The Instigator
henryajevans
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
countzander
Con (against)
Winning
4 Points

Mormonism is a Blatant Lie

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
countzander
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/9/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,148 times Debate No: 36503
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (14)
Votes (1)

 

henryajevans

Pro

Although religion is all false anyway, Mormonism really is a corrupt, parasitic mess. Founded by convicted conman Joseph Smith, it was so obviously improvised with the exclusive aim of benefiting Smith, allowing him to embezzle money through the tithes, and openly preached a racist dogma until comparatively recently against black people and Native Americans.
countzander

Con

I accept this challenge. Though I am not a Mormon, I will attempt to refute the assertion that "Mormonism is a blatant lie." I will respond to the presented evidence in favor of the assertion.

Reason 1: Joseph Smith was a conman.

Rebuttal 1: Ad hominem. The possible truth of a claim, whether it be religious or secular, is not contingent upon the motivations or character of the proponent. The claim out to be examined on its own merits, and if the claim is found to be false, only then may the motivations of the presenter be taken into account.
Buy the Pro's logic, it would be valid to conclude that, because many atheists hate going to church, atheism is false. This, clearly, is fallacious. If one wanted to rebut atheism, he should attack the arguments, not the persons, in favor of atheism.

Reason 2: Joseph Smith possessed ulterior motives.

Rebuttal 2: While it is true that Joseph Smith benefited from the establishment of the religion, insufficient evidence has been provided in favor of the conclusion. That a person benefits from an idea does not prove that the person fabricated the idea for his own self interest. Many atheists benefit from not going to church, but that does not entail that atheists disbelieve in God because they do not want to go to church.
Furthermore, though some Mormons have possessed sensibilities which many would consider racist in nature, that does not mean the religion is false. Many atheists are prejudiced toward religious people, but that does not mean atheism is false.

*I am ignoring the statement "All religions are false," as no evidence has been presented for this claim.
Debate Round No. 1
henryajevans

Pro

henryajevans forfeited this round.
countzander

Con

Reason by its own arms is best evinced.
Debate Round No. 2
henryajevans

Pro

I think we should start with the ludicrous nature of the church's founding, and the rather shady details of the life of Joseph Smith.

Smith's background is something that should have discredited him. As a practiced conman for about ten years before his biggest con; he would basically go around with a band of companions and get people to pay them to look for buried treasure o their land, and then flee once they had received the money, he had cemented his position as a charismatic fraudster who could easily manipulate credulous and gullible people to his own ends. You say that this is an ad hominem argument, and that the religion should be separated from the man; but when the religion is based upon something revealed by a convicted conman with no testimonials from other people ( I will come to that in a little while) and solely by him, anyone with an inkling of rationality must link the two together.

The origins of the church are just as questionable for anyone with traces of intelligence and reason. Golden Plates that only Smith was permitted to read, and translation employing seer stones in a hat that only he was permitted to see both call to question of how credulous his followers really were, and gives a valuable insight into the power of charismatic demagogues over other human beings. I am not saying that Joseph Smith was unintelligent r ignorant. I am saying that he was cunning, disingenuous and selfish.

The Book of Mormon, described by Mark Twain as 'chloroform on print', is made of a mixture of word for word cannibalising of the King James Bible, convenient revealings from God and strangely, all the translation errors that were in the King James Bible from its numerous translations, so unless Smith was given the translation first in Aramaic, then in Ancient Egyptian, then in Ancient Greek, then in Modern Greek and then in Latin, before being translated into Middle English; he was clearly fabricating it and plagiarising the most common book in the western world at that time. By rationalising the existence of black people as being 'cursed' with dark pigmentation because of the sins of their ancestors and Native Americans being a lost tribe of Israelites, not to mention the 'fact' that the Garden of Eden was in Missouri.

Finally, there is the shady nature of polygamy and the confiscation of property. Threatening women and girls as young as fourteen with eternal damnation unless they married, or enter as some apologists describe it as, 'sealing ordinances' with Smith is obviously him appeasing his carnal desires, a tactic to expand the church quickly, or a mixture of the two. Selfishness and pragmatism are two things that can motivate all kinds of decisions, especially with regards to ones taken quite literally as 'Gospel'. Also, the establishment of the Mormon Bank as a way for the leader to swindle new members of the church out of their worldly possessions was obviously a ploy to take advantage of the credulous for personal gain. This is again a mixture of selfishness and pragmatism, as Smith was both appeasing his lust for possessions by acquiring large amounts of money from his followers (See L. Ron Hubbard), and a pragmatic way of expanding the church through building temples and monuments to advertise and accommodate new believers (read: victims) into the church. Both embezzlement and polygamy are principles that have now been thrown out of the church by convenient religious experiences that occured when there was the hint that their status as a religion may be under threat by the government.

So either it was a series of very convenient, coincidental truths, or it is a complete and absolute falsehood. Which one is more likely, given the evidence or lack thereof?
countzander

Con

Okay, but the argument is still fallacious. It's just a diatribe full of genetic and to-the-man fallacious reasoning. Essentially, your argument can be condensed as "Based on available evidence, Joseph Smith was of a questionable character. Also, his religion seems silly. Therefore, Mormonism is a lie." Such an argument might be permissible in a court of law where the goal is to pursued a jury. Fallacious reason can be convincing when people have already made up their mind on an issue, as many juries have.

But this is a reasoned debate, not a trial by jury. Here, that type of logic is not sufficiently persuasive, as I will demonstrate, point by point.

Point 1: Smith's background is something that should have discredited him. As a practiced conman for about ten years before his biggest con; he would basically go around with a band of companions and get people to pay them to look for buried treasure o their land, and then flee once they had received the money, he had cemented his position as a charismatic fraudster who could easily manipulate credulous and gullible people to his own ends. You say that this is an ad hominem argument, and that the religion should be separated from the man; but when the religion is based upon something revealed by a convicted conman with no testimonials from other people ( I will come to that in a little while) and solely by him, anyone with an inkling of rationality must link the two together.

Rebuttal 1: It is ad hominem. I'm not sure why you made the same argument twice. Let's see what happens when you apply such logic universally. I mean, if the reasoning is valid, like modus ponens or something, it should be applicable to other situations. Let's see... Richard Dawkins was a Christian one time, but he changed his mind. Also, he's been married three times. Finally, he's rude to people. Clearly, Richard Dawkins has been wrong before, not only about his beliefs but also about the person he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. In addition, he seems to just hate religious people because a handful are fundamentalists Christians. Therefore, we can discredit anything he has to say.

Wrong, obviously. Dr. Dawkin's statements should be judged by their own merits. His character isn't as important. A person with an inkling of rationality would not commit such a blatant fallacy. Fortunately, you seem somewhat aware of the fallacy since you later make an attempt to attack the religion directly.

Point 2: The origins of the church are just as questionable for anyone with traces of intelligence and reason. Golden Plates that only Smith was permitted to read, and translation employing seer stones in a hat that only he was permitted to see both call to question of how credulous his followers really were, and gives a valuable insight into the power of charismatic demagogues over other human beings. I am not saying that Joseph Smith was unintelligent r ignorant. I am saying that he was cunning, disingenuous and selfish.

Rebuttal 2: This is known as the genetic fallacy. It's unconvincing because it also fails to address the religion directly. It concludes, based on the circumstances of its creation, that the religion is false. Again, the weakness can be demonstrated by attempting to apply the logic to a similar situation. Say a theist were hit in the head with a rock and went into a coma. After the person comes to, he says that God doesn't exist because, while he was unconscious, the Flying Spaghetti Monster told him that atheism is correct. By applying the logic used in point 2, I could conclude that because no one else saw the FSM, this atheist is wrong and so God does exist.

Wrong. Whether atheism is true is independent of one person's vision. Now, if that were the ONLY evidence available, would you blame a theist for not believing him? Hopefully not. But the rational response to such a situation is "I don't know whether God exists, but that atheist has failed to prove his point." The response should be agnosticism. To take the next step and conclude that the atheist is wrong is to commit the dreaded argument from ignorance, king of fallacies: "He didn't prove atheism; therefore, atheism is false." No, until a sound argument has been presented, you shouldn't make any conclusions. Doing otherwise is fallacious.

