The Instigator
tvellalott
Pro (for)
Winning
20 Points
The Contender
izbo10
Con (against)
Losing
2 Points

RESOLVED: Religious belief can be rational

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
tvellalott
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/26/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,755 times Debate No: 18998
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (105)
Votes (6)

 

tvellalott

Pro

First round is only for definitions.
If izbo10 foolishly decides to debate me on this topic, I will begin my arguments in round two.

Let it be known that I am an Atheist myself. I would go so far as to say my beliefs are quite anti-religious. By this, I mean I oppose big business religion and non-secular government.

So, definitions:

Religious: http://dictionary.reference.com...
1) of, pertaining to, or concerned with religion.

Belief: http://dictionary.reference.com...
1) something believed; an opinion or conviction.

Can be: This is probably the most important definition; when I originally challenged izbo10 I said the resolution should be "Religious belief IS rational". I don't want to fall into the semantics of trying to argue "All religious belief is rational", so I've changed it slighty to something I think is fair.

By "can be", I mean that religious belief is capable of being rational. This doesn't imply it's inherently rational. It merely implies that it is not inherently irrational.

Rational: http://dictionary.reference.com...
2) having or exercising reason, sound judgment, or good sense.

I hope my opponent can accept these definitions and I look forward to a fun debate.
izbo10

Con

Accept as i don't have any proof I will just wait to here him make an argument.
Debate Round No. 1
tvellalott

Pro

tvellalott forfeited this round.
izbo10

Con

My opponent forfeited round 1, I do not have any burden here so we will wait til round 2.
Debate Round No. 2
tvellalott

Pro

Hello DDO! I’d first like to apologise to my opponent for my round two forfeit. To be frank, I had better things to do than argue devil’s advocate with someone who, in principle, I completely agree with. However, I don’t particularly like my opponent’s forum personality, so I want to perhaps give him a lesson in respecting beliefs, even if you believe them to be false.

ARGUMENTS
To demonstrate that Religious belief can be rational, I have come up with three hypothetical situations. In each situation, a different type of person has a different kind of religious belief. All three situations are highly realistic.

1) Imagine a boy born in a small, heavily isolated village in the Middle East. 100% of the population is Muslim. Your parents, brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles and friends are all Muslim. You ancestors are Muslim going back 1200 years.
I maintain that this boy is exercising his best reason, sound judgement AND good sense is practising Islam along with his family. No other thought would even occur to him.

2) Imagine a man is agnostic, living the United States. He studies science and philosophy equally. He believes in the Big Bang and Abiogenesis to an extent. However, the unanswered questions frustrate him and he feels there is more to it. He studies the various philosophical arguments and finds them sound. He studies the Bible and takes original language, the historical context and relevance of certain metaphors and finds personal philosophical meaning. He studies the case for a Historical Jesus and finds it satisfying.
I maintain that he has used his best reason, sound judgement AND good sense in believing in some form of God or divine entity, though its existence cannot be proven or disproven at that particular point.

3) Imagine a man is Buddhist. He doesn’t believe in any kind of God, but lives a life based on the tenets laid out by the founder of his religion and finds it highly fulfilling.
I maintain that he has used his best reason, sound judgement and good sense in practising his religion.

CONCLUSION
As you can see, I have demonstrated three ways that religious belief can be rational. As far as I’m concerned the resolution is proven by one of these alone.
If my opponent is able to sufficiently rebutt all these arguments, I will provide new arguments in round four.

I look forward to my opponents rebuttal.
izbo10

Con

Hello idiots and even stupider(cerebral),

My opponent has given three examples. He has given 3 examples which were utterly bad. Firstly we defined Rational as 2) having or exercising reason, sound judgment, or good sense.

My opponents three examples go like this:
1) is the fallacy of appeal to majority. He presents a Muslim who believes based on the appeal to majority fallacy. The Muslim would be reasonable to pretend to Muslim in that area, being to not pretend to be may endanger his life. It would not be rational to actually believe. This Muslim is believing things with solid evidence based on a fallacy. That is not exercising reason, sound judgment or good sense.

http://www.wwnorton.com...
http://philosophy.lander.edu...

