Is religion a valid argument in debate?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by jmcgowan, Aug 23, 2009.

  1. jmcgowan

    jmcgowan Member

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    The current thread running through off-topic on porn has me curious about everyone's opinion - Is religion a valid argument in a debate involving ethics or morals? I think most people agree that in a scientific debate, religion is a very poor argument. If we were discussing the age of the world, saying that the earth is young because the Bible says so is an invalid argument, but for topics such as porn, abortion, euthenasia, and other moral / ethical topics, should religious beliefs be considered valid? If not, could they be considered valid in some limited scope?
     
  2. zen-r

    zen-r Active Member

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    Religion is a perfectly valid reason for believing something within yourself.

    However, in my opinion, it is not a valid way to justify your reason for stating an unrelated fact to someone who does not share the same religious beliefs as yourself.

    As I pointed out in the thread to which you are referring ;

     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2009
  3. bradym

    bradym New Member Prime Account

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    Don't we first need an definition of religion that we can all agree on?
     
  4. jtwhite

    jtwhite Community Advocate Community Support

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    Well in the United States, laws are not supposed to be related to any religion. (Separation of Church and State). However, I believe this law isn't fully accepted. (E.g. polygamy, gay marriage, stem cell research, etc. Well, stem cells has more to do with ethics).

    Personally, since everyone has their own beliefs, I don't think it's ethical to bring religion into debate. With that being said, your personal beliefs will influence your opinion, so religion will be leaked in there somewhere but I don't think it's right to directly force religious beliefs on people. (Unless you were witnessing or something, but you shouldn't shove it down their throat, that'd do more harm than good.)
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2009
  5. Sharky

    Sharky Community Paragon Community Support

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    However, the debate isn't about religion and law, it's about religion and ethics. As religion can be simplisticly defined as a set of beliefs, it's a founding pillar on which ethics can be based. Plus, saying the Earth is young because the bible says so is a perfectly valid argument. As you weren't there, you can't say for sure whether the Bible/other religious text is accurate, or whether to believe the whole 'dinosaur' evolutionary thing. As far as I am aware, evolutionary theory is still banned in some US states, or at least heavily discouraged (can someone verify this?). One could argue that science is a religion. I won't, because it's gone 2 AM, but, and isn't strictly related to this particular debate. I'm also blaming the lack of paragraphs in this response on it being past 2 AM.
     
  6. vekou

    vekou Member

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    i think using religion as the basis of an argument is AND will never be a valid argument in a debate. i think that the whole point of debating is proving to others your point thru proving facts and disproving myths regarding a topic. but by using religion, you aren't proving anything at all but forcing others to accept your belief. your belief is a personal thing and not necessarily applicable to others and not necessarily a fact. this is because although there have been a lot of witnesses, testimonies and many experiences regarding the existence of God, it has never been proven once, thus will not be accepted as a fact. Therefore, you cannot base an argument on something that is not yet proven a fact, thus making it an invalid argument.
     
  7. wolflock

    wolflock New Member

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    In all honesty and due respect to the different religions, I dont think it is viable to bring the Bible into a Moralistic argument. Especially considering that the Bible does say it is OK to sell your daughter into slavery, Stone your child because he wont listen to you and Kill EVERYONE who works on the sabbath.
     
  8. zen-r

    zen-r Active Member

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    Further to my earlier point, this thread is asking if religion is a valid argument in debate, & is suggesting that at least in ethical areas it might be valid. Well OK, here's another example;

    If we were debating, say, murder, & your reason for saying murder is wrong is because it says so in the bible.... Would that not show you were completely missing the point & perhaps without any ethics of your own, if you couldn't provide another reason for murder being wrong?

    If you have reasons other than just religion for believing that, say, murder is wrong, you need to state them, & if they are good reasons, those reasons alone should be able to win the argument.

    If your only crutch in an argument is that of your religion, which others might not share, how is that to convince anyone, & how is it going to show that you have worked out & understood the reason behind the belief that murder is wrong?


    Religious people don't have a monopoly on ethics or values, as some of them seem to feel they do. Personally, I believe that anyone whose only source of ethics is what they interpret their religion to have instructed them, is someone who is either too stupid or too without values to be trusted or respected. (Note the word "only" in the previous sentence).

    What if they were to change their religion, or decide to interpret their religion differently? After all, for almost every religion, there are countless people interpreting it differently: different sub-denominations, who could all argue with each other over how their "holy transcripts" should be interpreted. So what's to stop them the next day from believing that murder is now acceptable or even good, if that's what their new religion prescribes? Not only might this religious person decide to change their religion or its interpretation, they might also decide that they can break its rules, & then pray for forgiveness & make everything all right for themselves again.

    If they cannot see the true reasons behind why murder is wrong, what harm stealing from others can do...etc, or in any other area of ethics, have an understanding of their own, independent of what a religion may or may not be telling them - then they actually understand nothing.


    Thus, as I said in my previous post, religion is a perfectly valid reason for believing something within yourself. However, in my opinion, it is not a valid way to justify your reason for stating an unrelated fact to someone who does not share the same religious beliefs as yourself.




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  9. dylburger

    dylburger New Member

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    I'm stuck, because I absolutely believe in not imposing specific religious beliefs on anyone- but I do believe that universally accepted (worldwide) beliefs/practices are perfectly valid in a debate.

