The Instigator
Freemind
Con (against)
Winning
27 Points
The Contender
elphaba1389
Pro (for)
Losing
20 Points

Organized religion

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/12/2008 Category: Religion
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,997 times Debate No: 4667
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (12)

 

Freemind

Con

Organized religion is too structured to allow the seeking of independent beliefs and philosophies. Organized religion cannot help but "brainwash" members. With an organization forever saying this and only this is true one cannot help but be subject to the possibility of becoming "brainwashed". The religion telling one what to do, how to react, what to believe, and how to think causes an inability to examine different facts and experiences making up the individual. There is no le way for chang and evolution in structured, organized religion.
elphaba1389

Pro

I'd first like to thank my opponent for posting this debate. Secondly, considering this is a debate centered around religion than it is safe to say that the majority of the points made will be a matter of opinion mostly. So let's begin.

I'd first like to state that I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, aka "Mormon". So of course my argument is coming from my religious background, anyway...You stated that "Organized religion cannot help but "brainwash" members." While I do have to agree that members of SOME churches tend to be more closed-minded and conservative than others, this does not mean by any stretch that religion is brain-washing people.

Secondly, religion gives us something to hope for after this life. The hope of a better tomorrow, and a "reward" for all of our good deeds here on Earth; and the belief that death is not the end. It explains how we got here, why we are here, where we came from, and where we are going during and after this life. It brings peace and understanding to one's life, and enriches it's members of every denomination.

Thirdly, organized religion isn't like a cult...yes we have commandments or "rules" to live by, but no one is going to shoot you/beat you if you don't follow them. It would be like your mother giving you a rule; you can choose whether to obey it or not, obedience is strongly encouraged but ultimately the decision falls on you. The commandments are like an instruction manual to our lives; ways to be a better individual and be kinder to others. God put them in place to help us, not hinder us.

The principle of "this and only this is true" is solely based on the individual. As christians, we are taught that the only way to heaven is to be baptized and follow Christ's example and commandments. As a Mormon, I am taught that being saved isn't just a simple "once I'm baptized, I'm saved and I can do whatever I want." I know that it is a constant perseverance everyday to be better. I don't believe that Jesus Christ died for me because that is what I have been taught, but because I know with my whole heart that it is true. Now granted, I probably wouldn't know anything about Jesus unless someone had taught me, but my point is that it is ultimately MY choice whether to accept and believe the Gospel or not.

I'm a Mormon, but I am one of the most open-minded people you will ever meet. My only point in saying that, is that not every member of an organized religion is close-minded and "brainwashed." Some are close-minded, but none are "brainwashed".

I'll continue in round 2.
Debate Round No. 1
Freemind

Con

First of all I wolud like to thank my opponent for recognizing this as an oppinion based debate. And second I would like to appologize for any offense from the term "brainwash" I simply couldn't think of a better way to put it. Now on to the debate.

One must look at the topic of the debate. The topic is not religion per se, but ORGANIZED religion.

My opponent's points actually support my arguments. My opponent states "religion gives us something to hope for after this life. The hope of a better tomorrow, and a "reward" for all of our good deeds here on Earth; and the belief that death is not the end. It explains how we got here, why we are here, where we came from, and where we are going during and after this life. It brings peace and understanding to one's life, and enriches it's members of every denomination." I will conceed that RELIGION can do this. However, religion does not have to be attained in a church or organized setting. If my opponent or any one for that matter chooses to believe the LDS religion that is their own choice. So i will conceed that religion can be good.

Therefore the goal of a religion is not inherently to "Brainwash" people, it is an inherent outcome.

" As a Mormon, I am taught that being saved isn't just a simple "once I'm baptized, I'm saved and I can do whatever I want." I know that it is a constant perseverance everyday to be better."

That is what my opponent is saying they are taught. Based on the information presented in this round, the only information that can be judged on, to be saved one must be baptized and continue to perserve everyday to be better. The LDS religion is stating that "this and only this" is the path to salvation. Following that, while the religion might not be trying to "brainwash" people, it still is preaching a "no exceptions" view.

If religion is defined as the pursuit of salvation, then it is not a bad thing.

Each person is an individual with individual philosphies and beliefs. When an ORGANIZED religion says that only specific beliefs true then they are "brainwashing".

Finally I would like to ask my opponent in a cross examintion style:

Do you believe the Islamic religion?
elphaba1389

Pro

in answer to your question, I have not thoroughly researched the Islamic faith enough to know whether I believe it or not.

