The Instigator
calculatedr1sk
Pro (for)
Winning
8 Points
The Contender
BrandonButterworth
Con (against)
Losing
6 Points

The Morality of the Bible is Outdated

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Post Voting Period
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after 4 votes the winner is...
calculatedr1sk
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/2/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,742 times Debate No: 34334
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (21)
Votes (4)

 

calculatedr1sk

Pro

Many people, especially in the United States, still center their lives around the Bible and its teachings. The Golden Rule and the Ten Commandments are held up as our foundations of morality, and in my mind, mistakenly so. Secularist advances, backed by research and experimentation in fields such as game theory, economics, evolutionary biology, psychology, sociology, and neurology provide evidence that there are better principles around which we can organize our lives, principles which will consistently lead to more prosperous lives and more harmonious societies.

Resolved: The Morality of the Bible is Outdated, and Inhibits Human Prosperity and Harmony Compared to Modern Secularism.

First round is for acceptance. Burden of Proof rests on Pro.




BrandonButterworth

Con

I accept your terms kind sir.
Commence round 2.
Debate Round No. 1
calculatedr1sk

Pro

I thank my opponent for accepting, and as I see he is a new member, I extend my warm welcome to our community. As articulate and learned as you have presented yourself to be in your other debate, I have no doubt you’ll fit right in, and am delighted to have an opponent capable of presenting a worthy case for Con. Though fairly new here myself, I’ve found this place to be home to people of extremely varied perspectives, and I like to think that such diversity enriches all who participate.

One of the reasons that decided to instigate this debate is to confront some very serious popular misconceptions. I’d like the reader to begin our journey with a moment of reflection - honest reflection – on the question of how one generally comes to “know” of Biblical truth and divinity. Early childhood indoctrination? Threat of social exile from one’s friends and family? Fear of death? Hopelessness? A need for purpose? Coercion? Torture? Enslavement? Colonial imposition? Throughout history, these would seem to have been likely processes by which many millions have found Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. None of these reasons seems a very compelling way to find truth when stacked up against dispassionate, objective, peer reviewed secular knowledge.

And yet, even still today, with an irony that seems completely lost on them, the theist majority gloatingly describes the choice between embracing Biblical “truth”, or accepting to live as an unbelieving social pariah as “free will.” There are areas in America where atheists are fired from jobs for their beliefs (or lack thereof), and are even denied the opportunity to run for public office - not that they could possibly hope to ever win elections, no matter how well qualified. [1] The tide of Christian bigotry is simply too overwhelming for an openly unbelieving politician to ever hope to swim against.

Shrewd politicians, regardless of what they actually believe, tend to stoke the prejudice of the masses. There is perhaps some sophomoric amusement to be had watching the embarrassment of these politicians who make claims about the incredible value of the Ten Commandments, but yet can’t name what they are when put on the spot. Still, I’d gladly trade such simple pleasures to instead see an enlightened United States.

Through the course of this debate, I will not be contending that it is impossible to live a moral life using the principles of the Bible. The reader may note that it is also not impossible to drive from New York to Las Angeles in an obsolete Ford Model T (though an iron age chariot might be the better analogy for the Bible). My point is that just because one could theoretically use the Bible as the basis for a good, prosperous, and moral life of peace and harmony, that hardly implies it must then be the best way to get there.

I will also not contend that all non-theistic morality is inherently superior to Biblical morality. It depends greatly what processes are used. For example, the Soviet Union was atheist, and imposed that atheism by force, brutality, discrimination, etc… just as theism often has, and it fared no better. Instead of honest, free, and peer reviewed evaluation of data, the dogmatic pseudo-science supported by party ideologues was the only acceptable “truth” to be found. If my opponent wants to resort to the traditional theist mantra that “the worst crimes of the 20th century were perpetrated by atheists,” then he will ever so bravely be knocking down a straw man, as so many of his allies have done before him. To claim that Nihilism or Communism must inevitably represent the end game of Secular Humanism is about as false and ridiculous as if I were to claim that Mormonism and Islam represent the inevitable end game of Christianity. But even so, we hear it all the time, do we not?

One last line of argument I expect to see from my opponent, but that I would like to prepare the reader against is the idea that the Bible must necessarily be the highest morality by definition because it comes from God. Hereafter I will refer to this idea as Divine Command Theory (DCT). By DCT, God’s command alone is what makes something moral or immoral. That is to say, when the God of the Bible tells you to enslave your neighbor and rape their wives, it is moral to do so, and you are wrong to resist. When the God of the Bible demands that you stone rebellious children and prostitutes, it is moral to do so, and wrong to resist. When the God of the Bible tells you that you must slaughter every man, woman, and little child of the neighboring tribe, his command is by definition morally just. As insurance against theist semantics, I embedded “prosperity” and “harmony” into the resolution itself, so that to effectively use DCT in this debate, Con would need to demonstrate that Biblical commands such as the ones above tend to lead to prosperity and harmony. Should he pretend that there are only warm and fluffy scriptures to be found in the Bible (which yes, they are there too) he will be cherry picking, and I will be delighted to provide counterexamples to help round out the picture more accurately.

