The Instigator
Harlan
Pro (for)
Losing
74 Points
The Contender
PreacherFred
Con (against)
Winning
91 Points

The moral code of the christian religion is violent and hateful.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/18/2007 Category: Religion
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 6,280 times Debate No: 11
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (21)
Votes (50)

 

Harlan

Pro

Before you here my argument, hear this. It is good to believe in something, it truly is; but do not be a slave to that belief. Beliefs change. Do not split your mind in two, and deny contradicting information because you are afraid of being seen as blasphemous. If you're beliefs are true, then you should be able to consider, hear other argumants, and be skeptical, and it will still be true. Splitting your mind is extremely unhealthy. Ponder on your beliefs, and let me start a seed of critical thinking in your mind.

Christianity is really rather violent. The "holy" bible states that if you do not accept Jesus as your savior (if you are not a christian, essentially) you will be eternally tortured. It presents "god" as all forgiving. It also says that if you don't follow god's every demand then you will be tortured. This is the kind of belief that terrifies little kids. My main problem with the philosophy of christianity, is that it splits the world into the ridiciliusly simple, empty terms of "good" and "bad". What does that mean any way? For something to be good, it must mean it is beneficial to some cause. WHAT CAUSE? In the end, there is no higher purpose. Sure, people will say 'to preserve life and to a higher extent, the human race'. But what comes after that, will it really "matter" if the human race is wiped out tommorow.
People often accuse Islam of being a sexist religion. This is a common misconception. Though it is true that many Muslim countries enforce sexist laws, the koran itself says nothing against women. In christianity, however, God is always, always portayed as a man. The idea of a feminine god seems absurd to christians. Also, Women can not have religious positions. Only men can have that "holy" job.
PreacherFred

Con

It is said that the mind is like a parachute: if it isn't open then it isn't working. So, I do agree with you there. However, I do not think that Christianity is violent at all but, perhaps, the interpretations of the teachings of Christ by religions can certainly be. It is also said that one can find a sentence or two in the Bible, take it out of context, and support any discussion that you wish. Would not it be a logical conclusion that if you accept Christ then you also accept the wholeness of His teachings? Rarely do I use Bible quotes to support an idea. Rather, I use Christ's basic teaching and example as a sort of litmus test. The gist of His message is pure love of others: love for the Creator/Father who instilled a part of His essence within us in the form of a soul and to love and treat our fellow human beings as we ourselves would like to be loved. Does what I am doing right now meet that test?
Here is something to ponder. In history's time line at about the same time that Jesus was preaching in the Holy Land, the Lene Lenape Nation here in North America developed a legend that there appeared before the People a great White Chief whose message was peace amongst all of the Peoples. As the Son of God could Jesus have been this Great White Chief simultaneously appearing in two locations half a world apart?
Is it religion that scares little kids or is it the way parents use God as a means of keeping little children in line? God is going to punish you if you do this…or that. Even as adults we try to continue this notion. How often in the heat of an argument have people said: "God help you if …"
Man, as a whole, thinks it is all it and a bag of chips. We fail to notice that the bag is 80% hot air and 20% chips. How can we, as mere mortals, use man made language and words to describe the omnipotent, omniscient power commonly referred to as God? Does Creator have to have a sex at all? Within Christianity, many women hold religious positions. There are even Anglican female Bishops. The rules that you refer to prohibiting women from Holy Orders are rules made by church politic…not church Spiritual!
The concept of honor Creator and honor your fellow man is universal to all of the world's major religions, including Islam. If I want to be treated the same way as I treat my fellow man then I, as a Christian, certainly wouldn't want to be violent with anyone.
Debate Round No. 1
Harlan

