The Instigator
epicemmy9
Con (against)
The Contender
Cobalt14
Pro (for)

Our World Would Be Better Off Without Religion

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/1/2017 Category: Religion
Updated: 9 months ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 400 times Debate No: 101622
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (0)

 

epicemmy9

Con

Just as a note, I would like to say that I believe in religious freedom. In no way am I saying that people should not be allowed to have their beliefs. It is only my opinion that we would be better off without religion.

Our world would be so much more peaceful without the unnecessary conflicts religion has caused.
To begin with, religion has instigated many wars in the past. Some religious persons just cannot seem to accept the fact that others do not have the same beliefs as them. They find it necessary to either change the beliefs of those who do not agree, or use other techniques, such as enslave them, or kill them, or torture them-and then kill them. I think it can be agreed that wars are not exactly peaceful. Wars involve many deaths and injuries, as well as huge amounts of money that need to be spent on weaponry, soldiers, and other supplies. For those who dream of world peace, let it be known that religion is definitely not helping. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org...

Additionally, religion has been one of the most immense obstacles for LGBTQ+ equality. Homophobes and such use religion as the reason for why they cannot accept people who fall in love with the same gender. Religion, they say. God would not want them to fall in love. Love is not okay if it's same-sex love. They don't keep these ideas to themselves either. In the Holy Bible, it was stated that homosexuals were stoned to death. Imagine a world where the Bible claimed heterosexuality to be a crime. Christians probably wouldn't be using the Bible as their reasoning then. Homosexuals are claimed to be "Ungodly and sinful, unholy and irreligious" by the Bible. (Timothy 1:8-11). Had religion not existed, the LGBTQ+ community might've received their respect by now.

Furthermore, many religions identity women as inferiors to men and even go as far as to state that it is totally fine to perform sexual intercourse on a woman without her consent, also known as rape. By the time of Jesus, women no longer had freedoms and status. Society had become very much male-dominated. Women were considered to be inferior beings and were assigned almost the same status as slaves. They were not educated, not allowed to take any leadership roles, and confined to domestic duties. As a female myself, I am infuriated by the fact that women were seen as such second-rate beings. Religion is one of the obstacles that has prevented women from realizing their full potential. In the Quran, women who have been raped actually need to have four male witnesses to get a trial. Since it is quite unlikely this will ever be the case, sexually assaulted women are simply identified as adulterers, and punished for their "crimes". This clearly supports the ideal we are teaching youngsters today about how it is not your fault if you get raped. Wearing suggestive clothing doesn't mean you're suggesting that you want to have sex.
Cobalt14

Pro

I would like to make it clear, my opponent is arguing that the world would be better off without religion and I am debating that the religion is not only good for society, but also necessary for it.

In response to my opponent's first claim, I will agree that wars have been caused by religion, and one may remember the crusades that occurred during the dark ages, as well as the term "jihad" or holy war used by Muslims today. I will counter that this claim is ignorant. Surely my opponent doesn"t believe that religion is the only thing capable of causing a war? It is human nature to have different ideas, and when different people with different ideas come together, there is a possibility for war, regardless of whether or not the differences are religion based. Different ideas are inevitable, and to blame world conflict solely on religion is ignorant.

As far as LGBT rights, that in it is a debate for another time. Should people be performing sexual acts with people of their own gender? My religion says no, it says that both marriage and sex should be between a man and a woman. However, one definition of religion is that it is " a particular system of faith"; also known as a belief system, and I would argue that my opponent is "religious" (has her own particular belief system) concerning LBGT rights. How can someone make the claim that we should get rid of religion if they are going to hold so tightly to there own beliefs? Are religion and beliefs not intertwined?

Lastly, my opponent claims that religion diminishes the value of women. This is far from the truth. The Bible says in 1 Peter 3:7 "Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect". It seems apparent that religion is looking out for women. The Bible also says in the Ten Commandments that we "shall not commit adultery". It is clear that Christianity is very approving of females, making your claim that rape is OK clearly false.

