The Instigator
Mathaelthedestroyer
Con (against)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
ebg
Pro (for)
Winning
6 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 3 votes the winner is...
ebg
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/23/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,760 times Debate No: 25258
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (3)

 

Mathaelthedestroyer

Con

I would posit that religion is, demonstrably, not a force for good in the world. Religious people may of course do good things on an individual level, but that is to say nothing of the institutions to which they belong. Religion has caused an untold amount of suffering, death, misery, and had an overbearingly negative impact on society since its origins (or at least until the Catholic church came into existence). This debate is not necessarily intended to prove or disprove the existence of god, although I would be happy to accept that challenge if anyone wishes to present it. If anyone thinks they can prove that religion (not religious individuals), by its own rights, has had a more positive impact than a negative one, I will concede that you have won this debate.
ebg

Pro

Here's a joke:

A preacher asked this lady "Why she didn't go to church?"

And, the lady replied "I don't go to church because of all of the hypocrites."

And, the preacher replied "Oh, that's O.K., come anyway...One more won't matter."

There are always some truth in jokes...hypocrisy in the name of religion does exist.

Now, my religious faith is based upon Judeo-Christian doctrine. My arguments are bounded by two important teachings in my religion.

One: Jesus Christ is divinity, and is the manifest of God in flesh. I can't say "I'm a Christian, but I don't believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ."

Two: Judeo-Christian doctrine is the only single true religion. Immediately, society perceives Christians to be ignorant. That's a social prospective upon Christians that can't be escaped. Doesn't mean that the NEW TESTIMENT justifies acts of violence's against people that do not have "faith" in Jesus Christ; but, having a right to an opinion about Jesus Christ, and that opinion being right about Jesus Christ, are two different things accordingly in Judeo-Christian teachings.

Now, as for my first premise: the following groups are not associated with the true religion of Judeo-Christian doctrine: Buddhist, Confucianism, Hindus, Islam, Jainism, Shinto, Sikhs, Taoists, Zoroastrians, Ancient Aegean Religion, Ancient Assyria Religion, Aztec Religion, Ancient Babylonia Religion, Ancient Egypt Religion, Ancient Greek Religion, Inca Religion, Native American Religion, Mythology, Phoenicia Religion, Roman Empire Religion, Animal Worship, Animism, Devil worship, Fire Worship, Nature Worship, Sun Worship, Taboo, Voodoo, Ancestor Worship, Baha's, State Worship, Druse, Gnostic, Heresy, Sacred Music, Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons, Seven day Adventists, Masons, Nazism, and any other group that does not recognize Jesus Christ as Divinity and that Judeo-Christian doctrine is the only single true religion.

My second premise: Religion is defined by Judeo-Christian faith only, any wrong doing by any other group not associated with the Judeo-Christian faith cannot be attributed as religious wrong doing.

My third premise: Judeo-Christian religion is of three elements: Sanctuary of the Church, Administration Offices of the Church, Congregation of the Church. All three elements can be corrupted at any time. Any corrupt element of the Church at any time is disassociated from Judeo-Christian religion.

My forth premise: The sum of good upon mankind by the three associated elements of the Judeo-Christian religion outweighs the inequities upon the world. Or, to say metaphorically: Judeo-Christian religion is like three diamonds buried underneath a mountain of the world's garbage; find those diamonds, then mankind has something worth more than all the world's garbage those three diamonds were buried under.
Debate Round No. 1
Mathaelthedestroyer

Con

Thank you for accepting this debate. It is my first time using this site, so I hope it will be an interesting and informative experience for both of us.

Now, onto your premises,

First premise: When I said religion, I was primarily referring to the "Big Three": Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. However, since I did not specify this in my initial argument, I will accept your restriction and only argue against Christian religion. This leaves open the Catholic church, the Church of Latter-Day Saints, and any other sects of Protestantism.

Second premise: This goes hand-in-hand with your first premise, and I will also accept this on one condition: please do not use this to create escapist arguments. In other words, pointing out an atrocity that the Catholic church is responsible for should not warrant a response from you that goes anything like, "Well, Catholics aren't really Christian, so this doesn't count." Otherwise, it's fine.

