Instigator / Pro

The only genuinely sane way to adhere to an Abrahamic religion is to deem the sanctity of scripture/writing as inferior to human capacity to interpret it.


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With 4 votes and 9 points ahead, the winner is ...

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The term 'sane' is to be loosely defined in favour of Pro. Meaning that the strict definition of 'not mentally ill' shouldn't be literally taken as something Pro needs to prove all of the resolution don't qualify as or vice versa. Beyond that, the definition is flexible enough and this is about sound judgement and rational thought.

Round 1

Alright, I know you were all expecting a fine essay from me with quotes and all that. That will come in Round 2. Trust me, I know what I am doing. This debate depends entirely on how Con attacks Pro and forms their own case, Pro can try to be proactive but it will backfire. 

I am going to start with a simple idea.

You can't believe in a trilogy and then say that 2 of them are lies.

Other than Judaism, which is still irrational in that it only holds its scripture to be holy when written in Hebrew and on a Torah scroll, the religions of Christianity and Islam take the scripture of Judaism as the first part of a 2-part or 3-part series respectively. When I tell you that the Old Testament if Christianity literally is the translated version of the Torah Scroll into a non-Hebrew language, you will think I am joking at first if you don't know enough. It would be like me walking up to a director, saying 'thanks for your movie' and then making a sequel claiming that the other movie is part of my own series. Do you see how problematic that is from a standpoint of then denying that the other religion is the valid one?

Islam takes it one step further. They add on a third part to the trilogy and then say that the first two aren't even valid scriptures, even though they accurately depicted what happened before.


The difference between being Pro on this debate and being anti-Abrahamic religions

I want to make it clear that I am not condemning all followers of Judaism, Christianity and Islam in this debate. I am solely focusing on the sanity of those who are so fundamentalist that they think that if human common sense and interpretation of texts comes in the way of the literal holy scripture's more blatant meaning then they'd rather be truer to that. There are lines in the Qur'an that literally say the following:

And never think of those who have been killed in the cause of Allah as dead. Rather, they are alive with their Lord, receiving provision, rejoicing in what Allah has bestowed upon them of His bounty, and they receive good tidings about those [to be martyred] after them who have not yet joined them - that there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve.

This is severely alarming. Encouragement to abuse one's wife, stoning and many other things are there in all three religions. If you are to seriously take the scripture as the ineffible word of an omnipotent, omniscient being that demands worship from you or eternal damnation, you are on your way to being flat out insane.

This is not a joke but this is also not a hateful piece. I am not writing this to incite hatred to a group of people, I am trying to explore the sane way to adhere to a religion that has text such as that in its holy scripture.

If we include the Talmud and Hadith as holy scriptures as well, we start to really see how horrific the world could be if more literally took their scripture as the correct way to implement their religion.

I define sanity as the following:
the fact of showing good judgement and understanding
and 'sane' as the following:
If you refer to a sane person, action, or system, you mean one that you think is reasonable and sensible.

It is nigh impossible to truly adhere to the written scripture of these religions and not have many intra-religion contradictions, intra-Abrahamic-inter-religion contradictions and to furthermore not irrationally rule out all non-Abrahamic religions as worth your time. You see, the scriptures of all three religions state that blind faith is to be encouraged and that questioning God itself is toxic to your soul and wellbeing.

I look forward to seeing how Con builds a case or destroys my case. Round 2 will have a lot more content strategised to defend against Con's attacks.
First, I will argue that my opponent has not read the Torah, The Holy Bible, nor the Qur’an word for word, cover to cover. It is effortless at this juncture in our technical history to conceive a topic, and research an associated passage, holy writ to profane text [profane in the sense as described by the Oxford English Dictionary [hereafter, OED] as: “2. In a neutral sense. Not relating or devoted to what is sacred or biblical; unconsecrated, secular, lay; civil as distinguished from ecclesiastical; as profane history, profane literature, etc.”[1] However, I have read all three, and other holy writ, cover to cover. They are worth the read.
It is tempting to focus on the relevant passage, ignoring context. Nor is it revealing to ignore the culture behind the language. I digress a moment to comment on the last reference to explain what I mean by “culture behind the language.” I was an undergraduate student at BYU, Provo, UT, taking a course in Egyptian [hieroglyphs] Grammar. The professor, Dr. Hugh Nibley, in the Antiquities Department, and fluent in at least a dozen languages in which he lectured at will, in utter fluidity from one to another, assumed we poor students were hanging on every word. I felt fortunate that at least I had French mastered, and some Greek and Italian. Other than ancient Egyptian, and English, of course, he spoke Hebrew, Greek, German, French, Italian, Russian, Sanskrit, and Arabic. And more.
Nibley taught that all language translation was necessarily flawed as being merely dictionary-to-dictionary transcription while lacking any understanding of the culture behind the language to translate. He taught that it was culture that drove language, and not the reverse. Dictionaries do not teach the culture of the language. The OED approaches the lack by its exhaustive etymological investigation,[2]but even that is not enough. Therefore, his course taught us, first, an in-depth understanding of ancient Egyptian life, simple daily activities, thoughts on the cosmos, on farming techniques along the Nile, religion and gods, worship of the pharaoh, etc. Only then did we crack the alphabet, vocabulary, and grammar.[3]
That diversion prompted my effort to not depend entirely on a single, extracted passage of scripture in whatever volume I inquired, but to get a sense of surrounding text for, well, context. I will offer an example:

