The Instigator
Jerry947
Pro (for)
Tied
3 Points
The Contender
Progressive_Education
Con (against)
Tied
3 Points

School Prayer

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/3/2015 Category: Religion
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 472 times Debate No: 83370
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (8)
Votes (2)

 

Jerry947

Pro

Round One: Arguments are delivered
Round Two: Rebuttal
Round Three: Conclusion
Thanks to anyone who accepts this challenge!

Argument:
Many people struggle over issues revolving around religion. Everybody has their own beliefs, but a huge question that has arisen is whether or not school prayer should be allowed in public schools. The answer is yes. School prayer school should be allowed because the United States government was founded on religious principles, morals cannot be properly taught without it, and because the majority of people in the United States are religious.
For over two hundred years, the government of the United States allowed school prayer to exist. In fact, our country was built on Christian/religious principles. Thomas Jefferson, author of the "Declaration of Independence," said that "we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men were created equal, that they are endowed by God with certain unalienable rights" (Jefferson). Thomas Jefferson told the King of England that they were succeeding because England was violating their unalienable rights given by God. In other words, Jefferson used religious principles as a reason for the colonists to form a new country. But not only is our country founded on religious principles, but our government"s congressional meetings begin with prayer at the start of each session. Since the government is actively involved with prayer, why shouldn"t the governed get involved with prayer as well? Our leaders have set an excellent precedent of prayer. So why shouldn"t we follow our leaders example? Many of our presidents such as Abraham Lincoln have prayed to God during office and have recognized our country as God"s nation. Lincoln, in his "Gettysburg Address," said that our "nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom" (Lincoln). Our leaders and our government have advocated prayer for the majority of our nation"s history. There is no doubt from a historical standpoint that our nation was founded on religious principles including prayer. It is reasonable to allow school prayer again because our nation has supported prayer for most of its existence.
Another reason why school prayer should be allowed is because morality cannot be correctly taught without religion. Only religion can give the most logical explanation for the origin of morality. Most people have an idea of what is right and wrong. Religious people, most of the time state that morality comes from God. This makes sense considering most people abide by an objective moral code that they expect everyone to know about. And the only way an objective moral code could exist is if a God created it. Objective morality can only come from an objective being (God). Now some people might argue that there is no such thing as objective morality or a real right and wrong. But the people that argue this always go back on their claim a moment later (Lewis 6). People try to argue that morality is created by societies. But we also understand that there are societies that have condoned evil practices when in fact people know that the society was wrong. For example, W. H. Auden, a famous 20th century poet, said that "there had to be a reason Hitler was utterly wrong." Auden said this famous quote after going to a theater that showed pictures of the Holocaust. These pictures sickened him and made him rethink his worldview. Before watching these pictures, Auden believed that it was up to the society to decide what was right and wrong. But during his time at the theater he realized that if societies decided what was right and wrong, and if morality is subjective, this would mean that Hitler was justified in everything he did. Well, at least according to that society. And who are we to tell them they are wrong if morality is purely subjective? Therefore, religion gives the best explanation for why there is an objective morality and why it exists.
Even though religion gives a great explanation for why morality exists, it also gives the only reason people have to be moral. According to religion, people are moral to receive gifts or to avoid punishment from God. Others in religion believe they are moral to be more like their loving God. There is no other reason to be moral. Although people have no reason to moral, people may have some objections. Some may argue that they are moral to benefit society. The problem with this response is that benefiting society is part of what it means to be moral. Another objection would be that morality is merely an instinct. The problem with this claim is that people have different instincts which would make morality subjective. And again, if morality is subjective, we could never tell people that they are doing something wrong. Another problem with this argument is that morality is usually that thing that decides between which instincts to follow. For example, if a person were to hear a gun shot and a cry for help, people would most likely have two instincts. One would be to run away from danger; another instinct would be to run to help the person. Morality might push a person to choose the weaker instinct, which is to choose to help the person instead of saving themselves. Therefore, religion gives the only reason to be moral. Without God, there is no reason to be moral. But religion tells people to be moral to please their God or to be more like him.
The last reason why school prayer should be allowed is because the majority of the United States population is religious. According to statistics, "86% of American adults identified as Christians in 1990 and 76% in 2008" (Kosmin 2). It is understood that some people are not religious. But why should the minority get their way? If the minorities do not want partake in the prayer, than they do not have to. They can just respectfully listen and move on with their lives. Why does the majority have to spend extra money on private schools to receive school prayer? In reality, it should be the minority that should have to attend their own private school to get what they want. Let the majority have their way in this case. Although it is also understood that people of different religions might get offended because the Christian God is often the God that is prayed to. But then again, the majority of the United States population is Christian. Let the minorities create their own private schools instead of the other way around. Let the God of Christianity, who the founders of this country supported, be prayed to in public schools.
In conclusion, school prayer school should be allowed because the United States was founded on religious principles, morals cannot be properly taught without it, and because the majority of people in the United States are religious. The arguments against school prayer are really mediocre at best. The arguments for school prayer really do make sense. Without school prayer, something huge is missing from the classrooms. Morality disappears and people become brain washed into thinking that there is no such thing as right and wrong. It seems that school prayer is certainly appropriate for schools.

