Instigator / Pro
8
1373
rating
12
debates
4.17%
won
Topic

Christianity is not a religion.

Status
Finished

All stages have been completed. The voting points distribution and the result are presented below.

Arguments points
0
9
Sources points
4
6
Spelling and grammar points
2
3
Conduct points
2
2

With 3 votes and 12 points ahead, the winner is ...

JRob
Parameters
More details
Publication date
Last update date
Category
Religion
Time for argument
One day
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
One week
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
Characters per argument
10,000
Contender / Con
20
1513
rating
1
debates
100.0%
won
Description
~ 1,612 / 5,000

As a new-ish Christian but long time student of the various topics related to Christian theology, I find a disproportionate number of arguments against a false version of Christianity. Perpetrated by a large number of people professing to be Christians. Yet many of these claims of why religion is bad, the terrible things that have been done in the name of Christianity, and a shallow understanding of the faith with the name branding of Christian without the knowledge of what that means that are brought up in debate against Christians are the same things recorded in the New Testament that Jesus said were wrong and not what He intended or meant.

In addition there are stark differences between Christianity and the other religions I'm more familiar with. One's which are shared in entirety by these other religions. At what point is it then fair to say the it's no longer applicable to call Christianity a religion? The true version at the very least.

Why i think this is worth bringing up? Religions have caused utterly terrible things. Furthmore, id argue under my proposed definiton, most of the religions doing the heaviest damage have a system where man seeks God. Where man needs to do something to get to God. This is not only not Christianity, but often is used by people, via the excuse of enforcement of the religions tenants, who are in power positions of the religion to try to keep power, get more power, and abuse their power over others. Again, nothing consistent with what's in the Bible and specifically called out as wrong by Jesus.

I used max rounds to give a few for level setting.

Round 1
Pro
I think it'll be vitally important to start by coming to an agreement on the definition of religion. I will seek to provide what I think is a very commonly used description. One which I see commonly asserted as in line and fitting with Christianity. 

Once agreed upon, I'll seek to show how the Bible (not what people saying they're Christians) says about the facets of the agreed upon definition.

There's more to it but just to get the ball rolling, let's start with:

Religion is a system of beliefs, usually with a standard of moral conduct that evaluates the status of a person based on their adherence to rules, laws, traditions, or the performance of required acts.

This to me is what I feel like im hearing assumed when talking about the evils of religion. Thoughts on us assuming this definition?

Con
Preface:

First of all - hello. I'm Josh. I find referring to my opponent as "Pro" or "Con" - especially in the third person, i.e. 'con states...' -  is somewhat overly formal for online debating, so you might find me referring to you as "you", "UpholdingTheFaith", or whatever you'd prefer.

I've accepted this debate in the hope that I can disprove the resolution - obviously - but also because I feel that dislocating the concept of religion from Christianity is a somewhat problematic and unfair approach to disassociate Christianity from the "utterly terrible things" that religion on a whole has caused. Avoiding the problem instead of solving it, if you will.

Also - by this site's standard I'm somewhat of a novice - so if any of the more seasoned readers in the audience - or indeed, you, UpholdingTheFaith - have any notes about my structure or rhetoric, that would be greatly appreciated. 

Alright - now that 'hello' is out of the way - a few things before we begin.

Definitions:

I accept the definition for "religion" that you've provided, with a few objections:

  • That the word "usually" be struck out entirely. Otherwise I can plainly argue that "Christianity is a system of beliefs", while ignoring the actual substance of the resolution. (Kritik-ing in this fashion would be a bit of a cheap shot on my part.)
  • Removal of the term "law" - for the sake of being succinct, given 'rules' is effectively a synonym in this context.
So, the revised definition would be:

  • Religion: "A system of beliefs, specifically with a standard of moral conduct that evaluates the status of a person based on their adherence to rules, traditions, or the performance of required acts."
A more logical person than I might challenge that definition - especially given the legal definition of a religion is considerably more loose and most obviously includes Christianity [1], but I'm willing to work within the parameters of this definition so long as we can agree on a definition for what Christianity actually is. 

  • Christianity: [From Merriam-Webster] "The religion derived from Jesus Christ, based on the Bible as sacred scripture, and professed by Eastern, Roman Catholic, and Protestant bodies." [2]
I'm not going to take the time to additionally define "Jesus Christ", "Bible", etc - but if these definitions become a point of contention in future I'll likely be deferring to Merriam Webster again.

