The Instigator
brian_eggleston
Pro (for)
Losing
13 Points
The Contender
KRFournier
Con (against)
Winning
45 Points

Religous zealots should not be eligible to vote

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/19/2009 Category: Religion
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,043 times Debate No: 6575
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (21)
Votes (10)

 

brian_eggleston

Pro

Not everybody has the right to vote in most democratic electoral systems: convicted criminals, the mentally ill and children are denied the right to vote because they are not deemed capable of reaching sound decisions based on properly considered evaluations of the candidates' policies.

This principle should be extended to those frothing nut-jobs that are so completely deluded that they actually believe that, as if by magic, some deity created the Earth a few thousand years ago and think that the scientific evidence that proves otherwise was all just made up to test their faith.

In view of their preposterous beliefs it is clear that evangelical Christians, devout Muslims and orthodox Jews, like children, criminals and mental patients, are not capable of reaching properly informed decisions and should, therefore, have their eligibility to vote withdrawn.

Thank you.
KRFournier

Con

I am against the resolution that religious zealots should not be eligible to vote. First, I would like to reconcile the resolution with my opponent's first round, the former pointing to zealots and the latter pointing to religious people in general.

Zealot: A fanatically committed person.

I am inclined to suppose that my opponent used the term tongue-in-cheek, so I will assume he really refers to religious people who:

a. believe in their religious tenants enough to defend them.
b. devote consistent time to their belief (go to church weekly, etc.).
c. base their values and morals on the teachings of their religion.

My opponent may choose, if he wishes, to correct my assumption and assert that only religious extremists apply to the resolution. If he does so, I will address that argument in round 2. For this round, I will be arguing that religious followers (believers) ought to retain voter eligibility.

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In his opening remarks, my opponent compares believers to convicted criminals, the mentally ill, and children, asserting that the commonality shared between all groups is the incapacity to reach properly informed decisions. I will now show how doing so commits the guilty by association fallacy. In all cases, when referring to believers, assume I mean the group of religious followers that are not also convicted criminals, mentally ill, or children.

1. Believers, unlike convicted criminals, respect the law.

Convicted criminals are considered incapable of reasonable voting practices given the fact they have selectively chosen to disobey the law. By violating the rights of others, they have forfeited their own right to contribute to the law of the land. This is not the case with believers, who respect the law despite their disagreement with it. Their willingness to live within the law and work within the political system is evidence of their capacity to make informed voting decisions. While some believers have chosen to take matters into their own hands visa vi terrorism--in which case they can be rightly associated as criminals and their voting privileges revoked--law abiding believers cannot be associated by guilt.

2. Believers, unlike the mentally ill, have a proper grip on essential reality.

Mentally ill people are recognized as having lost a grip on major reality, and this is were my opponent seems to want to associate religious followers, emphasizing their "preposterous" beliefs. The main problem with this thinking, however, is that it lumps observable reality with unobservable reality. Mentally ill people are unable to perceive reality regarding phenomena directly provable, such as a patient who believes the ball they are holding is a baby. Issues such as the origin of the universe are not directly provable, and the answers one chooses to accept on these matters is irrelevant when comes to voting in present politics. Beliefs about human origin, God, and the meaning of life cannot be associated by guilt with insanity.

3. Believers, unlike children, have developed the same reasoning faculties as non-believers.

Children are not eligible to vote because they have developed neither the experience nor aptitude to make such decisions. Not so with adult believers, who carry the same reasoning capacities as adult non-believers. The difference between a child's reasoning capabilities and an adult's reasoning capabilities is physiological, thereby rendering this comparison as the most obvious case of guilt by association.

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4. Religious zeal is too subjective to determine voter eligibility.

Convicted criminals, the mentally ill, and children all have the characteristic of being unambiguously defined. It's easy to determine when someone is criminal enough to have their voting rights revoked: they get caught breaking the law. Mentally ill people can be carefully diagnosed and documented. Children are simply defined by age. Believers, however, cannot be so easily categorized since belief comes in varying degrees of intensity and adherence. Some believe both the biblical creation account and evolution combined. Some treat their religious text as mostly allegorical. Others find the bible inerrant. By what standard does my opponent intend to measure one's zeal? If he cannot provide clear criteria, then his resolution is nothing more than ranting.

5. Suppressing religious votes is oppressive.

At the core of democracy is the notion that all people are valuable and within it dwells various ideological views. If only one ideology were able to vote, then democracy has been eliminated and replaced by a single-party dictatorship. In this sense, my opponent finds himself within a self-contradiction. His resolution is inconsistent with the democratic electoral system and he must choose which to defend. He cannot have it both ways.

