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Religion does more harm than good (Continuing)

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 7/25/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 609 times Debate No: 59517
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
Votes (2)


Ok, since we want to continue our debate, I repost it again. The rules are the same:

Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Opening arguments
Round 3: Rebuttals/Arguments
Round 4: Rebuttals/Conclusion (no new arguments)

Let's get the party started!


Hello there again! ^^ I accept your challenge and will be arguing against.
Debate Round No. 1


Religion is a collection of beliefs, cultural systems and world views that people believe they have to do in order to worship some kind of a higher power. According to some estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world. It is very difficult to count the people believing in the different religions but roughly about 2 billion of the Earth population are Christians, 1.3 billion are Muslims, 850 million are Hindus, 375 million are Buddhists, 25 million are Sikhists. These are the top 5 religions according to: . My examples will be about Christianity and Islam since the people who believe in these religions taken together are nearly as half of the world's population.
With my first argument I will defend the statement that religion literally separates us. So let's imagine this- there are roughly 4,200 different religions, most of this religions separate to smaller religions, and most of these 'sub religions' separates to more divisions of that particular religion. For example, the main religion Christianity has three main divisions: Roman Catholic, Orthodox Eastern, and Protestant. According to David Barrett et al, editors of the "World Christian Encyclopedia: A comparative survey of churches and religions - AD 30 to 2200," there are 34,000 separate Christian groups in the world today. And the number of Islamic divisions is over a 150. All of these divisions separates the society and differentiate the people to many communities without any reasonable purpose that has proved to be true or not true. And when a society is not united, there's nothing good about it.
My second argument is that religion has become the easiest way to manipulate people. We cannot be certain about the reason why religion was created. Even if the original idea was to unite people and give them answers to the questions without answer, later religion was turned into the easiest way to make people do what you want. People are afraid of the higher power they believe in. It's in their heads- they are afraid what is going to happen to them after they die, what is going to happen if they are 'bad people'. That is why they have these religious rituals to worship a particular higher power. That higher power always has its teaching which always is teaching against something. Our religion frequently forbids us to do certain things, saying that is against its teaching. But what if this is a way to make people do what somebody wants, to make them believe in what somebody wants? What if religion is an idea of a great genius who wants to rule people and make them do what he wants without giving explanations? I'll give a simple example with the crusades in the 11th century. Each of these crusade was in the name of Jerusalem and its freedom but its proven that this was a way to make people fight for territories, many people were killed in the name of Jerusalem's freedom but actually it was only for territories. If it wasn't for territories the crusaders wouldn't have negotiated so much with rulers to do some things for these rulers in exchange of payment.


Regarding the good and benefits religion brings to society, whether a religion's beliefs are proven true or logical or not has little to do with what I am about to consider. What matters is that religion as a whole has indeed spurred mankind on to greater heights.

Firstly, each religion has their laws that are mostly for good. For example, Christanity forbids steadling and killing. Buddhism strongly discourages harming any living thing. (This is actually why monks gain a lot of weight—they cannot waste food, most of which are 'offerings' from people. They have to finish every bit of what's ordered or given. Yes, even if it is meat, they have to force it down. —Personal interview of a monk.) Therefore, most believers do good and hence contribute positively in the form of charity or goodwill to society. Religion has indeed created a lot of controversy regarding laws such as gay marriage or extreme conservativeness, but it also has very successfully propelled people to create civilisation out of the savage. This is where my second point comes in.

Someone said that religion without science is blind, but science without religion is lame. The implication behind the sentence is that whether one admits it or not, majority of humans need something to inspire and push them towards their goals. They are unable to function without sufficient motivation. Religion therefore provides meaning and purpose in life. Having a deeply felt belief system can help someone cope with many of the perplexing and distressing questions that surround the meaning of existence, for example. They don't necessarily need proof that their gods are real. If people are satisfied with pure faith, just as some are satisfied with a simple apartment or others a lavish mansion, what good would come from dismissing them? Take depressed people for example—they find no meaning in life. Either unable to derive the needed motivation, willing to believe in something in order to feel better, or forced to do it, people turn to religion.

Third, having a religion relieves a lot of unneeded stress. Belief in religion allows a person to dump all their responsibility and mental pressure in a make-belief (or not) entity that they believe will never fail them. Religion reduces pressure from the many choices humans have to make in their lives. It offers a set of rules to people, and those who accept them are free to worry about other, more important matters instead of forever questioning and shifting their beliefs around. It is certainly not the best solution, but a person's willpower is a limited resource. Willpower that has been used on insignificant decisions will add up and eat away at a person's tolerance and patience, resulting in increased levels of anxiety. Therefore with religion, a person has at least stablised a large part of their life. A recent National Institute of Mental Health study, for example, found that people who consider religious beliefs to be a central element in their lives experience lower amounts of depression than does a control group. Below I reiterate my point.

