The Instigator
Kodiax
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
CaptainAhab
Con (against)
Winning
9 Points

Religion has no place in a Modern Society

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
CaptainAhab
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/23/2015 Category: Religion
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 397 times Debate No: 78959
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (3)

 

Kodiax

Pro

I would consider myself a respecting anti-theist, which means I believe religion should not exist, HOWEVER I fully respect the right of others to worship at their leisure. I believe religion has its merits, however, the negatives seem far more numerous. In this debate, I will be trying to argue that religion does not -overall- positively effect a developed society and only hinders its progression forward.

Religion can cause friction among members of society that, otherwise, would be just fine alongside one another. There is an old adage that 'the two things you must never discuss with an acquaintance are religion and politics'. I believe communication is very important among any relationship, be it personal, educational, or work related. A topic that creates friction -often becoming derogatory or violent- that is both so taboo to discuss and so widely spoken of and displayed seems very opposed to a smoothly functioning society.

Religion can also cause far more serious problems, such as the Crusades(1) and Jihads(2) of times long past. While in developed societies these are infrequent and rare, it is evidently seen today in the spread of ISIS in the Middle East, and in the burning and pillaging of churches in Africa. Religion is a faith, an idea, that is based in belief. Beliefs that can turn violent, even genocidal, have no reason to exist in a society that is focused on the progression of equality.

I will concede that religion does have its finer points. Religion can bring an individual peace and self-happiness, which is a pivotal part of life. It can also bring communities together, centering themselves around their shared faith. But of course, that also means these same communities will clash with others of a differing religion, or lack thereof. The same faith that binds together is the same that clashes against others, and especially for larger societies, this seems horrific.

Society at large should be focused on progression, be it matters of social issues or science, of developing economies and eliminating poverty. Religion seems to be just a thorn in the side of that society, hindering it from taking the strides it must to ensure a safer, healthier, more educated society for everyone to enjoy.

(1) http://www.history.com...
(2)https://en.wikipedia.org...
CaptainAhab

Con

I would like to thank Pro for posing this question for debate and I look forward to challenging his position and articulating a defense for religion to exist in modern society.

Religion is often maligned by people in today’s society because of the perceived ills that it causes. For the purposes of my argument I will highlight how certain other aspects of human society can cause the same ills as religion. That Religion has acted in humanity’s best interests in the past. And that its continued existence is not necessarily harmful.

Argument

C1) Religion isn’t the only destructive force for humanity.

Case in point: war. Now, I am sure that Pro will argue that “religion causes war.” While this is undeniably true[1], other things necessary to the advancement of humanity cause war as well. In fact the majority of wars are caused by non-religious factors. In their book Encyclopedia of Wars, Charles Phillips and Alan Axelrod studied the causes of 1763 conflicts. Of those only 123 have included a religious context. This number accounts for only 7% of wars and even more shockingly, only 2% of all deaths.[2] In the same vein, the Economist has prepared a graphic based on a study by the Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research that identifies 8 main causes of wars occurring in 2008. They are broken down into low intensity peaceful disputes over borders, medium intensity sporadic clashes, and high intensity sustained violence.[3]

The Second World War was the single most destructive conflict in human history.[4] This war was not fought over whose god was right, but over conflicting ideologies, political philosophies, and nationalism. Italian Fascism and its bastard cousin German Fascism were reactionary ideologies to combat the rise of communism. The racial ideologies of Germany viewed their race as superior to all others. Politically, the incredibly tin eared and punitive Treaty of Versailles virtually ensured that a second world war would be necessary.

The war also ushered in the atomic age, a perversion of science that brought us one step closer to the destruction of all humanity. It also saw the senseless slaughter of 200,000 people in the first use of these weapons.[5] Atomic testing has polluted swaths of the Nevada desert and many islands in the Pacific.[6]

The point here should be obvious, that just because something has some setbacks, doesn’t mean that it is objectively bad, or should not exist. Politics are necessary for the functioning of modern governments. All humans have different beliefs on everything from religion and the economy, to how our government should deal with other nations and prosecute wars. Just as religion can cause strife amongst peoples, politics can as well. One needs look no further than our current gridlock in our partisan political atmosphere. Nothing gets done because 92% of Republicans are to the right of the median Democrat and 94% of Democrats are to the left of the median Republican.[7]

This being said, man will always find something to fight over. Humans have fought over resources for our entire existence. They fight for control and dominance of their political or economic philosophy. The closest mankind has ever come to completely destroying itself was not because the Pope and the Grand Mufti had a disagreement over the exact wording of a quote by Jesus. It was because two governments had beef with placement of nuclear missiles. Tensions were high in 1962 because of the so called “Cuban Missile Crisis.” In response to the deployment of US PGM-19 Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles to Turkey, well within range of Moscow, Russia decided to place their own IRBMs in Cuba within striking distance of Washington.[8] Unaccustomed to someone posing such an existential threat, the US decided to place a blockade on Cuba.