Please let me know if you're alright with these two definitions.

Burden of Proof:

  • UpholdingTheFaith, Pro, must show that Christianity isn't a religion.
  • Conversely, I must reaffirm that Christianity is a religion, via both refutation and providing my own argument.
For structure - this debate seems fairly informal, so I'll match my structure to yours when we begin in earnest. I look forward to your R2. 

Sources:

[1]: Regarding the legal definition of religion, https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/religion
[2]: Regarding the agreed upon definition of Christianity, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Christianity
Round 2
Pro
Apologies. I fell behind and am almost out of time. I have to be brief but think I can push some good questions/level setting back. I do this on my phone,  after my kids go to bed, before I do. I'll mostly add comments in line. If I can do something different to make it easier for you let me know.



Preface:

First of all - hello. I'm Josh. I find referring to my opponent as "Pro" or "Con" - especially in the third person, i.e. 'con states...' -  is somewhat overly formal for online debating, so you might find me referring to you as "you", "UpholdingTheFaith", or whatever you'd prefer.

I've accepted this debate in the hope that I can disprove the resolution - obviously - but also because I feel that dislocating the concept of religion from Christianity is a somewhat problematic and unfair approach to disassociate Christianity from the "utterly terrible things" that religion on a whole has caused. Avoiding the problem instead of solving it, if you will.

Also - by this site's standard I'm somewhat of a novice - so if any of the more seasoned readers in the audience - or indeed, you, UpholdingTheFaith - have any notes about my structure or rhetoric, that would be greatly appreciated. 

Alright - now that 'hello' is out of the way - a few things before we begin.
-- skipping interacting like humans for time. Im pumped we're doing this!
Definitions:

I accept the definition for "religion" that you've provided, with a few objections:

  • That the word "usually" be struck out entirely. Otherwise I can plainly argue that "Christianity is a system of beliefs", while ignoring the actual substance of the resolution. (Kritik-ing in this fashion would be a bit of a cheap shot on my part.)
  • Removal of the term "law" - for the sake of being succinct, given 'rules' is effectively a synonym in this context.
So, the revised definition would be:

  • Religion: "A system of beliefs, specifically with a standard of moral conduct that evaluates the status of a person based on their adherence to rules, traditions, or the performance of required acts."
--- this will be the main point for me i believe. More detail to come next round. Apologies again for the self imposed time crunch. 
My big issue is with evaluates the status and what follows. For Christianity, may we agree to say evaluates the status is specific to the status of "saved" or "going to Heaven" vs "unsaved" or "going to Hell"?
If so ill present my main and basically full argument on the next round.


A more logical person than I might challenge that definition - especially given the legal definition of a religion is considerably more loose and most obviously includes Christianity [1], but I'm willing to work within the parameters of this definition so long as we can agree on a definition for what Christianity actually is. 
-- there's a main point i think is easily called out and discussed from that. It's been a great place to start. What you've said makes perfect sense.  


  • Christianity: [From Merriam-Webster] "The religion derived from Jesus Christ, based on the Bible as sacred scripture, and professed by Eastern, Roman Catholic, and Protestant bodies." [2]
- i think my comments above augment this. More next time. Sorry again. 


I'm not going to take the time to additionally define "Jesus Christ", "Bible", etc - but if these definitions become a point of contention in future I'll likely be deferring to Merriam Webster again.
-- agreed but Jesus specifically could prove improtant to discuss more thoroughly. 

Please let me know if you're alright with these two definitions.

Burden of Proof:

  • UpholdingTheFaith, Pro, must show that Christianity isn't a religion.
  • Conversely, I must reaffirm that Christianity is a religion, via both refutation and providing my own argument.
For structure - this debate seems fairly informal, so I'll match my structure to yours when we begin in earnest. I look forward to your R2. 


Con
Extend. 

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Frankly, I'm not sure how to respond. There were no new points raised and I can't begin my own argument until we come to an agreement on the terms that have been set forward. In hindsight, this would have been best done via direct messages or in the comments section, but I'll chalk that one up to my own inexperience and move on. We have three rounds remaining, after all.

