Religion is given too much respect
Debate Rounds (3)
As the instigator, I must argue that religion is given too much respect in today's society.
I await an opponent.
I accept this debate. I do not think religion is given too much respect. I will argue this through the use of contemporary examples, literary and intellectual movements, and general public opinion.
Over to Pro for the first argument. Good luck.
My case (pro):
Generally if you ask a person their religious views, they will (generally) tell you them without any trouble. I believe that religion should be tolerated, but not respected. I am arguing that religion should be treated as political views are treated; with respect if we deem they have earned it, and tolerance in most cases that we do not.
An example would be the interpretation of Christianity's bible that homosexuality is a sin. This kind of thinking should not deserve respect, on the other hand, it would deserve a level of tolerance. To me, this belief inspires hatred. I could take action against those who preach this, but I do not; I am tolerating their behaviour.
I await my opponent's response.
Religion Taken as a Whole
Borrowing an example from Sam Harris: Religion, when taken as a unit, is about as useful a term as sports. There are sports like Thai Boxing and Badminton, which have little in common apart from breathing. The point being that taking such a broad range of belief systems, one can hardly come toward a cogent conclusion.
What is a religion?
The religion section of The Encyclopedia of Philosophy mentions nine qualifications for religions. The more qualifications out of the nine, the more “religious-like” the belief system is. These are: Belief in supernatural beings (gods); A distinction between sacred and profane objects; Ritual acts focused on sacred objects; A moral code believed to be sanctioned by the gods; Characteristically religious feelings (awe, sense of mystery, sense of guilt, adoration), which tend to be aroused in the presence of sacred objects and during the practice of ritual, and which are connected in idea with the gods; Prayer and other forms of communication with gods; A world view, or a general picture of the world as a whole and the place of the individual therein; This picture contains some specification of an over-all purpose or point of the world and an indication of how the individual fits into it; A more or less total organization of one's life based on the world view; A social group bound together by the above.
Internal Religious Disrespect
Furthermore, when taking the diverse set of religions into a mental conception, we see a set of mutually exclusive beliefs with equal conviction that the others are wrong. Islam, for example, has commands to kill unbelievers who do not pay the jizya. The point here is that the different religions, even branches and sects within those religions have dogma that calls the others wrong, false, or evil. This disrespect occurs due to dogma and convictions, which are very difficult for the feeble minded to reject. Therefore, not only is religion not given respect from the outside, but it is disrespected from groups inside the umbrella term of “religion.”
The rise of rationalism as an antithetical mental framework arose with the Milesian philosophers in Ancient Greece; along with it came the subsumed ideas of naturalism, science, and atheism. Although there have been groups of people throughout history that have had a lack of faith in any religion, and considered themselves largely atheist (upper-class Romans, for example), the origins of modern atheism can trace their origins back to the Enlightenment. Here is the genesis of the philosophical, moral, and logical cases against religion and religious faith.
In debate, it is important to use facts, evidence, and persuasiveness in your case.
I thank my opponent for providing this comprehensive set of points to support his side.
My opponent's points:
Religion taken as a whole & What is religion?
I agree with these points. Religion is a very broad term that includes Secular Buddhism to Extremist Islam. Buddhism being considered more of a "philosophy" than a "religion" and Extremist Islam killing others in the name of their god (Allah). I am not arguing that Religion should be disrespected, but not "respected" for the sole reason that it is a "religion".
Internal Religious Disrespect
Again, this point I will agree with. Much of today's world conflict revolves around religion, this can be seen in Middle Eastern countries such as Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan. You also can see a similar conflict in the United States close to the "Bible Belt" where Christianity is valued and other beliefs and views are rejected. Because a group is disrespected does not necessarily mean that they should, in turn, be respected to make up for said disrespect.
Atheism is simply the lack of belief of a deity. Antitheism is the opposition of theism (the belief in a personal deity). Not all who lack the belief in a deity will disrespect religion. On the other hand, those who are antitheists generally will as they are in opposition to theism which makes up a large degree of what we consider "religion".
First of all, I think it is important to define "respect" in order to get rid of any ambiguity that may exist.
Respect (as a verb ):
a : to consider worthy of high regard : esteem
b : to refrain from interfering with
2 : to have reference to : concern
— re·spect·er noun
Respect (as a noun):
1 : a relation or reference to a particular thing or situation
2 : an act of giving particular attention : consideration
a : high or special regard : esteem
b : the quality or state of being esteemedc plural : expressions of high or special regard or deference
4 : particular, detail
— in respect to
: with respect to : concerning
— with respect to
: with reference to : in relation to
I am arguing "Religion is given too much respect" with 1a of the verb form and 3a of the noun form. Religion, simply due to the fact that it is a "religion", is automatically highly regarded. A common reason we do this is that we do not wish to insult someone indirectly by insulting their beliefs. I do not believe this is a good reason to respect ones belief. These beliefs are passed on in the family, from one generation to the next. These beliefs were not the conclusion of an investigation of facts that exist in the world, but simply because the parents and/or friends believed the same thing.
