Resolved: Government in the United States ought not function through Biblical principles.
Debate Rounds (5)
This round is for acceptance only.
I accept your challenge.
Please excuse the rather late posting of my argument, but I am glad that my opponent has decided to debate this with me, and I must affirm the resolution. My only definition from the resolution is the following in order to clarify it as such:
Function (v.): "to carry on a function or be in action : operate" (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
With these definitions established, we move on to the iteration of my case.
Contention 1: Biblical principles are unjust.
To utilize the basic principles of the Bible in order to perform government functions of policymaking and interpreting justice would be counterintuitive because the principles themselves are inherently unjust when analyzing it through the perspective of granting fairness and equal rights to all people.
Sub-point 1a: The Bible is prejudiced against women and homosexuals.
The nature of prejudice is inherentle unjust because it denies essential rights and equal treatment to a group of people simply because of their being in that group of people without reasonable explanation of why this group of people is less deserving of said rights and privileges. This is exactly what the Bible does with the following clauses:
Colossians 3:18; 1 Corinthians 11:3; Genesis 3:16; Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:23; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Romans 1:18-32.
Sub-point 1b: The Bible promotes violence against members of other religions.
Deuteronomy 13:13-19; Deuteronomy 13:7-12
Regions in the United States that are generally more socially conservative tend to have higher incidences of suicide and bullying rates among homosexual teenagers, according to not only the study explained in the article "Pediatric study: suicide among gay and straight teens higher in politically conservative regions," but countless other articles as well that detail the effects of conservative environments on homosexuals. Bullying is also higher in said regions.
The Founding Fathers were adamant in belief that religion is negative
James Madison had the following to say: " Religion and government will both exist in greater purity, the
less they are mixed together."
Thomas Jefferson had the following to say: " I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole
American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law
respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise
thereof," thus building a wall of separation between church and state."
Benjamin Frankling had the following to say: "I wish it (Christianity) were more productive of good works ... I
mean real good works ... not holy-day keeping, sermon-hearing ... or making long
prayers, filled with flatteries and compliments despised by wise men, and much
less capable of pleasing the Deity."
Before I begin I would just like to state that I don't completely believe our laws should be based on all Biblical principles. I believe that one should have the freedom to worship whichever god one chooses (or no god), and that the government should not force a belief on you.
What I will be arguing is that our government would do well to base its laws on Christian morality.
I will first respond to Pro's argument, then add some points at the end.
Contention 1: Biblical Laws Are Unjust
Pro has not established what "fairness and equal rights to all people" means. In fact, here in the United States, we don't enjoy absolute freedom. We have the freedom of speech, but not to yell fire in a public place or to threaten the President. We have the freedom to get married, but not to marry a minor or close family member. This is unfair to those who wish to do the things they are not allowed to do. Therefore rejecting Christian morality because it won't be fair to everyone is a poor reason to do so.
Sub-point 1a: The Bible is prejudiced against women and homosexuals.
Part of proper Biblical understanding is to understand the verses in the context of the passage, and in its historical context. The Bible is not prejudiced against women, nor is it prejudiced against homosexuals, as human beings. I'll briefly explain each verse Pro has used.
Colossians 3:18/1 Corinthians 6:9, 10, 11:3/Genesis 3:16 -- men are not to rule over women with an iron fist. Women are only to submit to their husbands because men are the head of the household, as Christ is the head of the church. This doesn't mean women are supposed to be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. It means that the final say goes to the man (the head), and he is to love her as Christ loves the church, including treating her with love and respect and giving his own life to protect her, if needed.
Leviticus 18:22/Romans 1:18-32 -- Again, the Bible is not prejudiced against homosexuals as people. However, homosexuality goes against God's plan for marriage (as does fornication and adultery, which are just as heinous as homosexuality). We are not to hate them, nor to take away their rights as individuals. However, marriage is not a basic human right, and we don't have the right to marry anyone we want.
Establishing laws based on true Christian morality would not give women any less rights than men, nor would it treat homosexuals as anything other than human beings deserving of equal protection under the law.