As I finish my opening argument, I submit that the Humanist Manifesto 3 [2] provides a superior moral foundation than the Bible because it promotes ideas like separation of church and state which through trial and error humans have discovered works well, but which Bible writers could not have known. Additionally, it does not carry with it the harsh, brutish, xenophobic, misogynistic intuitions of the ancient patriarchs who wrote the Bible. I do not claim it is the best moral foundation possible; merely that it is superior to the one set by the Bible.

1) http://www.patheos.com...

2) http://www.americanhumanist.org...






BrandonButterworth

Con

I want to thank you for your kind words, hopefully we can have a spirited "debate". No pun intended.

To begin our journey together if we want to have an "honest" reflection, then I think you missed one simple alternative to know Biblical truth, that there may actually be a God. To be objective in this debate I think we have to leave open the possibility that you may be wrong in your assumption about Christianity, that was most likely a product of a secular education, regurgitated myths, and/or a lack of religious understanding.

Just so we don't compare apples to oranges; the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Communist China, (just to name a few of the atheistic governments) committed the worst atrocities known to man on a massive scale. To contrast this with Christianity (or theism in general) is illogical, and just pales in comparison. And note, Nazi Germany is not communist. To want to just brush this aside is to deny the truth.

I wanted to touch on your Divine Command Theory. I believe God, who is the creator of all creation, and most of all humans, has every right to destroy his creation. Think of it this way; if you painted a picture and someone destroyed it, it would be wrong, but if you destroyed it, it would be justifiable, as you were the one who painted it. Furthermore, as a Christian, We believe in eternal life and that death is not the end. And our ultimate goal is not to live a life full of self indulgence but to live a life in union with God. For our purpose is to obtain Heaven, our ultimate home.

Concerning Separation of Church and State, I whole heartily agree that the state should not impose a state religion, as was the original intent. I do disagree with the atheistic interpretation of Separation of Church and State. Which seems to want to annihilate any expression of religion in the public sphere. America was founded on Christian principles; therefore, to deny Christians the right, as guaranteed by the constitution, to openly practice their faith is just plain wrong.

The original intent of this debate was to argue about the morality contained in the bible. Not the morality of nominal Christians. I've noticed with atheists that they exploit the dark side of Christianity, never recognizing the achievements of Christianity: the charitable organizations, universities, the "scientific method", The Big Bang Theory, etc. All the while based on biblical morality.

In closing I would like you to answer, what part of the morality in the bible is outdated?
Debate Round No. 2
calculatedr1sk

Pro


For how shall we fill people with blind faith in the correctness of a doctrine, if we ourselves spread uncertainty and doubt by constant changes in its outward structure?


...Here, too, we can learn by the example of the Catholic Church. Though its doctrinal edifice, and in part quite superfluously, comes into collision with exact science and research, it is none the less unwilling to sacrifice so much as one little syllable of its dogmas... it is only such dogmas which lend to the whole body the character of a faith.


-Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf) [3]


A) Hitler grew up a Catholic, received communion, and never publically abandoned his Catholic identity. I would agree with those who say that he was not adhering to Christian values when he committed his atrocities, and even that he privately despised the doctrines of the Church even as he admired and emulated its organization hierarchy and propaganda strategies. There was considerable Catholic opposition to Nazism, and so I don’t want to give readers a false impression that I blame the Church directly for Nazism. Nevertheless, I am not nearly as quick as you are to absolve Catholicism from answering for its fair share of responsibility for what happened during the Third Reich. [4]


B) Christians, including Catholics, had been pouring hatred atop Jews like fuel for centuries through Blood libel [5], combined with popular Christian interpretation of the scripture Matthew 27:24-25 [6]. Hitler used Catholic religious tyranny as the model for his brand of Nazi political tyranny, as his own quote above supports. Sadly, even today there are high-profile and influential Catholics that still struggle with anti-Semitism [7][8][9].


C) Catholicism doesn’t simply get to spill the gasoline, light the match, and walk away with its finger pointed at Richard Dawkins for the holocaust, as if it were his fault. [10] By your “worst atrocities are by atheists” argument, you are basically implying that Secular Humanists are the same as Nazis, simply because neither group believes in a God. This is just as absurd as claiming that pacifist Pennsylvania Quakers are the same thing as Al Qaeda jihadists because they both do believe in a God. Voters should hold you accountable for this.


D) Your commentary on DCT fares no better. People are not lifeless paintings, so your comparison is an obvious Faulty Comparison fallacy [11]. I wonder how it would play out if later today, you came across an old man standing over his son, who is tied up on an alter. The old man raises his knife high, about to plunge it into the young man - would you decide to confront him? Call the police? If you did demand an answer as to what he’s doing and why, suppose he replies back, “Oh, it’s okay, I’m his father, I can do whatever I want with him. Besides, God told me to.” Somehow I doubt you’d be more satisfied with his answer than I would be. Compare the story I describe to the one in Genesis 22:5 – 22:8 and then tell me if moral understanding has not evolved over the past few thousand years.