Sources:
Jefferson, Thomas. "The Declaration of Independence." The Chapters of Freedom.
N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Sept. 2015. .
Kosmin, Barry. "Trinity College Statistics." American Religious Identification
Survey. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Sept. 2015. .
Lewis, C. S. Mere Christianity: A Revised and Amplified Edition, with a New
Introduction, of the Three Books, Broadcast Talks, Christian Behaviour, and
beyond Personality. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2001. Print.
Lincoln, Abraham. "The Gettysburg Address." Speeches and Writings. N.p., n.d.
Web. 14 Sept. 2015. .
Progressive_Education

Con

I have recently found this debate and sought for the opportunity to debate with you. I hope we have a respectable debate in which this is a really heated topic with much conflict(not just verbally) on either end.

In this debate I will be the opponent of your statement that school prayer should be allowed.
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Counterargument #1. "In fact, our country was built on Christian/religious principles. ".....yes, but let us dive into it.

This statement in its essence is very true, but it is crucial to know that the founders of this nation also believed in the separation of church and state. In fact the Pledge of Allegiance in which almost every school in this nation recites never had the words "under God" in its original version until Congress added it which was very unconstitutional that included that particular statement in 1954.

This is the original version of the Pledge of Allegiance -

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Also, in the first amendment it states that

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Anyone with common sense would definitely say that the government allowing school prayer is favoring "an establishment of religion" in which the constitution says not to do.

Your argument also mentions that people of the Christian faith now have to attend private schools for that type of prayer, but the law never prohibits silent praying in which everyone if free to do. Also with a non-official-prayer-zone now everyone must pay a certain price for the luxury of an educational institution that is based on a certain belief.

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Counterargument #2. "[M]orality cannot be correctly taught without religion" , in my opinion that is an immensely subjective statement with many holes in it.

In fact, there is a certain organization that is driven to support people that strive to be morally correct without religion
which is the American Humanist Association states that...

"Humanism is a progressive lifestance that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead meaningful, ethical lives capable of adding to the greater good of humanity."

This statement is already proof that some people believe that morality can be taught without religion. If school prayer were to be allowed then children would be confused, and teenagers would be outraged of the overly support of another belief from the government, and parents would be enraged of showing indifference of other belief systems.

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Counterargument #3 "[S]chool prayer should be allowed [*removed word*] because the majority of the United States population is religious." The minority should have an opinion too which is why a democracy was made.

Although what was mentioned is true, it does not give the government full rights to favor a belief in the slightest. The statistics shown also show a decrease of the Christian population and counting which adds to the fact that one day the Christian population of the United States will be a minority.

To put it in perspective, if the government were to start favoring Islam and has a four minute prayer, people of other beliefs would begin to get offended of the biased system. Having a godless system would be at best because it neither supports or criminalize beliefs systems. A sudden remark will spark up such as "Then the godless system will support atheism", but in fact it does not because it never said there was no God(god, or gods...whichever context you want to use it in) in which most atheist believe(the disbelief or lack of belief in gods, god, or God).

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Summary

Having a non-official-prayer-zone at schools around the nation will prove beneficial in society as people change and have different beliefs in which they hold dearly.
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Sources

-https://ffrf.org...

-https://www.law.cornell.edu...

-http://americanhumanist.org...
Debate Round No. 1
Jerry947

Pro

Thanks for debating with me. I have every intention of being respectful.