One of my favorite passages of the Holy Bible, in the New Testament is an admonishment to pursue wisdom. James 1: 5 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”[1]That, alone, was impressive, and I did not, then, peruse further. When I finally did, I recognized a pattern, beginning in verse 2, and extending through 6:
“2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.”[2]
That entire context is revealing: when we fall into temptation [or ignorance], maintain patience by the work of faith, letting patience have its perfect work. Then when we lack wisdom, ask God. We have just been through a process of personal purification and are worthy to receive knowledge and wisdom we lack. Nevertheless, that, too, must be acted on in faith, without doubt, to earn the knowledge that will come.
That said, the quote my opponent offered from the Qur’an, The Imrans, 3: 169-170, is just such a passage that, allegedly, described what he interpreted, but by what words I must challenge. "And never think of those who have been killed in the cause of Allah as dead. “Rather, they are alive with their Lord, receiving provision, rejoicing in what Allah has bestowed upon them of His bounty, and they receive good tidings about those [to be martyred] after them who have not yet joined them - that there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve.”[3] My opponent concluded by that passage that “This is severely alarming. Encouragement of abuse to one’s wife, stoning, and many other things…”[4]
I do not read Arabic. My volume of the Qur’an is a slightly different passage of words, which are similar enough to understand that my opponent's quotation and my volume are saying the same thing. Close enough to know that in neither volume do I perceive “encouragement of abuse to one’s wife…”[1] etc. Do you? I will quote The Imrans, 3: 3 - 5, refuting a later claim by my opponent that “many intra-religion contradictions, intra-Abrahamic-inter-religion contradictions and to furthermore not irrationally rule out all non-Abrahamic religions as worth your time.” The above reference reads, “He [Allah] has revealed to you the Book with the Torah, confining the scriptures which preceded it; for He has already revealed the Torah and the Gospel for the guidance of, and the distinction of right and wrong.”[2]
It seems the claim of contradiction is refuted by my opponent’s own referenced passage, in context, of the Qur’an, let alone similar passages in both the Torah and the Gospels.
To ratify this point, let us observe a passage of the Gospel that is echoed by the reference to The Imrans, 3: 169-170. I quote from Matthew 5: 10 – 12:
“10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”[3]
Curious, this passage does not speak to abusing women, either. So, from what fountain does that claim spring?
Finally, my opponent claims that “blind faith is to be encouraged and that questioning God itself is toxic to your soul and wellbeing.”[4]
It seems the extended passage from James 1: 5 refutes that claim all on its own:
“…let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” To “upbraid” is “to give reproach, or reproof” according to the OED. However, the passage is upbraid not; that is, there is no reproach, or, one might say, even, it is not “toxic to your soul.”[5]
However, let us consult the following passage of The Imrans 3: 6 – 11, which my opponent ignored in his claim of toxicity:

“Those that deny Allah’s revelations shall be sternly punished; God is mighty and capable of revenge. Nothing on earth or in heaven is hidden from Allah. It is He who shapes your bodies in your mothers’ wombs as He pleases. There is no god but Him, the Mighty, the Wise One.
“It is He who has revealed to you the Book.”[1]
There appears to be a lot of revelation going on, God to man, to claim that such communication is toxic to our souls. It appears that it is even consistent, not contradictory revelation, over three separate volumes. And, why not? Whether the god in question is Elohim,[2] not a name, but a title, and, in fact, according to John Mclaughlin, a reference to either a single god, or many, or Christ, not a name, but a title, signifying “Messiah,”[3] or Allah[4], not a name, but a title, signifying God. These several references to “God” are all titles.[5]