E) Humans have come up with all sorts of explanations for why reality is the way it is. In ancient times, if cities were destroyed, it was assumed that it must have been God’s wrath against the gays (compare to the story of Lot in the book of Genesis). A modern, scientific understanding of the world does not rely on the premise that homosexuals cause volcanic destruction. Instead we attribute this kind of phenomenon to the shifting of tectonic plates. Which set of beliefs someone subscribes to will lead to different action plans. I submit to the reader that the approach of modern science better explains the situation than the Bible, and that the implied strategy of science, which is to avoid the construction of cities near volcanoes or fault lines is a more effective strategy for avoiding fiery catastrophe than the implied strategy of the Bible, which is to keep God cheery by killing gays (Leviticus 20:13). If it seems that I’m being satirical, let me point to the unfortunate truth that many, especially in America, do still believe that toleration of gays has a causal relationship with natural disaster [12][13]


F) What probability do I attribute to your suggestion that maybe I’m wrong and the Israelite war god called YHWH exists, and somehow evolved from a nasty jerk in the Old Testament into a hippie Trinity in the New Testament? Well, I imagine that such a probability might be well approximated by whatever probability you assign to the statement “Zeus exists.” They do, after all, have the same epistemological standing.


G) You've asked me to establish what particular parts of the Bible I think have become obsolete. Just to review what was raised so far in this round:


I) the scripture in Matthew which was vague enough to allow for an interperetation that contributed to the death of 6 million Jews


II) the idea that children are property of parents, and can be killed at their discretion (story of Abraham and Isaac, but also see Deuteronomy 21:18-21).


III) the story of Lot combined with Levitical laws demanding the death of homosexuals


But for your reading enjoyment, I will provide additional objections that demonstrate the Bible's obsolescence that were not covered earlier in the round:


IV) Jesus' hippie-sytle hostility towards wealth and economic prosperity [14]


V) Slavery was viewed as acceptable, and there were laws governing its administration. We generally agree today that it is never okay in any circumstance [15]


That should be enough for the time being. There's a lot on the table for you work with. Readers, please note that Con never objected to my assertion that the Humanist Manifesto III advocates a morality which is more likely than Biblical morality to lead to prosperous and harmonious society. If not countered, then the moral superiority of the Humanist Manifesto III would necessarily mean that the Bible is outdated in the same way that a computer with superior processing power makes older models obsolete. Since he's new, I'll still give him an extra round to refute this instead of considering the argument dropped.


Note: For my opponent's convenience, paragraphs are lettered to allow for easier identification of the arguments he'd like to rebut.


3) http://www.nobeliefs.com...


4) http://anarchistcoloringbook.files.wordpress.com...


5) http://www.adl.org...


6) http://www.levitt.com...


7) http://www.ncregister.com...


8) http://www.cnn.com...


9)


10) http://www.aolnews.com...


11) http://www.logicallyfallacious.com...


12) http://www.huffingtonpost.com...


13) http://www.advocate.com...


14) http://tryingtofollow.com...


15) http://www.evilbible.com...


BrandonButterworth

Con

Your claim that the humanist manofesto3 is more likely to lead to a more prosperous and harmonious society, has already been proven to be a failure. I assumed this was common knowledge, as in every instance that progressive socialism, otherwise known as communism, has failed. Sure, you can give it a new coat of paint , rename it, but its the same old song and dance. If you disagree with my assertion that it's just communism in disguise, then please point to a humanist government that exists, and if you can't, than your argument is nothing more than a pipe dream. You can claim all you want that it's superior but since it doesn't exist, it will be impossible to prove, and the debate will be over.

I've noticed that you gave a lot, and I mean a lot, of examples to prove your point. I answer these so called proofs towards the end of my rebuttal. I don't know if this was your debate tactic, but suffice it to say, I think you read to many Dan Brown novels.

Why do you play semantics with the term "secular humanist"? Are you not comfortable with the term atheist? I don't want to offend you but if it walks like a duck and if it talks like a duck, chances are it's a duck.
Your humanist manifesto3 is nothing more than regurgitated tripe. [Karl Marx meets Charles Darwin] It's claim that
"Ethical values are derived from human need and interest as tested by experience." Well I think this ideology has been tested throughout history and should never be tested again.
Also can you not see the mistake in this? The American Humanist Association logo says " Good without a God"Why bring religion into this at all, why not just "doing good through humanism" because you look down on people who believe in a God, you make fun of them, you take pot shots at their religion ,you believe your intellectually superior and this eventually leads to persecution. Sound familiar? Read the history of communist Russia. Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.
Can you tell me who determines what the ethical values are? Is this a board, a committee? If it is one of these, how do you get on the board/committee?. What are the defining factors involved?
This progressive culture sounds like a utopia, of course I understand that someone has to dig the ditches and someone has to pass out the checks. But all for the greater good, right comrade? As long as I'm the one digging the ditches. Can you not see the fallacy of this? It all sounds good on paper but when put into practice has only led to persecution of one form or another.
I would really like to know how you learned to embraced this ideology, was it from a college professor? Was it from the Internet? And since I'm asking, were you ever religious and if you were, what faith tradition did you hail from? The reason I'm asking is because I want to know if you embraced this because of political reasons, ideology, or a rejection of religious teachings. I have to say that it certainly sounds like you have an axe to grind against the Catholic Church. Which makes me think that you were once a Catholic.
Also, I've noticed that you seem to get most, if not all, of your biblical morality from the old testament. Perhaps a thorough reading of Matt. Chapters 5,6,7 for an updated look at what would be considered biblical morality. Unless of course you're not actually seeking the truth but only a hammer to wield against "theist".
One last question, if a child has no one to answer to but himself, is he more or less likely to get into trouble?
I think that's enough for now. I answer you points below
"Here, too, we can learn by the example of the Catholic Church. Though its doctrinal edifice, and in part quite superfluously, comes into collision with exact science and research, it is none the less unwilling to sacrifice so much as one little syllable of its dogmas... it is only such dogmas which lend to the whole body the character of a faith."
Pro, I a little confused by this statement. Did you mean ,Through its doctrinal edifice? And it comes into collision with exact science? You do know who gave us the scientific method right?, and why would it change its dogma, it's what Catholics believe. If you don't believe it, don't become Catholic,
Most, if not all of your statements are pretty much the same old arguments that Anti-Catholics have been using against the Church for years. Easily refuted by, get this, what the Church actually teaches. So next time, I would suggest taking the time to find out what the Catholic teaching is beforehand, it would save a lot of time and a lot of space.

