The Instigator
npt2
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Bribri10114
Con (against)
Winning
9 Points

Organized Religion is Harmful and Corrupt

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Bribri10114
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/1/2017 Category: Religion
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,949 times Debate No: 102341
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (2)

 

npt2

Pro

Organized Religion is Harmful and Corrupt.

I am not against spirituality. Hope and Faith are driving factors in some people's life. They are able to overcome obstacles in the belief that they are ultimately pursuing "good".

However, when it becomes more about meeting and the offering plate being passed around, problems start. What is good for one- is it good for any other or all?

Organized Religion is Harmful.
The more we learn about our natural world, the more we know that we are fundamentally connected.
Religion is divisive. It isolates and causes war and hostility towards other groups of people that do not follow one set of religious standards.

Organized Religion is Corrupt.
Religious organizations are tax exempt. And tithing, a percentage paid, is central in Catholicism. The Roman Catholic Church, for example, abuses those who violate these religious standards under their "law".

Dr. John Juedes speaks to the problems organized religion brings up:
"First, not all organized religions have a healthy philosophical and moral base. Those that do, like the evangelical Christian examples given here, should be supported while unhealthy religions should be rejected."

This world contains thousands of languages and with it, thousands of religions.
Who says what is healthy? Who says which god is a true god?

Religion is a man-made construction. It is ever-changing, molding from one generation to the next.

Those who do not adhere to religious standards of one group are oppressed.

The human race is one. Organized Religion is divisive. It is harmful. It is corrupt.

http://empirenet.com...
Bribri10114

Con

Hello and thank you for proposing this topic to debate!

As the Con, I will be taking the side that organized religion is harmful and corrupt.

Obs 1: Definition of Organized religion: a structured system of faith or worship, especially one followed by a large number of people, such as Christianity, Islam, or Judaism.

Obs 2: The opponent's stance as judged by the opening arguments, is that religious organizations are "bad" because they are harmful as they isolate and cause war/hostility, as well as corrupt because they are tax exempt, while still receiving money from their constituents. Therefore, all I must do to win this round is disprove these points.

Obs 3: Because of my opponent's wording, it is logically correct to assume that he/she believes ALL organized religion is harmful and corrupt. If he/she did not, they would have clarified, but because of their belief that "Organized Religion is Harmful and Corrupt" I will assume they mean all and disproving this statement means a victory for me.

Organized Religion is Harmful
"The more we learn about our natural world, the more we know that we are fundamentally connected."
- Well...yeah? I mean, through genetics we are, so I agree.
"Religion is divisive. It isolates and causes war and hostility towards other groups of people that do not follow one set of religious standards."
- This is simply not true. If I may, I urge my opponent to present one mainstream religion that says violence is encouraged and warfare against all others is mandatory. This idea may stem from the misconception that religious sects of Christianity and Islam have, in the past, been the stem cause of violence. However, the acts of terrorist groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda are not fundamentally supported in the Quran. As quoted from the Islamic Supreme Council "In a religious sense, as described by the Quran and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (s), "jihad" has many meanings. It can refer to internal as well as external efforts to be a good Muslims or believer, as well as working to inform people about the faith of Islam. If military jihad is required to protect the faith against others, it can be performed using anything from legal, diplomatic and economic to political means. If there is no peaceful alternative, Islam also allows the use of force, but there are strict rules of engagement. Innocents - such as women, children, or invalids - must never be harmed, and any peaceful overtures from the enemy must be accepted." This rule of the jihad has been misinterpreted and badly implemented by less that 1% of a mainstream organized religion. Therefore, I argue that my opponent's claim that organized religion is bad is false. Christianity, in fact, asks its followers to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19), and I'm sure that this wouldn't be effective if organized religion was inherently or apparently corrupt and harmful. Remember, religion does not cause war and isolate, rather, it is the people who utilize religion in a bad way that make it seem so. A knife can be used for good (cutting food) as well as bad (killing), but this does not make the knife always bad as a majority of people use knives for good :).