2)His second example starts with a agnostic falling for the argument from ignorance fallacy. My opponent then says something completely ignorant, he talks about this person looking at the case for a historical Jesus and says he finds that satifying. Wow really, the majority of scholars think a historical Jesus was born in Nazareth, preached the Jewish law, failed to perform miracles in front of the Pharasees of Nazareth, and died on the cross end of historical story.

Sources for this:

The Evolution of God: Robert Wright http://www.amazon.com...
Lost Christianities, Misquoting Jesus, Jesus Interrupted- all by Bart Ehrman. http://www.bartdehrman.com...
A History of God- by Karen Armstrong http://www.amazon.com...

Once again this does not show any of the 3 traits attributed to being rational. I mean seriously this guy bought that a man rose from the dead 2000 years ago, based on the books of 4 non eyewitnesses. My opponent claims to be an atheist, and he somehow thinks this is rational, come on now.

3) Is the appeal to consequences fallacy, the man finds Buddhism works for him so he believes it. This is not using good sound judgement or any of the 3 attributes attributed to rational.

http://www.fallacyfiles.org...

In order for religious belief to be rational it must be logical. Rational is a way of saying a person is using logic. All three of his examples showed a person not using sound judgment but instead jumping to conclusions about truth value on faulty reasoning and logic. Sorry my opponent has completely and utterly failed.
Debate Round No. 3
tvellalott

Pro

How exciting!

I’ll get right into it; I don’t find izbo’s rebuttals sufficient and he has offered no counter arguments in favour of Con.
In summary, izbo10 has simply dismissed all my hypothetical theists on the basis of fallacy.
So, let us first look at what a fallacy actually is, since my opponent has offered no broad definition.
Fallacy: In logic and rhetoric, a fallacy is usually incorrect argumentation in reasoning resulting in a misconception or presumption.

Now, let me explain why the three examples I gave are not fallacious.
1) The Isolated Muslim“He presents a Muslim who believes based on the appeal to majority fallacy.”
My opponent has suggested this is an example of “Argumentum ad populum”. I’m afraid I disagree.
There is no fallacy here because the Muslim in my example is not engaged in any argument. An example of an appeal to majority would be “Most of the people in the world believe in God, therefore there is a God because how could everyone be wrong?”

Clearly, the boy in my example is not in a discussion nor a debate nor anything resembling an argument regarding his religion. Everyone in the area believes. I maintain that, given his upbringing and culture it is completely rational for him to believe a God exists. There is no fallacy here. IF, he were to log into DDO and post “Everyone in my village believes in Allah, therefore Allah exists” that would be a fallacy.

Again, I must stress the point. I am not saying that the hypothetical boy is correct, far from it. I’m just saying that from his subjective point of view, his belief is completely rational. He doesn’t believe based on a fallacy; he believes because he was indoctrinated into the religion from birth.

2) The Divine-curious Scholar. “His second example starts with a agnostic falling for the argument from ignorance fallacy.”
This is my favourite bit, where my opponent actually proved this hypothetical for me. I really appreciate it…
“the majority of scholars think a historical Jesus was born in Nazareth, preached the Jewish law, failed to perform miracles in front of the Pharasees of Nazareth, and died on the cross end of historical story.”

So, what you’re saying is… the majority of scholars agree that Jesus did in fact, exist. My opponent also ignored where I said:
“He studies the various philosophical arguments and finds them sound. He studies the Bible and takes original language, the historical context and relevance of certain metaphors and finds personal philosophical meaning.”

Unfortunately, the whole rebuttal is again, moot anyway. There is no fallacy here. My scholar isn’t arguing “We don’t know, therefore God exists” with anyone. I maintain that if one has the personal opinion that “We don’t know; I find some arguments for God convincing and my religious beliefs don’t contradict scientific fact. I believe God exists” then they are completely rational. The fact I am an Atheist has nothing to do with it.

