The Instigator
Tommy.leadbetter
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
theta_pinch
Con (against)
Winning
7 Points

Religion: force for peace

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
theta_pinch
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/9/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 857 times Debate No: 43689
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)

 

Tommy.leadbetter

Pro

Religion (not an atheist, but arguing as if religion is merely a social phenomenon) has been a force for good and peace. And has been essential for securing social structures and humbling leaders throughout mankind's history.
theta_pinch

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
Tommy.leadbetter

Pro

Thank you theta_pinch.
I will attempt to explain my argument position, vague though it might be. Despite the fact that religion has seemingly been the cause of conflicts worldwide, I would argue that it is (or was) essential for human social structures to survive. Also I would argue that wars that claim to be religiously driven, have often more important factors.

So religion (as a social construct, ignoring the theological argument) has been ultimately an influence of peace, within and between nations. Though the latter much less.

Religion, I believe, acts like a social glue. Ensuring companionship, love and loyalty to our fellows. I believe this could be a necessity as every singlegroup of humans creates one without exeption. Though this glue has a side effect, it repels other social groups. Typically, but not all the time it does this, but it is difficult to determine sometimes whether other factors actually outweigh the religios differences. I do not dispute that if a group of people 'don't know about our god and believe in some false god that isn't even even real' they are easier to hate. For example I believe the Quran says its okay to lie to non-Muslims and other things, this shows how a particular religious belief condones the beginning of a slippery slope of which we all know the outcome.

But. I would argue that the main role religion has played, has been to protect societies from their leaders. Human domination seemingly has no limits, people strive for power and power can corrupt. Think, thousands of people working to the death for decades, just to build a house for a dead man (pyramids). Also look at the behaviour of leaders (not elected officials, but kings and emperors). As they gain more power they tend to follow a similar pattern. That pattern being; control, then raising the level once again to make the individual substantially 'other' from everyone else, then he becomes a Demi-god, then an actual god. The also tend to seek eternal life. Look at Kim Jon, the eternal president (god) of Korea.

However, religions job in the past, has been to be a constant reminder to these leaders that they do actually have limits and they are not the top guy. Even Christian kings of England believed that if they said something, it was gods will, showing the temptation leaders feel even when they are aware of an overlord. Of course the church in time reminded the king that he was not a mini-god, a thing nobody else would typically dare to do.

Modern atheist societies I think do credibility to this notion, I'm talking about Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia, North Korea and Pol Pots Cambodia. These are all societies without a higher power, and the leaders where all leaders who essentially had nobody above them.

I would also argue the Catholic Church in Europe, for the most part, encouraged stability amongst the nations of Christendom. Also that it did this primarily, if not entirely, by religious conviction and reasoning.

I apologise for the time I took, I have been very busy and this first statement is somewhat rushed as I do not want to keep you waiting. Thank you for your response, hope to have a good debate with you
theta_pinch

Con

My evidence that religion has not been a force for good:


THE CRUSADES

A short description from wikipedia: The Crusades were religious conflicts during the High Middle Ages through the end of the Late Middle Ages, conducted under the sanction of the Latin Catholic Church. Pope Urban II proclaimed the first crusade in 1095 with the stated goal of restoring Christian access to the holy places in and near Jerusalem. There followed a further six major Crusades against Muslim territories in the east and numerous minor ones as part of an intermittent 200-year struggle for control of the Holy Land that ended in failure.

TERRORISTS

A large number of terrorists are radical muslims who attack because of their beliefs. A good example are the two terrorists who flew into the twin towers. (Not meant to be stereotypical.)

WITCH HUNTS

In the 1400s-1700s the major religious power; the christian church; began witch hunts. Millions of innocent people were killed because they were thought to have worshipped Satan, even though they didn't. People were tortured, and executed by the choping block or burning at the stake.


CONCLUSION
Over the centuries religion has been the source of much conflict; from the crusades to the witch hunts millions of people; many innocent have died all because of religion. Therefore religion is not a force for peace.


Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
Tommy.leadbetter

Pro

I will try to answer your points in the order you have put them.
Firstly, Muslims and Christians had lived in peace before the time of these crusades. Christians would pilgrimage to the holy land and would be welcome by the Muslims as they where good for the economy. Before the time of the crusades, a tyrannical Muslim leader came to power and began killing pilgrims. He then banned Christians from pilgrimage to their holy land. This is what triggered the crusades. It was not necessarily the difference of religion, as this issue was present in the years before. Any historic scholar will acknowledge that religious differences were not the main, or not the only, factor in the crusades. Evidence from, Crash Course-World history.

