The Instigator
daerice
Pro (for)
Winning
18 Points
The Contender
IncredulousVessel
Con (against)
Losing
3 Points

Religion is a cultural and aesthetic preference

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
daerice
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/6/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,109 times Debate No: 29858
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (3)

 

daerice

Pro

One's chosen religion is most often the result of social, cultural and familial influences. Many are born into their religion and never question it. Of course, there are some people who acquire religion later on in their lives after a degree of consideration, yet even they are making choices based on aesthetic preference. The icons, rituals and belief systems people chose to embrace are ones they find familiar, the ones they see themselves reflected in. Metaphysical beliefs are acquired through socialization processes and so with the exception of a few philosophical seekers, religious choice is not derived from careful thought but is a kind of "received opinion" that becomes internalized. In fact, "choice" is a misnomer for the acceptance of a culturally dominant religion in a given population group, as the majority of believers are uninformed and lack the agency to diverge from the paradigm that saturates their cultural topography.

I am aware that such a claim equalizes religion as a local/cultural phenomena, even if the concepts it frames have universal characteristics. My position is that the framing of metaphysical concepts will always bear the marks of the culture that produces them.

Contender agrees to the definitions:

Religion - re"li"gion /riˈlijən/ Noun
The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods. Details of belief as taught or discussed.

Socialization - so"cial"i"za"tion [soh-shuh-luh-zey-shuhn] Noun
A continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behavior, and social skills appropriate to his or her social position.

Aesthetic - aes"thet"ic or es"thet"ic (s-thtk) Adj.
Of or concerning the appreciation of beauty or good taste: the aesthetic faculties. Informal Conforming to accepted notions of good taste.
A guiding principle in matters of artistic beauty, and refined taste in visual, auditory, kinesthetic, cerebral, and culinary experiences.

Thank you for agreeing to debate. Use the first round for opening arguments, round two for rebuttal and explication, and round three for final defenses and concluding arguments No new arguments in the final round.
IncredulousVessel

Con

It seems so logical, so definitely undeniably true to support pro because if one were to look at the results it would seem quite blatant that the apparent truth is that religion is a cultural, social and familial product in its origin.

Unfortunately, the easy option isn't the correct one here.

Before religion existed, there existed societies, cultures and families. Religion came after it and was not at all a part of it, but rather a very strong coincidence.

There are atheist Arabs, Muslim Americans, Hindu Pakistanis and Buddhist British. They are existing because culture, society and familial influence are merely forms of pressure that are resistible if one begins to care.

This is the fundamental flaw in the pro case. Those who don't care about religion will form a false one that they merely know by name and identity as part of their cultural and/or social heritage. It is indeed then merely aesthetic that these women would wear a veil, men would wear a turban and parents would circumcise their innocent baby's penis. However, the dark truth of religion is only true when one fails to see that anyone who genuinely has a religion actually never got it by cultural means and most certainly as far deeper conviction to it than mere aesthetics.

Pro defines religion as "The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods. Details of belief as taught or discussed." This has nothing to do with culture nor socialization, it is to do with personal belief and faith (two things this incredulous vessel abhors and hence why hatred for religion digs far deeper than that of culture, which are independent of one another).


Iranians/Persians are often known to grease back their hair, let loose at night clubs and drink like there's no tomorrow. They are also under a fairly Shariah style law (based upon Islam). Clearly the culture and socialization and the 'aesthetic' religion are totally irrelevant and unconnected.

You have 'Christians' from the Ghetto who want to burn down the White House and 'Christians' in Florida and Texas wit their white collar jobs, and their silver spoon lifestyle wanting to exterminate all blacks in the Ghetto. Both the same religion, totally different culture and aesthetic representation of it.

Religions is in fact so unrelated to culture that there is simply so vast a topic to even bother going into.

As Con, it is more a duty to rebut pro's case than to present one's own and thus I rest my case for now. Not much more to say.

In conclusion, religion and culture often coincide as well as peer pressuring to believing in a certain religion often result sin one pretending to do so and mindlessly acting upon it out of the urge to fit in and not be rejected. Nonetheless, the only genuinely religious people would never be so out of cultural nor social reasoning.
Debate Round No. 1
daerice

Pro

I'd like to thank my opponent for accepting the challenge.
Con Writes:
:Before religion existed, there existed societies, cultures and families. Religion came after it and was not at all a part of it, but rather a very strong coincidence.

---The opposite is true actually. Religion is evident in all ancient hunter-gatherer societies. Cave paintings, archaeological findings, and existent indigenous people all believe in deities, they practice rituals, and share those traditions with their offspring. In fact, religion is a very large part of tribal culture in general. We can easily trace the development of humans from small bands of nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes, to small agrarian societies that domesticated animals and worked the land, which grew into feudalism and monarchy, after that we had industrialism and we are in the digital age. It is clear the belief in deities has been with us all along. (See "Our Kind" by Marvin Harris " a popular anthropological text)

:There are atheist Arabs, Muslim Americans, Hindu Pakistanis and Buddhist British. They are existing because culture, society and familial influence are merely forms of pressure that are resistible if one begins to care.

---Indeed, you speak of exceptional humans who questions beyond received opinion, the seekers, the thinkers and rebels of the world. They are to be commended for seeing through cultural cloaking devices, however, they are exactly that, exceptions. My premise is that religious choice is based on taste and culture " not that cultural indoctrination is inescapable. Hats off to those who emancipate their minds.

:This is the fundamental flaw in the pro case. Those who don't care about religion will form a false one that they merely know by name and identity as part of their cultural and/or social heritage.

---My statement applies to all religion, I do not pretend favorites, only the religious themselves make such distinctions. I am an equal opportunity critic of religion.

