The Instigator
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The Contender
Con (against)
7 Points

Religious doctrine of inherent evil is incredibly harmful to mankind.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/8/2008 Category: Religion
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,220 times Debate No: 5314
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (2)




I submit, that religious and more specifically Christian doctrine of the inherent evil of mankind, is bad for mankind.

The belief that mankind is inherently evil, as a result of sin, is responsible for division, family dispute, negative expectation and even war and genocide in some cases. It causes normally good people, to behave incredibly poorly towards others, and to expect the worst from others, and the future.

Christians argue that evil is evident and to be expected, I argue that an expectation of evil causes believers to give greater weight to individual cases of bad behavior, at the expense of the majority, more prevalent good behavior of a majority of mankind. This negative focus is incredibly bad for mankind and becomes a self fulfilling prophesy, in that it creates negative actions towards others and most dangerously, the future.

In essence, religious expectation of disaster and evil and degradation is created by the doctrine of inherent evil, and should be a major consideration, while contemplating whether religious and faith based belief is beneficial or detrimental for mankind.


To my esteemed opponent. I thank you for this wonderfully made speech. It should be both challenging and interesting. To the voters, I would ask that you don't assume my response is from personal conviction, but rather from the want of a good debate. Hopefully this will indeed prove worthy of being so titled.

Now to the fun part. You specify the Christian doctrine. I will respect that and only debate from the Christian standpoint. My first argument is the fact that you don't backup your first claim. You say that this believe is responsible for all these things, but don't prove how they cause it. This leads me to my first argument. The burdens argument. The resolution provides a clear and distinct burden to both the affirmative and negative debaters. My opponent's burden is that of proving the resolution true, and mine is that of proving it false. When my opponent makes claims but doesn't back them up, he is failing on his own burden. In order to win, he will have to do a better job in his future rounds.

Now for why your argumentation is wrong. The first problem you present is that of division. If division were harmful to mankind, then why are we debating? Division isn't harmful to mankind. Rather, it allows for things to be tested and proven on the intellectual battlfield. By yours and my division, we are hoping to get to the truth of this issue. So division leads to good things.

The second problem you present is family dispute. When my siblings and I, or my parents and I argue, this isn't harmful to mankind. Mankind, as defined by wordnet is "all of the living human inhabitants of the earth." My argument with my parents or siblings has no effect on a family in Russia, China, or even the neighboring state Colorado. Therefore even if this belief causes family division, it doesn't effect EVERY living being on the face of the earth.

The third is a negative expectation. There's an old saying, "There are two types of people in this world. Those who think everything will work out right, and those who know it won't." We've all been told at one point in our life, that life isn't fair. If your brother gets the candy bar while you get stuck washing dishes, then you might get a little angry at the injustice. This is the way the world works. Sometimes things work out for the better. But sometimes they don't. Sometimes having a negative expectation isn't bad at all. It's just realistic. When you fail to tell me why a negative expectation is bad, there is no reason to believe it is bad.

Then you argue about genocide. There isn't even a vague link to this, so I don't see how you can claim it. But those who commit genocide rarely believe in the Christian God. Even though Hitler claimed to be, I doubt he measures up to the Christian standard. Why then does it fit that one who doesn't believe in the Christian God is caused to commit genocide because of a Christian belief? It doesn't make any sense.

You say that this causes believers to give greater weight to individual cases of bad behavior. I say the opposite. If you were told that while visiting your girlfriend's/boyfriend's family for the first time you would hear random explatives proceeding from the mouth of his/her sister because she has alzheimer's (I'm sure that was a run-on.) Then you wouldn't give it more weight because you are expecting it to happen. The same applies for this belief. If you believe that something is going to happen, then when it does happen, it's not as big of a deal. So this argument is completely false. You then proceed to say it is a self-fulfilling prophesy. This too is wrong because if one expects something to happen, then it allows them to view it as less important. It creates a feeling of apathy towards it after a while. This means that it should theoretically stop this "cycle" because it isn't viewed as important. Take the example of a small child. If every time the child throws a fit for something they want and it is given to them, then the child learns that it can get whatever it wants by throwing a fit. But if throwing a fit doesn't help, then it will stop throwing fits because it knows that won't work.

