The Instigator
UltimateSkeptic
Pro (for)
Winning
10 Points
The Contender
frozen_eclipse
Con (against)
Losing
7 Points

Prayer is a failure to reason honestly and is the perfection of narcissism.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
UltimateSkeptic
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/3/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,935 times Debate No: 27721
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (18)
Votes (4)

 

UltimateSkeptic

Pro

This is a debate that will not allow for semantics as a debate strategy.

This is a religious debate on the subject of prayer. The title of this debate means that people who pray aren't using proper reasoning skills and they are enacting in a practice that allows for them to momentarily borrow narcissistic characteristics without the guilt or convictions of doing so. If you do not agree and are convinced of your certainty, accept this debate as con.

1 forfeit is an automatic loss of conduct. 2 forfeits earn an automatic forfeit of the entire debate.
Round 1 is acceptance.
Round 4 may have no new evidence or arguments.
frozen_eclipse

Con

I am anxiously looking forward to this debate because I've wanted to debate my opponent for a while now so this will be exciting.

As stated this round will be used for acceptance.

Let my propose some definitions

Narcissism-
1. Inordinate fascination with oneself; excessive self-love; vanity. self-centeredness, smugness, egocentrism
2. Psychoanalysis . erotic gratification derived from admiration of one's own physical or mental attributes, being a normal condition at the infantile level of personality development.

Reason-
3. The mental powers concerned with forming conclusions, judgments, or inferences.
4. Sound judgment; good sense.
5. Normal or sound powers of mind; sanity.

Perfection-
1. The highest degree of proficiency, skill, or excellence, as in some art.

http://dictionary.reference.com...


Let me state some background

I am agnostic, a former Jehovah's witness,can expose the bibles flaws as well as I can defend it. As far as this debate is concerned I will be taking multiple stances to defeat this resolution. My ideals will be based on logic and reason by majority. It is also by the standards of logic and reasoning that I ask the audience to deem the winner of this debate.

KANPAI!



Debate Round No. 1
UltimateSkeptic

Pro

I'd like to take time to thank my opponent for accepting today's debate.

(A debate that was inspired by Sam Harris. I will be upholding his views, thus, many words will intersect.)


I. Failure to reason honestly: Prayer allows for sane individuals, to expect insane conclusions.

The definition of reason, provided graciously by my opponent, is the mental powers concerned with forming conclusions, judgments, or inferences; sound judgement or good sense.

There are 3 assumptions with prayer that are to be recognized:
1) There is a Deity.
2) That Deity is active among the universe and answers individual problems.
3) That Deity is in control, and his will shall be done.

The first assumption is debatable, let's call it a toss up. There could have been a force that purposefully set things in motion, there could not have been. I'd suggest that there isn't and that the universe works fine without one, but that can never be proven (though the burden of proof is not on the atheist for that proposition.). The next 2 are combined assumptions. Is it reasonable to think that there is a deity to control your wishes if he is already in control, knows the outcome, and his will shall be done? No.

Religious prayer walls off sections of the brain that allows for sane individuals to expect reasonable outcomes. If one were to pray over a laptop in hopes (or under expectation) that it would turn into Optimus Prime, that person could be classified as certifiably insane. If one prays over a rounded cracker with an elongated plus sign through the middle with the expectations of it turning into the body and blood of another individual, that person is simply a Catholic.

If I were to sit & wait on a park bench and expect for the Hurricane Sandy victims to be ok shortly after & then went on about my day, I would rightly be criticized or called insane. If I went to that park bench, knelt and prayed before it for the victims of the hurricane to be ok, expected it to work, and then went on about my day, it would be considered perfectly normal in the religious world. In fact, it would be a noble act that signified empathy of the greatest sort.
Is that are reasonable, are not subject to personal religious belief.

Is is no secret that prayer is generally for the curing of personal problems (illness, lost car keys, good advice, comfort after death in the family, guidance, making deals to get out of certain situations etc.)
Is that a reasonable conclusion to be formed? Is that sound judgement or good sense? Is it ok to assume that because it is encompassed by your religion?

Well, if it happens across the board then yes. If not, no. This moves me into my next conclusion. Prayer is the perfection of narcissism.

II. The perfection of Narcissism



"God loves me, don't you know? He cured me of my eczema, he makes me feel so good while singing in church, and just when we had given up hope he found a banker to reduce my mother's mortgage!."Sam Harris

To suggest that there is an omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent being at work who talks to you specifically and will change his mind if you present him a personal problem is narcissistic. More importantly, to suggest that said being will help you with your minute personal problems, while living in the same world with starving & diseased children who are dying everyday with no help, is morally reprehensible self-centeredness.

