Religion: Good or Bad for Humanity?
Debate Rounds (3)
Religion at first glance is actually not a bad thing. Most religions have a good message with good people who follow it. I myself was born and raised Catholic. Many religions do good things like giving to charity, helping people in times of need, and provide a community for people. Religion gives comfort and hope to people who would not otherwise have it. Jesus is great. Is there a better role model? No.
Now you are probably thinking, "Wait, you are against religion, yet you have said all these good things about it. What gives?" Well, now we are going to look at all the things that religion does to people. Bill Maher, a man who has the same position as me, was once asked, "Oh, Bill, you're such a meanie. Why do you have to go after religion? It gives people comfort; it doesn't hurt anything." His response was, "Okay, well, other than most wars, the Crusades, the Inquisition, 9/11, arranged marriages to minors, blowing up girls' schools, the suppression of women and homosexuals, fatwas, ethnic cleansing, honor rape, human sacrifice, burning witches, suicide bombings, condoning slavery, and the systematic f**king of children, there's a few little things I have a problem with."
Now that is just a few things that religion does. For instance, most religions have a killing spree in their past. Jews (according to the bible, even though these events cannot be proven): they killed almost everyone in the land Canaan. Catholicism: Crusades. Muslims: taking over all of northern Africa by force and some of Spain. Lutherans: during their creation, they slaughtered a bunch of innocent peasants.
Most religions may say they love each other, but they all secretly hate each other, and for no good reason. Take the Jews, Catholics, and Muslims. One of my teachers at my school went to Jerusalem and he told us about his experience. First of all, his Catholic tour guide carried a gun in case "any Muslims try to do anything." The temple mount is guarded by a bunch of Muslims with ak-47's. "The entire situation is a very tense peace," he said. "One false move by any party and the entire city could go up in flames."
Now lets look at a one individual religion as an example: Catholicism. Like I said before, Jesus is a great role model. He taught a great message. Now the problem comes when you look at the church today. The leaders live in a palace in their own private country, which was actually created by making an agreement with Mussolini saying that Mussolini would make the Vatican a country if the Church would support the Fascist.. They have covered up thousands of child sex cases, and continue to do so. Back before the Renaissance, science was the enemy of the Catholic church. For instance, Saint Robert Bellarmine was a great man, but he was also the Church's lawyer against Galileo. The Church also loves to say how they can trace everything back to Jesus. If that is so, then where did confession come from? And celibacy? And confirmation? And living in a palace? The Church says a lot of things, but almost none of them have any basis in fact.
So just by looking at one religion, we can see the problem. Corrupt, made-up, and completely senseless are the things I would use to describe religion.
I thank my opponent for his opening round.
I would like to start by taking a step back. Lets begin by looking at what religion is.
The oxford definition of Religion is;
1. the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.
2. a particular system of faith and worship.
3. a pursuit or interest followed with devotion.
While Con brings up some great points about specific religions and specific actions of men following these specific religions, he cannot say that religion is bad for humanity absolutely.
Individual religions can be bad, and like the Catholic examples provided show, some religions can bring horrendous acts, however if a Christian man, following the Christian bible does something, or a Muslim, or Jew etc kill a man because of their religion, that kiling or other specified act falls upon that individuals self and that individuals understanding of his or her religion.
That is to say, you couldnt attribute blame of a Christian based holy war hundreds of years ago to the fualt of scientology. So we have established that on grounds like those, each religion must stand on its own individual merit in terms of how it affects humanity, how its morals stand up to scrutiny, how good or bad it is, etc.
This needs to be taken into account at times such as when Con has stated that "most religions have a killing spree", that in no way says that ALL religions have a killing spree. If not all religions result in a killing spree, then simply havign religion itself does not result in a killing spree.
No single Negative Act
I put it to Con that there is not one single act that is negative to humanity, that resinates through out all of religion. I put this forward on the basis that in Christianity there are over 40,000 denominations alone. Each of those 40,000 differ in one way or another. And you have countless religions. Some believing in a God, some believing in many, and some believing in none. Many buddists for example do not believe in a God.
Con must also take into account that there is a "new age" movement within new religions, many not pertaining to a diety, God or Creator. Many of which appeal to spirituallity and philosophy.
I put to Con, a thought. I wake up one day, with an overwhelming want to make people happy. So I go out and start asking the people on my street if there is anything I can do for them. Any odd job, help, advice or otherwise. I see this happyness, and realise that the more I make others happy, the mroe it makes me happy in reflection. I think about this for a while, I measure its impact on an individual level for me and the other person, and on a more overall level.
I accept that this overwelming need must have come from somewhere, maybe a god (we'll call it the God of nice-ism). However, also value knowledge, so I do not make any assumptions of the Gods traits, physical form, how it came to exist, or if it even just exists in my mind, as a thought, and not as an actual physical being. We can share thoughts, maybe that is how this God travels between man.