You say the Catholic church is anti-semetic (Hitler, denial of Holocaust), what did the Jews of that time say?
"Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, tributes to Pope Pius came from several other Jewish leaders who praised him for his role in saving Jews during the war. In 1943, Chaim Weizmann, who would become Israel"s first president, wrote that "the Holy See is lending its powerful help wherever it can, to mitigate the fate of my persecuted co-religionists." Moshe Sharett, who would become Israel"s first Foreign Minister and second Prime Minister, reinforced these feelings of gratitude when he met with Pius in the closing days of World War II: "I told him [the Pope] that my first duty was to thank him, and through him the Catholic Church, on behalf of the Jewish public for all they had done in the various countries to rescue Jews"We are deeply grateful to the Catholic Church." In 1945, Rabbi Isaac Herzog, the Chief Rabbi of Israel, sent a message to Msgr. Angelo Roncalli (the future Pope John XXIII), expressing his gratitude for the actions taken by Pope Pius XII on behalf of the Jewish people. "The people of Israel," wrote Rabbi Herzog, "will never forget what His Holiness and his illustrious delegates, inspired by the eternal principles of religion, which form the foundation of true civilization, are doing for our unfortunate brothers and sisters in the most tragic hour of our history, which is living proof of Divine Providence in this world." In September 1945, Dr. Leon Kubowitzky, the Secretary General of the World Jewish Congress, personally thanked the Pope in Rome for his interventions on behalf of Jews, and the World Jewish Congress donated $20,000 to Vatican charities "in recognition of the work of the Holy See in rescuing Jews from Fascist and Nazi persecutions." Dr. Raffael Cantoni, head of the Italian Jewish community"s wartime Jewish Assistance Committee, who would subsequently become the President of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, similarly expressed his gratitude to the Vatican, stating that "six million of my co-religionists have been murdered by the Nazis, but there could have been many more victims had it not been for the efficacious intervention of Pius XII." On April 5, 1946, his Union of Italian Jewish Communities, meeting for the first time after the War, sent an official message of thanks to Pope Pius XII:"
http://www.catholicleague.org...

"In 1944, the Chief Rabbi of Rome, Israel Anton Zolli, gave an interview to the"American Hebrew"(July 14, 1944). Rabbi Zolli, who had been hidden in the Vatican during the German occupation of Rome, told the paper, "The Vatican has always helped the Jews and the Jews are very grateful for the charitable work of the Vatican, all done without distinction of race."
In his book"Antisemitismo, Rabbi Zolli would later write: "World Jewry owes a great debt of gratitude to Pius XII for his repeated and pressing appeals for justice on behalf of the Jews and, when these did not prevail, for his strong protests against evil laws and procedures". No hero in all of history was more militant, more fought against, none more heroic than Pius XII in pursuing the work of true charity!" and this on behalf of all the suffering children of God."
http://www.catholicleague.org...

"The voice of Pius Xll is a lonely voice in the silence and darkness enveloping Europe this Christmas"
-New York Times December 25, 1942
http://www.catholicleague.org...

A) Hitler grew up a Catholic
"It is wrong to paint Hitler as a Catholic. Though he was baptized, he excommunicated himself, latae sententiae, when he sought, in his words, to "crush [the Catholic Church] like a toad." He made good on his pledge by persecuting 8,000 priests, over 500 of whom were killed in concentration camps. He also sought to assassinate the pope." I realize, due to your lack of knowledge pertaining to the Catholic religion, you are unaware of the self-excommunication.
The fact that Hitler persecuted Catholics as well as killed them during the Holocaust doesn't give your argument that Hitler was a "Catholic" any weight whatsoever. As far as the video; because a Catholic bishop denies the Holocaust, this makes him anti-semetic? Therefore since Catholics died in the Holocaust it would also make him anti Catholic too, a laughable conclusion. .http://www.catholicleague.org...