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My opponent's is clearly frustrated that there are religious believers with the audacity to vote according to their religious moral code, but his pet peeves alone are not enough to warrant the elimination of voter rights on such a grand scale. I hope my opponent intends to provide clear-cut criteria for determining when religious zeal reaches some kind of breaking point. As I've pointed out, some religious zeal does go too far, but in those cases, the believer will fall into existing categories and have their rights revoked anyway. Until then, the resolution stands negated. Believers should be eligible to vote.
Debate Round No. 1
brian_eggleston

Pro

With many thanks to my opponent for taking up this debate. At first glance, my proposal may seem extreme, but I believe that by the end of this debate you will be convinced of the righteousness of my contention.

I broadly accept my opponent's definition of "religious zealot" but I was specifically referring to those people who are so indoctrinated or unable to grasp reality that they accept the teachings of a work of fiction as truth and reject the evidence presented in textbooks and academic journals that proves otherwise. In practice that means people of Abrahamic faiths who believe in creationism.

With this in mind, I would like to respond to the issues my opponent raised as follows:

1 - Believers, unlike convicted criminals, respect the law.

This is only true to a point. For example many Christians vote Republican on the basis of their faith rather than policies. Stem cell research, abortion and same-sex unions are legal in most democracies but are opposed by Republicans on the basis that they are contrary to the teachings of the Bible.

Furthermore many Christians and Jews vote Republican because of their political, financial and military support for Israel. That's not because Israel's is acting legally, they aren't – the UN described the Israeli Defense Force's murder of innocent civilians and wanton destruction of their homes, schools and hospitals as "atrocities" and "war crimes". Indeed their occupation of Palestinian land in both Gaza and the West Bank is totally illegal under international law. Nevertheless the Republican administration was alone in failing to condemn Israel's crimes on the UN Security Council.

Why was this? The answer is that Israel's ultimate goal is to fulfil the Old Testament prophesy of occupying all the land between the Nile and the Euphrates and expelling all non-Jews from the region.

"Possess the land and settle it, for I have given you the land in order that you take possession of it" (Numbers 33:53)

"Do not allow them to reside in your land" (Exodus 23:33)

"Do not give them any consideration" (Deuteronomy 7:2)

Although it is written in the scriptures doesn't make it legal. In order to achieve their goal they will have to either forcibly remove or kill millions of Arabs, not on the grounds that they have the legal right to occupy and forcibly de-populate Palestine, part of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and part of Iraq, because they most certainly don't have that right, but rather because it says they have a religious duty to do so in the Old Testament.

For someone to base their vote on a collection of documents written many hundreds of years ago by people living a completely different world to the one we now live in, and which means supporting actions that are contrary to international law, demonstrates a criminal lack of judgement that should disqualify them from voting.

2 - Believers, unlike the mentally ill, have a proper grip on essential reality.

This is also untrue. Many mentally ill people can be very gifted and intelligent in certain ways, but just like people who reject scientific evidence in favour of religious doctrines, they do not have a proper grip on reality.

For example, the process of how we came to be living on this planet now from when the universe was a singularity can be explained using Newton's Laws of Physics, Einstein's General and Special Theories of Relativity, Darwin's Theory of Evolution, and other scientific models and can be observed in such things as background radiation, the red shift of stars, the geology of rocks and in fossil remains amongst many other things.

Agreed, some people may lack the intelligence to comprehend even Stephen Hawking's Brief History of Time, let alone academic papers relating to the nature of space-time or quantum gravity, and that lack of intelligence should not debar them from voting. However, if someone turns round and rejects the evidence presented by the scientific community just because it conflicts with what is written in the scriptures demonstrates a level of mental incompetence that should disqualify them from voting.

3 - Believers, unlike children, have developed the same reasoning faculties as non-believers.

My opponent claims that unlike children, believers have the same capability to reason as non-believers. For the reasons I outlined in the previous paragraphs, if people were able to reason properly, they wouldn't be true believers, at least not in the sense of creationism.

Religion has a history of rejecting science. In 1633 the Catholic Church put Galileo Galilei on trial for advancing the Copernican theory that the earth revolves around the sun, rather than the sun revolving round the earth as the Bible teaches. Most priests now accept that science was right and the Bible is wrong and many now also accept the overwhelming scientific evidence that proves creationism is plain, flat wrong. In view of this, to continue to believe that God created the earth and all the creatures great and small about six thousand years ago shows an alarmingly childlike inability to reason and, therefore, people that persist in believing in creationism should be prevented from voting.

