The Instigator
dylwal92
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
TrasguTravieso
Pro (for)
Winning
11 Points

The Social Effects of Sin in America

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
TrasguTravieso
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/4/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,458 times Debate No: 26889
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (2)

 

dylwal92

Con

Many religions such as Catholics, Methodists, and Mormons believe that humans are sinners and that they will not be able to go to Heaven if they do not ask for forgiveness, pray for their sins, etc.

Sin is defined as "any act regarded as such a transgression, especially a willful or deliberate violation of some religious or moral principle" [1]. The origin of sin dates back to the exalting of Lucifer by God; however, God "gives his creatures freedom of choice" [2]. It is here that humans are given a choice whether or not to act. This ties well into the definition provided. It is due to this that humans are not sinners "by nature," but rather by their own consciousness. Many use this argument to enforce the ideas behind homosexuality and conversion of religious beliefs (just to name a couple) in order to argue that these people are sinners when there are little to no evidence supporting the immorality of homosexuality and conversion of religion, thus creating tension between these groups plus many others.

The point that I am making is that humans do commit "sin", but rather make mistakes and bad choices that are later used in order to determine their good will. The definition of sin has become very broad with the tie-in to the judgment of God and the nature of man, but these "sinners" are making their decisions for themselves. It is for these reasons that many are afraid to sin because they feel God will not grant them into Heaven, they believe their family will be mad at them, they feel they will be put down by their friends, and the list goes on.

Coinciding with this argument is the idea of a judgmental God. The idea that sin (or amount of sin) committed and whether or not you ask for forgiveness will determine whether or not you will go to Heaven is highly regarded in religions similar to that of Christianity. The idea of a judgmental God condescends the well-being of the human condition by means of mental health and social implications.

There are many aspects to this argument that will undoubtedly arise, but for the sake of time and effort, here are a couple of rules:

1) Keep the argument as close as possible to the social effects that sin imposes/do not impose in America.
2) This is not an argument based on the existence of God, religion, sin, Heaven, etc. Refrain from using these arguments, for it poses an entirely different topic; however, feel free to use your belief system to aid you in your argument.

[1]http://dictionary.reference.com...
[2]http://amazingdiscoveries.org...
TrasguTravieso

Pro

As I am arguing on the affirmative it would generally be agreed that I have the burden of proof. As such I will start my argument right away and reserve the last round for summary and conclusion, not adding any new arguments at that time.

I am afraid I must disagree with the second of Con's guidelines. While this is not a debate as to the existence of God, sin is not general malfeasance, it is specifically transgression of God's law or more broadly in my own Catholic faith anything that tends to separate man from God. Any discussion of sin must take into account this aspect, otherwise it would be a discussion of crime or immoral behavior generally and would not need to use such religious terms as "sin". Any argument about the social or personal effects of sin cannot avoid taking for granted the existence of God as the source of objective morality; the standard against which moral behavior must be judged. The premise itself takes sin for granted and simply seeks to surmise whether or not this has an effect on society. Let us start with some of the statements made by my partner in this debate and then move on to the premise I will be defending in this debate.

Sin has, from this religious standpoint an objective and subjective dimension. Something can be objectively sinful, and, due to ignorance, a person could not be culpable of engaging in that action. The person must be actively trying to correctly form his conscience, but the matter remains that those two dimensions exist. For mortal sin to exist in Catholic theology for instance there must be grave matter (something must be very wrong) full knowledge (the person must know this is wrong) and full consent of the will (I choose freely to do so anyways).

1. Humans do not commit "sin", but rather make mistakes and bad choices

The rationale given to support this assertion is that there is little or no evidence that homosexuality of converting from one religion to another is immoral. Were this true it would call into question whether or not homosexuality and converting to another faith are sins, not whether or not sin exists. In any case there is indeed a reason to consider both of these sins.

Homosexuality. Sex is ordered towards the unitive and procreative capacities which lead to the formation of strong families and aid in raising healthy children. That is, sex draws a couple closer together in their commitment to one another and has the potential to create new life which this closely bound couple can then properly raise. To remove sexuality from this context goes against its true meaning and is therefore considered to be sinful. Homosexuality is such a case. You may disagree with it, you may argue with it, but it is not base assertion, but a reasoned position.