"When something good happens to a Christian (he/she feels some bliss while praying, sees positive change in his/her life, or feels good while singing in church), then we are told that God is good. But when children are torn from their parents' arms and drowned by the tens of thousands... or when someone like myself points out the rather obvious and compelling evidence that God must be cruel and unjust because he visits suffering on innocent people of a scope and scale that would embarrass the most ambitious psychopath, we're told that God is mysterious or that God works in mysterious ways. This is how you play tennis without the net."~SH

This type of self-centered view of the world & version of morality, is the perfection of narcissism. A perfection that is reinforced with the prayers a millions of Christians at this very moment. But why the, "perfection," of narcissism? Because it allows for people to have narcissistic views, without any of its convictions or any of its guilt. It allows for people to view the world on judgement of only self-help, regardless of their fellow brothers and sister humans suffering. It allows for people to walk among millions of people in their life who have it profoundly worse off than them, and still ask that the one deity above help them with their specific problem though he hasn't helped the millions of children who die before the age of 5 each year. Something that no morally sound person would do, otherwise. No person who is morally sound would be wealthy and stand in line at a free turkey dinner in front of people who are only moments away from death by starvation. Yet, this is the exact logic that prayer allows to take place.



"In order for morally sound people to do morally reprehensible things, it takes religion." -Christopher Hitchens
frozen_eclipse

Con

Pro has BOP it seems so I will mainly refute

So Pros proposition is that the act of prayer( witch would mean all religions that do so.) lacks reasoning,also honesty, lastly is the perfection of narcissism. I disagree with all three motions.

I will underline pros quotes and refute them.

The title of this debate means that people who pray aren't using proper reasoning skills and they are enacting in a practice that allows for them to momentarily borrow narcissistic characteristics without the guilt or convictions of doing so.

First of all those who believe in something came to believe that belief based on logic. Be it faulty probable logic with the possibility of being false or genuine logic that can't be refutted. In other words, all beliefs are based on inductive or deductive reasoning. Humans don't believe in things for no reason. At some point, using some form of reasoning to affirm what they believe they used reasoning skills to come to a conclusion. Even if the argument of religion is an inductive argument, inductive arguments are still formed using reasoning skills. Let's focus on Christianity. For example (A) is a regular person. (B) is a typical Christian. Below is a typical question.

Ex-1
A- Why do you believe in a god you cannot see? It makes no sense.
B- Scientists believe gravity exists. Can we see it?
A- But that's different that has been proven to exist based on its activity.
B- Same thing with god he is established by the actions he does, the philosophies he fullfills, the miracles he makes happen, and the amazing things he does and has done for his followers.
A- Oh i see. It makes a little bit more sense now.



As you see reasoning was used to explain both persons beliefs. This is not theoretical. Conversations like these always happen and religious people are always explaining the reasoning behind why we should believe in their religion. So as we can see those who are religious do use reasoning skills.

Now the question is do they use reasoning skills while praying? Well lets examine a couple reasons why people pray. According to one source there are 5 types of prayers. Praise,Thanksgiving,Confession,Supplication, and Intercessory.

http://www.sundayschoollessons.com...

All of these prayers use reasoning. Their bibles witch they have a reason to believe is the guidance from their creator tells them to pray. it tells them why,how,where,when, and what to pray about. All prayer has a reason it is coming out of a persons mouth or is being said in ones brain. It is a classic case of cause and effect. Prayers don't happen for no reason. Those who pray have used their mental powers and have formed conclusions. Those conclusions rationalise to themselves their prayers. Obviously reasoning is being used. The rationality of this reasoning is a different debate matter.

Moving on I'm not going to debate pros list of assumptions because it's not necessary to do so and we will assume those 3 assumptions are true for the sake of this debate and because we can neither prove or disprove those points.

Is it reasonable to think that there is a deity to control your wishes if he is already in control, knows the outcome, and his will shall be done? No.

Wishes? are you referring to prayer? Are you suggesting that god controls a persons prayers, Or are you trying to suggest predestination? Please clear this up for me so I can refute this properly.

Religious prayer walls off sections of the brain that allows for sane individuals to expect reasonable outcomes.

This is a evidence lacking and baseless claim. There is no prayer phenomenon that makes certain areas of the brain not work. There are no studies to suggest this. there simply is no evidence that this is true. So as far as I can tell this is an flawed assumption.

I do agree that people pray for things that seem to not be normal. Perhaps that could be used in the case against god. However the matter of if a prayer comes true or not is not important in this debate. The fact is that these prayers are still being made through humans using reasoning skills. Be it wrong or right reasoning skills is irrelevant.

Is that are reasonable, are not subject to personal religious belief.

I ask pro to correct this statement. This seems to be the main idea of the paragraph I extracted this from. Since I can't this part then I cant understand the entire paragraph.

it is no secret that prayer is generally for the curing of personal problems.Is that a reasonable conclusion to be formed? Is that sound judgement or good sense? Is it ok to assume that because it is encompassed by your religion?

I agree that the statement you just made is not based on sound judgement or good sense just like you said.. Prayer is used to help oneself and others, to praise god, to strengthen faith, and to implant faith in others. These are many unpersonal reasons for payer.

Well, if it happens across the board then yes. If not, no. This moves me into my next conclusion. Prayer is the perfection of narcissism.

I don't really understand what you mean by this? How are you using this as a weighing device to reach a conclusion and why is his method reasonable?