So - you've copied and pasted my first round, and for the most part there's nothing new to discuss. I can understand that you were stretched for time - and so think of the next round as a do-over - start your argument as you like. Below is my responses to questions you've put forward in what little was added.

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This will be the main point for me I believe. More detail to come next round. Apologies again for the self imposed time crunch. 
My big issue is with evaluates the status and what follows. For Christianity, may we agree to say evaluates the status is specific to the status of "saved" or "going to Heaven" vs "unsaved" or "going to Hell"?
[From Pro's R2.]

The definition for religion was set forward by you, Pro, in R1. I removed two problematic words, is all. I understand that you were pressed for time, and there might have been some confusion - but if you have an issue, we cannot continue with this debate until you're at peace with your own definition for religion.

And yes - with this definition the 'status' that's referred to can encompass fate after death. This is a broad definition for religion - so obviously we need to make some wiggle room for other religions with other concepts, i.e., reincarnation, but again - this is your definition. 

A quick reminder of our Burden of Proof:

  • UpholdingTheFaith, Pro, must show that Christianity isn't a religion.
  • Conversely, I must reaffirm that Christianity is a religion, via both refutation and providing my own argument.
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A side note - please use quotation marks ("example") or an indent (above) if you're going to uses quotes from my argument. It can be potentially confusing for the reader, not knowing which side is which.

In future, if there's an issue with time pressure - just waive/concede the round. I'll do the same, and no harm done. 

Sources: [N/A]


Round 3
Pro
Hi! Very fair response! I'll was very late and I was moving quick. There's 100% a flaw in my setup. I'll rectify it for any future similar topics. That doesn't help much now. If my bumbling around wasted debate space is an issue,, im open to continuing in comments or making a new topic. Please let me know.

Thanks for giving me some direction on format. I'll definitely try to stay in line with your preferences!

So I think essentially posing what probably should have been my first round again will be a good path to getting started. I think we're close to a definiton we can agree on. I can flat out take the first part, but then I'll use what I tired to bring up in my last response to edit the Christianity definition. If you agree, I can pose an argument. If you wanted to agree/disagree in comments, I can pose a quick argument there to potentially save a round. Whatever you are most comfortable with. Thanks for your patience!

Therefore, ill pose the following definitions for consideration. 

Religion: "A system of beliefs, specifically with a standard of moral conduct that evaluates the status of a person based on their adherence to rules, traditions, or the performance of required acts."

Christian - a person who has come to have belief in the diety of Christ, the acknowledgement that they are a sinner, that Christ died sinless, and a acknowledgement that God's gift of grace is our only option for salvation. Let's call this saving belief (SB). Salvation being something we cant earn ourselves, but can achieve. Sin and the gift of grace clearly outlined in the documents containing Jesus words on this matter which have been all binded together under the title Bible. 

Thus leading to my conclusion that Christianity can be defined as: 
A system of beliefs which outlines the conditions one must arrive to/be at/have achieved (a little not sure how I want to say this so it calls out what I outlined in Christian directly above) to aquire eternal salvation with God. One which never has a status for its followers which can be achieved through adherence to rules, traditions, or the performance of suggested acts. The only required act is repentance (acknowledgement of status as a sinner).

Thus, giving me a definition which i can compare with religion above to establish conflicts making them not synonymous. In otherwords, the show Christianity doesn't meet the definition of religion as defined above. 



If you're more so leaning towards your prior definition,

Christianity: [From Merriam-Webster] "The religion derived from Jesus Christ, based on the Bible as sacred scripture, and professed by Eastern, Roman Catholic, and Protestant bodies." [2]
I'd offer the following issues with this definition. First a starting assumption. Im happy to prove it out.  Per the definiton of Christian above, i will assume that it's possible for Christian's to become Christian starting with the resurrection of Jesus. 

