The Instigator
TheMarquis
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
RoyalFlush100
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points

Religion isn't true but serves a purpose.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
RoyalFlush100
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/27/2015 Category: Society
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,119 times Debate No: 72456
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)

 

TheMarquis

Pro

This is not an argument on the validity of any religion. I am starting this on the premise that none of them are true so I am hoping to argue against an Atheist who just thinks we are better off without it as a whole. I feel that it is a good thing for people going through hard times or facing obstacles that seem greater than themselves.
RoyalFlush100

Con

Before I'd begin, I'd like to point out to anyone reading this that Pro is referring to a positive purpose and that through these positive purposes, religion brings more good than bad, as he mentioned in the comments.

So, overall, I will prove that religion brings more bad than good to the world.

C1-Warfare & Terrorism
Throughout human history up until today religion has led to several wars and terrorist acts. Overall, religious extremism is found to be the leading cause of terrorism. (4) Recently, many of these have been caused by Islam. (1) The most famous example would be the September 11th attacks by Islamic terrorist group Al Qaeda against the United States. This attack killed nearly 3000 people and led to over 6000 non-fatal injuries. (2) Osama Bin Laden, who organized the attack, claimed he did it "In the Name of Allah." (3) This is an example of a terrible tragedy caused by religion which caused death, fear, and an ongoing war.

C2-Discrimination
Historically and today, religion has led to several examples of discrimination. Even in areas such as the United States where religion does not play a big of a role in society as some places, people are fired, refused service, and refused employment for doing or being something that goes against someone else's religion. (5) However, it's even worse in other places. For example, in Egypt Copts (Christians) are denied equal access to education and equal opportunities for recruitment and promotion, that the Muslim majority enjoys. (6) Women especially are discriminated against, especially in Saudi Arabia by its Sharia Law. This includes not being allowed to vote, drive a car, or go anywhere without a male chaperone. (7)

C3-Ignorance/R1
Historically and today, religion has resisted science because it disproves the beliefs in their religion. One famous example being Galileo Galilei, who proved that the Earth revolves around the Sun (which went against the teachings of the Church) so he was imprisoned for life. However, even today scientific concepts such as the Theory of Evolution are being resisted in schools, specifically in the United States which has a Christian majority. (8) This can lead to a slow down in scientific advancement. Also, ignorance is perhaps one of the most dangerous things in society. Ignorance can lead to destruction, discrimination, and errors in activities. Since we are accepting that religion is false, having religion around keeps people in ignorance believing something that is not true. So to rebut Pro's point, even if religion may get people through a hard time it is making them ignorant. Not to mention, getting some people through a hard time doesn't even compare to the war, terrorism, discrimination, or ignorance.

1-http://en.wikipedia.org...
2-http://en.wikipedia.org...
3-http://www.theguardian.com...
4-http://www.theguardian.com...
5-https://www.aclu.org...
6-http://www.ilo.org...
7-http://www.theweek.co.uk...
8-http://www.dailymail.co.uk...
Debate Round No. 1
TheMarquis

Pro

As far as warfare and terrorism go I cannot deny that religion has been used to fuel these things, but I would like to suggest that these would exist independently of religion. Religious extremism is the most common justification of terrorism, but I would argue that resources are the most common cause for any violence. Osama Bin Ladin also stated that his main goal with that attack was to damage our economy(1), which he did excellently. If you pay close attention Allah seems to be more of a rallying cry than an argument for him. And rallying cries are what get you recruits. Religion is an excellent rallying cry saying as more than two thirds of the world fall into one of them(2). Islam in particular makes up around 23% of the world's people and a lot of those people aren't living in very good conditions. You can blame that on Islam, but then you'd have to explain why so many first world countries are Christian when the two faiths are nearly identical.

