The Instigator
Jwmart21587
Pro (for)
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The Contender
Martinkroyer
Con (against)
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There are No Fake Agnostic/Atheists

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/4/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 576 times Debate No: 59941
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (3)
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Jwmart21587

Pro

You hear Christians refer to people claiming to be Christians as "fake" in order to distance their beliefs from the beliefs they believe to be incongruous with their faith. You never hear Agnostics or Atheists try to distance themselves from other agnostics or Atheists. Below is a list of 8 of the Cruelest Dictators in History.
I am challenging any agnostics and atheist to distance the statements of the Agnostic and atheist rulers from what they believe and prove that there are indeed fake Agnostics and Atheists. I am arguing that the statements of the agnostic/atheist rulers are congruous with the beliefs of atheism and agnosticism; therefore, they were not fake Agnostics or Atheist
1. Joseph Stalin (atheist) followed orthodox Christianity until reading books such as The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin and became and remained an atheist for the rest of his life.
"God's not unjust, he doesn't actually exist. We've been deceived. If God existed, he'd have made the world more just..."
Stalin's rule is responsible for the deaths of an estimated 20 million of his own people.
2. Adolf Hitler (atheist/agnostic)- claimed to be a proponent of Christianity at the beginning of his rise to power; however, once in power he is quoted as saying
"Taken to its logical extreme, Christianity would mean the systematic cultivation of the human failure"

The Holocaust is responsible for an estimated 11 million deaths.
For those that want to quote Hitler as a proponent of Christianity. Keep in mind that virtually all historians agree that his supposed pro-Christian ideals were merely a means to attain power.
"The most persuasive explanation of these statements is that Hitler, as a politician, simply recognised the practical reality of the world he inhabited... Had Hitler distanced himself or his movement too much from Christianity it is all but impossible to see how he could ever have been successful in a free election"
After gaining power Hitler is quoted as saying
Hitler again told his inner circle that though he "did not want a 'Church struggle" at this juncture", he expected "the great world struggle in a few years' time". Nevertheless, wrote Kershaw, Hitler's impatience with the churches "prompted frequent outbursts of hostility. In early 1937 he was declaring that 'Christianity was ripe for destruction', and that the Churches must yield to the "primacy of the state", railing against any compromise with "the most horrible institution imaginable".[77]
3. Adolph Eichmann- helped contrive the Holocaust. (See above)
4. Pol Pot (atheist/agnostic)- no attributed religion 1.5 million people
5. Genghis Khan (agnostic)-although he may have promoted religious freedoms to make his rise to power less difficult, he was never known to profess a belief in a certain religion. Mongolian Empire is responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of people.
6. Atilla the Hun (agnostic) - like Genghis Khan, he never professed a belief in a certain religion. His reign was responsible for the deaths of millions of people.
7. King Leopold II (fake Christian)- Like others, used religion as a means to power. Official religion was Roman Catholicism; however, in a letter to Christian missionaries who were going to help the African people he was slaughtering he is quoted as saying:
"Your principal objective in your mission in the Congo is never to teach
the n***ers to know God.."
Now, it's hard to believe a devout, Bible-thumping Christian would ever say something like this.
8. Ivan the Terrible (fake Christian)- professed to be a Russian -Orthodox Christian; however, he murderer a Christian known as Phillip of Moscow
Demonstrating exceptional administrative abilities, he transformed the monastery into one of the great industrial complexes of the empire. Under Philip's administration, the monks cleared fields for cultivation; established a dairy farm, a mill, and a workshop for leather and fur clothes; built storage bins for the monastery's grain; developed a system of dams, reservoirs and canals to drain the swampland and bring water to the monastery; built a hospital for pilgrims; and new dormitories. In addition to all this, they erected a new cathedral. They consecrated all of their agricultural and industrial labor to God.
The czar was so impressed with these accomplishments that he appointed Philip to be metropolitan--head of the Russian church. Philip. however, was not a yes-man. On religious grounds, he opposed many of Ivan's policies and his mass executions. Ivan tried to intimidate him, but Philip asked himself, "Where is my faith if I am silent?" He continued to speak against the czar. Once he warned the czar, "Your earthly rank has no control over death, which sinks its invincible teeth into everything. And remember that each person must answer for his own life."
Phillip of Moscow was murdered for essentially calling Ivan the Terrible a fake Christian.
Martinkroyer

Con

I accept this debate.

Since the rules of this debate haven't been elaborated, I will consider this an opening statement, which will give my opponent an opportunity to consider his arguments until the next round. Therefore I will not disprove any of his arguments.

For the sake of argument, the burden of proof will be on my opponents side, which I do hope he will agree upon.

