was;
  3. Because religions require one to give up material goods, some persons who did not want to do so became atheists to preserver their wealth;
  4. Religion changes over time, and sometimes these changes spark atheism.

It seems that the only pertinent one of these contentions is the third - that religious asceticism sparks atheism in those who do not want to part with their wealth.


Pro's argument makes two serious errors.

1. Causal Fallacy

This objection to Pro's argument is twofold. Pro presents no evidence to counter the objections of post hoc ergo propter hoc and cum hoc ergo propter hoc - after this, therefore because of this, and with this, therefore because of this.

At this point in the debate, Pro's burden is to provide a prima facia case that can overcome these objections. Evidence of this nature would necessarily need to establish a causal relationship between materialism and atheism. It could be the case, for example, that atheism causes materialism - the atheist, after all, has nothing else to believe in, so why not focus on worldly possessions? Could not the poor schmuck, upon discovering that religion really did not hold the answers for him, then focus on securing his worldly comfort instead of the afterlife?


2. Inconsistent Observation

The second objection is related to the first. Pro's contention would lead to the expectation that income distribution in religious groups would be quite bottom-heavy. But this is certainly not the case across all religions. Pew examined the breakdown in the US (http://pewforum.org...) Here's a quick summary...

  • Almost half of Jews and Hindus in the US make more than $100,000 a year.
  • The overall US distribution of $100,000+ is 18%. But only Mormons, Muslims, Evangelical Protestants, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Historically Black Protestant churches have below 18% of their membership making $100,000+ per year (and of those, the first two are only off by 2%).
  • The overall US distribution of < $30,000 is 31%. Only Evangelical Protestant, Muslim, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Historically Black Protestant churches are above that rate.
  • Even ignoring the fact of minority income distribution, these findings are inconsistent with Pro's theory.

Furthermore, Pro's contention would lead to the supposition that religiosity decreases proportionally to material wealth. But another pew study (http://pewforum.org...) shows that geography may play a significant role. Further, it is common knowledge that atheism is more prevalent among European countries, particularly the Scandinavian ones - this suggests that not only is geography important, but cultural and racial heterogeneity may play a role as well.

Also along this venue is this chart (http://andrewgelman.com...), which demonstrates that even if there is a relationship between income and religiosity, explanations like politics may play a role. There are, of course, outliers like New Mexico and South Dakota, but even if there is a trend, it is a very, very shallow one.

To sum up this point, if Pro's contention of the relationship between materialism and atheism were true, one would expect to see religious groups' income distributions to be at least the same as that of the US (for example) as a whole.

As a minor 'other cause' there is also the fact that some studies have shown a correlation between intelligence and atheism (http://en.wikipedia.org...).


Yet another problem in this vein rears its head for Pro - even if we suppose that there is a correlation between income and atheism, this does not establish a correlation between materialism and atheism. In other words, simply because someone is rich does not mean they are preoccupied with their material possessions.

In fact, one could make the argument that if materialism is as Pro says, "a preoccupation with or emphasis on material objects, comforts, and considerations," then it is in fact the poor that are more materialistic. The rich already have material objects; their material comforts are met; and they need not think of material considerations because they can throw money at it. But to the poor, a pair of shoes, may have a disproportionate value when compared to the rich - it is certainly more important for the pauper to extend the life of his material possessions than it is for the prince. The poor worry about where their next meal (a material consideration) or their warm bed for that night (a material comfort) may come from... the rich do not - I ask Pro... who is preoccupied in this situation?


Conclusion

Readers, it seems that Pro's definition and argument leads us to the conclusion that materialism actually causes theism! Or more appropriately, lack of material possessions causes materialism, which causes theism as a replacement for unfulfilled materialism.

Pro has not shown a causal relationship between materialism and atheism. Furthermore, statistics show that at least for some religion, the wealthy make up more of a percentage of the religion than the poor. Also, Pro has not shown that other considerations like geography, intelligence, or politics are not the cause of atheism.

Thus, the resolution is:

NEGATED.


Debate Round No. 2
Mikeee

Pro

Rebuttal;

Inconsistent Observation

Con shows valid statistics how correlations between income (wealth) and religion of some of the major religions in the US. However, Con only shows a glimpse of reality. Because the United States and most other first world countries have freedom of religion, anyone can practice any faith the want free of oppression. Religions, for the most part, is dependent of each individual, two Jews don't necessarily have to believe the same thing, and each gets something different out of religion, in the terms of personal salvation.

