The Instigator
penitent
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
MikeSyryca
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

The teachings of Biblical Christianity are more similar to Progressivism than Conservatism.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/5/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 647 times Debate No: 29915
Debate Rounds (5)
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Votes (1)

 

penitent

Pro


Resolved: The teachings of Biblical Christianity are more similar to Progressivism than Conservatism.

Introduction:
My name is Penitent. I am the author of a short-lived book titled “Progressive with Soul: A Handbook for the Christian Left” which exists today in an eformat [1] and only in select chapters. The book’s facebook page [2] has experienced noteworthy attention and is often a place for intelligent conversation about faith and politics. Recently a guest of the facebook page politely challenged me to a debate focusing on my argument that Christianity and Progressivism are very similar, so much so that a contemporary Evangelical Christian could, and perhaps should, find herself supporting many tenets of Progressive politics. It was this guest’s desire that our debate intentionally avoid name calling and endeavor to present each side fairly, genuinely seeking to understand and engage the other. I thought his proposal was idealistic and dreamy --and exactly my greatest hope. I’ve accepted his request and we have agreed to have the debate here on this website.

Rules:
Each debater will attempt to demonstrate that the ancient faith of Christianity, as founded by Jesus and as represented in the Old and New Testaments lends itself to one of two modern American political philosophies. Progressivism [3], as represented vaguely by the Democratic Party, and Conservatism [4], as represented (perhaps just as vaguely) by the Republican Party. Neither debater will presume to speak for either the whole of Christianity or an entire political philosophy. Rather, each will present their best understanding of the faith and the philosophy always with humility and a willingness to receive minor correction. The winner of the debate should be the side which has demonstrated that Christianity leans (not historically, but Biblically) on their side at least 51% of the time. Voters take into consideration whether debaters followed the rules as presented in this introduction.

Format:
The structure of the debate will be taking on the topic through the lens of contemporary issues. Each debater will submit how Christianity teaches a Progressive or Conservative political philosophy on the following topics:



          • Global Climate Change
          • U.S. Immigration Policy
          • Gun Control
          • Abortion Policy
          • Homosexual Rights

Each debater will be given, 8,000 characters per round to make their case, and each debater agrees to budget this writing limit wisely to make their case for each of the above topics. Debaters will also be given the maximum allowable time to add to the debate, which is 72 hours after the previous debater has submitted their argument. A voting period of 6 months will be permitted for members of Debate.org in good standing to cast their ballot.

Rounds:


          • Round 1: Introduction. PRO introduces the debate. CON accepts and offers a personal introduction.
          • Round 2: Constructive. PRO presents a case supporting the resolution. CON presents a case against the resolution (does not attack PRO case directly).
          • Round 3: Rebuttal. PRO offers rebuttal of CON’s case. CON offers rebuttal of PRO’s case.
          • Round 4: Defense. PRO only defends PRO case (does not further attack CON case). CON only defends CON case (does not further attack PRO).


          • Round 5: Closing Arguments: PRO offers final remarks. CON offers final remarks. No new lines of thought are introduced, though new responses to previous arguments are permitted. No new questions are to be asked.



MikeSyryca

Con

First, an introduction by way of an acquaintance who's an ardent Democrat. When I asked why she's a liberal, she replied, "Because I care about people".

This, I believe, cuts to the root of the problem. In a sincere yet overly simplistic way, she was (a) implying we Republicans don't care about people; and (b) was equating "big government" with "caring". She's a good person, but I beg to differ on both counts.

We conservatives care deeply about people. Ironically - while my acquaintance is an atheist - I'm a Christian who attends church, tithes, raises my family, pays (lots of) taxes, and gives to charity. We conservatives despise poverty. We want prosperity for all. We don't want to see starving families, or people walking the streets, or abandoned kids. I want to leave the best possible world for my daughters and eventually, my grandchildren. We conservatives are good, generous people - not the ogres we're often made out to be.

Second, I am not a professional debater. I've never heard of this site and am unfamiliar with its format. I imagine most of the people following this debate are from the Christian Left site, which makes me the visiting team. Nonetheless I'll do my best to present the conservative point of view, so they can at least understand my way of thinking. I will do my best to understand theirs as well.

Since it will inevitably come up, let's get the personal out of the way. I've never seen so much bad blood in American politics. It's on both sides, and it renders a reasonable discussion on the issues nearly impossible. I'll say it: I don't care for Obama, and have virtually no respect for the man. His personal style rankles me - the arrogance, the messianic complex, the power hunger, etc. In my opinion he possessed no qualifications to be president, other than reading off teleprompters. He was a media creation, and I have to turn the station whenever he comes on - his voice is just that annoying to me. It's like fingernails on a chalkboard.

Having said that, I can finally understand why liberals literally hated Bush all those years. His personal style rankled them too - the cowboy swagger, his mannerisms, etc. In that sense, both sides are even. So I'm pleased we can have a discussion without the tired insults ("racist!", "troll!", "Bush lied!", "Obama is a foreigner!", etc.) more befitting a first grade classroom.

