The Instigator
Capitalistslave
Pro (for)
The Contender
dipper
Con (against)

Organized Religion should be dismantled

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Debate Round Forfeited
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/16/2017 Category: Religion
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 396 times Debate No: 101035
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (0)

 

Capitalistslave

Pro

I am taking the stance that organized religion should be dismantled, I would prefer it done not by the government, but by the people themselves.

My opponent will take the stance that organized religion should not be dismantled.

Rules of debate:
1) No ad hominem, personal attacks, or insults.
2) The number of rounds used for argument should be one less than the total number of rounds, since I am not using round 1 for debate. My opponent should then waive one round, it doesn't matter which. You can post whatever in it, as long as no arguments are made in it.
3) The last round that is used for argument should not contain new arguments. It should just be rebuttals and/or conclusions. It can have new facts or information, just as long as it's in rebuttal to your opponent.

I don't think it's necessary for me to define any terms. Common definitions of terms will be used. Basically, organized religion refers to any religion in which has leaders in it, and has beliefs that everyone who is a part of it tries to adhere to.
dipper

Con

I accept this debate and wish warmest regards to my opponent.

Since my opponent is the one proposing a deviation from the established status quo, I assert that the burden of proof falls on him. I therefore yield the initiative and use this as my skipped round, per the debate rules.
Debate Round No. 1
Capitalistslave

Pro

Hmm, I don't think I'd agree to the burden of proof being solely on me. This is my view on it: organized religion is a sort of hierarchy, as you have leaders of that religion who are considered above the lay people. In my view, all forms of hierarchy have the burden of proof, for hierarchy begs the question: what gives that person right to rule over another person?

Thus, this is why I would normally want burden of proof on the supporter of organized religion, but as a compromise, would you accept a shared burden of proof? Usually, unless agreed upon by the contenders in the first round of debate(which I didn't say anything in my first round regarding burden of proof), the burden of proof is shared between the two people. As can be seen in the official DDO guide to debating, which can be found here on page 3 for the definition of Burden of Proof[1] BOP is on both sides unless otherwise stated in the introductory round(which the introductory round is the instigator's first round)

Additionally, I don't think arguing that because it's the norm, you don't need to argue for why it should exist. For example, it was once the norm to believe the earth was flat. You're telling me people in ancient times should just accept that because it was once the norm? You're saying that people who believed in a flat earth back then didn't have burden of proof? That would be the logical conclusion if we followed through on your logic of saying that promoting the norm doesn't have the burden of proof.

We would both certainly agree that before organized religion existed, and someone tried to introduce it to people, that the burden of proof would be on them.

Now, I would agree with my opponent that the burden of proof would be on me solely if it was abundantly obvious why organized religion should exist, but to be honest, I can't think of any reason it should exist, other than maybe it provides comfort to people.

At any rate, in the interest of not wasting too much space, and not wasting the 3 days I have to make this argument, I will go into the argument now, and my opponent can tell me later if they agree to the BOP being shared between us. If they disagree with the BOP being shared, I would like to discontinue the debate, as I don't believe my arguments are sufficient enough if I am the one with sole BOP.

It can be argued organized religion helps cause wars and/or acts of terror
Because organized religion is hierarchical, people believe that someone in that religion is a religious authority and has power. This person can use that power to do or encourage terrible acts, such as for Christianity, the Crusades, or in the case of radical Islam, acts of terror. In both of these instances, people are just following the commands of a higher up. On the flip side, organized religion could be used for good too. Instead, maybe the religious authority commands the people to help the homeless in the community or something. Now, I think the evil acts promoted by organized religion outweigh the good however. Let's suppose for a minute that organized religion encourages people to do good, but it also encourages them to do bad, such as radical Islam. Perhaps it increases the amount of selfless acts, but also increases the amount of evil acts. I would say that a world in which has less of both, is better than having more of both. There would be less acts of terror this way. I would, personally, rather live in a world where there is no chance of being killed by a terror attack, though also less chance of having someone do a selfless act for me, than live in one where there might be an increased chance of a selfless act done to me, but also an increased chance of me dying early. Being able to live longer is more important than having kind things done unto me. I think everyone believes the right to live is more important than having a kind thing done for you making your life easier.

