The Instigator
gr33k_fr33k5
Pro (for)
Losing
2 Points
The Contender
wiploc
Con (against)
Winning
29 Points

There is a fundamental difference between Christianity and every other Religion

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 8 votes the winner is...
wiploc
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/15/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,900 times Debate No: 18358
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (21)
Votes (8)

 

gr33k_fr33k5

Pro

Firstly, I'd like to keep this debate friendly, no attacks on "Christianity" or religion, no personal attacks, and no sarcastic/ignorant simplifications of religion. I've made this debate because I've continually noticed that there are people who believe all religion is simply the "same" and that no religion is "greater" than the others. . . while I don't think I can prove "greatness" (its pretty relative based on where you stand), I can prove they aren't "the same."

By accepting this debate you agree on these three criteria as fundamental beliefs of Christianity

1) All mankind is born sinful deserving of Hell

2) There is no way for manking to redeem itself except through Jesus Christ (works mean nothing to God)

3) Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died and rose again as a sacrifice for those that have faith in Him.

My points of argument will center around these core doctrines so its imperative that the idea of them being "fundamental" is not a point of contention.

The first round of my opponents argument is not for rebuttal, simply for acceptance and the possible defining of terms, I feel that everyhing written is relatively common knowledge and simple to understand, however, my opponent may choose to define any words he so pleases and I will either accept or offer a counter definition.

Lastly, I am taking classes right now and a have a heavy load so I'm trying to keep the debate brief, hence the three rounds.

Cheers and good luck,
Gr33k
wiploc

Con


Stipulation:

I sometimes say, only half tongue-in-cheek, that the mark of a real Christian is that he will stand up and point at another real Christian, and say, "You're not a real Christian!"


Not being myself a Christian, I don't have standing to take a position on whether real Christians agree with Pro's "three fundamental beliefs of Christianity."

1) All mankind is born sinful deserving of Hell

2) There is no way for manking to redeem itself except through Jesus Christ (works mean nothing to God)

3) Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died and rose again as a sacrifice for those that have faith in Him.

But I am happy to stipulate that this is the form/version/subset of Christianity that is under discussion. For the purposes of this debate, a Christian is one who believes the three things listed above. Their fundamentalness is not under contention.

---

Clarification:

Pro opposes the belief that Christianity is the same as, and no greater than, other religions. He doesn't offer to show that it is greater, but only that it is different.

Obviously, then if Pro intended a trivial debate, he could say that Christianity is different in some trivial way. What would be a trivial difference?
  • On average, more Italians in the Christian religion than others.
  • Only Christians hold the three beliefs stipulated above as fundamental Christian beliefs, as only Satan worshippers hold whatever beliefs they have.
  • Greater per capita production of holy water than other religions.
  • Christianity is the son of Judaism, and the father of Islam. No other religion can make that claim.
  • Started within a hundred years of the beginning of the common era.
  • Exactly 12 letters in the name Christianity.

If Pro were after proving trivial differences like that, then every other religion could also be shown as being equally unique.

If Pro is after something trivial like that, then let's cancel this debate now, and go our separate ways.

But I assume that is not what is going on.

I assume that Pro intends, in good faith, to show some difference which puts Christianity head and shoulders above all the competition. Something that makes Christianity fundamentally different from the rest. Something that can't be mimicked or parodied by Mormonism, Jainism, or the proponents of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Something important. Something that---even in the minds of atheists---should set Christianity apart.

I'm an atheist myself. (A strong atheist: I believe that gods do not exist.) I believe that Christianity is a collection of superstitions not importantly different from witchcraft, Voodoo, Islam, or ancient Greek or Viking religion. Credulous followers and some priest-types who make a leadership role for themselves by pretending to supernatural powers and/or knowledge.

That's what I believe, but I'm willing to be persuaded.

So, Pro, if we're on the same page, let's have a debate. If, on the other hand, I have accepted this debate because I misunderstood your goal and purpose, then let's cancel it now.

Readers: The Viking religion is unique. No other religion has dead people drinking and screwing while they wait for Ragnarok to come around so they can die again. That's huge. Think how grim and magnificent, as they comport themselves while waiting for eternal destruction, never a one of them flinching from the coming battle that he knows he must lose.

Pro proposes, if I understand him, to put that to shame. Some aspect of Christianity puts it in a class by itself, even to the disinterested (but rational) bystander.

If Pro succeeds in this goal, he deserves your vote.

If Pro establishes only that Christianity differs from other religions in unimportant (to the uninvolved bystander) details, then you should vote for yours truly, Con.






Debate Round No. 1
gr33k_fr33k5

Pro

Con, you are exactly correct in your deduction of my intentions. I will be clear, however, that I am not trying to show why Christianity should be followed above say Islam, but rather why Christianity has a right to be viewed as a separate entity from other religions.