Sub-point 1b: -- The Bible promotes violence against members of other religions.
Here Pro talks again about homosexuality, but homosexuality is not a religion. I fail to see how this is relevant to his sub-point 1b.
All I can say in rebuttal to this sub-point is that the United States is not a theocracy, nor should it be. Old Testament Judaism was a theocracy. We are living in New Testament times, as Christians. Jesus, whom Christians follow, preached a gospel of love as well as getting along with each other, despite our disagreements. However, He didn't preach that we should accept sin or allow crimes to happen in our nation. As such, there is no Christian mandate to persecute members of other religions, just to witness to them peacefully. This would be done on the individual level, not the state or national level.
The Founding Fathers were adamant in belief that religion is negative.
Pro's quotes from James Madison and Thomas Jefferson don't prove his point, only that those two men believed the state should not regulate religion, which I agree with.
His quote from Benjamin Franklin also doesn't support his point, but it also shows that Franklin didn't have a proper understanding of Christianity, which is productive of good works (from those who honestly follow the teachings of Christ).
I would just like to add that most of what Christianity teaches against people can get behind. For instance, murder, rape, and theft should be illegal. There are other activities, such as lying and adultery, which it wouldn't really make much sense to make illegal, but the government can still promote not lying (such as their laws against perjury and breaking contracts) and not committing adultery. A government that derives its morality from the Bible would be taking the moral high ground, even if those who follow the Bible don't always act like they do.
Beginning logic: One of the things that I would like to emphasize on is the idea that my opponent is trying to promote. Although he argues that people have the right to worship whomever they want and government should not force religion down on anyone, he argues that American law should be guided by principles of Christian morality, which makes no sense considering that he would be enforcing Christian dogma on society via the enforcement of the law, thus enforcing a religion because these idealisms would be directly based on Christianity.
Contention 1 response: Fairness and equal rights to all people means fairness and equal rights to all people. I have explained in my case how the Bible has been discriminatory to other groups of people simply because they are part of that said group of people rather than on morally relevant reasons, meaning that the Bible inherently goes against standards of fairness and equal rights, and going forth with such idealisms through the administration of the law would result in discrimination based on Biblical principles--most widely seen against members of the LGBT community. My opponent claims that inequality is a poor reason to reject Christian morality, even though the entire basis of laws and the Constitution (in theory) in America is trying to uphold equality and liberty within our society. We see this in the Preamble of the Constitution, which creates the entire purpose of the Constitution and other segments therein. Therefore, a move away from justice is a move away from the basic foundations of American society (and societies in general).
Sub-point 1a: First and foremost, my opponent only argues that men are not supposed to rule over women harshly, and he explains how he needs to treat her with love and respect. He in no way argues against the basic premise that the woman takes up a subordinatory role according to the rules of the Bible. At the end of the day, the man is still ruling over the woman because the Bible says that he should under this scenario, and at this point, where a woman is required submission, this is still sexism. At this point, my sub-point can still be extended across the flow. I also ask in what context is a woman not required to be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. My opponent also argues that the Bible is not prejudiced against homosexuals as people, even though I have provided the clause from Romans 1:18-32, where it states that homosexuals will not attain the Kingdom of Heaven, and the clause from Leviticus 18:22, where it states that men who have sex with other men will have their blood on their heads (a threat against homosexuals), and at the point where my opponent is pretty much calling homosexuality heinous and equal to fornication and adultery, it only emphasizes the idea that Biblical standards are prejudiced. I ask: why is homosexuality so heinous? Why is it immoral, according to the Bible? My opponent brings up marriage into this debate, even though gay rights is not limited to gay marriage. There's the recent law in Tennessee banning schools from talking about homosexuality in class. There's the laws in Georgia and other states banning sodomy, including one in Texas overturned in Lawrence v. Texas (1995). From these actions, where these laws are enforced in states notable for their more socially conservative actions based on faith, we can clearly see that gay marriage is not the single issue when it comes to gay rights and how they are compromised by having laws that are faith-based (any evidence needed will be provided in the next round).
