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Religion has a practical role to play in a post-modern society.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/17/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,441 times Debate No: 17888
Debate Rounds (4)
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The topic is as it is said. We each get 3 rounds each, with the first round whether you accept this challenge or not, and saying that you have(n't) accepted the challenge. A "practical role" meaning something constructive, such as charitable work, or teaching, or equivalent. Something "earthly".


Accept, good luck to my opponant.
Debate Round No. 1


The motion is simple: Does organised religion have a place in a postmodern society? I’d say yes: The history books. The psychology books. Probably still in philosophy books. But as a tangible entity in a post-modern society? No.

My argument is that a) the Church's earthly roles have been made redundant by social enterprises because of i) Social enterprises cost less on the economy/taxes and ii) are indiscriminate and iii) have a larger efficiency. If a is true, and the assumption of b, that in a capitalist society, the inefficient businesses are removed, then conclusion c, that social enterprises replacing religion is a positive move forwards, and its practical role has disappeared.

The first question to ask is what a postmodern society is. Some say it came as early as 1492, when Christopher Columbus petitioned Queen Isabel to find an eastern trade route to Japan, leading to the new world, took place. Others say it came at the end of The Quest for the New World (around the 1700s) or when countries started to claim independence (1750s onwards), others still say it was the Renaissance, or 1914, or 1945. But whether it was colonialist changes, military changes, or cultural changes that dictated when we made a change into a postmodern society, an extraordinarily large number of cultural historians agree with the statement that we live in a postmodern society; it is not a point of contention because it is so widely accepted.

Also, there is the definition of social enterprise. As according to, "Social enterprises are businesses trading for social and environmental purposes. Many commercial businesses would consider themselves to have social objectives, but social enterprises are distinctive because their social and/or environmental purpose is absolutely central to what they do - their profits are reinvested to sustain and further their mission for positive change.". I shall accept this definition, as it hold more weight than, say, the common usage definition of Merriam-Webster, and this definition is the legal & technical definition.

The first point of contention is that the use of money in the Church is inefficient. Let’s be honest here: The church is a business. Not a business in the profit driven sense, but a social enterprise. A social enterprise is a business that’s main aim is not monetarily driven; that is, it does not set out to make a profit, make “money”. It’s main aim is to have a social impact on the community, and to make the community better. Examples include 15, a restaurant set up by famous British chef Jamie Oliver. It provides jobs to teenagers that cannot get employed due to lack of skills and prison sentences, and lets them learn a trade.

Now, I would say that this is a worthwhile cause. This is a niche that is not filled by many communities, at least, definitely not the Church. It is worthwhile. But most importantly, it is profitable. It reinvests its profit back into the business to expand and help others, but it is self-sustaining. Now, let’s look at Organised Religion. More specifically, because it is the largest target, and most popular, and one that we are all familiar with, let’s talk about the inefficiency of the Church. I think the words said by AMI Church Consulting Services, on, says it best :

You can probably save 40-60% on your church building plans.

I can quote them saying this, word foor word :

Here is a realistic example. The church gets a quote on church architectural services for a 10,000sf building. The cost for your church building plans are quoted at $70,000. Using a pre-designed plan, modified to your needs and local building codes, and sealed by a licensed architect, the cost could easily be be less than $35,000.

This is a company saying that they can easily cut in half your costs, without any sacrifice. If they could do that on the deficit…

Now, is Organised religion discriminate against specific groups? I am not saying that religion is racist or anything like that (although I could make that point), the fact is, they do not help people of different religions:

Matthew 10:3 -- These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans, but go to the lost sheep of the Israelites." Meaning, in the context, do not focus on those outside your faith, but on those inside it who are lost. This is just one of the quotes from the Bible, and I feel I could find more if you wish, but this is one that always struck out to me because of its meaning that non-christians are "lost".

Quran --;;[Charity is] for the poor who have been restricted for the cause of Allah...
Also, Al-Qur'an 9:60 may be of use.

Finally, are social enterprises more efficient? This is not a difficult point to make. Even though religious institutes are exempt to more taxes, many of the institutions are failing, with costs of approximately 200k a year in churches :; in this report, you may find the lines:
Financially, we finished the fiscal year with expenses exceeding revenues by only 
$30,000. This was due to the diligent efforts of our parish staff maintaining our
expense, but more importantly, we were able to achieve these results with the 
generosity and stewardship of our parishioners...
If we look at this, we can see that this church sees losing 30k a year is a great success. Amazing success, I'd say.
Anyway, I feel this proves my point of inefficiency with organised religion. It also discriminates against certain audiences, making its effectiveness less, and therefore its use is no longer required. Thank you.