If we want to call Christianity a religion, then we should then be able to make the statement, Christianity started when being a Christian became possible. If this is agreed, then my issues with the provided definition are as follows:
  • It can't be based on the Bible. A book that wasn't in existence until many years after Jesus rose. Furthermore, even the eyewitness accounts, letters to specific churches to help them, etc that would eventually be aggregated together and called, The Bible were still being written when the above description would say Christians would have been possible (and were definitely seen and recorded in some of the writings that would get selected for the Bible.
  • I suppose to call out, the Bible was not written by the authors to be the Bible. I'd claim when Paul wrote letters to help churches in Rome and Corinth, he had no idea these would be branded Romans and 1st/2nd Corinthians and binded together with other texts to form the New Testament. 
  • It can't be based on the Bible as sacred scripture if the Bible wasn't in existence for the original Christians and since the writings referenced were not written for that purpose. 
  • Finally, denominations are a man made thing with no prerogative to split into these groups called out by God. As we define Christian from Jesus (God's) words, a man made thing God never instructed us to do shouldn't have a place in the definition. 


Once I get get out of both of our way, I think this will be a great conversation! Thanks for engaging and being patient!
Con
Mm - had a bit of a chuckle with myself about the Merriam Webster definition for Christianity - I apologise, I had not consciously recognised the term 'religion' was actually in the definition. Accepting that would have been concession on your part, so I suppose I must say "Drat, foiled again." or something of the sort. 

It's mildly frustrating that we're in Round 3 and we haven't begun the substance of our argument - so if you'd like to start again we can pretend this one doesn't exist and start over with the definitions we agree upon here. Back to the drawing board. If you're content to have only two rounds of actual debate, however - one for each of our points and a round for rebuttal and conclusion - then I would be happy with that as well. 

That said - if we are going to continue to use this debate rather than making a new one - direct message me prior to posting your Round 4 if there's still an issue with the definitions. (Ah, the definitions, the definitions. Woe, the definitions.)

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Definitions 2; Electric Boogaloo

Religion: "A system of beliefs, specifically with a standard of moral conduct that evaluates the status of a person based on their adherence to rules, traditions, or the performance of required acts."

This one is confirmed. Both sides. Hallelujah.

Christian - a person who has come to have belief in the diety of Christ, the acknowledgement that they are a sinner, that Christ died sinless, and a acknowledgement that God's gift of grace is our only option for salvation. Let's call this saving belief (SB). Salvation being something we cant earn ourselves, but can achieve. Sin and the gift of grace clearly outlined in the documents containing Jesus words on this matter which have been all binded together under the title Bible. 
This is quite... verbose. Not to mention it contains another definition... as well as the issue that 'earn' and 'achieve' are synonymous... and - the Bible is many things - wisdom, truth, metaphor, historical document, all-round bestseller - but it is most certainly not clear. So, some trimming and a little bit of boot polish...

Christian - a person who has come to believe in the deity of Christ, ...
And a little something extra in lieu of what was pruned - to the proposed definition.

Christian - "a person who has come to believe in the deity of Christ, and all that entails - specifically as outlined in the Bible, the associated holy text."

We also seem to have the desire to define 'salvation', so: 

Salvation: "deliverance from the power and effects of sin." [3]

A system of beliefs which outlines the conditions one must arrive to/be at/have achieved (a little not sure how I want to say this so it calls out what I outlined in Christian directly above) to aquire eternal salvation with God. One which never has a status for its followers which can be achieved through adherence to rules, traditions, or the performance of suggested acts. The only required act is repentance (acknowledgement of status as a sinner).
So - three problems with this.

  1. You don't sound certain yourself. "... a little not sure...".
  2. The second last sentence quite literally defeats the purpose of this debate. "One which never... *copied and pasted definition of religion.*
  3. This is the worst one - the very last sentence contradicts the second one - i.e., "...never has a status... which can be achieved through... suggested acts." And then only a few centimetres later - "...required act...". This is nigh on concession of the resolution, and would break your argument.
Before I revise another definition - I'll go over the issues you had with the Merriam Webster one.

  • It can't be based on the Bible. A book that wasn't in existence until many years after Jesus rose. Furthermore, even the eyewitness accounts, letters to specific churches to help them, etc that would eventually be aggregated together and called, The Bible were still being written when the above description would say Christians would have been possible (and were definitely seen and recorded in some of the writings that would get selected for the Bible.
If you wish to abscond the Bible from this debate, then we have issues.