To suggest that there is an omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent being at work who talks to you specifically and will change his mind if you present him a personal problem is narcissistic. More importantly, to suggest that said being will help you with your minute personal problems, while living in the same world with starving & diseased children who are dying everyday with no help, is morally reprehensible self-centeredness.

Again you are wrong to assume all prayers are about ones self. Moses recorded a prayer he made to god to spare the sinners. OTHER POEPLE. As i will prove this point fails. If I can prove people pray for others the claim of narcissism fails.

Moses Prayer, Interceding For Israel Again
Exodus 32:31-32 NIV

31 So Moses went back to the LORD and said, "Oh, what a great sin these people have committed! They have made themselves gods of gold. 32 But now, please forgive their sin-but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written."

There are atleast 5-10more examples recorded in the bible displayed by this webpage below. Even more are recorded in the additional source.

http://psalm121.ca...

http://www.spirithome.com...


or when someone like myself points out the rather obvious and compelling evidence that God must be cruel and unjust because he visits suffering on innocent people of a scope and scale that would embarrass the most ambitious psychopath, we're told that God is mysterious or that God works in mysterious ways. This is how you play tennis without the net."~SH

My response is slightly irrelevant but the presence of evil and injustice and suffering is justified in the bible. People may not agree with it but it is described why god allows all of it. Also religious people are not open minded they are trained to ignore anything that does not support their religion. So it doesn't matter how much you reason with them they will stubbornly defend their believes. They have a reason to.









Debate Round No. 2
UltimateSkeptic

Pro

I thank my opponent for his post. It appears this will be a fun debate, indeed. I will start by highlighting my opponent's refutations and then move on to upholding my own case. I will highlight his words in bold, and mine will immediately follow.

Though I assumed my opponent would make some attempt to debate prayer possessing reason (shared BOP) I do accept the BOP and my opponent's offense-only style of debate.


I. My opponent is either trying to mislead the audience, or doesn't understand the contention he's refuting.

"First of all those who believe in something came to believe that belief based on logic. Be it faulty probable logic with the possibility of being false or genuine logic that can't be refuted. In other words, all beliefs are based on inductive or deductive reasoning. Humans don't believe in things for no reason. At some point, using some form of reasoning to affirm what they believe they used reasoning skills to come to a conclusion. Even if the argument of religion is an inductive argument, inductive arguments are still formed using reasoning skills....All of these prayers use reasoning. Their bibles witch they have a reason to believe is the guidance from their creator tells them to pray. it tells them why,how,where,when, and what to pray about. "

My opponent is correct, those who believe in something do exhibit some form of logic to get there (to include flawed logic). However, this is not a debate on whether those who pray were able to come to their conclusion, it is centered on the way they came about their conclusion. It is a debate that acknowledges the conclusion, and attacks it for being flawed reasoning skills.

There is a difference that my opponent is trying to cloud over, and that is the distinct difference between sound reason, and sound logic V.S. any reason or any logic. Even the most heinous offenses against mankind came about using some form of logic or reason, but that doesn't make their methods or their conclusions reasonable or logical. Exterminating the Jews in order to lift the human species potential, for example.

His very first example is my hypothetical example in real time.

"Ex-1
A- Why do you believe in a god you cannot see? It makes no sense.
B- Scientists believe gravity exists. Can we see it?
A- But that's different that has been proved to exist based on its activity.
B- Same thing with god he is established by the actions he does, the philosophies he fulfills, the miracles he makes happen, and the amazing things he does and has done for his followers.
A- Oh I see. It makes a little bit more sense now."

My opponent's example ignores the very premise on which this debate was launched, "...The miracles he makes happen, and the amazing things he does and has done for his followers." To suggest that the one deity is active but only among people who share a certain opinion and not on the virtues of specific people is an illogical and unreasonable viewpoint. It writes off the 5.8 million innocent children who die of starvation every year. [1] It suggests that if there is a deity above that cares about the well-being of his creations, he only cares about your opinions, ignorant of individual virtues, & doesn't apply his help on the basis of need. (Opinions being your beliefs, and situations being that the children are starving to death at the rate of 16,000 per day). And it subjects the creature of omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, & omnibenevolent ways to a level of morality that humans are above.


"Religious prayer walls off sections of the brain that allows for sane individuals to expect reasonable outcomes.

This is a evidence lacking and baseless claim. There is no prayer phenomenon that makes certain areas of the brain not work. There are no studies to suggest this. there simply is no evidence that this is true. So as far as I can tell this is an flawed assumption.

I do agree that people pray for things that seem to not be normal. Perhaps that could be used in the case against god. However the matter of if a prayer comes true or not is not important in this debate. The fact is that these prayers are still being made through humans using reasoning skills. Be it wrong or right reasoning skills is irrelevant."


Though this conclusion can seem tricky, it is to be seen in context. I was not looking to quote a neurotheologist when I stated that it walled off the section of their brain that deals with reason. I was only providing inference on the situation where you have someone who lives their life based off of sound logic and reason, yet their belief system defies the very logic that they exhibit on a daily basis. You can call it selectively ignoring, or you can say that they've walled it off.