Organized Religion is Corrupt
"Religious organizations are tax exempt."
- Right again! They are tax exempt by the state and the government. This existed since the ancient times as explained by Focusonthefamily.com "By the time of the American Revolution, nine of the original thirteen colonies were giving some kind of tax relief to churches. The idea can be traced back to Roman times when Emperor Constantine granted the Christian church a complete exemption from all forms of taxation." Not sure how this ties into your point?
"And tithing, a percentage paid, is central in Catholicism."
- Correct! Tithing is one of the "you should probably do this"'s in the Christian religion, but be forewarned, is not required.
"The Roman Catholic Church, for example, abuses those who violate these religious standards under their "law"."
-Whoa. Okay my friend. I assume you are looking at Malachi 3:9 which states that man is under a curse if they do not pay tithe as this is technically "robbing" from God? While this is correct in a sense, but, as ADevotion, a Christian devotion website explains, "But we live today under a New Covenant which does not have the same requirements. Our covenant is a better covenant established on better promises (Hebrews 8:6)." Therefore, this curse does not apply to any person anymore! In regards to the attack on the tithing, most offerings and tithes go to the church to be spent on mission trips, evangelizing, and rebuilding the church of Christ. As shown by Focusonthefamily.com, "one study notes the average urban church in Philadelphia provides over $476,663 worth of services annually. And an illustration of Cnann's work in Christianity Today shows that one particular Philadelphia congregation's annual give-back is valued at over $6 million.)" People tithe because they want to tithe, the only requirement that is in the bible to go to heaven is to believe in Jesus Christ, repent of your sins, and make a conscious effort to do good in your life.

Dr. John Juedes
As for your quote on Dr. John Juedes, you may want to look at the whole beginning half of the essay, which says, and I quote, "
Here are some things organized religion has done in our community and other countries. Over the last eleven years, our congregation has organized 24 mission trips to Mexico to build 37 houses for poor families. We recruited over 500 volunteers and over $50,000 to do this. These trips would never have been built without the efforts of organized religion, including our congregation, a Lutheran relief agency and Lutheran churches in Mexico. These organizations were following formal doctrine which prescribes caring for the poor." If you want to bring up the one or two harms that Dr. John Juedes brings up later, which by the way, he argues that Christianity is not included in, then look at the benefits to simply outweigh. Cherry picking one or two lines from a whole document may not be representative of its overall meaning.

"Religion is a man-made construction. It is ever-changing, molding from one generation to the next."
- You are absolutely correct in saying that religion is changing from one generation to the next, but are incorrect in saying that religion is a man-made construct. All those who believe in a religion will promise you that it comes from heaven and from God. Also, this doesn't tie into your point of organized religions.


Final Remarks: Let me clarify, while I am a Christian and definitely have a bias in saying that organized religion is good (as I am part of one), I think the evidence clearly points you in the direction of my side. Organized religion has done so much good for millions of people and, as you said, helps overcome obstacles in belief. I urge you not to let one or two incidences of an ineffective organized religion drive you to say that all organized religion is bad. Without organized religion, you and I may not be here today! (This of course is historical [Ottoman Empire, Roman Empire])

Thank you for this debate! I look forward to hearing your responses in thoughts.
Best wishes.

Sources:
[1] http://www.adevotion.org...
[2] http://www.focusonthefamily.com...
[3] http://islamicsupremecouncil.org...
Debate Round No. 1
npt2

Pro

"If I may, I urge my opponent to present one mainstream religion that says violence is encouraged and warfare against all others is mandatory."

How is jihad a misconception?
And why did you mention "in the past"? Look around you. Violence is everywhere and everyday as commanded of those practicing Islam, a mainstream religion.

Innocents- women and children ARE being harmed.

You mention that jihad has many meanings. When, why, and how do people just decide that a word has a different meaning in a holy book? A book that is supposedly their law. It just speaks more to the fact that religion is a quagmire, being molded and transformed daily.

The Book of Matthew, you mentioned, was written years after the death of Jesus, and canonized by religious power and influence.