Organized Religion puts someone in charge of our lives morally, with no benefit
To argue for why someone should be a leader in charge of us, there needs to be a reason why. Some people would argue that organized religion makes people happier, but as this scientific study shows, there is no correlation between religiousity and overall happiness of undergraduate students[2]. I imagine this would be the case for all people, as I don't think there is reason to believe undergraduate students alone would be the only people who aren't happier when religious.

One might argue, also, that organized religion will make one more moral, however one way of measuring whether someone is moral is if they do or do not break laws. Of the prison population, 89.4% of US prisoners are of some organized religion[3]. Now, that alone doesn't say too much, but when you compare it to the percentage of people in the US who are part of an organized religion, then you see a bigger picture, 77.3% of Americans are part of an organized religion[4]. What can be concluded from this is that religious people commit a larger share of the crimes than non-religious people, since they make up a significantly larger percent of the prison population than the percent they make up for the general population of the US.

So, since organized religion generally puts an authority figure over our lives, who doesn't seem to help us become more moral, nor more happy, what help is given from having an authority figure in charge of our morality?

What exactly are people who are part of an organized religion getting out of having a moral authority figure over them? I suppose you could say that they are getting educated on the matter of morality through their religion, but this is something we all could do by ourselves through our own research.

Organized religion subjects people to the rule of a few and most are undemocratic
What gives the religious leader right to lead that religion? Why are they better than the people as a whole to do it? Is it because they are educated on the religion's tenets? Well, anyone can do that if they wanted to, and I'm sure there are plenty of people in each religion who are as educated on the religion as their leaders, maybe even more so. So, for them to be better educated needs to be proved. Is it because the leaders are better at not sinning? Well, that would need to be proved too.

Additionally, democracy, something that western society holds dear, is absent in all major religions. Usually, rule is considered illegitimate if people have not consented to that rule. Well, organized religions give no consent to the people. We don't get to vote in those leaders, we don't get to vote on standards the religion has, or what tenets it has, etc.

Conclusion
For these reasons in bold above, I believe society would do better without organized religion. I can't think of any other arguments against organized religion at the moment, but if I think of some later, I will bring them up in the next round.


Sources:
[1] https://docs.google.com...
[2] http://www.sciencedirect.com...
[3] https://www.statista.com...
[4] http://www.pewforum.org...
dipper

Con

In the interest of not attempting to conduct multiple debates simultaneously, I will cede a shared burden of proof just for expediency's sake. I would, however, be highly interested in moving that concept to a separate debate, because yes, I do believe that those positing a flat earth did not have the burden of proof in ancient times. I would expound on that, but doing so would be unfair to my opponent since I'd be attempting to "sneak in a last word" after tacitly declaring that the topic should be tabled.

My opponent posits that organized religion, by virtue of being a heirarchy, inherently contributes to wars and acts of terror because those "in charge" can call for it and be taken seriously by their followers. This is quite obviously true; world historical events from the Crusades to the Spanish Inquisition to the September 11th attacks can obviously speak to its truth. However, my opponent practically declares on their own that this is less about being religious and simply more about being a heirarchy; by this same token, governments are self-evidently even more destructive and warmongering, and even the most benign heirarchies have been known to terrorize communities (ever tried to tell a girl scout that you're not going to buy her cookies? Just kidding... mostly). Yet no one seriously talks about banning all heirarchies, probably because it would ironically have to be a heirarchical leader making such a call in the first place. Heirarchies are inherent in any human pattern of organization; no building gets built without a work crew under the command of a crew supervisor.