B) Christians, including Catholics, had been pouring hatred atop Jews like fuel for centuries through Blood libel [5], combined with popular Christian interpretation of the scripture Matthew 27:24-25
I cant speak for other Christians but I can show you what the Catholic Church teaches.
"The historical complexity of Jesus" trial is apparent in the Gospel accounts. The personal sin of the participants (Judas, the Sanhedrin, Pilate) is known to God alone. Hence we cannot lay responsibility for the trial on the Jews in Jerusalem as a whole, despite the outcry of a manipulated crowd and the global reproaches contained in the apostles" calls to conversion after Pentecost.385 Jesus himself, in forgiving them on the cross, and Peter in following suit, both accept "the ignorance" of the Jews of Jerusalem and even of their leaders.386 Still less can we extend responsibility to other Jews of different times and places, based merely on the crowd"s cry: "His blood be on us and on our children!" a formula for ratifying a judicial sentence.387 As the Church declared at the Second Vatican Council: (1735, 839)
...[N]either all Jews indiscriminately at that time, nor Jews today, can be charged with the crimes committed during his Passion.... [T]he Jews should not be spoken of as rejected or accursed as if this followed from holy Scripture.388 Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 597"
C) "Catholicism doesn"t simply get to spill the gasoline, light the match, and walk away with its finger pointed at Richard Dawkins for the holocaust, as if it were his fault. [10] By your "worst atrocities are by atheists" argument, you are basically implying that Secular Humanists are the same as Nazis, simply because neither group believes in a God. This is just as absurd as claiming that pacifist Pennsylvania Quakers are the same thing as Al Qaeda jihadists because they both do believe in a God. Voters should hold you accountable for this."
Believe me ,I'm not giving a pass on some of the horrible things Christians have done but Secular Humanist are the same as Nazis as insofar as they both are atheistic in their belief systems,and is it a coincidence that they, and not the Quakers nor the jihadists, killed millions of people? Remember, it was you who tried to equate theism and the soviet union "

"For example, the Soviet Union was atheist, and imposed that atheism by force, brutality, discrimination, etc" just as theism often has,"
My intent was to show how ridiculous this comparison is and the only thing that we ever received from an atheistic government was persecution and or death. Now you want to claim that this is somehow absurd, that's fine , just give me an example of a atheistic government that hasn't done these things. And readers note: no begging for votes here.

D) "Your commentary on DCT fares no better. People are not lifeless paintings, so your comparison is an obvious Faulty Comparison fallacy [11]. I wonder how it would play out if later today, you came across an old man standing over his son, who is tied up on an alter. The old man raises his knife high, about to plunge it into the young man - would you decide to confront him? Call the police? If you did demand an answer as to what he"s doing and why, suppose he replies back, "Oh, it"s okay, I"m his father, I can do whatever I want with him. Besides, God told me to." Somehow I doubt you"d be more satisfied with his answer than I would be. Compare the story I describe to the one in Genesis 22:5 " 22:8 and then tell me if moral understanding has not evolved over the past few thousand years."
Note: see dictionary, find word; metaphor
What if I came upon a man that wasn't standing at an altar but lets say he was in charge of a country and instead of a knife he had gas chambers or forced abortions or he just starved his people... Yep it's evolved alright .

E) "Humans have come up with all sorts of explanations for why reality is the way it is."
I would agree with this, let's look at atheism, they believe that creation created itself, and can prove it scientifically.

F) "What probability do I attribute to your suggestion that maybe I"m wrong and the Israelite war god called YHWH exists, and somehow evolved from a nasty jerk in the Old Testament into a hippie Trinity in the New Testament?"

"We are committed to treating each person as having inherent worth and dignity, and to making informed choices in a context of freedom consonant with responsibility" Humanist manifesto3
Must be more of that superior morality.

G) "You've asked me to establish what particular parts of the Bible I think have become obsolete. Just to review what was raised so far in this round: "
1.Who's interpretation? Let me guess, yours.
2.What if that child's name was Adolf Hitler?
3.Dude, Homosexuality is unnatural and doesn't conform with your evolutionary thinking.
4.Jesus statements about wealth are not about money but the love of money, as the bible clearly states.
" for the love of money is the root of all evils" 1st Tim 6.10
5.Think, indentured servant and then look up Deut 15.12
Debate Round No. 3
calculatedr1sk

Pro

Well Shucks

I’m going to take the unusual turn of beginning my final round with some apologies to the readers.

Firstly, I should have made the debate five rounds instead of four. We won’t have time to get to everything I think we ought to have.

Secondly, although my opponent gladly paints over shockingly large swathes of people with an astoundingly broad brush, I myself am also guilty, especially in round 2, of using terms like “atheist” and “theist” much too freely. Even within the same denomination there can be tremendous variation. In recognition of my error, I’d like to take just a moment to acknowledge that there is an incredible difference between a theist who uses his beliefs to advance tolerance, dignity, and integrity, such as Baptist Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, and one who uses his beliefs to advance hatred and bigotry, such as Preacher Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church. I wanted to make sure not to give the wrong impression. Some theists are my heroes. [16] Some Catholics are my heroes. [17]

Thirdly, I’d like to apologize to readers for the enormous distraction caused by some unnecessary comments of mine in round 3. Most of Con’s 3rd round was expended on defending Catholicism against attacks which I never actually made (if you have the time and inclination to review my comments, the claim was in fact that some influential Catholics still struggle with anti-Semitism, NOT that doctrine itself is anti-Semitic, or that all Catholics are anti-Semitic). I do still maintain my suspicion that Hitler’s fantasies of becoming a messiah, his hostility to Jews, and his unwillingness to admit error all evolved in large part out of his early formative years in the Church. But the point is not pivotal to my case. I could have not even mentioned it. I fear this debate could have been much more interesting for everyone had I avoided the topic, and had my words not provoked Con into a long lecture on Catholic doctrine and history. That’s partly my bad, and I own it.