Now for some analysis. My opponent must show you how the religious doctrine of inherent evil IS incredibly harmful to mankind. He must show that it is harmful now, not in the future, not in the past, but right now. Not only that, but he must show that it is harmful to all of mankind. If I can prove how it isn't harmful to all of mankind, even one person, then I win the round.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for his kind words and appreciate his acceptance of this challenge. I believe this to be one of the most important topics facing mankind, and believe exploring it through debate is essential for all of us. It will be fun to debate it with such a capable and reasoned debater.

I will address my opponents retort in the order that he brought them up.

1. The burdens argument.

- I appreciate the opportunity to provide specific examples of how the doctrine of inherent evil harms mankind. A quick review of history shows countless examples of the utility of the doctrine of evil, for motivation to kill others in war and genocide. As one example I would like to submit: The Drogheada Massacre, Ireland September 11, 1649. Oliver Cromwell leads soldiers through city streets murdering civilians and lighting up St. Mary's church, burning alive those who had taken refuge in it and then butchered women hiding in the vaults below. The Irish campaign was religious in nature, in that Cromwell believed that he and his men were chosen by God to rid the world of evil behavior. ( The doctrine of inherent evil motivated Cromwell and led him to accept, if not encourage the slaughter of civilians throughout the Irish campaign. The justification for this slaughter, was that they were evil.

Cromwell's actions led to the 'Troubles' in northern Ireland, which have been continually supported by the doctrine of inherent evil. Both sides believe in Christ, and should be able to utilize that commonality to avoid conflict. However they also share a belief in the doctrine of evil. That belief compels them to view each other with disdain, because, if the doctrinal disagreements must be a result of an acceptance of evil over the perfection of God's will. Therefore both sides are convinced that the other side is embracing evil verses the will of God. This belief justifies the horrific behavior they each adopt towards one another.

A more modern example can be shown in the 'war on terror'. The United States, chose to take this war to Iraq and have been involved in a military campaign there for 5 years. During that time 95,459 ( civilians have lost their lives. A quick look at the justifications and actions of the American people leading up to that war, shows how intricately the doctrine of evil was involved in supporting it. It started with "God Bless America" being uniformly sung at all communal events. Then Bush's rhetoric reflected and supported American sentiment that we were the good guys and the others were the bad guys: Axis of Evil, Get the Evil doers. American Christians started calling Islam a religion of violence and evil. Basically America was flexing its moral muscles and displaying a deep belief in inherent evil, that would be justified in exposing other sovereign countries to war.

One can still see examples of this when asking proponents of the war in Iraq why they believe it to be just. "Better to fight the war in their back yard than mine" is a common theme heard when asking Christians why they support the war in Iraq. This stems from a religious belief in the evil of those who don't share belief that is taught comes directly from God. It is no surprise that Conservative Evangelical Christians were the biggest supporters for war in October, 2002 ( despite the proposed Christian doctrine of peace and love for humanity. As it turns out, the doctrine of inherent evil, is stronger than the doctrine of turn the other cheek and benevolence towards others in a majority of cases.

2. Division leads to good things and isn't harmful to mankind.
- While division based on learning and empirical evidence can lead to benefit and growth, the Division that results from faith based reason like the doctrine of inherent evil, rarely result in benefit to mankind. I challenge my opponent to establish a case for religious division being more beneficial than detrimental to mankind. I submit that faith based division historically and evidently leads to war, torture, divorce, murder and hatred. As examples I submit, Jonestown, Nazi genocide, Bosnian genocide, Numbers 31, Christian divorce rates, and every single Christian forum that allows inter denominational debate. The doctrine of inherent evil resides as the base motivator for all of these things.

3. Family dispute doesn't effect all living inhabitants of the earth.
- This argument is Religious doctrine of inherent evil is incredibly harmful to mankind. It does not require every family to fall apart or the actions of families in China to effect the actions of families in Russia, simply proof that family division, which we both agree is harmful, is caused by the inherent doctrine of evil. As examples of this, I submit, the Jehovah Witness practice of shunning. This practice is responsible for countless suicides and hurt and anger and is a direct result of belief in inherent evil. I also submit Christian divorce rates, which are consistently higher than those of Atheists and Agnostics. I submit that this is a result of division caused by a belief in evil. For instance, Divorce is justified because of religious differences, those differences are exacerbated by the belief that those who don't adhere to a specific flavor of Christianity are evil, or are submitting to temptation and evil in belief. Divorce rates amongst people with different denominational beliefs is over 50%.
Source (

4. Negative Expectation.
Realistic expectation can be beneficial in helping us avoid the negative, but negative expectation, in spite of reality causes harm. As an example I submit, Christian perspectives on global warming, and what humanity should be doing about it.