Third premise: I simply cannot accept this. Such a condition would make your argument unfalsifiable. It would allow you to say that any criticism I bring up is just an example of corruption in a particular area and does not count.

Forth premise: I assume this will be the foundation that your next argument is built on, so I will await a more detailed and specific argument in this area in the next round.

Now, given that your first argument consisted only of premises, I am assuming that you were just "setting up" for a more detailed argument in the second round. Again, I am new to this site so I'm not really sure if there's an understood or "accepted" format, but that is conclusion that I have drawn. That being said, and since I initiated this debate by prompting someone to prove to me that religion has caused more good than bad, I would normally end my argument here. But considering this is already starting into the second round, I will go ahead and start an initial argument to support my original assertion.

Religion is, without doubt, responsible for more death, suffering, misery, and torture than almost any other institution in the history of the world. Examples here are endless, and I'm sure most readers could fill in these gaps for themselves; but I don't want to be accused of lacking substance in my argument, so here are a few examples (staying within the realm of Christianity):
The Crusades
The Inquisition
The forced conversion of indigenous peoples around the world
The persecution of the Jews and the accusation that they are responsible for "deicide."
The oppression and mistreatment of women (half the human race)
Slavery in the United States and largely in Britain
The burning (and other forms of torture) of "witches," "heretics," "dissenters," and anyone else the church saw fit
The psychological torture of children through the threat of eternal punishment in hell
The systematic rape and torture of young children by the Catholic church
The Pope forbidding the use of condoms in Africa and other less-developed countries
Manifest Destiny

These are a few examples. In order for me to concede that you have won, you will need to show that religion has someone outweighed all of these acts of evil with acts of good. Considering the untold millions of people that these events have had an effect on, I think you may have a hard time doing that. But I await your response and, again, thank you for accepting this challenge.
ebg

Pro

Though in a debate the instigator may dictate initial conditions upon a topic, once the debate begins, the instigator certainly cannot rule what are admissible arguments and what are inadmissible arguments by the contender. I'm not debating for the purpose of making a contract with my opponent, nor I'm I looking for support from my opponent. My only contention is to persuade the voters that my arguments are better upon this topic than his.

My opponent has said that my third premise is not acceptable because it leads to an infallible argument. Recalling my third premise, it states; "Judeo-Christian religion is of three elements: Sanctuary of the Church, Administration Offices of the Church, Congregation of the Church. All three elements can be corrupted at any time. Any corrupt element of the Church at any time is disassociated from Judeo-Christian religion."

However, my third premise, answers the crucial question that religious piety is not a continuous function. For example: I may donate $20.00 to the homeless in the morning because I'm influenced by a pastoral sermon; but, that same night, I may get into a fight because of the influence of alcohol. I was pious in the morning, but failed to be pious at night. Judeo-Christians have numerous failing moments as much as they have numerous pious moments.

This leads to my fifth premise: Religious piety is based only on those efforts of devotion to Judeo-Christian doctrine.

For example, from my opponent's list of attributed religious wrong doings; it can be found that it is not the result of Judeo-Christian piety:

1.) The Crusades = Not totally inspired by holy enthusiasm, some hoped to win military glory, others new lands, still others hoped to open new trade routes and control economic markets.

2.) The Inquisition = Crimes against the Roman Catholic Holy Office of State. Judeo-Christian doctrine is not associated with State Worship (listed in my first premise), especially when corrupted (my third premise).

3.) The forced conversion of indigenous peoples around the world = Inspired by greed, as in the case of Conquistador Pizarro's conquest of the Inca Empire because of his lust for gold.

4.) The persecution of the Jews and the accusation that they are responsible for "deicide." = the result of Nazism, and practice of bigotry. Bigotry is not part of Judeo-Christian doctrine, and besides Judeo-Christianity teachings are that Jesus Christ died for everyone's sins, so everyone is guilty for Jesus Christ suffering. At the time of Jesus Christ's crucifixion, the Jewish State Offices were corrupt partly because of Roman occupation.

5.) The oppression and mistreatment of women (half the human race) = In what sense, if Judeo-Christian scripture emphases the participation of women as witnessing to Jesus Christ's crucifixion and resurrection?