In anticipation of that counterargument, my opponent cedes the good things that can come out of heirarchies (religious ones in particular) and gets to the root of his assertion: that the negative outweighs the positive. Putting aside for a moment how subjective such an argument would be and how difficult it would be to truly quantify, the simple truth remains that human beings are trained to highlight the negative. Nightly news programs don't frequently talk about simple acts of kindness, but they always cover terrorist attacks. That being the case, I assert that my opponent is understating the scale of positive impact on the world. People who are helped learn the value in it, and are more likely to reciprocate it. Their outlook on life is increased, which undoubtedly has prevented crimes and murders that would have happened if those people were left in desperation.

How many lives have been saved by such action? How many children born who wouldn't otherwise have been? It's impossible to know for sure. To be fair, it's equally impossible to know what children were never born because of religious-sponsored acts of violence and terror, although we can ballpark how many lives lost. I would argue that the net result has been positive. My opponent would argue that the net result has been negative. Both of us could cite any number of achievements on the part of various churches to support our arguments, and neither of us could ever hope to paint a complete picture of church contributions in human history with only 10,000 characters to work with.

For the sake of argument, let's suppose that the overall contribution of religion in history balances out to exactly zero - as many lives lost as saved, and vice versa. Would that not prove my opponent's point that such institutions are ultimately unnecessary?

This would essentially be the thrust of my opponent's second claim: that there is "no benefit" to having a moral authority in our lives. First, let's go ahead and state the obvious: if God exists, and organized religion exists to properly interpret His will for the people as it claims, then the benefit of organized religion can't be overstated. Expressing gratitude and love to an all powerful creator, to whom we owe all life, should be everbody's Priority One. However, since there's obviously inadequate data to scientifically prove the validity of that claim, let's assume, again for the sake of argument, that God does not exist and the only perceptual benefit of the church is its moral philosophies.

My opponent makes two arguments here which, in my view, fall flat on their face: that organized religion fails to make people more happy, and that organized religion fails to make people more moral.

I wholeheartedly cede the argument that organized religion doesn't make one more happy; in fact, I was delightfully surprised to find that the study didn't determine it made one less happy. Making its adherents happy in this life is something that organized religion has never claimed to do and is most certainly not designed to do. It is pretty much a universal truth that every organized religion comes with a package of obligations, extra rules, and higher standards; the Judeo-Christian religion, in particular, is filled with examples of early church leaders suffering for their beliefs, and promises suffering to all followers. Nothing about that is designed to make people happier, and the fact that the study did not determine religious people to be less happy strikes me as strong proof of the high value that can be placed on living successfully within a moral framework.

Regarding the concept of failing morality, I reject my opponent's premise that examining the legal records of the faithful is an efficient metric for determining the success of organized religion in making one more moral. For one thing, legality and morality are not synonymous; per Doctor Martin Luther King's letter written while he was incarcerated, a moral person has a responsibility to violate unjust laws as surely as they have an obligation to follow just ones. For another, declaration of membership in a particular organized religion is often just an inmate's way of ensuring a certain type of diet; an inmate who loves fish, for example, might claim to be Catholic when they are not just to make sure they get fish on Friday, or one might claim to be Jewish just to avoid eating ham sandwiches. This is an extremely common practice among inmates, and the entire 11.9% difference in those statistics could not unreasonably be assumed to fall within that purview.

But more scathing than either of those objections is the simple truth that failing to meet a standard once doesn't mean there's no value in promoting the standard. One might as well be arguing that there's no point in having laws at all because some people break them.

My opponent's final point is that organized religion is undemocratic and subjects people to rule. To the extent that organized religion is actively involved in some Middle Eastern governments, this certainly is true, and I would stand in support of removing organized religion from the business of ruling countries, but that's not what is being debated here; my opponent has called for removing organized religion from the face of the Earth entirely. As a separate entity existing within a democratic state, organized religion is as democratic as you can get, because attendance and participation within the religion are not compulsory; anyone can quit at any time, simply by ceasing to go to service. Contrasted against living in a democratic country, where people would have to be able to afford to move to a different one and find a different one in which they can attain citizenship, there is objectively more freedom of choice in religious membership.