Discrimination and religion are an odd relationship. One of America's worst cases of this relationship is the KKK. They were a protestant group(3). Protestants believe very firmly in the bible, more so than some other sects of the religion(4). The bible condoned slavery in more than one place, but not once did it insinuate that blacks were to be slaves to whites. The only real discriminatory statement was that Hebrew slaves would get better treatment. This means that they were expanding upon the belief and using the religion as a rallying call instead of an inspiration for what they were doing. Shariah Law means something very different to each different Muslim you ask about it. If you'd like to talk about Saudi Arabia's problems then you're issue is theocracy more than it is religion. A secular government should stand even when a religion is strong. The Saudi Arabian people have very little say in the government. It is a Theocracy and a Monarchy(5). The vast majority of the country is Muslim, but that doesn't mean they agree with the government. This is more of a power grab for a few individuals than it is an attempt to further Islam(6). As far as your argument goes for Egypt I feel that their actions go against the Qu'ran. The Muslim's holy book refers to Christians as "people of the book."(7) All people "of the book" are viewed as being relatively good people(8).

I have no real rebuttal to your statement of ignorance but my previous argument about how its aforementioned place is certainly not within the government.

Religion also provides people with a lot of support. For the time being I would like to discuss how it effects those suffering through addictions. Alcoholics Anonymous was a religious organization, and on some level still is(9). It was originally Christian(10), but doesn't discriminate. Muslims are also frequent walkers of the 12 step program(11). These programs even do their best to cater to an Atheist clientele(12). Religion can be an excellent tool to help those who feel lost beyond help.

1: http://www.cnn.com...
2: http://www.washingtontimes.com...
3: http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk...
4: http://www.gotquestions.org...
5: http://www.saudiembassy.net...
6: http://www.reuters.com...
7: http://islam.about.com...
8: http://www.onislam.net...
9: http://www.religionnews.com...
10: http://hindsfoot.org...
11: http://www.millatiislami.org...
12: http://alcoholrehab.com...
RoyalFlush100

Con

C1:
Bin Laden wanted to destroy the US economy because of American/Western actions against Muslims. This included Western support for attacking Muslims in Somalia, supporting Russian atrocities against Muslims in Chechnya, supporting the Indian oppression against Muslims in Kashmir, the Jewish aggression against Muslims in Lebanon, the presence of US troops in Saudi Arabia (Islam's holy land), US support of Israel (a Jewish nation), and sanctions against Iraq (a Muslim nation). (1) Therefore, it is undeniable Islam was more than just rallying cry, but the main reason for the 9/11 attack. Therefore, if Islam didn't exist there is a good chance the 9/11 attacks wouldn't have happened. Not to mention all the other terror attacks inspired by religion (cited in my previous argument.) By the way,

R1:
I never once mentioned how Islam keeps people in poverty. However, it may be worth noting that many of these First World nations, which have historically been religious, are seeing religiosity in decline. In fact, religious people have become the minority in some of these countries. This graph has 7 examples of First World countries seeing religion in decline (Ireland, Switzerland, France, Iceland, United States, Canada, and Austria), 4 of them where religious people have become the minority (5)(4):

Gregory Paul, a palaeontologist who did research on this has, a reason for this. He said religion's "a psychological coping mechanism" (5) and that "religion is most able to thrive in seriously dysfunctional societies." (5)


C2:
Pro does not address the certain examples of discrimination due to religion brought up in my previous argument. I never once mentioned the KKK either. Even if not all Muslims agree with Sharia Law, it is by definition "the code of law derived from the Koran and from the teachings and example of Mohammed; sharia is only applicable to Muslims." (2) Therefore, Sharia Law would not exist without Islam. Also, asserting Saudi Arabia is a theocracy further proves my point. A theocracy by definition is "a form of government in which God or a deity is recognized as the supreme civil ruler, the God's or deity's laws being interpreted by the ecclesiastical authorities." (3) Therefore, if no one believed in God, there wouldn't be theocracies. Even if Muslims are in theory suppose to like Christians it doesn't matter, because the example in Egypt shows a Muslim majority oppressing a Christian minority, which wouldn't occur without religion, because the people wouldn't be as divided.

R2:
There is little reason to assume that help groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, wouldn't exist without religion. However, all the examples I provided wouldn't occur without religion or would occur a lot less.



