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3
1484
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Topic

Have we moved past the need for religion in modern society?

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

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3
3
Sources points
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1

With 1 vote and 4 points ahead, the winner is ...

Nyxified
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Religion
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1577
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9
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~ 463 / 5,000

Religion has often been used by societies as a moral standard and a way to impose rules that people are inclined to follow, often under threat of punishment by god(s). The question posed today is whether or not we as a society have moved past the need for religion. Polls show that religion is on the decrease in both attendance and practice so it appears that many people are starting to agree with this premise. Are they on the right path or are they misguided?

Round 1
Pro
Apologies for the informal argument structure and crass language but I am not going to participate in the "circle jerk" of classical debate. I want to put this in simplistic terms so anyone reading can understand what is being said and can get something out of it instead of needing a degree to be able to decipher what either of us just said. If you want to hop out or leave the argument because of that I completely understand and no one should see it as my point being strengthened or proven in any sense

We can all agree that religion is often used in society as a moral standard by which people are expected to live their lives. It is a convenient and easy way to quickly teach people the rules of your society without needing any justification. If you can convince or indoctrinate someone to believe that omniscient god(s) exist and they can punish you however they see fit, it acts as a fairly good motivator. Instead of having to explain the awkward intricacies of sex and birth defects to a child you can simply just say, "incest is wrong because God says so." However, this leads to lots of issues in regards to logic and moral standards. For instance, if someone bases their entire moral system off of what a god(s) tells them what to do then what happens if they lose faith in them. They now have no basis for their entire morality and could feel no moral obligation to follow any of the rules that our society runs on. If the only reason I had to not steal something was because god(s) told me not to, and I stop believing in god(s), then why shouldn't I steal? We are seeing more and more people everyday turning away from religion so this issue, while very extreme and rather rare, could become a common occurrence.

Another issue that has arisen from this black and white morality system is what if god(s) command something that is morally reprehensible? In countries like the U.S. we are inclined to allow people to worship and practice their religion however they please, unless at the expense of others, but there are several Christian practices that are allowed or were allowed exemption because our nation has mostly been run by Christians. Homophobia, slavery, transphobia, sexism, racism, all things justified by the Bible that without it people would have a much more difficult time trying to rationally justify and thus make into law. Religion has been used to permit things that might have been acceptable to a society hundreds of years ago, because it allowed uneducated people to act and function within society, but now it is doing the opposite. Permitting uneducated people to act outside of what we consider acceptable in society by advocating for homophobia, slavery, transphobia, sexism, racism, etc.

So, what is the alternative? The best proposed alternative is a secular society that bases its foundational morality off of logic rather than religion. Teaching people to blindly follow authority, while enticing to most governments, is not how we should run a nation. That is how we get to the current point we are at today, divided. By teaching people that they should live life thinking about other people and give them reasons as to why we don't permit certain actions we will reach not only a more educated society but a more morally acceptable one. Without religion it is hard to justify cutting off the tip of a baby's penis. Without religion it is hard to pin down why liking the same sex is bad. Without religion it is hard to explain why women should be submissive to men. Without religion it is hard to justify how owning another human being is just. Without religion it is hard to explain why changing your gender is bad. Without religion it is hard to explain why killing someone for doing work on a certain day of the week is permitted.

Religion absolutely was useful in advancing our society thousands of years ago. Without it I am practically certain that our hierarchy would still be based off of people's sheer strength and those who were weak were killed or left behind. But, I believe that we have moved on past the need for religion. It only acts as a vestigial remnant of our framework that is no longer needed. As it is today it does more harm than good for most people. Because, all the worst parts of a religion are often exclusive to that religion, but all the best parts of a religion are not exclusive to it. Even if you are secular you can still get together as a community and help people through hard times. We don't need a temple with ancient strings attached to help each other anymore. We can do good as a people without religion and won't have to attempt to explain why slavery was okay, or make up excuses as to why cutting off a baby's foreskin without their consent should somehow be allowed, or pretend that gay people are somehow evil.
Con
Table of Contents:
  1. Introduction
       1.1 Resolution
       1.2 Key Terms
  2. Rebuttals
       2.1 Section-by-Section
          2.1.1 The Function of Religion
          2.1.2 Morality With and Without Religion
          2.1.3 The Need For an Atheist Future
       2.2 Summary
  3. Constructive Arguments/Analyses
       3.1 Answers To Big Questions
       3.2 Purpose And Community
       3.3 The ‘Need’ Hasn’t Changed
  4. Conclusion
  5. Citations

1. Introduction

I’d like to thank my opponent for opening up the debate and any voters for taking the time to read through this. To begin, I want to take note of 5 key problems in pro’s speech.

