Organised religion is a force for evil and the world would be much better off without it.
Debate Rounds (5)
I will wait for an opponent before I make my first argument and I would also like to thank this opponent in advance.
I look forward to what should be a very interesting debate.
I accept this debate.
Organised Religion (noun): religion as a social institution, in which belief systems and rituals are systematically arranged and formally established. It includes but is not limited to: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism.
Pro must argue in favor of his resolution that organised relition is a force for evil and the world would be much better off without it, which must account for all organised religion. This obviously means that burden of proof is on Pro.
Please state your case.
I don't wish to make this debate about the legitimacy of religion and the ideas it preaches as it does not much bother me wether someone believes in a god, a goblin or a flying spaghetti monster. In other words this debate isn't about wether the claims of religion are true, but about wether these claims have a negative impact on the world. However, it occurs to me that it's next to impossible to have a decent conversation about religion without first taking some time to talk about why it's claims are false. As I wish to make this part of my writing quick I will limit it to one small, but very persuading, argument.
Religion offers no evidence to support the extraordinary claims it makes.
This is enough to dismiss the claims made by religion because, as Christopher Hitchens so rightly put it, "'That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence."
Well, now that I've got that out of the way I shall put forward my first argument as to why I think religion does a great disservice to humanity. Organised religion stunts progress.
By this I do not mean to say it stunts scientific progress, though it most certainly does, but I mean to say it stunts our moral progress. Religion declares a certain moral code to be infallible, unalterable and divinely written. This code is normally one jotted into parchment by brutal sexually-repressed desert dwellers living in the most archaic and medieval periods of human history. By declaring these holy books to be infallible, organised religion makes philosophy and questioning impossible and, by extension, religious people and the societies they hold hostage are forced to live under the static tyranny of a morality they cannot question.
As I am limited to how many words I can use I am only able to give you a three examples of this, but believe me there are many many more.
My first example is homophobia. How is it that in the 21st century homosexuals are still treated like second class citizens? Religion has made it impossible for people to question their own bigotry and is creating a very intolerant world. There is still a struggle going on in politics to give gay people complete equality before the law and allow them to get married. People, merely because their love is deemed to be the wrong kind of love by ancient holy books, are not aloud to marry the love of their life.
In America suicide rates are four times higher amongst homosexual children than they are amongst 'straight' children. These rates rise even higher again, to a disturbing eight times the usual rate, if the gay child has homophobic parents. I'm sure you'll agree with me these are grotesque figures and it is the first of many examples of how religion literally murders people.
From the obscene bullying in high schools to the denial for gay couples to adopt children and raise a loving family, religion has trapped the imagination of believers into the mindset of the Middle-eastern desert five and a half thousand years ago.
My second example of the static-morality is sexism.
Churches everywhere are still screaming for "traditional family values" (a grotesque euphemism for the thuggish system of hierarchy where women are reduced to sex slaves and baby-machines, while men are told to be macho and "manly" and never show any sign of emotion.) The devout are still, in the modern day of science and enlightenment, attempting to deny women the right to chose what happens to their own bodies. How many women have had to die from unsanitary and dangerous abortions because of the preaching of these archaic and fanatical religions?
I'm glad, as I'm sure I'd find the number far to distressing, that I don't have the means of counting how many young Muslim women have had their lives stolen from them in honour killings, because of the filthily patriarchal culture of slut-shaming and victim-blaming that is promoted by the Qur'an. I'm equally glad I don't know how many women have had their genitals carved off by sharp shards of dirty glass because of the perceived purity of virginity promoted by Islam, or the amount of women who are being beaten and raped everyday by their Muslim husbands.
How can we ever hope to crawl out of the primeval-swamps of patriarchy when billions of people are dedicated to the supposed infallibility of a book which says, sexism is divine law?
My third example is sexuality in general. As Voltaire said "It is an infantile superstition of the human spirit that virginity would be thought a virtue and not the barrier that separates ignorance from knowledge."
Religion, specifically the Abrahamic religions, have freeze-framed the ridiculous idea, held by the Jews in 3500 BCE that sex is in some way a shameful act. This belief has cause literally billions of people to feel guilty and ashamed merely for having an innate, and completely natural, urge to reproduce. How many teenagers have had to feel demonised and immoral because of the sinister Catholic prohibition of masturbation?