Indiana senate candidate Richard Mourdock, illustrates this view point. While debating with another candidate over abortion, he made the following statement that led to incense scrutiny among the population, “I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.” People were outraged at his ability to connect God with wanting a man to rape a woman, and his inability to see that if God had a plan then it should have been to stop the rape from occurring. What he said, however, is no different than the religious approach to all human atrocities. Another example of this reasoning is the religious attribution of starvation to human free-will, and that's why God intends to allow it. This also fails to paint God with a brush allows for his benevolence, and it defies all sound logic. If there is a God that is intervening in individual prayer, surely he would feel the need to protect harmless children from a hideously painful death that even the most evil & vile human beings don't experience on that level.



II. Points of Clarity

"Is it reasonable to think that there is a deity to control your wishes if he is already in control, knows the outcome, and his will shall be done? No.

Wishes? are you referring to prayer? Are you suggesting that god controls a persons prayers, Or are you trying to suggest predestination? Please clear this up for me so I can refute this properly."

I mean to say that wishes and prayer are equals. People either pray for things that they wish for (whether for themselves or others), or wish to thank a particular deity for a particular outcome. I'm suggesting that if their is a creator, he is obviously not at work in the natural order of the world. I'm claiming that those who pray defy their own beliefs that God knows all before it happens, is supremely intelligent, is supremely loving, is in control of their lives, but yet listens to their ideas and changes his already knowing it was going to change mind.

Only 2 conclusions can be made by prayer, and the encompassing of their faith.

1) Prayer is unreasonable because it does nothing.

2) Prayer is unreasonable because they're praying to something that doesn't have the power to do what they think it does.

3) Prayer is unreasonable because they are praying to something that knows better than them to an infinite power, and has already set a plan in motion.

III. Vote swaying issue.


"I agree that the statement you just made is not based on sound judgement or good sense just like you said.. Prayer is used to help oneself and others, to praise god, to strengthen faith, and to implant faith in others. These are many unpersonal reasons for payer."

My opponent has just agreed with me that Prayer, on a general sense, defies all sound logic and reason. With the understanding that this debate is the encompassing of that idea for the side of PRO, it becomes evident that my opponent does not disagree with the resolution, but instead wanted to have a religious argument of a different effect. I do accept the minor religious arguments, but this debate (in its entirety) is an agreement with PRO and thus warrants a vote to my side on the category of arguments.

Eager for your response!

[1]http://www.bread.org...
frozen_eclipse

Con

Let me state that I am completely aware of what I am typing. I have no intention to mislead this audience. My intention is to clarify this resolution.

My opponent is correct, those who believe in something do exhibit some form of logic to get there (to include flawed logic). However, this is not a debate on whether those who pray were able to come to their conclusion, it is centered on the way they came about their conclusion. It is a debate that acknowledges the conclusion, and attacks it for being flawed reasoning s
kills.

This resolution is, "prayer is a failure to reason honestly and is the perfection of narcissism."

To reason honestly would mean to reason without lying. The perfection of narcissism would mean that the person praying would not think of anyone else other than himself in any circumstances whatsoever. So by the very words pro used in the resolution, it would mean we are debating whether those who pray are not being honest to themselves. If they are not using honest or proper logic so say. The latter part would mean we are debating if those who pray are perfect narcissists. This is what we are debating and what I am refuting. Now pro did make this flawed statement earlier.

they are enacting in a practice that allows for them to momentarily borrow narcissistic characteristics without the guilt or convictions of doing so.

If this was true those who pray cannot possibly pray for the benefit or recognition of others ever. For if they did they cannot possibly borrow perfect narcissistic characteristics. To be a perfect narcissist would mean to care only for oneself and to give praise only to oneself. They would never have any concern for anyone but themselves. Same thing applies even if someone has perfect narcissistic qualities. We know this statement is false because I have already proven that atleast some people who pray pray for others or pray to give praise to their gods. Since this happens, those who pray cannot possibly match the conditions to become or even borrow narcissistic qualities. As we see this part of the resolution fails.

However, this is not a debate on whether those who pray were able to come to their conclusion, it is centered on the way they came about their conclusion. It is a debate that acknowledges the conclusion, and attacks it for being flawed reasoning skills.


So now your saying those who pray don't use reasoning skills to pray? First of all lets recognize that belief in religion is always based on inductive arguments. They can't prove why there god exists but can prove why he probably exists. Arguments based on probability are formed using sound reasoning skills. So are deductive arguments. The only difference is that deductive reasoning is more proven to be true because there is a definite way to test ones theory. There are arguments that can neither be perfectly rejected or determined to be absolutely true. These arguments are some inductive arguments. The reason is explaining this is because religious people are convinced that it is highly probable that their creator exists. Some simple ways they are convinced in Christianity is the fact that a good majority of the prophecies in the bible have come true, It describes scientific problems that humans later found to be true, it is one of the few books that list long lines of genealogy and describes creation,It has philosophy that are very helpful to people. So do people have logical reasons to believe that their god probably exists? Yes. Let me remind the audience I'm not defending any religion but simply providing facts and POV'S.