6.) Slavery in the United States and largely in Britain = Inspired by greed and economic gain. Certainly, The gospel song "Amazing Grace" written by a slave trader on his ship was a pious moment. Even though, the writer of "Amazing Grace" failed to continue in his pious ways by continuing to profit off the slave trade. Also, "Uncle Tom's Cabin", the most influential book on American politics, was written by Harriet Beecher Stowe on the bases that slavery was religiously unmoral.

7.) The burning (and other forms of torture) of "witches," "heretics," "dissenters," and anyone else the church saw fit = Caused by the fear of voodoo. At the time, Church officials concluded the mass hysteria of church members was responsible for the death of innocent people (premise three-corruption of the congregation).

8.) The psychological torture of children through the threat of eternal punishment in hell = The result of not teaching scripture correctly upon the difference of sin & wickedness, a form of corruption within the congregation....its the same failing principle as when a secular parent tells their children "If your not good, the police will come, and take you to Jail."

9.) The systematic rape and torture of young children by the Catholic Church = Will my opponent be arguing this tragedy as being a pious acts of priests in the name of Jesus Christ? Objectively, does anyone think that the rape of a child is a devote practice of worshiping the divinity of Jesus Christ? This act was corruption within the sanctuary of the church by priests (premise three).

10.) The Pope forbidding the use of condoms in Africa and other less-developed countries = Invalid point by my opponent because it is an assumed secular judgement as to the morality of the use of condoms?

11.) Manifest Destiny = Invalid point by my opponent because it is an assumed secular judgement that Judeo-Christian teachings are false.

As I said before, Judeo-Christian religion is like three diamonds buried underneath a mountain of the world's garbage; find those diamonds, then mankind has something worth more than all the world's garbage those three diamonds were buried under.
Debate Round No. 2
Mathaelthedestroyer

Con

Before I begin, I need to apologize for a miscommunication on my part. When I said I did not accept your third premise, I chose the wrong word. I did not mean that I will not accept your premise in this argument; rather, I meant that I do not accept the validity of it. In other words, it was simply my way of saying that I disagree with the premise whereas I did agree with the other three. Obviously I am not here to tell you what arguments may be used and what arguments may not be. I fully accept that this confusion was the result of my poor wording and for that, I do apologize.

Why I disagree with your third premise:
It operates on the idea of "temporary" or fluctuating piety. You admit this yourself and attempt to vindicate it with your $20.00 example. I'm glad you seem to agree with me on this point. What this point (and example) does is demonstrate that the teachings of Christianity and clearly not eternal nor transcendent. In other words, if the church thought in the 1800s that slavery was okay (as they did) but now maintain that it is wrong, how can it claim to have any sort of superior authority? How can it be a force for good in the world when it is just as corruptible and capricious as every other institution on earth? Surely the church has momentary lapses of good will, but I simply do think one can claim it to be an overall force for good if it falls prey to the same corruptions as every other organization. How can an institution that has supported slavery and genocide be called good?

You responded to all of my examples exactly how I assumed you would: by shifting the blame to other factors besides religion. You are essentially saying that all of these things were done by the religious, and in the name of religion, but it just so happens that none of it actually had anything to do with religion. What a fantastic coincidence this is.

I am not arguing that other factors were not at play. I am not arguing that the Crusaders weren't also motivated by greed, military conquest, glory, et cetera. I am not arguing that the burning of heretics weren't caused by other irrational thoughts and bizarre phobias as well. But you simply cannot argue that most (if not all) of these things were also largely motivation by religion. Who could convince hundreds of children to go fight for the Holy Land (see: Children's Crusade) if they did not think it was god's will? What kind of child would willingly go into battle if he did not believe in the promise of heaven after death?

So far, all you have done is shown that other factors (greed, hysteria, etc.) are also not forces for good in the world. (Unless you are seriously going to deny that religion motivated the Crusades, Inquisition, and burning of heretics at all.) This does nothing to refute my initial claim that religion is not a force for good in the world. All it does is point to other destructive factors.