All footnote references are published in "Comments"

Round 2
My opponent forfeited round 1. So be it. I expected an argument that my round 1 did not address the opponent’s initial charge that the only sane adherence to Abrahamic religion is to limit the sanctity of the varied holy writ [“a trilogy” by claim] as inferior to human interpretation. This claim will be addressed now.
First, as it has already been used in the first Con argument, “transliterate” will be defined by the Oxford English Dictionary [hereafter, OED]: “transliterate transitive:To replace [the letters or characters of one alphabet] with those of another, representing as closely as possible the same sounds; to write [a word] in the letters or characters of another alphabet.”[1]
The claim of a debased sanctity, as opposed to human interpretation, is refuted by simple means. One must acknowledge that we have, today, a variety of “translations” of each volume [the Torah, the Bible – Old and New Testaments, and the Qur’an], however, we have no examples of original, historically contemporary texts of any volume. Therefore, we, today, being separated from any consideration of original texts, are left with transliterations, not direct translations. As such, having second, third… n-hand representations of texts, it would follow that interpretation is inferior to sanctity, not, as my opponent contends, the reverse.
It is further argued that culture drives language, not the reverse [my opponent did not argue this, but it must acknowledged as essential to the argument].  Language points to culture. Language is not merely its alphabet, syntax, and grammar, but is a reflection of the culture that creates it.[2]Without a prior knowledge of the culture, a language foreign to our own will not be fully understood until the culture is understood. Therefore, the translationof an ancient language, let alone contemporary, is only possible by first understanding the ancient culture. To do otherwise is transliteration,a dictionary-to-dictionary comparison. Dictionaries typically do a poor job of cultural education.
In fact, the same condition affects virtually any religion of antiquity extant today. Transliteration is not unique to Abrahamic religions. It will be generously acknowledged if any religion of antiquity has, in fact, original texts, and that we understand the ancient culture. However, it is easily demonstrated that no such original texts exist today, at least that have been found to date, with respect to Abrahamic religions. 
Therefore, the sanctity of religious texts is superior to any human interpretation, particularly in the event that any human has a bias against any interpretive sanctity by which any religious text would encourage that human to aspire to reach.

Round 3
I do not wish to engage in this debate anymore, it is not important to point out the flaws of other scripture if we truly adhere to the true one.

I am something in between a Pagan and a Taoist and I adore being this way, I am not concerned with 'fighting', that is what Abrahamic religions encourage too much of actually.

Let them preach what they want, if you can't with your own interpretation question the horrific and stupid parts, that's on you. Your insanity is your burden, not just others'. That's all I will say. I understand that I am likely to lose the debate. I encourage all to read here:

if you care about my spiritual journey and where this debate's research led me towards that then made me not want to continue this debate.
The Pro opponent has declined to participate further in this debate. The moderator has advised to “extend” each of the future rounds, including this. I choose, rather, to place a final argument now, and will extend the last, 4th round.
In the round 3 forfeiture, Pro said he is “not concerned with ‘fighting,’ and that is what Abrahamic religions encourage too much of actually.”
In round 1, Con charged that Pro has not read the Torah, the Holy Bible, nor the Qur’an “word-for-word, cover-to-cover.” It is, therefore, not surprising that Pro would suggest “fighting” is the order of the day among the practitioners of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The error in Pro’s claim is in replacing the Hoy Writ of these religions with the evidence of some, and perhaps, in history if not currently, many to most practitioners.
I contend that the reverse is the true observation: that the Word is sanctified, and that it is the action of practitioners that fails to interpret correctly what is written.
I argue, for example, using a concept that is more fully developed, but certainly not unique to the Holy Bible. All three scriptures of the Abrahamic religions have content of the following nature. Let it be said the specific comparison by citation of point by point in all three tomes would cause excessive citation within this argument; I will offer one example from each to suffice. Common sense, otherwise, should rule; these are so ingrained in our relative, shared cultures to make the specific citations unnecessary.
In Matthew 5 of the New Testament of the Holy Bible, we find the “Sermon on the Mount,” commonly called “The Beatitudes;” being “poor in spirit,” “mourn,” “meek,” “hunger and thirst after righteousness,” etc. My argument is that the attitudes taught in this singular sermon are so effective, regardless of their ancient revelation, so pertinent to our times, though two thousand years ancient, that adherence to each, were that actually attempted and practiced by all, would solve every single social ill we suffer today. Every one of them.
I’ll highlight one, and compare it to the other two scriptures of Abrahamic religion to demonstrate that all three embrace this sermon: 
“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”[1]
It should be noted, first, that the word, Islam is derived from Arabic “sal’m,”or, in English, “peace.”[2]
Further, The Qur’an, Imrans: 134: “Those who give alms in prosperity and in adversity, who curb their anger and forgive their fellow men [God loves the charitable]; who, if they commit evil or wrong their souls, remember God and seek forgiveness for their sins [for who but God can forgive sin?] and do not knowingly persist in their misdeeds.”[3]
Note, first, the Hebrew word, shalom, is “peace.”[4]Compare the Arabic, “sal’m.”
The Torah works peace: “Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying: On this wise shall ye bless the children of Israel; ye shall say unto them:
The Lord bless thee, and keep thee;
The Lord make His face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.”[5]
Further: Old Testament, “The Prophets”
“And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance for ever.”[6]
Contrary to Pro’s argument against the sound advice given in all three scriptures of Abrahamic religions, relative to just this example of peacemaking, let alone the other axioms of the Sermon on the Mount, it is scripture that defines the standard. By Pro’s mistaken transference of the written word for demonstrated action, Pro argued that it was the Word that is sanctimonious and inferior to human capacity to interpret it, and not the opposite. It is demonstrated that the reverse is true: Scripture is sanctified, and it is the duty of human interpretation to align to it.