Response to 1st Counterargument:

There is nothing unconstitutional about including the words "under God" in the pledge of allegiance. It would only be unconstitutional if people were forced to say it. As for the first amendment, I agree with what you are saying. I do not believe government should make a law respecting an establishment of religion. But our government leaders are allowed to favor a religion. They just can't make laws about the religion they favor. And remember, if government were to not allow school prayer, they would have to make a law about it. And that is unconstitutional according to the 1st amendment as you have already pointed out.

As for Christians attending private schools, they have to do this in order to hear about God at all. But on the other hand it seems crazy that the majority of the student population (who are Christians) have to attend private schools to hear public prayer when they are the majority. Instead of this nonsense, send the minority to private schools if they don't want to hear prayer.

Response to 2nd Counterargument:

The reason you provided for people being moral was addresses in the first round. Your quote from the American Humanist Association basically states that people are moral to benefit society. As I have already discussed, benefiting society is part of what it means to be moral. The question still remains. Why be moral? Or why benefit society? They are the same question. Religion provides the only reasons to be moral as mentioned already. Even the greatest atheists of all time recognize this. Friedrich Nietzsche denied the existence of morality because he realized it could only exist if a God did. See his work "The Antichrist" for details.

Some people do believe that morality can be taught without religion. They are mistaken. No one can provide a reason to be moral unless they are religious. And what evidence do you have that children would be confused? 70% of the United States is Christian and they don't seem to be confused. Also, I am pretty sure that most parents would be delighted to learn that their children have reasons to be moral.

Response to 3rd Counterargument:

I agree that the minority should have an opinion. Nevertheless it shouldn't be the opinion that controls the education system while most of the people that attend schools are Christian. The minority should create their own private schools. Not the other way around.

Not sure if you can prove that Christians will one day be in the minority. But as of right now they are in the majority and their opinion should be the dominant one. As for the government, they shouldn't have any say about it. The federal government has no power to get involved with the public/private education system whatsoever. My point was about the fact that our government leaders set a precedent of religious principles/school prayer and therefore it should inspire the people of the United States to do the same. Let me make myself clear. Government should not make laws about religion or about education. But it sure is allowed to encourage these principles and it has.

Our nation is a Christian nation as of right now and it has been for the past two hundred and more years. It is okay for our government's leaders to favor Christianity regardless if people get offended (why would then get offended?). They have done so and will hopefully continue to do so.
Progressive_Education

Con

You have provided excellent counters for my arguments. I thank you again for being respectful.

Although you present statements that seem plausible on the surface, there is more on the bottom of them.
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Reason #1

Including the words "under God" in fact is unconstitutional due to the fact that for Congress to include the words they had to pass something to the government to establish its stay. The man responsible for including the statement was President Eisenhower thus concluding that the inclusion of the statement goes against the first amendment. Also, removing the statement does not favor anyone(not even atheists)due to the fact that it will become without faith or belief and more like a general statement.

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Reason #2

The minority and majority should come to a consensus of fairness and equality instead of them fighting each other on who should be paying or not. All beliefs should pay a price if they want to hear what is pleasing to their ears in educational facilities.

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Reason #3

You state that morality is only logical to be present when there is a God(gods, or god)controlling ethics from the core. In a sense, there is some sense put into the argument such as what it means to be moral.
There are some flaws though.
There is a certain chemical in the human body that allows us to want ,and achieve into greater depths. Its name is dopamine. Dopamine is the main reason why humans want to keep on living and be happy. It is the fuel for our wanting to live, and makes us feel pleasant when we do something altruistic or accomplishing thus pointing out that some people have a reason to be moral because it gives them a sense of purpose and pleasure; dopamine.

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Reason #4

You point out that the majority should be getting their way, and that is true, but that does not mean that the majority should be shoving their views ,and putting down people that are different. That also points out that the reason the founders of this nation made it in the first place was because of freedom from discrimination and oppression of the minority, and sometimes majority.

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Reason #5

There is no tangible evidence that Christians are going to be a minority and I apologize, but I meant that they might. So to put it in perspective, I gave a different scene where Christians would be the minority.

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Reason #6

Although the nation is technically a "Christain nation"due to the majority being it(regardless of what the media makes it seem like), the minority should be part of the entire body as well. Although it is true that people should not get offended because of leaders religious views in which will turn out that the person getting offended will be a hypocrite due to the fact that they would want to force something upon them, there is no reason to be pretentious about it.

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Sources

-http://www.psychologistworld.com...