Also, you stated "Each person is an individual with individual philosophies and beliefs. When an ORGANIZED religion says that only specific beliefs true then they are "brainwashing"." This is true to an extent, I am my own person with my own beliefs, but organized religion; whether it be LDS, Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, Presbyterian, or Episcopalian, all have one main thing in common. They teach the same basic principles, present you with the "evidence" then leave it up to you to decide for yourself whether it is true or not and whether you believe this or not. No one tells you that "this is what the Bible says, so you're GOING to believe everything I say to you." If you don't believe it, then you are not forced to stay.

I am Mormon, so missionaries are an ESSENTIAL part of our church. That being said, our missionaries go door-to-door trying to spread the Gospel to the people in the community they are in at the time. Unfortunately, the number of people who actually allow the missionaries to enter their home and listen to what they have to share is significantly less (the difference in the two varies according to location) than those that simply say no thank you and close the door. And even after listening to the missionaries, not everyone decides to join the church. We didn't brainwash them, they still have their own beliefs.

Also, I am a convert into the Church (meaning I was not naturally-born a Mormon). I had to attend missionary lessons for about a month before getting baptized. Now, no one told me that I HAD to believe what they were telling me. If I chose to leave the lessons and not get baptized I could. But I chose to get baptized because I KNOW with my whole heart that the church is true. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God to restore the gospel in these latter-days, I know that we still have prophets on the earth to help us and guide us, and I know that Jesus Christ lives and I will return to him someday. I don't know these things because it is what I have been taught, and I'm being TOLD to believe this. I know from occurrences in my life that have added to my testimony of Jesus Christ. I know that being baptized by someone with the priesthood is the only way, the right way. I was first baptized in the Baptist church, and the spirit I felt then versus what I felt when I was baptized into the LDS church is not even comparable. I felt the Spirit so strongly in the LDS church, I knew that it was right. Kind of like when you finally understand that math problem...suddenly it just clicks! Or when you are looking at a blue sky, and you KNOW that the sky is blue but someone says, "but is it really?" you know that it is true because you see it, you experience it, and you feel it. Same thing here.

The LDS church is the FASTEST growing religion on Earth, now obviously we didn't hold everyone at gunpoint and tell them that they HAD to join the church or they would be shot. They joined of their own choosing.

Just because I'm Mormon, doesn't mean that I condemn anyone who is not my faith. Everyone has a belief that works for them, and they chose to believe that for a reason. I am always asking "Why do you believe that?" not in a condescending way, but out of honest curiosity. I never condemn or look differently on those of a different faith then my own. But I'm speaking for me personally.
Debate Round No. 2
Freemind

Con

"If you don't believe it, then you are not forced to stay"

If I don't believe it I'm not allowed to stay.

"I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God to restore the gospel in these latter-days"

No you don't. Unless you can PROVE that God exists, then you can't make this statement. One cannot say they know China has more gold than the U.S. unless they have counted every single gold ounce in both countries. You may BELIEVE it with your whole heart, but not know.

My opponent continually tries to argue that because it's free will to join, it is not brainwashing. She uses the statement:
"The LDS church is the FASTEST growing religion on Earth, now obviously we didn't hold everyone at gunpoint and tell them that they HAD to join the church or they would be shot. They joined of their own choosing."

It's not getting them to join that brainwashes people, it is having a specific, unbending belief. I am not saying that the goal of organized religion is to brainwash. I am saying by preaching a ridged gospel or philosophy, it cannot help but brainwash.

"being baptized by someone with the priesthood is the only way, the right way"

"the only way, the right way"

So if I am not baptized by the priesthood then I am not going to be saved.
If I lead a great life, am happy, and contribute to society but am not baptized in the priesthood then I will not be saved.

By saying "the ONLY way, the right way" is a perfect example of my previous statement of a church saying: "this and ONLY this".

"I am always asking "Why do you believe that?" not in a condescending way, but out of honest curiosity. I never condemn or look differently on those of a different faith then my own"

Brainwashing does not mean that you will hate anything other than what you are taught. It means you will be washed of thought for other opinions.

My opponent states that she always asks "Why do you believe that?" because she does not understand. Why does she not understand? Because it is not what she was taught to believe. It is an example of my earlier question: "Do you believe the Islamic religion?" It is not what she was taught to believe, so she cant say straight up that it is true. I'm sure if one were to ask any open minded Islam if the believed the LDS religion, then they would say they don't know. So Organized religion of any kind cannot help but lead to a cleansing of other philosophies.

