The Instigator
StopSquark
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Ozzyhead
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

Should atheists actively seek to convince the religious populace?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/23/2014 Category: Science
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 683 times Debate No: 53247
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (10)
Votes (0)

 

StopSquark

Con

As an agnostic atheist, I admit that I often find it very tempting to argue against religious beliefs beyond merely expressing my own confidence in our scientific understanding of the universe. However, I believe that such endeavors would be often fruitless, sometimes counterproductive, and ultimately unnecessary.

If a person truly had faith in what he or she believes, no argument or evidence I provide would be sufficient. If not, then in this day and age they should encounter enough scientific and historic knowledge on their own over the course of their lives.

Therefore, while we should express our contrary opinion when religious beliefs come into conflict with scientific understanding, I think it best that religion be left on its own to very slowly but inevitably fade into irrelevance and obscurity.
Ozzyhead

Pro

As an atheist, I actively look for ways to convince people that their religion is unsupportable. I actively do this to encourage people to discontinue their beliefs due to the harm that history has shown it has lead to. THIS is not your responsibility to answer, I'm just throwing this out there: can you convince me that religion is not harmful AND convince me that religion provides a good or service, that is beneficial to society that cannot be achieved through strictly secular means? People use religion for selfish and harmful reasons, whether it be on purpose out truly by belief. This is why actively educating about the problems with their beliefs is important.
Debate Round No. 1
StopSquark

Con

I once believed that religion has done far more "harm" than "good" throughout human history, and I still believe that today, religion no longer serves any vital purpose in human society. However, I have come to realize this line of thinking lacks proper perspective. While today we may see religion, especially its practice by fundamentalists, as detrimental to human progress, at the times of their birth, they filled dangerous vacuums in human knowledge and society. People did not stop asking the questions just because science was not there to provide the answers. Therefore I see religion of one form or another as an inevitable step in human evolution, thus saying that it did more "harm" than "good" is like saying wars did more "harm" than "good". Both are unavoidable hurdles we have to move through to go forward, and just like how we still fight wars today, and probably will still for the foreseeable future, people will keep finding reasons for religion's existence for some times to come.

This does bring us back to the original question: to what extent should we facilitate the decline of religion? After all, the world as a whole is gradually becoming more peaceful, and we do facilitate peace through various means. So what about religion? Here I like to use the analogy to war again. Whereas action through economic sanctions and collective security is akin to improving science education, actively trying to convince the religious populace that their faith is misplaced is like fighting the war in Iraqfruitless, counter-productive, and unnecessary.

History often repeats itself, and one of the patterns that emerged is that religions, especially Abrahamic religions, are most resilient and resourceful when under direct threat, whether real or perceived. It is this characteristic that makes "fighting" religion a lost cause from the very beginning. By trying to end its influence, we play into its hand instead by fanning the flames of paranoia, intolerance, and fanaticism. Instead, our approach should be reactionary rather than provocative. Thus not if, not when, but whenever religion attacks science for undermining its authority, we have the moral high ground of defending what we know to be right.
Ozzyhead

Pro

There are many statements I agree with, but the part about how far are we, or at least am I, willing to go to stop this? Well, I am not willing to go as far as killing or punishing the people, only educate. I agree with the claim 'people can believe anything they want', but when we educate people about what is right and what is wrong and what makes sense and what doesn't make sense, then they approach the world with a much smarter and safer stance and thought process than they would with religious beliefs.
I do disagree when it is said that it is unnecessary. I believe it is all necessary, and very possible with the right approach. These religions are harmful, and unneeded. No one, not a single person, needs to rely on religion for anything unless it is for evil intent.
I believe that it is necessary to educate from the instigator, where the subject is brought up by an atheist, as well as someone defending against a claim made by religion that is against science AND our moral understanding of the world.
Debate Round No. 2
StopSquark

Con

To summarise, it seems that our impulse to actively oppose religious beliefs stems from the knowledge that such beliefs are founded on fantasies and fallacies. So we reason that by actively exposing such flaws, we can make people stop basing their reasoning and morals on religion, thus improving the status quo. I have tried to show that in general, this is not the case. To those indoctrinated in faith, what is to us indisputable scientific or historical evidence, they see as uninformed or even malicious fabrications by man. We cannot hope to change someone's views when they won't even accept our logic and methods. Actively insisting on doing so outside of defending our own views would only result in a more hardened stance, reinforce their misconceptions about our motivations, and make us the crusaders and aggressors.

