The Instigator
atheistman
Pro (for)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
Brock_Meyer
Con (against)
Winning
21 Points

No School, Public or Private, Should be Allowed to Teach Religion

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Brock_Meyer
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/26/2009 Category: Education
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 6,175 times Debate No: 8793
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (12)
Votes (4)

 

atheistman

Pro

There is no evidence that the claims of religious books are true, and a lot of the claims go against scientific evidence. Since a school shouldn't be allowed to teach something that doesn't have proof or at least evidence to back it up, religion should not be taught in any educational facility.
Brock_Meyer

Con

Firstly, I thank my opponent for posing this question and for starting what should be an interesting discussion. Since my opponent has not said otherwise, I shall beginning with my own arguments against the resolution, in an effort to prove my position: namely, that schools in general should be allowed to teach religion. For clarity, I will not be arguing that public schools should be allowed to teach religion, as these schools are bound by federal law to respect a separation of church and state as rendered by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. For that reason, I will assume this discussion refers to public and private schools within the United States, and therefore seek only to prove that private schools in America reserve the right to teach religion to students.

Secondly, I would like to acknowledge that I myself am an atheist. However, being an atheist does not keep me from recognizing the value of being free to practice religion, instill one's values in one's children, or choose the school with whom you agree with most in terms of its curriculum. And, once again, note that I am not debating whether public schools should be allowed to teach religion: that I will grant to my opponent. However, the resolution explicitly includes private schools, which is the aspect of the resolution that I disagree with and will disprove with the following arguments.

The first primary and most compelling argument in favor of allowing private schools to teach religion is the freedom of religion, which is a constitutionally guaranteed right provided by the First Amendment. Just as a public school is bound by the First Amendment to avoid teaching religion to children, so are private schools free to do so within its walls. Private schools offer many people the option of teaching their children about what they believe is history, which they would otherwise not receive in a public school. In addition, while the First Amendment guarantees the free exercise of religion (which private schools, as private organizations, are entitled to), the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees that no citizen may be discriminated against on the basis of religion. Banning the teaching of religion in private schools would theoretically discriminate against those who wish to open private schools with the goal of teaching religious studies to students. Both of these Amendments are instrumental to the success of the United States, and James Madison stated that he regarded the freedom of religion as the "Father of the Bill of Rights"[1].

Secondly, proposing a ban on religious studies in private schools seems also to contradict the freedom of speech aspect of the First Amendment. We must remember that a public school differs largely from a private school. A private school is nothing more than a group of individuals who contract teaching out to another person. Parents have a large amount of control over what their children are being taught. Since a private school is a business, there is also the question of whether it is allowable to put the government in charge of business practices. Clearly, as the purpose of the United States government is to protect an inalienable right to property, it is certainly necessary to keep governments out of micromanaging private schools.

Thirdly, for an atheist to argue that theists do not have the right to educate and practice their religion in private schools is equally as shameful as when the theists argue that public schools should teach "science" like Intelligent Design. This is simply a reverse of the problem that many atheists find themselves in: that theists are trying to impose their values on others by an intermediary force (i.e. the government). In this case, it is an atheist attempting to impose his values on theists saying that religion is unallowable in all schools, regardless of whether they are publicly funded. If religious education is not allowed in the public schools, it must be allowed somewhere else, and private schools provide that outlet.

At this point, I will stop putting forth arguments. I am curious to see my opponent's arguments in favor of the resolution in order to see if I have misunderstood the question in some way. At this point, I cannot foresee a reasonable argument in favor of banning religion from private schools.

------------------------

[1] = http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 1
atheistman

Pro

First off, I would like to thank you for accepting this debate.

You mentioned that banning religion in all schools violates separation of church and state. A church is not a school. A private school may not be funded by the state, but it would still be more on the 'state' side, than the 'church' side. So technically, separation of church and state includes separation of religion and educational facilities.