Pro

I could, if I wanted to, made several points of how scientific facts discredit Christianity's credibility. Instead I have decided to treat it as a philosophy, treat "god" as a real or hypothetical entity, and then proceed to criticize his moral code. You have made some very good comments, sir. I am glad to know that I am debating someone with an open mind, which looks into less literal teachings, but into more general ways of living. I would like to stress that I am not attacking Christ himself, but Christianity in my arguments. Jesus Christ was a great man (who did not claim divinity). He used his influence for great things. I once saw a bumper sticker that said something like: "god, I like your Christ very much, I do not like your Christians". I think what this was saying was that Christ taught valuable lessons, but those lessons had been distorted, twisted, and muddled, to be used for more sinister purposes. Christians (not all Christians) have used their religion to justify horrible things all throughout history. I could bring up several examples from the past as well as the present (the crusades, Salem witch trial). I deeply respect your ability to dis-attatch yourself from certain parts of the bible that you do not like. I was afraid (as I mentioned in my opening argument) that I would have some belligerent person who was a complete slave to the bible.
So far, you have agreed with my concerns: such as children's fear of hell, and such. This really is my only problem with the bible: Heaven and hell. It seems so useless to me. Why can't we just…exist? Why the "good" must be rewarded and the "bad" be punished. If a criminal is to steal the possessions from someone's home (referring to "thou shall not steal), it is simply that, him lifting and transporting an object. You said: "How can we, as mere mortals, use man made language and words to describe the omnipotent, omniscient power commonly referred to as God?" Why should god make such empty, trivial rules about such an imagined thing as a possession? While I am not for the idea of stealing, it seems that God's mind is that of a Human. But maybe I do not understand Christian's idea of their religion: tell me; do you take god literally? Or is he just a metaphor for the laws of reality?
All life is holy. We observe miracles constantly: the flying of a bird, the working of a mind, the drifting of a cloud, the ever flowing movement of a river. All life should be treated as "good". Love life and find peace in death. Everything keeps existing; events keep passing by. None of it is evil. None of it is good. It simply is. The images of "the fiery pits of hell" are motivated from very intense feelings of hate. Nothing decides what happens to us, not even us. One event triggers another event and so on. There is no free will, not even in god. The god that I believe in does not have a mind, he does not have freewill. He is everything. He is simple and instinctual always following the same rules. All is holy. Nothing is punishable. Hell is motivated by anger. Anger is a psychological Human emotion.
The process of minds making decisions to act through psychological processes is holy. You may or may not have heard of the Taoist concept: Pu ("the uncarved block" in English). This simply means that things are beautiful and holy in their natural state, unaltered and unconditioned. We must follow these instincts to which your god (who I am treating hypothetically) instilled upon us. The bible then tells us against masturbation and recreational sex. Many of our instincts and natural reactions to things are against your moral code. We do not have free will we should not be punished. Your brain is an object. Your process of thinking is a chain reaction of causes and events just like anything else in the world. It is cause and event just like a tree falling over when hit by lightning is cause and event. Should the tree be punished?
PreacherFred

Con

Just as we might have different names for the same person, God has different names. Perhaps it would be best to acknowledge that we both agree to a God of our own understanding. I cannot presume, however, to question the moral code of an all-knowing, all-powerful entity. I agree that the problems arise when we confuse the spiritual aspects of Christ's message with the interpretations of that message by institutionalized institutions called religions, each one claiming to be the "right" and exclusively correct one. Keep in mind that if God is perfect then, in comparison, man must be flawed, or imperfect. Religions are man made organizations and therefore are flawed as well. I truly believe that anything taken to an extreme, even if it is inherently good in and of itself, becomes closed-minded fanaticism. It is also true that not every Christian who attends services on Sunday (or Saturday) practices Christian principles.

For the sake of this debate, perhaps we would do well to agree to dispense with any discussion of the divinity of Christ. We can then examine the message of this great man, Jesus Christ.

All of the major religions of the world claim Abraham as the source of their lineage. From Abraham came the great prophet Moses who presented to us, as from God, the Ten Commandments. Without sounding to be disrespectful let us try to picture this scenario in today's language. Here comes this man called Jesus who has developed a large following of people who hunger for His message. Jesus tells the crowd: "Hey, you guys. A long time ago my Dad sent you a list of ten rules to follow and you seem to have a great difficulty in following them. God sent me to try to help you to understand them, to simplify them. We'll distill these ten and get at their very core. It's really easy: just honor and obey your Father and treat everybody else the same way that you want to be treated. It's that simple."

These two little rules encompass all of the ten. Sticking to the commandment that you single out, "Thou Shalt Not Steal," why would I want to steal something from someone if I don't want people to steal things from me? That follows the instructions in Christ's simplified code: rule #2. Personally, I don't think Creator gives a hoot about what material, man-made things we do, or do not, possess. He does care about how we treat each other.