Here's the seminal difference between us, and I wish I could put this in italics: We conservatives don't see government as being effective or efficient. We actually see "big government" as hurting the very people it purports to help. There are better solutions to combating poverty! Government is wasteful, bureaucratic, and loaded with corruption and favors for the politically-connected. Liberals mean well -- but supporting "big government" does not equate to Christ's call to charity. Government creates a drag on the economy, it erodes the work ethic, has created generational poverty, and has devastated the family unit in this country (especially black families).

When I was 4, my parents were building a house. I asked my dad how I could help, and he answered: "By staying out of the way". In his gruff manner, he was right. The same analogy exists with government. How can the economy best thrive? By keeping a taxing, regulating, and intrusive government out of the way. Thus, more jobs are created and THAT is what helps everyone the most - including the poor. A job is the best social program mankind can provide.

While it may sound charitable to offer ubiqiutious social-welfare benefits, the policy often backfires - for the intended recipient and society alike. We need a return to personal responsibility, as opposed to handouts. "The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat." (2 Thess 3:10) I won't clutter my argument with quotes or yawn-inducing statistics (which can always be manipulated), but this particular verse stands out.

Yes, we need a basic governmental social safety net; Christ would doubtlessly agree with this (though I'm convinced churches and private charities do so far more efficiently than government, which does almost nothing effectively). We need reasonable gov't oversight of banks, Wall Street, etc. But to us conservatives, "big government" has become far too pervasive - and that's harmful to the economy, and harmful to individual liberty.

I personally know people who game the system, collecting unemployment or other benefits whilst working cash jobs, or while not bothering to work at all. Penn, you seem like a decent guy: I suspect you work and pay taxes? Doesn't it irk you that others are living off your labor? In my grandfather's day, men worked two and even three jobs to save for a rainy day. Nowadays, people don't have that work ethic, and they don't save their money. They know "government" will be there when that rainy day comes - and that comes at an ultimate cost to society. (Why should the husband work, when their combined income will disqualify the couple from food stamps?)

We conservatives also worry about our massive national debt. To us, we're just passing debt onto our children, and that's unconscionable (Thou shalt not steal - including from the next generation). Our federal budget is now two-and-a-half times what it was just 25 years ago. Heck, the Senate won't even pass a budget!! At what point do we call this lunacy? We're spending 3.2 trillion dollars this fiscal year - only 2 trillion of which we actually have. The rest is borrowed, and thrown on top of our cumulative $17 trillion debt. Can't patriotic liberals join us conservatives in agreeing that this is insanity?

Do you have children, Penn? I do, and it pains me to think of the burden we're passing on to them. I know; Bush spent money too (he was never a real conservative) - but Obama strikes me as the guy who orders whatever he wants at McDonald's, expecting the next guy in line to pay for it. Our national debt will come due one day.... and when it does, we may experience economic Armageddon. I wonder - and this is no personal insult - whether liberal voters appreciate the severity of our debt crisis, or simply don't understand it? And when that day comes, what of the poor and middle class? They'll be the hardest hit. (They're already hard hit as a result of Obama's inflationary policies.)

As for taxing the wealthy: Obama got practically everything he wanted in the fiscal cliff deal. Even if we tax the wealthy / job-creators at European-style levels, the higher rates would only fund the government for a relatively short period. If anything, by punishing job creators (as Obamacare does), we might make unemployment worse - pushing more onto the government dole. I see no Biblical mandate for that. In fact, confiscatory taxation runs afoul of the Biblical commandment against stealing again.

Last point: another problem with "big government", to us conservatives, is once people get hooked on it, they vote that way. We're NOT a liberal nation. Heck, Obama got 7 million fewer votes than last time. Romney (flawed candidate though he was) won independents by double digits in most swing states. The problem was the GOP base didn't turn out. This is not sour grapes, but rather to point out that there is no sweeping mandate for Obama's liberal agenda. He won by cobbling together a coalition centered on people who receive from government. They get benefits in some form, so they voted for the guy who keeps the goodies flowing. And they will do so in spite of the fact that the nation is broke and in debt. This can only beget more debt and more negative consequences for our kids' future.

Okay Penn, I wrote more than I intended, but I wanted you to hear my side of this. I'm not some evil, uneducated monster who hates kids and old people. I want the best for our society at every level. Liberals and conservatives just disagree on the best delivery vehicle for that. I'll await your response. God bless.
Debate Round No. 1
penitent

Pro

penitent forfeited this round.
MikeSyryca

Con

MikeSyryca forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
penitent

Pro

penitent forfeited this round.
MikeSyryca

Con

MikeSyryca forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
penitent

Pro

penitent forfeited this round.
MikeSyryca

Con

MikeSyryca forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
penitent

Pro

penitent forfeited this round.
MikeSyryca

Con

MikeSyryca forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
penitentMikeSyrycaTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FAIL DEBATE, as both sides dropped out... (checking the voting period debates, from Least To Most votes. By giving this one, it won't be prioritized in the system anymore.)