I go about my day and see a friend, and tell him about this new revalation that has overcome me, and slowly, this idea of nice-ism starts to flourish through the city. It encourages good morals, friendliness, and helping out your fellow man.
Niceism has no historical background, no wars, no casualties, no pedophillia, no rape, nocrusades, no 9/11, no arranged marraiges, no suppression, no slavery etc. In fact, all it has, is a God bound within our morals, and our thoughts.
There would be no proof that this isnt an actual God, for maybe this is how he communicates. It serves better than to get some bloke to write things down on stone, which will erode away by rain, and then have it go through multiple language changes and bible versions.
I put it to Con that this is a perfectly valid religion. It is a belief in a power, the power that compelled me to wake up with that feeling on that particular day. It is a system of faith in doing good, and it is an interest in good morals with our fellow man followed by the devotion of seeing that through. It ticks all three definitions, harms no one, is not senseless, does not take away from scientific learning and is not corrupt.
I put forward to Con that it is not religion that is bad to humanity. I put forward that mans choice in which particular religion he follows is what has bad for humanity. Niceism would not be bad for humanity in any way, therefor religion itself, by definition, is not bad for humanity.
Now, for my rebuttal, I am going to say that I don't hate spiritual people. I am a believer in God myself. My big problem is with organized religions. (I probably should have mentioned that in my first argument.) Now organized religions are not all bad. For instance, the Catholic Church, which I love to bash, actually does give a large amount of money to charity. One of the Five Pillars of Islam is Charity. Organized religions at first glance don't actually do anything bad.
But, if you look deep into any religion, there will almost always be a mention in some sacred writing that mentions an "inferior" people. The Old Testament has a huge amount of hate towards people who are not Hebrew. Heck, God tells Joshua to kill millions of people so that the Hebrews could live on the land of the people they just murdered. The reason I mention this is because a lot of religions label each other as "inferior" people. And there will always be people who think that God is telling them to exterminate the "infidels." Whether these people are crazy or not, religion does have a startling effect of being able to motivate people into committing terrible acts of violence. And for some religions, it's a large portion of their people that are at least somewhat like this. Muslims, for example, are probably the only religion on this planet that if you go up to any of their members and ask, "If someone insults the Prophet, does he deserve what he gets?" Most of them will say, "Yes."
Now, one other problem for organized religions is that some people don't want to be in them, but they don't really have a choice. Myself, for instance, was born and was immediately baptized into the Catholic Church. Now if I could go back and undo that, I would. Belief in God is not something most people can come to on their own. They have to be introduced to the idea. That is probably how organized religions have lasted for so long because if you get the kids into it while they are young, they are going to grow up with a belief that isn't even theirs. I know a few Muslims at my school that want to leave, but if they do their families will disown them and they will be forever labeled as "infidels." I have even read a few articles about priests who are, excuse the phrase, "coming out of the closet" and saying that they don't believe in God, Heaven, Hell, or the Resurrection. If these kinds of people who don't even believe the stuff that they preach can become leaders in an organization that they disagree with, how serious can religion be that stuff?
There is my argument for round 2. Thanks for taking part in this, and thank you for introducing me to Niceism. I will look into it.
I thank Con for the respose provided.
I still assert that there is no ringle negative act that spans all religions by definition that would make them all bad for humanity. Thus, I think that individual religions can be very bad, however religion itself is not what is bad.
Con asserts negative points on an "almost all" basis and talks about the inclusion by defualt.
I put forward that we compare this to Guvernment. We are included in any given guvernment by defualt of where we are born. We do not chose where we are born, this is the choice of outside factors, normally mainly lying with the parents, the same as it is for religios inclusion by parents.
"almost all" Guvernments kill people, participate wars across the world and may in these cases blow things up, guvernments have agreed and legislated on slavery, guvernments still suppress homosexuals etc. Guvernments help create and maintain that feeling of "inferior people" with class systems and different tax rates on diferent wealths of people etc.
This all being said, can you imagine having no guvernment in the world? not one? In spite of all the negatives, we need to have individual guvernments for the very fundamentals of our societies to function. And thus, in spite of all those negatives, Guvernment is a positive for humanity, not a negative.
I maintain that, while individual religions, even in great majority, might commit very bad actions, the concept of religion is not a bad one for humanity. We need community, especially in everygrowing populations of cities. I would also argue that the amount of negatives that people attatch to religion spurs on scientists and philosophers etc. to prove these religions wrong in the same way that wars spur on technological advancement.
I put forward that the negatives are not absolute within religion, and that any negatives attatched to the idea of religion actually act as a positive catalyst for science.
MrJallar forfeited this round.
Con has forfeiteded his last round.
I thank Con for the enjoyable debate, and hope Con feels the same.
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