Back to Humanism

“The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish.”

- Albert Einstein [18]

“The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession.”
- Abraham Lincoln, Speeches and Writings, 1832-1858

Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting "Jesus Christ," so that it would read "A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.

-Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom [19]

It may surprise you to know that Jefferson had such annoyance at the absurdities, miracles, and supernaturalism contained in the Bible that he rewrote his own, surely keeping the good parts like Matthew 5 – 7 which Con mentioned, but discarding all the garbage. I’m sure his book was better than the Bible. [20]

Most of the American founding fathers and early Presidents like Abraham Lincoln were better described as Deists, not Christians. [21] They were influenced by the Bible, yes, but also by enlightenment works such as those of Voltaire, John Locke, etc… They did not believe in any particular religion, and so I argue that many of them are better described as Humanists than Christians.

Humanist values seem broad enough to accommodate anyone along the spectrum of Atheist (“I can’t prove God doesn’t exist, but it’s too a silly an idea to take seriously”), agnosticism (“I don’t know if God exists”), Deism (“a creator exists, but not one who takes an interest in us or that we have any interaction with”), to even moderate Christianity (“I know this stuff is kind of silly, but what the heck, the crackers taste good”). True believers are the only ones that really need to hate our guts, especially if we’re so unlucky as to be gay or like seafood [22].

As to religion being pushed out of the public sphere… imagine you weren’t allowed to run for public office. There are some states where atheists are so discriminated against they are actually denied the right to run for office on the basis of their beliefs. THAT is messed up. [23] Consider also the discrimination faced by the atheist soldiers who defend our country despite the discrimination they face daily [24].

Con seems to want to claim most human achievement for Christianity. Actually a lot of discoveries were first made in China (thus having nothing to do with the Bible) and then brought to Europe, but at any rate I argue that many Deist and non-religious people, especially in the enlightenment, were driven much more by their own natural curiosity and exploration than Biblical morality, and thus came up with incredible technology, medicine, and more sophisticated laws, like the Declaration of Independence and American Constitution… and moral systems, like the humanist manifesto 3, which comes without the liabilities of iron age superstition, misogyny, and bigotry which have been discussed in earlier rounds, and flippantly, sarcastically responded to with non-answers by Con.

Prosperity

One of the reasons why I object to Jesus’ outlook on money is that Capitalism is the only economic system which has consistently raised societies that use it out of poverty and into prosperity. Acting on one’s economic self-interest can serve the common good. The most merciful way to help the poor would be to elevate them out of poverty itself. The proven way to do this is by seeking your own wealth and creating jobs for others in the process [25]. This could finally become a reality for most of the world within the next few decades – thanks to Capitalism, not Communism. So why would I or anyone else want Communism? Even the atheist, “Communist” Chinese have largely abandoned the idea in favor of what has shown itself to actually work (Capitalism), and reaped the rewards accordingly. Why would Humanists want to go back to something that obviously doesn’t work? Are you nuts?

Was it not Jesus that demanded the rich to give all their property to the poor, comrade? He created the universe but knew nothing of economics!? It’s the wrong advice! “Hire and train the poor how to earn an honest wage, and then pay it to them for their work” is considerably better advice, I’d argue.

Again, there’s a lot more that I wanted to get into, but I think that’s where I’ll have to leave it for now. Thanks for the contest, Con. Until our paths cross again, live long and prosper.

16) http://www.movpins.com...

17) http://www.comedymoontower.com...

18) http://www.nbcnews.com...

19) http://www.nobeliefs.com...

20) http://www.monticello.org...

21) http://en.wikipedia.org...

22) http://rationalwiki.org...

23) http://www.huffingtonpost.com...

24) http://militaryatheists.org...

25) http://www.economist.com...

BrandonButterworth

Con

Pro, First and foremost I would like to thank you for the debate. I also think you wasted time by being sidetracked on attacking Christianity and more specifically, Catholicism. I began to read your latest rebuttal and I came to the conclusion that this was more of the same arguments that you tried to use before. Nothing to do with the debate at hand. Which leads me to think that you really do not have any way to prove your claim that your humanist morality is superior to that of the Bible. As for your so called proofs, as before, I address them below.

"Most of the American founding fathers and early Presidents like Abraham Lincoln were better described as Deists, not Christians."

"The more I study science, the more I believe in God" ~Albert Einstien
Well gee Albert, you seem to be contradicting yourself.