I will argue, in what I hope will take less than 4 rounds for my opponent to realize, that religion is vital to society and individuals. Many who remember religion from their freshmen-in-high school history class will also remember the 5 functions or religion. These are as follows;

Social Cohesion:
Probably the most direct proof that our world would be better without religion is the amount of social cohesion that religion provides. People around the world gather together in places of worship with others every single day of the year. They celebrate holidays that honor people and events that have previously impacted their religion. Many people attend collages and universities that are based around their religion and/or their set of beliefs. Religion provides a sense of community IN A WAY THAT NO OTHER ISSUE OR TOPIC can. People feel at home when talking to others who share their religion and are likely to grow when they have the support of other humans that only religion can bring.

Meaning for the mundane:
Religion answers questions that every person asks at some point in their life. Why am I here? What is the purpose in life? Does what I do matter to anyone, and will it shape the future? The answer to all of these questions is found in religion. I, as a religious person, can say that I belong to God and am a child of God. I know that my purpose in life is to both honor God and bring others (maybe my opponent) to a life with him. I can be assured that my actions do matter because they serve as a witness to others as to the life of Christian people, and will have a long-term effect, including eternal life in Heaven after death.

Social control:
Would you ever think about killing someone? Is it okay for you to steal from a business or a friend? Should you show respect to your parents? All of these questions are answered by religion, and these answers are the base for out morals and our laws within society. Religious or not, the vast majority of people around the globe will agree that each of the questions above have the same answers, and that certain responses to these questions are inherently wrong. The religious base for our modern morals and laws cannot be replaced, and positively benefits law-abiding citizens and religious people alike.

Psychological support:
When someone is felling down, angry, abused, oppressed, or in any other way not good, they will often look to religion for a sense of hope. My question to my opponent is this; without a religious base for your understanding of life, what hope do you have for anything beyond this life? Religion provides hope for people as they go through their lives, and the psychological support that religion alone provides is crucial for a happy life of purpose and fulfillment. Amongst other instances, religion provides hope after the loss of a loved one. The grief after the loss of a family member or close friend is often only bearable because the griever knows that their loved one will have life after death, and also that they can have hope for reuniting with them in the future.

Religion as an agent for social change:
Religion plays a huge role in improving not only our lives but also the lives of every individual in society and our world. When I and others like me see people struggling, our religious beliefs prod us to do something as though we were helping God himself. We draw this need to help others from Matthew 25:40 which says "The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me' ". By helping others, we are honoring God. Through religion, Society is improved and people are helped in ways that might not otherwise happen.

I was surprised to see this as a debate topic and wonder if my opponent will reconsider her claim that the world would be better without religion after she considers the many unique and positive benefits that religion offers. I look forward to a good debate and hope that the voting audience can come to a conclusion about the necessity and benefit of religion following this debate.
Debate Round No. 1
epicemmy9

Con

Thank you for accepting my debate!

My opponent believes that I have claimed religion to be the cause of ALL wars. This is not what I said. My claim was that "religion has instigated many wars in the past". This is a true statement, as the account of the Conquest of Canaan by the Israelites in the Book of Joshua, the Muslim conquests of the 7th and 8th centuries, and the Christian Crusades (11th to 13th centuries), and the Wars of Religion (16th and 17th centuries) can be classified as examples. I agree with my opponent on the fact that human nature leads us to all have different ideas and viewpoints. However, many conflicts between humans have cited religion as the main reason. Take, for example, Adolf Hitler's role in World War Two. His intention was to spill the blood of every single Jewish person. Up to six million Jewish people were killed under Hitler's direction. Is my opponent claiming that Hitler didn't want to kill these people because they were Jews, but for some other reason? If so, what it that reason?

In terms of LGBT rights, I agree with my opponent that it is acceptable for people to have differing beliefs on the topic. However, I firmly hold to my belief that humans must respect each others' differences, and they have no right to use violence against those that are of a different sexuality. Christianity clearly states that it is wrong to be homosexual, and as a result, homosexuals were stoned to death. My opponent failed to address this fact. Is it okay for people of differing sexualities to be killed for their differences? The Bible certainly thinks so; yet, if a homophobe decided to run out on to the street today and shoot a gay couple, I am certain that they would be arrested.

