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 Some help for a debate?

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Jay.J
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PostSubject: Re: Some help for a debate?   Fri Jun 18, 2010 11:08 am

Warning wall of text ahead.

To know if organised religion does more harm than good, we need to know how much good is caused because of organized religion and how much harm is caused by it, and from this information see for ourselves what the case really is.

One of the obvious things that we see religion do is create some sort of moral and ethical background. Morals and ethics can come from one of three places:

1. From within ourselves i.e everyone has a different set of morals and we choose our own morality. This is rejected as this causes chaos as there is no standard to judge any action against. In one set of morals it may be okay, or even considered good to rape women or touch children (Belief that we should follow all our instincts, no matter how animalistic) where as another this would be considered wrong (Believe that we should have inhibitions, or that we would be violating others freedoms etc.). It is because there is no standard, and without a standard ethics are of no pragmatic use that we reject this, at least in its purest form.

2. From an authority figure, or standardized institution such as government. This is preferable to the first, as there is at least some sort of standardization. However, it is still flawed because of human psychology. It is an ever-changing set of morals, and they do not change based on a case by case situation, but change because people are unwilling to be hypocrites as it is damaging to the concept of the ego (Cognitive dissonance). Where a country or government may have the moral and ethical value of "Not torturing enemies of war" when the time comes down to it, they may change their definition of what torture is, they may then completely change their mind and decide that torture was okay all along etc. When someone finds themselves doing something against their moralities, they will change what their moralities are, or what they mean to keep a balance between action and thought. It is because of this, that flexibility actually becomes a flaw but only under the assumption that there is a moral absolute. This is not a problem if one assumes there is no moral or ethical absolute.

3. From a higher power. This leads us to religion for our source of morals and ethics. This assumes 2 things, 1 - God is real and 2 - Morals and ethics are absolute (Though they may still be on judged on case by case situations i.e Killing isn't always wrong, but killing is always wrong under X situation, but may not be under X + 1 situation). If the first is denied, but the second is accepted - it's the same thing as the second source of morality (From an authority or institution).

Now, even assuming 3 we can still integrate 1 and 2 into it - but using 3 as the major background for morals and ethics. For example, 1 would be personal interpretations or understandings of passages from scripture. 2 would be more ways of thinking, such as liberal or conservative.

Assuming all that, we can then assume that the major reason people do moral things is because of the background of religion (although not necessarily directly because of it) as the moral standards of society and personal values come from religion. That's a lot of good that comes out because of religion, both directly and indirectly.

Bad things that come because of religion, I think should be noted happen because of the people - and not necessarily because of the religion. War is an example that happens because of religion. I would argue, that religion is merely a mask and not the cause of these wars. One thing one must realize is that religion is a source of power, and a source of difference. Anything that holds these two properties will breed war and corruption, but it doesn't mean that it is wrong or bad, it is the people taking advantage of it that are. More often than not, religion proposes peace, not confrontation over minor differences.

When we look at some recent wars and genocides, we look at WW I, WW II or the Genocide in Rwanda. We can see that those all have what I mentioned earlier in common. A source of difference (No matter how small) and power to be used. I would argue that wars that happened "because" of religion, did not happen because of religion at all, and because of the people using religion as a tool, and a source for people to use as power. If religion had never existed, people would still have wars, people would still kill eachother - they would just use the many other differences and sources of power as the reason for war such as race, ethnicity, nationality, beliefs, resources, land etc.

If we accept that "Religious wars" are actually mainly because of people, who would use another source of power if religion was absent, than we can not blame religion as the source of these wars. If we accept that, then we only see religion as a background and standard for morality and ethics. The negatives are non-existent if we understand and realize that the so-called negatives that come out would be there anyway, yet there wouldn't be as good of a standard of ethics.

Note: I rushed this and didn't edit it. It's just something you can use as a template.

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PostSubject: Re: Some help for a debate?   Fri Jun 18, 2010 10:31 pm

Hes a smart kid, you should listen to him person I do not know. If you still need some help, I can help out. Smile
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Balnazzar[Bot]
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PostSubject: Re: Some help for a debate?   Sat Jun 19, 2010 2:47 am

Hmm... I don't agree, Angel; Jay makes a solid argument, but the person we do not know should come up with that himself.
That way he gets more powerful; if Jay does it for him, he deprives him of that. One could argue the immediate solution is better, easier, but is easier better? In this situation, probably not.
What Jay should of done to truly help this no-name was give him some advice, words of caution, maybe even a motivational speech, not a template/complete work (depending on the importance of the matter).

P.S.: Knowledge and experience are power.

P.S. #2: Hadn't argued with Jay in over 2 years, I believe; as always, no hard feelings. Smile

P.S. #3: I kinda missed the elephant. elephant
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PostSubject: Re: Some help for a debate?   Sat Jun 19, 2010 4:37 am

You've got to define your terms first.

What is classified as organized religion? Break it up into small parts. Are 2 people practicing Christianity organized? How about 50,000 devout atheists?

What is harm? What are the possible harms? What harms can you draw from? Do the crusades count? How about the ongoing war between the Sunnis and the Shia religions group in the Middle East? What about even normally peaceful Buddhists lighting themselves on fire?

What is good? Religious organizations donate money, is that worth the "harms?"

Define your terms then you'll be able to structure an argument more easily. Or, just copy/paste Jay's.
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Jay.J
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PostSubject: Re: Some help for a debate?   Sat Jun 19, 2010 10:25 am

Don't copy/paste mine. I don't give you the authority!!!

Balnazaar is actually right. Learning would be better for the long term. Forming your own, or rewording it or basing your own arguments off of mine would probably be for the best. You'd also be able to stand by what you said if its yours and you're not just regurgitating stuff. My argument isn't even good enough or indepth enough to copy/paste.

Aqua also brings up good points. I've defined a few things, but there are other things I didn't define and just left as colloquial and subjective terms, or as what the opposition would most likely use the terms as. If you don't define your terms, you might end up arguing for a while without agreeing and/or thinking the other is an idiot because you have different ideas of what a word represents. (God is a great example where this happens frequently.)

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PostSubject: Re: Some help for a debate?   Sat Jun 19, 2010 7:57 pm

Back on the helping him subject.

A year ago I would have given you a very long list of examples of why religion is harmful, quoted Marx ("Religion is the opiate of the people"), and so on; but I've seen the light.
Now I even believe the Dark Ages were beneficial, something I never thought I'd say.
But anyway, there haven't really been "Religious" wars, not even the Crusades, they were all just exchanges of power.

Quote :
What about even normally peaceful Buddhists lighting themselves on fire?
Aqua, the Buddhists only kill themselves on their protests, and I don't consider suicide harmful.

Quote :
Are 2 people practicing Christianity organized? How about 50,000 devout atheists?
No and depends.
Two people are not an organized religion, but a number of atheists could be, depending on them having a set of shared morals, an organized system, and unity.

Quote :
What is good? Religious organizations donate money, is that worth the "harms?"
First of all, what do you mean they donate money? Usually they give services, like a church caring for the homeless, and the people donate them money because of that.
"Harms" would need to be defined first, but even so, I would argue that these harms are inexistent, not that they are worth the benefits.

Take into account that all this comes from a person who supports Theocracy, a clearly very religious person.

P.S.: An elephant is clearly needed here. elephant
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PostSubject: Re: Some help for a debate?   Sun Jun 20, 2010 1:50 am

I'm just curious as to how/why you would say the dark ages were beneficial. Unless you mean in the sense that "The holocaust was beneficial because it created a standard of evil, of the likes that man would never cross again" kind of good...

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