I am more than slightly confused why it was necessary to use the phrase postmodern society if you are just going to give multiple definitions of it and basically apply them all to society now. Why wouldn’t you just say “Does organized religion have a place in a society today?” It’s essentially the same thing based on your definition. That being said, your arguments were weak… Just because a religion is inefficient with its money doesn’t mean that it is no longer necessary. I am an atheist, and as such I realize that I will never fully understand why religion effects people like it does and what those effects fully do for them for that matter. I can understand however, that without religion some of our greatest pieces of art and literature and poetry would never exist. Religion inspires people to do great things, at the same time it could be said that religion inspires people to do horrible things. But that is not the point here, you are asking if religion is necessary in society today… I respond with this…

First I will go back to one of your main points of money, religion doesn’t need to profit, and religion gives the community something much better than profit. It gives them hope and faith, just because you and I do not understand it doesn’t mean we cannot see its effects. Go stand outside a church one day right before service ends and look at the people whom walk out… you could almost see the hope and faith radiating off of them. Besides, religion is not something we can just make disappear overnight… how exactly would you plan on doing this with so many believers still in this world? You can’t just tear down their churches to make room for social enterprises. I doubt that would go well, you would have them all claiming Armageddon and it would create a civil war. When this point is brought up the fact of “is it necessary” becomes honestly irrelevant. Not to mention who exactly will lead this witch hunt? It cannot be the government because of our first amendment rights. Religion is something that just needs to be spoken about and needs to be something we educate our children about properly so that eventually society can be truly secular. Eradication of religion is not the goal, religion is something we all still want in society simply because no one else but a believer could have ever done the Sistine Chapel, Last Supper, and COUNTLESS other pieces of art that would have never existed.[1] What if the next great religious artist is among us today? Do we want to rob him of his faith so that he may never create a beautiful painting, or write a beautiful poem, or write an amazing book or write another stunning symphony? I sure as heck don’t.

Beethoven may or may not have been a Christian this is still up for debate amongst scholars, but if he was a Christian would you have wanted to rob the world of his 9th? Or 5th? Or 4th? Or ANY of his symphony’s? I wouldn’t…[2]


The fact of religion discriminating is ridiculous, you provided no sources for these claims and even if you had I still would like to point this out. For every religion that discriminates against (Just an example don’t take this literally please) at white person for example, there is a religion that will not discriminate against that white person. Because there are so many different sects and religions that point is invalid. Name one race/class/person that is discriminated against in ALL religions equally. And the point that they do not help people of different religions is invalid as well, why exactly does someone from (example again don’t take it personally) the church of Jesus Christ want help from a Muslim anyways? He’s got his own church to turn to for help. If you’re talking about he crashed his car and who’s going to get out and help him and make sure he’s ok well that answer is simple. Human beings will help him… anyone with a heart and a brain will pull over to make sure that man is ok.


I have made my point pretty clear, religion is necessary today because of the points and opinions I have stated above, I wish my opponent luck in the debate and in the next round and would like to apologize for the delayed response this round.




Debate Round No. 2


Alright. I shall thank my opponent for accepting the debatee, and swear at for giving e eighty-something e-mails in a period of two days. I am annoyed now... -_-. Also, i apologise for the formatting, but I was copying and pasting from notes I have from other word documents, and it seemed to not have translated well... (please note the copy-and-pasting was from original works, none of which available on the internet except a couple odd sentences and those where citations are given). Also, the first thousand characters were simply to stop arguments under the category of "we're not in a postmodern society". There are different timeframes of it occurring, but they are all stating we currently live in one.

With point a, any of the following 3 reasons are enough to justify my primary point, but I shall reaffirm some points made by my opposition that were criticising my argument, before addressing his new argument, which seems to solely be based on "faith". This claim also makes the assumption that faith is linked directly and exclusively to religion.