In the end, such endeavours are ultimately unnecessary because the virtues of the scientific explanation for the universe as opposed to the religious one is self-evident. In science one can predict and create, in religion, one can only believe and stagnate. It is for this reason that we can sit back and allow history to play out while being confident of the outcome—a world where people have realized for themselves that religious faith is no longer needed for understanding life.
Ozzyhead

Pro

You have backed up your claims well, but I do have to disagree with some. Keep pushing without making it look like we are pressing and it will prevail. It takes a long time, but I am destined to see it happen in my life time. I will do whatever it takes to get this message across, even if I die.
Debate Round No. 3
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by LifeMeansGodIsGood 3 years ago
LifeMeansGodIsGood
it's funny, but sad, how dying people will try to justify themselves thinking they will escape punishment in death. God will not be mocked, His Word will stand. His promises will be fullfilled. Every knee will bow to Him, willingly or unwillingly.. He has the right to make you bow, and He will make you bow to Him if you will not bow to him willingly. And you will know it's not a fairy tale, because you will know it was off of your tongue that the words "Jesus Christ is LORD" went out.
Posted by StopSquark 3 years ago
StopSquark
That's the point of this debate, should atheist respond in kind?
Posted by Imjustdebatinghere 3 years ago
Imjustdebatinghere
But don't religious people often try to proselytize atheist?
Posted by CrazyCowMan 3 years ago
CrazyCowMan
@SNP1
Oh, thanks, I didn't know that.
Posted by Ozzyhead 3 years ago
Ozzyhead
The Bible and the story of Christ are stories. Fairy-tale stories that is. If you look at it, you will see main characters having a problem, over coming said problem, and being changed. You will also find that it has protagonist and antagonist with some of it stories, as well as side kicks for those protagonists and antagonists, think Jesus and Peter. You can also find out that the bible is a book based off of a bunch of stories from other, mainly Pagan, religions. It's a fabricated story that isn't even made up because you will see that other religions have the same stories in them.
Posted by SNP1 3 years ago
SNP1
"Um, it is actually impossible to be an "agnostic athiest". they are different things"

Agnosticism and Atheism are not mutually exclusive, you can be both. There are 4 stances you can take when talking about your religious affiliation.
1. Gnostic Theist/Strong Theist- These people claim that a specific God(s) is real (positive claim) and they believe in him/her/them.
2. Agnostic Theist/Weak Theist- These people say that the existence or non-existence of God(s) has not, or can not, be proven, but they do believe that there is a God(s).
3. Agnostic Atheist/Weak Atheist- These people say that the existence or non-existence of God(s) has not, or can not, be proven, and choose to disbelieve in a God(s).
4. Gnostic Atheist/Strong Atheist- These people claim that God does not exist (negative claim) and they do not believe in a God.

These are the four types of religious affiliation. Agnostic and Gnostic are knowledge claims, Theist and Atheist are belief/disbeliefs.

Some people might ask about a middle ground, where you do not believe and do not disbelieve in God(s). This is a paradox, it is not possible. Why? Because the definition of disbelieve is literally no belief. That means that if you do not believe that you disbelieve, if you do not disbelieve then you believe. You cannot not believe while also not disbelieving, by definition it is impossible.
Posted by LifeMeansGodIsGood 3 years ago
LifeMeansGodIsGood
Atheism is used as a false means of self-justification, thinking one will avoid God's judgement over a creature's willfull rebellion against his or her creator. It is the words of people who speak and teach contrary to God's judgement which will quickly and suddenly be confined in the fire of hell where the smoke of the torments of those who finalized their death in rebellion will rise forever while the puffed-headed words they spoke, when God was merciful to give them time before the judgement fell on them, will haunt their memories as they burn. The Word of God will remain forever. It is the words of rebellion against Him that are destined to be forever confined and separated in the Lake of Fire away from Him and His peoples. You guys need to get saved before it is too late, and stop talking like fools.
Posted by LifeMeansGodIsGood 3 years ago
LifeMeansGodIsGood
He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh, the Lord shall have them in derision. This is dumb. Anybody who thinks atheism or agnosticism is innocent of bloodshed is ignorant. Have you ever heard of Stalin? In the name of atheistic communism, he killed millions of his own people. And oh yes, it's very important for fools (the fool has said in his heart, there is no God) to confirm their own willfull ignorance by convincing others to follow in their errors all the way to hell fire.......not realizing they will receive greater condemnation for teaching others to believe in lies.
Posted by CrazyCowMan 3 years ago
CrazyCowMan
Um, it is actually impossible to be an "agnostic athiest". they are different things
Posted by ZebramZee 3 years ago
ZebramZee
Don't quite understand the question. Do you mean to say the 'theistic populace'? Or did you mean to say 'secular humanists' instead of 'atheists'?
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