The Instigator
Pro (for)
3 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

The video 'innocence of muslims' is a benefit for society

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/11/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,994 times Debate No: 26156
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (2)




I am FOR the motion that The video 'innocence of Muslims' is a benefit for society. I see the root cause of so many evils in this world to be spawned by religion. When a video such as this comes out, and is blamed for murder and riots, I become angry because it is not the video that is the cause of hatred, but religion. I believe religion to be a detriment to society in general and the advance of the human race. I believe this applies in fields of human rights, scientific progression and advancement, philosophy, medicine and politics.

It would only serve to insult you, for me to explain the situation currently occurring in many Muslim countries which were spurred on by the low-budget video Innocence of Muslims. As far as can be observed, there are two camps concerned with the riots over the Middle East and the murder of several American citizens. The first being that of the actual Muslim rioters, who show no shame in their goal to exterminate all criticism of Islam, whatever forms it should take. The second camp consists of those people, like Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, who think that Islam should not have been insulted, but that the riots are unjustified. I side with neither of these two moronic ideals.
It should go without saying that the murders were unjustified, and it is evidently clearer that the unstable Muslim population would have rioted to nearly anything, should the right speaker convince them. The only concern I have is the way that the United States and much of the western world handled the attacks. Should it not be said that western society is largely based on the freedom of expression? That being obvious, to lower ourselves to allowing our representative government to insist that the video was offensive is, at least in the United States, constitutionally not acceptable.
For the government, who is bound by the bill of rights, to express disapproval towards a certain opinion is, in my mind at least, illegal. Should the current administration say anything of the video? Does the video actually matter? The answer is no. We need to be concerned with the true problem, and its true cause. The problem, of course, is the attack on American citizens. The cause is conviction. It is the praise of beliefs, whether true or false (generally false), simply because they are there and have been for a while.
Should the revolutionaries and philanthropists of yesteryear be so revered that they become the ideological tyrants of today? Shall the customs we were indoctrinated with as children be so far removed from criticism in society at large that they soon become the only basis for a system of morals or rule of law. Many in our society, whether they understand it or not, would agree with this. It could be conservatism in a certain light, but let this not fool you. Any society which, without question, keeps in place the barbaric beliefs of its ancestors should not expect secularism, humanism or scientific progress to flourish. As it could be easily guessed I am referring to the Bronze Age dogmas generally attributed to emerging from the mythical figure of Abraham. Legends that offer less basis in truth than modern ghost stories are, everywhere, being applied (or have been applied) to the human moral system.
In the United States, there are six members of the union that constitutionally forbid one from holding office without the prerequisite that they believe in supernatural forces. In Saudi Arabia, a woman shall not walk alone, nor without modesty, on pain of death. In the Islamic Republic of Iran, homosexuals are hanged for no crime greater than being born. Tens of thousands, if not millions, of new born babies in Africa, The Middle East, Europe and the Americas barely get to cry before their genitals are mutilated in honor of this same barbaric god. Please do not speak to me of a greater good, the afterlife or an eternal spirit, for I do not tolerate fools. These horrible crimes occur ceaselessly for no logical reason whatsoever. But keep it to yourself, many will say. Let not the heathen speak or the blasphemers blaspheme, for I AM THE LORD.
I argue that should scientologists, or some other cult of morons, wish to cut out the tongues of all women, that it would not be tolerated; But in the case of the Pope uttering quite the same diabolic command, that thousands worldwide would join in on the ritual. It can be said that the same is done if one idiot is promised seventy-two virgins. It would seem that these practices are not only tolerated by the vast majority of Sol III, but the followers cheered on and adorned, even by those who call themselves secular.
But as Hitchens, Dawkins and Harris argued, this seemingly innocent acquiescence is, perhaps, one of the greater crimes perpetuated by humankind. Just as watching a mugging and saying nothing, there is a great percentage of the fence-sitters of reality whom would choose to do nothing- whom would not have these great villains answer for their crimes. Instead they preach that we should show tolerance to what is simply referred to as "other cultures" or "different paradigms." But shall we have tolerance for the intolerant. I believe this is a self-defeating and rather moronic sentiment to suggest. If we were to tolerate idiocy, or worse, to praise it, we will be in a far worse situation than we are already running towards.
I offer: we must not tolerate such intolerances or idiocy. It should be as far removed from affecting our everyday lives in politics and policy. We should not vote for the faithful candidate (faith, like Bill Maher agrees, is making a virtue out of non-thinking). We should not exempt churches, or other places similar, from tax, just as we would not exempt a dungeons and dragons convention. If we are not to tolerate witchcraft or Satanism, we should not give preference to Christianity or Islam. In the eyes of society, there should not be any recognizable difference between such practices except when it comes to comparing them to science, where they cannot stand on their own rotten legs.
The message I try to convey is that we should not revere the old simply for its age. Honor must be earned, not granted and spoken for. All the answers must be questioned because that is the nature of understanding. And those values which detest and insult aspects of human understanding, sexual freedoms and rights, and the rights of those to express oneself and to be free from bondage should be left in the past. Let humankind progress, free from the chains of this sick idea of conviction.