  1. They fail to define any key terms, most notably ‘need’.
  2. Their argument looks only at the use of religion in moral instruction and the stability/formation of past nation-states and ignores any further potential benefits
  3. Their argument portrays religion as a boogeyman from which all intolerance stems and insists that an atheist society (not a secular society as will be defined shortly) would not have this problem.
  4. They don’t give a single citation
  5. The fundamentally misunderstand the resolution (as explained by 1.1)

Pro did not number their arguments, so con will summarize them for the sake of simplicity when addressing them:

  1. Religion as a moral standard used to create and uphold society
  2. Religion's role in injustice
  3. The benefits of an atheist society

In my speech, I will build my case off of these 5 problems to show why the arguments presented by pro are resoundingly untrue, irrelevant, misleading/misunderstood, and or don’t prove the resolution. My three arguments/analyses will be made in direct clash with the 5 problems in pro’s speech listed above and the claims pro makes in their speech.

Those 3 analyses are: 

  1. The ability for religion to answer big questions that science can’t (Clashes with pro arguments #1 and #3),
  2. The utility of religion in giving a sense of purpose and or community in one’s life (Clashes with all arguments from pro), and 
  3. The fact that any ‘need’ for religion that once existed at all continues to exist today (Builds on con arguments #1 and #2 and clashes with all pro arguments). 

1.1 Resolution

This resolution implies that there was a need for religion and that there no longer is anymore. Arguing that there never was a need to begin with may also be applicable, but pro themselves admits there was some need for religion at some point in time, and as I will show in con argument #3, it's very clear that there are still existing functions of religion as there has always been.

We are not debating if religion is good, if it's harmful on balance, if the pros outweigh the cons. That's an entirely different argument, and it's something pro misunderstands repeatedly  by failing to show how we have moved past the need for religion or how we don't need religion by instead trying to make arguments to show religion is harmful (which aren't true as will be established by my rebuttals).

1.2 Key Terms

  1. Need (noun): A physiological or psychological requirement for the well-being of an organism[1].
  2. Religion: Commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance.
  3. Society: A community, nation, or broad grouping of people having common traditions, institutions, and collective activities and interests.
  4. Atheist society: A society that acts in accordance to what would be logical if atheism was an undeniable fact and if all members of the society were/should be atheist. Does not necessarily mandate or enforce being an atheist.
  5. Secular society: A society that does not act as though any religion is true nor acts as though atheism or agnosticism is true. It's a society that respects and builds itself around the right of every individual to practice their own religion so long as it doesn’t harm anyone.
  6. Morality/morals: A doctrine or system of moral conduct/of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behaviour.

Please note:

All definitions are from Merriam-Webster except #4 and #5 which I defined myself.

This specific definition of need was chosen because, while society may not ‘need’ religion to survive, there is ‘a need’ for religion the same way we don’t ‘need’ education, but there is ‘a need’ for education. It’s the more reasonable and useful definition for this debate.

The definitions of atheist society and secular society were chosen based on what it would mean to be a ‘catholic society’, for example. That is to say that a catholic society would often conduct themselves and build their society as though Catholicism was an undeniable fact and that all people should act in the way prescribed by Catholicism.

What pro calls a secular society is actually an atheist society because the good they describe is, by their own words, based on teaching morality off of logic rather than religion, and they go on to describe the benefits they believe a society without religion would have. It seems obvious to con that anyone saying we should teach children moral principles and/or what is right or wrong at the behest of their religion and speaking of a society ‘without’ religion is not advocating for a secular society, but an atheist society (see problem #1).

2. Rebuttals

2.1 Section-by-Section

  • Religion as a Moral Standard/Part in Creating and Upholding Society
“We can all agree that religion is often used in society as a moral standard by which people are expected to live their lives. It is a convenient and easy way to quickly teach people the rules of your society without needing any justification. ... However, this leads to lots of issues in regards to logic and moral standards. For instance, if someone bases their entire moral system off of what a god(s) tells them what to do, then what happens if they lose faith in them?” -Paragraph 2

While con disagrees with the way pro portrays the function of religion in this paragraph (see problem #2), that will be addressed in my constructive arguments. Pro seems to think that religious people have no morality beyond their religion or can only justify not doing immoral things because of their religion and/or its threat of punishment. As a religious person who was agnostic or atheist for the vast majority of their life, only becoming a theist later in life, this is flat out untrue. 

