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

Should religion be seen as the biggest threat to the XXIst century?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/15/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,584 times Debate No: 59018
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
Votes (4)




Given the current issues in the middle east, the current fragmentation and communitarian movement in Western Europe, and the smell of a next global conflict approaching, the Islamic uprising and the breakdown of the "traditional" Christian faith, coupled with the ever so strong bond in the Jewish faith; should Religion be seen as the inherent force behind the tensions in current global relationships?

At a time where information technology has reached global levels, and communication is liberalized to most, how does the more traditional beliefs from major religions relate to these new freedoms?

What can be understood from the permanent increase in cult followers' numbers, and how does it affect the general level of people's consciences? When any belief is considered valid, even ludicrous ones, can an argument be made that extreme religious behavior isn't acceptable?

The belief system upon which the current Western culture was built is based on a judo-Christian faith, comprising both religions and testaments. Its key controlling elements were:
  • Hierarchy
  • Fear
  • Guilt
  • Inequality
  • Intolerance

The key emotional elements were:

  • Love
  • Afterlife
  • Forgiveness
  • Retribution
  • Honesty

It seems evident that although its emotional elements are not only continued, but emphasized in the information era, but it also appears obvious that its controlling elements are minimized, frond upon, and even considered unnaccaptable in our new "modern egalitarian society".

Hierarchies are being torn down, from parents to governmental authority, where parents can't even teach their kids a lesson without someone calling CPS, and where governments, sometimes justifiably, keep getting criticized, ridiculed and minimized.

Fear is the antithesis of modern society, with the utmost encouragement of trying out everything, living for the moment, forgetting about consequences, and going into the unknown. No fear, no guilt. The problem with it is, although a life of guilt is certainly a waste, guilt has a very strong moral effect on bad behavior, usually coupled with shame. Shameless, free and yolo seem strangely more appealing to today's youth

Inequality is the most hated notion in the entire Western world, although it is also the most predominant. The acceptance that all are born unequal seems to be a scientific statement only, practically inadaptable into today's society. But social inequality acceptance dos not deprive any of its members from accessing the same rights and privileges. It only accounts for the realities of different classes. Inequality also allows the reinforcement of a hierarchy, where instead of everybody believing that they can be singers, populations actually admire the work and talent required to be a successful vocalist, and take it into consideration when choosing a professional path.

Finally, intolerance is the other black sheep of today's modern family. although a redundantly illogical principle (how can you prone absolute tolerance, without being intolerant of intolerance?) seems to be a very political argument. That is forgetting that originally, it is mostly a protective religious weapon, keeping all "bad influences/infidels/pagans" out of a sacred community. The problem there is also that in small quantities, intolerance reinforces the critical mind, therefore facilitating a constant self-judgement by comparison to others.

These key controlling elements have been banned from our society because religion, and mostly fanatics, have taken them to extremes in absolutism. Hierarchy has become aristocracy and caste, fear has become terror, guilt has become punishment, inequality has become elitism and intolerance has become racism.

The question that seems to be raised is therefore:

Given the current geopolitical context, and the fact that religions are based on sets of rules that cannot evolved as they are written in time and adored as "scriptures", and that this conceptual absolutism transforms most good ideals into totalitarian tools, couldn't an argument be made that Religion in the new information technology age will be the most threatening force in the XXIst century?



On The Motion: The motion is not: "is religious extremism the biggest threat?". Religious extremism is not syonymous with extremism. Also, we must discuss religion in 21st century context. In order to fulfill the BoP, pro must prove that religion, in its 21st century state, is the BIGGEST problem. I will start by offering my case that it's not; I will offer refutations in later rounds.

Well what are the biggest global problems and who's to say? Well I think we can agree the EU is a good source of information, so let's see what they say:
10. Don't know
9. Nucleur weapons
8. Armed Conflict
7. Spread Of Disease
6. Over Population
5. Energy
4. Terrorism
3. Global Economy
2. Climate Change
1. Poverty and Hunger

Religion is not listed, however we must investigate if religion is the cause.
I believe we can rationally conclude that religion is not the cause of: 1,2,3,5,6,7,10. If you think religion is the cause, please substantiate.
Religion could maybe apply to: 4,8 and 9.

On 4: Terrorism: " violent acts that are intended to create fear (terror); are perpetrated for a religious, political, or ideological goal; and deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants (e.g., neutral military personnel or civilians)."
Religion is not the only cause of terrorism. I would submit politics is historically the most dominant terrorist cause, i.e
Mao, Pol Pot, Stalin. However, currently politics also play a role in terrorism. I would say the 9/11 was result of overly agressive foreign policy, however it has launched terrorism under the name of "counter terrorism". The US is killing innocents in the middle east countries. As of February 2014, at least 21,000 civilians are estimated to have died violent deaths as a result of the war. The total number of civilians killed in Pakistan may be as high or higher than the toll in Afghanistan, with NGO estimates ranging widely between 20,000 and 50,000 recorded deaths. In Iraq, over 70 percent of those who died of direct war violence have been civilians. Iraq Body Count conservatively estimates that at least 133,000 civilians have been killed in direct violence due to war between the invasion and early May 2014. This is to achieve a political goal.
I'm not saing there is not religious terrorism,but on balance, I'd say political terrorism is worse.