Income does not show how much money is spent, or what the money is used for, it just shows how much is coming in. Bill Gates makes millions, every day he is giving large sums of money to charity, but those donations, but if you look at his income, you wouldn't have an idea as to what he was doing with his money just by looking at the statistics.
Because of freedom of religion and flexibility, "organized religion", is less significant than personal philosophy and practice. There is a major difference in organized religions of first world countries and third world countries. In places that are financial more stable, all organized religion does for someone is teach them about their religion. In low income places and third world countries organized religion has much more value and significance.

In other parts of the world religion is community based. Members of the churches in religious bases comminutes serve as community leaders and help to provide for the community's needs. Community life is other places around the world revolve around organized religion; the US is the exception, not the rule.

Con's evidence only shows the overall, and does not have statistics based on social classes, which he claimed to be important in round 1. "…the atheist, after all, has nothing else to believe in, so why not focus on worldly possessions?" Atheism is a religious belief, the belief that God does not exist, none the less, still a belief, the same as all other world religions. Because atheism is the denial of a God, it does not have a set of moral (some religions also don't), some certain moral issues differ between different people, even if they both happen to be atheist. Religious organizations are not the only people who care for others and give to charity and community service. Atheist still have a soul, so most of them, even though they don't believe in a god, still believe in the good of humanity and have some sort of morals.
In ancient times, when religious communities where dominant, the religious (priest) class and positions where not only for a religious purpose, but also served as a political position. If one was in political power, or seeking political power, one would have to correspond with the religious officials. In the Roman Empire, conquered people were allowed to keep their traditions (and faith), and Roman officials allowed each community to solve their disputes and internal conflicts, and have their own system of justice.

When the King of England, Hennery the VIII, was unable to get a divorce for the Pope, he broke away from the Church so he could be able to try to have a male heir to inherit his kingdom. This was a political issue that had nothing to do with the Churches' teachings or social classes.
They reason why having political power was important was because it was often the gateway to obtaining wealth, thus, change in religion (or conversion to atheism), was because it lead to a more materialist world, rather than religion had problematic teachings.

Conclusion:

Religious fluctuation (including atheism) was dependent on political reasoning which leads to a more materialistic world, religious fluctuation did not occur because of religious teachings.
Con's evidence only shows the average wealth of major religions in a first world country, whose society no longer revolves around religious communities, therefore making his evidence true, but irrelevant and does not help him prove that atheism would develop regardless of the material world.
JustCallMeTarzan

Con

An interesting second round by Pro. I should note at the outset that for some reason, he has chosen not to rebut the causal fallacy portion of my argument. Pro has yet to establish any sort of structured positive case for the resolution.

Responses:

>> "Income does not show how much money is spent, or what the money is used for, it just shows how much is coming in."

This is a good point... a good point for Con. While what one uses money for may be more indicative of his materialistic leanings, the amount of income is dispositive of one's materialist capacity. If someone has the capacity for great materialism, yet chooses to act in a way that belies this capacity, then it undermines Pro's contention that wealth leads to materialism.

>> "In places that are financial more stable, all organized religion does for someone is teach them about their religion. In low income places and third world countries organized religion has much more value and significance."

Unwarranted assumption. Further, who is Pro to determine whether the poor farmer in Ethiopia places more value on his religion than the urbanite in Chicago?? And even beyond that, Pro completely ignores the fact that in low income places and third world countries, materialistic considerations actually matter more. The hierarchy of needs (example: Maslow's - http://en.wikipedia.org...) begins with material needs ad steadily becomes more ephemeral. In third-world countries, people are necessarily more concerned with material needs than with spiritual needs because they cannot even begin to contemplate their spiritual needs until basic material ones are fulfilled... so in the end, Pro's own point on this issue shows that religion matters less to those who have little.

>> "Community life is other places around the world revolve around organized religion; the US is the exception, not the rule."

I'm not sure what U.S. Pro is talking about... can Pro name one single community activity that Americans do MORE than go to church? Vote? Go to town hall meetings? Arguably, given the state of American society, community is the only real remaining purpose religion serves in this country.