One who does things in the name of religion may believe at least one of the following, whether they admit it or not:
I accept my destiny and it was not really my decision to make because my path has already been chosen.
I am not, as a person, liable for the consequences due to the above, therefore my conscience is appeased.
I will continue to have everything I have so long I remain in my beliefs.
And so on.

If you notice, this is actually a person giving an omniscient entity power over their actions which results in the person not taking the blame of wrongdoing and so continuing through life unscarred. The person doesn't have to worry about what happened because 'it was supposed to happen' and they 'couldn't have done anything to prevent it'. Besides, why should they worry? After all, the true intent was not theirs. It allows a person to give up their responsibilities, blame and guilt into faith—that they are having the best path chosen for them. They are in control, but yet, when it's convenient, utterly powerless.

Religion is hence, a very useful and effective tool —or illusion to some— for us humans to better ourselves. Whether or not I approve of this behaviour, I cannot deny that it is extremely efficient in getting people through their lives. It enables people to have a direction, a goal, a duty in life—things that they would not spawn such a devotion to otherwise. It is with this devotion that stemmed bit by bit from many individuals that we humans have created technology, revolutionised industry and achieved globalisation.

Willpower as a limited resource:
Faith reduces stress:
Debate Round No. 2


First, I will start with rebutting my opponent's arguments and then I will continue with mine.
So, first I would like to say that it's true that each religion has its laws, but we cannot say if this laws are for good or not. Actually,these laws are changing which actually changes the point of the whole religion and people in the end are somehow lied. I will give an example with Christianity. In the Old Testament it says that Jews cannot kill or do bad things to Jews but as long as the people are not Jews they can behave in whatever way they want because other people are not the chosen people by God. As we all know now The New Testament says that we are equal, and we should act like equal. This contradiction is quite big. And it sounds that in a way Jews were using their religion to do whatever they want and to put whatever titles they want. As we all know, it's not proves that anybody has talked to God and we cannot say that there is a chosen people. Therefore, I believe that is more likely religion's laws to be created to justify people's actions and to make them look innocent which is immoral and actually morality is in the basics of every religion.

Second, the statement that religion has brought civilization out of the savage is quite brief. I agree that people need something to inspire them and to give them a push towards their goals and future achievements but I do not agree that religion is exactly this thing. And I don't agree with the example with depressed people to turn to religion when they feel depressed. They may use religion sometimes, but not all of them and is not religion that helps them go through depression. Let's take hospitals where these people are helped to go through depression. Non of these places use religion methods to help people. They are based on real things like family support, solving problems and learning to believe in themselves. This proves that religious illusions are unnecessary to help depressed people go through their problems. Motivation is not necessary to come with religion, motivation comes with many other things. Actually, bringing motivation to people is a huge business and there are motivational speakers who use nothing but facts and your weaknesses against you, stimulating you to follow you goals and dreams and professionals among these motivational speakers never uses religion in their speeches.

Third, I agree that religion may reveal unneeded stress. But I believe that this concerns people who are religious. You cannot say that an atheist would reveal his stress throughout religion. How you reveal your stress is a personal choice and many people use realistic things like a vacation or doing hobbies to reveal their stress. What is more, religion doesn't give exact, sure answers about the questions without answers, it suggests answers and even religious people admit that they cannot be sure which proves that religion doesn't take away the doubts in people. Also, there is nothing wrong with trying to answer these questions, and thinking about them because that's what differentiates us from animals- we are a thinking creatures and we are supposed to use our curiosity in the best way we can.

Forth, the statements that you stated 'I accept my destiny and it was not really my decision to make because my path has already been chosen. ',
'I am not, as a person, liable for the consequences due to the above, therefore my conscience is appeased. ',
'I will continue to have everything I have so long I remain in my beliefs.'
And so on, are exactly the biggest trouble that religion brings. In this way society thinks that religion will legitimate every action of theirs and they don't have to take responsibility of their actions. That is absolutely against every moral statement in every single people's beliefs. People must take responsibilities of every action of theirs and stand behind their opinions. There is no place to use religion for reducing stress here- if a person has done something wrong, he should take the responsibility for that and stress is something that is required here in order for this personality to bother himself to learn his lesson and not to repeat his immoral actions and repeat his good actions for the society an himself.