As for who gives religious leaders their right to lead, it depends on one's point of view. Those empowered within the religion would eagerly point out that they are not the leaders themselves, merely laborers in the service of a Divine Monarchy. Again, we will assume this to be delusional, in which case church leaders have been chosen under the processes established when those churches were formed; most or all have some method by which the faithful can choose to elevate themselves. They are usually, indeed, better educated, with all Catholic priests, for example, completing four year seminary colleges before serving, thus making them at least equivalent to holders of a Bachelor's Degree. I (and they) certainly concede that they are not better at not sinning, with Catholic priests again, unfortunately, providing the most obvious example.

So where does this leave us? With the impact on the world assumed to be zero, and the moral influence also balancing out to about zero, this brings us to the idea that organized religion is unnecessary if God does not exist, and indispensible if He does; most religious leaders would agree wholeheartedly with that assessment. Since the existence of God is an unknown factor, this alone would be enough argument for not dismantling organized religion. However, I'm sharing the burden of proof here, so I would take the argument a step further and argue that even if God were proven to not exist, organized religion does us a huge service simply by promoting the struggle.

My premises for that argument are as follows:

1) Good and evil exist in the world, with or without organized religion.
2) Organized religion holds people to higher standards, usually morally good ones.

On the whole, without organized religion, there would be some less evil, but there would be a greater loss in the amount of good. Therefore, removing organized religion from the human experience would do more harm than good. Beyond that, to the extent that organized religion can be modified, it would be more beneficial to human society to simply maximize its positive aspects and minimize its negative aspects would be preferable to a complete removal.


Debate Round No. 2
Capitalistslave

Pro

Yet no one seriously talks about banning all heirarchies, probably because it would ironically have to be a heirarchical leader making such a call in the first place.
Well, traditional anarchists are opposed to all forms of illegitimate hierarchy. They believe in a revolution in which the people rise up themselves to dismantle all hierarchy. I am a borderline-anarchist myself. I just chose specifically to talk about why organized religion should be dismantled, rather than all hierarchies, because that would be too broad of a debate.

Heirarchies are inherent in any human pattern of organization; no building gets built without a work crew under the command of a crew supervisor.
Worker cooperatives would actually be evidence against this. Worker cooperatives are businesses which are created without command of someone who has a meaningful position above the workers. There might be managers, but they are generally voted upon by the workers, which makes it a legitimate hierarchy as it has consent from the people who are being ruled over.

For the sake of argument, let's suppose that the overall contribution of religion in history balances out to exactly zero - as many lives lost as saved, and vice versa. Would that not prove my opponent's point that such institutions are ultimately unnecessary?
Yes, that would. Though I agree with what you basically said previously that it would be near impossible to measure the good versus bad of organized religions.

Nothing about that is designed to make people happier, and the fact that the study did not determine religious people to be less happy strikes me as strong proof of the high value that can be placed on living successfully within a moral framework.
I think the reason why this is the case is because irreligious people still try to, for the most part, live in the same moral framework, if not moreso. As pointed out(which I know you responded to, and I'll rebut it next) non-religious people commit less crime than religious people, suggesting that non-religious people actually live in a better moral framework than religious people.

I reject my opponent's premise that examining the legal records of the faithful is an efficient metric for determining the success of organized religion in making one more moral. For one thing, legality and morality are not synonymous; per Doctor Martin Luther King's letter written while he was incarcerated, a moral person has a responsibility to violate unjust laws as surely as they have an obligation to follow just ones.
Yes, but I would argue that morality and what is just is determined by a society as a whole. An unjust law would be one in which majority of people think it shouldn't be a law. An example of a modern day unjust law is the law that makes marijuana illegal. Majority of our society believes it should be legal, and so it would be okay to break that law. However, over all, there are only about 40,000 people in prison for marijuana-related crimes[5]. This wouldn't affect the statistics that much in relation to which people of which religious preference are in prison. For the most part, all of our other laws are just according to society.

