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Thread: Can religion be "debated"?

  1. #11
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    Re: Can religion be "debated"?

    Quote Originally Posted by OlNate View Post
    I think another danger, especially in the rinse and repeat atheist vs. theist scenario we see played out here over and over, when you have a gap between sides on the level of respect expected around the subject material, it's very easy for things to escalate to full tilt mode...and once folks are in full tilt mode, all conversation becomes pointless, other than to vent all the nasty. I sometimes think debating religion outside of your specific church or faith community is like filling your stress ball with nitroglycerin...hehe...
    I used to be a huge fan of debates, but it feels like it is becoming standard for most of them to immediately devolve into point scoring against the other side. I honestly can't remember the last time I watched an Atheist v Christian debate where they genuinely tried to understand each other.

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    Re: Can religion be "debated"?

    Quote Originally Posted by MrPeanut View Post
    I used to be a huge fan of debates, but it feels like it is becoming standard for most of them to immediately devolve into point scoring against the other side. I honestly can't remember the last time I watched an Atheist v Christian debate where they genuinely tried to understand each other.
    haha...you gotta get out of anonymous debate forums.

    It's totally possible to have a civil discussion to drive understanding, even among people who will not leave the conversation with their minds changed. Of course, you need a couple things - one, the people involved have to be ok with the fact that no one will be convinced, and number two, the people involved have to understand that even though they don't agree on the subject, it's a very touchy, personal thing they are discussing to at least one side, if not both, and mutual respect is required.
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    Re: Can religion be "debated"?

    Quote Originally Posted by MrPeanut View Post
    I used to be a huge fan of debates, but it feels like it is becoming standard for most of them to immediately devolve into point scoring against the other side. I honestly can't remember the last time I watched an Atheist v Christian debate where they genuinely tried to understand each other.
    Try to understand the theory of Christian Gods?

    LOL, kind of a ridiculous adventure not to mention a waste of valuable time.
    The more I get to know people the more I realize why Noah only let animals on the boat.

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    Re: Can religion be "debated"?

    Quote Originally Posted by OlNate View Post
    haha...you gotta get out of anonymous debate forums.

    It's totally possible to have a civil discussion to drive understanding, even among people who will not leave the conversation with their minds changed. Of course, you need a couple things - one, the people involved have to be ok with the fact that no one will be convinced, and number two, the people involved have to understand that even though they don't agree on the subject, it's a very touchy, personal thing they are discussing to at least one side, if not both, and mutual respect is required.
    Political debate forums are a healthy release of emotion at the asshole "red hats."
    The more I get to know people the more I realize why Noah only let animals on the boat.

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    Re: Can religion be "debated"?

    Quote Originally Posted by OlNate View Post
    Dictionary definition, with the aim of establishing argument as superior to another.
    Then yes. Religion, like anything else can be debated.

    Whether or not there's a chance to declare a winner or a loser is a different question.
    Quote Originally Posted by it's just me View Post
    I do speak for all of Christianity, you just don't know what Christianity is.

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    Re: Can religion be "debated"?

    Quote Originally Posted by HonestJoe View Post
    Formal debate certainly does but that also doesn’t require any strong emotional feeling or even agreement with the position you’re taking. I suspect what you’re really thinking of is when discussion turns in to argument, which is an entirely different prospect.

    That depends on exactly what the proposition they debate is. For example, “A god could exist” is entirely different to “The Christian God definitely doesn’t exist”. Of course, your atheist and theist could also debate “Dogs are better than cats”, “The human race shouldn’t colonise other planets” or “Religion can’t be effectively debated”.

    That’s true of most discussions, certainly on any strongly held or emotive topics (guns, abortion, immigration etc.) and I think you inadvertently display the problem by suggesting “I’m right, you’re wrong” is at the heart of debate. What should be the heart is “I’m right because…”. As long as both sides take that approach with mutual respect and reasonableness, a perfectly rational debate is possible, even if you end up with as (or more!) divided opinions as you started.
    Unlike most discussions, though, you have no common foundation of fact to build upon for most religious topics amongst different demographics. A Christian will point to their Bible, and say here is my proof, while a follower of Taoism will point to the Lao-tzu, and say here is my proof, each believing the other's religious text to be a fraud. (Attempting to make this not about atheists, though in honesty it's a lot easier to discuss religion with people of other religions, as anyone belonging to a religion would have at least a basic understanding of how faith works).