So since people believe their god probably exists and that god probably provided the bible to people for their benefit,then at some level it is reasonable for them to think when it says god listens to their prayer that he really does. It is also reasonable at some level for them to believe that human logic is not correct logic and that the logic influenced by the bible is the only logic they should follow to receive the gifts the bible says they will receive after death.

So then that brings us to this question. How are we to determine the correct kind of logic for a Christian or religious person to follow? They believe any human logic that disagrees with there creators thinking is flawed reasoning. So with that being said how does someone expect for then to listen to anything different from what they believe. It may sound insane and stupid to others that don't believe what they believe however, it is reasonable and soundly logical for them to believe what they believe and believe their creator when he says he listens to prayer. As I said earlier their arguments are based on probability. We cannot determine if there argument is 100 percent true or 100 percent not true because none of us without a dought can prove god exists or not, we can neither prove if there manuscripts are the words of their creators. They believe what they believe. It is not insane or illogical for anyone to follow their beliefs at all. If their religion is not true then they are still justified in doing what they because they are not aware. A lie is not a lie if the person does not intend to tell a lie when they say it.

Lie-
a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood.

http://dictionary.reference.com...

I'm sure we can all agree that a lie is he opposite of being honest. Since I have proven that religious people do not lie to themselves with cognition that would mean they cannot be possibly not reason honestly or in other words lieing as this resolution suggests.

There is a difference that my opponent is trying to cloud over....etc

This is a false accusation.

sound reasoning-compelling reasoning, convincing logic,accurate assessment

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com...

With that being defined the third refutation I made of my opponents statements in this round proves that those who pray base their beliefs that prayer is a real thing based on convincing logic or reasoning therefore rebutting this claim my opponent stated effectively so I will move on.

To suggest that the one deity is active but only among people who share a certain opinion and not on the virtues of specific people is an illogical and unreasonable viewpoint.

As I stated earlier I'm focusing on Christianity. How is this unreasonable? The bible does say those who don't believe in god will be condemned. (1 john 5:10) However pros statement is flawed. God does not cease to be active according to the bible just because some people don't believe in him. He is still active regardless of peoples beliefs or not. Also the bible says those who don't believe have the influence of the devil. Wouldn't it be a contradiction if god helped out his enemy to further defame him? So again why is god not helping out those who are willingly under the devils influence illogical?( again I am explaining the reasonableness of the religious POV, my beliefs are not included.)

I have already proven the position of religion and belief in prayer is reasonable and based on sound logic so I'm not going to talk about this anymore unless pro brings it up again next round. Lets not make this debate about proving if religion is right or not because that has nothing to do with the resolution. We are supposed to be talking about if those who pray are being dishonest and narcissistic. Lets not make this debate about attacking or defending religion.

someone who lives their life based off of sound logic and reason, yet their belief system defies the very logic that they exhibit on a daily basis....etc

This is not true and does not happen with those who pray. I have already refuted a claim similar to this.

My characters have run out. So I will finish refuting the rest of pros case next round. Don't get to relaxed pro i have alot more tearing up of your case to do. Just not enough characters to finish all of it this round.





Debate Round No. 3
UltimateSkeptic

Pro

Being the final round, I'd like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate, it has been interesting! I'd like to speak on specific quotes made by my opponent, and then outline some key voting issues this round.

"Don't get to relaxed pro I have alot more tearing up of your case to do. Just not enough characters to finish all of it this round."

I truly wish there were more statements made like this on DDO. Most see it as an opponent being disrespectful, I see it as as a competitive edge rearing its head in debate! Onto the voting issues..



"So since people believe their god probably exists and that god probably provided the bible to people for their benefit,then at some level it is reasonable for them to think when it says god listens to their prayer that he really does."

As stated before, there is no reason to believe that everything in the bible is the infallible word of God, let alone that God decided to write a book.

"How are we to determine the correct kind of logic for a Christian or religious person to follow?They believe any human logic that disagrees with there creators thinking is flawed reasoning. So with that being said how does someone expect for then to listen to anything different from what they believe."

By applying the logic & deductive reasoning that all people use on a daily basis. If God is as described and the natural world is as appears, prayer is both pointless and ineffective.

The problem with the statement after my opponent's question is, yet again, that he is sampling more reasoning that is not honest to reason itself. At some point, one must step back and make sure they're still on a path of sanity and reject all commandments to lead away from sanity. Religious people who uphold the bible exhibit this characteristic every Sabbath when they decide not to kill their neighbors for working on the Sabbath as asked in Exodus 31:12-15, or stone their disobedient children. It is this form of reflection that shows that the religious have deductive reasoning when reading their text, but it is only selective. Thus, opening the door so that prayer can be judged according to reasoning skills they exhibit in other areas.