3) The Fulfilled Buddhist - “Is the appeal to consequences fallacy, the man finds Buddhism works for him so he believes it. This is not using good sound judgement or any of the 3 attributes attributed to rational.”
No. The Appeal to Consequences fallacy would be “If you practise Buddhism, your life will be fulfilling, therefore Buddhism is correct”. That is as far from what I actually described as is possible. The man practises Buddhism (let’s say Atheistic Zen Buddhism) and finds it fulfilling. He doesn’t necessarily believe in anything and he’s certainly not making assertions about truth. I maintain however, that his practising of Buddhism is completely rational.

REBUTTAL OF CONCLUSION
“In order for religious belief to be rational it must be logical. Rational is a way of saying a person is using logic. All three of his examples showed a person not using sound judgment but instead jumping to conclusions about truth value on faulty reasoning and logic. Sorry my opponent has completely and utterly failed.”

I find your preachy attitude regarding the exercising of logic quite amusing, given the line of argument you’ve made. What is this objective logic you seem to be referencing? Logic is a learnt skill.

The Isolated Muslim can’t spontaneously learn the flaws we see in his belief. He is exercising the best logic and reasoning skills available to him. That is why I believe, despite not agreeing with him, that his belief is rational.

The Divine-curious Scholar has examined the evidence and come to a different conclusion than you. Are you honestly arguing that, simply because he disagrees with YOU, that he is irrational?

Finally, the Fulfilled Buddhist practises his religion and finds it highly fulfilling. He doesn’t believe in any kind of God, yet you find him irrational… I simply don’t understand.

CONCLUSION
There is a very, very good reason why I was so happy my opponent played the fallacy card.
And it is this:
Argumentum ad logicam: Otherwise known as the argument from fallacy, the argumentum ad logicam is the formal fallacy of analysing an argument and inferring that, since it contains a fallacy, its conclusion must be false.
Even if there is a fallacy (which I maintain there isn't) it doesn't automatically mean my conclusion is false.

Also, my opponent called everyone who read this debate an idiot, which wasn’t very nice.

VOTE Pro
izbo10

Con

The first example opponent for some odd, completely ignorant reason, thinks that just because you use a fallacy to convince yourself it is no longer fallacious, it only becomes fallacious if you use it in a debate. His first argument holds as much weight as saying that as long as I only believe it this is rational thinking:

all dobermans are dogs
rover is a dog
conclusion: rover is a doberman.

My opponent is completely lost on logic, fallacious thinking is fallacious whether you use it for just yourself or as an argument. That argument quite simply put goes in my top 20 stupidest things ever said on DDO. Really its only argument from majority fallacy if you try to convince someone else of it, if that convinces you it is not.

So since it is established that it is fallacious his first example is not rational.

Example 2:

My opponent fails to notice that the historical evidence points to a very human Jesus, not a godlike Jesus. That Jesus was created through mythology. IT is not rational to jump to that conclusion. His example also says that the beliefs of this person don't contradict scientific fact, yet strangely this person would believe a man walked on water and rose from the dead. Sorry neither exactly coincide with the scientific evidence of physics or biology. Again these beliefs go against all common evidence and also are against the logical structure known as burden of proof. Until proven we should reject a claim. This is only rational because accepting positive claims just because they do not contradict science completely would lead to contradictory beliefs. Again not rational, he has just arbitrarily chosen the christian god.

Example 3:

My opponent seems completely of ignorant of Buddhism, while I am not the strongest on the subject myself, to say that buddhism lacks beliefs is asinine. The buddhist, may find it fulfilling but it is not rational to believe things because it makes you feel good. That is fallacious thinking.

