The planet would be a better place without religion
Debate Rounds (5)
our species has been held back by its existence.
The purpose of this debate is not to prove/disprove the existence of God for the record I am an atheist, I do not Believe in God or Gods and if you wish to debate their existence you are welcome to challenge me in a separate debate.
We are talking about the impact of religion here on earth I am not discussing anything after death as it is irrelevant to this debate.
This is not a debate about the validity of evolution or the age of the earth if you disagree with the consensus that the earth is billions of years old or evolutionary theory these are also subjects for another debate.
If you make an assertion you must back it up with a source.
Asides from that anything goes.
Planet: A celestial body moving in an elliptical orbit around a star. The Earth.
Place: The specific portion of space normally occupied by anything.
Religion: A set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
I will be arguing that the "Planet" (Earth) would not be a better "place" (The space it occupies in our solar system) without religion.
My contention is that if we did not have religion, there would be no noticeable improvement to the Earth. I will also argue that certain religions actually practice the betterment of the Earth and without them the Earth would be worse.
In order for the "place" our planet to be "better" there must be a conscious form of life to make a judgement on any improvement and the desision as to if the planet is "better" as the planet does not care either way and we the human race are the only life form on earth able to articulate that judgement I would point out that "better" has to be judged by human standards.
There are a number of reasons It can be argued that our planet would be better without religion. We live in a world that for thousands of years has been subject to the whims of religion the atrocities that have been carried out in its name are beyond number and today it is still used to incite hatred and separate and persecute other members of our species, my premise is that if we removed religion from are planet although there would still be war and prejudice the world would be a safer and fairer place for all and above all people would struggle to find justification for Some of the worst acts of discrimination and hate human beings are capable of.
Statistically predominately secular nations have lower levels of crime and violence then their religious counterparts.
In twenty eight country's the practice of female genital mutilation is currently carried out for purely religious reasons. This barbaric practice serves no medical fiction is usually done without anaesthetic and often results in death for the girls involved.
There are currently thirteen country's where atheism is punishable by death there are currently no secular country's that execute people purely based on their religious beliefs.
I know of no argument against homosexuality other than the religious one yet as of as of July 2015, seventy two countries have laws against homosexuality and there are ten where you can be sentenced to death for homosexuality.
We have seen a massive rise in terrorism in recent history and although the real causes behind these attacks are often over looked by the media religion unarguably make it that much easier for terrorist organisations worldwide to indoctrinate and find recruits.
There is a huge proportion of the world that rejects scientific findings based purely on religion and this slows scientific research.
We can see the impact of this when we look at situations like the Catholic Churches interference in Africa who by denouncing the use of condoms have contributed to the death of countless millions and have played a part in allowing this awful virus to spread.
There is also massive resistance world wide to allowing any science that disagrees with various religious texts to be taught in schools and there have been situations where schools have been forced to teach or unable to stop the teaching of ludicrous creationist pseudoscience.
By acknowledging that humanity is one speices and that we and all came from one common ancestor it gives us one more tool in intellectually rejecting the xenophobia we see even today on our planet and when these scientific understandings are learned as part of every child's education it makes it harder for the racist element of our society to pass their views on to the next generation.
These are just a few of the reasons I believe that are planet would be better without religion.
"Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies." Gregory S Paul
The argument is not that the planet would be better for humans if religion was non-existent. The argument is that the planet would be better as an entity occupying the space that it does within our solar system. In other words, does religion affect the earth itself. All of pro's arguments thus far have failed to address this issue.
I point pro to the headline question: "The planet would be a better place without religion". There is no mention of humankind or the affect religion has on them.
Secondly, I point pro to their own initial assertion: "We are talking about the impact of religion here on earth I am not discussing anything after death as it is irrelevant to this debate."
By pro's own assertion, we are talking about the state of the planet as pertaining to religion's affect on the planet itself. There is no mention of humankind other than to instruct con that it is "irrelevant".
Thirdly, I point pro to the definitions that I laid out in my opening argument. As no definitions were clearly established before my own, we will be using mine.
1. Religion is a human concept this is by his definition. His own definition was: Religion: a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the content of HUMAN affairs.