Instead of picking quotes from your argument and refuting them, I'll just summarize my argument right now. Even though I don't agree with it, I have nothing against people practicing their own religion. What I do have a problem with, is educational facilities teaching religion to children as if it were true. Sure, kids can be taught ABOUT religions, but they shouldn't be taught that any religion is true. I think a law stating that something can't be taught in an educational facility if it doesn't have evidence what solve this problem. People should have the right to practice religion at home, or in their church/synagogue or other religious building. But not to teach kids in a SCHOOL that religion, something that has absolutely no evidence to back it up, is true. This may not apply to every child, but religious schools certainly churn out extremists, discriminators, and people who could even be politicians running the country one day, after having all that biased religious education. The country has enough freedom restrictions from religion. It's time for the country to move forward, not hold back with it's 'religious values.' Why should the next generations be taught this mythology?
Brock_Meyer

Con

My opponent does not believe that I know the difference between a church and a school. However, what Thomas Jefferson meant by the separation of church and state is not an actual church, but rather the ideas and practices that the church represents. A church is a metonymy (or a symbol) for the religion itself, and separating the religion from the political is what the Founding Fathers intended. A private school, which teaches religious beliefs as fact, must be regarded as part of a religious system, not as an actual church, but as what is logically subsumed under that concept.

My opponent believes that private schools can teach children about religion, but not teach religion as truth. However, my opponent should have no problem with schools teaching scientific theories as absolute truth. The problem with this view is that scientific theories are frequently false. According to the pessimistic meta-induction[1], we do not have good reason to think that our presently successful scientific theories are true or approximately true because the history of science is a graveyard of once empirically successful theories with meaningless referents. In Medieval times, students were taught Aristotelian physics, which, although empirically successful, turned out to be false. In the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, students were taught Newtonian physics, which, although empirically successful, turned out to be false. If the successful scientific theories of the past all turned out to be false, there is no reason to believe that our current, successful scientific theories are true.

With that said, there is trouble in believing that "claims for which there is evidence to support them" attain a special class of knowledge, for even the empirically successful can turn out to be untrue. For better or for worse, religious beliefs have never been proven otherwise, and thus there is a special certainty that they are immune to disproof. Moreover, to a large degree, I do not believe private schools teach religions as true (from my own experience in a private school). They indeed teach about religion, but religious values are reinforced in the home and cemented by the parents' beliefs. Thus, my opponent's objection to theism should be taken up with parents, not with schools. In the absence of these private schools, children will still become religious (albeit much more ignorant about what they believe).

Lastly, my opponent believes that religious values hold the country back, because politicians (a lot of whom attend private schools) have a biased, religious education. However, there is no reason to suppose that a completely atheist society would be any better than an overtly Christian one. As an atheist myself, I hate to make this argument, but there are plenty of counter-examples to this: such as the Soviet Union and North Korea, which restricted religious freedom in the same way that my opponent is proposing. The right balance is a virtuous mean between atheist and theist, and not imposing one's values on one's neighbor. My opponent questions why the children should be taught "mythology". I personally think that much of science today is composed of mythology, misunderstanding, and misinterpretation. However, education is a matter that individual parents must decide for their children, for education falls under the heading of a parent's greater responsibility to the welfare of his or her child.

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[1] = http://everything2.com...
Debate Round No. 2
atheistman

Pro

Again, you try to use the separation of church and state as reason FOR schools to be allowed to teach religion. Even if it does refer to religion in general, it would still apply to separation from educational facilities. When it says 'Church' in Thomas Jefferson's statements, it refers to all religious buildings (churches, synagogues, others). Religion should not be taught alongside academics, therefor, religion has no place in a school.

'my opponent should have no problem with schools teaching scientific theories as absolute truth.'

I have no problem with it, if the theories have been proven, but if they haven't but there is still evidence of them, then they can be taught as possibly true. If it has no evidence whatsoever, (religion) then it should not be taught as true, or possible, in any educational facility.

'The problem with this view is that scientific theories are frequently false. According to the pessimistic meta-induction[1], we do not have good reason to think that our presently successful scientific theories are true or approximately true because the history of science is a graveyard of once empirically successful theories with meaningless referents. In Medieval times, students were taught Aristotelian physics, which, although empirically successful, turned out to be false. In the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, students were taught Newtonian physics, which, although empirically successful, turned out to be false. If the successful scientific theories of the past all turned out to be false, there is no reason to believe that our current, successful scientific theories are true.'