    So in the case of a religious belief that is central to all major religions (and there are plenty of examples)- I feel that religion should be taken into account.

    If 90% of the world believes something then it has to be acceptable to include that belief in a debate.

    Of course my line of thinking would have led me (historically) to accept the "world is flat" and the "universe revolves around the earth" arguments without question.
     
  10. arcade1

    arcade1 New Member

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    i believe in separating between religion and the state laws, but you need to have a moral background. People (I'm one of them) seek religion or any other sort of belief to find answers and to feel that they belong to a group of people that have something in common
     
  11. bradym

    bradym New Member Prime Account

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    Zen-r said, (sorry, I haven't learned to do those little quote things yet.)
    If they cannot see the true reasons behind why murder is wrong, what harm stealing from others can do...etc, or in any other area of ethics, have an understanding of their own, independent of what a religion may or may not be telling them - then they actually understand nothing.

    Without using religion, or a belief in a higher power, as a basis, support your opinion that murder is wrong. Convince me that it's wrong to kill a stranger and steal his wallet. Please explain to me the "true reasons" that murder is wrong. Be specific.
     
  12. zen-r

    zen-r Active Member

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    No thanks. Since you have put no effort into your post (just 2 lines of your own, & simply comprising of a question), why should I waste my time jumping to your command? My previous post was long, well thought out, & provided good explanations for the points I was trying to make. What points do you wish to make?

    Anyway: in my opinion that was a stupid question you were asking.

    Based on your question, does this mean you fall into the category I mentioned earlier, that can't form ethical decisions for yourself? (oh dear, if you do!)

    No offence, but I hope your Geography classes don't go the same way: with no actual evidence or explanations provided for anything you teach, & every "fact" justified by "because my god made it like that, & that's what it says in the bible".

    And the overlap into Geology must be a real headache for you, because explaining how the land masses have formed & drifted, & the geological evidence for the evolution & dispersion of plants & animals etc - doesn't really fit too well into most religion's interpretation of their "holy transcripts" now, does it?!
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2009
  13. bradym

    bradym New Member Prime Account

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    What makes murder wrong?
     
  14. zen-r

    zen-r Active Member

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    Last edited: Aug 24, 2009
  15. bradym

    bradym New Member Prime Account

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    The original question was is religion a valid argument in a debate. My point is that in a debate of moral significance, there is no other argument but a religious one. You brought up murder as the example, and it's perfect. The religious argument against murder is that all humans are created in the image of God; therefore, murder is wrong. (One topic at a time, so please let's keep capital punishment for later). The religious argument is that God wants us to love Him with all our hearts, minds, and souls, and to love each other as we love ourselves. A different religious argument against murder would be that I sense in my innermost being that murder is wrong. How is that religious, you may ask? Because there is no natural reason that humans should feel that way unless those sentiments were placed there by someone outside of ourselves, ie our Creator.
    My question to anyone, is how do you justify murder, or any other moral issue, as being right or wrong without using a "religious" argument? Zen-r said that there were "true reasons" why murder is wrong. Please explain the "true reasons."
     
  16. zen-r

    zen-r Active Member

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    I'd rather you answer my questions thank you.

    And while you're about it, you can also tell me how doing or not doing something because your religion tells you, is anything to do with ethics? Is it not in fact to do with following "instructions", which require no intellectual input of your own.
     
  17. Sharky

    Sharky Community Paragon Community Support

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    If your religion said that you must torture and mutilate, AND you're an active follower of your religion, there is no reason why you would not. In this case, religion forms the basis for your beliefs (you can believe stuff outside religion...), and torturing/killing to get to Heaven, Valhalla, or a field of virgins for eternity could be proposed as a valid reason.
     
  18. truthguild

    truthguild New Member

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    the only time i can picture religion being a valid argument in a debate is if what you're debating is religion. even then, to form a solid argument, you would still need to use evidence in it that is external to religion.


    religion isn't necessary for a moral argument - morality actualy poses a significant problem for religion - is it moral because god decrees it, or does god decree it because it is moral?
    our evolutionary path has established us as a social species. do to that, altruistic traits that would be beneficial to our society would be selected for, while anti-social traits would be selected against.
     
  19. wolflock

    wolflock New Member

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    But according to history. Murder is OK. If not, could someone justify The Crusades and Spanish Inquisition? How many died? Why does it say that thou shall not kill, but also says that anyone working on the sabbath shall be put to death.

    I am curious as to why killing is wrong when the bible actually refers to the allowing of people being killed (And not only once either).
     
  20. knockoutjams

    knockoutjams New Member

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    Religion can not in any way be used in any form of argument; be it an ethical argument or a scientific one.

    Ethics are innate. You are born knowing that killing your mother is wrong. You do not need some historical writings aka bible or koran to tell you that.

    It is now evident that religions originated from the need to have some form of hope. A need to feel safe or consoled due to a super-natural being or manifestation...it was also a means of controlling the masses.

    Everything has an explanation....everything. Religion is the only thing that offers some half-baked reasons why some things supposedly happened.

    I repeat, ethics and morals are innate. Religion is a place of solace for those that do not accept reality and thus need some form of higher immortality to make them feel significantly important.

    Do not get me wrong though, I do believe in a higher power of some sort. Not an 'immortal mortal'
     

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