1-http://en.wikipedia.org...
2-http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
3-http://dictionary.reference.com...
4-http://www.theblaze.com...
5-http://www.cbc.ca...
Debate Round No. 2
TheMarquis

Pro

As I said, the religion was a rallying cry. It was something that unified people who were angry for other reasons. If Islam didn't exist then people would still be very angry about what the United States did. You just listed a lot of reasons for them to be angry, so you are kind of agreeing. The decline of religion in nations that are facing a raise in standards of life proves my point that religion is important to those in need. Its main purpose is as a coping mechanism.

The Klu Klux Klan is something that is hard not to bring up when one mentions discrimination by religious lines in the United States. I apologize if you felt that I was burning down a straw man instead of shooting down an argument. The whole basis of your argument seems to be that it is one more line on which people are divided. I will now address your argument about the Copts, as I should have done earlier. The conflict between the Christians and the Muslims had more to do with deeper seeded culture, and even race on a level.(1) The Christian Copts viewed themselves as the Egyptian people. The Muslims were mostly Arab. The conflict between those two groups still runs very deep. Being Arab is a big deal in Arab countries.(2) Nationality is a very big part of their culture, and that sometimes includes Islam. It doesn't have to though. Pan-Arabism had Christianity in it in the formation of the Ba'ath Party and promoted secular ideas and often socialism. The problems in Egypt have more to do with race. There are a lot of cultural and racial issues in Africa that people blame on religion. Boko Haram is an excellent example of this.(6)

You can definitely say that Theocracy wouldn't exist without religion, but there is a very fine line between Theocracy and Monarchy. Most Monarchs claim to have their power given to them by some God(3), or in some occasions to be Gods themselves.(4) And in reality none of them are ruling for the good of their faith, but using their faith to continue their rule. Their lust for power caused them to pervert the scriptures to hold their positions. That is more about politics than it is about religion.

There is every reason to assume that a lot of those help groups wouldn't exist without religion. The entire point of the 12 step program that most rehabilitation programs are based on come from finding a higher power.(5) It is the second step and the rest of it builds on that.

1: http://en.wikipedia.org...
2: http://www.jimena.org...
3: http://en.wikipedia.org...
4: http://en.wikipedia.org...
5: http://www.12step.org...
6:
RoyalFlush100

Con

C1:
One of Bin Laden's reasons for attacking was because of Western support of Israel, because it was a Jewish nation, clearly fueled for religious reasons. Not to mention, American troops stationed in Saudi Arabia were approved by the Saudi Arabian government, to protect the nation. (1) However, Bin Laden didn't like American presence on Islam's holy land. (12) I also referenced several Islamic terrorists attacks earlier. Many of which came from another group called ISIS. ISIS's main goal is to found an Islamic state or even a Caliphate. (13) Therefore, ISIS's attacks wouldn't have occurred without religion. One final example to prove my case is all the religious conflict in India. India has large amounts of Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs, and Jain's. This has led to a lot of conflict fueled by religion. (14) A famous example was when a group of Hindus destroyed centuries old Babri mosque. The mosque was in Ayodhya which is considered one of the most sacred and religious sites in Hinduism. The Hindus did not want an Islamic building on their sacred place so they destroyed it. (15)

Also, even if we accept Pro's statement that religion is merely a rallying cry then that just further proves my case. Since so many people are religious they are more likely to join a cause, they wouldn't otherwise join, which is why religion main reason for terrorism (as referenced in round 1).

R1:
Even if religion helps people in poorer countries cope, on average, the more religious country is, the more likely the country is to be poor, as shown (most of the countries without data are also really religious too) (4, 10):


The reason for this, according to David Flint, chairman of Humanists4Science is "It also likely that religion, by discouraging people, especially policy makers, from rational analysis, creates the conditions that lead to inequality and insecurity." (11) Also, since religion keeps people ignorant (which Pro agreed with), it slows down progress. Therefore, religion helps keep people in poverty.