>> "Con's evidence only shows the overall, and does not have statistics based on social classes, which he claimed to be important in round 1. "…the atheist, after all, has nothing else to believe in, so why not focus on worldly possessions?"

Aside from the fact that the quote that Pro picks here has nothing to do with the breakdown of social classes... it was Pro himself in the second round that suggested that social classes had to do with the acquisition of wealth. I'm curious how my statistics, which present strata based on wealth, could possibly not describe social classes in the exact way that Pro uses the term.

>> "Atheism is a religious belief..."

Incorrect - Atheism can be empirical, epistemological, cognitive, or even metaphysical... but it is certainly not a religious belief.

>> "Atheist still have a soul, so most of them, even though they don't believe in a god, still believe in the good of humanity and have some sort of morals."

Which is, of course, completely irrelevant to the resolution unless Pro is also going to argue that materialism is immoral.

>> "In ancient times, when religious communities where dominant, the religious (priest) class and positions where not only for a religious purpose, but also served as a political position. If one was in political power, or seeking political power, one would have to correspond with the religious officials."

This is an interesting point, but actually hurts Pro's case. If materialism is, as Pro suggests here, partially represented by power (i.e. seeking power is a materialistic behavior) and power requires theism... then materialism causes theism, not atheism. Consider - if one wanted power, one should be a theist, not an atheist, no? How many (openly) atheist presidents of the United States have there been?? Openly atheist Monarchs in the UK? Spain? Italy? France?

>> "When the King of England, Henry the VIII, was unable to get a divorce for the Pope, he broke away from the Church so he could be able to try to have a male heir to inherit his kingdom. This was a political issue that had nothing to do with the Churches' teachings or social classes."

Not only is this incorrect, but it's a terrible example. First, the entire reason for the King's breaking away from the church was precisely a difference in the Church's teachings - specifically on divorce. Second, if this was really about political power, what additional power did the King get? None! He cannot improve upon his position of power because he is KING!

>> "They reason why having political power was important was because it was often the gateway to obtaining wealth, thus, change in religion (or conversion to atheism), was because it lead to a more materialist world, rather than religion had problematic teachings."

If this were in fact true, we would hardly ever see conversions of people from one religion to a different, more ascetic religion. Yet these types of conversions happen all the time. Further, we would never expect to see conversions of atheists to any religion... yet these conversions happen as well.

>> "Con's evidence only shows the average wealth of major religions in a first world country, whose society no longer revolves around religious communities, therefore making his evidence true, but irrelevant and does not help him prove that atheism would develop regardless of the material world."

This "conclusion" is simply incorrect. Well, it is correct only insofar as my conclusions about distribution of wealth in religious groups is true... But dismissing the United States as an irrelevant party to this topic is simply idiotic. The United States has the perhaps unique position of being both one of the most materialist AND religious countries in the world.

*******************************************************************

As really more of a side note, since I have some leftover room, and Pro has not really rebutted either of my contentions from the first round, I'd like to expound on the idea that atheism would develop regardless of the material world.

Obviously Pro mean "regardless of materialistic considerations" because without the material world, there would be no people to be materialists, which would negate the resolution in and of itself...

But more importantly, Pro seems to be under the mistaken impression that materialism and atheism are inherently linked - the cum hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy I pointed out in the second round. Here's a quick example of how atheism could develop absent materialism.

Science describes facts about the world around us. These facts are not materialist in any way - i.e. there is no inherent VALUE to a description of phenomena. If science fails to produce any evidence that a god exists, atheism could easily develop completely independent of any considerations of value.

Pro may argue that science itself is a materialist leaning, but it could only be "materialist" to the extent that it is preoccupied with the physical world. But this preoccupation is clearly not the kind of "on-balance" preoccupation that Pro clearly means - science has nothing else to analyze... and lack of other ventures is not de facto preoccupation.

Conclusion


I've put forth two major objections to Pro's resolution, both of which have gone unanswered. I've also shown how Pro's tangential considerations of what I was referring to in round 2 are erroneous, unfounded, or simply wrong.

