Forums - Politics Discussion - This is why I don't like debating religion

I don't like debating religion.

Well, that's a lie, I do like debating religion (amongst other topics), the problem is that you really can't debate religion. Well, you can, but people really, really suck at it. See, my issue is that I have spent the majority of my life aspiring to gain knowledge and understanding of the world around me, which is why I love science so much.

I understand why people want to believe in their religion, or have spirituality, I understand the need for hope of an afterlife. I understand that the idea of an omnipresent father figure watching over you is actually kinda comforting. Knowing (or at least thinking you know) that there's someone out there watching you and giving your life meaning, well, it gives life meaning, and people need that. While I don't appreciate how religion offers comfort without substance, I understand why it exists and I truly do think that everyone has a right to believe what they want to believe.

So why don't I like debating religion? Well, it's because there's no winning a debate with a religious person, and it's NOT because they're right or my arguments fail (neither statement is correct.) I won't debate religion because even if I spent two weeks straight explaining why each and every detail in every bible ever was wrong, debunking myths or explaining how science has a better, more accurate answer, I will never, ever convince the devout that perhaps they need to be a bit more rational and critical of their faith.

The issue is that religious arguments require so many leaps of faith and sometimes flat out faulty logic to get to the conclusion they do. Take the gay rights argument:

1 – First, they need to justify their claim by proving that God thinks gays are bad. This is usually done by quoting Leviticus.

2 – They then have to prove that the vaguely written quote about homosexuality actually meant that gays are bad (hint: the vagueness of the bible's prose in any language means most passages can be interpreted multiple ways.)

3 – Then they have to prove that there are no contradictions counteracting that statement, which isn't common, since there were plenty of things about Jesus saying you're not supposed to judge and that every man woman and child was created in God's own image, meaning that God made gay people gay.

4 – If they manage to somehow properly argue those first points, they then have to explain why their version of their religion is more right than another. For example, Catholics don't like contraception, as it doesn't make offspring, which is a relatively reasonable explanation as to why homosexuality is bad; Protestants, however, aren't as strict with the contraception thing.

5- They have to prove that their religion is the right one, by comparing it to historical data and cross-referencing other religions. This, naturally, can't be done, but assuming it could and Christianity was correct, we'll continue.

6 – They have to prove that the bible was written by GOD and not by MAN.

7 – They then have to prove that the bible was never tampered with and that what is written is pure. If they cannot do this, then it's clear that anything written in any bible is subject to criticism of man and accusations of tampering. Since we're talking about a book written over the course of hundreds of years by too many people to count, the chances of this being the case are astronomically low. Doubly so given man's tendency to manipulate and control others.

8 – They then have to prove that, not only did God write these things and that they're pure, but that there's actually a God. This is usually done by saying that everything had to come from something, citing the fact that science has yet to prove anything concerning the big bang theory, since it's, you know, billions of years before our time. However, this is not proof, only a 'what-if' scenario. While the big bang has science and observation on its side, the 'god did it' argument has only the word of a book written thousands of years ago that says so.

This is mainly why I don't debate religion, or allow people to use religious arguments in non-religious debates. Mostly because as soon as we've skipped past steps 2-7 to get right to the “is there a god” argument to immediately back up the almost certainly faulty argument that God said gays are bad (or whatever argument you need), you have people attacking science, and I have a real problem with that. “Well, you need to have faith in science too, so that makes god just as viable of a theory as the big bang!” No, you fools, it does not. On one hand you have a discipline based on being able to test theories extensively to maintain effects that can be reproduced vs a belief system based, at its core, on “well, there are spots science hasn't or can't explain adequately, so that must mean God did it.”

If you're using 'God' as a metaphor for the unknown or that which is beyond our plausible comprehension, then it kind of works, but accept that God is a metaphor and not an anthropomorphized being. As a conscious, divine being, there's absolutely no proof to substantiate that claim other than a book written thousands of years ago that not only is vague at best but could be (and most likely was) tampered with and no more than an item used by people to control others.

God may be real, but nothing in our history has ever actively pointed towards that being the truth. God is little more than a metaphor used to explain away things we don't know, and as our culture grows towards being more enlightened, with science explaining more and more that was once attributed to God, people who want to believe continue to do so because that's what they want to believe, not because that's where the logic points them, and they will do ANYTHING they can to plant the seed of doubt in others because the very idea that this thing they've dedicated their lives to may be false or flat up lies hurts them.

One book I read concerning the subject was called, I think, Religion as a Social Phenomenon. It likened faith and religion to a local sports team. Think about it, when you gained your religious beliefs, was it something you thought about? Was it something you took the time to weigh the options on before concluding that the religion you follow, or was it something you just kinda were born into? Statistically speaking, something like 2-3% of religious people actually change religions or spend time researching the options before proclaiming themselves one religion, an overwhelming majority just stick with whatever they were born with or what their friends pushed on them. In that respect it's like a Sports Team. Look at the Toronto Maple leafs: Their win/loss record is atrocious, yet people in Ontario cheer them regardless; not because they chose to like or support Toronto, but because they were born in or near Toronto and that's what all their family and friends support.