Apostasy: Conversion in and of itself is not considered by any religion to be immoral. It is in fact considered to be the highest virtue when a person converts to the religion regarded as true. You call it conversion when someone changes to the true religion and apostasy when one changes from the true religion to a false one. This is also sinful in that it quite literally separates a person from the path revealed by God to draw people nearer to him, a sin against Truth. Once again, one may agree or disagree, but there is definitely reasoning behind it.

2. "Judgmental" God and society

The argument seems to be that people refrain from sinning because they are afraid of being judged by their peers or their God (in the first case facing ostracism and in the second eternal damnation). This may or may not be their true motivation, I cannot know. In any case it is irrelevant to the case at hand, which is whether or not it affects society.

Truth Matters

A society where people strive for truth and virtue is a better society. I do not mean that all men are virtuous in said society, or even that most men are virtuous; but if a determining number of that society actively seek out truth and attempt to live virtuously society will be better for it. Some people may be wrong about what constitutes sin and what doesn't, but this attempt to live virtuously (and at least avoiding sin in the subjective sense) will lead to a healthier society in that the person seeks the good of the community and his fellow man rather than his own good.

In the objective sense truth also matters. If it is true that homosexuality is a sin, then the promotion of that sin is contrary to the greater good of that society and this is detrimental to it. If it is true that homosexuality is not a sin, then to limit the expression of homosexuality or attempt to curtail what is billed as "gay rights" would be a sin and detrimental to society. Sin may be subjective in one sense, but truth does matter, and a society which does not turn its back on truth but lives according to it will be better off.
Debate Round No. 1
dylwal92

Con

My opponent's opening remarks on the disagreement of my second guideline are remarks that I accept. Pro has made it clear that sin "is specifically transgression of God's law" and furthers this by stating that the without the religious view on sin, sin would be a "discussion of crime or immoral behavior" rather than a debate based on the argument I am trying to make. Due to this, I willfully thank Pro for clarifying the underlying foundation on which this argument shall continue.

The third paragraph of Pro's argument ties into my first point based on his views where I stated "Humans do not commit 'sin', but rather make mistakes and bad choices."

Sexuality is only a part of relationships. The initiative of such acts strengthen relationships, but they are not a basis on relationships. The major function of a relationship (and by extension, marriage) is on the basis of commitment. In order for a relationship to function and succeed a couple must be able to agree, commit, and stay true to one another - not express their sexuality. In extension to this, sexuality does strengthen a relationship, but is not the primary "lead[er of] strong families and aid in raising healthy children." Due to this, your argument based on removal of sexuality in the context ipso facto eliminates your transition to the case of sin by homosexuality.

As for the case of apostasy, your argument is disproven by means of inaccuracy. Apostasy is defined as a "total desertion of or departure from one's religion, principles, party, cause, etc." [1]; whereas conversion is defined as "a change of attitude, emotion, or viewpoint from one of indifference, disbelief, or antagonism to one of acceptance, faith, or enthusiastic support, especially such a change in a person's religion." [2] You claim that apostasy is "when one changes from the true religion to a false one." The two ideas are separate of each other, but can be combined to denote a similar view (e.g. "Johnny claimed apostasy from Christianity and then converted to Hinduism"). To further this, to state that the separation from the path revealed by God to draw people nearer to him is "a sin against Truth" is based on a completely different topic denoting the "truth" involved in religion. While I will not delve into this premise based on the "truth" of religious faiths, I will state that there are many religions that deem themselves and the only path to God and eternal righteousness and glory and to deem any religion as the "true" religion is disproven on the basis afore mentioned.

As for your second point on the judgment of God, the following link is one of the many stories that show that the ostracism of homosexuality from a loved one causes suicide: http://www.prayersforbobby.com.... Since 1993, suicide has greatly increased [3], especially in part of the bullying of homosexuals. It is from the idea of sin that you mentioned in your first point that this is based on.

As for your points under "Truth Matters," your "if, then" statement contradicts your logic in part one of homosexuality where you claim that it is sinful to remove sexuality from relationships with homosexuality as a case of such meaning. I agree with you on the premise of "people [striving] for truth and virtue [creates] a better society, but to state that "truth does matter and a society which does not turn its back on truth but lives according to it will be better off" is very ambiguous. I agree with you insofar that "truth does matter," but to live life according to truth and having a society benefit is insufficiently supported. I cannot think of a society where truth is completely derived as the primary cause to its own benefit.