"...it is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God; to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed who's God is the Lord." ~Abraham Lincoln, April 30, 1863

"I have always said and always will say that the studious perusal of the sacred volume will make better citizens, better fathers, better husbands... the bible makes the best people in the world." ~Thomas Jefferson

"The reason that Christianity is the best friend of government is because Christianity is the only religion that changes the heart." ~Thomas Jefferson

"I hold the precepts of Jesus as delivered by himself, to be the most pure, benevolent and sublime which have ever been preached to man." ~Thomas Jefferson

"Of all systems of morality, ancient or modern, which have come under my observation, none appear so pure as that of Jesus" ~Thomas Jefferson

"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible." ~George Washington

"To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest Glory to laud the more distinguished Character of Christian."

"Almighty God... I yield thee humble and hearty thanks that thou has preserved me from the danger of the night passed, and brought me to the light of day, a day which is consecrated to thine own service and for thine own honor. Let my heart, therefore, Gracious God, be so affected with the glory and majesty of it, that I may not do my own works, but wait on thee, and discharge those weighty duties thou requirest of me. Give me grace to hear thee calling on me in thy word that it may be wisdom, righteousness, reconciliation, and peace to the saving of the soul in the day of the Lord Jesus. Grant that I may hear it with reverence, receive it with meekness, mingle it with faith, and that it may accomplish in me, Gracious God, the good work for which thou hast sent it. Bless my family, kindred, friends and country, be our God and guide this day forever for His sake, who lay down in the Grave and arose again for us, Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen."
~Prayers of the presidents, 2003, Dr. Larry Keefauver
You might want to check the carfax...

Pro, I think you might find it fascinating that there is a law in the city that I live in which prohibits any man from herding his cattle down Main St.. Now if I saw a man herding his cattle, let's just say, at the Earth Day parade, would this man be breaking the law? Would I not have the right to suggest that this law be enforced? Sounds a bit ridiculous doesn't it? Almost as ridiculous like if someone was to be prohibited from running for office based on his religion, or lack thereof. We would hear atheists screaming from the rooftops if this ever actually took place. Can you give me an instance where this law has actually been enforced? Do you really think that in today's society an atheist would be denied the right to run for office in the USA? Where are the lawsuits? Surely ACLU would have taken this case considering they will sue to have a manger scene removed from public property. (Whoa, dangerous! Wouldn't want to convert any atheists with the manger) Sarcasm noted, but nonetheless entirely intentional.

Pro, on capitalism.
I would agree that Capitalism is the best system we have, but it's not perfect. But you seem to be making my point for me. In your humanist manifesto 3, it's all about a redistribution of wealth.
"We seek to minimize the inequities of circumstance and ability, and we support a just distribution of nature's resources and the fruits of human effort so that as many as possible can enjoy a good life." http://www.americanhumanist.org...
This totally conflicts with the idea of Capitalism.

Pro, on Jesus.
I would respectfully say that you don't have a clue about the teachings of Jesus. Once again, It's not the money but the love of money... Greed.

Thanks for the debate, I enjoyed it. Hope you did too.
Debate Round No. 4
21 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by calculatedr1sk 3 years ago
calculatedr1sk
A note to Con and to the readers about my round 3 quote: "Catholicism doesn"t simply get to spill the gasoline, light the match, and walk away with its finger pointed at Richard Dawkins for the holocaust, as if it were his fault."

I admit, this was a bit melodramatic, and I may have been so incensed by Pope Benedict's slanderous statements against secularism that I misspoke. The injustice of the Pope's attack against secularism doesn't entitle me to single out Catholicism, when there were obviously some Protestant sects which were far more vicious in their attitude to Jews than the average Catholic was. "Christians don't get to..." would have been a more fair thing to say. But even there, as I mentioned at the beginning of my closing arguments, what I don't like about the statement is that there were many Christians (including many Catholics) who also defended Jews, and by no means did all Christians have those anti-Semitic views, and so I don't want to unfairly tarnish the entire faith and all the people in it for the actions of some of its worst members.

If my opponent and those like him could also realize that the same is true of non-believers - that is to say, we are not all Adolph Hitlers and Joseph Stalins just because we don't believe in God - then I think the world would be a more beautiful place.
Posted by makhdoom5 3 years ago
makhdoom5
well the topic u choosed is great i mean the heading or the topic.
so when u goona have this debate.
i am here.
Posted by makhdoom5 3 years ago
makhdoom5
great man. this is real man.
u know real positive attitude man i like that attitude.
well i have so many debates with dad also.
with brother. in islam there is not dad brother and any one else in islamic matter.
but we love each other and respect each other.
afterlife or resurrection has evidence i can prove with science. i will do all topics brother dont worry i dont have much time now coz try to finish my study.
but i will this debate with u dont. worry sharia law and other ways of rulling.
indeed sharia law is nor rulling. but we can consider it.
Posted by calculatedr1sk 3 years ago
calculatedr1sk
I'm going to assume you haven't spent a lot of time in the United States, makhdoom, because you don't seem to have an accurate idea of life is actually like here. But in all fairness, since I've never been to Pakistan then maybe I am judging your cultures too hastily. I was intially offended by Talib's accusation that I am "ignorant," but on further reflection, he's right. I am ignorant of the things you have seen and experienced. You are likewise ignorant of the things which I have seen and experienced. If I had grown up with your parents, in your community, I would probably have reached many of the same conclusions and hold many of the same ideas that you do. The opposite is also true, whether or not you'd like to admit it.