On that same note I was attempting to stay away from trivial matters like dates, stories, etc, and focus on why, doctrinally, Christianity teaches something completely different. Also, lets keep this to the worlds largest religions, I don't have intimate knowledge of the minor religions of the world and I'm sure that con could easily find small religions that contain these doctrines, however, since they are minor and have in no way gone through the same scrutiny that Christianity has over the years, they shouldn't be grouped in "religion" at all but rather be added to the long lines of cults. Simply use judgment as to what religions are "trivial" or "nontrivial."

Again, I'm showing that doctrinally Christianity should be viewed seperately from other religions. I am not proving its validity, or the invalidity of other religions. I say this because your second example of a "trivial" point actually goes somewhat to the heart of the debate ("only Christians hold the three beliefs stipulated above as fundamental Christian beliefs as only Satan worshippers hold whatever beliefs they have") and I want no confusion.


Without further adieu I come to my first point:


Christianity is the only religion to teach total depravity.

Total depravity is the utter inability of a human being to be saved. No benevolent act will ever be great enough to blot out the sin and corruption that we take on by simply breathing the air of this world. It follows from this that no "punishment" is undeserved, which removes the POE. Religions that teach children are born naturally pure (i.e. Islam) can easily be debunked via the problem of Evil. To my knoweledge Christianity is the only religion that adequately answers the fundamental question of why bad things happen to "good" people.


Point two:


Christianity teaches "one way or the highway:"

With Christianity there is no middle ground, while this may not differentiate it from other mono or polytheistic religions, it does seperate it from new age and eastern religions. There is one way to heaven and that is through the Son. Its as simple as that.


Point three:

Christianity requires dependence on another for Salvation:

This is related to the first point, however it is worth mentioning. Rather than have people look within or around them, it completely bases salvation off of faith. More specifically, faith in Jesus the Christ. Again, this removes Christianity from religions like budhism.


These doctrinal issues are what sets apart Christianity from other religions, in that, no other religion has them. These are not superficial either, they are core to Christianity as a whole. Anyone can claim to be a Christian, however, without these beliefs they are a Christian in name only.
wiploc

Con

Big whoop. Pro's argument couldn't be more trivial.

  1. Pick a random religion.
  2. Arbitrarily pick three things some members of that religion believe.
  3. Arbitrarily declare that all members of that religion believe those three things.
  4. Arbitrarily declare that these three beliefs make this religion stand apart from all other religions.

This doesn't make Christianity stand out. It makes it the same as any other religion; you could do this with any religion at all.


Please Vote Con.



Notes:

1. I am forbidden by the terms of engagement from challenging step three, above. I am not challenging it. I'm merely pointing out that you make the exact same moves with any other religion.

2. I'm not going to argue it here, because that would be off topic, but he's fundamentally confused about the problem of evil. I'll happily debate the problem of evil in another thread.





Debate Round No. 2
gr33k_fr33k5

Pro

Im gonna have to give this one to con, unfortunately my ability to argue this point is not up to par. Rather embarrassing I must say, and although I remain convinced that Christianity is the one true religion of the world, debating said conviction seems to be beyond me. Sorry about the weakness of the debate, hopefully I'll find a better way to explane this in the future, but till then, thanks for the challenge.

If con wouldnt mind explaining the POE perhaps on the forumns. I was always under the impression that the POE dealt with the idea that if God is omnibenevolent then how can suffering exist? Or that if there is some undeserved suffering then God cannot exist.
wiploc

Con

Hey, thanks for that gracious concession.

I'll open a thread on the problem of evil, and post a link to it in the comments to this debate.

Debate Round No. 3
21 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Skynet 5 years ago
Skynet
I don't know Speaker Gingrich's heart, but I know he claims to be a now devout Catholic. There are Catholics who do put faith in Christ before works, thus reconciling those unclean things. If he is genuinely saved, or just learned from his mistakes, or is just being politically savvy, I cannot say. I'm primarily a Santorum supporter, though.

I know it's a gross illustration, but the imagery used in the Bible is of a menstrual cloth ("filthy rags") being presented to God.
Posted by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
Skynet wrote:
: I refer you to John 14:15-27: Someone who loves God will obey God, and is constantly guided
: (v.25,26) by the Counselor. If someone claims to be a Christian, but does evil, that puts doubt in the
: minds of his fellow man that he is what he says, and his faith is suspect.

You haven't been following Newt's campaign?

: The unreconciled unclean things in a man's life contaminate that which would have otherwise been
: pleasing to God. Like a used tampon in your milkshake.