Terrorism, or specifically modern muslim terrorism, has in my opinion been the result of a rejection of the western world. They use their religion as an identity and a banner, it is difficult to determine to what extent the religion alone causes this behaviour. There are many Muslims who don't engage in terrorist actions which indicates there are other factors. For example, a lot of what the extremists hate about western culture is in my opinion valid. For example their grievances the way women are portrayed (though their version is worse). So, I would say that a bad way of living in the western world and grievances felt from war, are the main factors in this phenomena. Even though the extremists may not believe it themselves, for religious people have a habit of using their religion to justify any of their beliefs. Though I agree that perhaps if they weren't religious, they may not be so self righteous and bigoted. And may just protest, though protesters can be violent also. I do not argue that religion only brings peace and never plays a part in conflict, I just believe as a whole it is a peacemaker.

Witch hunts where an example of religiously fuelled violence. Though I would not argue that all the witches where 'innocent' of being a witch, as many believed themselves to be so. But I don't recall ever hearing that a witch exists in the bible, nor does it condone killing them (to the best of my knowledge). 'Witches' go back a long time, they are the result of superstition, but are not a just theory to the people of that time. People created witches as a way of explaining the unexplained, it made perfect sense to them, it is not a religious belief it is a superstition and a paranoia.

It is hard to make statements, as we both have done, speaking about religion as a seperate force acting upon humans. But we mustn't forget that, should religion be false, it is part of who we are. Not one society is non-religious until the 20th century, and these are societies that have already reached the modern world and evolved equality. Also the officially non-religious societies are some of the worst to have inhabited this earth. All with godlike dictators. It seems to me that religion is not just a choice or an idea, its an integral part of being human. It seems that although our religion can cause friction with other religions, without it our own society would destroy itself. It would do this by extreme dictatorship, as there is no power above him and no church to guide him morally. Now, I do not believe this would happen in a modern democratic society, but we are just the tip of the iceburg of the human story.

So how does religion promote peace? Kings relationship with the pope was that of a boy with his father, other kings being his brothers. He could plead that he has been a victim of his brothers and thus be helped, he could claim that he was in trouble and he would be helped, and the pope would demand kings to stop atrocities and war with their brothers. In the medievil world, there was only power and death. Surfs could be disembowelled to keep the barons feet warm, and all peasant girls would have to sleep with the Lord before their wedding night (in alot of places). These are not times like now, where atheist argue that 'we don't need religion for morals!' The 'rights' that we know today, and take for granted, are the result of a long battle, and should we have had no overlord demanding love, nor a sacred text saying things like 'turn the other cheek' and 'love thy enemy', I do not believe that things would have got better. I don't think that its impossible that without religion, the world would be divided into two classes, the workers and the gods.

In this world where power equals: do what you want. And life equals: whatever the closest more powerful person wants to do with you. There is no moral limit to the powerful people, religion reminds kings that they will go to hell if they are wicked. Imagine you are a peasant girl and you have been abused and had your baby killed for sport and fun by your 'landlord'. You have no power, no justice, nothing. you must simply continue to work and be abused when he felt like it. There is none telling that man off for everything he has done. Would you be opposed to that man having a fear of being sent to hell for his deeds? Without that would you feel even more helpless and forgotten? Could a modern, free world develop without the fear of god? Why would anyone give up their power freely? What point would their be in being good in such a cruel, dog-eat-dog world?
theta_pinch

Con

Firstly, Muslims and Christians had lived in peace before the time of these crusades. Christians would pilgrimage to the holy land and would be welcome by the Muslims as they where good for the economy. Before the time of the crusades, a tyrannical Muslim leader came to power and began killing pilgrims. He then banned Christians from pilgrimage to their holy land. This is what triggered the crusades. It was not necessarily the difference of religion, as this issue was present in theyears before. Any historic scholar will acknowledge that religious differences were not the main, or not the only, factor in the crusades. Evidence from, Crash Course-World history.

Yes, it wasn't because of differences in religion but the reason for the crusades was religious; they wanted to be able to go back to the holy land. In fact here’s one of the criticisms from people of that day: The crusades sparked debate about the legitimacy of taking lands and possessions from pagans on purely religious grounds. That proves that the reason for the crusades was religious even if it wasn't about differences.

But I don't recall ever hearing that a witch exists in the bible, nor does it condone killing them (to the best of my knowledge).

Here's what the bible says:

A. Under the Law (Old Testament), the punishment was death by stoning.

Exodus
22:18
Leviticus
20:27
Deuteronomy
13:5
B. Saul died because he participated in a séance (1 Samuel chapter 28), and the kingdom was taken from him (1 Chronicles 10:13-14).

C. Those guilty of practicing witchcraft shall have no peace (2 Kings 9:22; Isaiah 57:20-21), and they shall not escape judgment (Malachi 3:5).