I thank my debate partner, Mr. Scott, for proposing such an interesting debate. After such a long introduction, I fell it is my duty to clarify what it is I am NOT arguing for or against and then move on to address the prompt "The video 'Innocence of Muslims' is a benefit for society".
Many of the arguments offered during round one strike me as irrelevant to the subject at hand. They are undoubtedly related to the matter discussed in the video and the sociological reasons behind the subsequent reactions, but they do not affect the truth of the proposed statement. I will therefore not be arguing for the following topics:

1. I will not be arguing for Islam. I am not a Muslim, I disagree with Islam vehemently on a great many things and feel no need to act as an Islamic apologist in order to affirm that the video in question is not a benefit to society.

2. I will not be arguing for the influence of religion in the world. For full disclosure, I am a Catholic and believe firmly in the right to bring your religious worldview to bear on your public life, including in politics. This, however, is not the point we are contending, nor does it have direct baring upon it. I will therefore, in this instance, let sleeping dogs lie.

3. I will not be arguing for riots and murders committed by Muslim radicals with the excuse of the video. These are heinous acts that deserve condemnation, but the fact that they are atrocious acts does not affect the nature of the video, which should be considered by its own merits.

4. I will not be arguing for politically correct multiculturalism. Pusillanimous reactions against terrorist attacks are themselves damnable, but these do not affect the nature of the video in question either.

I will be arguing on the basis of a general principle. While freedom of speech (just as freedom of conscience or freedom of religion) is a benefit for society, not everything that is covered under said freedom is itself beneficial. Let's take an example that is generally agreed upon: The Westboro Baptist Church is covered under freedom of speech. The things they say, however, are far from positive. They are hateful, and cause pain to those who have lost loved ones and are faced with signs saying "God Loves Dead Soldiers" when they go to pay their respects to those who gave their lives for their country and for the very freedoms which are being used to insult them. It is undoubtedly protected speech, but it is not itself beneficial to society.
Following this general principle, although the freedom which allows the film-makers to create "Innocence of Muslims" is undoubtedly beneficial, this positive judgment cannot be automatically extended to the video itself. The video therefore stands further examination.

"The Innocence of Muslims" makes statements based on fact. It is undoubted and recognized by Muslim scholars, for example, that Mohamed did indeed marry a six year-old child and consummate said marriage once his "bride" reached the age of nine. This, and other facts, are portrayed in a crude, insulting and unsophisticated manner which had two effects.
The first, as Mr. Scott has already mentioned, is the violent reactions in the Muslim world. This is not an argument against the video, however. Those violent reactions can be seen after any real or imaginary slight on Islam, and such threats cannot be a detriment to the open and public discussion of the truth. Western values must not be ignored in order to assuage violent groups.
The second, and truly relevant, result is that the general public is less likely to take seriously the facts that are supposed to be exposed by the video. The style of the video reduces what could be legitimate concerns and challenges to Islam to mere taunts and jeers. any minimally sensitive person would look at the video and feel more appalled by the apparent bigotry of the movie than the horrors it portrays. This gives arguments to those who wish to silence public debate on Islam and gives credence to the idea that Islamist riots are a reaction against an imagined "islamophobia" instead of against Western democratic values.

To summarize my argument:

Premise 1: While free speech is beneficial to society, not everything protected by free speech is itself beneficial.

Premise 2: The video "innocence of Muslims" not only is not conducive to civilized public discourse, it is directly disruptive of it and tends to obscure the truth rather than expose it.