On the topic of women's equality, I would like to make it clear that my opponent seems to have mistakened my words once again. I did not claim that ALL religions identify women as inferiors and allow rape. My opponent seems mainly focused on Christianity, but keep in mind that there are other religions. It is a verified statement that the practice of Islam is for the raping of women. There is not a single verse in the Quran which even remotely discourages forced sex. There are even several verses in the holy book that allow rape and other sexual crimes against women.

My opponent claims that religion "provides a sense of community IN A WAY THAT NO OTHER ISSUE OR TOPIC can." This is not true. There are many atheists in this world, myself included. I would just like to say that I feel a perfect, warm, fuzzy, delightful sense of community when I sing with my choir. I don't need religion, or a common belief with others in a spirit. My family provides me with a sense of community. I'm doing fine without religion. You don't need to believe in a god to feel like you belong. There are SO MANY other groups and activities you can join to achieve that sense of community. Community is formed using boundaries, emotional safety, influence, and a fulfilment of needs. Groups such as book clubs, choirs, dance teams, baking classes, and more can help you connect through a common interest.

As a note, I would like to thank my opponent for welcoming me to your family of Christianity. I'm going to have to respectfully decline, for now. Maybe you'll change my mind. In terms of religion giving its followers a sense of purpose in this world, it is totally possible for one to have their own reasons for wanting to live. While my opponent may live to please God, there are so many people out there who are living to achieve their own goals and dreams. Humans are motivated to help one another because together, we are stronger as a society. For many of us, religion has nothing to do with why we're here. Why are we here? The Bible states that God created us because it pleased Him to do so. I'm not here to please anyone. I'm here because I want to achieve goals, to do something important, to help others, to fall in love, to make a change, but most of all, to enjoy living. You can realize that there doesn't need to be a reason for your existence. Why can't we just enjoy our existence? If my actions have a long-term affect, that's great. But, I'm not scared of oblivion. If I made someone's life better, I would be happy. No one else needs to recognize me for that.

My opponent states that religion gives us morals to live by. Let's keep this short. I didn't realize all atheists were criminals. That's because we're not all criminals. We have morals too! Except, we don't follow them because God wants us to, we follow them because we, personally, believe that these are the right things to do.

On the topic of mental support, many religions have a "heaven" afterlife and a "hell" afterlife. I hope my opponent realizes that there is also a hell in Christianity. Isn't it depressing to think that if one's father shoplifted, they would burn in a torturous habitat eternally for their sins after death? It is so much more easier to cope with a loved one's death when there is no question of "Did they go to heaven or are they burning in hell?" Christianity doesn't allow everyone into heaven. In fact, those who have loved ones who weren't exactly the "good Christian" may feel horrible about how they're loved one is currently being sent to hell. As an atheist, I am not faced with the burden of these thoughts.

Finally, let's talk social change. I find it quite surprising that there are religious persons who are only willing to help others because their religion tells them to do so. I'm helping others because I want to create positive social change. What motivates me is the fact that I'm contributing to a better world, not the fact that I'll end up in heaven after I die.

The topic of religion has always intrigued me, and I'm glad that I've received this opportunity to debate with an opponent who is religious themselves. I'm looking forward to an interesting debate!
Cobalt14

Pro

First off I would like to question why this is a debate topic you presented. I feel that if you reflect back on yourself, you will find that while atheism is the opposite of religion, it is in many ways close to a religion itself without the acknowledgement of a greater being; you consider yourself part of a community of like-minded people, you feel that what you are doing (claiming the world would be better off without religion) in this life matters because of its eternal outcomes, and you believe that there is a single person worthy to live for (yourself).

I am very pleased that you admit that not all wars have been caused by religion. I think that it can be agreed upon by both of us that while religion has been responsible for some human conflicts, human nature, differences in opinion, and selfishness are more likely the causes for war. I don"t think this can continue to be a cause for debate, although the point that replaces it can; the positive outcomes and benefits of religion outnumber and outweigh the negatives including the conflicts between people over religion.
As far as your attempt at a point including Hitler, it is false. Hitler was not inherently hateful toward religion, and in fact hoped to make a religion of him. I, like any good human, find the loss of life from the holocaust awful and felt extremely sad walking through the holocaust memorial museum in Washington D.C. months ago. However, where your point falls very short is the idea that Hitler killed these people simply because they were Jews. Hitler"s goal while governing Germany was to expand his country and "return it to its former glory". Not only Jews, but also gypsies, communists, and anyone who directly opposed Nazism was also killed. Hitler killed because he was a sick human being who did not value life and because his end goal involved removing those who opposed him, not because religion in itself was inherently bad.