Religion is a Social Phenomenon, a cultural meme, and nothing more. The fact that people believe in it despite the saddening lack of real evidence supporting it bothers me, which is why I chose not to debate it. I chose to be atheist because I have not experienced or heard of any evidence supporting such a being, and it is incredibly irrational to believe something without good reason (and hope/desperation is not a good reason.) I do not believe there is NO GOD, as there is just as little evidence supporting that theory as there is supporting the existence of god: None. Atheism isn't about actively and aggressively believing there is no god, just that they chose not to have a belief. People believe in God without logic, and the closest thing to proof that any religion is right is an example of them filling in the blanks left by incomplete scientific inquiry with a vague and desperate 'what-if' scenario. That's not good enough for me and it shouldn't be good enough for anyone with the ability to be a critical thinker.

There's a word for that kind of person: Gullible.

So, if you can prove god is real, that your god is the right one, that He wrote the book, that the book wasn't tampered with, and that your interpretation of it is correct, I will gladly debate with you, until then, please keep it to yourself.   



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A little on the long side, but a good read. I like the 8 steps.

And that is folks why I dont debate anymore (especially about Religion). So tiresome ;p



Well the reason I wrote this was because people over in another thread were harassing me, claiming I can't debate because I won't post a 10 paragraph rebuttal to their faulty arguments.

If you want to debate and be taken seriously, then there are certain rules that need to be followed, and if anyone anywhere wants to use a religious argument or argue religion in a debate, they need to do certain things. Until then, I will disregard any debate throwing God at the issue or using it as an excuse to judge or condemn others or dictate social norms or scientific progression.

Excellent summary. Very well written.

I LOVE ICELAND!

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You have a very limited scope. Religions aren't limited to the specific strain of Christianity you're talking about. Even after this, the arguments people from this specific strain of Christianity make or can make are far more varied than you've considered in the OP. Also, your whole concept of proof and scientific evidence can be rather easily invalidated using many of these. The "science needs faith" argument, unfortunately for you, has a lot of merit when used in the right context.
Nevertheless, you're being a lot less arrogant, condescending and annoying than most atheists. Plus, it looks like you're actually trying to get somewhere rather than blindly mocking religion. So full points for effort!

 

“These are my principles; if you don’t like them, I have others.” – Groucho Marx

Immortal said:
You have a very limited scope. Religions aren't limited to the specific strain of Christianity you're talking about. Even after this, the arguments people from this specific strain of Christianity make or can make are far more varied than you've considered in the OP. Also, your whole concept of proof and scientific evidence can be rather easily invalidated using many of these. The "science needs faith" argument, unfortunately for you, has a lot of merit when used in the right context.
Nevertheless, you're being a lot less arrogant, condescending and annoying than most atheists. Plus, it looks like you're actually trying to get somewhere rather than blindly mocking religion. So full points for effort!

how am I being limited or narrow? the point I was trying to make is that you shouldn't use religious arguments in soemthing that isn't a religious debate, and explained in 8 steps why they have no place outside of church.  It's all very scientific.  

Based on your asserion that "Science needs faith", I'd posit that you don't really 'get' science or the scientific method.  



Good post, filled with lots of creamy truth.

I live in the bible belt, I know the frustrations of trying to debate religion. In the end, it really comes down to arguing logic against opinion. As you said, they've chosen their favorite sports team, and that team, to them, is the best thing ever. They've chosen to believe in what they WANT to believe rather than in the reality in front of them. Really nothing you can do when one side has changed the rules of logic to an arbitrary set of rules made up by ancient nomadic tribes.

Pretty much all my friends and family, including people I think a lot of, are religious. It's not like I necessarily have anything against people who base their lives around faith in a god. However, I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I look at any adult who talks about talking snakes and oceans parting in the middle as being a bit light in the head. In my opinion, it's much the same as if someone came up to me with 'Alice in Wonderland' and told me that it really happened and I should start praying to the Mad Hatter.

Beyond all that, though, is the fact that I just don't like any god I've yet come across. They seem to be childish, selfish, and ego-maniacal. I can't even understand the purpose of worship except perhaps out of fear. I don't necessarily disbelieve in the idea of a "prime mover"--or, at least, I'm open-minded about it--but, given that most gods are enormous flakes, I really hope that there aren't any out there.

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Again, religious people can be defined by the Dunning-Kruger effect.

 

"The data for the national IQs and percentages asserting disbelief in God for the 137 countries are given in the

Appendix A. It will be seen that in only 17% of the countries (23 out of 137) does the proportion of the population whodisbelieve in God rise above 20%. 

 

These are virtually all the higher IQ countries. The correlations between the national IQs and religious

disbelief are given in Table 3. Row 1 gives the correlation of 0.60 for the total sample and is highly statistically significant (pb.001). To examine whether this relationship holds across the whole range of national IQs we have divided the nations into two groups of those with IQs between 64–86 and those with IQs between 87–108. Row 2 gives the data for the 69 countries with IQs between 64–86. In this group only 1.95% of the population

are non-believers. There is a range between b1% and 40%, and the correlation between the two variables is only 0.16. Row 3 gives the data for the 68 countries with IQs between 87–108. In this group 19.99% of the population disbelieve in God. There is a range between b1% and 81%, and the correlation between the two variables is only 0.54 (pb.001). Thus, most of the variation in religious disbelief is among the higher IQ nations"

http://www.midus.wisc.edu/findings/pdfs/1197.pdf