The Instigator
Stephen_Hawkins
Con (against)
Winning
4 Points
The Contender
av14
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

Religion is a force for Good in the world.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Stephen_Hawkins
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/9/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 798 times Debate No: 25518
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (0)
Votes (1)

 

Stephen_Hawkins

Con

Seeing as my opponent made one two three four forum posts on the same name, I think it's obvious my opponent wants to discuss this issue. Simply put, I am stating religion is not a force for good in the world. My opponent has to provide reason for why religion is a force for good in the world. The burden of proof is shared.

My opponent must post their argument first, though. This is to stay in line with common convention of PRO being allowed to start their argument first.
av14

Pro

Religion motivates people to give to charity.

do have any ideas other than the classic argument of no proof, it does not exist, or war argument. If so, it would really help!
Debate Round No. 1
Stephen_Hawkins

Con

What I'm going to do is go through and construct a case of whether religion is a force for good in the world or not. I plan on stating what makes religion a threat in a general sense, the aspects of religion which make it the tool for division and fighting that it is, and finally then the areas which religion poses a threat to us. I'm going to avoid the frankly trivial and silly arguments that come up many times in this type of debate, such as "you killed more people" and "you started more wars". I plan on trying to explain why one side causes more violence, what acts as the enabler, and how the problems themselves stem from religion.

What is religion?

Religion is total Weltenschauung. This loosely translates as a "total ideology", but it goes much further. It's an idea of how one ought to act, how one ought to vote for or what view to promote politically, and how to be spiritually, and what philosophical truths there are, and what is moral, and so much more. This is the ideology side behind it. But the other equally important part to a Welterschauung is that it is thought of to be unequivocally true, and thus all other ideas are wrong. Religion follows a similar tact: ethically and spiritually and philosophically, there is no contention that each religion itself holds a creed to be true, much like law. Similarly, many hold political truths, especially the Abrahamic religions and moreso in America, and Europe in the times of colonisation. Religion is a Welterschauung, and theseWelterschauungs are the main reason for the problem of religion.

C1 - Religion divides people, segregates people, and dehumanizes people

Religion is a massive dividing tool. It has been for millennia. Religion itself is a way of characterising yourself, and is a major defining factor for the religious. Many Christians, for example, do not just define themselves as Christians, but as Baptists, or Evangelicals, or Prebysterians, or Anglicans, or Protestants or Catholics or anything else in the unending torrent of ubiquitous religious denominations, including the "non-religious Christian" fad that has emerged. These all divide people. This is obvious on the face of it. Moreover, it's verified through all studies: in countries all over the world, the most trusted group are those which conform to the religion of the country, while that religious group trust the least those who don't conform to it[1]. Thus, it is fair to conclude religion divides people into arbitrary categories, independent of actual virtue.

Further, religion is one of the most effective tools and causes for segregation. India's segregation with Pakistan was done due to religion; the Israel/Palestine dispute, especially regarding the neighbouring countries, is due to segregation; the dhimmi in Iran and similar Sharia nations involves the segregation of the non-muslim populace; and events such as this[2] being commonplace. Segregation itself is a serious blight on society, and religion not just accomodates it, but actively promotes it. The idea of dhimmi is itself directly spawning from religion.

Finally, religion itself causes massive dehumanisation. Not only is religion causing people to be reduced to less than people, it causes these ideas to be deeply ingrained in society to such an extent it took generations and still takes generations to uproot. George Elliot, a great writer, could not get her work published in the 19th century because she was a woman, and women's publishing was banned and discriminated against if not in the narrowest fields of romanticism[3]. She had to resort to the male pen name of George Eliot to be published. William Blake explicitly wrote against slavery and the sexual enslavement and servitude of women in his lifetime[4], and had massive criticism and boycotting by the strongly religious community. Religion as a Welterschauung trapped and imprisoned the lives of many millions.

All of these ideas come from the same idea: the high position of the religious community in society meant that they could discriminate against those who did not believe in their religion. Thus, religion directly caused these types of extreme discrimination.

C2 - Religion is used as a casus belli for war

Religion in the past has been used for a casus belli for war, colonialisation, imperialism and similar traditions. I'll go over them quickly. Firstly, a casus belli means "rupture for [the case of] war". Meaning, a justification, in short.

Religion clearly has been used as justification for total war. The Crusades and Jihads are examples of this. The Fourth Crusade was a war against other Christians due to the heresy and need for funding for the armies of Venice[5], the jihad was a justification for wars reclaiming Jerusalem and fighting masses of death and destruction, and excommunication used repeatedly as justification for waging war on a Catholic Leader. Religious zeal instigated both the Crusades and Jihad.

This is again due to the combination of religion acting as a standard for which everyone must follow, otherwise they are not a true Christian (or muslim or similar). If you do not follow the faith, one says, you are an immoral tyrant who must be stopped. Of course, a ludicrous argument outside the community, but a very convincing one for those within it.

Religion has also clearly been used as a justification for colonialism. Hernan Cortéz, the first conquistador, is well known for being motivated both by religious zeal and greed in equal measure. By claiming the gold of the Aztecs and forcing them to convert, he was saving their souls. Religion justifies colonialism and brutal actions through the idea that by joining the community, you will have eternal peace, eternal happiness and eternal life. And it of course segregates again by saying those who do not join will be eternally punished. There are exceptions to this, but almost all religions agree. Hinduism's reincarnation is better for those of faith. Buddhists only can recieve enlightenment. The list goes on.

C3 - Religion as a tool for indoctrination

As St. Ignatius famously said: "Give me child at the age of seven, and I shall show you the man". Religion itself is used as a tool to indoctrinate and force people into conformation of a Welterschauung. There is not much to say here, other than it is clear that regarding information, the stronger the religious faith, the more constraining any orthodoxy is. The questioning that occurs of faith also becomes impossible: unorthodoxies are seen as heretical, evidence by the masses of excommunications in the Church, the Albigensian Crusade and King's Crusade against other Christians as well for being of a different denomination. The Abassid Golden Age, or Muslim Golden Age, ended in the 11th century due to the closing of the ijtihad. The Ijtihad ended due to religion orthodoxy.

Why is this due to religion? Quite simply, religion itself is certain in its own accuracy. Questioning religion is itself seen heretical, and led to many excommunications in many religions. When the orthodoxy is held to be certain, any change is seen as negative, and thus any challenges to the orthodoxy is met with harsh destruction. The lack of change led to both the end of the Golden Age of Islam where religion triumphed. In Europe, where religion's influence fell, the long enlightenment, or British Golden Age, religion's role as guide for all simply collapsed. However, now we can see religion growing again, except it is used purely as a criticism against other people: "you are not a true Christian" has became a common insult.

I'll continue argument next round. Thanks for reading.


1 - http://digitaljournal.com...;
2 - http://upload.wikimedia.org...;
3 - http://www.bbc.co.uk...;
4 - http://en.wikipedia.org...;
5 - http://en.wikipedia.org...;
6 - http://www.islam-laws.com...;
7 - http://www.history-science-technology.com...;
av14

Pro

av14 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Stephen_Hawkins

Con

Opponent's account has been closed, great. Vote CON.
av14

Pro

av14 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Stephen_Hawkins

Con

Vote CON.
av14

Pro

av14 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Chelicerae 4 years ago
Chelicerae
Stephen_Hawkinsav14Tied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: FF