My morality wasn't built on religion, my morality was built on the moral obligations we all share, the desire to protect my fellow man, and the statement "Do nothing that isn't necessary unto others that you would not wish upon you." And what of religions that don't have holy books or commands on how to live life (e.g. Wicca)?

Do some people lose their faith and go on to do immoral things? Obviously, but people who haven't lost their faith do immoral things, and so do people who never had any faith to begin with, and they give no compelling reason to believe a significant amount of people who lose their faith go on to do immoral things at an unexpected rate(see problem #4).

"They now have no basis for their entire morality and could feel no moral obligation to follow any of the rules that our society runs on. If the only reason I had to not steal something was because god(s) told me not to, and I stop believing in god(s), then why shouldn't I steal? We are seeing more and more people everyday turning away from religion so this issue, while very extreme and rather rare, could become a common occurrence." -Paragraph 2

I separated these two sections despite the fact I'm addressing them together right now because I wanted to make the contradiction as obvious as possible. Their argument goes like so:

-It's really easy for a society to teach people morality or discourage certain actions by using religion.
-This is bad, because if people lose their faith, they may lose their morality entirely.
-As more people abandon religion, this issue could become more common.

Now, remember the resolution: Society Has Moved Past The Need For Religion. The argument they made is a great argument against using religion to teach people about the things they shouldn't do because it is a tenuous foundation that may go away if their beliefs change, but it's not an argument that there is no longer a function of religion. When 84.4% of the world's population are religious, and pro is claiming that losing their faith would lead to a considerable spike in lawlessness, that's an argument in support of con. This argument would be applicable if they could prove the only function or religion was in moral instruction, but they haven't done that (see problem #2)

Con isn't arguing what they're describing is wise, con isn't arguing we need to live in the world pro describes, con isn't arguing that people losing the foundation for their morality as pro describes is negligible, con is arguing that there is still a need for religion. That is to say con is arguing there is a function/desire that religion continues to fulfill. The resolution does not say "A World Without Religion is Preferable" where we can create a hypothetical world where everyone became agnostic/atheist with no consequence, so what their claim here means is that we NEED religion. Sure, claim it's bad to be dependent on it if you want, but their argument clearly shows that we are dependent on religion and thus it serves a function.

These two sections show two major problems with this argument:

  1. Their claim that religion is a bad way to teach morality and discourage certain actions because the loss of faith may cause those bad actions is a blanket statement that misunderstands the nature of morality and has given no evidence for their claim that the loss of faith would cause lawlessness. This means this argument has no ability to undermine the function of religion by proving the negative effects its continued existence has and does not prove pro's position.
  2. Even if #1 in this list is completely untrue in every way, their argument is contradictory, because it would show the loss of religion has significant consequence and, even if in no other way than avoiding those consequences (and believe me, there are many other ways), religion still serves a considerable function for 84.4% of the population and thus we have not progressed past the need for it. This then supports con's position
  • Religion’s Role in Injustice
"Another issue that has arisen ...is what if god(s) command something that is morally reprehensible? ... Homophobia, slavery, transphobia, sexism, racism, all things justified by the Bible that without it people would have a much more difficult time trying to rationally justify and thus make into law. Religion has been used to permit things that might have been acceptable to a society hundreds of years ago, because it allowed uneducated people to act and function within society, but now it is doing the opposite. Permitting uneducated people to act outside of what we consider acceptable in society by advocating for homophobia, slavery, transphobia, sexism, racism, etc." -Paragraph 3

"Without religion it is hard to justify cutting off the tip of a baby's penis. Without religion it is hard to pin down why liking the same sex is bad. Without religion it is hard to explain why women should be submissive to men. Without religion it is hard to justify how owning another human being is just. Without religion it is hard to explain why changing your gender is bad. Without religion it is hard to explain why killing someone for doing work on a certain day of the week is permitted." -Paragraph 4

Homophobia is justified by the Bible? Says who? (see problem #4) There are many sources that would disagree, but I won't go through every single verse that allegedly justifies homophobia. For now, I will only give this one source that goes through the conservative and liberal interpretation of all the passages typically believed to condemn homosexuality, which itself links to individual analysis of most passages with multiple sources for all of them. A brief look through of this website is all that is needed to show it's at least far from clear cut that these things are justified by the bible (https://www.religioustolerance.org/homglance.htm or citation [3]).