-http://www.ushistory.org...
Debate Round No. 2
Jerry947

Pro

Response to Reason One:

I must assert again that including the words "under God" in the pledge of allegiance is not unconstitutional. Let us take another look at the first amendment. It says ""Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." No law was made that forced people to say it, no law was made about the establishment of religion, and no law was made that prohibited the free exercise of any religion. The bill created only added to the pledge in which people could recite it if so desired. Although, I am not sure why we are even discussing this when we should be focusing on school prayer. I realize that your original point was to say that some of the founding fathers (not all were) were for separating the church and the state. That is a fine point but it does not really have much to do with school prayer.

Response to Reason Two:

You are changing your argument. Originally you said that "anyone with common sense would definitely say that the government allowing school prayer is favoring an establishment of religion in which the constitution says not to do." In other words, you originally wanted government to not allow school prayer (which is unconstitutional as I pointed out) and now you are saying that the majority and the minority should come to a consensus of fairness. Which one do you actually believe?

Response to Reason Three:

All I said was that religion gives people the only reasons to be moral. I never said anything about Gods controlling ethics. And as for Dopamine, your article says that it "is released (particularly in areas such as the nucleus accumbens and striatum) by naturally rewarding experiences such as food, sex, abuse of drugs and neutral stimuli that become associated with them." In other words, this chemical has nothing to do with morality (it doesn't reward moral behavior) and it has everything to do with what pleases a human being. So you haven't provided a reason for someone to be moral. In fact, even if this chemical did reward moral behavior, would you tell a prisoner or your future kids that they should be moral so that they can be rewarded by Dopamine? And even if all this were true (which it isn't), some people might get their reward because they fulfill their immoral pleases and then they would have more reason to be immoral. And then nobody could tell any person what was moral and immoral because it would all be subjective and meaningless.

Response to Reason Four:

You basically just admitted defeat when you gave your forth reason. You say that "the majority should be getting there way, and that is true." Originally you arguing that school prayer shouldn't be allowed and know you seem to side with what I am saying. I agree that the majority shouldn't put down the minorities views but that is not the point of this debate. The point is whether school prayer should be allowed in schools or not. It seems that we both now agree that the majority (the people for school prayer) should get their way.

Response to Reason Five:

Thanks for double checking yourself about the theory about Christians being in the minority. I appreciate that. I have to do that many times myself when debating people. If Christians ever go in the minority (which is hard for me to believe), your point will be a lot stronger.

Response to Reason Six:

I would never argue that the minority shouldn't be apart of the entire body as well. I agree 100%. But as of right now, the majority is not getting what they want and the minority is what is being focused on. I have a problem with this.

Thanks for a good debate. I will look forward to your last response.
Progressive_Education

Con

I see much misinterpretation with some of your arguments. Let us see my last argument! I am also delighted to see you being such a challenge for my first debate, and congratulate your respect. Now on to more pressing matters.

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#1

I understand; we should be discussing school prayer and not debating over the "under God" statement. Originally is was used to prove the point that in that sense allowing school prayer is similar. As a conclusion, school prayer is just as unconstitutional. Take a look at this statement from a certain website cited below.

"The Knights of Columbus " a Catholic men"s group " led the lobbying effort to add "under God." Now the Pledge is twisted, with divisive religious language that implies true patriots must be believers.

With "under God" added, the Pledge is not a statement of patriotism. Instead, extremist preachers and politicians point to the language to validate their view that those who don"t believe in God don"t belong."

People had to meddle with the law to get what they want. Anyways that is not the main point here. In its same respect, allowing school prayer is unconstitutional.

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#2

I never changed my argument. I was pointing out that the population should come to a consensus in respecting each others beliefs without anyone overly favoring one view than the other in which is removing any favor of a religious institution such as school prayer.

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#3

I never admitted defeat. Should I give false statement and faulty evidence to prove a point? No, which is why I agreed with a certain statement, but I also did not say that school prayer should be allowed because that will be favoring a religious institution regardless of what the founders' beliefs were. Even one of the old rulers of the U.S said that the future does not belong to the dead. At this moment, it seems that allowing school prayers would allow for some radical bigots to use it as a source of justice for being like that "because the majority is Christian".

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#4

Usually people feel good without even knowing why and usually it is for what society considers "good", or maybe even something else instead of listening to other people. Also , most people are born with morality in the first place with the added fact that being pleasing to your morality usually gives a good pleasure which is in fact the release of dopamine. So whether or not kids believe in God(a god, or gods), they have their own respective views in which they do not need the government allowing school prayer to drive them to doubt what they should believe in.

