Why the Bible is turning to dust and God is becoming only a word
Debate Rounds (3)
As for my argument, I would argue that it has become weaker, in the following ways.
1- As you have said, Christian teachings at one point, could hold the power of life or death over an individual. Furthermore, at multiple points through history, Christian teachings held heavy sway over politics. Examples include events such as the Crusades, or being killed by stoning for being an adulterous wife. At one point, governments bowed to Church (some variant thereof) doctrine. Church influenced most of European power
2- This is no longer the case. As an example, going against the Church used to be capable of altering an individuals entire life. Galileo, for example, was believed to have insulted the Pope at the time, and as a result, was placed under house arrest for the rest of his days. In America, in Salem, if you were claimed to be a witch, you could be killed. Now faster forward a few centuries. The pope visits America. Now, in the old days, they put someone under house arrest because they thought they insulted him. Today, despite there being several protesters against him, none of them were placed under house arrest (They were fined in some cases, but that seems to be the worse punishment). So I think it is fair to say that in terms of direct power, yes, the church is weaker.
However, the meat of your argument seems to be about the weakening of influence on behaviors, or at least, in the reasoning behind the behaviors. I would argue that part of it is in fact what I have laid out. The Church, throughout history, has used punishment as a means of reinforcing that certain behaviors are wrong, such as heresy, or witchcraft. It used to be life altering punishments they could dish out, such as the ones mentioned. However, they can no longer execute such punishments. The only punishment still present is the claim that the people who go against the teachings, will burn in Hell. Well, here's the thing. A punishment only really gains traction as a deterrent when it is demonstrable. Say the Church showed everyone a person being tossed into Damnation. It'd probably encourage everyone to act according to the Christian teachings. However, without it being demonstrable, it loses its effectiveness.
At the same time, the only rewards as of right now for following Church teachings, are Heaven, and possibly influence with the Church, which hasn't lost ALL of it's power. Heaven falls under the same issue as Hell: Non-demonstrable. Influence with the church becomes weaker as an incentive the weaker the Church becomes. So the issue is, there are no longer any rewards or punishments to encourage the behaviors desired. Church has become separated from someone's everyday life (for some people), due to the degradation of active power that the Church can bring against it.
Even ignoring that, multiple religions offer a heaven/hell dichotomy. Christianity offers nothing to compete with these religions.
I would remind my opponent that this debate was stated as a "Christianity Is/Isn't becoming weaker/ignored". If you want to change it to WHY is it doing so, and argue as such, we can do so.
But yes, the statement the Christian Church is becoming ignored is explicitly tied to it becoming weaker, as I have argued. The less reason people have to go to something, the less likely they are to go.
That is not the problem. Here's the thing, people are not born believing in Christianity. There needs to be a compelling reason for some to take up the faith, and it needs to be something that is not also provided by any number of other religions. Christianity needs to offer things that are unique, or not offered by alternatives. They haven't. That is why, as the political power of the Church waned, less and less people started joining. Without the consequence of being immediately punished, and with the lack of strong unique tones to Christian religion to make it more appealing than similar religions, A request for utter devotion, in any case, is a strong demand for some people. Also, as the world becomes more and more connected, people are exposed to alternatives (Christianity used to be the only 'real' choice) and some of them are going to take up those alternatives, due to something in them resonating with the individual.
Seeing as how this is the final round, I do acknowledge the weakpoint in my argument would be that certain sects of Christianity argue that EVERYONE is born believing in God, and are simply tempted away. However, in order to use that as a argument, you would have to argue that it is impossible for someone to be born and not believe in God. Absolute cases are terribly hard to prove, and in this case you would have to raise someone in isolation, and see if they still had a belief in God after a certain period of time.
Regardless of the results, it was a intellectually stimulating time arguing with you Con, and I hope to do so again some time.
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