The Bible is the Greatest Book Ever Written
Debate Rounds (3)
Round 1 - Acceptance
Round 2 - Opening Argument
Round 3 - Rebuttal
In Western civilization, the Bible's work can be seen in everything from the way laws are structured ("Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God." -Romans 13:1), to work ethic ("For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat." -Second Thessalonians 3:10), to the tradition of marriage ("Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." -Genesis 2:24) was molded by Judeo-Christian morals.
The Bible has influenced countless other works of literature. It is, without a doubt, the most-referenced and most-quoted written work in history. Most lines from it have been analyzed and cited in arguments because billions of people believe that those words came directly from the Supreme Being. 85% of American households own a Bible; no other work of literature holds such a majority. Even trivial phrases used in it have passed down as classic proverbs: "No peace for the wicked", "A fly in the ointment", "Fought the good fight", "Turned the world upside down", and of course, any exclamation with the word "God" in it. Many common names in Western culture have, for years, been taken from the Bible (John, Luke, Adam, Mary, etc.).
This is not to say that the entirety of the Bible appeals to everyone. Some of its less popular quotes (i.e. "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them." -Leviticus 20:13 and "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord." -Ephesians 5:22) have been glanced over, but just because there are many parts of the Bible which are unaccepted by modern society doesn't mean the huge amount that has been accepted should be ignored. This is not to say that everything in the Bible is true. I am not a Christian, and I do not accept the Bible as truth, but I acknowledge that it has changed the world more than anything ever written.
Hello people of DDO! I thank Phenenas for giving me an opportunity to take part in this debate. Here I will contest the resolution "The Bible is the Greatest Book Ever Written". To do so I will first of all apply Arnold Isenbergs' analysis of art criticism from his 1949 paper Critical Communication to the resolution and then put forward my own criteria for a good/ great book.
For a small summary, these are the important criteria my opponent used to propose the bible as the greatest book ever written:
- The bible is the widest spread book
- It has/had huge influence on:
1. Western societies
The Subjectivity Of Values
In this paper Isenberg argues that any art criticism is essentially divisible to three parts:
1. The Value Judgement
"The bible is the greatest book"
2. The Substantiation
"...because it so influential"
3. The Norm
"Influential books are great"
But here's the problem. It is hard to agree on norms, after all we want to know why we should think that way, too, similar to ethical norms. For example the works of H.P. Lovecraft are arguably good books, yet they fulfill none of the above mentioned criteria.
My Personal Criteria
Since I am an atheist I could argue that the veracity of books is a criteria for greatness, however that is disputable, too, since Lovecraft's books are not really in accordance with reality either. For this reason I will pick one single criteria most people would surely agree with:
The less people are killed because book, the greater it is.
It completely misses the point of art, literature and philosophy if you start killing people because of it, instead of admiring its beauty.
Therefore I nominate Giles Andreae's book Giraffes Can't Dance (2)
In this opening statement I made a case for the subjectivity of value judgements and proposed "...is not harmful" as the most basic criteria to call a book "great". If you agree that this is what any good piece of literature should at least fulfill then you should vote Con.
(1) Arnold Isenberg, Critical Communication (1949)
(2) The picture is taken from http://www.amazon.com...
If the Bible influences people to wage war, that only serves as proof of its greatness. Is the goal of art really peace, love, and beauty? I would disagree. "Giraffes Can't Dance" is probably a fine book, but it has not influenced culture at all, to my knowledge. Since Con has not accepted the terms of what "greatness" constitutes, this debate seems to be futile.
Negative Case: Responding to Objections
In his last rebuttal my opponent argues that I did not use the term "great" appropriately.
"great (adj) - denoting the element of something that is the most important or the most worthy of consideration."
There are two things that come to mind.
1. if "most important" specifically mean "influence on culture/literature/etc." then my opponent is simply begging the question.
2. if not then my use is totally valid.
Picking 1. would be dishonest since the formulation "most important" is and has to be open enough for interpretation to have any serious debate. If he insists that this is not the case then there would neither be any other book a possible opponent could have proposed nor would there be a point in debating this.
Therefore I reject my opponents query that "great" necessarily has to mean "influential" (in the senses Pro uses).
Positive Case: Why Giraffes Can't Dance is The Greatest Book Ever Written
In the latter part of his rebuttal Pro contests that "...is not harmful" is a good criteria for evaluating books and art in general.
I don't see why "causes the waging of war" is a criteria for good literature, if anything I think it is a sign of bad literature. I stick to my criterion and insist that the whole point of literature is peace, love and beauty. Better to promote these things only a little overall than causing a negative balance.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: con is so trolly, he almost manages to completely turn the arguments into semantism, but I think pro stuck to his original argument well , regardless of con's nearly ridiculous proclamation that Giraffes > The Bible But I think it's a tie, since it's The Bible's influence VS how much people it has killed--Pro doesn't try to really deny the killings, but Con doesn't really manage to show how the killings manage to outweigh the influence. [However, Con does severely lacks asserting that The Bible did in fact, kill many people--only Pro even vaguely mentioned that The Bible caused religious wars]
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