C2:
Once again, Pro does not respond to any of the examples I provided in my first argument about people being fired and refused service in places such as the US. Pro asserts that the conflict in Egypt was primarily due to conflict between Arabs and native Egyptians. Pro also asserts that being Arab is really important in this region and that it doesn't have to include them being Muslim. However, had Pro actually read his cited source he'd see this is untrue. From the source, "The premise of Arab Nationalism is that there should be political, cultural, religious, and historical unity among the people of Arab nations". (8) In fact, the article even mentions examples of discrimination by this movement against Jews, Christians, Kurds, and Berbers. (8) It also continues to talk about the importance of Islam in Arab nationalism. (8) Pro also asserts that Pan-Arabism includes Christianity. However, Pro only has one citation that discusses any Pan-Arab party, which says "Nasser's pan-Arab policies undermined the Copts' strong attachment to and sense of identity about their Egyptian pre-Arab, and certainly non-Arab identity which resulted in permits to construct churches to be delayed along with Christian religious courts to be closed." (9) Since Arab nationalism includes being Muslim (as proved above), it is clear that religion played a huge role in the conflict in Egypt. The conflicts in Nigeria may seem to be primarily racial, however, the speaker mentions that Boko Haram as "instituted a version of Sharia Law". As defined earlier in the debate, Sharia Law is Islamic law.

C2 continued/R2:
If Monarchs say they were given their power by some God (say Allah), no one would believe them if no one was Muslim (in said example). That goes to prove my point, there wouldn't be theocracies without religion. Also, back to my first argument, it proves that the Sharia Law wouldn't exist without religion, which is one of the reasons for the serious discrimination against women. To further prove this, we can see that countries with Sharia Law tend to have the highest level of gender equality. Not to mention, many countries with higher levels of non-religiosity tend to have more gender equality, as the world's 2 largest religions, Christianity and Muslim, consider women to be inferior. (5) (2, 3, 4):



Just to prove beyond doubt that many of the atrocities that come from Sharia Law wouldn't exist without religion, one has to consider that many countries that have Sharia Law sentence atheists to death. (6) Finally, to address Pro's argument that theocratic rulers don't rule for the good of their faith or even obey it, doesn't really matter. It's clearly not just political, as the faith itself is how they continue to rule (which Pro admitted).

R3:
I'd like to specify what I meant when I said help programs wouldn't exist without religion. I meant today, if everyone became non-religious, these help groups would still exist. Alcoholics Anonymous (a 12 step program) was indeed founded on religious roots. However, a growing amount of non-religious people attend these meetings, and some are dropping all elements of religion. (7)

Overall I think you should vote Con because of my 3 contentions, Pro dropped C3 and dropped the argument regarding discrimination in the First World due to religion (e.g. people being refused employment) in C2. I also feel I effectively proved C1 and C2, disproving Pro's rebuttals with evidence. I also feel I effectively rebutted Pro's case with evidence.

1-http://en.wikipedia.org...
2-http://cdn.citylab.com...
3-http://hum300.tolearn.net...
4-https://knowyourstat.files.wordpress.com...
5-http://rationalwiki.org...
6-http://www.reuters.com...
7-http://www.nytimes.com...
8-http://www.jimena.org...
9-http://en.wikipedia.org...
10-http://blogs-images.forbes.com...
11-https://humanism.org.uk...
12-http://www.tep-online.info...
13-http://en.wikipedia.org...
14-http://en.wikipedia.org...
15-http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by TheMarquis 2 years ago
TheMarquis
I was on the fence myself when I put this together, I didn't do that well, and this was my first debate, so if I could vote yet I'd probably hand it to con as well.
Posted by TheMarquis 2 years ago
TheMarquis
I apologize for not specifying. I definitely do mean a positive purpose. I am trying to start the conversation and am suggesting that it can do more good than bad. Thank you for inquiring and I apologize for any confusion.
Posted by RoyalFlush100 2 years ago
RoyalFlush100
One can say that religion serves a purpose for bad, do you mean specifically a positive purpose?

If so, when you say you want to debate an atheist who "just thinks we are better off without [religion] as a whole", does that mean you're trying to prove religion can be positive or that overall religion adds more good than bad?
Posted by StalinIncarnate 2 years ago
StalinIncarnate
I find this actually Valid.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by JesusYoloSwag 2 years ago
JesusYoloSwag
TheMarquisRoyalFlush100Tied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro handed the debate to Con in comments.