The respect that we give to religion is detrimental to society
Usually when someone is presenting information and incorrectly states a fact, they are promptly corrected and generally will learn from that mistake in the future, thus becoming wiser. It is "taboo" to do the same with a religious belief. This respect that we give religion causes more damage by being expected by the believer of said religion. When it is a social norm to respect religion, we are training society to accept the ignorance of others. If we had trained our youth to do the opposite and correct the source of this ignorance, this kind of respect would not be accepted and problems that have roots in religion would slowly fade away.
If we were to quickly change our behaviour today, this would spark a massive amount of violence in the world and would simply put, cause war. The kind of change I stated above would require a very slow change to be effective. Respect for religion is self-destructive and detrimental to society because it respects ignorance of others and stymies progress.
My opponent essentially agrees with most of my case. It's evident that when religion is taken as a whole, it is one of the most disrepected ideologies on planet Earth. I argue that religion is not given too much respect, and that's a good thing.
Religion taken as a whole & What is religion?
My opponent concedes these points, which help buttress my arguments.
My opponent concedes this argument, which he should because it has ample evidence to support itself. Sectarian violence, warfare, and slander is common in many cities throughout the world. There are some cities like Glasgow, Scotland where the sectarian hatred, slander, and vilification is a non-stop parade of antagonism. Catholics stab Protestants; Protestants stab Catholics. Take this to the Middle East, and it is amplified in sectarian violence within Islam, and inter-religious violence between Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, etc. Religions defame one another; and thus, they disrespect each other.
My opponent asserts that atheism is simply a lack of belief in a deity, but this is not true philosophically. Atheism is part of Naturalism, which is in turn part of the larger framework of Rationalism that began in Ancient Greece with the Milesian Philosophers and came in to full during the Enlightenment. Using this philosophically true position for atheism, we see that it is diametrically opposed to most aspects of religion, religious faith, and superstition in general.
Continuing my argument, the rise of the New Atheists: Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and Daniel Dennett, has evoked in society a further disrespect of religion. Their books and speeches have been responded to by the religious with hate email, death threats, and claims of intolerance. That is, of course, in response to a fundamentally disrespectful tone, argument, and evidence against religion. It is essentially disrespectful to a religion for one to call it false, and that is exactly what the New Atheists and their contemporaries are doing.
Atheism, Naturalism, and Rationalism are spreading, which further recedes the respect of religion and encourages a healthy opposition to the superstition and fatuity religion espouses. 19% of Americans are non-religious; that's up from 6% in the 1990's. 16% of the world is non-religious as well. This indicates a strong pressure on society to check the power and respect of religion. Furthermore, in most countries, the outside forces on religion have moderated it to the level of not being detrimental to human life. [1, 2]
"The Internet, where religions go to die." Thunderf00t's famous quote rings true here. The Internet is buzzing with anti-religious rhetoric, memes, and YouTube videos of Hitchslapping. The Internet is accelerating the rate at which religions are insulted, degraded, and the rate at which atheism/naturalism/rationalism grow.
Chick-fil-a. Check and mate.
Rebuttal: The respect that we give to religion is detrimental to society
My opponent states that it is "taboo" to question religious faith. I would disagree, because society is becoming more religiously moderate and more atheistic and skeptical.  Furthermore, there are many anonymous ways to point out the flaws of religious belief on the Internet, like on DDO for example. Even in Muslim countries, people are becoming more moderate and tolerant, as the world becomes more interconnected, educated, and skeptical. The point is that now, religion is fading fast as a failed attempt at morality, explaining the world, and societal ordering; it will continue to decrease as living standards, education, and interconnectedness increase.
My opponent states, "When it is a social norm to respect religion, we are training society to accept the ignorance of others." While we may respect the person we like, it does not follow that we respect the religion. This religious trend has been interesting as of late: more and more people are expressing the position that they hate religion, but they love Jesus. They claim that Christianity is about a personal relationship with Jesus, not about tradition and church. Religion is viewed both negatively inside of religion and outside of it. Therefore, it is not given too much respect.
My opponent concludes with, "Respect for religion is self-destructive and detrimental to society because it respects ignorance of others and stymies progress." However, he never describes in detail what he means by this; he is just asserting it.
My opponent had to prove that religion is given too much respect, so much so that some bad ramification occurs. He did not prove either. Furthermore, my arguments demonstrated internal and external disrespect of religion when taken as a whole, which my opponent conceded. This was a good debate.Vote Con!
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