2. If he insists on continuing this line of reason, as I said we were "discussing the effect of religion here on earth I am not discussing anything after death as it is Irrelevant to this debate" if my opponent feels we were discussing the planet at this point he must prove that it is alive as otherwise my rules MUST apply to living creatures.
3. If we are talking about the planet and he successfully proves the planet is alive he must also prove he had authority to speak on its behalf.
I thank my opponent again and respectfully request we continue this debate from a human prospective, but ultimately leave that decision to him.
I was indeed arguing semantics. Something I have not done before and impulsively did with your post.
As you stated, specificity is important. And for the record, points 2 and 3 are debatable. Perhaps another time.
With that said, I am willing to end that part of this debate and argue the spirit of your argument. That humankind, on the whole of the earth, is better off without religion.
I find myself in an interesting position though. I am an atheist agnostic. I do not believe there is a God and I do not believe it can be proven nor disproved. I am not a fan of religion and I agree with most of your charges against religion. I am a fan of the late Christopher Hitchens. A man that possessed a an intellect and gift of oration that rivals many of the greats from the past and in the current. I believe his arguments against religion are backed by nearly flawless logic and I can think of no one that has successfully argued against him on that topic.
However, I will attempt to play devil's advocate and debate you on this topic.
I believe that most all religions are detrimental to humankind in many ways. So I agree with your points and count them as valid arguments. Where I will be arguing from is from the fringe. This area is where the smaller religions live and most of them seem to go unnoticed.
1. Cheondoism: In the year 1812 Korea was a bad place to be if you were poor. All manner of evil was perpetrated against common people. They finally rebelled that year and the spirit of rebellion spawned Cheondoism in 1860. The main tenants of Cheondoism are the belief that God lives within each of us and therefore all crimes against man are also crimes against God. The religion extends this belief and attempts to turn believers into intelligent moral beings with a high social consciousness. It is now one of the leading religions in Korea.
Now we could argue that North Korea is a pretty awful place to live; however, we must also admit that North Korea is communist. And communism seeks to pervert, control, or eradicate the main or popular religion(s) of the area for its own gain. Much like the Russian leaders claiming blessing from the Catholic Arch Bishop while murdering their citizens. So even if this religion was not around and never exploited by the State, the State would still perpetrate crimes against humanity. Maybe even worse crimes than they do now.
Nevertheless, Cheondoism was born out of human suffering at the hands of the Godless and seeks to instill a humane order to government and society in general. I would argue that this religion has made that part of the world better than it was without it.
2. Cao Dai: There is a lot to be said for this religion. This religion is an odd one I will admit. It is odd because it basically says that all other religions are basically true and they take, what they consider to be, the best from the other major religions. But it can be summed up with this quote:
"That's the reason God has founded Cao Dai, in order to bring harmony to different religions. And the principle of Cao Dai is that religions are not different and if we take enough time to study deep --deeply enough in each religion, we would see that they have one same principal, if not identical principal."
One writer put it like this:
"The noble effort of CaoDai is to unite all of humanity through a common vision of the Supreme Being, whatever our minor differences, in order to promote peace and understanding throughout the world. CaoDai does not seek to create a gray world, where all religions are exactly the same, only to create a more tolerant world, where all can see each other as sisters and brothers from a common divine source reaching out to a common divine destiny realizing peace within and without."
Now it is important to note that it has been stated that this religion was created to keep Christianity at bay. Back when it was created the missionaries were rarely good people. For this reason I am inclined to say this is a good religion that has made that area of the world a better place. Could you imagine if they had not held off those missionaries and now were all Catholics instead? Yikes!
I have a few others if needed, but I think these will do to illustrate my point. The choice for many people is not theism or atheism. It is often one religion over another. If the main religion of the time or area has encroached on normal, everyday common people and tried to convert them to something perverted like Catholicism, those people would be worse off.
Now, your argument is an third cause fallacy. You postulate that we would be better off without religion. Yet the world has never known a time without religion. Therefore no one can claim your postulation to be true. It can only be plausible.