The reason people have used the bible as justification for exploitation of people is because verses have been mistranslated based on the agenda of the translator by either an objectively incorrect translation of the Hebrew or by taking the verse out of context (e.g. Leviticus 18:22 where 18:1-20 condemn incest and 18:21 condemns Pagan worship of Molech, yet 18:22 is taken out of context to condemn homosexuality[4]. It is unclear at best what the verse means.)

Colonizers and bigots will use their respective religious texts to defend whatever prejudice they hold because they are dying to have a justification of their bigotry from an all powerful deity who can never be wrong, and if they aren't religious, they'll use pseudoscience instead. What pro fails to understand is people will find any excuse to claim their bigotry is objectively correct (see problem #3). Even if it's 'hard to explain', they failed to establish that somehow bigotry requires explanation in order to harm other people equally as much as it currently does.

Claiming it would've been more difficult to bring about the systemic discrimination we still see today without the justification of a religious text is a bold claim they give us no reason to believe. As a trans person, let me tell you that I'm not seeing many bible verses being used to prevent trans people from participating in athletics[5], from enlisting in the army[6], from accessing hormones, from getting surgery[7], from using the bathroom of their desired gender[8], from accessing services and healthcare, etc... To think that the removal of religion would remove all prejudice would imply there are no discriminatory atheists or agnostics, and yet there obviously is.

And even if what they claim is true, it does not at all demonstrate that we've moved past the need for religion. If it is true that religion fuels discrimination and that without it we would be significantly more tolerant (which I don't believe it is), it still doesn't prove that the need for religion no longer exists. It might prove that religion is bad for society on balance if I accept that to be true, which I don't, but that's a different resolution entirely.

The two problems with this argument are summarized like so:

  1. Claiming that religious texts support intolerance disputed whether the texts are in the Quran or the Bible, and citing the use of those texts to justify exploitation as evidence that they wouldn't have exploited or would have had a more challenging time doing so is a claim we are given no evidence to believe and it ignores the fact bigotry will always exist and bigots will use any excuse they can get their hands on to be intolerant. Biblical texts have been mistranslated to support the prejudicial agendas of the translator[3][4].
  2. Even if everything in #1 in this list is completely untrue, this argument gives no substantial reason to believe the function/desire that religion once fulfilled is no longer present or fulfilled by something other than religion. It's an argument for different resolution in it's entirety.
  • The Benefit of an Atheist Society
"The best proposed alternative is a secular society that bases its foundational morality off of logic rather than religion. Teaching people to blindly follow authority, while enticing to most governments, is not how we should run a nation. That is how we get to the current point we are at today, divided. By teaching people that they should live life thinking about other people and give them reasons as to why we don't permit certain actions we will reach not only a more educated society but a more morally acceptable one." -Paragraph 4

Again, this is an argument for another resolution (see problem #5). In con arguments #1 and #2 I will show that there is good reason to believe there is a necessary, irreplaceable function that religion does and always has served. Claiming that you should not teach people to blindly follow authority is something con agrees with wholeheartedly, but if there were a being that quite literally knew everything, you'd probably trust them to tell you what's right or wrong, wouldn't you? What pro is saying relies entirely on assuming that religion is a delusion that serves no purpose beyond policing behaviour of the uneducated.

You know what else can be a force that encourages blindly trusting authority? The police, the judiciary, the government, etc... all insist you should trust them, let them do their job, comply, and promise punishment if you disobey. Yet claiming we have moved past the need for government, for the judicial system, or for law enforcement is an absolutely absurd claim.

As explained by examining the previous paragraph (see problem #3), there is no good reason to believe that religion is somehow responsible for all prejudice and the lack of religion would bring about a more tolerant society.