My opponent has failed to show any type of way that this is rational. To be rational is to believe things with evidence. It is being in accordance with logic, and logic dictates that we should only believe things that have evidence for them and not jump to conclusions because they cannot be disproven. That is why the burden of proof is on the religious claims, and if they cannot meet their burden of proof they are not be logical or rational.

http://www.fallacies.info...
Debate Round No. 4
tvellalott

Pro

tvellalott forfeited this round.
izbo10

Con

My opponent has forfeited this debate so it should be an instant win for me.

He presented fallacies and misrepresentations of the historicity of Jesus as rational. He failed at his burden when he took the time to debate a topic he started and then claimed he didn't have the time for. The guy wasted my time with poor arguments.

I will say, something is still fallacious if you use it in an argument or believe it yourself.

Historical Jesus is not the same as the Jesus of Faith.

Historical Jesus: Born in Nazareth through natural means, failed to perform miracles in front of the Pharasees of Nazareth, Law abiding Jew who preached this, preach love your fellow Jew, died on the cross

Jesus of Faith: Born in Bethlehem of a virgin, performed lots of miracles, abolished the old law and preached love everyone, died on the cross and then resurrected

Not the same.

Finally Buddhism has tenants that must be taken on faith.

This is not rational. To be rational is to use good sound reasoning and that is not to be fallacious. Since to believe things without cause is both the fallacy of shifting the burden of proof and the fallacy of special pleading(in that most things without proof you don't accept, except the ones in my religion).

Vote Con, he forfeited and in the mean time put up poor arguments.
Debate Round No. 5
105 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by izbo10 5 years ago
izbo10
The Evolution of God: Robert Wright http://www.amazon.com......
Lost Christianities, Misquoting Jesus, Jesus Interrupted- all by Bart Ehrman. http://www.bartdehrman.com......
A History of God- by Karen Armstrong http://www.amazon.com......

Those are not sources?
Posted by izbo10 5 years ago
izbo10
The Evolution of God: Robert Wright http://www.amazon.com......
Lost Christianities, Misquoting Jesus, Jesus Interrupted- all by Bart Ehrman. http://www.bartdehrman.com......
A History of God- by Karen Armstrong http://www.amazon.com......

Those are not sources?
Posted by Cerebral_Narcissist 5 years ago
Cerebral_Narcissist
I disagree that contention 3 is irrlevant, it may be the religion that CON wished to undermine but then he should defined his terms. Bhuddism is a religion, it's a valid case.
Posted by Cerebral_Narcissist 5 years ago
Cerebral_Narcissist
"His first point argued not that the religious beliefs THEMSELVES were rational, but that one could be rational in believing them."

This is a pretty ambiguous and interesting distinction, I presumed he was arguing for the latter really and that is what I took the debate to be about... hmm.
Posted by Danielle 5 years ago
Danielle
For reasons I think I explained, I find the 3rd contention about the Buddhist kind of irrelevant. That leaves us with the 2nd and in my opinion most important contention. Pro says, "Are you honestly arguing that, simply because [the scholar] disagrees with YOU, that he is irrational?"

I think Pro's problem here was making this contention about Jesus, specifically. Con says that the only historical evidence for Jesus maintains Jesus as a man and not a god. Con also pointed out that one does not have a reason to accept that supernatural attributes associated with Jesus can be rational. Here, Pro would have had to explain why it could be rational to accept those associations. However Pro failed to explain that. He simply said that the scholar found them rational, but didn't explain how or why that could be rational. IMO, that is the entire point of this debate. Obviously religious people don't believe that their beliefs are irrational. I suppose some just don't care, but most would say that their beliefs adhere to logic. It would therefore be Pro's burden to explain how some of those claims can be rational. He started to do this by explaining possible use of simile and metaphor in the Bible, or other interpretations rather than a strictly literalist one. However he did not expand on this enough.

Overall, I find the resolution to be problematic and non-direct. It says that religious beliefs can be rational. Well some religious beliefs straight up ARE rational, and because the resolution and/or R1 isn't specific as to WHICH religious beliefs are in question (i.e., the supernatural ones), then Pro did not technically lose this debate despite barely meeting his burden. For instance, believing in Jesus can be rational based on historical evidence. Christians believe in the historical Jesus. This is why what constitutes a 'religious' belief needed to be expanded upon.

