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Religion is Harmful to Modern Society (Late 20th Century to Present)

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Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: Select Winner
Started: 4/26/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,961 times Debate No: 53434
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (105)
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First Round is for Acceptance Only
No word games.

Voting is impossible on this debate


I accept this challenge. I disagree with the premise that religion is harmful to modern society.
Debate Round No. 1


Religion is Harmful to Society
It promotes irrational thought. Things like Catastrophizing, Minimization, Grandiosity, Personalization, Magical thinking, Leaps in logic, “All or nothing” thinking, Paranoia and Delusional thinking are all promoted by religion.

These irrational thoughts can often lead to death

A 12 year old Polish girl hung herself believing she could see her dead father again

A 13 year old atheist was kicked out of her home by her Christian parents.

Two children died at the hands of their own parents because they decided to pray for them, rather than seek modern medical care.

An Arizona man killed his own son with an ax because he thought he was a demon.

The recent documentary, "The Cruelty of Creationism" shows how biblical fundalmentalism imprisons the mind.

The Iraq war was pushed by scripture in memos George Bush got from Rumsfeld

Religion holds back science, by denying evolution, holding back stem cell research and discourages vaccinations and the use of condoms to prevent aids.

The Bible condones, rape, slavery and scientific errors

The evidence is overwhelming that religion is harmful to society.


From my understanding, you are claiming religion is harmful to society because of:

1) It promotes irrational thought.

2) It doesn't teach the theory of evolution.

3) It prevents the use of condoms.

4) It prevents stem-cell research.

5) It holds back science.

First, before I answer these in order, let me make a statement. Are all religions the same? No. That's like saying all people are the same. Therefore, since some people murder, people are bad for society. The same goes with religion. Just because some religions, such as Islam, promote violence, does not mean all religions promote violence.

Now to answer these one by one, in addition to my above logical statement.

1) You have posted a link about irrational thought. You haven't provided a link that proves that religion causes this, you have only stated this. Moreover, you could say that the Nazi's promoted irrational thought too. The Nazis were Germans. Therefore, are Germans bad for society, and do all Germans promote irrational thought?

2) First of all, as it can be clearly understood, "Charles Darwin was the first to formulate a scientific argument for the theory of evolution by means of natural selection.". Should every theory be taught in school?


Moreover, does not teaching evolution really negatively effect society? If so, then explain why we had the industrial revolution, or all the other technological advances in the past when evolution did not exist? Also, as it has been noted in many studies, people have been becoming less smart so to speak, and we are in a day in age when evolution is a popular belief. Would that mean that evolution can be seen as bad to society?

3) Some religions prevent the use of sex altogether. For example Christianity promotes sex within marriage. If anything, religions such as Christianity are great for society because there will be less unplanned pregnancies such as teen pregnancies. Moreover, one can argue condoms are bad for society, because they break, yet promote a falsehood that sex is always safe.

4) So, where in these religious texts from various religions does it even mention stem-cell research? Also, is there absolutely no atheists who are against stem-cell research?

5) How does religion hold back science? What is science? "Science (from Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge"[1]) is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe". If anything, religion itself uses science.


Lastly, all of your arguments can be logically refuted. You claim religion causes these things to happen, does every religion ever promote this conduct, or does it vary? The same can be applied to almost anything. I'll list examples:

Guns are harmful for society because all they do is murder people.

Pencils are bad for society because people stab each other with them.

Electricity kills people because sometimes nuclear power plants explode.

Water is bad for society because sometimes water drowns people.

Basically, water is good, we drink it. Do people sometimes die from drowning? Of course. Religion is good, some teach to treat people as themselves and to try to humble themselves, do some religions do the opposite? Of course they do. It's because not all religions are the same.
Debate Round No. 2


First off, you left out the fact that I said religion causes harm with DEATH.

I never said all religions were the same, but the are all harmful to a varying degree.

The debate says religion is harmful...not how harmful

1. Believing something without evidence is irrational. Religion promotes faith, which is believing something without evidence.
So, religion promotes irrational thought. There's your link.

2. Should every theory be taught in school? Every SCIENTIFIC theory should be taught in school. Yes.

3. You seriously believe sexually active adults can control their urges to have sex? Talk about gullible.
Teens who try abstinence have a higher pregnancy rate. Condoms aren't the only form of birth control.