Based on this, my point remains the same. Sin does have its effects on society as seen in my argument on homosexuality, but sin is not the apparent virtue that society and religions give it because sin socially and psychologically deconstructs society on the premises afore mentioned and in extension, the idea of sin cannot be brought up without the mention of religious premises, but I still retain the matter that sin is only a negatively connotative synonym for mistakes and bad choices.

[1] http://dictionary.reference.com...
[2] http://dictionary.reference.com...
[3] http://www.afsp.org...
TrasguTravieso

Pro

Homosexual behavior and apostasy

As to my defense of the idea of homosexual behavior and apostasy as sins, I do not think it is actually important for our discussion to prove conclusively what particular acts constitute sins and which don't. For that we would have to take too specific a viewpoint. If looked upon from a Catholic perspective, for instance, contraception would be a sin; this is not the case from the perspective of most protestants or for Buddhist. The same goes for the eating of pork. Most religions are fine with this, Judaism and Islam, however, see it as something prohibited by God which it is a sin, therefore, to consume. What I will attempt to prove in this debate is that if sin is a valid concept its effects on society will always be detrimental.

I will, however, defend my definition of apostasy. The dictionary does not take the viewpoint of a particular faith, so they opted to describe apostasy as the leaving of a religion. However, as it is religions that define sin and not Oxford linguists, it would be enlightening to see what different religious groups define as apostasy. The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines apostasy as "the total repudiation of the Christian faith" (1) Islam, however, defines it as the abandonment of ones previous faith by a Muslim (2). They disagree about the definition of apostasy simply because they disagree about which religion is true.

Con is quite right to mention the fact that there are many different religions who all make truth claims. This, however, is not entirely germane to our conversation. For my side of this debate to be considered upheld it is enough to prove that in principle sin is bad for society, it is not necessary for me to prove which religious viewpoint on the matter of sin is the correct one. Whichever is true, the very fact that it is the truth makes it of greatest value to society.

"Judgmental" God and society

I fail to see how this is relevant. You mention bullying, which is also a sin, causes higher rates of suicide. This may be the case, but the case of a sin (bullying) against a person for committing a sin (acting on homosexual tendencies) causing a sin (suicide) -or if we do not accept homosexual behavior as a sin then the yet more terrible case of a sin against an innocent person causing a sin- is simply the very best example of my position. Sin is terrible for society.

Truth Matters

I do not see how my statement contradicts my logic. I pointed out there are reasons behind the belief that homosexual behavior is sinful, and then I say that whether or not it actually is sinful is irrelevant to the matter of the effects of sin on society.

Con also mentions the statement that "a society which does not turn its back on truth but lives according to it will be better off" is ambiguous. Let's try to clear it up with an example. Let us say that my opponent is correct in saying homosexuality is not a sin. This would then be the truth. A society that accepts this as true, does not put undue pressure on innocent people for their sexual orientation and is generally accepting of homosexuality and homosexual persons would be a more just society than one which does not. On the contrary, if I am right and homosexuality causes harm to both the individuals and society, then it would be a mistake not to separate the necessary respect for individuals from the harmful promotion of an objective harm. In either case, the truth of the matter is of vital importance; were society to get it wrong it would create an objective injustice.

It is true that a sin is a "bad choice", it is also a bad choice to listen to Britney Spears when you have the option of listening to Jimi Hendrix, but it is not a sin. "Bad choice" is also connotatively negative (it has the word "bad" in it, you can't get more negative than saying outright something is bad), the difference is that sin is rightly seen as something far graver than having bad taste in music. We are speaking particularly of the terrible choice of turning your back -by word, action or omission- from the ultimate Good.

Sources

(1) Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2089: http://www.vatican.va...

(2) Apostasy in Islam: http://en.wikipedia.org...


Fun experiment: Do a word search on the word "sin" on this page. This is getting ridiculous. Does anybody know of a decent synonym?
Debate Round No. 2
dylwal92

Con

I will state that that my opponent says "I will... defend my position of apostasy" (emphasis added). To have a definition of your own added to an debate demeans the position of a person defending for, or arguing against a topic. It is true that "the dictionary does not take the viewpoint of a particular faith," but that is to make due a proper definition. While various religions have variable definitions on apostasy, the fact remains that apostasy is defined by a dictionary, and not a biased view of religion. As for the final comment in Pro's R2 argument on a synonym of "sin," words to replace such are transgression, violation, or wrongdoing. [1]