You love your countries and your cultures. I love mine. Rather than belittle or judge one another's ways, I suppose our time might be better spent helping to rid one another of the misconceptions which we both no doubt hold. I may not see God's face in my enemy as you might put it, Talib. But I do see my own. I do not see us as being one. I do, however see us as being more alike than we are different.

We are all concerned with truth. Who would knowingly want to live a lie and follow a false path? But all of us are also clearly concerned with issues of human prosperity and suffering. Since we have little hope of convincing each other about the truth or falseness of scripture, perhaps our time would be better spent discussing the outcomes of societies which follow one path or another. I propose the following debate to either or even both of you.

Resolved: Shari'ah Law is the Best Way for a Society to Promote Prosperity and Minimize Human Suffering on Earth.

We won't consider the afterlife, since that is a matter of faith rather than evidence. Interperetation of Shari'ah will be left to you to define, along with BoP. Interested? If so I'll be glad to set it up and invite. Otherwise, I'll just wish you well.
Posted by makhdoom5 3 years ago
makhdoom5
its gives more moral lesson to other.
is that good or bad no body will steal.
i think its most amazing.
dont steal dont get hands cut off.
well first time they cut only tops of fingers. than 2nd time whole fingers of keep in mind one hand.
than they cut hand.
they dont want to make handicap.
than after that state responsibility of that handicap man and all other get lesson.
less pain more moral.
i know in the jails of USA killing a man is not big deal.
also in streets.
man keep that shiiiit system away from us plz i know more better than u.,
Posted by makhdoom5 3 years ago
makhdoom5
man i have given the exam of British law and legal system i know what that shiiiit is.
see British were are living in tribes and called as manas.
in which there were no rules killing each other like animals and than William the conquer came and change the fate of UK.
well history of british legal system is drama.
the judges were going to slove the tax problems.
than peopels started presenting the personal disputes also to them.
but there was no laws with the judges they than started studyng there customs and tradition of solving the disputes and finally commonise the all god laws from there customs.
well same happend in the arab 400 years ago law less peopels were given the best law from ALLAH.
who know the nature of human than any one elese.
see the hand cutting law is in saudi arabia.
and u will not find any person whom hand is cut off may be one in million.
and no body steal there.
same was in afganistan when there was sharia law.
if some thing gives cure than we must use it.
see in cancer if u dont cur the organ u will get cancer in whole body.
what u say about that cutting ur kidney is bad.
man think twice when speak.
the cutting of hand is not that much painfull but it is more painfull for those who see it.
and indeed they will not steal.
i have seen many death happening because of stealing.
like poor peoples got stolen the whole saving of life and lost life because of heart attack. also some one who took loan for the treatment of deadly disease of relative and robed or stolen the money and lost the life of relative.
man there are many consequence of stealing.
for that man he would say to kill the thief.
Posted by makhdoom5 3 years ago
makhdoom5
secularism is same like communism. see what happened to that system.
see Russia now beggar.
Posted by makhdoom5 3 years ago
makhdoom5
hahahhahh that's what the medicine of mental illness are which are sold on the most high scale in USA.
and the most high rate of physio illness are in USA.
Posted by makhdoom5 3 years ago
makhdoom5
only one country afganistan had sharia law but that was taken down by USA.
well this shiiiit is so long. and complex soon i will do debate about this also. abut khalifat.
and all kinds of shiiit list is below.
democracy
autocracy
bureaucracy
aristocracy
theocracy ( gods other than ALLAH means except Islamic theocracy)
all are examples of hypocrisy
Posted by makhdoom5 3 years ago
makhdoom5
hhahahah man.
are u kidding me.
there is no country in which sharia law is implemented.
cutting head off or hand is not sharia law. and not huntering the adulterer.
indeed in sharia law it is also there.
but in sharia law there is no rulling by man. only ALLAH rules.
and khalifah like ur president is the servant of all nation. also fall under the jurisdiction of law. and if breach law he would be liable and would be punished like other
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
calculatedr1skBrandonButterworthTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Too close to call, but Pro had a much richer set of sources at his disposal.
Vote Placed by JonMilne 3 years ago
JonMilne
calculatedr1skBrandonButterworthTied
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Reasons for voting decision: This was one hell of a difficult debate to judge, aside from the sources, which Pro wins by virtue of the fact that he had a whole variety of sources to support his position, while Con only had Catholic League. Pro could have won this in R4 if he had taken advantage of Con's astoundingly weak justifications for the Bible's positions on slavery and homosexuality, among other things, but in R4 Pro didn't really come back to those, and allowed Con room to recover and hit his stride again R4. Overall, despite the fact I agree with Pro, I can't pick a winner argument wise. Conduct and S&G tied too. Very good debate nonetheless.
Vote Placed by GOP 3 years ago
GOP
calculatedr1skBrandonButterworthTied
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Reasons for voting decision: What Juris_Naturalis said
Vote Placed by Juris_Naturalis 3 years ago
Juris_Naturalis
calculatedr1skBrandonButterworthTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro could have won this if he gave more examples of how biblical morality is outdated along with some secular alternatives. The most he did was argue about the humanist manifesto which reads alot like the communist manifesto. The sources used by both sides were equally reliable but pro used the most. Conduct and grammar were the same for me.