Take a look at the Old Testament.
Look at the violence celebrated against the Egyptians, Philistines. The Old Testament is a book of war and bloodthirsty, conquering, religious nations.

That same gospel claiming "make disciples" was fuel to the fire of the machine that was the Roman Empire and it's expansion in the Middle Ages. Martin Luther had to hammer his 95 thesis on the church door because people were being robbed blind to line pockets and expand borders. This price at the sake of redemption.
And redemption from what? A man-made construct: hell.

Why do you think Constantine made churches tax exempt? The church had political sway and ultimately power over empires. Constantine didn't rule, the church did.

The new covenant you speak of is the Trinity: the father, son, and Holy Spirit. Which isn't biblical.
Holy books must just have "many meanings."

I shouldn't have cherry picked that- you're right. I just new you'd go read all the opinions of his.

Religion is made by man. I am not incorrect. It's a comforting notion to the only thing we have in life: question.

Who wrote holy books? Man.
The same race of man believed the sun to be 17 miles away and the earth to be flat. But that is neither here nor there.

But to speak to asking a professing religious person about their belief, let me ask you this:
I don't believe in god or heaven. How can their belief in a god or heaven hold any weight?
Bribri10114

Con

Alrighty! I'll just go straight down and do a line by line analysis.

First: Because my opponent does attack or address the observations I have made, I urge the judges to remember that the round should be based on the idea that if I prove in even one instance that organized religion is not "bad", I win :)

- I never said the idea of jihad was a misconception. I only said that what the terrorists do with the jihad is a misinterpretation of the Quran and the idea of jihad. It seems the only offense you derive from the idea that organized religion is bad is from the idea that people are being harmed, but remember, this has nothing to do with all organized religion being bad. Even the Islamic Supreme Council, which I quoted in the previous attack denounces what the terrorists are doing. It would be like assuming the KKK is representative of the whole of Christianity. It would be like assuming, because pit bulls are aggressive, all dogs are aggressive. Just because one isolated incidence of a mainstream religion is doing something bad does not imply that the whole is bad as well. Therefore, I win that organized religion is not bad.

- Thanks for the Concession!! That was exactly my point. Because innocents are being harmed, the terrorists who fight "in the name of Islam" are not doing so since their actions do not fall under the sharia. Therefore, your argument that organized religion is harmful does not stand, since war and isolation does not directly derive from any mainstream religion (part of the definition of organized religion).

- Jihad has more than one definition yes. They technically all mean the same thing, but in apply differently in some aspects of society (Social, political, military, etc.). People decide that a word means something different because they want it to be that way. This doesn't necessarily imply that they are correct. Think about the US constitution. The Supreme Court debates the true meaning of the document every day, yes? Does this mean that the US Constitution is bad and untrustworthy when it has built up this nation from the very foundation? I think not. Same applies to the Sharia (Islamic law) and the Commandments (Christian law). Religion can change, that is true, but that does not correlate to organized religion being "bad".

- So? Matthew was written later yes, but this has 1) nothing to do with the argument I was making (taken out of context) and 2) nothing to do with organized religion being bad

- Red Herring Logical Fallacy, which is the attacking of an argument that I did not present to make it seem like the opponent knows what he/she is doing. Old Testament is violent yes, but I promise you that if you open up any history textbook, there will be many many more gruesome scenes and wars. Neither implies that the Old Testament is in a sense wrong. Also, this, again, does not have anything to do with organized religion being corrupt or harmful. In fact, an article by the Huffington Post on April 10th, 2012 finds that, "“Encyclopedia of Wars,” authors Charles Phillips and Alan Axelrod document the history of recorded warfare, and from their list of 1763 wars only 123 have been classified to involve a religious cause, accounting for less than 7 percent of all wars and less than 2 percent of all people killed in warfare." Therefore your claim that religion causes divide is of very little importance as issues such as politics, economy, etc. have caused more blood to be shed.