However, there were a few specific examples you seemed to take issue with, so I will address those:
5) The oppression and mistreatment of women. It is true that the scripture gives credit to the women present as witnesses and praises them for their courage. It is also true that, at least in Catholic teaching, Mary is the ark of the covenant and is given special privilege by god by being bodily assumed into heaven. This does not excuse, however, the Bible's incessant call to treat women as inferiors; as equal to animals. We see this in the tenth commandment when god equates women to oxen, slaves, and property. We see this in the book of Timothy and in the letters of Paul, both of which clearly dictate a woman's worth as less than that of a man, and call for her to be silent in the presence of a man. We see this again and again in the Old and New testaments.
Anticipated response: "That was a reflection of the time." This again goes back to my argument that the teachings of the church are either eternal or they are not.
9) The systematic rape and torture of young children by the Catholic Church.
I will absolutely be arguing that this is a direct result of religion. Not of scriptural teaching, but of religion all the same. The reason for this is very simple. Let me begin to answer it by posing a question: why is it that this is almost exclusively confined to the Catholic church? Because it is the only church that forbids sexual relations in the priesthood. Sex is the second-strongest drive in the human body. It is unnatural and unhealthy to repress sexual urges (except when necessary). This sexual repression is what causes such disgusting desires and what motivates these priests to act upon them. The scripture may not, indeed does not, condone molestation of children (though it does not forbid it), but the religious confines that these priests adhere to does. Keep in mind that my original assertion was not that the scripture is a force for good, but that religion is. You cannot argue a misinterpretation of scripture here.
10) The pope forbidding the use of condoms in Africa and other less-developed countries.
Here, again, I must apologize for not being more clear. I did not mean that the act of not wearing a condom is immoral, but the consequence is. Discouraging the use of condoms increases the risk of AIDS spread via sexual intercourse. Currently, there is a massive attempt to stop the spread of HIV in Uganda that operates under the "ABC" code: Abstinence, Be faithful, (proper use of) Condoms. The Catholic church has thwarted these efforts by spreading the lie that condoms actually increase the possibility of contracting HIV. It is now responsible for thousands of additional cases of death by the AIDS virus because of this fabrication.
11) Manifest Destiny.
I must admit I don't understand my opponent's argument here. Manifest Destiny was motivation solely by the idea that it was the god-given rights of Christian settlers to take land make their homes in the United States. This lead to the death, enslavement, and forced migration of hundreds of thousands of Natives. I do not think I am assuming anything here.

So, again, my opponent's entire argument rests upon an unfalsifiable premise. Any examples of religion motivating people to commit atrocities I may point to, he (or she) will just say "Well that wasn't because of religion, it was because of something else," or "That's because the church was corrupted at that time." In part, this may be true. I do not argue that religion and religion alone has caused all this death and suffering. I am arguing that it played a part (in some cases, a very big one). Saying that other factors contributed as well is irrelevant because it would do nothing to refute my original claim that religion is not a force for good; it would only point out that other factors are not forces for good either.

Overall, evidence points to the fact that religion simply is not a force for good. It does good things, but they will never make up for the amount of suffering and misery that it has caused on earth.
ebg

Pro

My opponent seems to be "straddling the fence" in his viewpoint.

He states: "Overall, evidence points to the fact that religion simply is not a force for good. It does good things, but they will never make up for the amount of suffering and misery that it has caused on earth."

Well, is religion a force of "good" or not?

As I stated earlier: Judeo-Christian religion is like three diamonds buried underneath a mountain of the world's garbage; find those diamonds, then mankind has something worth more than all the world's garbage those three diamonds were buried under.

He goes again with another half-half argument: " I am not arguing that the Crusaders weren't also motivated by greed, military conquest, glory, et cetera. I am not arguing that the burning of heretics weren't caused by other irrational thoughts and bizarre phobias as well." Then goes on to rationalizes his own convictions about religion by saying "But you simply cannot argue that most (if not all) of these things were also largely motivation by religion."

Here, my opponents finds that "greed" of people was a corrupting factor in the crusades, yet he doesn't condemn the entire idea of economics itself? He finds "irrational thoughts" and "bizarre phobias" of people caused witch hunts, yet he doesn't condemn the entire human race? It's only when he finds hypocritical uses of church worship does he fault the entire idea of religion!