Eww, that's as bad as drinking Christ's blood in the mass.
Posted by Skynet 5 years ago
Skynet
I know you intend that as an exaggeration, but it simply isn't the case amongst Protestants. Catholics and Protestants, in parts of the world, and history, are more like your story.
You said God seems to be an irrational despot for saving a bad Christian, and condemning a good Atheist.
I refer you to John 14:15-27: Someone who loves God will obey God, and is constantly guided (v.25,26) by the Counselor. If someone claims to be a Christian, but does evil, that puts doubt in the minds of his fellow man that he is what he says, and his faith is suspect.
Belief->obedience->salvation. No other order works because the unbeliever, though capable of good works, has not been reconciled to God: Haggai 2:10-14 and Isaiah 64:6
The unreconciled unclean things in a man's life contaminate that which would have otherwise been pleasing to God. Like a used tampon in your milkshake.
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
Time for the story told by Steven Wright:

I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump. I ran over and said: "Stop. Don't do it."

"Why shouldn't I?" he asked.

"Well, there's so much to live for!"

"Like what?"

"Are you religious?"

He said, "Yes."

I said, "Me too. Are you Christian or Buddhist?"

"Christian."

"Me too. Are you Catholic or Protestant?"

"Protestant."

"Me too. Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?"

"Baptist."

"Wow. Me too. Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?"

"Baptist Church of God."

"Me too. Are you original Baptist Church of God, or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?"

"Reformed Baptist Church of God."

"Me too. Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915?"

He said: "Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915."

I said: "Die, heretic scum," and pushed him off.
Posted by Skynet 5 years ago
Skynet
RoyLatham: That is precisely why Protestantism came about.

"Martin Luther taught that salvation is not earned by good deeds but received only as a free gift of God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ as redeemer from sin. His theology challenged the authority of the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church by teaching that the Bible is the only source of divinely revealed knowledge and considered all baptized Christians to be a holy priesthood." -Wikipedia, but it checks out with what I already knew about him.

The Catholic Church considers itself a separate religion from Protestantism, and we (protestants) generally agree with them on that. There are practicing Catholic Christians, but their faith is at odds with the Vatican's doctrine, as Martin Luther's was.
Posted by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
A Catholic friend of mine who studied to be a Jesuit told me that I'm more likely to get to Heaven than he is. He says he believes in god, and so is responsible to obey god's rules, whereas I don't understand those to be real rules, and so only have to be a decent guy.

He believes Hell exists, because the bible wouldn't lie about that. He believes nobody is in Hell, because the bible wouldn't lie about god being good (I guess the wailing and gnashing of teeth is piped in.) He's a nice guy.

The bible is so full of contradictions that Christians can believe anything.
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
Pro conceded, so of course he lost the debate. I think what Pro was trying to argue was that the doctrine that redemption can be obtained only by having faith is, and not by good works absent faith, is a doctrine unique to Christianity. I think this is a claim to unique being uniquely irrational. It means that a person living a life without ever having heard a word of Jesus, but having much less sin than a Christian, is condemned solely for his lack of faith in Jesus. The Christian who was a greater sinner is rewarded. That makes God an irrational despot. I do not understand why Christians are eager to claim an irrational God.

A forum thread http://www.debate.org... started by Con (wiploc) cited a quiz published by the Christian Science Monitor. The only question I missed was whether Catholics required faith in Jesus to be redeemed. I thought they did, but the quiz answer says they do not. If so, the premise of the current debate is wrong. Christians do not uniformly subscribe to the doctrine.
Posted by Skynet 5 years ago
Skynet
Pro essentially agreed with wiploc that for this debate, doctrine is trivial. What's more fundamental than doctrine? I don't see how Pro could have won this by agreeing with Con's definitions of trivial. The real issue to debate has been debated for millenia: Christianity is unique in that it is true because it's doctrine is true. Con, being an atheist, does not accept that any religion is true. Therefore Wiploc views all doctrine as trivial. Sorry Pro, you failed at reinventing the wheel.
Posted by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
Okay, here's the link to my explanation of the problem of evil.

http://www.debate.org...
Posted by gr33k_fr33k5 5 years ago
gr33k_fr33k5
@ Tarzan, unfortuantely that would open a whole new can of worms seeing as you'd have to prove beyond doubt that it is false propositions, hardly possible in three short rounds.
8 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Vote Placed by curious18 5 years ago
curious18
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro conceded. I'll give conduct for being able to admit defeat.
Vote Placed by Man-is-good 5 years ago
Man-is-good
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Reasons for voting decision: One point of conduct for gr33k's honorable concession--instead of forfeiting the entire debate, but in terms of arguments, Con clearly wins and notes the trivial nature of Pro's points....
Vote Placed by BlackVoid 5 years ago
BlackVoid
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Reasons for voting decision: Concession
Vote Placed by kohai 5 years ago
kohai
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Reasons for voting decision: Concession
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro conceded. Every religion has different doctrine, that's why they are different. Having different doctrine is not fundamental. Con did a nice job of getting to the point quickly.
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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Reasons for voting decision: concession
Vote Placed by Double_R 5 years ago
Double_R
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Reasons for voting decision: Concession.
Vote Placed by seraine 5 years ago
seraine
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro concedes.