This close call was not due to religion, but political and philosophical ideologies. The clash of communism and capitalism. Of democracy and the collective. The danger here was not posed by crosses and crescent moons, but nuclear warheads and a naval blockade. It begs the question, “Does Science have a place in modern society, despite giving us the means to kill ourselves and bring about our ultimate destruction as a species?” I am sure you know the answer to that, of course it does. Science gives us the means for our destruction, religion can give us a motive. But religion isn’t the only thing that gives us a motive to destroy ourselves as the story of the Cuban Missile Crisis illustrates. Our own human nature is more than capable of providing us with motives for our destruction.

C2) Religion has acted in our best interest in the past

Since our ancestors first settled down and started farming we had the seeds for what we call society today. To build society you need people to clump together. Towns become villages, villages become cities, and cities become nations. Each of these is an increasing degree of coordination that allows people to focus on things other than basic survival needs. This has allowed humanity to advance to where we are now, by allowing us to sit down and reason through problems, to allow us to attempt to contemplate the universe. Religion has provided peace and stability in dark times. After the fall of the Roman Empire, it was the Church that stepped in to provide a unifying identity throughout the dark ages.

Besides giving people a common identity, religion (in its pure form) provides a guiding principle that preaches peace and charity (see for reference the Sermon on the Mount[9]). It teaches people how to behave and provides them with common social norms and mores. More than that it provides its adherents peace and happiness, purpose and direction. These are subjective things to each individual, but they increase the happiness of the population as a whole.

Religious people have throughout history provided for the less fortunate by giving them food, shelter, and medical care. In fact the Roman Catholic Church, as one example, is the largest non-government provider of health care services in the world. It has around 18,000 clinics, 16,000 homes for the elderly and those with special needs, and 5,500 hospitals.[10] Sixty five percent of them are located in developing countries. According to the Catholic Church it manages 26% of the world’s healthcare facilities. This isn’t a modern trend, as care for the sick is prominently featured in the Bible. Many of the miracles of Jesus are focused around healing. Many of the Church Fathers were physicians. St. Luke the Evangelist was a doctor himself. While medicine wasn’t new when Christianity appeared on the scene, Christianity places caring for the sick as a religious duty.

C3) Religion’s continued existence is not necessarily harmful for today’s society.

In a functioning society, one that has evolved beyond our more brutish past, religion poses no threat to the advancement of humanity as it is just another philosophy. If a society truly believes in the freedom of the individual then it cannot, and must not, interfere with the rights of people to voluntarily associate.

Beyond that, religious people continue to donate money to charities more frequently than their non-religious counterparts.[11] The religious among us continually speak up for the rights of the poor[12] and speak out against the atrocities of war[13]. They even change their focus on long held positions to make the church more sympathetic to all people.[14]

I look forward to the rebuttal from my opponent and thank him for his remarks that he has already posted.

Sources

Apologies for the shortened links, I was beyond the character limit.

[1] https://goo.gl...

[2] http://goo.gl...

[3] http://goo.gl...

[4] https://goo.gl...

[5] http://goo.gl...

[6] https://goo.gl...

[7] http://goo.gl...

[8] http://goo.gl...

[9] https://goo.gl...

[10] https://goo.gl...

[11] https://goo.gl...

[12] http://goo.gl...

[13] http://goo.gl...

[14] http://goo.gl...

Debate Round No. 1
Kodiax

Pro

Kodiax forfeited this round.
CaptainAhab

Con

Pro forfeit his chance to refute my arguments. I will let them stand as they more than adequately address his points in his original argument.
Debate Round No. 2
Kodiax

Pro

Kodiax forfeited this round.
CaptainAhab

Con

Pro forfeit twice. Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by CaptainAhab 1 year ago
CaptainAhab
I am not sure if my opponent missed the window or if he forfeit on purpose. For this reason if he would like to respond with a rebuttal in the comments I will allow that. I will give him until tomorrow evening around this time to do so.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Midnight1131 1 year ago
Midnight1131
KodiaxCaptainAhabTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by LostintheEcho1498 1 year ago
LostintheEcho1498
KodiaxCaptainAhabTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit by Pro
Vote Placed by Tough 1 year ago
Tough
KodiaxCaptainAhabTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Full Forfeit.