The stigma of sex is bad in itself as it demonises a victimless crime. To prohibit something which is victimless is to be tyrannical and for that reason the religious view of sex is one we should not tolerate. People should be allowed to have as much or as little sex as they want without feeling judged and guilty.
The stigma of sex is making it impossible, in the modern world, to get comprehensive sex education into our public schools. Studies show time and time again, kids who get a good sex education are less likely to end up with an unwanted pregnancy of an STI.
Sexual repression also leads, as Sigmund Freud pointed out, to cases of catastrophic violence and perversion. Why is it that so many priests have ended up raping young alter-boys? Is it possible the tiring restraints of celibacy made them crack? Could a big reason for the mounting conflicts in the middle east be the sexual repression which is mandated by Islam?
If we wish to create a better society we must remove the stigmatisation of the sexual act. This cannot happen unless we first remove the mental-shackles of religion.
Well, they are three examples of how claims of infallibility are tearing our society apart. Compared to my next example these are only small and minor things.
In many countries in the middle east the infallibility of religious dogma is taken so seriously it leads to civilisations that are forbidden from any kind of questioning what so ever. This has created one of the most tyrannical totalitarian legal systems plaguing the world today; Sharia Law.
Under sharia law homosexuals are buried alive as a means of execution. Adulterers are stoned to death in the street and fornicators are whipped (women are given more whips than men for the same crime.) The testimony of a woman is worth half that of a man, and the Burqa, or at least Hijab, are mandated by law. Alcohol is prohibited and witch craft (yes, you read that right) is punishable by death. Non-Muslims are subject to an extra tax and apostates have to face the death penalty.
Sharia law is the legal system in many countries all through the Middle-East and this kind of theocracy will continue to go on unless people begin to question their views on morality rather than taking their opinions straight from some bronze aged book.
"Religion offers no evidence to support the extraordinary claims it makes."
-This is an entire debate in itself. It is also irrelevant to this specific debate. Whether or not a religion offers evidence to support its claims does not determine whether or not it is a force for evil.
"Organised religion stunts progress. By this I do not mean to say it stunts scientific progress, though it most certainly does..."
-It most certainly does not. Gregor Mendel was a priest working religiously for a church when he discovered genetics. He soon became known as the father of genetics and established the laws of heredity, which we still use this very day.  A man in Florida recently invented cordless Christmas lights, an invention inspired by Christmas, a Christian holiday.  Ancient Muslims had to build large fancy mosques to pray and honor Allah. If they didn't have religion, they wouldn't have to build these large buildings. And to make sure these large buildings are secure and firm, they needed to advance their maths, thus inventing early Algebra. Furthermore, they have contributed to the science of architecture. As a matter of fact, religion contriubuted to architecture quite a bit. Religion inspired the Egyptian Pyramids and the Mesoamerican Pyramids, which were very tall. Without this knowledge we surely would not be able to create large skyscrapers like the 101 in Taiwan.
"t stunts our moral progress"...Religious people and the societies they hold hostage are forced to live under the static tyranny of a morality they cannot question."
-I knew a guy who was a huge jerk. He was self-centered, arrogant, and mean to everyone. His family was incredibly Christian, and one day he told them that he didn't believe in God and left home. He traveled through Asia and the United States and when he returned to his parents, he decided that he wanted to be a Christian. And eversince, he's been a completely different person. Now he's kind and he does volunteer work, including helping at fundraisers to raise money for orphans. This shows that religion doesn't stunt our moral progress, but improves it.
"Religious people and the societies they hold hostage are forced to live under the static tyranny of a morality they cannot question."
-This isn't neccessarily true, depending on the religion and the branch. There are some religions that are open to people questioning and challenging it. Therefore the contention does not account for all religion.
-Furthermore, how does this show that religion is evil? This clearly shows that the intentions of religion are not for evil but for good. It is analogous to if you had a very strict father. He is strict to you and you must obey and follow him. Yet he is strict to you because he genuinely loves you, does this make him evil?
"How is it that in the 21st century homosexuals are still treated like second class citizens? Religion has made it impossible for people to question their own bigotry and is creating a very intolerant world."
-Again, this does not account for all religion. And it is not mainly because of religion either.
-They are not treated as second class citizens. I live in Thailand, where the dominant religions are Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. Yet there are so many homosexuals here, and they are treated equally regardless of religion.
-Religion isn't even a main contributor to homosexual discrimination. People just discriminate on homosexuals in general. There are several unreligious people who discriminate against homosexuality.
-Again, this can be analogous to having a strict father. If your father discovers that you are homosexual, he might be upset. But this doesn't make him evil.
"People, merely because their love is deemed to be the wrong kind of love by ancient holy books, are not aloud to marry the love of their life."
-I personally have nothing against homosexuals. Heck, I even have a bunch of actively sexual gay friends here in Thailand. But I am against homosexual marriage, and the "ancient holy books" that deem this wrong aren't just the Bible or the Qu'ran, but the dictionary. The term "marriage" by definition states that it must be between a man and a woman. Therefore, by definition, no matter how strong their love for each other, two people of the same gender cannot marry, and if they do, it's not called marriage because the dictionary states that it is between man and woman. Therefore, unless the definition is changed, it is not possible for homosexual marriage to occur. Religions that are against homosexual marriage are not against it because they are against homosexuality, they are against it because the word "marriage" is a very holy word and they must follow its definition.
"These rates rise even higher again, to a disturbing eight times the usual rate, if the gay child has homophobic parents. I'm sure you'll agree with me these are grotesque figures and it is the first of many examples of how religion literally murders people."
-Pro has committed a fallacy. Pro claims that suicide rates in homosexual children rise if they have homophobic parents. Then Pro claims that it is because of religion. According to Pro's statements, homophobic parents are the cause, not religion.
-Not all homobphobic parents are religious, and not all religions are homophobic. Buddhism for example, is not homophobic at all.
"From the obscene bullying in high schools to the denial for gay couples to adopt children and raise a loving family."
-I can name a few religions that would very much approve of gay couples adopting children. Buddhism for example, and believe it or not, Atheism (is now considered a religion by the way). 
"The devout are still, in the modern day of science and enlightenment, attempting to deny women the right to chose what happens to their own bodies."
-Again, Pro is cherry-picking examples. As established in Round 1, Pro must account for all organised religion. And this is hardly true for any of the religions Pro is addressing. Christianity supports women liberation. In the begininning of the bible it said that "God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." implying that men and female were equal.
"How many women have had to die from unsanitary and dangerous abortions because of the preaching of these archaic and fanatical religions?"
-Christianity is against abortion. So are many others religions.
"How many teenagers have had to feel demonised and immoral because of the sinister Catholic prohibition of masturbation?"
-And how is prohibiting masturbation evil?
"People should be allowed to have as much or as little sex as they want without feeling judged and guilty."
-I completely agree. But it's not religion judging them, it's society in general. Regardless of religion, if a woman has sex 5 times a day with different guys, people are going to judge her. Are you claiming that everyone who judges a woman who has sex with 5 different guys a day are religious?
-Irrelevant. The Sharia Law is outdated and hardly anyone follows it. It prohibits muslim women from driving cars. My best friend is Muslim, and his mom drives him to school everyday.
-Again, Pro is cherry-picking examples. I can simply counter this with the ideals of Buddhism, which is against all pain and suffering.
-Pro has not met his BOT. He cherry-picks examples to support his case, but it does not account for all religion.
-Atheism is a religion. I have provided sources that proves why it is a religion . Unless Pro proves that Atheism is not a religion, Pro must also account Atheism under his resolution.
flum88 forfeited this round.
In conclusion, organised religion is not intentionally evil, if evil at all.
flum88 forfeited this round.
I leave it to the voters.
flum88 forfeited this round.
In conclusion, Pro has not met his burden of proof.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Jay-D 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro loses conduct due to forfeiture. Pro also didn't use any external sources. Con adequately disproved/countered Pro's arguments, and since BoP is on Pro, Con wasn't obliged to introduce new arguments. Hence, arguments go to Con. I award it 6-0 to Con.
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