Premise 3: The disruption of civilized public discourse and obscuring of the truth are not beneficial to society.

Conclusion: Therefore the video "Innocence of Muslims" is not a benefit to society.
Debate Round No. 1


First of all, I want to thank my opponent for his civil debate, there are too many in forums such as this that 'troll' and bring about the annoyance of everyone while still getting nowhere. So, my friend, thank you.

My opponent concluded with a set of premises:

"To summarize my argument:

Premise 1: While free speech is beneficial to society, not everything protected by free speech is itself beneficial.

Premise 2: The video "innocence of Muslims" not only is not conducive to civilized public discourse, it is directly disruptive of it and tends to obscure the truth rather than expose it.

Premise 3: The disruption of civilized public discourse and obscuring of the truth are not beneficial to society.

Conclusion: Therefore the video "Innocence of Muslims" is not a benefit to society."

I shall take each of them, in order.

Premise One-
I would like to say, as was said to me, does not reflect upon the debate topic. I see many things that are said that are clearly not for the benefit of society such as the Westboro Baptist Church and their infamous, disgusting, signs. I would agree with my opponent on this premise, but it nonetheless does not refute the claim that the video aforementioned was beneficial.

Premise Two and Three-
I must say that I find this idea of being destructive rather scary. My opponent has already acknowledged his disdain for Islam- something we evidently share- and I wish to say that his second premise is the true topic of conversation. We live in a society where religion is at our heels, biting and nipping at us all the time. It IS a constant threat, and if my opponent sees this otherwise (he does) he must at least concede to one thing: religion IS up for debate and mockery like any other views which may, one day, be responsible (they already are) for mass murder on an epic scale. The reason this video is CONSTRUCTIVE rather than destructive is precisely because it challenges religion. If we remove religion from the chopping block, they are free to do whatever they may. That, in fact, is the reason we have Islamic Republics and Kingdoms: areas on the map where theocracy reigns and if you decide you dont agree with the laughable views you will be put to death.

So, just as we may mock Hitler, we may mock religion. I say this Godwinnian argument for the sole reason that evil needs to be recognized, challenged and fought with all tools at every possible turn. One does not have the right to remove something from criticism, nor the right to determine WHAT constitutes criticism. I must agree that the video was in poor taste, and badly done at that, but is nonetheless beneficial to society simply BECAUSE it challenges, mocks and questions a religion whose goal it is to conquer the world. So Hitler may be mocked, Islamo-facism and the so-called religion of peace need to be torn apart.


In order to continue the debate we must see which of the premises of the argument against the film (or rather the trailer of the film) "The Innocence of Muslims" being considered beneficial for society is under contention. I reproduce the entire argument once more for ease of reference:

- Premise 1: While free speech is beneficial to society, not everything protected by free speech is itself beneficial.

- Premise 2: The video "innocence of Muslims" not only is not conducive to civilized public discourse, it is directly disruptive of it and tends to obscure the truth rather than expose it.

- Premise 3: The disruption of civilized public discourse and obscuring of the truth are not beneficial to society.

- Conclusion: Therefore the video "Innocence of Muslims" is not a benefit to society."

Premise one seems to have been accepted. I understand Mr. Scott's impatience with it. It is not likely that anyone would find contention with it, but it is the nature of this type of argument that some if not all the premises are things often taken for granted, but nonetheless are essential steps in justifying the conclusion as logically necessary.
Premise three seems similarly to go without contention, rather Mr. Scott seems to vehemently agree with said premise saying the idea of being destructive is "rather scary". I note he uses "destructive" rather than "disruptive" but in spite of the difference of degree I accept the applicability in the present case.
The point of contention seems to be in premise 2, as Mr. Scott does not admit that the film is disruptive (or destructive) of public discourse, but rather claims it is constructive. I must therefore focus this round on defending premise two for my argument to stand.

Anything that affects the whole of society (as religion undoubtedly does) is fair game for examination, criticism and debate. I believe that neither Islam nor my own religion, Catholicism, are exceptions to this rule; quite to the contrary. I therefore do indeed concede that just as ideologies such as Fascism and Communism are strongly criticized and stringently examined, religions can and should be subjected to public exam and debate.
Not all challenges, however, are constructive; just as not all criticism is constructive. and we must differentiate between what could be considered constructive and beneficial to society and what does not fall under this description. I suggest as follows three criteria in order to judge whether or not a challenge is constructive.