For another, declaration of membership in a particular organized religion is often just an inmate's way of ensuring a certain type of diet; an inmate who loves fish, for example, might claim to be Catholic when they are not just to make sure they get fish on Friday, or one might claim to be Jewish just to avoid eating ham sandwiches. This is an extremely common practice among inmates, and the entire 11.9% difference in those statistics could not unreasonably be assumed to fall within that purview.
However, this is something that would need evidence to support it.

As a separate entity existing within a democratic state, organized religion is as democratic as you can get, because attendance and participation within the religion are not compulsory; anyone can quit at any time, simply by ceasing to go to service.
However, there is the problem of parents forcing their children to attend church. It's not democratic for them. Additionally, it can be argued that many people in an organized religion will just believe everything their leaders say, as they accept them as an authority figure for that religion. Organized religion discourages individuality and thinking for oneself.
Sources:
[5] http://www.rollingstone.com...
dipper

Con

For the moment, I will cede that heirarchies are not inevitable. I don't necessarily agree that worker cooperatives are a good example of an alternative or that all heirarchies should be abolished, but they are, agreeably, beyond the scope of the debate.

My opponent, conversely, has ceded that it would be near impossible to measure the good versus bad of organized religions.

Frankly, that admission strikes me as game, set, match. Now, not only are religious institutions unambiguously important in the framework of God existing, they absolutely might be forces that already do more good than harm even if one assumes that God does not exist. And most of the harm done is something organized religions seem to "outgrow" as secular culture tightens their ethical constraints... the Catholic church, for example, hasn't had an Inquisition in almost 500 years. Radical Islamic Jihads are already considered radical, rather than traditional, which means they may fade into obscurity as well. There is every reason to believe that minimizing the evils of organized religion and maximizing the goods of it will be a successful strategy overall. My opponent has failed to make a compelling argument that this is impossible. Indeed, I assert that they would have to prove the opposite to be true in order to really prove their thesis.

Regarding the religious inmate issue, I provide the following source:
http://correctionalnews.com...

Regarding children being forced to attend service... children are forced to do a plethora of things in a society where they are seen as essentially property of the parents. There's a root problem there that needs addressing, I agree, but compulsory organized religion is just a symptom, not the problem itself. I fail to see how, in a circumstance where organized religion was dismantled, a child's liberty would be less curtailed by being forced to engage in private religious services in the home.

Finally, regarding the assertion that organized religion discourages individuality, it is worth reiterating that all heirarchies, by their nature, do so to one extent or another. Schools don't often give credit for getting back a creative disagreement with their established fact, and businesses do not reward their employees for exercising individuality in conflict with company policies. I would insist that any remaining arguments made by my opponent in the final round be subjected to the litmus test that they apply specifically to organized religion, and not to all heirarchies in general.
Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Capitalistslave 1 year ago
Capitalistslave
I apologize, I won't be able to post in time. I thought I had enough time to do so, but I am currently taking classes while working part time at the same time. Usually this allows me to do a few debates at a time, but this time because I have/had 3 tests this week in school, I didn't have as much time. It looked like I was going to be able to still post at least once during these past 3 days, but I forgot I also had a couple of homework assignments in addition to the need to study for the tests. If it wasn't for the additional homework assignments, I would have been able to post to this.
Posted by YahWahTube 1 year ago
YahWahTube
Religion has created a world where you reference things first from the MultiGod and DemiGod perspective; rich people are evil that is well known, don't let religion be owned by the wealthy elite, that's why it says things like this.

https://www.youtube.com...
Posted by romanpiso 1 year ago
romanpiso
Organized religion was created and promoted by the ruling class, aka royalty, aka Oligarchy. Organized religion is actually a form of psychological warfare.

Oligarchy And Ancient Genealogies
http://www.academia.edu...

The True Context Of Ancient History & The Gordian Emperors
http://www.academia.edu...
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