"We cannot determine if there argument is 100 percent true or 100 percent not true because none of us without a doubt can prove god exists or not, we can neither prove if there manuscripts are the words of their creators. They believe what they believe. It is not insane or illogical for anyone to follow their beliefs at all."

Agreed, we cannot prove for 100% certainty that there is or is not a God. Much like we cannot prove with 100% certainty that their are invisible witches on brooms flying around at night. My opponent and I will have to fundamentally disagree with his claim that it is not insane or illogical for people to follow their beliefs. Beliefs are not exempt from logic and reason. If I believed that everyday I talked to Megatron and he told me things I needed to do in order for him to be able to come to earth, the minute I decide to follow those beliefs and act on them, I've just became illogical and insane. This is not a new concept, this is the reason there are people in psych wards worldwide.


Voting issues-The failure to reason honestly, and perfection of narcissism.

My opponent has misunderstood the meaning of the phrase in the title, "..perfection of narcissism." It was never intended to mean that those who pray are only praying for personal gain. It encompasses the totality of the idea without any specificity. Whether a person is praying for the betterment of their neighbor's job situation, or his own personal wealth, one must believe that they are the end all to be all in the decision making of their deity. My opponent has chosen to outline Christianity, so I will use their example as well. The Christian God is said to be omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, & omnibenevolent. This provides 2 separate ways the idea of self-centeredness can be presented. One can either think God is considering his words over the situation itself and will therefore change his mind because the person who is praying has a telepathic connection to a God that the person he's praying for doesn't have. Or one can think that they're going to change the mind of a being that is omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, & omnibenevolent because they think that their viewpoint is higher than what God has set forth. Both are the perfection of narcissism, because neither one of these ideas are shown for what they are during the act of prayer. The person is pleading to change the will of a being superior in knowledge to him, on the basis of feeling as if they have a better understanding of how things ought to be, completely void of that conviction. Thus, they go on without any of the guilts associated with the action leading to accepted self-centeredness.

My opponent means to ratify the belief in prayer, by using the bible as a reference of infallible word. The premise here is flawed because it is also unreasonable to think that the bible has no wording that is flawed. It is no secret that the bible contains very radical view points and absurd conclusions. Leviticus 21:16-20, "16 Then the LORD said to Moses, 17 "Tell Aaron that in all future generations, his descendants who have physical defects will not qualify to offer food to their God. 18 No one who has a defect may come near to me, whether he is blind or lame, stunted or deformed, 19 or has a broken foot or hand, 20 or has a humped back or is a dwarf, or has a defective eye, or has oozing sores or scabs on his skin, or has damaged testicles."

This sort of arguing for the principle of reason is to suggest that if you're a Christian, anything is reasonable because the bible said so. Because this is flawed reasoning in and of itself, one cannot build reason based on this philosophy. The bible also justifies the stoning of children for being disobedient to their parents, Deuteronomy 21:18-21. It would not be the excerpting of true reason for a Christian to go out and practice this teaching, it would defy all current knowledge of life. The same has been said for the concept of prayer.

Because it is unreasonable to think that God is doing something minute in one's own life, yet neglecting the millions of starving children worldwide & because it is absurd to think that you can outsmart or have better perspective than a being that is omnipotent, omnibenevolent, omniscient, and omnipresent, prayer is seen to be the lack of reason, the failure to reason honestly. Though Christians use inductive arguments, as outlined by my opponent, they still must adhere to a higher set of reason and logic. When applied, prayer does not meet that requirement.

My opponent says, "A lie is not a lie if the person does not intend to tell a lie when they say it." However, someone can be irrational and defy logic & reason whether they intend to or not.

Again, thank you for this debate and I wish the readers & voters well.
frozen_eclipse

Con

This was a good debate. I've alot to do so ill get right to it. Opponents statements are underlined.( none of my refuting of round 3 should be counted as new arguments since half of this post is an extension to my third round. New arguments pertaining to my opponents round 4 should be judged accordingly)

Prayer is failure to reason honestly, as my opponent claims. I ask voters to reject this resolution because I will prove pros case does not hold water.


Religious prayer walls off sections of the brain that allows for sane individuals to expect reasonable outcomes.

I was not looking to quote a neurotheologist when I stated that it walled off the section of their brain etc...


Pro wasnt looking to quote anyone because the evidence doesnt exist. This claim is not scientific and was an assumption that is proven to be false. No neurologists claimed this. My opponent provided no source for this witch is additional evidence that it's not true. throughout this entire debate Pro seems to try to shift this debate to another topic. Were debating if those who pray "reason honestly" as the resolution states. Not if their beliefs defy logic. Witch by the way pro never proved this happens at all. he made a statement without proving it to be true. Religions have logical arguments and reasons to believe what they believe about prayer and they should not be called illogical because they have a different belief system from someone else. Or in other words, does not follow the so called logic of bandwagon fallacy logic.

People were outraged at his ability to connect God with wanting a man to rape a woman, and his inability to see that if God had a plan then it should have been to stop the rape from occurring. etc......