1. Does it open dialogue or does it rather divide people and pose an obstacle to open conversation?
2. Does it seek to find or promote communication, or does it seek to inflame passions and incite merely emotional reactions? (as clarification: if something elicits an emotional response this is not per se a negative trait, as long as this emotional reaction is based upon a reasoned stance and solid information)
3. Does it promote greater understanding or does it hinder intelligent discussion of the subject.

Attempting to apply this criteria to "The Innocence of Muslims" will show that it fails on all counts. If anyone has not yet watched the trailer, it is still on Youtube and I recommend you watch a few minutes of it (I will not do you the disservice of recommending you waste your time watching the full, rather badly made, video) keeping these guidelines in mind. We are talking about an extremely unsophisticated production that seems more like a parody of itself than of Islam. It is truly hard to imagine a profitable discussion of Islam and its roll in the world today to be had on the basis of said movie.

In light of this, and unless Mr. Scott is able to provide a more substantial rebuttal, I believe all three premises of my argument stand and must be accepted. As such the conclusion must also be accepted on pain of irrationality.
Debate Round No. 2


As this is the last time I have a chance to speak, I wish first to thank my opponent for a very interesting debate. Unfortunately that is where mine, and his, agreement seems to stop, aside from a few self evident points. He rightly describes the video, (I will use my own words) "a pile of crap". It is an awful video, with almost as much intelligence behind it as money. However, it is precisely because it represents one end of the quality spectrum that it must not be discarded for having only one effect (idiotic trolling). On the contrary, it should be praised simply because it expresses the freedom of speech (perhaps we shouldn't praise the message- though I do believe we should), but the video itself is an act of freedom. It is a flexing of rights.

On the categories that my opponent created for determining if the video made constructive criticism, I disagree. I do not believe it needs to be constructive to be beneficial (though i do believe it is constructive) but destruction is just as much a benefit when applied in certain ways. What my opponent calls destructive is the videos attack on Islam, but to me that would be extremely constructive. Whenever one gets the chance to attack the illogical, the idiotic, the dangerous and the pure evil, they, as citizens of the Earth, have a duty to respect science and society.

I propose that the act of the creation of the video was constructive because it attacked Islam. Islam itself being a wholly destructive force. When a force (the video) attacks another force of evil (Islam) I do not recognize this as destructive, no matter the quality of the video or its amateur arguments. Whats worse than being an idiot is being silent while other idiots roam freely and try to control your life; so I see the video as a positive force. It reveals the weakness and arrogance of Islam in thinking they are immune from criticism.

It should also be noted that this video is not the only thing of its kind to attack Islam. Others have attacked Islam, too. And the attacks on Islam are not as low quality as this video. An example would be the great author Salaman Rushdie, who wrote a book that triggered much worse waves of violence and hatred in the middle east.

I see this video as a way to diagnose the problem, and not the problem itself. You wouldn't blame an x-ray for revealing the cancer, just as we should not condemn this video for revealing how backwards and childish the Muslims are. And that is precisely why this video is a benefit for society, because it exposes (no matter how many times it has been before) the idiocy of the mass delusion: Islam. It is a constructive force, just like an x-ray machine. It certainly should not be blamed for the wave of unrest, merely exposing it to a greater degree.

Once again I wish to thank my opponent for being extremely civil and intelligent to debate with. I now hand it off to him to make the closing argument and statement.


Before ending this debate, I would also like to thank my opponent for the opportunity to discuss this issue, I truly have enjoyed this debate and feel I have profited from reading Mr. Scott's interesting perspective on the issue. There is a strong tradition in the West of lively debate that stems from the public debates in ancient Greece and comes to us through the forums of Rome and the Universities of the Middle Ages. I am glad to see this same important tradition alive in the digital world. Increased access to information and greater communication should lead to greater dialogue and understanding, but it seems rather to lead to the appearance of "trolling" under the guise of anonymity and to the death of civilized discourse.

It is precisely here, where I am glad to say Mr. Scott succeeds, that the film in question fails. Robust confrontation is necessary and even desirable, but for it to be profitable it must be accompanied by a strong intellectual foundation. I am glad in this sense that Salaman Rushdie has been brought into the debate. Simply to compare Salaman Rushdie or other opponents of the Islamist ideology such as Fr. Zakaria Botros, Kurt Westergaard or Michael Coren with the video in question is sufficient to set it aside abruptly and with a hint of embarrassment.