  • If not the Bible - then what, exactly? Do Christians not study the Bible? 
  • Pro, R3, context above, "A book that wasn't in existence until many years after Jesus rose." Old Testament, somewhere between 1200 and 165 BC, [4].
  • Pro, R3, quote, regarding the the definition of Christian, "clearly outlined in the ... Bible."
  • I suppose to call out, the Bible was not written by the authors to be the Bible. I'd claim when Paul wrote letters to help churches in Rome and Corinth, he had no idea these would be branded Romans and 1st/2nd Corinthians and binded together with other texts to form the New Testament. 
  • It can't be based on the Bible as sacred scripture if the Bible wasn't in existence for the original Christians and since the writings referenced were not written for that purpose. 
Regardless of authorial intent - the Bible is still used as the main religious text in the Christian faith. It's frequently called "God's word", [5]. Pro, you yourself are currently in debate with Oromagi, attempting to use - quote - a "Biblically based argument" in order to properly define Christianity. [6]

"It can't be based on the Bible as sacred scripture..." - same point twice, but it is. Regardless of the original Christians - modern day Christians - for centuries, have studied the Bible as a sacred text. This is impossible to dispute - it's been sold five billion times, for goodness sake. [7]

  • Finally, denominations are a man made thing with no prerogative to split into these groups called out by God. As we define Christian from Jesus (God's) words, a man made thing God never instructed us to do shouldn't have a place in the definition. 
Yeah, okay. The reason makes me mildly uncomfortable, but I'm happy to dispense with the different flavours of the Christian faith in the definition.

And, so, at last, Con's revised definition of Christianity.

Christianity: "The Christian faith, following the teachings of Jesus Christ, as outlined in the Bible, the associated sacred text."

Vanilla.

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Thanks for your time and effort, UpholdingTheFaith - will see you in R4. Again - if you still find these definitions problematic, direct message me before the next Round.

Sources:

[3]: Regarding the definition of salvation, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/salvation
[4]: Regarding when the Old Testament of the Bible was written, https://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/texts/bible.shtml
[5]: International Bible Society, specifically the right side - "Read God's Word": https://www.biblica.com/resources/bible-faqs/what-is-the-bible/

Round 4
Pro
I must concede. Running through this with a few people I've much better articulated starting points. Granted. Ill still allow a round for agreement on definitions but I can also provide them in the description. Furthermore, I've got a much better title to fit with the new description. I should have specified the colloquial definition as what I wanted for religion and then first set to make sure we agreed. Things were misleading from my lack of proper articulation of my intention. Furthermore, you've graciously and patiently worked to advance my ability to refine these things. 

Thank you. I'm new to all of this and will admit I've got a lot to learn. 

I've posted a debate with these new terms but I can also create one and tag you specifically if you'd like to start over. If not I totally understand why haha. 

For anyone potentially voting (can we vote?) Vote for my opponent. Unless there's a way I can basically select an option to end debate and give my opponent the win. I never set out to force ideas or manipulate anything to go my way. I now see a better way to start and wish to not waste your time given how far through this one we are. You've raised some really good points and we just don't have the time. 

Thank you again. I really do appreciate it. 
Con
Thanks for your time. It's been an interesting conversation to say the least - and I wish you the best of luck with refining your argument. It's certainly a viable perspective, and I'll stay tuned to read your next debate. A few outtakes from your final round, with some responses.

I've posted a debate with these new terms but I can also create one and tag you specifically if you'd like to start over. If not I totally understand why haha. 
Of course - I'll keep an eye out for that new debate. I likely won't participate for a while - life commitment reasons - but I would be happy to continue/start a new debate with you any time. It's always nice to see a point of view different to my own, and it's refreshing to see a debate presented in a less mathematical sense than is typical on this site.

For anyone potentially voting (can we vote?) Vote for my opponent. 
Aha - I appreciate the sentiment, but neither of us have really discussed the resolution whatsoever. So - a draw, or perhaps a misfire. Let this one fall into the no votes bin, I think.

Thank you again. I really do appreciate it. 
And to you as well - it's been fun.

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All Sources:

[1]: Regarding the legal definition of religion, https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/religion
[2]: Regarding the agreed upon definition of Christianity, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Christianity
[3]: Regarding the definition of salvation, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/salvation
[4]: Regarding when the Old Testament of the Bible was written, https://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/texts/bible.shtml
[5]: International Bible Society, specifically the right side - "Read God's Word": https://www.biblica.com/resources/bible-faqs/what-is-the-bible/
Round 5
Pro
Thanks again! I hope we run into each other again!
Con
Forfeited