There are 3 main problems with this argument:

  1. This argument doesn't prove we've moved past the need for religion. It talks about how we shouldn't blindly follow authority and use logic as opposed to bible passages to support the things we tell others not to do, and both of these things are true, but neither are contradictory to con's position. You can tell your kid that incestual relationships are bad because they result in several problems, especially when having children, due to the biological nature of incest, but once you're done that, you can still say it's also condemned in the bible. They aren't going to suddenly have sex with their sibling if they stop being Christian.
  2. The claim that religion results in 'blindly following authority' relies on assuming religion is 100% false. If religion is true, it is not 'blindly following authority' to think that the opinion of an omniscient and omnibenevolent deity should take precedence in terms of your behaviour when they literally can't be wrong.
  3. The argument assumes that the removal of religion would inherently result in a more educated/moral society. They give no reason to believe this and, the mechanism they give when they say it would 'lead to a more educated society' is fully consistent with the existence of religion (see problem #3 and #4) by just giving anyone who would like to know the scientific answer along with the religious answer. It isn't hard (see #1 in this list).
2.2 Summary

Throughout 2.1, I gave compelling arguments showing all the claims by pro are untrue and good reasons that the arguments by pro fundamentally misunderstand the resolution, the mechanisms behind problems in society (e.g. prejudice), and even their own arguments. All arguments from pro were irrelevant to the resolution in part or in full and choose to ignore other possible functions of religion(i.e. pro argument #1 assumes the only function of religion is in moral teaching and upholding society).

Pro argument #1 addresses their perceived function of religion and why it's bad at that function/no longer applicable, which is either untrue or actually supports con's argument. Pro argument #2 and #3 both don't talk about the 'need' for religion and why it is no longer present, they only discuss problems that pro perceives to be caused by religion and assumes that society would be improved if religion ceased to inform our lives. I've given good reasons that this perception is dubious at best, and they have given us no reason to believe the lack of religion in our moral choices or education would provide the benefits they claim it will especially when I've given reason to believe that it will not bring those benefits.

Their arguments rely on the assumption religion is not true and followers of any religion are 'blindly following authority'.

3. Constructive Arguments/Analyses

(Rushed because of lack of time. Sorry.)

  1. Answers to big questions

    Almost everyone in the western world in a position that allows them to reach the higher tiers of Mazlow's heirarchy of needs has questioned if there is a deity, if there is an afterlife, if there is any purpose to life, if morality is objective, etc... While these aren't questions that con aims to answer, these are questions that cause significant distress for those who don't have those answers yet[12]. Science can't answer them either. There is no way to prove the existence or nonexistence of the afterlife, of a deity, of ultimate purpose. Famous great scientists like Einstein or Darwin were both agnostics who admitted that they did not have answers to these questions[13][14].

    Religion is, without a doubt, the only thing that answers these questions for many people. Religion serves as a force for good in the world by providing people with comfort, with purpose, with the belief that their life has ultimate value, with the belief that being a good person fundamentally matters, and the list goes on. This is a critical function of religion that, as said before, can not be replaced by science. Trying to prove atheism is quite literally attempting to prove nothingness, and arguments for atheism will always leave you at agnosticism. It may then be reasonable to presume that there is no deity equally as much as it is to presume that it is unknowable, but nonetheless, the lack of religion would leave the vast majority of Earth in a limbo from whence existential crises have no resolutions. To the question of "Does anything matter at all?" without religion, while not for everyone, for MANY the answer would be "Who's to say? Who knows?"

    Religion then serves a critical function in providing comfort in the face of existential questions and providing answers to those questions based on one's beliefs.

  2. Purpose and community

    Statistics show that religion increases quality of life[9][10], and citation 9, referencing multiple other sources itself, explicitly points to the sense of purpose and meaning as one of the main factors. It also points to social support in and regular attendance to houses of worship/companionship with other members of the religious group are a considerable factor in determining one's quality of life. It's easy for pro to say that "Even if you are secular you can still get together as a community and help people through hard times," but it's very clear to con that, based on this evidence, secular people aren't doing this.

    Rarely in our lives do we go somewhere regularly for a positive purpose. While school and work prove to be consistent social environments and we can make friends that we take from those environments and regularly interact within them, these are not environments that foster a sense of community nor a positive purpose. You aren't at school or work to have fun or to help one another, you're there to learn or to work, and that is the critical distinction. Religion then acts as a necessary piece of the puzzle in keeping people connected, and, if the sheer amount of charity work done by churches is anything to go off of, a piece of the puzzle in ensuring that everyone is helped when they need it. When your employer says "We're a family", you cringe and feel anxious about your future satisfaction when working at your job. When your priest says "We're a family", you believe him, and you are taught to love other believers as though they are your own brothers and sisters.