What is at Stake

The mere use of a freedom does not in and of itself constitute a valuable use of that freedom. To consider "The Innocence of Muslims" a valuable or beneficial addition to public discourse, putting it on the same level as Salaman Rushdie or other heavyweight opponents of Islamism such as Kurt Westergaard is simply to debase them and weaken their case. If we are to value challenges to ideologies that threaten the freedoms we treasure then we are compelled by reason to disdain such counter-productive "contributions" as this attempted parody.
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by errya 5 years ago
Please don't lump in Christianity with Islam. I do believe that Christianity is beneficial to society. It really is a peaceable faith, unlike Islam. We can see this through popular media. Tv producers are quite willing to mock Christianity and Jesus because they know we won't react in a violent way to it. We might complain to them or the government, but we won't riot or anything. The government does not act on our complaints for the same reason. Top ABC executives were interviewed by creation magazine and they admitted they would be quite willing to show an image of a Bible being thrown in a bin, but would never do the same with the Koran. This is because they know that if they do, cities will burn, and they'll be the scapegoat. It certainly shows the contrast. And as for the wide-scale Christian religious wars and persecutions in the past, the Bible does not condone such acts. Christianity is not about that. it is about Christ forgiving our sins and loving your enemy. Most common people did not know the Bible back then, as they could not read. So the leaders manipulated them into thinking that it called upon people to kill Muslims/Catholics/Jews or whatever, just so they had a reasonable excuse to do these atrocities. And do you really think that if there was no religion to give them that excuse, they wouldn't have done it anyway? I'm sorry i couldn't vote, but though I live in NZ doesn't list my cellphone provider.
Posted by TrasguTravieso 5 years ago
There's no merit on my part. I am Spanish, but I lived in the US for eleven years.
Posted by DeFool 5 years ago
If you've difficulty in completing the three required debates, I am willing to challenge you on a topic or two. Let me know. Becoming a full citizen of this site is indeed rewarding.

I enjoyed reading your debate here quite a bit, and want to compliment your command of the English language. I wonder if your home nation is English-speaking? If not, your mastery is even more remarkable.
Posted by TrasguTravieso 5 years ago
I didn't. I am completely new to the site and in many ways am still getting my barings. So new, in fact, I'm afraid I haven't been able to confirm my identity yet and am not allowed to vote (my country is not on the list and this needs to be done manually by an administrator after I have completed three debates). Once this as been done, if I am still in time, I would be glad to comply with your request.
Posted by DeFool 5 years ago
Its a surprisingly common reaction, sadly. A few things I've noted about this site:

1. There is a list of the "most popular" subjects from which we may devise debates from.
2. There is a forum for unvoted, forfeited and 'vote bombed' debates. It can be found under "Forums' -> 'Debate.Org'->'Post Unvoted, Forfeited and Vote Bombed Debates Here.' Post a link there, with a brief explanation.

I expect that you already knew all of this, and I am embarrassing myself. However, I want to encourage the use of the unvoted, forfeited and vote bombed thread - as I have had a rash of such debates recently. If you do not regularly visit this thread - please consider doing so.

In fact, I have a debate that I am attempting to draw attention to. It is my "Citizens United" debate, and can be found on my profile. If I am not out of line, I would greatly appreciate you evaluating our performances there.
Posted by TrasguTravieso 5 years ago
It would seem the subject of our conversation was not as interesting as we believed (or we are less entertaining than we supposed). No one seems interested in voting on our debate!
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by DeFool 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: As Con makes the freedom of speech the cornerstone of his argument, I was forced to award points to Pro - because this seemed to agree with the case he was making in support of the right of those who made this movie - but from a different angle. I agreed with Pro from start to finish. I saw a draw in all other scoring opportunities between these two well-matched competitors. Although I was sorely tempted to award my grammar vote to Pro, simply for his use of the word, "Godwinian..."
Vote Placed by AlwaysMoreThanYou 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Good arguments from both sides. In the end, I found myself swayed by Con's arguments that the video was divisive and aggressive, and provided no real benefit. While it may be best that it be allowed (considering free speech), it was less an exercise in freedom of expression and more an expression of intolerant babble.