In conclusion: While religion and the search for a hope for something after this life is good, when that search is limited to the barriers of an organization it inherently will lead to a "this and only this" pedagogy. Moreover, my opponent is making speeches as if I were saying that the organized religion brainwashes people to get them to join. I never make this statement. Instead, I say that once one has joined a religious organization that organization, for better or for worse, cannot help but try and wash the brain of beliefs from other religions, hence brainwashing. Any organization, be it church or company, must look out for it's own best interests. What is the single largest threat to any well being? Competition. Any religion besides LDS is a threat the the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints. Each church is competing for the non-member's support. Missionaries try and gain support. By doing this the take from the pool of potential followers of any other religion. Competition. To win one must defeat the competition, endorsing said competition is not going to make that happen. If the Catholics all say "Hey, don't come to this church next week. Instead, come to the First Baptists Church across the street," then they will lose support.

The idea of religion is not to brainwash, the organization probably isn't thinking: "hey let's brainwash some people". However, the organization, solely to keep itself in existence, must teach an independent philosophy. Thus excluding other religions and brain washing the congregation to think only in terms of the specific church.

Please note that because this is my last speech it is unfair for my opponent to get up here and make new arguments. I will never get a chance to debate them. IF, she has better arguments, then she should have said them when we would be able to debate. I don't think she will, just something to keep in mind.

I would like to thank my opponent in all sincerity for the discussion. I enjoy talking religion with an open minded church goer of any denomination solely because it gives me a new perspective that is based in logic, not just narrow minded mumbo-jumbo. I had fun and I hope you did to.
elphaba1389

Pro

first of all, I'd like to thank my opponent for posting this debate. I too, like debating religion with someone open-minded.

This debate is obviously between a Chistian and a non-christian (or maybe he just likes being controversial, which is cool). Anyways, seeing as how he is not going to be able to answer any of my questions then the following will simply act at rhetorical questions for him to think about:

Can you PROVE that wind exists?
- you can't taste it.
- you can't see it.
- you can't grasp it in your hand like you can a spoon.

The answer to this question is obvously "YES". You CAN prove that wind exists. How? You can feel it, you can see how it blows the leaves off a tree or hear how it howls at night. You have material evidence that it exists just by your feeling of it on a cold day or the aftermath of a tornado.

"No you don't. Unless you can PROVE that God exists, then you can't make this statement..."
- you can't taste Him.
- you can't see Him.
- you can't grasp Him in your hand like you can a spoon.

However, the answer to this question is also "YES". I can feel His presence, I have seen the power of prayer and how the Gospel enriches the lives it touches. I have material evidence to prove that God exists, the Bible. And I have material evidence to prove that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, the Book of Mormon. I have proof that we still have prophets in these latter-days, just research the prophecies that have been made and see how many of them have come to pass. I KNOW that the Lord blesses us, because of events that have happened in my life as a result of my faithfulness. God is like the wind, you can't see him, but you can feel him. And if you listen with a sincere heart, you can hear him.

Can I scientifically prove that God exists? No. So if the only way I can PROVE if God exists is to scientifically prove it, then I can't prove it. But that's not what God is about. If you could prove He exists, then there would be no faith.

"If I don't believe it I'm not allowed to stay."
- If you don't believe it, then why would you WANT to stay?! This statement above assumes that any and every church will kick you out because you do not agree with their teachings. This is not the case, no church I have ever been to will kick you out or ask you to leave because even though you wish to stay. And I've been to alot of churches in my life.

"If I lead a great life, am happy, and contribute to society but am not baptized in the priesthood then I will not be saved."
- That is not true. If you live a great life, are happy, and contribute to society, you will still go to heaven (the Tellestial or 2nd glory of Heaven); however, the Celestial Kingdon (where God and Christ reside) is for those that have been saved, accepted the gospel and lived righteously.

"My opponent states that she always asks "Why do you believe that?" because she does not understand. Why does she not understand? Because it is not what she was taught to believe."
- Why do you ask someone "why do you like to go dancing?". It's not because you don't understand, at least it's not for me. I ask the questions because I am always fascinated with what makes people act the way they do, or believe what they believe. I have been to alot of churches, and I know why I am Mormon, I have a personal testimony to go along with it. When I ask someone "why do you believe that?", "What do you believe?", or "what do you like about your church?" I'm not asking because I don't understand, but because I like hearing their response on their faith. And I usually come out of it with a better knowledge of something I didn't know much about before.

For example, I learned about the LDS church from my fiance. I was curious about the church because I heard things that were not true (poligamy and such), not because I didn't understand but I was generally curious and I love learning about different religions and such. Now look at me, I am a member of the church!