We're talking about the 1600-1800s here. Of course they had many failed theories, their science was too primitive to be able to discover many scientific theories. Gravity is still a theory, no matter how far science progresses, it will probably always be called a theory. But does it have enough enough to be taught in schools? Yes. That is why it is taught as the Theory of Gravity, and the Theory of Evolution. In the present day, we have the ability to tell if something is evidence for a theory or not. If we can do that, then why shouldn't modern science be taught in schools if it has proof or at least credible evidence?

'For better or for worse, religious beliefs have never been proven otherwise, and thus there is a special certainty that they are immune to disproof.'

Okay, I'll disprove god right now. Suppose a god exists. According to the bible, it is all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful, all-good, can judge people, and is immortal. All-knowing and all-powerful are technically impossible, but say they are possible. An all-knowing/all-good being would require a brain, an all-seeing/hearing being would require eyes/ears, and a god in the image of man would require the rest of the body's organs. A law of science states that all-living things die, so an immortal god is impossible. A god would also be extremely complex and couldn't possibly just pop up out of nowhere, and there would be nothing for a god to exist on before he supposedly created the universe. Another way to disprove god is using something called LOGIC.

'Moreover, to a large degree, I do not believe private schools teach religions as true (from my own experience in a private school). They indeed teach about religion, but religious values are reinforced in the home and cemented by the parents' beliefs.'

Have you ever heard of a Catholic School?

'In the absence of these private schools, children will still become religious (albeit much more ignorant about what they believe).'

People will still become religious, but significantly less people. If everyone in the school is taught religion, then it would be seen as the norm to believe in it, and a lot more people would become very ignorant about what they believe. If no one in the school was taught religion, then it wouldn't be seen as the norm, and people would be less ignorant because there would be more atheists/agnostics in the school.

'Lastly, my opponent believes that religious values hold the country back, because politicians (a lot of whom attend private schools) have a biased, religious education. However, there is no reason to suppose that a completely atheist society would be any better than an overtly Christian one. As an atheist myself, I hate to make this argument, but there are plenty of counter-examples to this: such as the Soviet Union and North Korea, which restricted religious freedom in the same way that my opponent is proposing. The right balance is a virtuous mean between atheist and theist, and not imposing one's values on one's neighbor. My opponent questions why the children should be taught "mythology". I personally think that much of science today is composed of mythology, misunderstanding, and misinterpretation. However, education is a matter that individual parents must decide for their children, for education falls under the heading of a parent's greater responsibility to the welfare of his or her child.'

A great example of an atheist country is Sweden. Over 80% of Sweden's population is atheist, and Sweden is one of the most advanced and peaceful countries in the world. On the Human Development Index, Sweden is ranked at 7, which is 8 countries higher than the U.S. You can't link the corruption of North Korea and Communism to atheism. No one was ever killed in the name of atheism, but millions have been killed in the name of religion.

'The right balance is a virtuous mean between atheist and theist, and not imposing one's values on one's neighbor.'

If you want to believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, I'm not going to stick a gun to your head and force you to not believe in it. I'm just saying that a law should be passed that an educational facility can't teach something if it doesn't have evidence.

'My opponent questions why the children should be taught "mythology". I personally think that much of science today is composed of mythology'

Science is composed of facts and evidence, mythology is composed of blind faith as an explanation for something.

'individual parents must decide for their children, for education falls under the heading of a parent's greater responsibility to the welfare of his or her child.'

Children should choose which religion or absence of religion they choose to believe in, not their parents. If the parents want to try to force their delusions on their child, the parents can do that at home, not have a school do it for them.
Brock_Meyer

Con

I use the separation of church and state as a justification for allowing private schools to teach religion because it is not within the government's constitutional powers to regulate what is taught or practiced by private individuals. Jefferson stated it thus: "... I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their "legislature" should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between church and State."[1] Since private schools are not a part of the state, and even deserve to be loosely classed with "religious buildings", the separation of church and state provides no support for my opponent's opinion on private schools.

My opponent says that scientific theories, which have not been necessarily proven, should be taught as possibly true. Nevertheless, without specifying when something becomes "proven", I am afraid this argument does not hold water. My opponent has claim previously that he is fine with schools teaching children about religions, but not teaching that they are the truth. Now my opponent has changed his position (which is similar to mine) that not even science should be taught as the truth (because scientific theories are at best approximations), but rather we ought to teach children about science and scientific theories. If this is the case, what privilege does science have over mythology? I will agree that empirical science is more useful in living our daily lives, but a lack of proof for religion does not exclude it from the realm of what private schools ought to teach.