Assuming were still referring to Christianity, apparently pro is not aware of why god allows suffering. Atleast according to what the bible teaches. There is a ethical reason god allows evil etc.... , God never wanted a man to rape a woman. This is a classic case of judging a majority for the ignorance of a minority of that majority. Flawed logic. As we can see here my opponent at some points does not reason logically. we cannot associate the mistakes of a single person with a majority and say since this person made a mistake then the group will make the same mistake. This is illogical. Also it is illogical to assume that a god who created something has the obligation to protect it from evil. A good example would be a parent and child. The parent tries to protect the child from all things, but that's impossible. But god is all powerull. Well if god stopped all evil events he would keep reshaping things because he could possibly interfere with the natural order of things, and this activity would not allow him to carry on with the reason he allows suffering now to make sure suffering will not happen in the future because he would not have a case against the devil for the distress he's caused on judgement day. Then he couldn't destroy him and all suffering forever according to the bible.

Whatever the case is, there still is no proof provided by pro to call prayer of all religions non-honest. Nor does he have a strong position to say they ignore reasoning skills to reach conclusions and pray. Reaching conclusions, and good sense are qualities that religious people who pray have. Those are the definitions of reason witch they happen to match therefore defeating this resolution partially. I have proven that those who are religious are justified in their beliefs and that they are justified to pray to their gods. I have proven that religious people don't reason dishonestly and do in fact use reasoning skills. This is a partial justified case to vote for con and reject this resolution.


Pro earlier made this statement, "is it reasonable to think that there is a deity to control your wishes if he is already in control, knows the outcome, and his will shall be done? No."

I asked, "Wishes? are you referring to prayer? Are you suggesting that god controls a persons prayers,..etc

He awnsred that wishes and prayers are the same things. This is not true. Wishes have no recipient to make them happen or to listen to them. Prayer to the religious, Have a recipient who listens and can awnser them. There obviously is a difference.

I'm claiming that those who pray defy their own beliefs that God knows all before it happens, etc...


The bible does say god knows what you want even before one prays. But does that men one should not pray? No it is showing respect to talk to him even if he knows what you need before you speak. As the bible states god wants a relationship with his people. So is this illogical? NO. Is this a misunderstanding on pros part? yes.

1. Prayer is unreasonable because it does nothing.

2) Prayer is unreasonable because
etc...

3. Prayer is unreasonable because etc...


1. The Jews prayed to god and he did remove them from Egypt. This is confirmed by hieroglyphics in Egypt and other historical recordings. Secondly their are millions of accounts that prayer saved lives from various religions. Look on the Internet and you will find it.

2. If peoples prayers are awnsred then obviously prayer is effective. Since I just prove prayer is effective this second point fails along with the first.

3. I have proven that prayer is showing respect to god and is not illogical, this point fails.


I made this statement earlier in response to an illogical comment made by pro.

"I agree that the statement you just made is not based on sound judgement or good sense just like you said..etc...

He tried to twist this and say I agreed with him. Pro stated that his statement was illogical. I agreed that it was illogical and showed why it was illogical and that his statement did not support what he was trying to say. So no is not agreeing with pro.


I'm low on characters so I will make it simple. left side of period will be pros point, right side will be my rebuttal


1. There is no reason to believe that everything in the bible is the word of God. There is also no reason to make a claim that one cant prove. Humans cannot conclusively decide if god exists or created the bible or not.

2. By applying the logic & deductive reasoning that all people use on a daily basis. I have proven that religion is a inductive argument and pro agreed. Witch means pro has affirmed my point for me. Inductive information is used in everyday life as well there are things we can neither see or touch for deductive evidence but we know it exists like gravity.

3. Exodus 31:12-15 . the old testament is not to be followed.

4.Much like we cannot prove with 100% certainty that their are invisible etc... Introducing the false dilemma and appeal to extremes fallacies are not logical ways to prove your point. Your arguments are not highly probable to be true. Inductive arguments are highly probable to be true. Therefore your appeal to extremes fallacy is not an inductive argument.

My opponent has misunderstood etc.. "..perfection of narcissism." It was never intended to mean those who pray are only praying for personal gain.











Debate Round No. 4
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by DeFool 4 years ago
DeFool
Although I also felt that the resolution could have been more strict, the use of semantics was expressly discarded. Both sides agreed to this, and so I felt that I was required to honor that agreement. A clear reading of the wording was all that I felt should be used - in order to judge the debate by what was presented alone.

Con seems frustrated by his performance here, but I disagree that this should be the case; he did remarkably well in my view. I only wish that these newly-infamous arguments had been more directly and forcefully challenged.
Posted by frozen_eclipse 4 years ago
frozen_eclipse
If half of my case wasnt cut off people will see that i did not conceded but i agreed that pro made an illogical statement and pointed that out. Pro contradicted himself and i pointed hat out. Also even if i did agree with some part of his case why is it that people think agreeing with a statement is conceding its not. If my opponent makes a logical statement or point i will agree however that doesnt mean ive dropped my case. I dont understand who puts this crapin peoples heads.
Posted by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
Ah yes, and PRO, would love to see where you sourced Sam Harris from. I would love to read up on his point of view, as I definitely agree that prayer is narcissistic and ALMOST wholly useless as a legitimate activity.
Posted by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
This was a good debate.