4. George W. Bush stopped stem cell research on religious grounds. No atheist would be against stem cell research on religious grounds and what other reason is there to be against it?

5. How does religion hold back science?
The denial of evolution. The denial of the Big Bang. The attempt to teach children that the Earth is 6000 years old. The jailing, torture and killing of past scientists for going against what the Bible teaches.

Just because "it varies" doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Anything can be used for bad or good. Religion is one of them. Just because charities are mostly religious based and some good comes from religion doesn't mean they are not a harm to society.



1) You are creating a Slippery Slope Fallacy "In logic and critical thinking, a slippery slope is a logical device, but is usually known under its fallacious form in which a person asserts that some event must inevitably follow from another without any rational argument or demonstrable mechanism for the inevitability of the event in question."

Also, before claiming it is irrational thinking, you should understand what irrational thinking is "Irrationality is cognition, thinking, talking or acting without inclusion of rationality. It is more specifically described as an action or opinion given through inadequate use of reason, emotional distress, or cognitive deficiency. The term is used, usually pejoratively, to describe thinking and actions that are, or appear to be, less useful, or more illogical than other more rational alternatives. [1][2]" Under that definition, it is rational thinking.

Almost every religion depends on a spiritual identity for the creation of existence. The rational part of that thinking is that "Something did not come form nothing". It is indeed rational thinking to think there is more to existence than meets the eye.

As I have shown, you have yet to prove it is irrational thinking. Believing in God is a rational thought when you go through the logical process of thinking that it is very unlikely that existence could be so perfectly well tuned without it being planned or designed. Therefore, it is rational thought, according to the definition of irrational thought.


2) What about Heliocentrism? It is a scientific theory, but it is false. Should it be taught in school as well? No. Therefore, you have not proven your point.


3) Thats an interesting point you make. However, our condom argument wasn't focused mainly on teenagers. I digress, I still disagree with you.

If you read the article, it talks about the teenagers basically not listening. The only reason the states with contraceptives had less pregnancies is because they heard about the condoms. They weren't practicing abstinence at all.

So does this mean it is impossible? Of course not. Lets use logic here.

One thousand years ago, would there of been a likely chance for teenagers to be practicing homosexuality? No way, the environment did not permit it. It was extremely frowned upon. The same goes for pregnancy and sex as teenagers.

The current environment and social situation we live in permits these things. It isn't seen as a "rare" scenario. If anything, because of contraceptives, people are more inclined to have sex as teenagers.

My main point is that it is all about the social environment they live in. For example, bikinis. Women used to cover up a ton when they went to the beach, no women would be seen in a bikini a hundred or so years ago. However, it is different now isn't it? That is because our social environment has accepted it.

That is my main point. Religion stopping condom use is not causing massive teen pregnancies, it is the social acceptance of teen sex that is causing it.

4) Because it is immoral. Regardless, you have not proven every atheist is for stem-cell research.

5) Did you ignore the definition of science? I just showed you how religion uses science. Because religions do not teach the theories you believe in, does not make them deny science. Do religions deny that H2O is water? No. That is science fact. Just because they don't believe your theories, does not mean they deny science.

On a side note, not every non-religious person believes in those theories either. There are people who believe in God, who are agnostic, who do not believe in the Big Bang theory, or Evolution.

You don't get it. Almost anything has a harmful component to society. Therefore, for something to be truly harmful to society, the benefits cannot outweigh the damage. Religion causes many good things in society, I have stated a few examples but to add: Humbleness, Kindness, Sharing, Loving, Helping, Empathy, not being vain, not being selfish, not being jealous, not swearing, Obedience to parents, etc, There are many positive messages taught in religion, and I just posted things of the top of my head from Christianity.

So let me give you some things that are harmful to society, and it is why prisons exist : Murders [which Christianity is against], Pedophiles [which Christianity is against], Stealing [which Christianity is against], Extortionists [which Christianity is against], etc.

To conclude, I have refuted every argument you have posted. The only argument, that I can understand someone disagreeing with me on, is the teen pregnancy argument. I appreciate you participating in this debate with me, and I hope your opinion has changed.

To everyone else, there is no voting, so just vote in the comment section to say who you think won this debate.

May GOD bless you all.
Debate Round No. 3
105 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Christian_Debater 2 years ago
Oh you commented here Sagey? I'll get back to you eventually. I thought we were going to end the fighting here, and just settle it in the debate.
Posted by Sagey 2 years ago
To be a Scientific Theory, it must have no evidence against it.

So the "Theory Of Evolution", has no evidence found against it, because it is still a Theory.

If anybody found any evidence to disprove Evolution, it would immediately cease to be a Theory.

Science has no Pet Theories:

To Shield any Theory from Criticism and counter evidence is Unscientific as science is all about disproving concepts, hypotheses and Theory by testing and discovering new evidence.

That's the fun of science, disproving others concepts.

Darwin had many scientists trying to prove him wrong, but none have ever succeeded.

That is why Darwin's Hypothesis is now a Theory.

Hope you understand this.

If you don't, you are a true DUNCE!
Posted by Sagey 2 years ago
Theory has a totally different meaning to what the word Theory has in general language.

In General Language: Theory is an idea or concept.

In Science a Theory is:
"A scientific theory summarizes a hypothesis or group of hypotheses that have been supported with repeated testing. If enough evidence accumulates to support a hypothesis, it moves to the next step"known as a theory"in the scientific method and becomes accepted as a valid explanation of a phenomenon."


If you have a scientific idea: It is only a concept or an Argument, depending on how you present it.
It is not yet a Theory, just as Creationism is only an Argument, and not a Theory.

If you present your Argument along with some supportive, scientifically derived evidence or Facts, it then gets upgraded to being a "Hypothesis".

If your Hypothesis (and associated Facts) are further tested and verified by Peers in the fields it covers, and they confirm that it is indeed convincingly verified as being Valid: Then it gets upgraded to Theory Status.

Evolution as been through all these stages of verification, much of Evolution was already known before Darwin was born. Darwin just joined the dots and arrived at the correct picture.
Creationists keep missing the dots and ended up with a Donkey.

Thus much of Evolution had been proven prior to Darwin, as animal breeders were already using and developing breeds on the basic principles of Evolution during Darwins formative years, Darwin makes many mentions of their practices in his "Origin Of Species".
He derives some of their principles and applied them to his own concepts to form his Hypothesis.
His Hypothesis was verified by many experiments and observational evidences to eventually upgrade Darwin's Hypothesis of Evolution to the "Theory Of Evolution"
If it was ever disproven, it could not be a Theory.
Theories only exist if they have no eviden
Posted by Sagey 2 years ago
Totally and Absolutely Wrong C-D.

Not one person in History has ever disproven Evolution and a Theory is the highest you can get in science.

Theories in Science are above Facts.
In fact: Evolution explains numerous facts.
So you don't even understand what a Scientific Theory is.

Posted by Christian_Debater 2 years ago
Not really Sagey. Many people have disproven Evolution. More over, it is a theory.

Just because it fits well with what you explain, does not make it factual.

We have a debate for this for a reason, just bring up your arguments in the debate and let people decide.
Posted by Sagey 2 years ago
Evolution explains hundreds of Biological Facts in a practical framework that can be verified through experimentation/observation.

Creationism explains nothing and if it did, it would only be in a Theological framework which is not verifiable through experimentation/observation.

Thus Creationism cannot ever be a competitor to Evolution, unless it can provide a better framework for explaining all the facts that Evolution has been confirmed as providing explanations that work.

Because Evolution works in every case, consistently, it is considered as a Fact.
Something Creationism has not the capability of achieving Ever.

If you could disprove Evolution wrong: Since Evolution is the most Solid, and Sound Theory in Science.

You would be heralded as the Greatest Scientist In The World.

Because you would have achieved something that thousands of scientists in history have attempted to do and succeeded where all before you have failed miserably!
Posted by Christian_Debater 2 years ago
"Charles Darwin was the first to formulate a scientific argument for the theory of evolution by means of natural selection." < -

You are claiming the theoy of Evolution as a fact?
Posted by nonprophet 2 years ago
Evolution is a fact. It's not up for debate.
Posted by Christian_Debater 2 years ago
I didn't cite apologetics. Re-read what you are commenting on please.

How about this, since I challenged Sagey to a debate. Chalenge me to a debate on Evolution again.
Posted by nonprophet 2 years ago
apologetics isn't a real source
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