The resolution is thus:

NEGATED.
Debate Round No. 3
Mikeee

Pro

" It could be the case, for example, that atheism causes materialism - the atheist, after all, has nothing else to believe in, so why not focus on worldly possessions? Could not the poor schmuck, upon discovering that religion really did not hold the answers for him, then focus on securing his worldly comfort instead of the afterlife?"

The Ten Commandments are an example of materialism caused issues in one's faith, and potently could have led to atheism. The fact that the Ten Commandments say "thou shall not covet…" shows that there where pre-existing issues regarding materialism. Materialistic things would cause one to stray from ones faith in order to get what they wanted. If "god will provide", then if one was truly faithful, eventually they would be given (the opportunity to achieve) what they wanted. Impatiens or ignorant would led people to forceful try to obtain materialistic things rather than wait for their faith to provide.

Some people will do whatever they want, regardless of other people's judgment. Because society used to be religious based, people had somewhat of an obligation to obtain certain moral, or they would be shunned by their community. Once another faith that allowed someone to do whatever it was that they were forbidden to do in their other faith, they would convert, or become atheist.

If you lived in a community that forced you to be a certain faith that caused you to be unhappy and miserable, once it became socially acceptable to become atheist, would you?

"Science describes facts about the world around us. These facts are not materialist in any way - i.e. there is no inherent VALUE to a description of phenomena. If science fails to produce any evidence that a god exists, atheism could easily develop completely independent of any considerations of value."

The reason people (In the scientific community) try to prove/disprove, with scientific evidence weather a god exist, is for reassurance. Once a conclusion that was accepted was made, the other group would try to use the new knowledge to get the others to convert (to a religious or to atheism). People need reassurance, because they either waste their whole life, or all of eternity (the afterlife).

Conclusion:

Because society was (is in some places) religious based, atheism developed to adjust to social change, a society that could focus on material things ( a materialistic community).
JustCallMeTarzan

Con

Going into the final round, Pro curiously chooses to ignore my previous arguments and chooses to focus on two (largely immaterial) statements. I'll examine his counterarguments briefly and post a conclusion.


>> " The fact that the Ten Commandments say "thou shall not covet…" shows that there where pre-existing issues regarding materialism."

Which one would indeed expect if I am correct in the assertion that materialism causes theism.

>> "Impatiens or ignorant would led people to forceful try to obtain materialistic things rather than wait for their faith to provide."

So, to summarize... Pro contends that a proscription against coveting your neighbor's goods proves that materialism causes atheism. Right.

>> "Once another faith that allowed someone to do whatever it was that they were forbidden to do in their other faith, they would convert, or become atheist."

Unwarranted assumption.

>> "If you lived in a community that forced you to be a certain faith that caused you to be unhappy and miserable, once it became socially acceptable to become atheist, would you?"

Unwarranted assumption. Plus, contradicted by Pro's later statement that conversion is an equally plausible course of action.


>> "The reason people (In the scientific community) try to prove/disprove, with scientific evidence weather a god exist, is for reassurance."

Unwarranted assumption. Pro is in no position to describe why scientists do things. It's doubtful that a scientist would say that he participates in science to reassure himself that materialism is ok - it's far more likely that scientists participate in science for its own sake. And furthermore, this doesn't really have anything to do with the resolution.

>> "Because society was (is in some places) religious based, atheism developed to adjust to social change"

Yet another... you guessed it... unwarranted assumption. Plus, Pro admitted before that religion changes with society ("religion only reformed when necessary, to keeps its appeal to the people.")... so Pro himself has rendered this an entirely moot point.

>> " atheism developed to adjust to social change, a society that could focus on material things ( a materialistic community)."

Finishing the quote above... Pro destroys his own argument here. He states that social change occurred, and that social change was to disregard religion (atheism), and thus, the society could focus on material things. So Pro's own conclusion is that atheism leads to materialism, not the other way around.

**************************************************************************

Pro has left unaddressed the post hoc ergo propter hoc and cum hoc ergo propter hoc arguments from the very beginning of the debate.

Pro has also failed to establish a case for his side of the issue, instead choosing to provide some very strange conjecture about society and its interaction with religion.

Pro has failed to clearly articulate his position: several of his statements support the proposition that atheism causes materialism, or even that materialism causes theism.

And last, Pro has failed to produce counterarguments to statistical evidence that his position is simply incorrect.