Is that to be accepted?

Does his arguments justify the closure of the local church, even though they send missionaries to third world countries to be bring clean water and adequate housing to poverty stricken communities?

Does his arguments justify the closure of the local church, even though that local church has an open soup kitchen for the homeless every week?

Does his arguments justify the closure of the local church, even thought the parents of a disabled child find comfort in weekly church worship? Who's going to tell those parents "your kidding yourselves!, get over it!, toughen up!, religion is no good!"

Does his arguments justify the closure of the local church, even though a loving devoted wife can confide in her church's pastor as to her hurt and anguish about discovering her husband has been sexually cheating on her?

Does his arguments justify the closure of the local church, even though abandoned grandmothers or grandfathers have nothing but the social activities of their local church for friendship?

Do we not find the millions of people's personnel relationship with their church a quantifying force "of good?"

Are all those people not counted as being part of this world?

My opponent still insist that the rape of little children by Catholic priest was the the fault of the entire religious system. But I say to you, that the rape of little children by Catholic priests is not a devote practice of worship onto Jesus Christ equal with that of "a young women praying at the church alter onto Jesus Christ for the health of her sick mother."

How do you say to that young women that religion doesn't count? That her passion for help from the church doesn't count? Again, who's going to tell her "your kidding yourself!, get over it!, toughen up!, religion is no good!"

Social conscience is fine, but be careful who you hurt in the practice of condemning religion.

Social conscience is fine, but it's not the exclusive thought of human secularism.

We all see wrong with this world...but religion is a force to overcome those problem.

Lets not "throw away the baby with the bath water!"

Religion is not part of the problem...its part of the solution.

Yes, the institution of religion is not perfect, hypocritical people will use the church for their own purpose, but the overall theme and efforts of religion is a force "of good in this world."
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Mathaelthedestroyer 4 years ago
Mathaelthedestroyer
Just because an argument is common or "simple" doesn't mean it's not valid.
Posted by GenesisCreation 4 years ago
GenesisCreation
"Any claim that Abrahamic religion can possibly be a force for good sill suffer from insufficient sampling of data. "

- Are you sure you can make that claim and not be disingenuous?

"One passage describes a good, just and merciful god - the next described a wrathful genocidal madman demanding child rape and murder."

- (Rolls eyes) Pre-K Sunday-school level theology.
Posted by EricPrice 4 years ago
EricPrice
Any claim that Abrahamic religion can possibly be a force for good sill suffer from insufficient sampling of data. These claims must also assume that the Abrahamic gods are not real.

One passage describes a good, just and merciful god - the next described a wrathful genocidal madman demanding child rape and murder. If we are allowed to delete these troublesome aspects of Abrahamic religion, then any description of these gods is "accurate."

The gods can't be "real," because they would interfere with any such description of them as "good;" editing out their genocides would be blasphemous.
Posted by NobodyMove 4 years ago
NobodyMove
Unfortunately, religion IS a force of evil in today's society no matter what our beliefs are. Islam the so-called religion of peace, successfully preaches violence even in today's society. But still, as humanity isn't yet as developed to accept that as a fact, we have to debate here. Wish you luck, Mathael.
Posted by adontimasu 4 years ago
adontimasu
Come on guys! Pro is so easy! All you have to do is point out a religion who's teachings do not promote evil. Hell, the way some of you Muslim debaters on here debate, I'm sure you can easily make a case for Islam.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Clash 4 years ago
Clash
MathaelthedestroyerebgTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con's arguments wasn't very good. They were mostly only about what some followers of religion have done. This however doesn't prove that religion itself is bad or not a force for good. With that said, Pro nicely refuted all of Con's arguments. Thus, the argument point goes to Pro. The other points are tied. Indeed, religion is a force for good and it would probably be very bad and sad without it. Religion has also done much more good than bad.
Vote Placed by Microsuck 4 years ago
Microsuck
MathaelthedestroyerebgTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Coutner vote bomb
Vote Placed by dylancatlow 4 years ago
dylancatlow
MathaelthedestroyerebgTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Without religion, good people would do good things, and evil people would do evil things. It is only with religion that good people do evil things.