The crux of your belief that Christianity is "violent and hateful" seems to center around the concepts of heaven and hell. We either believe that they exist or they don't. Again, our concepts of these two have been shaped by man-made institutions. Perhaps a better explanation of these two states is in order. Heaven is a place where we will constantly be giving praise and glory to Creator. Based upon our honest attempts over our lifetime to follow the example of Jesus we will be invited to remain in His glorious presence. On the other hand, if we exercised our free will to choose and consistently choose to ignore the wishes of Creator, we will not be invited to remain in His presence. The torment of Hell is, once seeing the glory and magnificence of Creator; we will languish in the knowledge that we will never see it again. Ever feel the grief and pain of losing a loved one? Magnify that hurt to the umpteenth degree and you will approach the torment of Hell.

I do not subscribe to the belief that Darwin's theory of evolution is un-Christian. I do believe that this vessel that we call a body may very well have evolved from animals. However, I believe that at the moment of conception, Creator infused a soul, a part of His Spirit. The brain and psychological emotions are part of the animalistic vessel. Anger serves its purpose as a survival tool in the animal kingdom. Every human being is born with the intuitive knowledge of right and wrong. As we mature we are taught and conditioned to suppress this Spiritual knowledge and we begin to alter this understanding by using our intellect (knowledge) rather than our Spirit. Doing the next right thing might not always satisfy our intellect but it is food for the soul. When I place more importance on my Spirituality than I do on my humanity, then I truly believe that Creator will be moved to ask me to stay in His presence. That invitation is directly related to how I use my free will. Just as freedom is not truly free, neither is my divine gift of free will. I am allowed to exercise it but I will be responsible for my choices.

If I am wrong in believing in the existence of Heaven and Hell, what have I lost? If I am right and follow the two basic principles offered to us by Christ, then I have gained eternity in the best state that my soul could achieve!
Debate Round No. 2
Harlan

Pro

You have made good arguments. Some of them, however, I have felt to be more than a little evasive. Your statement: "I cannot presume, however, to question the moral code of an all-knowing, all-powerful entity" seems to be asserting that we should just have blind faith and not question authority. I understand that in your religion, it may seem blasphemous to be skeptical, but for the sake of debate we must consider, question and criticize all. Your general tone in your previous post was that of: "He's god, he's gotta' be right. Neither of us is smart enough to see the real reason, so just go with the flow". I am not against your semi-agnostic beliefs, but in a debate, this serves as weak backing.
Let us try, though as amusing as it may seem, to see the human race from a god's point of view. We are just another chain of events, just another animal, in god's infinite wisdom, he should know and understand the chain of events that is our mind. He should see our decision making process as cause and reaction.
The illusion of free will comes from the incomprehensible complexity of the mind. As I said, it is cause and reaction just like a tree falling over. The mind's cause and reaction is extremely complex though. We make decisions to do things based on memories, instincts, sight, smell, etc. Because we cannot predict the working of the mind we automatically assume that it has free will and controls its own fate. The same theory may be applied to the rolling of a die. We cannot possibly comprehend the complex (yet fated) rolling and tumbling of a die across a table. We therefore see it as "random" simply because we cannot predict it. Shouldn't god, with his all enveloping, all understanding mind, see that the human mind is a force of nature, to which he should be able to predict, in his infinite wisdom?
So then to follow up, and make my point I say: Can a rock sin? Can a river sin? Can a cloud sin? Can the moon sin? Can an ant sin? May a monkey sin? Is there a heaven for monkeys? These, as well as the Human mind, are all just fated forces of nature.
And for our "intuitive knowledge of right and wrong", that is just further backing evolution. Are perceptions of "right" is what will carry on the human race, our perception of "wrong" is what will be malignant to the human race. You said that we are "conditioned to suppress this Spiritual knowledge". Isn't Christianity the force that is doing just that? A child without influence, raised as an animal without ever being communicated to or introduced to a Human world would not believe in god. If you take a child and take him to church once a week for him to listen to a preacher, Then and only then, will he believe in god. A child raised as an Animal would live with nature. He would follow his instincts. He would be one with his surroundings. And that…is the beauty of Taoism.
The ending of your last argument really intrigued me. This idea of: "I might as well believe in it; it couldn't hurt" seems to reflect many Americans attitude towards Christianity. This is partially why Christianity spread so widely: People decided to accept Christ as their savior just in case. Just in case it was true. They were scared of the idea of Hell, so they believed in Christ.
PreacherFred