I would like to iterate In R1 of this argument, I used the "ideas behind homosexuality and conversion" as an example in order to further my argument. The presence of homosexuality in this argument remains, yet the idea of conversion does not, for my opponent has diverged to apostasy; the two definitions by which I clearly defined in R2. I agree with Pro on the basis that these ideas are not important to further this discussion, for they lie under the premise on what are constituted as sins and what are not. However, my opponent - in the same paragraph - states the difference between certain premises that are viewed differently from other religions. I fail to see how these ideas pertain to this argument of "The Social Effects of Sin in America." The idea behind sin in society is "detrimental," but my belief is that sin is not what religion is led to make, but rather - as I stated in R1, "any act regarded as such a transgression.." As mentioned in this round, I have made it clear that synonyms for sin can be constituted as a "transgression, violation, or wrongdoing." The reason that sin has an effect on society is not because of its detriment that pertains to society, but because of the strong, negative connotation that religion has given it - especially on premises of homosexuality and conversion (which are merely two examples). To further delve into the points that Pro has made, "it is religions that define sin and not Oxford linguists" is very much a psycologism. Under what regards do religions define sin (making sin of multiple definitions) and Oxford linguists (creating a single definition of sin) do not? Sin is regarded differently under various religions and to claim that "religions define sin" is inaccurate. To finalize this point of the debate, the claim where Pro states "For my side of this debate to be considered upheld it is enough to prove that in principle sin is bad for society" is really not "enough" to "prove" your "principle."

The relevancy that I make is based on your statement in R1 where you claim "[judgment of God] is irrelevant to the case at hand, which is whether or not it affects society" to which I responded by giving you a parameter through which I mentioned the idea of bullying that I did not expand upon because it would prove ineffective to this debate if I did such. By responding in this manner shows that the rise in homosexuality with the rate of suicide is directly correlated. The estimation of how many of these suicides are in tandem with the idea of God's judgment is unknown, but based on the example I gave you, it is prevalent that it is affecting society and its views on this matter.

To clarify, my opponent in R1 under his first point thoroughly describes the premise on how homosexuality is a sin by stating that "sex draws a couple closer to together" and "has the potential to create new life" and to "remove sexuality from this context goes against its true meaning and is therefore considered to be sinful" where he claims that "homosexuality is such as case." Later, my opponent then claims "If it is true that homosexuality is a sin, then the promotion of that sin is contrary to the greater good of that society..." (emphasis added). This clarification shows that while my opponent first claims that homosexuality is a sin and later denotes that "if it is true that homosexuality is a sin..." (emphasis added), thus contradicting his two points based on his argument of how sin is viewed. To further this, I would like to point out the example Pro gives on sexuality. To make the argument that something is true - in this case homosexuality - and to say that "society accepts this as true [and] does not put undue pressure on innocent people for their sexual orientation..." is highly fallacious. Based on this, the claim that society accepts the Christian faith as true and they do not put "undue pressure on innocent people" for their religion. As for the latter half, to claim that listening to Britney Spears when you have the option of listening to Jimi Hendrix may be the other way for some and to make this statement is very egotistical. Yet, the difference between bad choices and sin are being argued against here, not in music.

[1] http://thesaurus.com...
TrasguTravieso

Pro

It seems this is beginning to degenerate into various squabbles only tangentially related to the question at hand. Whether it is the fact that I refer to the definition I am defending as "my" definition, that I presented a rationale for considering homosexuality a sin and yet do not consider it necessary to pursue this as a foundation of my position(or the position I am defending or what have you), or even a light-hearted reference to musical pop-culture to make a point; it seems difficult for my partner to stay on focus. Perhaps it would help if I made something of a condensed version of the argument.



          • A sin is a transgression of God's law, and by its very nature takes those who commit it (by word, action or omission) further away from objective Good.




            • This differs from "mistake" in that mistakes can and often do refer to morally neutral things, such as mistakenly putting salt rather than sugar in a yogurt. A mistake, but not a sin. (Hopefully my bias against salty yogurt is not taken as a sign of egotism)




            • This also differs from other transgressions in that it directly offends the ultimate, objective good, while it is sometimes moral to transgress man made laws, as in the case of the Civil Rights movement's advocacy for civil disobedience of unjust laws.




          • Truth is not indifferent to the good of society





            • If is objectively evil, it cannot be said to be good for society. The generalized sin against human dignity of Apartheid in South Africa, or Slavery in the United States negatively affected society insofar as it led the members of those society away from the common good.