What makes it an third cause fallacy is that you are basically stating that we would be morally superior beings without religion when in fact religion is just a pathway for the immoral to act immorally with support. Simply stated, we are immoral creatures and religion is not the cause as you state. Our nature it the cause.
In conclusion, I am not making the case that any religion is good (at this point). I am making the case that using, or sometimes creating, a religion of necessity yields a better result for the people involved.
In effect this makes the people and places most affected by pervasive and immoral religions better. In some cases it slows or reduces the mistreatment of people by secular communist governments.
I thank you for consideration of the information I have presented. I also ask for you understanding in that I am not merely arguing semantics with this rebuttal. With that said, thank you again and I look forward to the next round.
I will quickly refute both arguments concerning Cheondoism 2.8 million followers and Cao Dai 2-6 million followers
I can do this simply by referring to just one of the sources I gave previously there are currently around 79 countries where being homosexual is illegal this effects some where in the region of 2.7 billion homosexual people living in these countries, being oppressed, for what in many cases is essentially thought crime. This number significantly eclipses the combined number of followers of both religions my opponent mentioned even without taking in to account the friends and families of the ostracised.
I would add that as religion can not claim to have a monopoly on morality and no claim can be maid that the combined 4.8 to 10-.8 million people of these two faiths would suddenly lose their humanity and emotion as a result of losing their religion.
When compared to what the people living in countries that ban homosexuality for religious reasons would gain, I feel any hypothetical benefit these two unusual religions provide is eclipsed. I would reiterate that I am aware of no other argument against homosexuality other than the religious one.
As for the argument concerning the merits of choosing one religion over another to prevent it spreading, it is an interesting topic but as my proposal is that we are rid of all religion, this would cease to be an issue and is therefore a moot point.
Finally my opponent States that I am postulating that the earth would be a better place without religion, I would argue that in the case of the example he used in North Korea this is precisely what he was doing himself and would also argue that as I have already provided sources that show a correlation between secularism and lower levels of crime, feel it is fair to say that religion can lay no claim to morality.
The world would also be improved for the 2.7 billion homosexual people I mentioned previously " not to mention their friends and family"
A large number of atheists and irreligious people worldwide (this number is unknown but is currently judged to be from 10-22% of the population however due to the taboo of "coming out" as an atheist is possibly much higher)
Religious war would be a thing of the past and while other wars would still be fought no one could claim that they were fighting as it is "Gods will"
Martyrdom would no longer exist in the Islamic sense.
While there are no numbers available to my knowledge of the number of people worldwide who accept the creation myths as fact and remain wilfully ignorant of science as a result,
in America this number is around 46% and this is a truly terrifying thought given the impact the U.S. has on the rest of the world, think how much money could be diverted to science if these people gave up their belief Tax exceptions alone in the Us are around 71 billion, world wide these figures are obscene.
This I feel is the nail in the coffin for religion, I am happy to provide more sources but feel it is a fair statement to say the money spent on religion worldwide is in the trillions, this money could be used to feed, house and educate the world and if this can not be considered an improvement then what is?
Once again I thank my opponent and wish him the best of luck in the closing round of this debate.
My opponent is correct that my comparative argument was irrelevant and he rightly declared it a moot point. I fully cede that point.
I would argue that he was simply too dismissive of the two religions that I used as examples. He appeared to dismiss them due to their number of followers, or lack there of. I take two issues with this rational.
1. In a global sense, 6 million people might not be many; however, to a region 6 million could very well be most. This then begs the question: does his initial question only apply to the world as it is, or the world that a religion can or does affect? I assume it to be, for admittedly self-serving reasons in part, the area of the world that a government or religion can or does influence. Of course, the argument could be framed as all region vs. all else. In which case, 6 million people are not enough to outweigh the atrocities of the larger religions. Therefore, I will also cede that point.
2. My opponent has succeeded in disarming me in the prior round. As such, I am left with only one counter argument: Who defines what is moral and what is not?
It would be my contention that the morality he knows is owed in part by historical religious morality as defined by the social structure that formed his country. He could then argue that this moral influence was not needed because we, as a people, would have figured out this morality without religion. While he would be right, to a degree, no one really can have that answer. So we are left with comparing secular governments and people to religious institutions and people on the whole of their moral infractions.