But the first point you made was about art and culture. You state it is the major contributor to how we got to this society today, and you're right. To say that we could only have advanced with religion, i would disagree. But this is not relevant. Religion is no longer required to culturally advance in post-modern society. " poll of 500 arts figures ranked French surrealist Marcel Duchamp's 1917 piece "Fountain" - an ordinary white, porcelain urinal - more influential than Pablo Picasso's "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon," Andy Warhol's screen prints of Marilyn Monroe and "Guernica," Picasso's searing depiction of the devastation of war. This does not even have a meaning! It was used as an attack on dada types of art, specifically because of its "readymadeness". Even when we look at the others, Demoisellas was based around atheism in some interpretations (Anatomy of a Masterpiece) or sexual disease ('Avignon#Rubin.2C_Seckel.2C_Cousins, Someone wrote some information up about it). Guernica was influenced by the horrors of the Spanish Revolution in the 20th century, and other works are similarly unlinked to religion. Yes, in the past, religion probably held sway over a lot of matters, but the positive or negative influence of religion in this topic is not currently the discussion.

The practical roles of a post-modern society is dominated by economic issues. I have gave a solid argument proving my point, and the framework remains unchallenged. I shall take this as there not being a flaw in the line of reasoning, but the basis of which it starts on, that is, that a postmodern society is dominated by a need to make money. Modern society is extremely decentralised, where corporations run almost everything, from selling top hats to getting a bootshine. The fact remains that religion has to adapt to the current world, and that a government still heeds to its unnecessary demands is unfair.

You say that "you... see the hope and faith radiating off of them." I used to go to church, and it is the same glow people get, in my opinion, after I finish my day of airsoft, except we get a physical kick out of it (and I pay less!). And relative opinion on the matter is not something that I'll take into much consideration, when the euphoria can be got from many activities, and even non-religions such as buddhism (bearing in mind a religion includes a deity of some description).

Is it necessary to remove religion? No. Not all at once, anyway. Go the french égalitarianistic route, and bring in modern values to communities. Also, please do not bring up american-specific values/laws, unless it is to show a larger picture, bearing in mind I am english, and I could start stating the habeas corpus act constantly, and it'd be unfair. :P

Could the non-believer every done the countless art you listed? No. Could the countless non-occurring scientific achievements occurred, or occurred quicker? Not with religion, No. Could better governments form (see divine right of kings), or occurred quicker? Ignoring Rev. France, no. Does art occur without religion at the same pace though? Yes. Does scientific growth, however? No.

If you are an atheist, I find it strange that you have not noticed that atheism is the single group that is hated by all religions. showing a citation, with citations inside it. But this is irrelevant. It's not that all religions hate different groups, its that they all hate. With liberal, tolerant views that stem from irreligious belief, we stop hating different groups, not start. You state that "Anyone with a heart and brain will pull over and make sure he is ok". This backs up the lack of need for religion to dictate morals. I'd like to bring up the Good Samaritan Experiment . The study concluded that speaking in a seminary about religion caused no difference, while a small change was found when the talk was loosely related to helping rather than a specific task. I'll point to the quotation "There was no correlation between "religious types" and helping behavior".

Finally, I shall conclude with two remarks; firstly, can you summarise making your premises obvious? Me, being a little slow, had to reread your writing a couple of times before I could note the premises, and I don't want to miss any out. Secondly, the socio-economic benefit of religion is a negative, my first premise, the moral benefits are non-existent, by second premise, and the cultural aspect is no longer relevant, my first rebuttal, and the faith aspect is simply a euphoria from an activity based from psychological feeling, my second rebuttal. Thank you for responding, and I await the 2nd rebuttal stage.


Steve0Yea forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Stephen_Hawkins forfeited this round.


Steve0Yea forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 5 years ago
I never said it was; people take many different stances on it. Some even state that the only difference between post-modern and modern society was the change of media. The zeitgeist effect of 1492, in my opinion, until the independencies started to be claimed, was modern, rather than postmodern. The point is, however, we are living inside of one. No claim to the contrary holds sensibility.
Posted by Lordknukle 5 years ago
Since when is 1492 post-modern society?
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 5 years ago
May I quickly change the debate topic with these amendments:

Organised Religion from Religion

Practical to physical positive (or positive)
Posted by Steve0Yea 5 years ago
what the crap, i didnt even read that before i posted... fail... i should pay attention before i paste.
Posted by Steve0Yea 5 years ago
"Contemporary, or postmodern, society is characterized by a newfound ability to control the world of nature and worlds of illusion. It immerses people in a virtual environment of images and simulations, and encourages the acting out of desires, including desires that once seemed off-limits to action and experience. Ultimately, it seeks to turn reality into a simulation and make simulations seem real, so humanity will have the ability to control and create its surroundings at will.."

this debate will be VERY interesting... thats the only reason i took it.
Posted by Cobo 5 years ago
Hmmm. Post-modern?
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