:The dark truth of religion is only true when one fails to see that anyone who genuinely has a religion actually never got it by cultural means and most certainly as far deeper conviction to it than mere aesthetics.

---Yes, fanatics, they are the darker side of religion. Theirs is a special brand of religion because it is mixed with a bit of insanity, however I don't think this negates the cultural influence on their choice of religion.
I think here you speak to a degree of belief and commitment.
Are the Mexican Catholics more fervent that my white, middle-class Catholic family? Yes.
Religious belief and its practice falls along and enormous spectrum. Some believers are fanatics willing to kill or die for their god, others are casual believers who only go to church on Christmas " but either way, if they profess a belief in god(s) they are still religious. My definition doesn't stipulate how religious a person is, just that they believe in deities.

:Pro defines religion as "The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods. Details of belief as taught or discussed." This has nothing to do with culture nor socialization, it is to do with personal belief and faith (two things this incredulous vessel abhors and hence why hatred for religion digs far deeper than that of culture, which are independent of one another).

---The definition that you kindly reposted above states explicitly that religion is not only the belief in deities, but the "Details of belief as taught or discussed." Teaching is the primary means of socialization, it is through teaching and discussing that socialization happens. In fact, here you have strengthened my argument by quoting my definition. Thank you.

:Iranians/Persians are often known to grease back their hair, let loose at night clubs and drink like there's no tomorrow. They are also under a fairly Shariah style law (based upon Islam). Clearly the culture and socialization and the 'aesthetic' religion are totally irrelevant and unconnected.

---The ability, or inability, of religious people to abide by their own dogma is not a comment on the source of their faith, though it may reflect something of their character.

:You have 'Christians' from the Ghetto who want to burn down the White House and 'Christians' in Florida and Texas wit their white collar jobs, and their silver spoon lifestyle wanting to exterminate all blacks in the Ghetto. Both the same religion, totally different culture and aesthetic representation of it.

---I think this is an excellent example of how culture influences the expression of the religion. The fact the Christianity looks different depending on where you are in the country illustrates the point well. They are consider themselves to be Christian, but their expression and practice of that ideas is colored by the culture from which it arises.

:Religions is in fact so unrelated to culture that there is simply so vast a topic to even bother going into.

---I would grant you this statement if by "culture" you mean "high culture" - if you are referring to people who are 'cultured' meaning educated, worldly or intellectual, then I can agree. Religious belief is vastly different from the mindset of free thinkers, intellectuals, or artists.
Aside from this perspective my original statement is intended to reference "culture" in the broadest sense, that is all the things within a society that make up its living expression. Culture is everything: TV, the symphony, museums, fashion, food, music, books, movies, slang, hair style, baseball, bowling, wine tasting and monster trucks. it is everything we do to express who we think we are, it is the manifestation of our collective identity.
Yes....Religions are numerous and I have no wish to delve into the details of any of them.....it's not relevant to the topic.

One of the most important aspects of cultural identity is religion, the two are bound up together. A minority of people reject the normative religious ideology of their culture, the majority of people accept it and take for granted it's ethnocentric biases. The exceptions to this general rule do not defeat the overall validity of my assertion.
IncredulousVessel

Con

IncredulousVessel forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
daerice

Pro

I see that Incredulous Vessel has forfeited a round, in that case, my arguments still stand.
IncredulousVessel

Con

IncredulousVessel forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by daerice 4 years ago
daerice
YYW - it seems that you were right.....I'm going to try and find another Contender. Perhaps your friend "PCP" would be interested after all.
Posted by daerice 4 years ago
daerice
Kinesis, thank you....I didn't know. Since I am new here I didn't create any limits, figured I'd take the first willing opponent. As I get to know people I my seek out opponents or actually challenge people, but I still becoming familiar and testing the waters.
I sure appreciate everyone's support and help.
:D
Posted by Kinesis 4 years ago
Kinesis
I don't know if Con will prove a good opponent, but it might sometimes be a good idea to make the debate impossible to accept (using the advanced options) and fish around for promising challengers in the forums or in the comments. If the topic is suitably interesting (I think this is) some high quality debaters (like popculturepooka mentioned below - he's a religious debater who would probably enjoy this topic) will probably take the bait. If you allow the first person to take an open debate you're playing the lottery with the internet. You might get a good opponent, you might get an awful opponent.
Posted by daerice 4 years ago
daerice
I do think it is a combination of both, taste and cultural context. You can attack one, or the other...but I think it is hard to tease them apart, since our taste are largely a product of our cultural influence and exposure.
Posted by thigner 4 years ago
thigner
hm before I begin my argument, I want to clarify one thing. so you said religion is a cultural 'and' aesthetic preference. it's not a cultural 'or' aesthetic. so I even I just claim that religion is not a cultural or just saying not aesthetic is possible rebuff on your claim. I mean I don't need to claim that A is not and B is not.

I just can say A is not but B is true or B is not true but A is true.
Posted by YYW 4 years ago
YYW
I think PCP would be a good opponent here. He's brilliant, and would make a worthwhile effort.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 4 years ago
bladerunner060
daericeIncredulousVesselTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: 1Defilsadvocate, I fail to see the VB. This was a forfeit; while, perhaps, had it been a 1 round forfeit you could argue that there may have been a VB, when 2/3 of the rounds were forfeited, it seems ridiculously unfair to accuse anyone who gives full FF points of a VB. I will note, that the FF was likely not Con's choice, as his account was closed.
Vote Placed by 1Devilsadvocate 4 years ago
1Devilsadvocate
daericeIncredulousVesselTied
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Total points awarded:43 
Reasons for voting decision: F.F. & Counter V.B.
Vote Placed by The_Master_Riddler 4 years ago
The_Master_Riddler
daericeIncredulousVesselTied
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Reasons for voting decision: ff