    When you talk about debating "dogs are better than cats", "the human race shouldn't colonize other planets", or even "religion can't be effectively debated", as subjective as some of those things seem, real data and evidence can be presented in each case. Dogs vs. cats could come down to a tally of benefits, with scientific studies as backup. Whether or not to move to another planet could be debated using our history on this one. DP could be used as a data set to see if good debate can be had around religion by doing an analysis on post and infraction numbers. The same data set could be shared between both debating parties, and only the interpretation, not the validity of the data set itself, could be discussed. However, to an Taoist, or an atheist, "because the Bible tells me so" is not "proof".

    So...if even the validity of the only evidence a theist will generally present (their religious text) will be discounted out of hand by those who either don't believe, or believe differently, how can the implications of that evidence ever be debated? We see threads in other parts of the forum never get off the ground because of unacceptable sources. It would be interesting to hear from an atheist which source is the bigger non starter: Breitbart or the Bible...hehe...

    Certainly actions can be debated - do Churches do good works in the community, are all Muslims called to be terrorists, etc. I've even seen really good comparative debates - are the teachings of Christ and the Buddha compatible, for example. But debates like "God doesn't exist" or "Which denomination / sect is the true example of {fill in religion here} are doomed to fail, in my opinion, because these tend to always go straight to fight or flight. Either the participants go into soldier mode, or they are sick of people always going into soldier mode, and simply walk away....unless great care is taken.

    I think "I'm right, you're wrong" is the same as "I'm right because" - certainly the implications are the same. And since those with faith should understand that they have to have faith specifically because there is no proof, debating it seems a lost cause, unless you're discussing it with people who take for granted, due to having the same faith, the same things you do.
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    Re: Can religion be "debated"?

    Quote Originally Posted by noonereal View Post
    Try to understand the theory of Christian Gods?

    LOL, kind of a ridiculous adventure not to mention a waste of valuable time.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonfly View Post
    Then yes. Religion, like anything else can be debated.

    Whether or not there's a chance to declare a winner or a loser is a different question.
    So, let's say my only authority is the Bible, and I plan to take all my debate material from that. You don't believe in the Bible at all (speaking hypothetically, so as not to assume out of line), and think it's complete nonsense, and utterly lacking in proof. However I believe it is the ultimate truth.

    How do we debate, if that is our starting point? How do we bridge that gap to even start the conversation?
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    Re: Can religion be "debated"?

    Quote Originally Posted by OlNate View Post
    So, let's say my only authority is the Bible, and I plan to take all my debate material from that. You don't believe in the Bible at all (speaking hypothetically, so as not to assume out of line), and think it's complete nonsense, and utterly lacking in proof. However I believe it is the ultimate truth.

    How do we debate, if that is our starting point? How do we bridge that gap to even start the conversation?
    We start with a handshake and a beer.
    Quote Originally Posted by it's just me View Post
    I do speak for all of Christianity, you just don't know what Christianity is.

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    Re: Can religion be "debated"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonfly View Post
    We start with a handshake and a beer.
    Of course, we'd have to be in person, and not on an anonymous debate forum to do that. But must confess, I do love this response. Though I think what happens after that is a conversation, not so much a debate. I generally don't set out to invalidate the sacred beliefs of someone I've shaken hands with and am drinking beer with...hehe...

    You, though, just earned yourself a permanent invite during the good weather months to have that conversation around a fire with beer should you ever find yourself in eastern Ontario.

    Actually, everyone is being great in this thread for the most part. You can all come up for a beer. hehe...
    Life's too short...

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    Re: Can religion be "debated"?

    Quote Originally Posted by OlNate View Post
    So, let's say my only authority is the Bible, and I plan to take all my debate material from that. You don't believe in the Bible at all (speaking hypothetically, so as not to assume out of line), and think it's complete nonsense, and utterly lacking in proof. However I believe it is the ultimate truth.

    How do we debate, if that is our starting point? How do we bridge that gap to even start the conversation?
    You can't.

    Anyone that wants to toss reason to the wind in favor of want (what they want to believe) is useless to any conversation.

    They are even detrimental to societal advancement.

    Just stay away from these types, no good can come of it.
    The more I get to know people the more I realize why Noah only let animals on the boat.

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