I wish my opponent a good debate.

OPENING STATEMENT

In this debate I will argue for a clear definition of both atheism and agnosticism. I will elaborate upon why an atheistic/agnostic point of view is not in accordance with the actions of the above mentioned rulers. Furthermore I will argue for the hypothesis that these atheistic/agnostic rulers' actions have more in common with a religious worldview than an atheistic/agnostic worldview.

If my opponent can agree upon my opening statement as being sound to his original challenge, I suggest we begin the argumentation from here on.

Once again, I wish my opponent a good debate.
Debate Round No. 1
Jwmart21587

Pro

For the sake of not convoluting the debate, I do not accept the terms. I will gladly debate what has been suggested at the conclusion of this debate. I do not accept the discussion of hypotheses in this debate. Con solely needs to explain how the quotes from the dictators contained in the instigation contradict the beliefs of atheism and agnosticism.
Martinkroyer

Con

I will accept the terms which Pro have put forwards.

A. DEFINITION OF ATHEISM / AGNOSTICISM

First, I would like to define atheism and agnosticism. The Oxford Dictionary formulates atheism as follows:

"atheism: disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods".

Compared to agnosticism, which is formulated as follows:

"agnostic: a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God".

I would like to emphasize that atheism and agnosticism is to be understood separately. Here I would argue that agnosticism is not directed at rejecting the existence of God but rather holding a skeptical view on Gods nature, his existence and so forth. Agnosticism can be biased - atheistic agnosticism and theistic agnosticism - as well as unbiased.
For further reading: http://atheism.about.com...
Pro must take these differences into consideration.

B. CONCERNING IDEOLOGY

I shall be very careful that I do not slip into a trap, which is set in the original premise. A 'No True Scotsman' fallacy which would go something like this:

A true atheist/agnostic would never commit such atrocities as x did. Therefore x is no true atheist/agnostic.

X could surely have been an atheist/agnostic and still committed these crimes, which I hope will become apparent later on.
Instead I will argue based on how atheism/agnosticism is to be understood as concepts (as specified in A).

Each dictator had their own motives for their actions, but all of them were motivated by ideologies (Nazism, communism, etc.). Ideology is a set of beliefs in a system, whereas atheism is defined as a rejection of belief (in this case a particular belief).

Take for example communism:
Stalin adopted Marx's disapproval of religion, which Marx called "opium for the masses". What motivates a communists hate against religion isn't disbelief in God per se, but the communist ideology that religion is a way to control the working class, which therefore makes it evil in a communistic sense.

With that in mind, it should be clear that atheism as a concept differs from ideologies which allow these atrocities to happen.

C. CONCERNING THE QUOTES

I will now look upon each quote which Pro have put forward in the 1st Round:

1. Josef Stalin - "God's not unjust, he doesn't actually exist. We've been deceived. If God existed, he'd have made the world more just...".
1a. I call this a genetic fallacy, because it presupposes that atheism is bad because of its context/origin (Stalin). At the same time I believe there is also an Appeal to Authority Fallacy, because Stalin's persona, actions and role in history presupposes atheism's inherent bad qualities.

2. Adolf Hitler - "Taken to its logical extreme, Christianity would mean the systematic cultivation of the human failure" and "Christianity was ripe for destruction".
2a. It is true that Hitler was a devout christian on the outside but personally was more attracted to the occult. Politicians are still today giving the voters an impression that they carry certain values as a means to win elections. I would still call this a genetic fallacy.
The first quote sound rather similar to the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. It is a historical fact that Nietzsche's work was manipulated to fit into Nazi doctrine. One of Nietzsche's (original) ideas was that christian values is a slave morality that strips common man from the ability to overcome himself. The Nazi's would surely have used the concept of the "bermensch (overman) to show that it was their right to dominate others and get rid of the weak christianity. I think this is what the quote refers to. The quote could therefore be a misrepresentation of Nietzsche's philosophy and is an example of Nazi ideology and not atheism. This goes for the second quote also.

3. Adolph Eichmann - Genetic fallacy and is also part of no. 2.

4. Pol Pot - Genetic fallacy

5. Genghis Khan - Genetic fallacy

6. Atilla the Hun - Genetic fallacy

7.-8. King Leopold II and Ivan the Terrible - since they are not listed as atheists/agnostics, but fake christians, I cannot see their affiliation with atheism. They were two leaders who had shown little compassion in dealing with other people, which isn't an inherent quality of atheism.