I personally side with PRO's stance, but not his resolution. The resolution was the problem, and CON tore it down like a pro. Allow me to demonstrate:

1) There is no material difference between these two statements:
"Prayer is a failure to reason honestly and is the perfection of narcissism."
"ALL Prayer is a failure to reason honestly and is the perfection of narcissism."

This is a very difficult statement to prove for PRO. The wording of the resolution almost doomed PRO from the start, even though I unquestionably agree with his stance.

In Round #3, PRO asserted he won the debate because CON agreed with him that in SOME INSTANCES of prayer, there is indeed dishonest reasoning and exceptionally narcissistic behavior. However, this is not enough. ALL INSTANCES must fit this criteria, and PRO did not establish this to an acceptable degree, IMHO.

2) Flawed reasoning can still be honest reasoning. CON saw this and exploited this portion of the resolution to maximum benefit.

Well argued, but the resolution doomed PRO from the start. Love the picture, so source points to PRO, however I think the picture was only worth one point, so one point of conduct to CON to make up for it. Both of you guys can benefit from improved spelling and grammar.
Posted by RoyLatham 4 years ago
RoyLatham
Was this a contest as to who could get the most selling and grammar errors into the characters allotted? It made the debate difficult to read. Each gross error is a bump in the road, and the ride was a a rough one. The erratic use of bold, italics, and underlining was a further distraction. Show some mercy for the reader.

2 > two
3 > three
5 > five
& > and
witch > which
dought > doubt
to > too
i > I
the bible > the Bible
[Christian] god > God
Praise,Thanksgiving,Confession > praise, thanksgiving, confession
Prayers don't happen for no reason. > Prayers happen for reasons.
POV'S > points of view
Posted by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
CON: "So Pros proposition is that the act of prayer( witch would mean all religions that do so.)"

Witch: one that is credited with usually malignant supernatural powers; especially : a woman practicing usually black
http://www.merriam-webster.com...

Which: what one of (a certain number or group mentioned or implied)?: Which book do you want?
http://dictionary.reference.com...
Posted by UltimateSkeptic 4 years ago
UltimateSkeptic
Frozen Eclipse- I don't think we lined up when I said prayer walled sections off the brain. I was only meaning to say that religion clouded their judgment, no more than that. Also, have you ever seen Religulous by Bill Maher? They have a neuroscientist who studies exactly that, if I had his name I'd cite him, but I don't lol. I'll watch it tomorrow and get it for you. (Just for entertainment purposes).
Posted by philochristos 4 years ago
philochristos
I'm just posting this so I can uncheck the boxes so I can stop getting emails on this debate. Carry on.
Posted by frozen_eclipse 4 years ago
frozen_eclipse
I cannot believe that just happened half of my post was cut of when posted....That is freaking crazy....yea this is going to be a loss for me without that peice...dam wish we could go back crap.
Posted by UltimateSkeptic 4 years ago
UltimateSkeptic
Intelligence sprinkled with slight arrogance. Lol I love it, man.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by DeFool 4 years ago
DeFool
UltimateSkepticfrozen_eclipseTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: The resolution was clear, and immediately forbade semantic trickery: prayer is an act of breathtaking hubris. A tyrannical, genocidal cosmic tyrant will grant us wishes if we telepathically tell him we love him. Narcissism has no definition if this cannot be defined as such. ("if there is a deity above that cares about the well-being of his creations, he only cares about your opinions, ignorant of individual virtues, & doesn't apply his help on the basis of need.") If prayer works as described here by Con, it grants godlike powers to its practitioners - which essentially concedes the premise. Argument to Pro. S&G also to Pro (which/witch). I cannot award conduct here, or sourcing. A good debate - however I wanted Con to sharpen his attack, and aim better at the exact topic. I was eager to hear these arguments fielded in debate - so that I could witness how well they hold up. They were not challenged effectively here, in my view.
Vote Placed by iamnotwhoiam 4 years ago
iamnotwhoiam
UltimateSkepticfrozen_eclipseTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Con concedes that personal prayer is not based on sound reasoning. He does not show that praying for others is any different. Pro makes a strong case for the narcissism of prayer, whether God exists or not. Con only tries to make a semantic point to refute it - That the perfect narcissist acts for themselves only. Not convincing. Con made several spelling errors.
Vote Placed by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
UltimateSkepticfrozen_eclipseTied
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Total points awarded:24 
Reasons for voting decision: see comments
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 4 years ago
RoyLatham
UltimateSkepticfrozen_eclipseTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: The resolution has no clear commonsense meaning, so the debate coms down to what "perfection of narcissism" means. Pro didn't provide a definition of the phrase in the challenge, which left it open to Con's reasonable interpretation. It seems that Sam Harris attached some highly technical meaning to the phrase that Pro failed to convey. Con argued successfully that prayer does not isolate the believer to the "perfection" claimed.