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

Faith Is Immoral

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/10/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,423 times Debate No: 56355
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
Votes (1)




This debate is open to any challenger. First round is acceptance.

The Pro position (me) has the burden of proof.

The word "FAITH" for this debate shall be defined as believing something without evidence or contrary to evidence.

The word "IMMORAL" for this debate shall be defined as anything contrary to human well being.


I am happy to accept the challenge of debating this issue, and I accept all of the terms and definitions put forward by Pro for this debate.

Thanks for posting, Pro!
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you Chipped Cup for accepting the Con position. My argument goes as follows:

Premise 1: Faith is a form of belief
Premise 2: Beliefs inform our actions
Premise 3: Baseless actions can have negative effects that are preventable
Premise 4: Effecting people negatively, especially when it is preventable, is immoral
Conclusion: Faith is immoral

As the first premise was agreed to before the debate I wont spend much time discussing it. However, I will take a moment to point out the core difference between faith and other forms of belief. Namely, that faith is a choice. It is something you choose to accept. However, belief in general is different. It is something that happens to you. I cannot choose to believe that there is a million dollars in my bank account. If I could, I would go to the ATM right now and be in for a belief shattering experience.

The second premises is fairly straight forward. Our beliefs are the gate keepers of our actions. They directly inform how we behave. And how we behave matters because simply having good intentions is not enough. Because intentions are only as good as the information upon which they are based. And faith is the worst possible system for getting good information. If we want to know what is out on the horizon we DON'T pick up a kaleidoscope - we pick up a telescope. Likewise, if we want to make good determinations about reality we DON'T use faith - we use reason.

For premises three and four I will use the example of a commercial pilot. Before the pilot ever starts his engines he does an inspection of his entire plane and follows a check list to make sure everything is in working order. It is the pilots duty to see to it that the well being of their passengers is looked after. Simply having faith that the plane is in good working condition is not enough. Likewise, just having faith that our actions will have positive results on the people around us is not enough. We all have a moral obligation to only believe things that are true. Because believing things that are false can have severely negative effects on the people around us. And, as faith is belief without good reason, it follows that faith can have severely negative effects on the people around us . . . which is immoral. If beliefs inform our actions and we want our actions to be moral than if fallows that our beliefs need to be true.

Well, I think there is more than enough to start us out here. I look forward to response.


This is a great argument, Pro. In many situations I would agree with you. However, I do have a couple of contentions to lay out. I will list these in point form and elaborate further on.

Rebuttal one: Although faith is a form of belief, it is not always necessarily a choice.

Rebuttal two: Not all faith-based beliefs inspire actions with negative effects on the self and/or others.

Conclusion: A person who does not choose faith does not control their belief and therefore would be helpless to prevent any negative consequences of their faith-inspired actions. Morality is not applicable in this situation. Similarly, a person whose faith-inspired actions do not negatively effect themselves or others is not being immoral.

If both of these situations exist in the real world, Pro's blanket assertion that faith is immoral would be proven false.

Now, to get into the meat of this discussion, I agree that faith is a form of believe. However, there are many examples of people living in every country and continent who have faith without choosing to do so.

To start with an extreme example, an indigenous tribe of people in Africa with little to no contact with individuals outside of their group would have no comparison to look to. If their ancestors believed in a deity and children were taught about this from a young age, they would have no opportunity to question or challenge that belief because there would be no reason to in their closed society. Those people do not choose to believe in their faith but are not even aware of any alternatives.

Similarly, a child of a home-schooling Christian family, whose parents only allowed consumption of Christian media and interaction with other Christian friends, would have as much reason to challenge or disbelieve in their faith as people who lived before Galilleo had of their belief that the Earth was the centre of the universe.

Holding a belief without the knowledge that there are any alternatives cannot be a moral or immoral act, as morality requires a conscious action.

Finally, there are many faiths that do not inspire actions which negatively effect themselves or others.

There is a faith element in Buddhims for example (a relgion practiced by over 300 million people around the world). However, due to the teachings of Buddha and the focus on positive morality, there is no example of Buddhist faith driving harmful/immoral actions.

The existence of the people I have described above show that faith is not inherently immoral. In some cases, morality does not apply, while in others faith seems to have a positive effect on the morality of a person.

Thank you and I look forward t your response, Pro.

Debate Round No. 2


Codedlogic forfeited this round.


Please refer to my previous argument as my opponent has forfeited this round of the debate.
Debate Round No. 3


My apologies to Con on round 3. I was unable to respond in a timely manner due to unforeseen circumstances.

I had a number of issues that I had wished to address in this debate but, as this is concluding arguments, I will only touch upon what has already been addressed. To start with, I agree with both your rebuttals:
Rebuttal one: Although faith is a form of belief, it is not always necessarily a choice.
Rebuttal two: Not all faith-based beliefs inspire actions with negative effects on the self and/or others.

However, where I disagree is with you is in your conclusion. You conclusion does not follow from your rebuttals. Specifically, when you say that, "morality is not applicable in this situation." This is not true. Morality is applicable in this situation because intentions do not dictate whether an action is moral or immoral. Rather, as you agreed to in round 1, the word "immoral" applies to anything that is contrary to human well being. This debate is not about the intent of our actions. But rather the outcomes of our actions.

To put this into context I'll go ahead and use the example you provided of an isolated tribe in Africa. If they had a ritual of throwing a virgin into a volcano every year to appease the gods the action would be immoral. It would be in direct conflict with human well being. It does not matter if they have - or have not - had an opportunity to question or challenge the beliefs of their ancestors. The action is immoral. Because what is morally true is entirely dependent upon what is actually true. And what is actually true is that the virgins are dying for no good reason. This line of logic applies to your home school analogy as well. What makes an action moral or immoral is not intent. It is the effect.

You state that "morality requires a conscious action." While I do agree that morality requires "agency" I do NOT accept that it requires a conscious action. Once again, I'll use the example of an airline pilot who is responsible for the souls on board his plane. If he falls asleep, crashes the plane into the ground, and kills everyone on board - that is not a conscious action. It is not something he intended to do. However, falling asleep and crashing the plane is none the less an immoral action. It is contrary to human well being. He failed to protect those on board even if his failure was not intentional.

Neither my premises - nor do my conclusion - state that faith is immoral because it "always" leads to immoral actions. Rather, faith is immoral because it is the worst possible system for making determinations about reality. To believe something that is NOT evidently true - or, conversely, is evidently NOT true - is to abandon due diligence. Faith can only come by moral outcomes by accident. And to leave human well being to accident is immoral. Human well being must be protected and championed by informed decision making. And there is nothing less informed than faith.

There is an enormous difference between believing something on bad evidence vs. believing something with no evidence. We have all been victims of bad evidence but no one can claim to be the victim of their own faith. It is easily combated by curiosity and education. And there is no excuse for having faith in anything because in the absence of evidence one can always choose to with hold judgment. Or, better yet, go out and find some answers.

You next go on to claim that, "there is no example of Buddhist faith driving harmful/immoral actions." I am sorry to inform you but your statement is demonstrably false. I have enormous respect for a great many teachings of Eastern philosophy. However, it is undeniable that Buddhism has a darker side. I would encourage you to look up Ashin Wirathu a Buddhist monk in Myanmar who has recently led attacks against Muslim and Christian places of worship. And who's extremist rhetoric led to the deaths over 200 Muslims who were killed in August last year by Buddhist mobs in the Myanmar district of Rakhine. All of this done because of their "faith."

The more faith a person has - the more committed they are to their unsubstantiated views. And, quite often, the more faith a person has the more extreme those views are. Though the immorality of Buddhism doesn't just stem from its extremist. It is also embedded in the teachings of Karma. A teaching that says you get what you deserve. A young girl who is raped "deserves it" because of some unknown crime she committed in a former life. Faith in Karma corrupts humanity and compassion and handicaps the need for justice. Such faith allows people to believe by the millions what only an insane person could believe by themselves.

Baseless actions can have negative effects that are preventable. And effecting people negatively, especially when it is preventable, is immoral. To believe something on faith is to throw away reason. And with out reason you have no way of gauging the possible outcomes of your actions.

In closing, I'll leave you with the following scenario: imagine a sniper trying to take out a gunman in a room full of hostages. This sniper accounts for the wind and other barometrics. He calculates where the cross hairs need to be and carefully lines up his shot. He does everything he can to make sure the gunman, and not the hostages, gets the bullet. Now, by contrast, compare that with a second sniper who, instead of carefully lining up his shot, instead closes his eyes, points his gun in the general direction, and fires. Would that be a moral action? Would that produce human well being? Of course not. It would be reckless and endanger the people they are trying to save. Such is the nature of faith. It is blind and reckless and it puts ourselves and others in bad situations we need not ever be in. And that is why faith is immoral.


chippedcup forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Samreay 7 years ago
Voted. If anyone wants clarification, just ask.
Posted by Codedlogic 7 years ago
People need to vote on this
Posted by Samreay 7 years ago
Aye, its a good read, and I find myself agreeing a lot with what he said.
Posted by Codedlogic 7 years ago
I read it over last night. Some interesting ideas. I really liked his statement "No belief held by one man, however seemingly trivial the belief, and however obscure the believer, is ever actually insignificant or without its effect on the fate of mankind."
Posted by Samreay 7 years ago
Have you read "The Ethics of Belief" by William Clifford at all CodedLogic?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Samreay 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Both parties missed a round, so equal conduct. As this is a philosophical debate, sources are not the focus, so tied. I find that pro presented a strong argument in round 2, and con's central rebuttal was that faith does not always lead to a negative consequence. Pro correctly shows that an action can be considered immoral even if a negative outcome is not logically certain, and his further examples (pilot, sniper) were convincing. Con gave examples of his/her own (Buddhist monks), but following down Pro's rebuttal (Myanmar) in google show that Con's only example was fatally flawed. I agree with con that sometimes one does not simply chose to have faith, but do not believe that directly effects if using faith as your pathway to truth is moral or not.

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