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#5

The majority and minority should have their say be just as effective. In the early days of the nation they established freedom of religion because the minority was being oppressed in the west. It did not matter if many people said that "we should kill non-believers" because that violated many rights and in its own sense it is just wrong in which school prayer might be allowing a gateway to keep pressuring bigotry in this nation.

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Sources

-http://www.dontsaythepledge.com...

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Having a non school prayer zone will be respecting everyone's views creating a tolerant and harmonic society.

P.S. You have some misspellings in your arguments, but all is good.
Debate Round No. 3
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by Progressive_Education 12 months ago
Progressive_Education
Really good debate overall. You were an excellent challenge for my first debate.

Thank You for Debating,

Progressive_Education
Posted by Peepette 12 months ago
Peepette
Jerry, I was a good debate overall. I enjoyed reading it.
Posted by Jerry947 12 months ago
Jerry947
Well, even though I am losing, I am just glad that my opponent is for some kind of equal representation now that the debate is over. Originally he wasn't for school prayer at all. This was a good first debate.
Posted by Peepette 12 months ago
Peepette
RFD: Grammar spelling, conduct and resources are a tie. Much of the debates focus was focused on three major issues: The use of the word God in the pledge and principal that we are a Christian nation. Should the majority, being Christian, be more favored in representation to have school prayer over the minority; religious morality vs. social morality.
Overall Cons rebuttals on constitutionality on school prayer had greater weight over Pros assertions on most points, with the exception of God used in the pledge. Neither side had stronger arguments which made this point null. In R3 Pro resorted to a straw dog argument on Constitutionality and majority/minority argument. On the religious verses social morality front Con, failed to address Pros assertions on the founding fathers, example of congressional prayer as well as Hitler and Nietzsche giving Pro the edge on this matter. Turning points to Cons favor where equal representation of majority and minority players by of means of consensus against school prayer, as well as silent prayer and prayer zones being offered to mitigate the issue. Furthering his stance, having a majority determining school prayer would negate freedom from discrimination and oppression upon the minority by the majority. Good debate by both parties.
Posted by Peepette 12 months ago
Peepette
RFD: Grammar spelling, conduct and resources are a tie. Much of the debates focus was focused on three major issues: The use of the word God in the pledge and principal that we are a Christian nation. Should the majority, being Christian, be more favored in representation to have school prayer over the minority; religious morality vs. social morality.
Overall Cons rebuttals on constitutionality on school prayer had greater weight over Pros assertions on most points, with the exception of God used in the pledge. Neither side had stronger arguments which made this point null. In R3 Pro resorted to a straw dog argument on Constitutionality and majority/minority argument. On the religious verses social morality front Con, failed to address Pros assertions on the founding fathers, example of congressional prayer as well as Hitler and Nietzsche giving Pro the edge on this matter. Turning points to Cons favor where equal representation of majority and minority players by of means of consensus against school prayer, as well as silent prayer and prayer zones being offered to mitigate the issue. Furthering his stance, having a majority determining school prayer would negate freedom from discrimination and oppression upon the minority by the majority. Good debate by both parties.
Posted by Breezyy 1 year ago
Breezyy
Jerry947 crushed Progressive_Education! I couldn't agree more with Jerry947.
Posted by Jerry947 1 year ago
Jerry947
There is nothing unconstitutional about school prayer.
Posted by Reformist 1 year ago
Reformist
Well its against the constitution

So I'm a little biased
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by wipefeetnmat 11 months ago
wipefeetnmat
Jerry947Progressive_EducationTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Firstly, our nation was founded upon many religious principles as Pro stated. He mentions that these principles are what forms the basis of our morality, which I see as a valid point. The government does not need to to establish a religion to support the morals that religion (and through practicing religion, prayer) impresses upon society. Secondly, as Pro (and sort of Con) states, the majority does rule. If the people want to elect a official that will re-institute prayer into our education system, they should be allowed to receive what they vote for. Thirdly, Pro gives options for participation in these prayers, if it offends you that other people have opinions then you do not have to join in. Con's position does not allow for freedom of choice. It appears to go against Con's argument of constitutionality to oppose this rather innocent part of freedom.
Vote Placed by Peepette 12 months ago
Peepette
Jerry947Progressive_EducationTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: See RFD in comments.