On 8: I would say armed conflict is a huge problem, but I believe we can rationally say, most wars are political and all recent wars are political.

On 9: Nucleur weapons, used for reliigous extremism is a huge problem, but for the most part, nucleur weapons are a political effect, used for defense and un-just political goals.

I think we can say, in regards to the EU's list, religion is either irrelavent or not the primary factor.

Religion helps solve #1: It is no mystery that faith based aid is prevalent and has good effects.
Faith based aid helps the economy of poor nations. Missionaries are those who travel to foreign countries to further their own religion. Missionaries have often been able to provide poor communities with tools and information on how to increase agricultural output, thereby developing economies. Missionaries have also been known to foster community development and organization; those coming from western nations have been able to lead poor countries to live in a more western manner, giving them aspirations for economic prosperity.

The standard of living is also increased via faith based aid. Missionaries build orphanages, provide health care and education.

A Moral Base: Religion does provide the moral base for western society.
Religious notions: equality, sanctity of life, protect the weak. These are notions we hold dear in the west. I hold that we both see these notions as lovely, but religion is the basis for this.
I must preemptively argue that a Darwinian account of ethics is insufficient to explain certain moral acts. In regards to providing aid to starving nations, darwinism makes no sense. It can't be Kin selection, those dying kids are not kin. Is it reciprocal altruism? Well no, I doubt we are expecting something in return. Only a religious ethical base provides a sufficient reason to help random people.

Benefits Of Believing Religion:
First off, the statement: "It is rational to believe X", is different from "belief X is rational"
1. More inclined to participate in civic process
2. Less likely to drink
3. Less likely to do drugs
4. More optimistic
5. Less prone to suicide
6. Less prone to depression
7. 7 years addition to life.
8. Better physical health on average.

Conclusion: I think based on the aforementioned we have reason to believe that religion is not the BIGGEST problem.
In my next round I will move on to refutations. (remember pro must prove it's the BIGGEST problem).

Debate Round No. 1


For the sake of clarity, I will use this round to simply expose my counter arguments to what has been mentioned by CON, based on the internal demand of proving it is the BIGGEST problem.

First of all, I do not believe that the source of EU is the most legitimate, given that it has a clearly biased political agenda in it s statements. I will however comment on the points mentioned by Con.
  1. Poverty and Hunger: Con states that the positive change brought by religion is the proven answer to remedy such problems. I disagree on this point because the solution for such is in scientific education (not necessarily science). It would be lying to refute the good intentions brought up by religion in such cases, but it provides no material solutions to solving the issue of poverty and hunger, since it does not account for context in its teachings, and follows a logic that by definition can't evolve (doctrine). As to the point that religions and it missionaries are helpful to improve the economy of poor countries, this is a false statement. Knowledge in economy, finance, agriculture, science, politics and sociology are the tools used by countries that have successfully left the third world status. To the contrary, countries experiencing religious leadership are prone to higher poverty rates, an almost impossibility for its citizens to socially and economically evolve, and, in some cases, a higher governmental violence. This is mainly due to the similarities in between totalitarian and religious governance, which are both based on the unquestionable obedience to a leader, which does not consult its people to dictate their expected conduct. The incapability of religion to evolve with its timely context is the main obstacle to it being the forceful and successful help against poverty and hunger. Education based on reason, logic and science provides the key capabilities to less well-of populations to extract themselves from their situation, particularly the female education. Faith Based aid is a temporary solution that provides no internal change in terms of independent thinking, it is a political strategy based on conversion and therefore allegiance to an external, or higher entity.
  2. Climate Change: I disagree that Religion does not have a bad influence on it, since it is a doctrine based on an anti-scientific origin of the world, refuting physical evidence of its traceable origin. Thus, without the understanding that science have, can and will bring, the entire issue of climate change solutions is muted. Not one Religious book or doctrine focuses on the respect of the Earth's atmosphere, the elements that can help or damage its balance, and the attitudes that should be adopted towards improving its natural balance. The negation of the Earths' origin does not allow for a research based action, which is the only solution that we have in front of us
  3. Global Economy: Similar to point one, logical and reason based education is the most effective tool to understand and therefore improve the global economy, especially in a globalization-driven society. What must be understood is that as a code of conduct, religion lacks very important points, and therefore only because it doesn't tackle them, CON cannot state that it doesn't have a negative effect on it. The absence of such factors in a doctrine which pretends to be almighty is a dangerous mistake, since it leaves its management to egotistical leaders, which can use their position to impose their own interpretation of such matters on their citizens (once again, a similarity in between religious and totalitarian leadership)
  4. Terrorism: A hard point to address. Religion is NOT THE CAUSE OF TERRORISM. It does however, facilitate its existence, as a certain level of brainwashing is needed to achieve terrorist missions. Once again, religion being an opposite to reasoned education, it completely erases the critical mind, therefore transforming potential critics into selfless sheep. And this is not an Islam problem, as terrorist exist in all factions of religions and cults. Without knowledge, and with teachings that require no reasonable reflection, any leader can make any follower do any act, as there is always a "divine" explanation for it. And who will question the "divine", when you could end up in hell, and have no capacity to make up your mind by yourself.
  5. Energy: similar to point 2
  6. Over Population: Religion has a DIRECT effect on overpopulation. No large religion allows for birth control. Mother Teresa's most forceful mission was to eradicate birth control in the Bengal and Calcutta. Religion erases the physical, scientific process of conception, by introducing a divine power into it. Education can bring families, especially in poor countries, the knowledge and the capacity toasses their current situation and understand the responsibilities and sacrifices that must come with bringing a child into the world. Had we lived in a world without medicine, nature would take care of population control. This not being the case, WE have to do it, and controlling births is the most effective way, since killing of the elderly would be inhumane.
  7. Spread of Disease: To avoid being redundant, I will simply state that it sends back to my previous points, Education (reasonable, logical and in this case, SCIENCE based) is the solution. Religion being a direct opponent to it, I do believe it has a direct effect on it. Statistically, religious governed countries have always and continue to experience higher epidemy, child death rates are and have been higher.
  8. Armed conflict: Although religion isn't the only reason for conflict (political and territorial), it does play an important role and it provides a justification for it. In Religious based countries, where education is always at lower levels, particularly in poor classes, religion is an effective tool to manipulate the population into hate and therefore conflict.
  9. Nuclear weapons: I agree. Religion isn't the cause of Nuclear weapons. But nuclear weapons in the hands of Religious factions is a terrifying thought. Governed without reason and logic, promised to an eternal paradise, extremists would hesitate much less that a scientist on using on of this awesome weapons.