My point in bringing up the church membership was because typically in "brainwashing" people believe what they are told to believe. They don't know why they believe it, they just do. They usually have no personal testimonies of it being true, they just believe it because someone told them to. With religion, including church membership, every member has a personal testimony of how the Gospel has worked in their life. They don't believe in Jesus Christ because someone told them to, but because of their personal experiences that strengthen their testimony of the truth of the Gospel.

I myself went 4 years without any religion at all. I hated church and didn't believe a word of it. I was pretty much an atheist, but I'm mormon. Not because someone TOLD me that I HAVE to believe the Mormon faith, I was never asked to leave because I had a question. In fact, they embraced my questions. I have a personal testimony that God exists, that the Book of Mormon is true, and the church is true.

Conclusion: Brainwashing means forced persuasion, causing people to believe what they hear just because they are told to. If organized religion really does brainwash people, then any member of a church would answer "i don't know" when you ask them why they believe in God or how they know God exists. Every member of a church is a member of that church because they believe that what they have been taught is true, and have a personal testimony of its truth. The only way a church could actually brainwash its members would be for the church to say "you are no longer allowed to watch tv, radio, or even go anywhere other than church." Basically, isolate the people so that all they heard was that same message. But instead, we have freedom of choice. We can choose whether to believe what we hear or not. To brainwash means to give up that freedom of choice. You believe it because you are told to. And that is not the case here.
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by thisoneguy 8 years ago
thisoneguy
Sure Mormonism gives it's members somthing to hope for,, but Christianity offers the world rest,
Rest in the Knowledge that if they were to die at any time, they will be saved !! thus found spotless at the seat of judgment,, through the GIFT of grace, Mormons are of the opinion that grace can only be given "after all we can do" Himmmm,, so they work to earn a gift ?,, Himmmm,, and this is Christianity ?,, Himmmm, and this was thought up by a guy that became a gunfighter, Himmmm,, lets have a closer look at this guy, "Come on! ye prosecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! for I will come out on top at last. I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet...When they can get rid of me, the devil will also go." (History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 408, 409) ,,,,Well he seems humble enough,,
think I'll join.. Will they require any money from me,, yes?, so I have to pay cash to get into heaven?,, Himmmm, I'll just have a wee cup of tea and think about it,, WHAT?,, If I drink a wee cup of tea I can't get in ?,, Himmmm, tell me again, this is Christianity ?,, Himmmmm, Not control ?.
Posted by elphaba1389 8 years ago
elphaba1389
We as mormons believe that everyone who dies will get to hear the gospel and decide to accept it or not. So everyone gets a chance to hear the gospel.
Posted by Chuckles 8 years ago
Chuckles
actually, eggleston, Mormons believe that in between earth life and heaven there's a period when everyone will be taught the gospel and have ordinances done for them. Then those spirits choose whether they believe or not, repent, yadayadayada, then go to their level.
i've got a problem with the fact that ppl like hitler and the worst kind of ppl would get the same level of glory as some kind person who never heard or accepted the gospel. mormons believe that the only way to get into hell is to "deny the holy ghost" or basically see god and then deny he exists. we can assume this won't happen, so everyone goes to at least the "telestial kingdom".
Posted by brian_eggleston 8 years ago
brian_eggleston
In reply to Freemind's comment:

"If I lead a great life, am happy, and contribute to society but am not baptized in the priesthood then I will not be saved."

Elphaba1389 replied:

"That is not true. If you live a great life, are happy, and contribute to society, you will still go to heaven (the Tellestial or 2nd glory of Heaven); however, the Celestial Kingdon (where God and Christ reside) is for those that have been saved, accepted the gospel and lived righteously."

I knew it! God is a racist.

According to this line of reasoning, a South American Indian or a tree-dweller from Borneo or a hunter-gatherer from deepest, darkest Congo, who had never heard of God or Jesus or the Bible but who had lived a perfectly righteous life would be denied entry into the "Celestial Kingdom" with all the rich, white Westerners and instead be confined to "Terrestrial Heaven" with all the other swarthy heathens!
Posted by Rezzealaux 8 years ago
Rezzealaux
"Please note that because this is my last speech it is unfair for my opponent to get up here and make new arguments. I will never get a chance to debate them. IF, she has better arguments, then she should have said them when we would be able to debate. I don't think she will, just something to keep in mind."

Completely takes out the wind/God argument, which by the way is fallacious to begin with.
Posted by Rezzealaux 8 years ago
Rezzealaux
"The LDS church is the FASTEST growing religion on Earth"

relly? I thought it was Scientology.
Posted by Rezzealaux 8 years ago
Rezzealaux
"Therefore the goal of a religion is not inherently to "Brainwash" people, it is an inherent outcome."

NICE. I like your wording style.
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