I claim that atheism/agnosticism have no inherent values that lead to hate, since it is not build upon ideology, but rather disbelief or holding skepticism against ideologies.
As such, there is no 'real' or 'fake' atheists or agnostics - only if they do not uphold the very definitions of what atheism and agnosticism is (stated in A).
Debate Round No. 2
Jwmart21587

Pro

I appreciate the thoughtful nature of cons response; however, I believe it to be flawed.
There is a distinction between atheism and agnosticism and I could have made more of an effort to acknowledge the distinction between them in my instigation. With that being said, atheism is not a lack of belief, atheism is a belief that there is no God or gods. A lack of belief is what you see in all other animals excepts human beings. My dog doesn't gather with other dogs at church to praise God, nor does he log onto a debate forum to discuss his belief that there is no God. This is a lack of belief. My dog is not atheist, agnostic, Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, etc., he simply has no belief. Stating "God's not unjust, he doesn't actually exist. We've been deceived. If God existed, he'd have made the world more just..." as Stalin and many atheists have done is a statement of what one believes,thus making them atheists. Let me be clear, I am not saying every atheist is a ruthless murderer like Stalin; however, Stalin cannot be considered a "fake" atheist because he fulfills the lone requirement of atheism and that is to believe that there is no god or gods.
An agnostic is defined as-"a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God." In other words, if God does exists, his existence is insignificant and basing your life off of something that is insignificant is unnecessary and a hindrance.
Cons claims of genetic fallacy do not apply to this debate. An example of a genetic fallacy according to online sources is one saying:
"You're not going to wear a wedding ring, are you? Don't you know that the wedding ring originally symbolized ankle chains worn by women to prevent them from running away from their husbands? I would not have thought you would be a party to such a sexist practice."
Con stated:
"Each dictator had their own motives for their actions, but all of them were motivated by ideologies (Nazism, communism, etc.). Ideology is a set of beliefs in a system, whereas atheism is defined as a rejection of belief (in this case a particular belief).
Take for example communism:
Stalin adopted Marx's disapproval of religion, which Marx called "opium for the masses". What motivates a communists hate against religion isn't disbelief in God per se, but the communist ideology that religion is a way to control the working class, which therefore makes it evil in a communistic sense."

I never once stated that the motivating factor behind their rise to power as their beliefs regarding the existence, nonexistence or insignificance of God; however, there is a strong correlation that exists between the extremely violent manner in which their ideals were implemented and their view of God as unnecessary, nonexistent, or insignificant (correlation is not the same as cause and effect.) The statements of the fake Christian rulers indicate viewpoints very similar to the atheist or agnostic rulers. I am not saying they were really agnostic or atheist; however, I am saying that they were not truly Christians. A contradiction exists if a person who claimed to be a Christian also attempted to silence and murder fellow Christians who opposed his cruelty on the grounds of Christianity. All of the rulers listed in the instigation viewed belief in God as a hindrance.
Atheism is not a lack of belief rather it is a belief that a god or gods do not exist. Regardless of one's kindness or cruelty, if one holds this belief, they are an atheist. Same can be applied to agnostics. Thus there are no fake atheists or agnostics.
Martinkroyer

Con

Martinkroyer forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Jwmart21587

Pro

Jwmart21587 forfeited this round.
Martinkroyer

Con

Martinkroyer forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
Jwmart21587

Pro

Jwmart21587 forfeited this round.
Martinkroyer

Con

Martinkroyer forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
Confusing debate, were it actually over the resolution rather than those statements "As such, there is no 'real' or 'fake' atheists or agnostics" would have been a concession. Instead it continues.
Posted by schachdame 3 years ago
schachdame
As a German I am always intrigued to see someone use Hitler in his arguments. But it's enjoyable to see him standing next to other great dictator such as Stalin, Chaplin, Khan (Genghis and Noonien Singh) and Ivan, my personal favorite. Still, all these fake Christians and non-Christians are "authorities" that were heavily involved in political actions and therefore their words often bound to what they intended to achieve and not what they truly believed. Not to mention that there is no clear string of arguments in this set of quotes and people that lead to the direct assumption that it's impossible to be a "fake Atheist or Agnostic".
And as an Agnostic I am personally offended to be seen something like as one with Atheism. It something very different to me and from my point this lack of distinction in terms of definition and outline shows a lack of understanding. There are many people who are basically Agnostics but call themselves Atheists. Sometimes because they don't know it better: Are they fakes or just poorly educated? And what is an Atheists that prays when he's alone and suffers? Is he a fake?
This is all very confusing.
Posted by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
Bringing Hitler into it... Wow, pro thinks someone not being Christian, means they're an atheist. Hard to get more religiously devote than the Nazis with their obsession with head measurements, beliefs in the hollow earth, etc... He of course would not qualify as a fake atheist, since he was not an atheist to begin with.
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