Overall, a tie.
Posted by Danielle 5 years ago
Danielle
I think the main problem I had with this debate was the way religious was defined in R1 (of, pertaining to, or concerned with religion). At first glance that definition seems perfectly sufficient, but if I were arguing for Con, I would have taken issue with this and have preferred 'religious' to describe things pertaining to the supernatural and/or theism in particular. Otherwise, as Pro pointed out, Buddhism could be considered a religious belief despite many Buddhists being atheist.

Nevertheless, Pro had the BOP to show why holding religious beliefs could be rational. His first point argued not that the religious beliefs THEMSELVES were rational, but that one could be rational in believing them. Thus we look at Pro's first contention. He writes, "I maintain that this boy is exercising his best reason, sound judgement AND good sense is practising Islam along with his family. No other thought would even occur to him." In other words, the boy believes Islam is rational because those around him say it is correct. Con says that the boy is adhering to the fallacy of supporting the majority. Pro is correct insofar as the appeal to majority is not being used here to justify Muslim claims. However, Con is correct in that a rational reason for the boy to accept Islam has not been presented. Just because most people do is not a rational reason - it is a fallacious reason. Now, Pro could have combated this by explaining that it is rational to accept things the vast majority accept as undeniable truth. This would have been a great subject for debate. As Pro pointed out, just because something is fallacious does NOT always mean that it is wrong. However, I feel neither side really explained enough here. Additionally, tv said "[The isolated Muslim] is exercising the best logic and reasoning skills available to him. That is why... his belief is rational." But 'the best available to him' doesn't necessarily indicate rational...
Posted by izbo10 5 years ago
izbo10
yeah because obviously 3 books and several philosophy sites are evenly matched with dictionary.com for definitions,right?
Posted by Cerebral_Narcissist 5 years ago
Cerebral_Narcissist
And in hindsight I've tied you both on sources.
Posted by Cerebral_Narcissist 5 years ago
Cerebral_Narcissist
I did not vote point bomb you, if I vote bombed you in one debate I would vote bomb you in all debates. I take great care to make sure that my voting is conducted with honour, a concept you would not understand.
Posted by izbo10 5 years ago
izbo10
nice vote bomb.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by Nur-Ab-Sal 5 years ago
Nur-Ab-Sal
tvellalottizbo10Tied
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro gets better conduct as well as better spelling and grammar. Pro also demonstrated through several arguments that religious beliefs can be rational.
Vote Placed by Mr.Infidel 5 years ago
Mr.Infidel
tvellalottizbo10Tied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct tied via the terrible conduct con showed. Putting the forfeits aside, pro showed that religious beliefs can be rational. Several gross spelling mistakes loses the spelling point for izbo.
Vote Placed by Renascor 5 years ago
Renascor
tvellalottizbo10Tied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: izbo10, you are truly a disgrace to this website. The conduct you used was insulting. It was obvious you were angry because your arguments were insufficient. You provided bogus arguments that were very lacking. I hope you will learn respect for debates, others and yourself. And for the record, your "I"'s should be capitalized.
Vote Placed by SuperRobotWars 5 years ago
SuperRobotWars
tvellalottizbo10Tied
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Total points awarded:32 
Reasons for voting decision: Con had better sources, both parties conduct were poor [forfeits, and name calling], but Pros arguments were far more solid.
Vote Placed by Danielle 5 years ago
Danielle
tvellalottizbo10Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Neither side used sources and had similar efforts of s/g, so those points are all tied. Conduct points are tied because while Con exhibited far less appropriate conduct, Pro forfeited not 1 but 2 rounds. See the comments section for an explanation on arguments points.
Vote Placed by Cerebral_Narcissist 5 years ago
Cerebral_Narcissist
tvellalottizbo10Tied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: PRO showed three examples of rational religion, these were only partially addressed. The final one was ignored/strawmanned and therefore conceded.