Con

Thank you for your response. However it appears that we are digressing from the main topic of this debate: the moral code of the Christian religion is violent and hateful. Since the topic header does not specify any one particular Christian religion then it should be fair to deduce that it means the moral code of Christianity in general. We would then need to explore the teachings of Christ as they are generally accepted by all of Christianity as they relate to peace and violence. The header implies that we are discussing the teachings that Christians are supposed to believe in and adhere to and not the way Christians act upon those beliefs. "Sometimes it (religion) is used, even manipulated, to justify violence. There also is violence unrelated to religion that gets religiously charged because conflicting parties happen to be of different faiths."(1) The fact remains that Judaism, Christianity and Islam all preach peace. Too often, however, the teachings are corrupted to fuel hatred and violence. We are left to wonder if religions are in fact the source of the problem or are the solution.

"Every sect is a certificate that God has not plainly revealed His will to man. To each reader the Bible conveys a different meaning."(2) One of the principle beliefs of most of Christianity is the verbal and plenary inspiration of the Bible. Plenary meaning of the whole. In easier terms, what is the meaning of the whole work? I submit, taken as a whole, Christ's teachings are of peace and love, not violence and hate.

I have yet to see you present any evidence that Christ, as a whole, taught violence and hate as a way of life.

______________________________
(1)Rev. Shanta Premawardhana, Interfaith Relations Director for the National Council of Churches USA
(2)Robert Green Ingershall as quoted by www.religioustolerance.org/christ4.htm
Debate Round No. 3
Harlan

Pro

Thank you for pointing us towards the subject. For it is some times the nature of debates to wander into other categories.

Maybe I did phrase my header wrong to pertain to the actual arguments I was making (looking back on what I have written). I should have said "the concept of hell that is used to enforce the moral code of Christianity is violent and hateful".

I still remain that many people follow this moral code out of nothing but fear, cold passionless fear. The bible says that if you don't accept Jesus as your savior, than you will be punished in hell, which is in most peoples belief, is where they will be eternally tortured in the domain of Satan, who is fueled by anger, and is applied to things that Christians don't like.

Over the course of my whole debate, though, I have been trying to exercise the point that the moral code does not work, because it splits everything into meaningless terms of "good" and "bad".

I have also been trying to get across that it does not make sense that a god should be inclined to punish a human being, when a Human being does not have freewill.

I do not disagree with the message of peace, and think that Jesus was a peaceful person for the most part (ignoring his doctrine of hell, which was certainly not peaceful)

I have made all my points already, and here summarize them.
PreacherFred

Con

Thanks for acknowledging that Jesus, and therefore the moral code that He preached, was a peaceful person. Accepting your expanded debate topic, I offer the following:

Just as humans can not accurately describe heaven, neither can we accurately describe hell. I offered a layman's description of hell in round one. It is neither violent nor hateful but a consequence of our actions here on earth. "A careful study of Scriptural uses of the words ‘life' and ‘death' will clearly show that the root ideas are respectively ‘union' and ‘separation'. Physical life is the union of the spirit with the body, spiritual life is the union of the spirit with God, and everlasting life is this union perfected and consummated to all eternity. Similarly, physical death is the separation of the spirit from the body, spiritual death is the separation of the spirit from God, and eternal death is the perpetuation of this separation."(1) If there is any torture and hate involved in hell it is the self-torture of the condemned soul who knows he will never again see the glory and magnificence of the Creator and the self-hate of knowing that the cause was not choosing to do "the next right thing." The word "retribution" is preferred to "punishment" because Hell is the consequence of our choices here on earth. Cecil puts the matter succinctly: "Hell is the truth seen too late."

Animals survive on instinct. Man survives by using his intellect to make choices. I can touch the flame and be burned or I can choose to not touch the flame. The fear of being burned is a beneficial fear that helps protect my well-being. Without a doubt, fire and brimstone preachers have stressed metaphorical descriptions of Hell as being unquenchable fire but these images are merely symbolic of the terrible reality of being eternally separated from Creator. Perhaps the assertion you made that early Christians decided to follow Christ because they feared Hell more has some validity. Could it not be, however, that they wanted so much more to be eternally in communion with the Creator that they decided to follow the example that Christ provided them? Rarely did Christ say, "You must do this or that." More often than not He said, "Come, follow Me!"