Likewise, while the circumstances surrounding the supposed revelation is questionable, the evidence you've presented is insufficient to determine deceit. The only conclusion one can make is that Smith may or may not have had a vision, not "He made it up."

Point 3: The Book of Mormon, described by Mark Twain as 'chloroform on print', is made of a mixture of word for word cannibalising of the King James Bible, convenient revealings from God and strangely, all the translation errors that were in the King James Bible from its numerous translations, so unless Smith was given the translation first in Aramaic, then in Ancient Egyptian, then in Ancient Greek, then in Modern Greek and then in Latin, before being translated into Middle English; he was clearly fabricating it and plagiarising the most common book in the western world at that time. By rationalising the existence of black people as being 'cursed' with dark pigmentation because of the sins of their ancestors and Native Americans being a lost tribe of Israelites, not to mention the 'fact' that the Garden of Eden was in Missouri.

Rebuttal 3: Or maybe the most common book in the Western world was mostly theologically correct, save for what Smith added, and so there was no need to make sweeping changes. I mean, Mormons DO consider themselves Christian.

The last sentence is based upon an unconfirmed assumption. How do you know black people aren't cursed? And how do you you know the Garden of Eden wasn't in Missouri? Maybe Smith was right. Again, the rational stance is "I don't know whether Smith was lying, because the presented evidence doesn't confirm anything." Taking the next jump and concluding that Smith was lying is a fallacy.

Point 4: Finally, there is the shady nature of polygamy and the confiscation of property. Threatening women and girls as young as fourteen with eternal damnation unless they married, or enter as some apologists describe it as, 'sealing ordinances' with Smith is obviously him appeasing his carnal desires, a tactic to expand the church quickly, or a mixture of the two. Selfishness and pragmatism are two things that can motivate all kinds of decisions, especially with regards to ones taken quite literally as 'Gospel'. Also, the establishment of the Mormon Bank as a way for the leader to swindle new members of the church out of their worldly possessions was obviously a ploy to take advantage of the credulous for personal gain. This is again a mixture of selfishness and pragmatism, as Smith was both appeasing his lust for possessions by acquiring large amounts of money from his followers (See L. Ron Hubbard), and a pragmatic way of expanding the church through building temples and monuments to advertise and accommodate new believers (read: victims) into the church. Both embezzlement and polygamy are principles that have now been thrown out of the church by convenient religious experiences that occurred when there was the hint that their status as a religion may be under threat by the government.

Rebuttal 4: Subjective repulsion is not an argument. While many of those things can make a person cringe, it doesn't demonstrate that Smith was lying. Maybe Smith was honest, and the truth just happens to be offensive to some people.

And the church changed its mind while under pressure? So what? Galileo "confessed" that the earth doesn't move. So the earth doesn't move?
Just because the modern incarnation of Mormonism tries to be politically correct does not demonstrate that Smith was lying.

Point 5: So either it was a series of very convenient, coincidental truths, or it is a complete and absolute falsehood. Which one is more likely, given the evidence or lack thereof?

Rebuttal 5: "It's so unlikely that something like this could happen by chance. It's more reasonable that someone crafted it." Congratulations. You are now a creationist.

But seriously. That's the only strong point you've made. Mormonism doesn't seem likely to be true, but that does not entail that Smith lied. The only conclusion--rationally sound conclusion--is that Smith may or may not have had a revelation, but there's no way to know either way. Jumping to conclusions should be avoided. Be more skeptical.

