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

Religion is the Greatest Obstacle to Human Freedom

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/7/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,024 times Debate No: 25498
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (11)
Votes (1)




My first debate on I'm arguing that religion is the biggest obstacle to human freedom, namely Islam and Catholicism. There are plenty of other religions guilty of impeding freedom but I'll be focusing on these two.

Islam: Slavery of women(basically), high rate of extremism.

Quran (2:216) - "Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not."

Catholicism: The Dark Ages, Mother Teresa(read The Missionary Position), Knights Templar, Inquisitions, Witch Hunts

Both of these religions(and many others) support the idea of 'celestial dictatorship'. You are ordered by a supreme being in life and in death. A 'divine North Korea'(Hitchens).

Short and to the point.



1) Why isolate Islam and Catholicism? Prove to us first that other religions does not restrict individual freedoms. Otherwise, your burden of proof should lie on all religions, not only the two that you have mentioned.

2) You should also provide examples that other institutions than religion (i.e. government, economy, education,etc.) does not restrict human freedoms more than Islam and Catholicism, or other religions.

1) Neat-picked isolated cases. The examples that you have mentioned such as the Quran quotation is not the main and sole foundation of Islam as a whole. Also, the said Catholicism-related events are merely mistakes of human free will and wrong human interpretations and not the religion itself. You have to prove that these events are explicitly cited in the bible.

2) The idea of 'celestial dictatorship' is not only thought about by religions, but it is the real state of being in itself, regardless if you have a religion or not, a believer or non-believer. We are restricted by the idea of an 'infinite' universe, not by gods or other supreme beings.

3) Most importantly, your arguments are anchored to the premise that there is a God. Then prove to us first that there is really a God. Otherwise, provide other examples of restrictions to human freedom aside from those God-initiated.

Although we agree that religion has several restrictions as you have mentioned, but this side of the house believes that FREE WILL or individual choice is the best obstacle to human freedom. Free will and human freedom are not the same or contradictory, but instead separate and parallel with each other. Free will is restricts human freedom in its own sense. Free will (us and our choices) confines to societal norms, religions, and all other institutions which undermines absolute human freedom.

We could choose the religion that we want to enter and exit in the future, and the institution cannot restrict us in doing so.
Debate Round No. 1


1a. I haven't isolated the two. I was using them as easy targets for the first round. I'm not a Theologian so I can only go off of what I'm most familiar with.

2a. Very valid point. I would consider government to be the second largest obstacle to global freedom. To me this seems obvious so I'll leave it at that unless this point is challenged.

1b. No matter how many people in an organization or doctrine are 'corrupt', people will have you blame the individuals as opposed to the organization. It's akin to saying that the Third Reich wasn't bad but the Nazi's were. If you look at the first source provided, it states that the Quran contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war.

2b. By 'celestial dictatorship' I'm referring to the laws of a given religion. In life and even in death one much follow these laws, one being to worship their god for eternity. I view this as slavery.

3. I haven't claimed that there is a god. A number of men have carried power and influenced decision-making in the Catholic hierarchy but have later claimed to be atheists. This debate is strictly about religion and its effect on global freedom.

Free will is not available to everyone. In many regions of the middle east, Islam is the only accepted religion and speaking openly against it can cost you your life. Many have been put to death by Islamic law for much less. For example, a girl who talks to a man who is not her husband and is sentenced to death. If she is a virgin, she is ordered to be raped and then stoned to death. If she is not a virgin, they skip the rape step. This is not a rare occurrence.

Our decisions as adults are largely dependent on how we were brought up. If you were raised on religion then it's very difficult in most cases to give it up. There are theories on free will and just how little we have of it.

2000 characters isn't enough. :p



Rexclusivo forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


JoshuaSommer forfeited this round.


Rexclusivo forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by JoshuaSommer 6 years ago
I apologize if I disappointed in round 2. I should have set the character limit higher. I promise the last round will be far better. :p
Posted by Rexclusivo 6 years ago
I'll be very excited to hear that.
Posted by JoshuaSommer 6 years ago
Very valid point on citing outdated references but I disagree with your latter statement. I'll try to explain my reasoning behind that in round 2.
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
The debate is about religion now being the "greatest obstacle." Citing the Catholic Church of the Middle Ages doesn't bear upon the present. Militant Islam is still a threat, for sure. In the present world, radical political ideologies have assumed the role that religion once had. If a religion wanted to ban tobacco, soft drinks, or salt there would be a general outrage. But banning them on grounds that government knows what is good for you -- that's just fine. The greatest threat to human freedom is now government.
Posted by Zaradi 6 years ago

I doubt it would be a "n00b snipe" by any means. This looks like it could be a good debate.
Posted by NomisWin 6 years ago
I would actually like to take part in this one. If it's ok with you Josh.
Posted by RyuuKyuzo 6 years ago
I'm 11 debates in. Is that enough for me to now be considered 'n00b sniping' if I took this? =p
Posted by Zaradi 6 years ago
If you were attacking belief, then it would be a debatable contest. Since it's organized religion, while not an impossible task by any means, it certainly places the con in an uphill battle scenario.
Posted by JoshuaSommer 6 years ago
Religion and belief are completely separate. In this case I mean religion.
Posted by Ore_Ele 6 years ago
Do you mean organized religion or the basic belief in a deity?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Zaradi 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: The three total forfeits screw things up a bit, but it comes down to free will v. Religious institution. Due to the forfeits, con never gets to defend free will and refute pro's defenses of religion, so I give the win to religion being worse.