- Is the expansion of the Roman Empire bad for some reason? Martin Luther did do that, and it indeed was because people were being robbed. This, however, occurred exactly 500 years ago. In this day and age, such corruption does not occur. As a Christian, I know that offerings and tithing is voluntary and does not constitute one's salvation as I proved in my previous argument. Hell is not a man-made construct to those believing in a religion. We believe that God gave us the Word to warn us about hell and encourage our ascending to heaven. You may believe that hell is man made as many other agnostics do, but this does not imply that it is false. Your beliefs are not necessarily 100% true, and this round cannot be based on 100% of your beliefs.

- Funny thing is, I'm in AP World History right now, and Dr. Strayer, in his book "Ways of the World" explains that the reason Constantine removed tax exemptions from churches was because he himself was Christian. This was before there was separation of church and state. That exists now so you gain no offense from that. You also don't link that into anything about organized religion being bad.

- I would recommend you do your research before claiming that a fundamental part of Christianity is incorrect. Matthew 28:19, which I quoted before, says "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Sounds like Trinity is pretty clearly defined in the Bible right?

- Again, it is YOUR belief that religion is made by man. The religious people believe it is given by God. Therefore, your belief has not more truth to it than my or anyone else's beliefs.

- You are partially correct in saying that man wrote the holy books. Both the Islamic and Christian religions believe that the people who wrote these books were powered by God and the Holy Spirit. Most of the books in the New Testament are either written by disciples of Jesus or were letters sent by missionaries.

- I'm not sure I completely understand your question? I am going to assume you are saying, "because I believe that God/Heaven is not real, how can anyone else's claims be substantiated?" Well, why do you believe that God/Heaven is not real? Don't have the empirics? I encourage you to read through "I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist" by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek. This book gives all the convincing you need to prove that Christianity is real and is the one true faith, but anyhow, everybody's beliefs hold weight to them, they don't have to have any weight to you. The only time this is not true is when a belief has been proven to be true. Then a person's belief can have weight, or not. The book I recommend to you not only proves to you the reality of Christianity, but explains why other belief systems are false. This hopefully, does not offend you since, in my belief, all the above was said based on data and research.

***Judges***: I ask that you examine my opponent's previous attacks. Not once does he/she mention "organized religion". He/she in fact simply goes on an attack on the Christian and Islamic faiths. These attacks were both non-topical and unnecessary to his/her success in this debate round. I hope this factors in as part of your voting. The key problem with my opponent's arguments is his/her Red Herring logical fallacy. He/She attacks arguments that I did not even bring up. He/she cherry picked one or two lines from my arguments and made it seem like that was all I was saying. I ask that my judges look at the core message of this debate, which is whether organized religion is "bad" due to corruption and harmfulness which I clearly prove to be false.
Debate Round No. 2
npt2

Pro

You know, you"re right. I didn"t specify. I simply put the title I did as a buzz to get someone in here that would clearly oppose me.

I"m not doing this to win any rounds. I"ll vote for you myself- how about that.

My point about warfare does not stand. And you"re right to point out any history textbook will have war and blood. There is the good in humans and there is the bad. And it is beautiful when the good outshines the bad. It is what seperates homosapiens from anything else that has ever existed.

However, Religion does prey on the poor. This corruption does exist today. I truly am sorry that you are deciding to not see this. I can"t open your eyes in this discussion.
I"d encourage you to look around you.
And Constantine became a Christian on his deathbed. Thought that was worth noting.

I have two things I"d like you to explain again to me:

1- "You may believe that hell is man made as many other agnostics do, but this does not imply that it is false. Your beliefs are not necessarily 100% true, and this round cannot be based on 100% of your beliefs...Again, it is YOUR belief that religion is made by man. The religious people believe it is given by God. Therefore, your belief has not more truth to it than my or anyone else's beliefs."

How can you say this to me? If you believe in something, it is solely on faith. And that has the capacity to shut down the conversation. It also seems contradictory- you believe and I do not but not one belief outweighs another?
We can only rely on proven truth. On what we know to be true.
I also never said I was agnostic.