My opponent disputes the pessimistic meta-induction on the basis that science was too "primitive" in past times. But how will scientists feel in the 26th century about 21st century? No doubt, they will share the same sentiments as you do with respect to 17th century science. To them, science from our time will be primitive. As for the theory of gravity, certainly the empirical phenomenon of gravity has been discussed since the time of Aristotle (why things fall back to the Earth). However, throughout the shift from Aristotle to Newton to Einstein, the actual theory of gravity has changed dramatically: from properties inherent in the object falling to Earth (Aristotle), to a grand force pulling on the object (Newton), to a property of space-time geometry (Einstein). These theories have been introduced in education and subsequently rejected because of the change in scientific focus. There is no guarantee that these theories are correct. Although I have no problem with them being taught, to give privilege to such theories because they are certain facts of reality is wrong. The point of the pessimistic meta-induction serves simply to undermine your argument: that just because something has proof, or at least credible evidence, does not make it the absolute truth.

My opponent chose to convince an atheist that God does not exist. The point of the passage my opponent chose to quote and refute was not that there is a god, but that an existence of a god is not subject to the pure reason, pure rationality, and pure logic my opponent used in his disproof. No one reads a theologian's ontological argument and suddenly believes in the existence of a god. Whether someone believes in a god or not is his or her choice, and although that god might merely exist in that person's mind, to them that is an explanation they are at liberty to teach to their children by proxy.

As for my opponent's belief that less people would become religious if private schools did not teach the subject, I disagree. A majority of parents who put their children into a private education do so because of the religious studies they offer. This is clear from a large segment of the American population who pay for religious private schools when charters are free[2]. Obviously, these students must live in religious households, and so are indoctrinated with religious truths at home. If the government were to eliminate that curriculum from the private school sector, children would still be religious, regardless of the fact that they are going to school in a public school. Like I said, in a country where most of the population is Christian, and where most of the population is educated within the public school system, Americans are shockingly ignorant of Christian doctrines and the history of the Church. In my opinion, having such ignorance is far more dangerous than allowing students to attend private schools, and learn the actual teachings of Jesus Christ, not the teachings of radical or reactionary Church ministers. If these individuals are going to be theists, we might as well allow them to be good theists, not backward-looking fundamentalists.

My opponent believes that an example of an atheist, quasi-socialist utopia is Sweden. As a side note, I would like for the given statistics to be cited, because according to the Eurostat survey I looked at, only 23% of Swedes are actual atheists[3]. As for my opponent's argument, it is a non sequitur. The success of Sweden on the Human Development Index means nothing for the success of the resolution in the United States, a country in which three-fourths of the population identify themselves as Christian[4]. Moreover, even assuming my opponent's argument was correct, there has been no support for the proposition that eliminating religion even from private schools will produce more atheists (who are supposedly less ignorant than their theist counterparts are). While it is true that we cannot link the failure of North Korea and the Soviet Union to atheism, we cannot logically link the success of countries like Sweden to atheism either.

I appreciate my opponent's respect for my belief in the FSM, and that he will not suppress my faith. However, educational facilities outside of mandated government control cannot be subjected to the same standards as public institutions. I would have expected my opponent to support his position with arguments from the welfare of children, with Richard Dawkins having called teaching religion a form of child abuse[5]. However, my point still stands. Educating one's children falls under a basic human right with respect to being a parent. Just because a person hires another person to teach your child does not change the equation. If my opponent has a problem with religion, I suggest that we solve the problem not by violating human rights, but by appealing to the human mind instead.

My opponent believes that science differs from mythology because science is composed of fact and evidence and supposedly, mythology is not. On that point, I will not disagree. But, for example, much of theoretical physics is based upon interpretations of unseen phenomena. Quantum scientists are scientifically permitted to make metaphysical conclusions about the structure of the universe, not based on what they find in a laboratory, but on their own value judgments. Science is undeniably fraught with individual scientists' value judgments about the world, and it is a tricky subject differentiating what has been observed in a laboratory from what a scientist has interpreted about that observation. Mythology is an interpretation of what has been seen empirically, just as science is.