    This then shows clearly that religion has a purpose in bringing people together and providing them with the need for community.

    Religion also self-evidently provides purpose to one's life. Citation 11 shows that atheists suffer from a similar longing for purpose as theists and yet aren't given an answer. Nihilism and absurdism, both believing that truly nothing has meaning or significance (absurdism taking a more positive spin on it) are both schools of thought that are fundamentally incompatible with theism, because almost every religion has, as a core tenant of their system of beliefs, the belief that human life has value and that there is ultimate purpose to the existence of us all. This then shows that religion fulfills the need for purpose.

  3. The 'need' hasn't changed

    Everything outlined by con arguments #1 and #2 are things that have always existed throughout history. The need for purpose, meaning, answers to existential questions, and community was needed by the peasants of medieval England or by the merchants of renaissance Italy just as much as it is needed today. As was stated in 1.1, this resolution can only logically be, by the arguments that pro has presented, that religion served a function/desire and it doesn't anymore. However, for the arguments given above, it seems VERY clear to con that religion does serve a definitive function/desire, and that said function/desire has always been present.

    To disagree with the ability of religion to answer existential questions or provide a sense of community is equally as absurd as trying to say that the need for said things it can provide has not been present since the very dawn of religion. The use of religion might have changed, religion may have been used to justify discrimination, religion may have some cons to it, but at the end of the day, it is almost certain that these needs are being served by religion and have always been served by religion, meaning we have absolutely not moved past the need for faith.

4. Conclusion

In conclusion, I've outlined 5 main problems in pro's speech and pointed out those problems wherever applicable to show why their case is incredibly weak as well as rebuking every claim they made. Their arguments resoundingly fail to demonstrate that the need for religion is no longer present, and in the only argument they attempt to actually examine the need for religion and why it is not good at fulfilling that need, they present an egregiously narrow aspect of the function religion could have served throughout history. Said argument then goes on to contradict itself and perhaps support con's position. Their arguments portray that things like intolerance are caused by religion and would cease to be if religion ceased to exist, which they give no reason to believe, and even if they are correct in saying that, the argument is irrelevant to the resolution.

I've given good reason to believe religion has and continues to serve a function by outlining 3 main arguments. #1: The ability of religion to answer questions science can't, #2: The sense of purpose and community given by religion, and #3: The needs of religion outlined in con arguments #1 and #2 have been present since the beginning of religion and exist today. These arguments almost irrefutably show that religion has a purpose and that we absolutely have not moved past the needs that religion exclusively fulfills. Society still needs religion.

This debate isn't "Religion is bad." It never has been. And yet, pro's argument is oriented almost entirely towards proving that religion is bad, and for the reasons given, I've shown why it's not even a good argument at proving that. I have, on the contrary, given compelling arguments towards the positive role of religion in our society.

For these reasons, so proud to oppose.

5. Citations

  1. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/need
  2. https://www.pewforum.org/2015/04/02/religious-projection-table/2020/percent/all/
  3. https://www.religioustolerance.org/homglance.htm
  4. https://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_bibh4.htm
  5. https://uk.news.yahoo.com/texas-poised-ban-trans-kids-180107255.html?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly9kdWNrZHVja2dvLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAAEyTZWmZO0g84-FVhFeeXXYunwcTeW4IWyNvY_Xb93884obHgm4a69M5p4wgWIWucy-SLWqGavLPedhbcfviv-gDIKxc6TC1t_odZu8gOmVL9mChH1ww50LW8l7xv8L2Q0A9Lyh6QRox1GyR3jEP_wmMQEMLhICRcxd6d92gHc-
  6. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/transgender-military-ban-trump-administration-ban-on-transgender-troops-goes-into-effect/
  7. https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/22/politics/transgender-healthcare-laws-minors-trnd/index.html
  8. https://ballotpedia.org/Transgender_bathroom_access_laws_in_the_United_States
  9. https://www.aebrjournal.org/uploads/6/6/2/2/6622240/paper_5.pdf
  10. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1020684404438
  11. https://www.mdpi.com/2077-1444/9/8/242/htm
  12. https://www.scienceofpeople.com/existential-crisis/
  13. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein#Political_views
  14. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Darwin#Religious_views