If Religion isn't the reason for all that is wrong in the world, it doesn't mean that it doesn't have a negative effect on these points. The lack of scientific analysis, the intolerance to scientific evidence are ennemies to progress. In a time where the world changes ever so rapidly, to restrain oneself in one of the slowest evolving schools of thought seems illogical: Religion kills self thinking, Religion is a control tool, Religion kills education, Religion picks and chooses, Religion manipulates.

  • On the argument that Religion provides a moral base:
    • This is an irrefutable point. religion does provide a moral code
    • However, the question is what moral code is promoted. No religion based morals disregards intolerance and violence. And the actual religious thinking prevents any question against such points
    • The threat existing a moral code that promotes killing, slavery and exile seems obvious, but believers will say that those points do not apply anymore. Never in humn history have we had a descent from any God that reminded its people to remove such aspects from Holy books. The danger with religion is that it is not an absolutely truthful way of thinking, since it allows for enormous contradictions without allowing proper questioning and skepticism.
    • Scientific thinking does NOT provide all the answers. It doesn't, however, create answers and postulates them as truths without an evidence. For example, cults such as mormonism or scinetology seem "ludicrous" to traditional religious people, who don't realize that their principle of thinking and logic is the same as Judaism, Christianity or Islam. No evidence of anything, intention before proof resulting in a voluntarely vague scripture that allows for millions of different interpretations
    • Morality is the differentiation of intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are "good" (or right) and those that are "bad" (or wrong) - Wikipedia.
      • This notion is ever evolving with its context, therefore how can it be defined as universal, timeless?
  • On the benefits of Religion as stated by CON:
  • All of these points are not only benefits, but direct results of and Education based on Scientific thinking, logic and reason. Forbiding certain things from a way of life does not mean that the people are "less likely to do them". During the Prohibition years in America, the government forbode Alcohol and Drugs, and citizens still managed to do them. Dicatorship of rights is not the answer. If we ned to forbid harmful things, it means that we are controlling the results, and not changing behavior.
  • Conclusion: In the INFORMATION ERA, where most people than ever before have access to any information, promoting a process that tries to remove freedom of thinking is extremely threatening as it promotes discorde, exclusion and ultimately, hate and violence. Religion's intention is of course good, but it could only work in a monopolistic world, where all accept to think the same and were personal freedom is not inherent to happiness. Religion is an illogical thought process, that can justify any action, good or bad. We cannot judge the threat level of religion by putting forward the good that it does, since this is a given. The fact, however, that mass killing, hate, war and even nuclear holocaust can be directly influenced by such force is an ultimate threat, since there is no logical dissuasion to this belief system, given that it formats its followers not to respond to logic, but to utopian concepts. Education based on knowledge, empiric evidence, testing, timely learning is the ultimate response to solve global and local problems. Religion provides the possibility for justifying any action, covering its intent in "divinity", which cannot be questions by human reason.


In Regards To Proverty: It seems pro has missed the point.My point was not that adherence to religious doctrine solves the problem. My point was that religious organizations and people are the primary ones helping out and they are doing so because of their faith. This is because on a darwinian account of ethics, there is no reason to help inpoverished strangers.
Also pro kind of infers religion is the cause. I would have to say this commits the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. Also one must keep in mind, the Noll Hypothesis. In no way is religion is necessarily the cause, I maintain that it probably is not the cause. If we look at the impoverished nations, we can probably conclude they are so because of political turmoil, failure to produce complex markets and imperialism.

Equivocation: Now pro seems to equivocate the fundamentalist and literalist with the "moderate". Most theists accept science. Science devoloped in the christian west. Pro seems to emphasize that religion must remain stagnate. This is like saying we have to accept Aristotle's physics. Religion does change with time, I think this is evident. If religion had not evovled, we would still be stoning children, stoning homosexuals and cutting hands off. Now extremists may be still doing this sometimes, but the majority of religious people are not. This seems to demonstrate an evolution in religion, even if some have failed to evolve. Pro's view of religion is equivalent to the fundamentalist christian view of athiesm, that atheists are evil and blind. These militant and fundamental notions of atheism and theism are intellectually dishonest and non-productive.

Morality: Pro concedes that religion provides a moral base. However pro is very right to point out some inconsistency. The bad things don't negate the good. The fact that the religious are keeping the good and disposing of the bad, seems to demonstrate an evolution in religion. This not a debate about the validity of religion. I personally think religion is non sense. Only extremists use religion to justify abhorrent acts. Most religious people are moral because of their faith. Pro can not take the extremist position and use them to evaluate all of religion.

Would The World Be Better Without Religion?:Now if religion is the worlds biggest problrm, then it's abolishment should greatly benefit humanity. Now let's reflect on history for reference. In the 21st century, we don't have a completely secular to reference. Everyone's favorite countries: Norway, Sweeden, Denmark are based on Christian notions(the positive ones). So have their been any purely secular societies? Well yeah, but they are not very pleasant.
USSR: In Soviet law, the "freedom to hold religious services" was constitutionally guaranteed, although the ruling Communist Party regarded religion as incompatible with the Marxist spirit of scientific materialism. So consequently they abolished it. In the USSR 3 million people were killed. Now one might say, this wan't in the name of atheism, but it was. All you have to do is read Marx.
China: 2.5 million killed. This was also as a result of Marx.
The same is true for Pol Pot.
Many sociologist agree that these crimes are a result of atheism and the negation of traditional values.
If we care about history, we can see that the abolition of religion is a bad thing.

I will however say, the abolishment of religion should lead to a better world, but it won't. We are recently evolved animals and absolute altruism doesn't serve a darwinian purpose, so I think for most people they need an ultimatum in order to endorse this sort of absolute altruism. So I think if we were to abolish religion, a lot of people would cease to be moral. This is not a good thing and I'm not happy about it, however as aforementioned, we are recently and imperfectly evolved primates and are just now transcending the purely survival based behaviors of darwinism.
Debate Round No. 2


Once again, I believe that the best way to keep this debate logical is to respond and expand on the points addressed. I must however point out that CON has selected very few items on my previous argument to debate (points that he himself has presented), and has not adressed in his latest response the key element i have adressed which is the relationship between religion and secular, reason based education. I would therefore expect these items adressed in the next round.

On CON's argument
  • Poverty Argument: in no way have I identified my thought process with darwinism, which in my opinion is the other belief spectrum's extreme. Also, CON is negleting the influence that religion has on negative polical actions. It seems narrow-minded to observe "model countries" and state that a positive religious culture has helped them achieve their status, while blaming the negative aspects of empoverished countries solely on politics, economy and imperialism. The same religious culture and sometimes practice that has influenced "model countries" has had its effects directly or indirectly on imporverished nations, as their political culture and law is directly drawn from these influences, their economic turmoil is mostly based on their lack of reasonable thought and education (see previous round) and imperialism has been the tool of the religious nations to impose their economic prnciples and their culture on other nations
  • Equivocation: This is the most important point that I need to adress in order to expose my argument to CON.
    • The thought that science has been created thanks to the western christian environnement is historically negationist and false. Firstly, the most advanced scientific discoveries were made during the antiquity period, in the mediterranean cultures. Secondly, if we refer to hte few credible historic accounts that we have from that period, the motivation behind scientific progress was in majority rebellion against the almighty church. This has lead in aniquity to astronomy, geology, democracy, mathematics, philosophy, to name a few.
    • Regarding evolution in Religion: Religion is a codified system of beliefs, which is directly ontradictory to the evolution which I agree, has hit most religious countries in the west. The equivocation is in this point. The evolution of the faithful is a move OUT of Reliion and into Personal Spirituality, which is not the subject of this debate. This news trend observed in western countries, leading the previously pious towards a set of beliefs and morals which are more in sync with their present environment is a denial of the Religion as it is written, and therefore as it is supposed to be practiced. This "pick and choose" mentality, which sees this recent evolution as religious, is a propaganda based, megalomaniac and desperate manipulation of events, in order to keep such urges controlled. Therefore I disagree that RELIGION has evolved. Its believers are evolving out of it, especially in the west, thanks to the democratization of education and internet access, which faciitates the transfer of information, which in return strenghtens the critical mind.
  • Morality:I think it important to clearly state that I do not believe that religious people are bad. I do however think that they are bound by a controlling church, whose mission is to restrain personal thinking. To bring into the debate a compraison in between countries is in my opinion a critical error in judgement:
    • "Favorite countries" is a subjective concept. I personnaly do not look up to such nations, given that their socialist model is getting out of breath, and their economy completely rely on natural resources, which aren't eternal and will most likely be subject to exploitation limitation laws in the near future. Also, living in France, I can see the long term effects of socialism. Let's not also forget that these exact favorite countries are in the top list for child molestation and racism crimes. Truly not my favorite. I do not refute however, that they have maaged until now to keep their socialist politics in line with the global economy, but that is another debate.
    • On the argument of purely "secular societies", I cannot understand such a statement which is fundementaly mistaken. A political party and its totalitarian regime absolutely doesn't define the culture of a country. And the USSR, China and Cambodia insane leaders and dicatorships are of course despicable. But as you can imagine, I am absolutely not in favor of replacing Religion with another form of mind controlling regime.
    • Also, I believe the preocess of double negation is questionable. So because in the 20th century horrific acts were carried out in the name of Atheism, Religion isn't that bad? For 19 centuries the vast majority of horrors, massacres, genocides, colonizations, exterminations, tortures, invasions, wars and civil crime were directly motivated if not supported by religion. I would like to question the sociologists that blame crimes committed by communist nations solely on atheism and refutal of traditional values. LEt's actually revise history, because on the of most brilliant periods which directly influenced what most considered "positive" in nowadays society was the "Enlightment Period", which is exactly what those sociologists are criticizing: think for yourself, use your own mind to determine your beliefs and don't let anybody influence your thoughts.
  • Abolition of Religion:I observe once again a double negation thought process. We do not currently live in a world were Religion is the only moral basis. We have laws, Civil Justice and personal education. Religion did serve a purpose in the past, it would be ludicrous to deny that, which is why this debate is focused on our century. It doesn't anymore. It actually parasites the evolution our societies are moving towards. To believe that a set of principles can be eternal is intrinsically wrong. Revision is always needed. The abolition of Religion is under way, and that is why it has become an enormous threat, since its followers will fight to the death to keep it, and, nostalgically, try to ring its global reign again.
  • For the last round I would demande however that we remain on subject on our century, and religion's connection to today's society, because we have lost 2 rounds debating past ideas (although it would have been impossible to accomplish this debate without it)
  • I would aslo like to rephrase my position in clear bullet points:
    • Religion is based on an immutable structure, which is why its lack of flexibility conflicts with the evolution of humans' minds, and scientific thought and education
    • Religious people are not the subject, it is the concept of religion that is on "trial" here
    • Atheism is not the ultimate solution, since any extreme leads to the same result in the end. Moderation of thinking, individuality and social stability offer more potential than atheism, which is, in a manner, another religion. Freedom of beliefs and worship is also not under question, however the misconception that it is a Religious notion is dangerous, since the Religion is based on preventing such rights
    • The threat posed by Religion is the sclerosis of society, which is the biggest Threat to the modern world, since Humanity lives in a world that cannot stagnate. It either evolves or regresses
    • Education (in its wide definition of course), free, evidence based, flexible, individual, reasonnable is the most powerful weapon humanity has ever had, and the only one which truly brought up progress. The potential presented by education it to stimulate curiosity, induce criticism, demonstrated that with the proper process, any truth can be questioned, and therefore puts constantly the absolutism of "fixated truths" under scrutiny, which are the most effective ways to promote and install positive change


pro's argument demonstrates that religious extremism and misguided politics fueled by extremism is a huge problem, but he has not demonstrated that religion, as practiced by the majority is a problem, let alone the biggest problem. He's saying when religion does good, let's not acknowledge it, and when it does bad let's emphasize it. This is dishonest.

Poverty: pro says: " in no way have I identified my thought process with darwinism, which in my opinion is the other belief spectrum's extreme." Yeah, that's my point. There is no darwinistic reason to help the starving and suffering. Only religious basis of morality can account for notions like equality and altruism. Refer to Nitzsche, Marx and so on, secular morals don't account for this. The aforementioned notions make no sense, so for now, we must invoke religion in order to account for such notions. And no, I'm not omitting religion from blame. When religion causes bad political decisions, it is bad. However we have to recognize when religion does good, it does good. So pro is saying that poor economic nations are so due to lack of reason and education, thus as a result of religious notions; and well to do nations are so because of reason and education, thus secular notions. I don't think you can be so black and white. Secularism doesn't have a stranglr hold on rationality, some religious ideas are rational.
Equivocation: I'm not saying that religion caused science, but the enlightenment is the result of some theological notions, like that the universe is rationally intelligible. There were enlightenment christians like Clarke, Locke and Newton. So pro's point is that when religious people reform and rationalize religion, they're no longer religious. That's like saying, when we reform and correct Aristotle's physics, we are now doing meta-physics. No, we are just improving upon a system. Atheists are really really bad at reading religious text in context. You Just can't pick out offensive bible verse X and use it to negate the whole doctrine.

Regimes: My only point in referencing the secular reigmes is that historically, abolishing religion is not a good thing. My point is not that religion has not done bad things, I very much recognize the horrors of religion and so do most intelligent theists. However the few purely secular societies spilled way more blood than the religious crimes. Also, I am unaware of these critics of the enlightenment. As for as I know, the enlightenment was good for everyone.

Abolition: The source of western laws is christianity. I don't see why religions can't be evolve. Only fundamentalists point to bible passage X and say hey this is always right. Intelligent theists read it in context, just like intelligent atheists should be doing. Also depending on the study, we can say religious population is growing.

Quick Response To Pro's points: Only fundamentalist read the texts literally and say this is definitively right forever.
I don't think you can say look at these religious people and the good work they're doing and then ignore the religion.
You seem to be find with religious moderatism.
You say: "Atheism is not the ultimate solution, since any extreme leads to the same result in the end. Moderation of thinking, individuality and social stability offer more potential than atheism, which is, in a manner, another religion."
Well that's already how most religous individuals see things.
Religion is not against preventing rights, religion actually provides a basis for giving rights, such as the right to life and equality, however extremist do want to take away rights, by virtue of religion. I don't think it is then fair to say let's look at the good religion does and write it off and then look at the bad and say oh my god religion is all bad.
The intelligent theists do use reason and evidence, once again look at the thoughtful theologians and scientists throughtout history. Some religious ideas are in conflict with reason and evidence but the whole system isn't so bad.

My points: Pro seemsto fail to separate fundamentalism and moderatism.
Pro seems to want to have his cake and eat it to. He says look at the good religious people do and look at the christian basis for our society and rights, but then says this has nothing to do with religion, it's all deduced from rationality. I think in such a case we do have to give some credit to religion.
Humans are recently evolved and have not developed a capacity for absolute altruism, therefor most need a source to enforce this altruism.
Pro seems to look at religion through a narrow lense, which is confined to archaic absolutist bigotry. I think religion can and has evolved. This is not a debate about religious validity. This is primarily about the effects of religion.

In my final round I will explain how the basis western society is enextricably bound to christianity, talk about effects of religion via sociology journals and reiterate why the abolition of religion would be a bad thing (for now) and finally why the worlds biggest problems are not religious.

Debate Round No. 3


CON has not understood the point addressed by this debate. The focus on the difference on extremism and "moderate" religious practice is not the point of this debate. This debate is not meant to discuss the view that peoplke practicing religion have on their own faith. The objective of this debate is to argue in our current and present context, the Threat posed by Religion as a governing structure. In no way have I adressed political, economic or military aspects of Religion, my focus has been on the power exerted by this human controlled entity upon the minds of its followers, through immutable principles.

I also belive that the dishonest point is to reduce possibilities to either Religion as we know it or Secularism. Personal spirituality is what has driven positive change in our past and continues to do so. This is directly linked to individual education. I must also clarify that Scientific Thinking does not refute spirituality, it refutes Religion.
The difference in between Spirituality and Religion is the key element CON seems to misunderstand. Spirituality does not claim truths that are impossible to prove, and does not lay out public rules and regulations that cannot evolve. The evolution seen in what CON defines as "Religion" is a migration towards Personal Spirituality. It is no coincidence that this debate was based on today's world instead of the History of Religion.

Now to answer (quickly) CON's points:
  • Poverty:
    • CON seems to be misinformed on what constitutes a Darwinistic position (which, as said before, is not my persol view). Darwinism is based on natural selection, which inevitably puts species against each other. Although some species are known to be individualistic, Humans are not the only communitarian ones. Several mammals, fish, birds, insects, amphibians, even plants and funghi demonstrate communitarian beavior, social organization and group mentality, which, from an evolutionary perspective, is the base of altruism. Altruism as we know it already exists and has existed in the natural world for millions of years, along with compassion and empathy. The difference in humans is that our conscience allows us to choose altruism or disregard it, whereas in the rest of the natural world, it is an automatism linked to instinct.
    • On the good and bad of Religion, I do not disregard the good it has made. CON was the one to create this argument, stating that "Secular Power" has showed horrific acts in the past century. My demonstration was simply a counter argument, where History shows us that Religion (as a structure) has been responsible for millions of sufferings and deaths over the past 19 centuries before last alone. This is the reason I believe this argument is null, and didn't bring it up. As CON rightfully stated, we haven't known lots of secular societies, which is why comparing 50 years of secularism is politically fanatic countries to Religious countries is fundementally mistaken. Especially since, in comparison, Religion will come out as much more dangerous and violent. But to compare 19 centuries of violence against 50 years is wrong, even if Religion comes out as the bad guy, because it is not a proportionate and equivalent comparison.
  • Equivocation: As to Rationality in Secularism Vs. Religion: yest, Religion has some rationality, as it doesn't deny the laws of the universe as could be observed from a layperson (no pun intended) when Holy books were compiled. It does, however, neglect rationality in social aspects (to name one), which creates discrepancies leading to potental violence and turmoil. Rationality has a formal component that reduces observation, thinking and analyzing to logical consistency, and a material component that reduces to empirical support. This is directly contradicted by the Religious process, which relies of faith, which is defined as a belief that is not based on proof. Today's society sees a severe moderation in reigious practice within western countries, which can be directly linked as a consequence of higher education levels. The reduction of education levels in rural areas of eastern nations has lead to an increased religious practice, especially as a result of a difficult daily routine, which can be tamed by a belief in a better tomorrow. I cannot accept the premise that rationality in science (not secularism) and religion can be compared.
  • Regimes: CON's point is intrinsically flawed. Historically, abolishing religion is not a good thing? And keeping it is? Once again, this is a flawed argument because we haven't known long enough a secular governce to compare both, but history CLEARLY shows that keeping religion is much worse. Pretending that Secularism has spilled more blood than Religion is NEGATING HISTORIC FACTS: Colonization of the Americas (where death to locals was mostly caused because of religious purposes) ended up in approx: 90 million deaths, 50 million being attributed alone by historians to Religious warfare. the Crusades killed 4 million, The mediterranean wars that opposed Muslims to Europeans in the 13th to 16th centuries killed 3 million, the Spanish Inquisition killed 900000 in Europe alone. These are only main events, diregarding civil persecution and executions.
  • Abolition: Religions cannot evolve by defintion. Otherwise they would follow an open book that can continue to be written. But they all have a last page, finished at best over 1000 yars ago. Once again, not following scripture, picking and choosing what works, interpreting as we see fit is called propaganda. I salute those that can see that religious belief must evolve, but this debate is cearly focused on the fact that they are therefore leaving religion and moving towards personal spirituality. As for growing population, this is true. In poor countries. Western societies are all experienced decreasing numbers in their flocks, except for islamic conversions or the muslim community. The studies that showed the contrary have been disproven, especially the ones misteriously ordered by the vatican.
  • As to the "quick response":
    • I wish to be clear on the fundamentalist issue. Not all religious people are fundamentalists. But one must question the negative potential of a regime that allows these sorts of interpretations. Not all dictatorships were bad. But they are highly desinfranchised because of the potential harm they present. The debate is focused on the present day because extremism is a present danger in all religions and are motivating a build-up in conflicts. And the fact is that this wouldn't happen without religion as a structured church. It wouldn't happen with personal spirituality. What you call moderatism is actually personal spirituality, therefore no longer following scripture based churches and religions.
    • If "most religious individuals" see things as I stated, they no longer abide by their Religion's structure and laws, which become therefore obsolete.
    • As to rights, Religion is ABSOLUTELY about preventing and controlling rights, since they were established for that exact purpose. To control behavious by dictating rights and duties. As any modern country. The difference is that in modern countries such rights and duties evolve by popular vote, in democracy. Which is diametrically opposed to the Religious process, where this power is given to a few priviledged scholars who dictate "moderation and interpretation" as they see fit. Theist that use reason and evidence contradict most religious teachings, which is NEVER aknowledged by any church.
  • CON fails to see what Religion is, and covers his arguments behind the advent of Personal Spirituality in modern society. NEVER have I discretided the good done in the past or present by religious people, since this debate is NOT about religious PEOPLE. This debate is about RELIGION, in TODAY's society, and the threats it has shown and still shows in everyday life.
  • The capacity for absolute altruism is not humanly possible, and enforcing it is absolutely needed. But altruism is PERSONAL. Doing good because the Church tell you to instead of personal choice is NOT ALTRUISM. Understanding your environment and bng able to position yourself as one of many is what allows altruism to develop. Religion separates you from others by creating categoriesdefined as believers and non-believers.
  • As stated before, I am not a defender of Secularism, which is why CON's arguments on this seem pointless. My belief is that in TODAY's world, with the access to information and knowledge given to most, morality is not dependable on immutable laws. I believe that picking and choosing in Religious Practice is moving away from Religion.
  • CON seems to try and move the debate to parallel themes. This is a debate about RELIGIOUS posing a THREAT in this century, therefore about its validity in modern society, and its negative effects on human behavior and relationships. CON has tried to move away from it by focusing on Secularism and the good done by the Church. I will ask that for this final round, a focused be done on:
    • Religion's threats to society, and how could be possible if not for religion
    • The alternative of scientific and rational education
    • Is there a better answer to positivity needs than Religion?
My position is for an abolition of Religion as a church, not the abolition of Belief. Belief in a higher power, whether it be a traditional view of God, or belief in Nature, Science, Aliens, Animals, Cosmos, or even Yourself cannot in my view be challenged as it is the result of freedom of throught, which I regrd as humanity's highest right.


Remember, the resolution is not: "Is extremism a huge problem" if it was, I would be on pro's side, however the resolution is " is religion the biggest problem". There are two ways to negate the resolution:
1. By showing there is a bigger problem
2. Showing a world without religion is less favorable
There Are Some Bigger Problems:
I believe I have already demonstrated point 1, but I shall try to make it again. First, refer to the list of problems stated by the EU. I argued that the problems either don't have to do with religion or that religion is not the primary cause. In regards to poverty he tries to establish some weird link between poverty and religion. The poorest country in the world is the Congo. The Congo's situation has nothing to do with religion. It's due to poor political leadership and war. The same seems to be true for the rest of Africa's poor nations. This has nothing to do with religion. I hold that poverty is a bigger problem for one simple reason, religion may or may not hurt people, in my opinion it is historically a good thing, but poverty is always a terrible thing. I think we can agree that religion is not the BIGGEST problem, because poverty is worse.

However, in case you don't trust the EU, here's the biggest problems, according to the world economic forum:
1 Fiscal crises in key economies
2 Structurally high unemployment/underemployment
3 Water crises
These problems have nothing at all to do with religion.

So I believe the resolution is negated because religion is not the biggest problem.

Pro failed to respond to my biggest point:
Absent religion, there's no good account for helping the poor, unless they're kin. Absolute altruism is not at all inherent, and religion, throughout history and today, has helped to enforce altruism by placing an ultimatum. For this reason the abolition of religions would be a bad thing. That's why I discussed the purely secular socieities, historically when you abolish religion, it ends up badly. This is not to say religion is always a good thing. Throughout history it's hard to get rid of religion yet keep religious values. Some have even called such a thing absurd(see Nietzsche).

Good Effects:
In 2001 Schnittker in the “Journal for the scientific study of religion” examined a data set of 2,836 adults from the general population and he found religious involvement had no significant relationship with depression. He also found that religiousness was a buffer against mental distress.

In 2002 Smith, McCullough and Poll, in their journal “A meta analytic review of the religiousness-depression association: evidence for main effects and stress buffering effects” carried out an analysis of over 200 social studies and found that high religiousness predicts a rather lower risk of depression, drug abuse and fewer suicide attempts

In 2002 Bryan Johnson and colleagues of the University of Pennsylvania Centre for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society reviewed 498 studies that had been published in peer reviewed journals. They concluded that a large majority of studies showed a positive correlation between religious commitment and higher levels of perceived well-being and self esteem, and lower levels of hypertension, depression and criminal delinquency.

In the Handbook of Religion and Health, edited by Harold Koenig, Michael McCullough and David Larson. The authors reviewed 2,000 published experiments designed to test the relationship between religion and various medical conditions such as heart disease, cancer and depression. The overall results were that religious people tend to live longer and have physically healthier lives. Young people have significantly lower levels of drug and alcohol abuse, criminal delinquency and attempted suicide.

Even in China an officially non-religious state. A recent study by Paul Badham and Xinzhong Yao for the Ian Ramsey Centre at Oxford University, reported that a majority of those felt religious experiences had a positive effect on their lives.

In 2000, Political Scientist and Professor Robert Putnam surveyed 200 volunteer organisations and showed that there was a positive correlation between religiosity and membership of volunteer organisations.

The Index of Global Philanthropy, 2007 states: “Religious people are more charitable than non-religious not only in giving to their own congregations, but also – regardless of income, region, social class, and other demographic variables – significantly more charitable in their secular donations and informal giving.”

Conclusion: I believe I have reasonably demonstrated that:
1.(Most importantly) There are bigger problems than religion.
2. Religion provides a sufficient basis for altruism.
3. Religion has a good effect on individuals.
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by KhalifV 7 years ago
I would say peer reviewed studies are viable evidence. Also the resolution is religion the biggest problem, not just a big problem. I thought I reasonably established poverty as the biggest problem. By virtue of the Noll hypothesis there is not a link between religion and poverty. Your evidence to substantiate the claim that there is, was vague. However you did make very good points, addressing systemic problems in religion, although they seem not to apply to the majority of people identifying with such religions. I agree with you on almost all your points. I just don't agree that it's the biggest problem
Posted by CommentActor 7 years ago
Although I believe that you have exposed good arguments, I do not fully understand why have you chosen not to respond to counter arguments presented to you.
The thesis you have established is flawed since I have presented the best alternative (according to my position) to Religion (Education), which you have refused to account for.
I have demonstrated that the majority of the problems YOU raised as key present problems are in fact linked to religion.
And yet, you have always chosen to expose either someone else's point of view, or to disregards counter arguments.
I was expecting a personal thinking on this subject, not a list of different sources which cannot be debated, since their authors aren't here.
CON hasn't presented sources to FACTS, only to OPINIONS.
I preferred to state my thinking process, which is what I expected to be debated.
As my first debate on this platform, I am surprised at the disregard to a logic establishment, and the focus put on simply bringing up other theories without any thinking process laid upon them.
Posted by Romanii 7 years ago
This debate looks like it has potential. Will follow.
Posted by CommentActor 7 years ago
Hello KhalifV.
Thank you for your interest. There is still quite some time for this debate.
I would also like to add that I am also an atheist, and therefore expect to hold a debate based on rational argumentation, not religious belief, as I agree with you that in order to tackle a subject such as religion, an impartial view on the premise must be applied.
Posted by KhalifV 7 years ago
I'm currently busy, but I would like to debate this with you in the future. I am an atheist but it is important that we recognize religion has done good in the world, and it probably is not the BIGGEST problem in the world.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by FuzzyCatPotato 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Religion is a problem. It's definitely a smaller one than, say, hunger, as Con showed.
Vote Placed by ChosenWolff 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Vote got deleted, WTF?! Anyways, I'll revote. Pro made one assertion which was obviously surrounded in cognitive bias and opinion. I didn't actually get any solid reasoning upon why. The debate 101 rule is that everything is affirmed until countered. Con countered everything on this debate, and pro almost did, but he responded to most points by restating his theory. You can't restate a theory without any evidence and expect me to affirm it. Which is why all of pro's arguments are negated. I don't vote on sources, but count them minorly into the overall source point, with little influence, and since pro provided none, I'm looking towars con. In conclusion, there were a lot of points without any ample refutation needed for affirmation, therefore, the argument point goes to con.
Vote Placed by Free_Th1nker 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Colonizers fueled by religious ideology went to Africa to "cleanse" (White Man's Burden) the people there with Western values. After leaving, the imperialists left Africa a total mess of broken up tribes. I agree with the anti-science argument proposed by Pro in round 2 about climate change. As for the spread of disease, you should really read the chapter in Christopher Hitchens's book "God is Not Great." You'll learn how Muslims stopped the distribution of polio vaccinations, how American Jews are using their mouths to complete circumcisions on baby boys, and how the Catholic Church said condoms are worse than AIDS and not any type of solution to the AIDS epidemic in Africa (which has contributed to the poverty and hunger). The bad things in fact outweigh in terms of religious morality. Con provided no evidence to support claim that religious do the most for the poor. All totalitarian states are theocratic (research Orwell on this point) No qualified sociologist says 2 abolish atheism
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: con was only one to use sources, otherwise arguments were pretty tense and tied

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