Founding Fathers: Please understand, Judges, who these men were. The Founding Fathers were the men that created the original framework for how society should run in America, and at the point where Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, and other founding fathers who disagreed with the integration of church in state (like John Adams and others) were adamant in their belief that the government should not use religion in their decisions, it's evident that running government through religious principles is totally contradictory to the basic principles of American society.
I would also like to apologize in advance, but I forgot to add these contentions into my introduction. My apologies.
Contention 2: Christianity has been detrimental to society
Not only shall we look at the actual religious doctrine itself, but analyze the effect that Christianity has had on the society through history, and we will notice that Christianity has been a poison in not only text, but effects of the text.
Sub 1a: Christianity has inhibited science
Science is required in order for society to better itself by enhancing knowledge about the natural world. However, more often than once has Christianity prevented science from developing properly and quickly. The best examples could be the treatment of Galileo Galilei after his proposal on the idea of heliocentrism or the infamous Scopes Trial in Tennessee 1925.
Sub 1b: Christianity has prompted for bigotry and inequality
The teachings of Christianity have prompted general hatred against groups of people in the country, leading many minorities including gays, Muslims, atheists, and others to be subjected to inequality and hatred by the community. The examples are endless as to how Christianity has done this. An excellent example would be Rev. Jerry Falwell's comments after 9/11.
Contention 3: The good things from Christianity are irrelevant
When we analyze what Christianity really has done and what kind of idealism and doctrine it tries to place over society, we notice that Christianity is essentially attempting to make as many people in the society adhere to their doctrine. People are pretty much condemned if they deviate from the doctrine in any way, and because the good things aren't totally genuine if they're trying to better the all of society just to install this doctrine and condemn anyone if they deviate from it, we can argue that the good things from Christianity are pretty much irrelevant.
Morality is not construed to the Bible. Secular principles of morality, such as harm principle and others, also condemn these actions. I'm not seeing why the Bible is needed in order to protect these moral principles.
To say that our laws should be based on Christian morality is not to promote the religion of Christianity. After all, our laws are based on some kind of morality. Many of the laws in place are in agreement with Christianity, such as murder, rape, and theft being illegal. Even lying is illegal in some cases (e.g. perjury).
Contention 1 response:
Pro has not shown that any discrimination would go on if our laws were based on Biblical principle. There is certainly no law that would be discriminatory toward women if they were based on Biblical law.
There would also be no laws discriminating against homosexuals. They would still be protected by law. However, denying them marriage is no more discriminatory than denying a pedophile to the right to marry a minor, or denying a man from marrying his sister. Gay rights is not about equality -- it's about giving them more rights than heterosexuals. Marriage is not a right guaranteed by our Constitution. We do not have absolute freedoms in our country. We do not have the right to just marry whomever we want. Even in a country that doesn't base our morality on the Bible, there is still discrimination that goes on. There will always be discrimination as some people groups will not be happy that the laws are how they are.
Again, the Biblical position of the head of the household is not sexist. It's the established order of things. God is a God of order, not of chaos. You may as well argue that the pastor should not be the head of church, that all members should have equal say. Do you realize how chaotic that would be?
Again, the man does not rule over the woman with an iron fist. They are in a relationship of mutual love and respect. However, the man is the head of the household. The woman is not supposed to go keep her head down and her mouth shut. Her opinions are just as valuable as his are.
If the Bible was based on Christian morality, there would be no laws violating their rights as humans. I have shown this, and therefore his sub-point fails.
Regarding the verses in Leviticus, I think Pro has confused Christianity with Judaism. The Jews were a Theocracy in Old Testament times. Their punishments were harsher for certain crimes committed. I don't think there's any basis in the New Testament for criminalizing homosexuality. The Bible is quite clear that it is immoral and that homosexual offenders won't get into Heaven. But that refers to people who have sex with members of the same sex. Those who just have the urge but abstain from it are still eligible for Heaven. And those that do engage in it can still be forgiven, but it requires giving up the lifestyle (even though the urges might not go away). It's the same principle for any sin, which people struggle with.