--------------------

[1] = http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] = http://online.wsj.com...
[3] = http://ec.europa.eu...
[4] = http://en.wikipedia.org...
[5] = http://www.christianpost.com...
Debate Round No. 3
atheistman

Pro

'I use the separation of church and state as a justification for allowing private schools to teach religion because it is not within the government's constitutional powers to regulate what is taught or practiced by private individuals.'

Why are children forced to go to school? Because it's a law created by the government. (state) This law forces students to either go to a public school or a private school. Since the government (state) is forcing children to go to a building 5 days a week, that building is technically a state building. Since it's a state building, religion should have no place being taught in that building. But even if you manage to prove that 'state' does not apply to private schools, that doesn't mean that law shouldn't be changed. People were free to own slaves at the time the Constitution was written, so it had to be amended to abolish slavery. During Galileo's time, people were put to death if they went against the Church's claims. But then it was discovered that the planets orbited around the sun, so that law had to be changed. When everyone realizes that there is no god, shouldn't the law of private schools be changed?

'Now my opponent has changed his position (which is similar to mine) that not even science should be taught as the truth (because scientific theories are at best approximations), but rather we ought to teach children about science and scientific theories. If this is the case, what privilege does science have over mythology? I will agree that empirical science is more useful in living our daily lives, but a lack of proof for religion does not exclude it from the realm of what private schools ought to teach.'

I never changed my position, science should be taught as the truth if it has been proven. If it's still a scientific theory, then they should teach it but just called it 'The Theory of...' Science has many privileges over mythology, such as facts, proof, and evidence. Mythology are merely failed hypothesis from primitive man to try to explain things or tell stories. A lack of proof is one thing, but a lack off evidence is more than enough to not let that concept be taught as true in any school. As i said before, a law should be passed that a school can't teach something if there is no empirical evidence of it.

'My opponent disputes the pessimistic meta-induction on the basis that science was too "primitive" in past times. But how will scientists feel in the 26th century about 21st century? No doubt, they will share the same sentiments as you do with respect to 17th century science. To them, science from our time will be primitive. As for the theory of gravity, certainly the empirical phenomenon of gravity has been discussed since the time of Aristotle (why things fall back to the Earth). However, throughout the shift from Aristotle to Newton to Einstein, the actual theory of gravity has changed dramatically: from properties inherent in the object falling to Earth (Aristotle), to a grand force pulling on the object (Newton), to a property of space-time geometry (Einstein). These theories have been introduced in education and subsequently rejected because of the change in scientific focus. There is no guarantee that these theories are correct. Although I have no problem with them being taught, to give privilege to such theories because they are certain facts of reality is wrong. The point of the pessimistic meta-induction serves simply to undermine your argument: that just because something has proof, or at least credible evidence, does not make it the absolute truth.'

An aspect of science usually doesn't get entirely disproved, it usually just gets more updated as science progresses. Especially from modern day on, emerging theories will tend to be closer and closer to the truth because of the rapidly advancing technology for science. Your explantation of the ideas of gravity from Aristotle to Einstein show this clearly, the updating of science opposed to the total disproving. True, there is no guarantee that scientific theories are 100% correct, but they are usually very, very close to the truth. And that is why they are taught as Scientific 'Theories,' if they were proven, they would be called Scientific 'Laws.'

'My opponent chose to convince an atheist that God does not exist. The point of the passage my opponent chose to quote and refute was not that there is a god, but that an existence of a god is not subject to the pure reason, pure rationality, and pure logic my opponent used in his disproof. No one reads a theologian's ontological argument and suddenly believes in the existence of a god. Whether someone believes in a god or not is his or her choice, and although that god might merely exist in that person's mind, to them that is an explanation they are at liberty to teach to their children by proxy.'

I was not trying to convince you that god does not exist, as I already knew that you were an atheist. I was just refuting your claim that god can't be disproven. As much as I disagree with parents doing this, they do have the liberty to teach their children about what they believe, AT HOME. NOT HAVE A SCHOOL TEACH THEM.