Reference:
http://writingcenter.unc.edu...
Debate Round No. 3
henryajevans

Pro

henryajevans forfeited this round.
countzander

Con

How wilt thou reason with them, how refute
Their idolisms, traditions, paradoxes?
Error by his own arms is best evinced.
Debate Round No. 4
henryajevans

Pro

henryajevans forfeited this round.
countzander

Con

How wilt thou reason with them, how refute
Their idolisms, traditions, paradoxes?
Error by his own arms is best evinced.
Debate Round No. 5
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by countzander 3 years ago
countzander
That's coming from a loser who has never won a debate. If you're so smart, why do you always get you a** kicked?
Posted by devient.genie 3 years ago
devient.genie
countesszanadu, there is no debate when it comes to religion. Its like debating the validity of the tooth fairy, its pure ridicule and mockery my sky daddy worshipping religitard buddy :)

You just need to embrace True Scripture :)

True Scripture is more relevant to the 21st Century, Not that watered down goat herder tripe from back in the day :)

IDIOTS 6:13--Allegories, parables, opinions, apologies, metaphors, interpretations and excuses, these are the ingredients of the religious mind :)

LOVE 6:9--Proof that god loves you so much, he let you in on the possibility of eternal torment, just in case you forget, and dont love him back. Thats what friends are for :)
Posted by countzander 3 years ago
countzander
Reasonable people my a**. You and Henry are supposedly the only "reasonable" people here. Except, Henry committed numerous fallacies and was chased off, like a little girl.
You haven't even presented an argument, just some stereotypical Internet logic. Saying that religion is false because it is dumb is like saying homosexuality is wrong because two guys doing it is disgusting. Subjective repulsion is not an argument. Pathetic. And, Dude, what the hell? You've NEVER won a debate on this site, like literally never. Hypocrite. You claim to be reasonable and yet YOU'RE INCAPABLE OF REASONING.
Posted by devient.genie 3 years ago
devient.genie
countlesszanadu, theres no crying in baseball, you know that already, now walk it off :)

Reverse Trolling

When someone of little or no intelligence on the internet gets into a discussion, debate, or argument that they cannot keep up with because of their inability to think and process information outside of their closed little mind, and respond by calling the other person more intelligent than them a troll :)

Now lets get to some big kids stuff :)

Quit making atheism more than it is, besides an unnecessary word, its Nothing more than reasonable people standing up when unjustified religious beliefs run rampant infesting our government, our schools, hurting people, denying human rights, and telling lies!

Think about alchemy. Devout alchemist's today are ridiculous, however, if they were as influential as christianity, you would call us A-alchemist, a made up word to define someone reasonable who doesnt believe.

What about those pesky Leprechauns or unicorn beliefs. If those were as rampant as religion, we would be A-leprechaunist or A-unicornist.

However, leprechauns, alchemy, and unicorns are Not loud, divisive, destructive and annoying beliefs to our government and schools.

The only troublemaker is religion, and when reasonable people stand up against these unjustified beliefs, they get the label atheist.

So as you can see, atheist is an irrelevant and childish word, just like the "word of god", irrelevant and childish :)
Posted by countzander 3 years ago
countzander
Oh, look. Another atheist troll. Would you like for me to show you how pathetic your position is too? You can join Henry in the loser's corner.
Posted by devient.genie 3 years ago
devient.genie
Pathetic: Worshipping a universal dictator who supposedly flooded the whole planet, and is concerned with human haircuts :)
Posted by countzander 3 years ago
countzander
Dude his rounds. Didn't even have the intellectual courage to finish the debate. Pathetic. Heck, whenever I lose a debate, I at least show up to concede defeat. Pathetic.
Posted by Kiroen 3 years ago
Kiroen
That forfeit hurts to my eyes. I hope you did so because you were out of time, you don't look like a fool and there are innumerable ways to prove you're right.

We shouldn't let reason to lose any battle.
Posted by devient.genie 3 years ago
devient.genie
Any religious human who mocks another religious human is like a 500lb person mocking a 550lb person, youre all idiotic sky daddy worshippers :)
Posted by O.Z 3 years ago
O.Z
Now now, I can respect your disbelief of all religions, but come on, you don't have to insult all of our beliefs. How would you like it if someone said your beliefs are lies? As you have no way of proving the worlds religion "Lies" except your probably very limited knowledge of their customs, you can make no such claim, just as much as I cannot say "They are all right!"
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Sargon 3 years ago
Sargon
henryajevanscountzanderTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: FF