This is where I make my case. Who gets to decide if killing a person is immoral? Who decides that theft is immoral? Who decides if persecution of homosexuals is immoral?
If you are an atheist or agnostic, you would conclude that morality is not given by a moral law giver, rather it was evolved over time out of the need to be mutually beneficial as a group. If one group decided that killing their own was moral and one group decided that it was immoral, one group might survive and another might not.
This then leads me to morality as an objective set of rules for everyone. No person or Country of people has the claim to the objective moral standard. No Country can tell another Country that their morality is wrong. In Canada same-sex marriage was legal long before it was in the US. Canada had no right to tell the US that they were immoral in denying it. No matter the reason for the denial, it did not fit within the US moral code for a very long time. The same can be said for the US objecting to how other Countries restrict the freedoms of women. While that has been ousted from our own morals, it was not always immoral to us. So how can we then claim that we are the moral law givers for the rest of the world?
Certainly we see some truths to be self evident: that people have certain unalienable rights. But are we the ones that decided this for everyone and are now trying to impose our morals onto others? An non-modernized group of people who rely on the procreation of their members might take moral issue with homosexuality and persecute a homosexual within their group. Are we then allowed to tell them that they are immoral? In the UK, the age of consent is 16. This means that a 30 year old could legally have sexual contact with a 16 year old. We, in the US, would find that to be immoral. Who gets to decide?
In conclusion, morality does not extend beyond your agreed upon group. No one has the right to judge another group's morality because is does not mirror their own. Therefore nothing is immoral outside of your group. Because your morality does not extend beyond your group, you can not claim that any atrocities have been committed by secular or religious groups that operate out of your group. Until such a time as we have a one-world government, there can be no moral consensus nor moral indignation for others outside your moral purview.
I thank my opponent for what has been a most stimulating and challenging debate. I wish him luck in the final round.
When embarking on this debate I was aware from its inception that it would move inexorably to a discussion of morality.
My opponent raises a good point what is moral? Well as we have yet to define it allow me to do so now.
a : of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior : ethical
b : expressing or teaching a conception of right behavior
c : conforming to a standard of right behavior
d : sanctioned by or operative on one's conscience or ethical judgment
e : capable of right and wrong action
The discussion of morality is possibly one of the oldest questions in philosophy and although it would be possible to argue about the morality of things like murder and theft if debating morality as pure concept when talking about the impact these things have on the world, I do not feel it would be contentious of me to say the world is better of without these things or that the majority of the human race would agree with that statement.
However the question of what society finds acceptable in terms of sexuality, greed, aid to fellow humans, animal rights, abortion ... The list is endless, I must concede these questions are far more open to debate, however as anyone that has spent time debating or is interested in debates cannot have failed to notice, whenever these subjects arise there is often a religious aspect to the moral argument, I have mentioned previously that without religion there is no argument about the morality of homosexuality, I would argue that without the concept of a soul the same could be said of abortion
(although there is also a psychological nature to that argument so it is perhaps not the best example)
In nearly all these debates, if we were debating from a purely neutral standpoint with no religious preconceptions, In a lot of cases the opponents of these issues would be left with no other defence that to simply say that they don't like homosexuality, abortion, sex, or the idea that someone somewhere might be having more fun than them, these debates would then be able to be quickly shot down by saying to these people that if these issues do not directly affect them and they therefore have no right to interfere.
Whilst we can intellectually debate the subjective morality of these things till the cows come home, in the real world we have to accept that there are things we can agree are good or bad as a society, if we were all philosophers nothing could possibly get done as we would all be wondering around questioning if we were butterfly's dreaming that they were men.
I can make no claim to know what is truly moral but as I have said religion can not make this claim either, but that is how it is so often used and by removing the ability for people to hide the prejudice behind scripture and justify outrageous acts by saying they have been granted a celestial free pass, I feel that any rational human being must see that the world does not need religion.
I thank my opponent for what I agree has been a stimulating and surprising pleasurable debate.
NotThatClever forfeited this round.
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