            • Mankind is a social animal, and thus one's actions affect the general society. If I behave in an immoral way I adversely affect those around me.



          • Therefore sin is bad for society



            • If sin is a transgression of God's law, and negatively affects individuals who commit the sin and those around them, sin cannot be said not to affect society.



            • This is even more strongly the case given mankind's social nature, whereby an individual's action, whether sinful or virtuous will affect the general society.




In order to show that sin is not detrimental to society, one would have to show that one persons actions are indifferent to the general society. Discussions as to whether homosexuality or apostasy ought to be considered sins is moot, as we are not taking on this discussion from any particular religion's point of view, but rather considering sin more generally. In any case, contrary to what Pro may believe, those who do follow a particular religion will look to their faith tradition's source of authority (be it the Bible, the Koran or the living Church) in order to define what constitutes sin. I have yet to find a protestant who is willing to cite the Oxford Dictionary of English with the same zeal and conviction as his trusty King James Version. In matters pertaining to religion, therefore, I will trust to those authorities and sources more readily than a dictionary.

As I say, however, whether truth lies in the halls of academia or the pews of the corner Baptist Church, it behooves us actively to seek it out, as the matter of truth not only affects us as individuals, but also the greater society. Whether or no it is a sin to act on romantic impulses towards those of the same sex is important, just as it is important to know if God disapproves of my Bacon Lettuce and Tomato sandwich; because it is not indifferent to those involved and society at large one way or the other. This is the crux of the argument: the very reason people will argue so passionately on both sides of all these different issues. Whoever is right, the salvation of souls and the good of humanity are on the line; because truth matters, and because it does, so does sin.


(I have not made reference to the comment about bullying and suicide because the response given last round already addresses the concerns raised this time around. I will summarize it to save the reader time in looking for it: Bullying someone into suicide is gravely sinful, and so this only serves to give more credence to the position that sin does indeed adversely affect society.)
Debate Round No. 3
dylwal92

Con

dylwal92 forfeited this round.
TrasguTravieso

Pro

I etend all my arguments and add as a side note that if the consequence to sin is going to hell, as most religions say, then a society which does not frown upon behavior that will lead its members to eternal damnation cannot be a very good one.
Debate Round No. 4
dylwal92

Con

dylwal92 forfeited this round.
TrasguTravieso

Pro

I hate forfeited debates. Vote pro.
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by DeFool 4 years ago
DeFool
Con makes several assertions, that necessarily required that his premise was supported - rather than supporting his premise. His language was also somewhat frustrating to try and follow. The following excerpt provides an example of both conditions:

"Sin does have its effects on society as seen in my argument on homosexuality, but sin is not the apparent virtue that society and religions give it because sin socially and psychologically deconstructs society on the premises afore mentioned and in extension, the idea of sin cannot be brought up without the mention of religious premises, but I still retain the matter that sin is only a negatively connotative synonym for mistakes and bad choices."

This sentence is unreadable. Followers of this contest will not take the time to pick it apart and try to get at it's deeper meaning. Further, it assumes the premise (more than once), and makes bizarre claims (sin is an apparent virtue on society?)

This was a disappointing contest on many levels. The FF amputated what I had hoped to be the decisive argument being fielded by Pro in R3.

My own opinions on this topic are strong, and had to be suspended in order to judge this contest fairly. Evaluating only the matters presented, I was forced to award all of my points to Pro. I understand that this is often seen as a "vote Bomb," but I insist. It is not fair, honest, impartial or balanced to pretend that the scoring should be more gentle. This debate was abandoned by one side - thus reducing the scoring potential in every category.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by DeFool 4 years ago
DeFool
dylwal92TrasguTraviesoTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: The argument: "sin is not general malfeasance, it is specifically transgression of God's law..." I had thought was intended to make a brilliant point - that is, that "sin" might include such actions as improper adherence to rituals and other dogmatic strictures (such as not eating shrimp or being lgbt.) These obviously have no impact on society. I was disappointed that this logic was not pursued further. Con makes several statements, but I did not see the clear arguments to support his conclusion. I apologize if I have made a failure to recognize them. This will have to be explained better in the comments section. I awarded S&G to Pro, who always uses clear, elegant language. I began to see a more forceful argument in the later rounds, unfortunately truncated by the FF. I award everything to Pro.
Vote Placed by AlwaysMoreThanYou 4 years ago
AlwaysMoreThanYou
dylwal92TrasguTraviesoTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit.