The Instigator
Pro (for)
8 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
7 Points

Society would be better off without religion

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Post Voting Period
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after 3 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/23/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,021 times Debate No: 18950
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (8)
Votes (3)




Against must prove that religion is beneficial to society, that its defects are outweighed by its merits, that religion provides a necessary service which could not be provided by any secular institution.


I accept.
Debate Round No. 1


Christopher Hitchens once issued a challenge to all religious people, saying "Name me an ethical statement made or an action performed by a believer that could not have been made or performed by a non-believer." He goes on to say that, though he has never heard any tenable responses to this statement, he has never met anybody who has any trouble naming an act of violence or destruction performed in the name of religion. Without religion, we would have peace in the middle east. We would be free of movements to inhibit scientific progress by banning stem cell research or teaching the faux science of intelligent design in schools. Contraception would no longer be condemned by the Catholic church, for no such church would exist! I do not mean to condemn all religion in one fell swoop; I do not deny that it does provide many valuable services. I simply contend that these are outweighed by the numerous inhibitions to moral and scientific progress it creates.


Yes, without religion there would be peace in the middle east, or would there? Without religion we you have fewer moral values, many of the things you think of morally wrong today would maybe accepted because religion made those laws over the years.

Also, i don't see how religion has slowed stem cell research. The reason people are against it is because their pro-life. They think that conception is the beginning of life, which it scientifically is. So it isn't religion, it's pro-life people, like me.

You say intelligent design is being taught in schools. This is only sometimes true. most schools only teach evolution, unless you take a Christianity class. The schools that do teach it in their science class are trying to show both sides. In 6th grade I was taught and let us choose which one is right.

Yes contraception would still exist. Because I think that people would think that a fetus is a human life no matter what. So you can't blame that all on religion, especially my catholic faith.

Why religion? In the face of pogroms and pedophiles, crusades and coverups, why indeed?

Religious Americans have answered the question variously. Worship is one answer. Millions gather each week to acknowledge their higher power. The chance to experience community is another. Healthy congregations are more than civic clubs. They are surrogate families. The opportunity to serve others also comes to mind. Americans feed the hungry, clothe the naked and house the homeless largely through religious organizations. Yet as important as community, worship and service are, I am convinced that religion's greatest contribution to society is even greater.

Religion prevents us from being carried away by the tides of the times,because a true religion has an eternal value-system.

Religion guides our actions in life, putting a check on criminal tendency in human nature.

Religion helps to regulate our conduct and behaviour in society by providing a set of morals and value-system for human existence.

As this is a philosophy debate, I will refrain from using sources like I do in political ones
Debate Round No. 2


First of all, I'm pretty sure you took the entire second half of that argument from a USA today article. As to your claim that without religion there would be fewer moral values, I find that utterly absurd. Religion is not the sole provider of morality. Religious doctrines often provide moral guidelines, but most of these are outdated and irrelevant. Morality is a social construct, not the result of religious faith. You say it is not religious people impeding stem cell research, it is pro-life advocates. This may be so; not all religious people oppose stem cell research. The claim that the fact that life begins at conception is scientifically sound, however, is ridiculous. Consciousness is not possible before the third trimester, and most likely does not occur until after birth. True, intelligent design is not usually taught in schools, yet there is a pervasive movement to change this. Teaching "both sides" is absurd, because only one side is scientifically sound and therefore only one side should be taught in schools. I don't understand your point about contraception-would you mind rephrasing that? As I have said before, morality would exist just as abundantly as it does today without the existence of religion. Many atheists are generous, kind, noble, moral people, just as many religious people are morally corrupt and lacking in values.


Ok, I didn't copy and paste from that article, but skimmed thorough it and many other sites because i don't know much about atheism, Islam, and Jewish customs. I needed to be educated before making a good response.

There are many moral atheists and i agree. But if religion never existed most of these morals wouldn't be i place. It was the ten commandments that laid out the frame works for the rest of these morals. So yes atheists and religious people have the capability of being good and bad, but we needed religion to make the first morals, this cannot b denied.

And it's stay out of saying life at conception is a myth, we can debate about this later if you please.

How is teaching both sides absurd? Just because one has scientific evidence and the other one doesn't do what. Should we outlaw people who say the earth isn't warming? Science proves that t is, but why outlaw their teaching? And b0th are taught in schools. I think one needs both sides to understand their history. So people should teach both.

Morality would still exist today, well yes. Once again I will state, morality will always exist, bu with out religion people may have a totally different mindset. Which could be good or bad. All I am saying is that religion makes morality more efficiently, and sometimes this is good or bad.

So in conclusion, religion should stay because people should be free to believe what they want to believe.
Debate Round No. 3


It's not a question of restricting freedom of religion, it's simply a question of whether or not society would be better off without religion. Of course it can be denied that religion was needed to make the first morals. Morality is essentially an instinct derived from our tribal origins. It behooved us as a species to cooperate, and so the groundwork was laid for a system of mutual reliance which comprises what we now call "morality". I agree that the issue of when life begins is a debate for another time. As for the issue of whether or not evolution should be taught in schools, I do not advocate censorship of proponents of intelligent design, I simply think that in order to be taught in schools, something ought to be scientifically sound. You can teach people all about intelligent design anywhere else, but you cannot force feed it to children via the public school system, as it has no legitimate scientific basis. I agree that people should be free to believe what they want to believe, but that is not the question we're debating.


well, first off intelligent design wouldn't be crammed down one's throat. You teach both. You say that one is based on faith, the other on fact. If you don't teach it a kid wouldn't be well rounded on the idea. You need both sides before you make a decision... that's all I say.

Also, you say you can deny where morals came from. You say it wasn't religion, so please provide an answer, an alternative so we can see where you stand instead of just denying it.

Over the past decade, considerable research has emerged that demonstrates the benefits of religious practice within society. Religious practice promotes the well-being of individuals, families, and the community.

Of particular note are the studies that indicate the benefits of Religion to the poor. Regular attendance at religious services is linked to healthy, stable family life, strong marriages, and well-behaved children. The practice of Religion also leads to a reduction in the incidence of domestic abuse, crime, substance abuse, and addiction. In addition, religious practice leads to an increase in physical and mental health, longevity, and education attainment. Moreover, these effects are inter generational, as grandparents and parents pass on the benefits to the next generations.

America's Founding Fathers understood the vital role that Religion plays in a free society. Far from shielding the American people from religious influence, the Founders promoted the freedom of religion and praised the benefits that it brings to society. George Washington articulated this in his farewell address to the nation:

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism who should labor to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness-these firmest props of the duties of Men and citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that National morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.
Debate Round No. 4


I just want to say that that's the second time you've just copied and pasted an article from somewhere into this debate:

You did it earlier with the USA Today article. Anyway, there's no need to teach the controversy, because there is no controversy. If you believe in intelligent design, by all means teach it in a church or some sort of religious forum, but don;t mandate its teaching in public schools- this is an obvious violation of the first amendment.

I did provide an explanation of where morals come from. They are a product of our evolution, a result of our tribal nature. As we do not possess claws or sharp teeth, nor small size or great speed, we needed a means of defending ourselves. Thus we came to rely on communities to protect us from predators- one man may not be a formidable foe for a wolf, but ten certainly are. Due to the critical nature of these communities, we developed what we now called morality- that is, an innate desire to help one's fellow man. This trait was obviously beneficial, for the societies which relied on mutual beneficence prospered while others died out. Thus evolved morality. This is obviously an enormous oversimplification, as it would take ages to write out the entire evolutionary history of this trait, but you get the gist of it.