Round 2
Pro
I forgot to respond until an hour or two before the deadline and to be honest that’s a good thing. Engaging in this self congratulatory and needlessly long and complex line of reasoning gets no one closer to truth. It simply locks reasoning behind hours of reading that says the same thing over and over again. I have enough self respect for my audience that I don’t need to incorrectly define words for my argument to make sense. The crux of your book length response is essentially, religion should be kept because several people use it to enforce things they don’t want to explain or have good reasoning for. That is a reason to get rid of religion. And you denying that religion can be used to justify awful things like homophobia is just plain absurd. Go into the heart of West Texas wearing a pride flag and tell me how the Christians treat you. Religion isn’t necessary for rationally explaining laws but it is necessary for attempting to justify hatred. So, why keep it? My opponent says that it’s because getting rid of religion might lead to people committing crimes since their entire logical reasoning for not commuting those crimes is now missing. However, we should never worry about the possible blood being shed over hatred being stomped out. If you lived in America in the midst of the Civil War, would you not attempt to free slaves even if it came at the cost of the confederacy attempting to kill you? Freedom and equality for all must be prioritized over comfort for some. 
Con
Table of Contents:

1. Introduction
2. Restatement/Rebuttals
   2.1 Restatement/Defence
   2.2 Rebuttals
3. Conclusion
4. Citations

1. Introduction

Given the response pro gave in round 2, con sees no reason to introduce new constructive arguments at this point or to expand upon any constructive arguments to look at them from another angle/provide more information as the initial arguments have hardly been refuted at all.

Also, if pro is annoyed that my speech was ‘needlessly long and self congratulatory’, perhaps they should have set the character limit lower than 30,000. I would like to think I used the large character limit to look into everything with as much detail as possible.

2. Restatement/Rebuttals

2.1 Restatement/Defence

“I have enough self respect for my audience that I don’t need to incorrectly define words for my argument to make sense.”

I would’ve appreciated pro pointing out which definitions were incorrect and why. Every single definition that I gave was taken directly from Merriam-Webster except for the definitions of an atheist/secular/religious society, and that was only because I couldn’t find a definition for that on the website. 

An atheist society occurs when the governing body acts in the way that their belief in atheism would have them believe is necessary or logical. If an action made sense if we were sure that atheism were true, it’s likely the action that society would take. It’s a state that rules according to its own belief, often irrespective of the beliefs of other citizens if they come into conflict. I see nothing wrong with this definition. Replace every mention of atheist/atheism in this paragraph with Christian/Christianity and the definition works both ways. 

The definition of secular society is fairly self evident. A secular society occurs when a society does not act or govern or enforce in a way that would be necessary or logical if a religion is true or if no religion is true (excluding other reasons to act or govern or enforce in that manner). I’d challenge pro to give a better definition.

“The crux of your book length response is essentially, religion should be kept because several people use it to enforce things they don’t want to explain or have good reasoning for. That is a reason to get rid of religion.”

Well, as a writer at heart, book-length things are not a stranger to me. That just straight up isn’t the crux of my speech or any of my arguments. My speech relies on the fact that pro presented no evidence that we have moved past the need for religion and I said that a lot of people still have a need for religion in giving us answers to big questions, purpose, community, meaning, etc… If pro disagrees with this, then by all means, I challenge them to take direct quotes from my speech (not out of context) and show I am building some other narrative, but I see no reason that any of those things I have listed have anything to do with religion inherently ‘enforcing’ anything, nor does it somehow mean religion is inherently used for things that ‘people don’t want to explain or have good reasoning for’.

I’m a theist, and I’m not a theist because I was born into theism. I was told nothing about the existence or nonexistence of heaven, of a deity, of the need for certain actions, etc… I became a theist because I was convinced by the logical arguments for the creation of the universe being the result of an omnipotent, personal deity or deities and I then brought myself down the logical line of reasoning from those beliefs to get to where I am today. Religion is not inherently something people use for things they have no good reasoning for, nor is it something people are inherently incapable of having good reason to believe in.

“And you denying that religion can be used to justify awful things like homophobia is just plain absurd. Go into the heart of West Texas wearing a pride flag and tell me how the Christians treat you. Religion isn’t necessary for rationally explaining laws but it is necessary for attempting to justify hatred. So, why keep it?” 

“So why keep it?” Well, perhaps it could be for the three arguments I presented that pro doesn’t even mention? 