Now I will continue with my arguments.
My next and final argument is going to look in the economical aspect of this topic. Think of all the money that went for religion. Think of all the millionaires that were created through religion. I don't think stats are needed here. Religion institutions spend so much money for temples, religious celebration, traditions etc. And leave this, here's some shocking statistics: University of Tampa professor Ryan T. Cr gun along with students Stephanie Yeager and Desmond Vega ran some calculations and figured out a number:
'While some people may be bothered by the fact that there are pastors who live in multimillion dollar homes, this is old news to most. But here is what should bother you about these expensive homes: You are helping to pay for them! You pay for them indirectly, the same way local, state, and federal governments in the United States subsidize religion " to the tune of about $71 billion every year.' And notice... this is only for the USA. We all give money for people to become rich using religion. Money is involved so badly in religion that it have destroyed everything pure in it. Money has changed religion's idea. We are manipulated to do what we are told and to make indirectly people rich.

Religion as I mention before, is something that is perfectly developed and used for manipulating people and for legitimating people's wrong actions. This is not the way how we should treat our society. We are all humans and we should all act like ones (showing humanity, responsibility). We should not use lies in order to make ourselves feel better about our actions, we should use religion as something that will reduce our stress. Religion is the easiest way to go, the easiest way to get away from our responsibilities and duties as human creatures.


Here are my rebuttals:

Regarding your earlier point: Religion 'separates', as you say. But has that stopped the majority from working together? Do people ostracise Christians, for example, or Taoists, at your workplace or school? Likely, it doesn't matter as a person's faith holds no sway over a person's abilities or talents or efficiency in work. It helps people endure, in fact, when they would have long since given up.

As you said, the crusaders fought only for territories. Your point solidifies my point that religion was only a convenient excuse for war. Take the Japanese in WW2 for example. They conquered, murdered and raped—not for religion, no, but for the claim that they were 'unifying' East Asia. The truth was that they were running out of resources and therefore eyed surrounding countries. With or without the excuse of religion, humans are fully capable of irresponsible and irrational violence. We carry them out by twisting our reasoning any way we possibly can. In Japanese textbooks and schools, Japan refuses to see their part in WW2 as conquering others for their advantage. They'd rather teach lies —that they were expanding their culture, spreading their positive influence around the world— to their students than admit their country was in the wrong. In fact, before the use of internet spread, Japan taught their students that they were provoked into WW2 when the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki for no apparent reason. This is the type of behaviour humans are capable of, even without the inteference of religon. Therefore, I conclude that religion has little to do regarding significance in starting major conflicts. Unless you can prove otherwise by introducing a major conflict stemmed purely from religion, without hidden agendas or ulterior motives.

Regarding your rebuttal of my point: Perhaps I should have made it clearer as the word 'good' is too general a term. Each religion's laws always seek to edify both the person and society. No matter the methods, the intent is to better society, and the result is almost always ultimately for the greater good. Religion does sacrifice or take advantage of things such as ignorance and morality, but in the end, they strive to improve the life of mankind.

Second: Religion has existed for eons. It (be it with rules or fear of gods) has assisted mankind in creating a society with more organisation—an orderly world controlled and managed by dependable rules and practices.

"Religion is not exactly the thing"—this is a brief statement. Of course, one has family and friends and the government that also seek to instil law and order in a citizen. But I could argue that religion is a (and quite a large) thing for most people. People turn to religion when they are at their weakest. It is not always depressed people, I was giving an example. Certainly, doctors do not force religion therapy on a patient—that would be largely ineffective and ridiculous. Religion 'comes' to a person when they lose all hope and go: "What do I have to lose, anyway?" Not all attempts to 'connect' with a religion has been successful, but it has in many cases, inspired a person to continue with life. Scroll through any 'God saved me' forum. Most stories you can only believe if you have experienced it yourself. I have not, therefore I do not. But I can however, see the results.

Most motivational speakers on the other hand, use facts, I agree. But it only works with and when people [who] are able to think rationally and logically. When one is under pressure, or facing a physical challenge to the limits of their endurance, such as holding out their arms for an hour straight (believe me, its far harder than you think), people turn to 'beg' or 'talk to' the omniscent being they feel is in charge of the time—if only to relieve their mental suffering (brought about by the physical suffering) for a few moments. It increases their presumed endurance. In fact, this does not only apply to religious people. It applies to everyone who has been largely influenced by the belief that some god exists somewhere"religious or not.

Third: Religion does nothing to reveal stress or otherwise. I don't believe I've ever mentioned anything about revealing stress, only relieving it. Therefore, this rebuttal is off-topic and moot.

Fourth: You mentioned, and I quote: "That [not taking responsibility for one's actions] is absolutely against every moral statement in every single people's beliefs."
Not true. This is a sweeping statement that can be quickly disproved if I state that I feel it's okay to not be responsible. You say that there is no place for religion to reduce stress, but I beg to differ. Religion puts a person's mind at peace. Is that not stress reducing to a point? People should take responsibility, yes, but few actually feel obligated to do so if they are not spurred on by some belief. It's not whether they want to carry out their responsibility, but whether they do it or not that contributes to society. Few humans are entirely altruistic or do good without conditioning. Even this 'karma' is the belief that you wil receive good but only if you do good, and vice versa. Therefore, religion is good in the sense that their laws always seek to edify both the believer and the society.

New (rebuttal): "Money has changed religion's idea" may be true, however, that is the fault of money and the selfishness/greed of people. Not religion. Every religion's purest goal, as I mentioned above, is to edify both the believer and society. They may differ in methods, but the intent is ultimately positive towards mankind.

You are entirely right as to what we 'should' do, yet very few of us have enough willpower and self-discipline to do so. Why are there so many dropouts? Why so few leaders in our society as compared to sheep? If we are able to create such an perfect, sincere, ideal society, there would not even be a need for law enforcers. But we are far from that. Religion or having a belief therefore boosts what we lack in terms of determination, discipline and perseverance. It is in fact, actually not the easiest way to get away from our responsibilities—we still carry them out as religion does not excuse a person from their duties—but it makes the going, the endurance process, far easier.

My contentions:

I will continue my point that religion does good. Contrary to popular belief (ohmygodallthesepuns), religious beliefs themselves do not mainly foster sense of giving, but the ties and loyalty a person has to their religious congregation will increase the amount they donate to charity. It can be summarised as: the more important religion is to a person, the more money a person will donate to their respective charities. (Evidence below.) Whether you're going to argue otherwise, think about this. If religion (or beliefs) itself does not make people want to donate, what makes you think that a lack of religious beliefs will make the amount donated any greater?

Also, I will reiterate my point above that religion seeks to edify society. For example, I'll use Buddhism and Hinduism, both originating from India. Firstly because they are religions that have not actively participated in 'recruitment' and therefore shows a more candid view of religion as it has a larger percentage of true believers. They both have their various ethics like encouraging people to be honest, refrain from selfish desires and maintaining religious harmony. Religion is not the main cause of most wars or conflicts.

My last point is for everyone to think about. If religion suddenly ceases to exist, what would our seven billion large population do? My bet is that a huge percentage of people would gradually turn to worship another human being, or turn them into gods themselves in a crude imitation of religion—not unlike what humans have done in the past. Take the literature classic Lord of the Flies by Nobel Prize-winning English author William Golding, for example. Pre-teen boys stranded on the island managed to worship a pig's head, dubbing it the Beast, giving it gifts, even without much prior knowledge or exposure to religion. Would that not be worse than taking up an existing belief, be it logical or not? Religion as it exists is therefore good, in a sense, that it prevents people from straying off a worse path. Even if it takes advantage of society's ignorance and humanity.

Religious persons are more charitable:
Religion plays a part in creation of society:
Japan's role in WW2:
Debate Round No. 3

Pro forfeited this round.


elixir forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by elixir 2 years ago
Sigh I think we're redoing it again haha

@Sagey yep very, very true
Posted by birdlandmemories 2 years ago
I mean forfeit, why can I not spell forfeit today?
Posted by birdlandmemories 2 years ago
Fofeit -_-
Posted by Sagey 2 years ago
Actually, if there are 5.5 billion religious people in the world, then there are 5.5 Billion Religions, since everybody has a brain that is wired differently, (just as fingerprints are mapped differently) and religion (Gods) is an entirely Subjective false reality, then if you consider the fine details of their religious beliefs, everybody actually has a different Religion.

No two people on Earth have an exactly Identical image of their God(s) nor detailed concept of doctrines and scriptures.
Everybody has a different belief system.
Posted by Sagey 2 years ago
Another forfeit.
Looks like Pro has either missed out on getting their argument in on time or has given up????
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Sagey 2 years ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: Pro forfeited first, Even though I thought Pro's argument was a little stronger, more was required to defend BOP.
Vote Placed by SocialistAtheistNutjob 2 years ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: Pro didn't provide any sources outside of their opening argument. While Pro was able to explain how religion causes harm, I don't believe that Pro met the burden of proof that religion does a greater amount of harm than good.