[1]Holy Bible, Matthew 5: 9
[3]Qur’an, Imrams 135 - 140
[5]Torah, Numbers 6: 23 - 26
[6]Holy Bible, Isaiah 32: 17

Round 4
There is no error whatsoever. The only two religions to genuinely pillage and conquer and make themselves unbelievably dominant religions over the rest are Christianity and Islam. This is because they took many teachings in the writings literally and forgot to properly interpret and put into context the concept of 'spreading religion' not by force but by love.

It is not my job to teach the world the corruption of the Abrahamic religions and while Judaism has done less in terms of conquering and pillaging, it isn't a mystery that Israel is known for its corruption. I'd link a source but that would give my opponent the potential to not win the source voting point.

I concede this debate out of not wanting the stress and unhealthy conflict that arises when thinking your religion needs to thwart all others, which Abrahamic religions love to think as it's taught in their scriptures. I have actually read all three scriptures that Con says I haven't, it's Con who is baselessly claiming to have read them and appealing to authority as if his claim he read more asserts what he says as more likely to be true.

I know exactly how horrific the texts are but I don't want to risk typing anything resembling hate speech so I will stop here.
Pro argues that “The only two religions to genuinely pillage and conquer and make themselves unbelievably dominant religions over the rest are Christianity and Islam.” Ignored in the claim is Judaism’s Torah, as represented by Deuteronomy 20: 16-18, “But the cities of these people [Canaanites, etc.] which the Lord they God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth: But thou shalt utterly destroy them…” 
However, this is an aside argument, not germane to the debate question of which element, a religion’s holy writ, or the adherents’ capacity of interpretation of it is the more sanctified. 
The opponent has the burden of proof to demonstrate the subject of the debate. I contend that he has failed in his purpose. Pro has even conceded the debate: 
“I concede this debate out of not wanting the stress and unhealthy conflict that arises when thinking your religion needs to thwart all others.” Considering the shared themes all three Abrahamic religions demonstrate, it is by mere interpretation of selected verses, taken out of context, and completely misinterpreted by not investigating context, that Pro believes his claims. In rebuttal, I claim three points:
1.     Pro’s argument in round 1 highlighted verses in the Qur’an, claiming that they were “severely alarming” by advocating mistreatment of women. A read of the passage quoted had naught to do with this subject, or abuse of any kind.
2.     Pro’s argument followed by claiming “many intra-religion contradictions, intra-Abrahamic-inter-religion contradictions and to furthermore not irrationally rule out all non-Abrahamic religions as worth your time.” I argued in reply that all three religions specify in their separate holy writs shared themes, elevating those writings above the turmoil to sanctify their wisdom above that of men’s interpretations.
3.     Pro argued that “blind faith” is encouraged, and that questioning God is toxic. On the contrary, I quoted from the Qur’an, the Bible, and the Torah, on the agreeable principle that God invites questions, and will reply by revelation, with eager compliance, contesting the claimed toxicity.
I refer you to the referenced sources offered n each of the first three rounds in support of the three arguments discussed above. I contend that this debate is not lost by forfeit, but won by sound and documented reasoning.