2- "I encourage you to read through "I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist" by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek. This book gives all the convincing you need to prove that Christianity is real and is the one true faith, but anyhow, everybody's beliefs hold weight to them, they don't have to have any weight to you. The only time this is not true is when a belief has been proven to be true. Then a person's belief can have weight, or not. The book I recommend to you not only proves to you the reality of Christianity, but explains why other belief systems are false."

Here"s the thing. I don"t want to be convinced that something is real.
And while you are right, personal belief, convictions, spirituality is great. Problems arise when organized religion tells the masses what to think, feel, etc. based off emotional draws. Has God been proven to exist? Or is it faith that God exists?

Science, unlike belief, actually carries weight or it does not.
In science, you cannot believe something into truth.

Like I said before, there have been thousands of different tongues on this planet, and thousands and thousands of different religions?
But of those thousands and thousands of religions- your God is the one true God. Everyone else is wrong. Everyone else is wrong- but you, the Christian, are right.

Let that sink in. Think about it. If someone else from another religion said, "my God is true and other belief systems are false."
What would you say?
Would you say "you"re wrong, and I win"?

I have not followed my original title, and have certainly gone off on rabbit trails. But I appreciate you talking about all this with me. You bring up many good points. I"ll vote for you.

Thank you. Hope you have a nice day.

P.S This topic of religion has made you an ardent Christian. It has made me x. Seems divisive.
P.S.S I"m currently reading C.S Lewis"s Screwtape Letters. Thought you"d enjoy that:)
Bribri10114

Con

I'll assume that I've won then? It seems you conceded the round to me, however, I would love to talk with you about the remarks you made in your last statements.

I believe that religion does not prey on the poor simply because I have not experienced, nor have seen anyone experience this. Both in the Christian and Islamic faith, we are called to protect and help those in need (In Christianity it is through missions and in Islam it is through giving alms [one of the five pillars]). I would ask that you give me some examples of this persecution of the poor happening today. Where I live, there aren't any cases of this happening. The religion, nor the people preaching it, encourage nor condone this type of behavior you are speaking of. If you could comment some links after this debate so that I can look into the issue, that would be greatly appreciated, but as of now, you may be relying on what you perceive in your immediate community.

Constantine did become Christian shortly before his death, that is correct! However, there is no linkage to this being related to organized religion.

I'd love to explain the following to you!

1. If someone believes in something, it is NOT purely based off of faith. Do you believe that the ground exists? Do you believe that blood is pulsing throughout your body? These are all things everybody believes because it has been proven and can be examined. No one would say that these are based off of faith; they are based off of fact. You and I, clearly, believe different things in regards to religion, however, I believe neither of us can claim that one belief outweighs the other UNTIL one has been proven. Just like you say in the sentence that follows. This is why I recommend you read the book that I mentioned in Round 2. This book PROVES that the Christian faith is the only true religion and even trumps atheism or belief that there is no God. Ah, yes, I apologize for calling you agnostic. I assumed you were and that was wrong of me, but I derived it from the anti-religious comments you were making.

2. Why do you not want to be convinced that something is real? Is that not how we live? Do you believe the air is real? When you were taught about air molecules like oxygen and nitrogen, could you see them? Yet, I am sure a person as intelligent as you and I can obviously agree that the air is actually made up of small particles and molecules, even though we may not be able to see them. As children, you probably had to be convinced that this was real because at first look, air seemed to be made of nothing. Therefore, I firmly assert that people MUST be convinced that something is real, before they accept it to be real, yet you say that you don't WANT to be convinced that something is real. In that scenario, there is nothing that I, nor anyone else can do for you. No matter how many facts we put forth, no matter how much work we do, no one can convince you that ANYTHING is real because you don't WANT to be convinced that something is real.

In regards to your comment on organized religion "problems arise when organized religion tells the masses what to think, feel, etc.," you are simply incorrect. People CHOOSE to join a religious organization. It is their personal conviction and decision to ALLOW the religious institution to tell them what is the "correct" way to think/feel about religious topics. People could withdraw at any time if they believe that the organized religious institution was wrong or overwhelming. Therefore, it is incorrect to assert that this causes problems, as if the people know this caused problems, they would all leave and the organization would crumble, but since it numerous religious organizations are still going strong, organized religion must be correct or believable in some way or form.