We once again agree to disagree on the homosexuality topic, and if you would like to further voice your opinion on this topic there are many debates on this site that revolve around it. I will not continue to debate this topic with you unless you feel that it is somehow relevant to your explanation of why religion should be done away with. My stance remains, homosexuality is not God-honoring, and because God created us as sexual and heterosexual beings (Adam and Eve) it is against the will of my God. I do not believe that people should be subject to violence based on their beliefs, but I do believe that homosexuality is wrong, and is happy to see people cling to and fight for heterosexual marriages only in court and within our political system.

On the topic of women"s rights, I would appreciate that you do not make a claim about religion unless it applies to the MAJORITY. I understand your frustration with the Quran and again hope that you will look for another debate over the topic of Islam, rather than make a claim that religion in itself is sexist because it is not and it sounds ignorant for you to say so.

I stand by my claim that religion unites people in ways that nothing else can. I am personally glad that you are enjoying life, I hope that everyone does. The hand is always our for you to take if you feel like entering a religion, and if not I hope you continue to enjoy your life. However, my claim is true. Ask yourself the following questions: would you feel safe telling someone from your book clubs, choirs, dance teams, or baking classes your deepest secrets and feeling safe about it just because you share that one thing in common? Would you ever consider dying for any of those things? If the answer is yes, they might be more than a hobby? The way that religion brings people together cannot be replicated by any earthly thing.

I really do hope that you see a purpose in life, and I hope that anyone in our audience that is asking similar questions to the ones I asked in my first post will truly look into what drives them to live a good life and what make them happy and sure and what their hope is in. Is it enough for you to be living for yourself and to accomplish your own desires? What brings you peace when you think about death? How can you be sure that the 80 years that you spend on this earth improved it? What will happen to you after you die, or to your loved ones after they die? My religion answers these questions for me and I would love to know where you derive your answers. Because while you talk of many people living there lives without religion, the majority of people on earth are religious so some extent and look to religion to answer their deepest questions.

It's good that the idea of making a better world drives you to a social change, I"m glad that something does. But what does it matter? Who cares what we do? If our actions don"t have an eternal effect, what effect do they have at all? Religion answers questions like that and touches every part of life.

While I understand that you are not religious, and I acknowledge that you have the right to decide what you want to pursue and believe in, I am very surprised that you believe that the world as a whole would be better off without the structure, community, and hope that religion alone provides.
Debate Round No. 2
epicemmy9

Con

My opponent claims that the benefits of religion outweigh the negative effects. However, I have some more negative effects to debate.
1. Religion makes a virtue out of faith in God
In the past, when science was not advanced and the world seemed a confusing place, religion provided answers for those who asked. Now that science has developed an extreme amount and evidence-based facts take up territory once occupied by religion, traditional beliefs continuously tell their followers to block out the science and trust the Lord. Religion trains people to listen to what the Bible tells them, preventing them from having their own capacity to think.

2. Religion redirects generosity to support itself
I'm sure our audience has seen one of those gigantic church campaigns that tell them to donate to their local chruch if they want to help the people recovering from the disasters of a hurricane. How does giving money to the church help the now homeless civilians? I'm still confused. Why not directly donate to a fundraiser supporting the actual disaster recovery program? Religious people are told to promote the church itself rather than the general welfare.

3. Religion teaches helplessness
Why try to find a better way when you can simply pray to the Lord? He'll fix things. As a very young child, I prayed everyday in hope that the Lord would help me when I felt hopeless and distraught. I eventually learned to get up off my knees and find a way to help myself. Religion teaches its followers that disasters, death, and diseases come from the will of God rather than from natural causes or bad systems and decisions. As a result, believers wait for God to solve problems they could solve themselves. They are taught that these problems can be ignored as long as the believer is kind to others and believes in the Lord. This attitude harms society at large as well as individuals. Sometimes, we don"t recognize the strong connection between religion and resignation.