There will still be religious children even if a law is passed that private schools can't teach something without evidence. But the thing that's wrong with teaching religion in school, is that it's a school environment. At home or in a religious building such as a church, it is a family or multiple families teaching children religion. At school, it is a mass of children that will be the next generation, all being taught that a religion is true. In this environment, it will be seen as not normal to not believe in the religion that the school is teaching. Because of that many people will pretend to believe in that religion, convert to that religion, or be bullied for not believing in that religion. A school that doesn't teach religion, will give unbiased education to all students, and students will be generally more liberal to students that are a different religion or don't believe in religion. You say it would be better to have Christians who were taught in Christian schools than Christians who were taught in church. I say it would be better to have no one believe in religion in general. It will probably never happen entirely, but one day the majority of the United States will be atheist. One day, even the majority of the Earth will be atheist. A step toward that is eliminating religion from educational facilities.

Let me re-phrase this: Over 80% of Sweden is atheist or agnostic. The corruption of North Korea and Communism cannot be linked to atheism, but atheism can be linked to the freedom of the people of Sweden. Since the church in Sweden has almost no power, there are little to no religion-based laws. This gives people in Sweden more freedom than people in the U.S. You're last claim that science is no more credible than mythology is to say that least, ridiculous. I shouldn't even have to explain why.

In support of the progression of the United States of America by giving the next generations the right education, vote PRO.
Brock_Meyer

Con

I thank my opponent one last time before I conclude.

My opponent believes that a private school is a state institution and therefore religious studies should be excluded from the curriculum as required by the separation of church and state. However, just because government law dictates that children must attend school does not mean that a private school is a state-run institution. While it is regulated like all private enterprises, it is still a private enterprise. Any building owned and operated by a private school is private property, even if the students are required to attend. As private property, it is not a "state building". Imagine this hypothetical situation: the federal government passes a law saying that homelessness is illegal and everyone must find a place to live. According to this logic, all of the homes that a homeless person could potentially own or rent belong to the state, because it is a state requirement that these individuals be there. Reductio ad absurdum, this claim is false.

My opponent claims that as progress is made in human history, laws are changed to reflect changing cultural attitudes. I have no doubt of this. However, the error in comparing the situation being discussed to that of slavery and Galileo is twofold: (1) the abolition of slavery and the abolition of religious oppression were both victories for freedom from unjust institutions, whereas telling private schools what they can and cannot teach seems like a victory for oppression from what is perceived to be unjust freedom; and (2) the possibility of "everyone" realizing that there is no god is not likely, and thus the necessity of changing laws with respect to private schools is not likely either. The existence of religion dates back to the beginning of civilization[1], and only with the end of civilization will there be no religion.

Thirdly, it appears my opponent does not believe private school teachers and administrators have the discretionary capabilities to distinguish what is worthy of being taught and what is not, and proposes that we have, say, politicians decide for them: perhaps the same politicians who were indoctrinated in this private schools? The issue boils down to how we decide what is and what is not supported by empirical evidence. Anyone remotely familiar with the fields of chemistry, biology, and physics knows of the tremendous in-fighting that occurs between scientists about whether some theory is supported by evidence or contradicted by evidence. Nothing is cut and dry, and, honestly, there is no practical way of implementing what my opponent is proposing.

My opponent chooses not to see the advance of science as a slash-and-burn process, but rather as a process of "updating" previous theories. The account I gave with respect to the theory of gravity does not share your point of view at all: the gravitational theory of Aristotle was not "updated" by Newton. Rather, Newton completely and utterly rejected Aristotle on his account. After all, instead of gravity being an inherent property of an object, gravity became action-at-a-distance acting upon that object. It was a complete paradigm shift: incommensurable with the previous theory. Aristotle was slashed-and-burned as physics moved into the 17th century, and since that time, nobody regards any aspect of Aristotle's theory as correct.

While it is true that we teach these as "theories" instead of "laws", to suppose these theories are close to "100% correct" is an unjustified assumption. As the pessimistic meta-induction says, Aquinas and the Scholastics certainly thought that Aristotle was close to if not completely correct in his theory of gravity. Modern day theories deserve no special privilege when it comes to supposing their truth. All I am saying is that "empirically-verified" does not equal true, and if we are seeking to educate our children strictly in what is "true", "empirically-verified" (although it represents the best of man's knowledge at this point) does not always fit the bill. If anything, we have to teach children humility and open-mindedness. Holding back any kind of explanation, empirically verified or not, is antithetical to that goal.