The majority view amongst Christians is that Global warming shouldn't be something that we as humans should try to correct. Many of them hold a position, that the impending return of Jesus and his predictions of the degradation of the earth are supportive of Global Warming, and that there is nothing that humans can do to stop it. The negative expectation of the degradation and destruction of the world, encourages them to fight against scientists and politicians attempting to find ways to remedy the situation. The negative expectation, that evolves from the doctrine of inherent evil, supported by biblical prediction, then becomes a self fulfilling prophesy. As the religious choose not to do anything to stop the degradation of the earth, predicted in the bible. This is INCREDIBLY harmful to mankind.

5. Focusing on the negative at the expense of the positive.

The doctrine of inherent evil causes adherents to focus on the minority negative because of the expectation set by said belief. As examples I submit the following articles written by believers:

Character restraints are forcing me to cut this topic short in this round, but a quick evaluation of examples utilized by adherents of inherent evil shows a propensity to utilize examples that are relatively rare to support their belief that mankind in inherently evil. For instance, they point to genocide, murder, school shooting etc, all rare events to support their expectation of evil and the degradation of the earth.


To my esteemed opponent. Thank you for your timely and intellectual response. While I agree that exploring topics through debate is essential, I disagree that this is one of the most important topics facing mankind. I disagree with the notion of the idea of inherent evil causing what you say it does.

Let us begin with the burdens argument. You have given evidence that you say backs up your claims. I will still show how this hasn't worked. Also, I discussed how youi must show the doctrine evil NOW, not in the future or the past, but now. You have failed to do that. You also must show how it is harmful to all of mankind. Once again, you have failed to do that. The reason this is important, is because when you fail to show how it is bad for humanity NOW, then you have failed to uphold your end of the bargain. Because you used the word IS in your resolution, you must provide evidence to the resolution being true NOW, or in the present. Now I'm not saying right this second and only then, but within a reasonable time frame. The medieval ages aren't modern. Limit yourself to the nineteen hundreds on. That is reasonable. But you haven't done that. You have argued how it HAS been incredibly harmful, but not how it is. Also, when you don't include all of mankind, then you are failing to uphold that end of the bargain as well. You have changed what you are arguing about. You aren't arguing the resolution, you are arguing something similar. I would ask that you stick to what you said you would do by writing this debate.

Now onto the argumentation, specifically Cromwell. My first point here is that it was in the past. This in no way helps your argument of NOW which is what you are supposed to be doing. My second point here is that you misinterpret what his motives actually are. While his motives were religious in nature, and his acts heinous, this doesn't mean that he was motivated by the fact that they were evil. Nowhere in your link does it talk about this one doctrine doing this. It doesn't even say that God told him to rid the world of evil behavior. You are making the evidence say what you want it to say. This is not kosher. In fact, I would say that Cromwell wasn't anywhere near being motivated by that cause. Cromwell was motivated to rid evil from the world. The religious doctrine of inherent evil says that ALL people are created evil. This means that Cromwell should have killed himself for the same cause, he didn't do this. This means that he was out to rid the country of behavior that he didn't see fit; drunkenness, pride, hate, etc...My third argument here, is that it didn't involve all of mankind. Only Ireland.

Onto the war on terror. The war on terror is in no way religious. By singing God Bless America, America didn't show it's own religiosity towards ourselves, but rather shows our respect to our founding fathers. Similar to the "In God We Trust" on our money, and "under God" in our pledge, the Supreme Court has ruled that this isn't Christian in nature. They said that they don't specify which God, and that it pays respect to our founding fathers. The same applies for this song. Also, the song says absolutely nothing about inherent evil. You then talk about the Bush rhetoric. It is human nature to assume that you are the good guy and the person who has harmed you is the bad guy. It is that way all over the world. If I walked up to you and punched you in the face, you are going to assume I'm an a$$. But if the girl you slept with last night was my girlfriend, then you would deserve it, and you would be the a$$. But at the time, you assume you are in the right. The same goes for America. We were "punched in the face" (9/11), we thought they were in the wrong (whether they were or not is inapplicable). This is the natural response. It has absolutely nothing to do with the doctrine of inherent evil. You are trying to connect arguments that are totally unrelated.