4. Religion helps its followers assume that THEIR religion is always right
Most of our world"s major religions each assume that their faith alone is with no doubt the absolute truth and teach their followers to assume there is no way those traditions may be mistaken. Many religious persons have no problem understanding the irrationality of others' beliefs, but are unable to apply the same logic when observing their own. Instead, every effort is made to justify why it is their religion that is free of any plotholes. If they were to observe their own religion with the same set of scrutinizing eyes that they use when criticizing others' faiths, maybe they would understand what many of us have already concluded: all religious texts were written by people, not gods. They are the stories and traditions that humans, not holy beings, created in order to explain our world in the past.
Cobalt14

Pro

My opponent argues that the negative affects of religion outweigh the benefits. However, I have some more benefits to debate.

1.) Religion makes a virtue out of faith in God
Christians do not deny all of what science says but they do have faith in God. This faith is a virtue and also leads to one we all know of, because when you put your faith in someone other than yourself you developed selflessness. Religious people see a purpose greater than themselves because their faith is not in themselves or their material possessions on earth. In a society where it is very easy to get caught up in what the world thinks through social media and interactions with others, faith in God leads people to focus on others rather than what is best for them. Faith in God and the teachings of the Bible lead people to think about more than their own personal interests, actually creating a capacity and a desire for them to think in a way that self centered people might not.

2.) Religion redirects generosity from itself to support others
There are probably millions of charities in our world today, and I would guess that the average person has never known about 99% of them. However, a religious institution (church or any other) can connect its members to some of these unknown charities. By setting up special offerings, sponsoring missions and missionaries, and forming groups of volunteers to help those in need. While religion could be helping itself, religious people remain one of the most charitable groups in the world, helping people around the globe in ways that would probably not be possible if not for religion. Religion takes the resources and talents and attention of regular people and puts them to work to better the world.

3.) Religion fixes helplessness
My opponent"s claims here are completely false. Religious people often work as herd or harder than others to get out of the potholes of their lives. It is disrespectful to claim that all religious people sit around and do nothing about the injustices of their lives. However, often times a person can work all they want as hard as they can and not see a change in the world around them. This will naturally lead them to feel helpless. Religion can fix that. People who are in regular prayer will feel better about their problems and can be assured that they have a higher power who is working for them and with them because He has their best interest at heart, even if that is not what we think is in our best interest. People can feel less helpless with religion than without because they can know that God and their community of others within their religion are there to help them.

4.) Religion helps its followers know that their religion is beneficial
I believe that the teachings of my religion are the truth, and that if I commit myself to Christ and try to live a life that honors him, I will be rewarded after my death. Similarly, I can assume that you enjoy being part of your choir, and that you agree with many if not all of the song choices, and also that you see choir as being beneficial to your life not only in the musical realm, but also in the social and intellectual realms of life. If I did not agree with what my religion taught I would most likely leave it and search for a new religion. Similarly, I will assume that if you didn"t like your choir, didn"t enjoy the time you spent with it, or did not see it as beneficial to your life, you would probably leave it and join another choir or group. In the same way that you claim that religion teaches its followers that what they believe is right, any group will try to teach its members that their group is best for them. Similarly to how I believe that my religion is right not because it tells me to but because I see it as logical, healthy, and beneficial to my life, you believe all of these same things about your choir group. However, I am going to guess that you do not question your group, wonder if it is brainwashing you, or, in the same way that you are doing here with religion, claim that the world would be better off without choir.

I am not surprised to know that you were once religious, your passion and at the same time respect for this topic gave me a hunch that you might not be a lifetime atheist. I am sorry that you have experienced something that has driven you away from religion but am glad that you feel comfortable taking about it. Please consider the positives I have listed above as well as the 5 functions that I have mentioned in my first argument.
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 epicemmy9 9 months ago
epicemmy9
Deal
Posted by Perussi 9 months ago
Perussi
Remove "would" from the topic, change to the pro side (the side you are arguing for), and make it four rounds and i will accept.
Posted by Perussi 9 months ago
Perussi
Boi....
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