A Theist believes in God through intellectual study as does an Atheist arrive at his decision not to believe. An Agnostic just isn't sure if God exists or not. A Gnostic intuitively knows in his heart, his soul, that there is a God. Exercising my free will I can choose to believe by listening to my soul. I choose to follow Christ's example of peace and love. I choose good over bad. In doing so, I choose to not be condemned to an eternal state of banishment from the presence of my Creator. It isn't God who punishes us. If we choose evil, we will punish ourselves in the end.

________________________________
(1)"What Christ Teaches Concerning Future Retribution" by William C. Procter, F.PH., Croydon, England: www.geocities.com/Athens/Parthenon/6528/fund41.htm
Debate Round No. 4
Harlan

Pro

Very good reponse

I have 3 more hours, and I have short internet access. I have made all my points anyways. I must work on homework.

I have enfoyed debating with you, and have learned more of what a different perspective sounds like, for I cannot fully understand a christian's way of thinking.

-Harlan
PreacherFred

Con

Harlan, thank you for your insight and wisdom. I will defer to your decision and also will not post a closing argument. I think we both have stated all of our points.

My friend, you are a very formidable opponent, and a worthy one! No matter what decision the readers reach, we are both winners here. We were able to express opposing viewpoints with sincerity, kindness, respect for each other, and understanding.

You are on a path of seeking the truth. It is in seeking that you will find the answers that you need. At your age I had many doubts and questioned many parts of the religion that I was raised in. It took me 1/2 a lifetime to understand that Spirituality was far more important than formalized religion.

I truly believe that every human has a right to his own opinion and beliefs. Believing that, then I must respect your beliefs and opinions. The purpose of the debate is to share ideas and learn from each other.

Remember, Harlan, it is said that Jesus was the first Socialist.

Thank you, my friend and best wishes to you!

~~Fred
Debate Round No. 5
21 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by cam06082003 4 months ago
cam06082003
funny thing is, my name is christian
Posted by Harlan 9 years ago
Harlan
I looked up the word sacrilegous. I did do anything of the sort.

If you are reffering to my wuotation of some song, then of COPURSE there was no point.

That had nothing to do with instigation of any point.

It was not sacrilegous.
Posted by EricW1001 9 years ago
EricW1001
Harlan,

I'm not even religious, but why instigate by using Christ's name in a sacreligous way?

No reason for it.
Posted by Harlan 9 years ago
Harlan
Tell me Who's in the house?!

(JC!)

Jesus Christ is in the house today!
Posted by Harlan 9 years ago
Harlan
"Teletubbies promote a gay life"

Very prejudicial, Paul Tigger. Also, you are only responding to an attack with an ecasive attack on a seperate thing. Crusader, how was jesus a capitalist. BUt then again, anyone with the username "crusader". Youre username is "crusader", WHY?
Posted by artC 9 years ago
artC
I don't know for certain about the moral code of Christianity, but all the books of god that exist do have very violent messages.
Posted by Novan_Leon 9 years ago
Novan_Leon
Although I would definitely argue against the fact that Christianity is violent, I can't say I liked how either party argued their side. I didn't see very much sound reasoning being passed back and forth.
Posted by crusader34 9 years ago
crusader34
I'm not really very fond of either of your portrayals of Christianity, though Harlan's is simply false, all the way across. I did like most of Fred's last argument, especially the way Hell is portrayed. That was in line with everything I believe about it.

Jesus, the first socialist? Ha... let's not say things we can't take back. Makes me feel dirty inside.
Posted by nickymisseshowarddean 9 years ago
nickymisseshowarddean
This debate was very insightful on both of your arguments. As someone "searching" when it comes to faith...this debate really helped me understand both sides even more so than I had. Excellent job guys.
Posted by Chuckles 9 years ago
Chuckles
Most religions are not violent themselves (at least the big and popular ones). in fact almost all fight against violence and teach of peace. Humans only twist religion to justify their immoral actions. Yes, almost every religion has had a violent past of some kind, i.e. the crusades, etc.
i have found an interesting article by orson scott card relating somewhat to this topic. i certainly don't agree with all of it but it's interesting
http://ornery.org...
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