D. Their souls shall be rejected by God.
Leviticus 20:6

2 Kings 17:17

Isaiah 2:6

E. They shall be refused entrance into the kingdom (Galatians 5:19-21), and their end shall be the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8; 22:14-15).


VI. Is it really that serious an offense?


A. In scripture, witchcraft is paralleled to rebellion (disobedience) against God.

1 Samuel
15:23

B. God says it is an abomination in His sight.

Deuteronomy
18:9-14

C. God says they "sold their souls" to the devil by their divination.

2 Kings
17:17

D. It is not only spiritually defiling
(Leviticus 19:31); but it has a bad
influence on others as well (Nahum 3:4-7, 19).

E. It greatly displeases and angers God.

2 Kings
21:5-6
2 Chronicles
33:6


VII. Christians must separate themselves from black magic, and they must destroy all evidence of their former
involvement in the occult.

So even back in the time of the bible it was against Gods law and punished by death. So yes, witches are or at least were a religious belief, because the Hebrews were "told" by God to kill them, and it's in the bible.

It is hard to make statements, as we both have done, speaking about religion as a seperate force acting upon humans. But we mustn't forget that, should religion be false, it is part of who we are. Not one society is non-religious until the 20th century, and these are societies that have already reached the modern world and evolved equality. Also the officially non-religious societies are some of the worst to have inhabited this earth. All with godlike dictators. It seems to me that Religion is not just a choice or an idea; it’s an integral part of being Human. It seems that although our religion can cause friction with other religions, without it our own society would destroy itself. It would do this by extreme dictatorship, as there is no power above him and no church to guide him morally. Now, I do not believe this would happen in a modern democratic society, but we are just the tip of the iceburg of the human story.

But there are also a large number of non-religious people who aren't "evil."In fact most atheists believe in the humanist philosophy.
Sources: http://www.dianedew.com...
http://en.wikipedia.org......
http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 3
Tommy.leadbetter

Pro

I believe that the pope orderd the crusades because he rightly feared the new muslim leader, also there was trouble brewing in Europe and the crusades united the kingdoms of Christendom agains a common foe. So in my opinion it was tactical rather than spiritual. After all, Jesus' message was peace and love and the popes' where not warmongerers. Also, wars are expensive and drain the countries resources. I do not believe that the pope did not consider the dangers of a hostile superpower, and a need to unite a simmering Christendom, when he made the descision to launch the crusades. Also the crusades did not play as big a part in our history as most people assume, as they are continuasly romanticised and lots of tales and characters come from them times, exaggerating their significance and existance.

You list phrases in the bible that concern witchcraft, note these are in the Old Testament that is overturned 2000years ago by Christ: the belief in witches goes back thousands and thousands of years, though they are under different name and guise. You use this as an example of religion causing trouble. I understand, but this does not disprove my theory which I will explain in the next paragraph again, after I make this,point. We do not know what it was really like in them days, there is a book, written in the Middle Ages, called the 'devils bible' (by us). This book is clearley made by someone very powerful and it speaks of how to do incantations, spells and witchcraft, it also appears to worship satan. So devil worship and witchcraft when hand in hand and it was not always paranoia. Also the man who wrote the first book standing against the idea of witch hunting, Reginald Scot, said: In fact, there were very few trials of witches during the Middle Ages, and the Inquisition was often the accused witch's greatest friend and defender. Witch trials were overwhelmingly an early-modern phenomenon and Protestants were just as likely as Catholics to try, and to execute witches.

My point is that one cannot say religion is harmful or un harmful because it is always there, we do not know what humans are like without religion. I'm talking on a deeper level, yer, you may know some atheist that are nice, but they are brought up in a country that has been Christian for nearly over 1000 years. Nobody knows what human society would be like without religion. Maybe by order of natural selection, the best attributes survive, and thus religious societies have been more stable and sucesfull.

You do not talk about my point regarding religion as the only arbiter between kingdoms, which I remind you rule by power only with no mercy.
Also I would ask you about my point regarding the young girl, what hope would she have? And why would anyone, in those times, give up power without a on influence to do so?
theta_pinch

Con

I believe that the pope orderd the crusades because he rightly feared the new muslim leader, also there was trouble brewing in Europe and the crusades united the kingdoms of Christendom agains a common foe. So in my opinion it was tactical rather than spiritual.

Not to sound cold, but your opinion doesn't matter; the people of the time who criticized explicitly mentioned it was purely religious in their criticisms. The people of that time should have known what the crusades were about.

After all, Jesus' message was peace and love and the popes' where not warmongerers. Also, wars are expensive and drain the countries resources. I do not believe that the pope did not consider the dangers of a hostile superpower, and a need to unite a simmering Christendom, when he made the descision to launch the crusades. Also the crusades did not play as big a part in our history as most people assume, as they are continuasly romanticised and lots of tales and characters come from them times, exaggerating their significance and existance.

See above.

You list phrases in the bible that concern witchcraft, note these are in the Old Testament that is overturned 2000years ago by Christ: the belief in witches goes back thousands and thousands of years, though they are under different name and guise. You use this as an example of religion causing trouble. I understand, but this does not disprove my theory which I will explain in the next paragraph again, after I make this,point. We do not know what it was really like in them days, there is a book, written in the Middle Ages, called the 'devils bible' (by us). This book is clearley made by someone very powerful and it speaks of how to do incantations, spells and witchcraft, it also appears to worship satan. So devil worship and witchcraft when hand in hand and it was not always paranoia.

Yes it wasn't always paranoia but in many cases it WAS paranoia.

Also the man who wrote the first book standing against the idea of witch hunting, Reginald Scot, said: In fact, there were very few trials of witches during the Middle Ages, and the Inquisition was often the accused witch's greatest friend and defender. Witch trials were overwhelmingly an early-modern phenomenon and Protestants were just as likely as Catholics to try, and to execute witches.


The old testament may have been over ridden by Jesus but the last part of your argument: Also the man who wrote the first book standing against the idea of witch hunting, Reginald Scot, said: In fact, there were very few trials of witches during the Middle Ages, and the Inquisition was often the accused witch's greatest friend and defender. Witch trials were overwhelmingly an early-modern phenomenon and Protestants were just as likely as Catholics to try, and to execute witches; invalidates your argument because catholics and protestants whose beliefs are based on the teachings of Jesus executed "witches" and those quotes in the old testament about witches are the only biblical reason for killing witches and we know they did it based on religious beliefs.


My point is that one cannot say religion is harmful or un harmful because it is always there, we do not know what humans are like without religion. I'm talking on a deeper level, yer, you may know some atheist that are nice, but they are brought up in a country that has been Christian for nearly over 1000 years. Nobody knows what human society would be like without religion. Maybe by order of natural selection, the best attributes survive, and thus religious societies have been more stable and sucesfull.

This is an example of the argument from ignorance fallacy.


In this world where power equals: do what you want. And life equals: whatever the closest more powerful person wants to do with you. There is no moral limit to the powerful people, religion reminds kings that they will go to hell if they are wicked.


In the bible when people were especially religious powerful kings would disobey God even if they believed him. For example Solomon, David, and Saul all believed in God and all of them disobeyed God because of their power. So religion won't always stop even religious kings.


Imagine you are a peasant girl and you have been abused and had your baby killed for sport and fun by your 'landlord'. You have no power, no justice, nothing. you must simply continue to work and be abused when he felt like it. There is none telling that man off for everything he has done. Would you be opposed to that man having a fear of being sent to hell for his deeds?


Many land lords in feudal times (which I assume you are talking about) believed in the christian God yet that didn't stop them; so this point is non-applicable since even those who believed didn't change their ways.


Could a modern, free world develop without the fear of god?

Yes in fact it could; secular humanism is a non-religious philosophy that with the morals that made the modern, free world. http://en.wikipedia.org...


Why would anyone give up their power freely?

Why would a God change their mind?

What point would their be in being good in such a cruel, dog-eat-dog world?

Survival which happens to be the main goal of most living creature. It's a little counter-intuitive but people who are good (nice) are "selected" by natural selection. It probably has something to do with the fact that if you are good to other people then they will help you when you need help; so those people are more likely to survive than those who are "bad."


Debate Round No. 4
Tommy.leadbetter

Pro

Tommy.leadbetter forfeited this round.
theta_pinch

Con

CONCLUSION

I have proven my case.
Debate Round No. 5
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by wateva232 3 years ago
wateva232
Hello,

I want to accept this debate but I think 5 rounds is way too long for such a debate. Could you edit it and invite me but make it 3 rounds? Thus it will be, Round 1 - Acceptance. Round 2 - Arguments. Round 3 - Rebuttals + Arguments. 5 rounds is extremely long.

If interested please edit and invite.

Thanks.
Posted by Tommy.leadbetter 3 years ago
Tommy.leadbetter
It is not specific, it is merely an opinion that religion is not a force for evil, war, tyranny and instability and many think. But rather has been essential or human survival and a voice of love and stability in a world of injustices, un-predictability and confusion.
Posted by dylanm123 3 years ago
dylanm123
what is the actual debate here?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Hierocles 3 years ago
Hierocles
Tommy.leadbettertheta_pinchTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Con gave a good analysis of history, and Pro should not forfeit the final round.