4 - Religious zeal is too subjective to determine voter eligibility.

My opponent makes a fair point when he refers to the difficulty in identifying religious zealots. I would suggest the criteria would be adhering to a blatantly irrational religious belief, specifically that of creationism. Enforcing the ban on religious zealots voting would, admittedly, be problematic. Certainly, if someone self-identifies themselves as an evangelical Christian, an orthodox Jew or a devout Muslim at the poling station and declines to sign a document stating they reject creationist teachings, they will be denied a voting slip. However, if they lie and sign the form in order to obtain a vote under false pretences, then that would be electoral fraud and a matter for the police.

5 – Suppressing religious votes is oppressive.

Denying people a vote on the basis that they would waste it by voting on religious, rather than political grounds, seems eminently fair to the majority of the electorate that cast their votes on the basis of the economic and social policies of the parties and candidates standing. Furthermore, it certainly wouldn't lead to a one party state. In the United Sates, the Republican Party may lose support from bible-bashing members of evangelical Christian churches in the deep South, but they would still receive the votes of wealthy people, who would vote for lower taxes and cuts in public services to maximise their own personal gain at the expense of society in general.

In conclusion, I fully support the right of people of faith to vote, provided they are not so indoctrinated, misguided, wilfully deluded or otherwise mentally incapable of accepting the conclusive scientific evidence that proves that Old Testament is wrong and the universe doesn't revolve around the earth and it wasn't created by some deity six thousand years ago.

Thank you.
KRFournier

Con

I will open my closing remarks by extending appreciation to my esteemed opponent for this thoughtful interchange. Though we argue, it is refreshing to do so amiably.

1. Believers, unlike convicted criminals, respect the law.

While more elaborate and sprinkled with conspiracy, my opponent's rebuttal on this contention nonetheless commits the guilt by association fallacy. Even if he can show that "many Christians and Jews vote Republican because of their political, financial and military support for Israel," it does not follow that such ideological allegiances constitute criminal behavior. Having said that, my opponent is hard pressed to even get that far. Many Christians and Jews vote Republican due to the party having more conservative leanings, not solely because they condone Israel's violence in Gaza.

My opponents logic also reduces to absurdity. For example, California residents, by virtue of paying taxes to the state, support California and it's policies. California has several solar power plants in a concerted effort to increase production of renewable energy. Technology developed by Solel Solar Systems Ltd. drives 9 such power plants (http://www.export.gov.il...). Solel Solar Systems Ltd. is an Israeli corporation, whose taxes and fees indirectly fund Israeli policies and government. California residents should know better than to indirectly support such violence, and anyone continuing to use solar energy from these plants ought to have their voting rights revoked for using such "criminal lack of judgment."

Judgment itself can only be assessed in hindsight. One's judgment must first lead to personal involvement in criminal activity before it can be deemed criminal. Therefore, my contention stands. Believers, regardless of their reasons for what they believe, do not fall into the same classification as convicted criminals.

2. Believers, unlike the mentally ill, have a proper grip on essential reality.

My opponent's rebuttal in this regard assumes that scientific explanations of human origin are totally conclusive, and if it were the case, then perhaps his refutation would suffice. However, science has not cast away all doubt on the matter. There exists secular biologists that find Darwinian theory inadequate. Debates abound in the realm of philosophy regarding the logical fidelity of these theories. Scientific explanations of life are still controversial, and anyone that chooses sides on a controversial subject cannot be considered mentally ill.

3. Believers, unlike children, have developed the same reasoning faculties as non-believers.

As I stated in my opening round, some religious followers fall into one or more of these categories. There are indeed believers in both history and today that think like children. And if it were possible to measure the maturity of a voter, perhaps my opponent could have his way. However, it is non sequitur to conclude that all believers think like children. While believers have been known to react poorly to new scientific data, they have also brought new scientific discoveries. Hasty generalizations are themselves childish, and using them to justify the removal of voting rights is tantamount to a temper tantrum.

4. Religious zeal is too subjective to determine voter eligibility.

I seriously doubt the sincerity of my opponent's solution to this problem. He suggests requiring voters to publicly renounce their religion in order to participate in society! Such thinking cannot exist within a democratic framework and is more reminiscent of ancient Rome. Christians were given the choice to renounce their faith or die in Colosseum. Minus the lions and gladiators, my opponent appeals to the same principle: force others to bend to the government's ideologies. It would be far more reasonable to require an IQ test than to base voter eligibility solely on one's belief in creation.