Denying someone the freedom to do something is not necessarily discriminatory, especially if that thing is against the law. After all, marriage is not an absolute freedom, just like any other freedom that we enjoy.
He asks why is homosexuality so heinous? The answer is because it violates God's marriage plan. The reason that a second gender was created was so that there could be a family unit. Adam was lonely and there was not a suitable mate. So God created woman. Adam then says that a man will leave his mother and father and be joined to a woman, and they will become one flesh (Genesis 2). The reason why any sexual sin, including fornication and adultery, is so heinous is that because by having sex, a man and woman become as one flesh. Sex is supposed to be between one man and one woman, and they are supposed to be committed to each other for life (which is why divorce is the same as adultery, Matthew 5-7). Sex and marriage are supposed to be treated respectfully, and as a lifelong commitment to your spouse. Any sexual sin violates God's plan for the family unit.
I can't say for sure that homosexuality wouldn't be against the law if our laws were based on Christian morality. However, even if it was this wouldn't be discriminatory against homosexuals unless you would also make the claim that it would also be discriminatory against pedophiles, people who want to engage in incest, people who want to engage in bestiality (which does happen), etc. Our freedoms in this country are not absolute, as I have already stated.
I really think that calling on the founding fathers is irrelevant. What if our founding fathers had believed that church should be inseparable with the state? Then we would have laws based on the morality with which they ascribed. I believe that his argument here commits the fallacy of appeal to authority.
Actually, before a hundred or so years ago, scientists actually believed in God. Scientists were creationists in some respect or another, and this includes Galileo. Specifically, it was the Catholic church that treated Galileo (and earlier, Copernicus) unfairly when it came to promoting the new heliocentric view of the universe. This is not limited to Catholicism or religion in general. With something that changes our entire worldview (such as when it was commonly accepted that the world was flat), those changes are hard to accept. What about if NASA ever discovers intelligent life on another planet? There will be many who will remain skeptical about it, even atheistic scientists.
Christianity does not promote scientific slothfulness. There are Christian scientists. Christians are as diverse as atheists are. There are those who welcome scientific advancement and those who don't.
The examples may be "endless" (which is a very dubious statement) of his examples, but the people making them are not. Jerry Falwell is one example of a very vocal minority of alleged Christians. Pro believes in Christianity as the media portrays us, as unintelligent bigots. However, the majority of Christians follow the Biblical precepts of love and respect of others, even those who disagree with our position. The Biblical way of dealing with someone is not to mistreat them in any way, but simply to "shake the dust off our shoes" and move on. It's unfortunate, but there are some who overlook the Biblical mandate of love your neighbor and your enemy.
Pro has not offered compelling arguments for why the good things from Christianity are irrelevant. It is not the Christian way to force our religion on anyone. One can not be forced into Christianity (though there are those who have tried). But laws based on Christian morality would not force anyone to follow God. No where in the Bible are we told to force our beliefs on others, or to annoy them into submission to the Christian position.
Why Biblical morality should be adhered to:
As I have shown, freedoms are not absolute. Even in the country as we have it now, we do not have absolute freedom. We have freedom of speech, but not to shout fire in a crowded theater or to threaten the President. So basing our laws on Christian morality would not change things as to some people feeling discriminated against.
However, laws under Biblical morality would cut down on our society being so chaotic. People feel that they can live however they want, and it leads to chaotic behavior. I believe that freedom is a wonderful thing, but people need boundaries. I don't believe that every little minute moral detail should be made legal or illegal, and I don't think there's New Testament precedent for that, but certain things, such as the institute of marriage, should be more greatly respected. If it were, we'd have a more respectful country, with people who respect each other, than the one we have now.
ScarletGhost4396 forfeited this round.
Well, Pro has forfeited the last round so I extend all my arguments into the next round.
ScarletGhost4396 forfeited this round.
Unfortunately my opponent has also forfeited the final round. Needless to say, vote Con.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Ron-Paul 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit.