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Religion: Reason or Excuse?

Debate Information

If we look back at the beginnings of religion, as we all (should) know, it was a device set up for the authorities to subdue and control the masses.

For example, the first Christian Church as we know it, was established early in the fourth century. The Bible is littered with politically convenient edicts designed to govern the people (For the one in authority is God's servant for your good. Romans 13:4). Hence, governments took free rein in fleecing the naive, gullible, uneducated and profoundly superstitious masses of their earnings (This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Romans 13:6)

So, here we see the word of God being used as an excuse to rob the poor rather than the reason.

Now, moving forward to the present we can experience the self-realisation of religion being elevated to an entirely different level in terms of impacting upon (Nothing like a few corny, bureaucratic, au courant cliches, is there?) the common folk who are really using religion as an excuse rather than a reason for their belief. Could it be that they don't necessarily believe in God but use their faith as an excuse to validate their fears and prejudices?



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  • BarnardotBarnardot 185 Pts   -  
    There is no reason for religion and that’s why they always make excuses for it. @Swolliw
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 4664 Pts   -   edited January 9
    That is factually not true. Some religions (such as Islam), indeed, were set up by warlords seeking to control the masses - but other religions had much humbler origins. Christianity initially was a small sect of philosophers who preached compassion and humbleness; their philosophy can be traced back to the Greek stoicism, although it had essential differences as well, such as vilification of material wealth (stoics only vilified addiction to wealth, not wealth itself). It was later, when their movement gained traction, that the emperors of Rome took notice of it, eventually making it into the state religion, from where it all went downhill.

    What makes most (all?) religions so easy to use to control the masses with is their focus on abstract virtues versus individual well-being. Most ideologies have this focus, but not all: for example, it is almost impossible to build a totalitarian state around the ideas of stoicism, or objectivism, or epicureanism: these ideologies, with all of their shortcomings, put the individual well-being first, before any other considerations - and how are you going to control the masses by telling them that their self-interest trumps any collectivistic notions?

    Religions, on the other hand, almost always promote obedience before some abstract central idea, sacrifice of the individual well-being to it. Even such religions as Buddhism, while not featuring any central authorities, still urge their followers to make a lot of sacrifices for the sake of some vision of abstract good. Even worse with Christianity or Islam that are all about suffering greatly in order to venerate "god". These religions are set up perfectly well for someone to come over, proclaim themselves a messenger of said "god" - and to take over the society that is prone to this kind of ideas.

    Socialism, nationalism, racial exceptionalism - they all have this same feature: the prescription demanding self-sacrifice for the sake of some central entity, be it the "worker class", the "nation" or the "race". They are a bit weaker than religion, as they are not as easy to justify as to just say, "worship god or burn in hell" - but, on the other hand, they also do not require one to hold any supernatural beliefs and can be pseudo-rationalized without invoking outrageous fantasy concepts. That is why they are harder to establish, but, once established, they are also very hard to uproot: with "god", people eventually start asking questions, demanding evidence - but with these more materialistic ideologies, everything can be made to seem fairly logical, and such questions are much less likely to arise.

    Look at the Islamic world: wars, revolutions, uprisings - they happen everywhere all the time, short of a couple of states (such as Saudi Arabia) with very ruthless governments that squash any semblance of opposition before it has a chance to show itself. It is not easy to keep a stable system when this system's legitimacy is conditioned upon people's belief in "Allah", belief that has about as much ground in reality as belief in Santa. So people never really fully buy the idea, and constantly rise up and demand a better one.
    Does not happen as often in places like China or Cuba, the fallaciousness of ideologies in which is quite a bit harder to prove. There, it appears, something drastic has to happen, such as a complete economical collapse, in order for the system to crumble.
    piloteer
  • piloteerpiloteer 1526 Pts   -  
    @Swolliw

    Ya sorry, but MayCaesar makes a valid point. Not all religions are created to control the masses, and Christianity itself was not either. Nothing about Taoism, Confucianism, or Sikhism is for the purpose of controlling the masses. There are Christian culture advocates who readily admit to not believing in God but still believe that western nations should adhere to Christian doctrine, but their policy proposals are easily discredited.   
  • SwolliwSwolliw 1442 Pts   -  
    @piloteer @MayCaesar
    Ya sorry, but MayCaesar makes a valid point.

    I'm not sorry because you are completely wrong. He does not make a valid point at all. He re-edited a fact to justify his own bias with an irrelevant point....."Christianity initially"

    My argument centered on not Christianity but the Christian Church which was founded in the fourth century as I quite correctly stated and gave two examples of my argument in the form of quotes from the Bible. The Christian Religion has an abysmally dreadful record of treating common people as scum for the benefit of their own ambitions and obscene wealth. For example, Henry VIII would brutally enforce the laws of religion upon his people in the form of torture and barbaric killings, he claimed to be pushing such a self-centered, evil agenda as being bestowed by God to govern in such a way. He even went so far as to disassociate the crown from the Catholic Church and formed the Anglican Church for the sole benefit of fixing his marital problems.

    For Chrissake how much more Christian Church history do I have to go through? Shall we talk about the Borgias, or the Spanish Inquisitions? What the Christian Church has done and continues to do so makes Islam look very mundane and amateurish by comparison. At least Islam has the dignity to stick to its roots, unlike the Christian Church which will vacillate and change at any opportunity to maintain its stranglehold and as usual attribute such cruelness and oppression with the usual excuse..."It is written". Sure, written alright, and translated for their own nefarious benefits.

  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 4664 Pts   -  
    @Swolliw

    I am sorry, but your opening statement was:
    Swolliw said:

    If we look back at the beginnings of religion, as we all (should) know, it was a device set up for the authorities to subdue and control the masses.
    The argument involving the Christian Church directly was an illustration of the initial claim. It is the initial claim that I am challenging, not your version of the story of the Christian Church in particular (which I largely agree with).

    Also, what bias was I trying to justify, and how did you figure out that I was?
  • SwolliwSwolliw 1442 Pts   -  
    @MayCaesar
    It is the initial claim that I am challenging
    That's right, and you are completely wrong as I correctly pointed and fully backed up.

    not your version of the story of the Christian Church in particular (which I largely agree with).
    It's not "my" version, it is factual and which you then backflipped and agreed upon. Are you Arthur or Martha?

    Also, what bias was I trying to justify, and how did you figure out that I was? 

    "That is factually not true. Some religions (such as Islam), indeed, were set up by warlords seeking to control the masses - but other religions had much humbler origins. 
    Christianity initially was a small sect of philosophers"

    That's how I figured it out....it was difficult and it took all day but gee, I don't know, there is more than just a hint of bias going on there towards Christianity...the most oppressive, violent, manipulative, malevolent institution ever devised and what "humble origins" it may allegedly have makes diddly squat to the fact of what Christianity and the Christian Church have been and still are.


  • knuckleheadknucklehead 16 Pts   -  
    Argument Topic: The Christian Church

    If the Christian Church did not begin until the forth century, how do you explain Paul writing to "the church at Rome," the church at Corinth," the churches at Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi and Colosse? Also how do you explain John writing the Revelation "to the seven churches in Asia?" (Rev.1:4) All of this is in the first century, not the fourth.
  • SwolliwSwolliw 1442 Pts   -  
    @knucklehead
    how do you explain Paul writing to "the church at Rome," the church at Corinth," the churches at Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi and Colosse? Also how do you explain John writing the Revelation "to the seven churches in Asia?" (Rev.1:4) All of this is in the first century, not the fourth.

    That was written in the Bible and is unverified. 

    There are many versions of when the first Christian Church came to be and indeed what constitutes the Christian Church.

    I take my cue from 325 AD, when the council of Nicaea founded the first official Christian Church and accepted by the Roman emperor Constantine. My aim was to be objective rather than simply confirming what was only gleaned from the scriptures.

  • knuckleheadknucklehead 16 Pts   -  
    Argument Topic: Swolliw

    Your response is an excellent example of demonstration that you and I cannot engage in a rational discussion of this matter because we follow two different standards. I follow the Bible and by your own admission you wrote "I take my cue from 325 A.D. Since you acknowledge what standard you follow, your statement "That was written in the Bible and is unverified" carries no weight with regards to my comments. I challenge you to prove your statement true that what the Bible says about the church is unverified. You imply that objectivity can not exist if one  is "simply confirming what was only gleaned from the scriptures." 
  • SwolliwSwolliw 1442 Pts   -   edited January 22
    @knucklehead
    Your response is an excellent example of demonstration that you and I cannot engage in a rational discussion of this matter because......

    Uh uh.....leave the "you and" out of "you and I" and you will be closer to the truth.

    I submitted a perfectly valid post which was properly reasoned and valid.

    To suggest that I prove something that is not proven (not verified) in the first place, apart from being illogical, is being totally absurd.

    I take my cue from 325 A.D. Since you acknowledge what standard you follow

    You made a generalization out of a specific example then made an erroneous conclusion. For all you know, I could be a well-versed biblical scholar (which I am) and form my knowledge from a number of properly informed and accurate sources (which I do).

    You imply that objectivity can not exist if one  is "simply confirming what was only gleaned from the scriptures." 

    That's right, because you asked me to explain, Paul writing to "the church at Rome," the church at Corinth,".........(which I did)

    Now, you prove how such quotes factually verify the establishment of the Christian Church. You were the one who made the assertion, I properly countered it and you have not backed up your assertion.

    Throwing back the argument with the "you prove it isn't" tactic is hardly going to win a debate, is it?

  • knuckleheadknucklehead 16 Pts   -  
    Argument Topic: Swolliw

    Your statement "I submitted a perfectly valid post which was properly reasoned and valid." is false. You better go back to Logic 101.
    Your statement " That was written in the Bible and is unverified" is an affirmative statement. By using the verb "is" you are claiming such to be a fact. I want the proof that such in the Bible is unverified. You said it is thus you must have proof of such to know it was unverified or else how can you say "such is unverified? You are stating an affirmative but refuse to prove it. 
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 4664 Pts   -  
    knucklehead said:

    I challenge you to prove your statement true that what the Bible says about the church is unverified.
    I think you are confusing something here. Everything by default is unverified, and verification is a process that must be undertaken before this changes. As such, it is not that something is unverified that needs to be proven, but that something is verified. The burden of proof is on you, not on Swolliw.
  • SwolliwSwolliw 1442 Pts   -   edited January 23
    @knucklehead
    Your statement "I submitted a perfectly valid post which was properly reasoned and valid." is false.

    It's not, you are wrong and making (poor) excuses.

    Not only that, but your understanding of logic is distorted and your debating skills are poor as is your retention of text. And yes, I did properly explain why that is so.

    As you know very well (for the second time) one cannot demand someone to disprove something that isn't proven.....right? Dead right.

    I made a rebuttal of your statement which you did not and refused to verify.

    You are continue to play the deception game of side-tracking the debate and refusing to address a legitimate rebuttal (not affirmative statement).

    I don't know what grade you are in but I'm sure there are other sites that may be more appropriate for you to join....you are way outclassed and deluded not to mention "not being up-front", I will refrain from using the word "dishonest" here)) to make any impression here.

  • knuckleheadknucklehead 16 Pts   -  
    Argument Topic: Swolliw

    To say I am "outclassed and deluded" is begging the question. Bible verification has been established for almost two thousand years. As one scholar who was dealing with the subject of "The Inspiration of the Bible" wrote, "Man could not have written the Bible if he would and would not have written the Bible if he could." I'll move on. My work here is done. Paul said it best, "Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?" (I Corinthians 1:20) Your 325 A.D. cant help you in that it was almost three hundred years to late.
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 4664 Pts   -  
    @knucklehead

    That is patently not true: every sentence in the Bible is written in the same language as anything else written in the same place at the same time. A human absolutely technically could write the Bible. Whoever this scholar is, their scholarship quality is highly questionable.
  • SwolliwSwolliw 1442 Pts   -  
    @knucklehead
    To say I am "outclassed and deluded" is begging the question. Bible verification has been established..........

    I'm begging no question nor answering a question. I have made a proper statement based on facts and evidence. The fact that (obviously) you don't like it nor accept it is just stiff cheddar.

    And still, you continue to display delusion and an inept ability to debate:

      * "Bible verification has been established........." is a statement completely contrived by you. If indeed you are trying to say that the Bible (or the study thereof) has been established for two thousand years, you are still making an empty, meaningless, unqualified statement and making the fallacy of appealing to history. Witchcraft has been studied (validated) for four thousand years but does that give it any validity? No it doesn't.

    Apart from a few geographical and historical facts, nothing in the Bible has been "validated", or proven true. The Bible was written by some forty unknown authors spanning a period of thirteen hundred years, the manuscripts were allegedly unearthed by a religious cult of hermits some three hundred years later, the contents could and were not verified.

    The Bible is nothing more than hearsay anecdotes and myths. There is no evidence whatsoever that there was such a person as Paul, therefore your assertion that "Paul said...." carries no weight whatsoever and is 100% invalid. 

    Fact: The Christian Church was established in the fourth century as I have properly stated.

    Fact: You are continuing to sidetrack the topic with something that is irrelevant except in your mind in a vain (failed) attempt at trying to pick fault with any of my statements which have no bearing on the topic. You have avoided addressing the topic in any way.

    Fact: You continue to display poor debating skills and well and truly outclassed (as just proven).

    Fact: You are clearly deluded.


  • BarnardotBarnardot 185 Pts   -  
    You are one scored in the head if your trying to argue that just because something is written in the Bible is true and that the Bible is true because it says so. You must get yourself in a heap of dog mess if you believe everything that is written is true especially the Bible because it is so full of rubbish you couldn’t even wipe your behind on it. @knucklehead
  • BarnardotBarnardot 185 Pts   -  
    You are one scored in the head if your trying to argue that just because something is written in the Bible is true and that the Bible is true because it says so. You must get yourself in a heap of dog mess if you believe everything that is written is true especially the Bible because it is so full of rubbish you couldn’t even wipe your behind on it. @knucklehead
  • BarnardotBarnardot 185 Pts   -  
    You are one scored in the head if your trying to argue that just because something is written in the Bible is true and that the Bible is true because it says so. You must get yourself in a heap of dog mess if you believe everything that is written is true especially the Bible because it is so full of mess you couldn’t even wipe your behind on it. @knucklehead
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