You discuss the Christian standpoint. You provide the quote "Better to fight the war in their back yard than mine." In no way is this religious in nature. There are no Christian undertones whatsoever, and this is common sense. I would much rather have them be fighting over there, then over here. This is common sense. While I may seem unsympathetic for saying so, my house isn't the one being blown up or invaded. My rights aren't the ones being violated. I'm glad that these bad things aren't happening to me. There is no religion involved in that way of thinking. Not only that, but Christians aren't the only one supporting the war, there are people from all different religious backgrounds supporting the war. Also, not all Christians support the war. This is absurd to assume so.

Instead of providing my own examples, I will discuss how yours aren't examples. Jonestown - one religion vs. one government. Not a division of faith. Nazi genocide wasn't limited to only religious groups. Hitler viewed Jews as a blight on society, it had nothing to do with a division of faith. He also killed people that had nothing to do with religion. Hitler never even claimed to be doing what God told him to do. Bosnian genocide had more to do with the fact that milosevic wanted the countries that seperated subdued and brought under his control. Milosevic was in no way religious and wasn't guided by religious doctrine. Numbers 31 was a way of establishing Israel, God's chosen people, as a nation. Inherent evil had nothing to do with it. It's basically the same for all others. The real main point against each of these, is how you have failed to show how this doctrine of inherent evil causes these. You can't just say it does, you have to tell me how it leads to this. Tell me what the thinking leads to, whether it be a mentality or what have you. Then what that leads to, and then how it caused it. In formal debate, it's called a link story. I need you to tell me the specifics about how it is causing these things. You haven't done that.

It isn't enough to prove that a little family division is caused. It's necessary for you to prove how it affects all of mankind. Not just a couple families, or even most families. It has to affect everyone. Mankind is made up of all the humans living on this earth, and you must therefore show how it is affecting everyone on the face of this earth. You haven't done that. Jehova's Witnesses shun people because they disown the faith, not because they are evil. What you are forgetting is that Christian religions believe that those who are a part of those religions, are also evil. No one is good according to Christianity. This means that if Jehova's Witnesses shun those because of inherent evil, they would shun everyone...including themselves. Also, you say that divorce is justified by religious differences. First off, I ask that you remember we are talking about Christianity. The Bible says that you shouldn't get a divorce at all. So those who do are also sinning, not because they believe the other is evil.

The doctrine of inherent evil doesn't give a minority negative. It gives a majority negative. Not even a majority, but an entirety of negativity. Everyone is evil, therefore they need to be redeemed. You aren't understanding what inherent evil is. It means that all people are evil from the instant they are born. It is inherent in their being and existing. They aren't an exception by simply adhering to a religion. This belief isn't what causes these wars and killings, and things you said from happening. It's a difference in opinion. Not on this inherent evil; but on moral issues, misunderstandings, misinterpretations of the Bible, etc...

I too don't have enough room to fully answer everything as I would like. So I apologize for leaving the last part of your argument unanswered. The final statement I will make is this...NO CHRISTIAN THINKS THEY ARE GOOD. THEY ALL THINK THEY ARE EVIL AS WELL.
Debate Round No. 2


Blessed-Cheese-Maker forfeited this round.


It is truly a shame that my opponent couldn't have finished this debate. It was an awesome debate, and I hope to debate him later. But as good as it was, I hope that you still vote for me. Thanks.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by The_Devils_Advocate 8 years ago
Thank you, if you ever want to debate this again, I would love to have another go at it.
Posted by Blessed-Cheese-Maker 8 years ago
Sorry about to absence. I was called out of town for work.

I concede the debate due to delinquency, Love your arguments......
Posted by Blessed-Cheese-Maker 8 years ago
No apologies necessary, I am looking forward to our discussion....
Posted by The_Devils_Advocate 8 years ago
My apologies for my tardiness.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Zerosmelt 8 years ago
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Vote Placed by The_Devils_Advocate 8 years ago
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