Readers, this debate is very clear. The resolution has been, and was from the start:

NEGATED.
Debate Round No. 4
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by RoyLatham 2 years ago
RoyLatham
Original Buddhism was base upon the teaching that it is unwise to consider the question of whether God exists. That would seem to link rejection of materialism more with atheism than religion.

I'm going with the idea that religion was advanced as a way get material goods by pleasing the gods, who would then respond with appreciation for being worshiped.
Posted by racismisawesome 3 years ago
racismisawesome
The fact that I don't have many material possessions led me to believe "hey maybe there isn't a magical invisible man in the sky who grants all my wishes."

If I was rich and had an awesome happy life all the time then I would be like "hell yea god is awesome"
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 3 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
Also, just FYI, here's why I made the second of my comments below... It doesn't really matter in terms of the actual debate though. TL;DR - I misread Pro's comment =)

Your first definition (of materialism) says: "preoccupation with or emphasis on material objects, comforts, and considerations, with a disinterest in or rejection of spiritual, intellectual, or cultural values."

Your second says "by materialism I mean having more wealth and "things", caused people to turn from faith and deny the existence of god and religion."

I think I was actually confused earlier because I was reading too literally... I had understood the second to mean that materialism was "a preoccupation with wealth and things that causes people to deny faith, god, and religion" - but now I reading your argument, I think you mean "a preoccupation with wealth and things", and this preoccupation causes people to deny faith, god, and religion.

My mistake - in my head, I wasn't cutting off the definition part of the statement at the right place. With my (mis-)reading, it would have been an extraordinarily hard obstacle =P
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 3 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
Sounds like Pro is reading Nietzsche in class =P I'll respond later tonight most likely...
Posted by WriterSelbe 3 years ago
WriterSelbe
I think science is the cause of its development rather than materialism. Sounds like a very catholic-y presumption. This kinda sounds LD-ish... If the opponent had realized how bogus this was early on, they could totally win, though I'm assuming they'll get popular vote anyway due to the strange topic.
Posted by Mikeee 3 years ago
Mikeee
I just don't see how the way I worded it makes it easier for me to prove than you to disprove...
Posted by Mikeee 3 years ago
Mikeee
I haven't made my debate yet, I'm just trying to clarify the wording, not that it matters to me, I'm going to have the same argument either way, I'm just trying to make it clear so people don't flip over the wording. It seemed to make perfect sense to me, but that's just me.

I don't see any differences in the definition, but which ever one you want to go by is fine, it doesn't matter to me.
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 3 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
Little late to be changing definitions now after the first rounds have been posted... not that it really makes a huge difference. But nice try on changing the definition to make your resolution definitionally true. Sorry, but that's not how it works.
Posted by Mikeee 3 years ago
Mikeee
I just googled the definition, by materialism I mean having more wealth and "things", caused people to turn from faith and deny the existence of god and religion.
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 3 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
Nah - he made a mistake.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 2 years ago
RoyLatham
MikeeeJustCallMeTarzanTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro was sort of giving random thoughts on the issue rather than tracking Con's arguments and rebutting them. That left many of Con's arguments unanswered. Pro didn't have a strong enough case to meet the burden of proof. Still, I thought it was an interesting debate.
Vote Placed by Man-is-good 3 years ago
Man-is-good
MikeeeJustCallMeTarzanTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro simply destroyed himself. Apart from implying that materialism is linked with atheism, he made several unwarranted assumptions (including about speculating why scientists do their work) and failed to address Con's arguments at all...
Vote Placed by dappleshade 3 years ago
dappleshade
MikeeeJustCallMeTarzanTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con won with the refutation that pointed out that power often required theism. Con also provided sources.
Vote Placed by wiploc 3 years ago
wiploc
MikeeeJustCallMeTarzanTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro dropped critical arguments.
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 3 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
MikeeeJustCallMeTarzanTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con notes at the outset that all he has to do was to show that Atheism exists independently and that materialism does not cause Atheism. However, through his assertion that lack of material possessions causes materialism, which causes theism as a replacement for unfulfilled materialism, and his turn on Pro's example that religious and political power are linked, Con actually convinces me that materialism causes theism. This was a ridiculously one-sided debate.