I have never denied that religion has been used to justify awful things or that it can justify awful things. What I said was that the concept of religion does not inherently justify hatred. To repeat what I said in my previous speech, bigots will use whatever they can get their hands on to justify their hatred because they are dying to believe their bigotry is objective. When bigots don’t turn to religion, they’ll turn to pseudoscience. My opponent speaks with such conviction ignoring the fact that I’m a trans lesbian myself and also (until VERY recently) a Christian, so quite frankly, I’d like to hear more about how Christianity is somehow directly related to homophobia in their eyes.

I gave an example of how the bible was mistranslated/taken out of context to defend the beliefs of homophobes, and that went entirely unrefuted. Just because some Christians are hateful, especially for the reasons I gave in my last speech, doesn’t somehow mean that all Christians are hateful, that Christianity is inherently hateful, or that the end of Christianity would result in every Christian no longer being hateful, or every person who would become a hateful Christian in the future instead becomes a tolerant atheist if Christianity ceased to be.

And even if all of what I just said isn’t true, pro’s argument is still for another resolution. Again, the debate is about society not having a need for religion anymore. Doubling down on pro’s perceived faults of religion does not in any way prove that there is no longer a need for religion. 

“My opponent says that it’s because getting rid of religion might lead to people committing crimes since their entire logical reasoning for not [committing] those crimes is now missing. However, we should never worry about the possible blood being shed over hatred being stomped out.”

I’m not saying that. Pro said that themselves and I was saying that it made no sense. Don’t believe me? Here’s a direct quote from their 1st speech.

"They now have no basis for their entire morality and could feel no moral obligation to follow any of the rules that our society runs on. If the only reason I had to not steal something was because god(s) told me not to, and I stop believing in god(s), then why shouldn't I steal? We are seeing more and more people everyday turning away from religion so this issue, while very extreme and rather rare, could become a common occurrence." -Paragraph 2

In my speech, I clearly said when addressing this section of paragraph 2 that I disagree with it, but that even if it were true (which it isn’t), it’d prove con’s argument because it shows we’re dependent on religion and thus have a need for it.

“If you lived in America in the midst of the Civil War, would you not attempt to free slaves even if it came at the cost of the confederacy attempting to kill you? Freedom and equality for all must be prioritized over comfort for some.”

I’m glad we can agree on that, which is why I look forward to pro’s admission that people should have a right to practice their religion. “Freedom and equality for all must be prioritized over comfort for some” is a fantastic line of reasoning for con’s argument. The argument being that just because pro doesn’t like religion doesn’t mean that it should be cast aside, doesn’t mean we should act as though religion is a delusion, doesn’t mean we should consider the right to one’s own faith to be ‘unnecessary’.

Pro not only failed to address my arguments that established the need for religion, but simply makes claims and hopes you’ll have forgotten my speech enough to believe them. If I’ve given poor definitions, give better definitions. If the crux of my argument is that some people need religion to justify unreasonable things or enforce hatred, then prove that’s the case. If something I say is absurd, give reasons to believe and prove it’s absurd. Their assertions are meaningless without evidence.

2.2 Rebuttals

Pro presented no new arguments in round 2 and thus there is no need for rebuttals.

3. Conclusion

To conclude, pro hasn’t addressed anything I said. Pro only claims I said things I didn’t say and says things that they give no reason to believe. Their portrayal of my arguments are obviously fallacious to anyone who was genuinely reading them and I am very disappointed in pro’s choice to incorrectly portray my arguments here.

I’ve given over a dozen citations whereas pro hasn’t given us one, I’ve given a much easier to follow structure and speech in general, I’ve presented three constructive arguments/analyses that have gone entirely unrefuted, I’ve shown you all the reasons that pro’s claims have no ground upon which to stand on, and I’ve shown you why they’d fail to prove the resolution even if they did have that ground.

4. Citations

No citations were used in this speech.

Round 3
Pro
Forfeited
Con
My opponent has forfeit a round and failed to introduce sufficient rebuttals or constructive arguments in their speech for the second round that there is too little information to warrant making a new speech entirely. My rebuttals for round 1 and 2 and my constructive arguments from round 1 continue to stand.
Round 4
Pro
Forfeited
Con
My opponent has forfeit.
Round 5
Pro
Forfeited
Con
My opponent has forfeit.