Science does carry weight in some regards. It teaches us about molecules and the human body and more! But many of the fundamentals of science are technically based off of belief as well! Think about it. Do you happen to have a recording of monkeys, or "primates" evolving into humans? Do you happen to have film of the Big Bang Theory? These are scientific THEORIES that can never be proven 100% true, we can only come to a general consensus that it is PROBABLY right. However, in the book that I recommend, Christianity is PROVEN to have less jumps and skips than science itself, which is why it is, most likely, the right religion. Every form of belief has some level of faith involved (faith being the willpower needed to not give much impression to the parts of the belief that aren't, or can't, be proven 100% true). Since the Christian religion is the closest to being proved 100% correct, it is the "right" religion, in my opinion. In Science, some things you DO believe into truth. You cannot 100% prove to me that theories such as evolution are true. While there are a myriad of evidence pointing at the most likely truth of evolution, it can never be 100% correct, unless there is tape proving the theory. This, to believe in evolution and other sciences, requires belief and faith that it is true. This is what you, and other atheists, agnostics, scientologists, etc. do everyday.

You are right in saying that thousands of religions and tongues are in the world. Yet, I believe Christianity is the correct religion. If millions of other people believe that 1+1 = 4, no matter HOW many people believe that, the truth is that 1+1=2. This is what I believe is the difference between Christianity and other religions (including atheism). I wouldn't say "I win", but I would say that you are respectfully wrong :). Don't pose this as a bad thing. If you believed that air is made of nothing, yet a professor explains that the air is made up of oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide molecules, etc. and proceeded to say "I am right, you are wrong," you wouldn't say the professor is "bad". He is, on the contrary, "good" as he has informed you of the truth, as many in the religious fields believe they are doing.

I would also like to thank you for having this debate with me. This has allowed me to see the other side of religion as I have not been able to have conversations and debates like this over religion.

This debate has NOT made me into an ardent Christian. I was always an ardent Christian and this debate has allowed me to share that with the world. "It has made me seem x." What? The reason religion may seem so divisive to you, is because you simply refuse to believe it. This is one of the attacks that many people who do not follow the religious path utilize against religion. They say that because we believe something you may not believe, we are divisive, harmful, and bad human beings, but on the other hand, I could say that because those who do not believe in Christianity continue to attack and attempt to discredit the faith, they are divisive, harmful, and bad human beings. If someone in the past has used religion to justify an attack on you, I sincerely apologize. That's not what religion, especially Christianity, is. We simply want everyone to have a chance at realizing what we believe as truth, what we know has been and will continue to be proven, as truth. We believe, through the Word of God, punishment comes on those who do not believe, and we make it our duty to help those who do not know the Word of God, albeit through love and sincere compassion. Our job is to convince others of the validity of Christianity through our good deeds and actions. Many, as I'm sure you've seen, fail in doing so, yet this does not discredit the religion, nor the people. It is simply the walk of life against sin and temptation (as Christians believe).

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Screwtape Letters, but, as I have said, I strongly recommend you read the book I mentioned. If you are going to continue to not believe in religion, might as well know what you're missing out on. I, as a Christian, have read the Quran as well. I wanted to make the most informed decision, just like you!
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Bribri10114 1 year ago
Bribri10114
@QueenDaisy Thank you for the great RFD! I'll make sure to take into account what you said in my future debates!
Posted by dsjpk5 1 year ago
dsjpk5
Tithing is not central to Catholicism. There is no requirement to tithe in the Catholic Church. You couldn't be more wrong.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by QueenDaisy 1 year ago
QueenDaisy
npt2Bribri10114Tied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1YJatNcPpCPoHjUyHtO4nA3Pivl3rgz9J4wg40ruOOco/edit?usp=sharing
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 1 year ago
dsjpk5
npt2Bribri10114Tied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro conceded by saying, "I"m not doing this to win any rounds. I"ll vote for you myself- how about that.". Therefore, I award arguments to Con.