Religion is certainly not all negative. It does often provide group solidarity or social stability for families in strenuous circumstances. My assertion is simply that the overall benefits are outweighed by the negative effects it has on society. To quote Pascal, "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction". The pervasive influence of radical Islam on modern society is evidence of this. From Northern Ireland to New York City, acts of religious violence have rent apart the lives of millions of people, and these simply cannot be overlooked by noticing that religion often does some good.


I still don't think that teaching intelligent design is against the first amendment. If you teach both, which is what I said, then you aren't censoring anyone. If you only teach one thing that means that you are being biased. Maybe don't teach Intelligent design in science class, but maybe in history or literature. Many books that you read need you to have basic knowledge of the bible to understand them. Or in history when you need to know about the roman religion. Don't ban it's teaching, but teach it in ways that allow both sides to talk.

I couldn't quote it because my keyboard was all ghetto. But I didn't feel like re-wording it so sorry about that. I fixed it so if I do it in the future then I can quote it. Sorry about that. I didn't think italics would be appropriate.

Our evaluation didn't create morals until religion made a basic foundation. Many of these tribes believed that the bear or the sky was their god. Maybe paganism. So their morals were more flexible, like kill people who believe in different things, but these were created by their religion. Before this people would 1. get food, 2. get water, 3. make shelter, 4. get a mate/wife whatever you want to call it, and 5. bash you neighbor with a rock. well those bear religions didn't sound good, but this was just kind of a random rage. When the main religions began to form more civilised morals came to form. So a few morals where through evolution, but the big ones (not killing for example) was because religion said not to.

You say that the benefactors are less then the disadvantages. Radical Islam is one of your sole examples. Radical Islam isn't a religion. Muslims look down on them and think their traitors. My Muslim friends say that their the most sinful people on earth. If there is one true God, why would he desire death, martyrdom, war or murder in his name?
Muslims, Judaism, Christianity are not about killing. If you go into depth into the Jihad belief it is that killing is self defense. It needs to be self defense. So the radicals are exaggerating their faith so much that Muslims don't consider them a religion.

This is my first philosophical debate so please write down on you vote or in the comments on my performance so I may critique my performance, and know why I lost/won.
Debate Round No. 5
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by 16kadams 6 years ago
It's not terrible I'm putting comma's to show that the clauses (usually adv) are not needed. Although I made a few grammatical errors with extra comma's. Overall my grammar is O.K.
Posted by Crayzman2297 6 years ago
Con's grammar is terrible... and both need more concrete evidence to support their claims.
Posted by Illegalcombatant 6 years ago
How about dual burden.....

Pro has to show that Society would be better off without religion.

Con has to show that society would be overall better off with religion.
Posted by BlackVoid 6 years ago
If you can change it to 4 rounds and make the voting period a week I'll accept immediately.
Posted by shimmelman 6 years ago
Posted by 16kadams 6 years ago
well, do you mean historically or now, because either way i might take your challenge.
Posted by 16kadams 6 years ago
well, do you mean historically or now, because either way i might take your challenge.
Posted by wjmelements 6 years ago
I'm pretty sure that the burden PRO assigns is outside the resolution. CON should only have to negate that the net change in societal welfare due to religion is negative.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by GWindeknecht1 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Con plagiarized half of his argument in round 2, all points going to Pro for this reason. Plagiarism won't be tolerated. (regardless of the type of the debate)
Vote Placed by Cerebral_Narcissist 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:14 
Reasons for voting decision: Neither party argued very well, arguments were unstructured and weak. Pro failed to demonstrate his case convincingly, and though Con's arguments were weak he did demonstrate crudely that religion had a social utility, this was not properly addressed. Pro loses conduct for claiming plagarisim without evidence, con loses spelling and grammar for his his poor English, Pro loses arguments.
Vote Placed by imabench 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: all the examples the pro told of what religion has done against society could be a result of something other than religion. Con then took examples from sources (which hes allowed to do) which made his argument stronger while Pro then danced around the issue of morals and what is taught in schools. Decent debate