5. Suppressing religious votes is oppressive.

My opponent states: "Denying people a vote on the basis that they would waste it by voting on religious, rather than political grounds, seems eminently fair to the majority of the electorate that cast their votes on the basis of the economic and social policies of the parties and candidates standing"

This statement makes a giant assumption, that voting on political grounds is somehow independent of one's ideologies, as if there is one right way to vote on every issue. The fact that voting even exists refutes this very thinking. The act of voting in itself is an expression of one's ideology, and the majority ideology (theoretically) rules the land. Therefore, any attempt to refuse believers the right to vote is oppressive. My opponent considers voting on religious grounds a waste, as though voting on atheistic grounds has been somehow proven, irrevocably, to be the only correct way to vote.

----------

In the final analysis, my opponent wants a society based on one ideology: his ideology. I suspect, if the Bible condoned abortion and believers voted as such, then he would not complain. As it stands, there are those that disagree with him and he hopes to argue that their are undeniably wrong. Well, my opponent cannot have it both ways. If he feels that a dictatorship is a better way to govern the people, then he must hope that it does not become a religiously founded one. Religious believers are capable of reasonable voting, though it should not be surprising that they will vote according their conscience--particularly in matters of a sensitive nature. Believers cannot be associated by guilt with criminals, the insane, or children. They cannot be blamed for having an ideology and voting according to it, and religious oppression is not the answer.

Therefore, religious believers should retain their eligibility to vote.
Debate Round No. 2
21 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by sadolite 8 years ago
sadolite
"godless communists socialist cesspool" This is a factual obsevation. One only has to open a history book and look at all of the people who have been murdered under scocialist communist regimes and the waste that has been laid upon countries that have been under such regimes. As you can see you misinterpret what I said. I attacked the ideology or political view point and in no way suggested that the person who said it should have rights removed or be cast from society as eggleston does. Next example.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 8 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
This "bigot" nonsense doesn't get us anywhere. This is a debate site. If you aren't bigoted about matters of opinion, how do you manage a debate? :)
Posted by jjmd280 8 years ago
jjmd280
Back at ya - Just aim that comment back at yourself - Pot is as black as night. You've given me every reason to call you a bigot.....

You will not be able to find anywhere where I have belittled any group of people......

"godless communists socialist cesspool because of thinking like that."

Bigot is as bigot does.
Posted by sadolite 8 years ago
sadolite
Onjjmd280, On what grounds do you have to call me a bigot without taking anything I have said out of context or simply because you disagree with my political view points. Political view points are not racist or bigoted. Eggleston clearly is a religious bigot and makes no bones about it. He has clearly proven his absolute bigotry towards people of faith and just as soon have them all exterminated or put into concentration camps for mind control programming to fit his beliefs. You will not be able to find anywhere where I have belittled any group of people or suggested that they be denied any rights that currently exist under the constitution. You perceive anyone who disagrees with your view points as racist and bigoted and don't want your views put to a vote and if you do loose you will just call everyone who voted against your views a bigot, Typical. Pointing out poor personal behavior and lack of personal responsibility is not racist, it is a factual observation and is not exclusive to one race. This is where your accusation of bigotry most likely comes from and is unfounded.
Posted by jjmd280 8 years ago
jjmd280
sadolite, are you calling someone else a bigot, you black pot?
Posted by sadolite 8 years ago
sadolite
brian_eggleston, You are just a Nazi in secular progressive clothing. I don't buy your "tounge and cheek" crap at all. This is you and this is what you are. One who trys to reverse their position by trying to say they didn't mean it or it was just in fun is always saying exactly what they mean. You are not taking a "stab" at coservatives or people of faith. You are saying exactly what you think. You are not fooling anyone. You are a religios biggot. Why don't you just man up and admit it and quite trying to hide behind your so called humor to try and hide it.
Posted by jason_hendirx 8 years ago
jason_hendirx
I don't think religious retards should be barred from voting. I think they should be gassed or enslaved.
Posted by DiablosChaosBroker 8 years ago
DiablosChaosBroker
Not saying population always wins...
Posted by brian_eggleston 8 years ago
brian_eggleston
Yes, I was surprised too. As you may be aware, I can't vote and even if I could, I wouldn't vote for myself on this one...as you rightly perceived, this debate was tongue-in-cheek and really a vehicle to have a dig at creationists and Republicans!
Posted by KRFournier 8 years ago
KRFournier
Brian, I often read your arguments to be somewhat tongue-in-cheek. My analogy to Rome was extreme, but it was more to make a point. I certainly don't think you want to see Christians thrown to the lions. I enjoyed this debate. I thought I did okay, but 70 points to Pro in one day? Geez!
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