My opponent believes that people in Sweden are more free than in other, more religious countries, because the alleged majority (a claim which still has no citation from a source) in that country is atheist. However, according to the 2009 Index of Economic Freedom, Sweden is the 26th freest country in the world, whereas the United States is number six. Thus, to claim that a lack of religion is responsible for freedoms is inaccurate. Taking this a little further, consider what is considered as the most atheist country in Europe: the Czech Republic[2], which ranks a fabulous 37 on the Index[3].

My opponent does not believe that he needs to explain why science is no more credible than mythology. It seems that I have doubted one of my opponent's most fundamental assumptions: one that neither can nor wants to defend.

In support of the existence of a free country, where private individuals are allowed what their children are taught in a private school, vote CON. My opponent has not demonstrated, to any extent whatsoever, that teaching religion in private school has an adverse effect on society in general or on individual children. Implementing my opponent's proposed laws is not only impractical, but also supremely immoral: it destroys the separation of church and state, and would threaten the autonomy of all citizens. The only support my opponent has for his position is his hatred for religion, which a vast majority of Americans does not share. The following statement can summarize my opponent's viewpoint: "A step toward [an atheist majority] is eliminating religion from educational facilities". The question is whether my opponent is willing to let people come to atheism on their own, or by forcing them (through closing educational facilities like private schools). Voting PRO is voting for atheist-fascism.

Q.E.D.

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[1] = http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] = http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] = http://www.heritage.org...
Debate Round No. 4
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by deuce 5 years ago
deuce
i am a Christian. there is more of a basis for believing in (a) god(and this is even a slippery slope for me,seeing as im typing this and do not want any confusion as to the fact that i Believe in the the God of the jews and subsequently the Christians and Jesus Christ also)..other than the basis of 1-nobody has ever seen this God of yours,so he must not be real(or along those lines) 2-there cannot be a God with so much evil and misfortune in the world... 3- by reading the bible all i see is a god tht is hateful and does nothing but punish...4-some of the practices in the bible that was supposedly 'ordained' by god are pagan customs that originated before the bible was ever conieved as a concpetal idea...other than these, which i can disprove, what real basis is there for atheism?
Posted by atheistman 7 years ago
atheistman
You need to re-think your beliefs
Posted by Lifeisgood 7 years ago
Lifeisgood
You need to re-think your position.
Posted by atheistman 7 years ago
atheistman
It's because it's a law for children to attend school, and private schools are an option. Outdated mythology to answer life's questions should not be part of the curriculum.
Posted by Lifeisgood 7 years ago
Lifeisgood
""free exercise of" does not mean teaching religion, it means practicing it."

Yes, it does. Do not parents have the right to teach their children their religion? Does it not violate their rights if the government were to come in and dictate what they can and can't teach their children?

It's the same thing with private schools. They are independent of the government and government funding, so they should be able to teach what they believe is true.
Posted by atheistman 7 years ago
atheistman
Actually, scratch that. The difference between a Sunday school and a regular school is that one of them requires you to be there by law.
Posted by atheistman 7 years ago
atheistman
When did I ever say it was okay for a Sunday school to teach religion?
Posted by MrButtons22 7 years ago
MrButtons22
"Free exercise" does include teaching it. the government would have to shut down and arrest people for teaching a specific religion if your way was the law, atheistman. This is "prohibiting" people to "exercise" their right to "free"ly teach their religion. What would be the difference between a "Sunday school" (As they are called) teaching the Bible as truth and a Christian school doing the same, other than the fact that one happens on a weekday and another on Sunday?
Posted by atheistman 7 years ago
atheistman
"free exercise of" does not mean teaching religion, it means practicing it. Shutting down churches and arresting people for praying would be a direct violation of the First Amendment, not requiring evidence of something for it to be taught.
Posted by Lifeisgood 7 years ago
Lifeisgood
I will not be arguing that public schools should be allowed to teach religion, as these schools are bound by federal law to respect a separation of church and state as rendered by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution."

The First Amendment does not render separation between church and state. It reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or abridging the free exercise thereof..."

To prohibit the teaching of religion in private schools would be a direct violation of the First Amendment. It's as simple as that.
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