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Challenge Match: adjensen vs RedBird: the Catholic Church has had a positive influence on the world

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posted on Sep, 4 2012 @ 10:58 AM
I would like to thank the ATS Debate forum for hosting this debate, and my esteemed opponent, RedBird, for proposing it, and allowing me to argue in the affirmative.

My proposal is that the Catholic Church has had a positive influence on the world throughout its history (a slight altering of RedBird's original statement, to reflect that the church has only existed for about 2,000 years.)


I am an engineer by trade -- I design and build things. In the world of engineering, there are three letters that we all know, live by and occasionally curse -- ISO, which stands for the International Organization for Standardization. If one wants to write software to connect to an email server, use proper sterilization and disinfection methods, create a test method for screen printing inks, or perform hundreds of other technical processes, there is an ISO certified method for it.

The establishment, dispersal and enforcement of standards is critical for our technical world -- if I want to design an electrical circuit, I don't want to whiz away a bunch of time trying to sort out what this company's capacitor is going to do, as opposed to the same capacitor I used from a different company last week. But standards are important for things beyond technology, as they allow us to understand complex things with an assurance of uniformity. We mostly agree on calendars and clocks, so I can arrange a conference call with someone in Japan or South Africa without having to sort out what "4 September 2012 at 1500 GMT" translates to in their world. If one doesn't see the value in that, call someone in Newfoundland and ask them what time it is, lol.

The Christian faith is no different than any other complex system -- it benefits from standardization, and for about 2,000 years, that has been a role taken on by the Roman Catholic Church. The term "catholic" simply means "universal", so one must differentiate between the different branches of the "catholic" church -- all denominations that have descended from the church that Jesus established, through the Apostle Peter, are catholic, but I will be referring to the Roman Catholic church, as opposed to Eastern Orthodox, Anglican or Protestant variants.

In the earliest days of the church, the primary function of the Catholic church was to establish orthodoxy -- setting the standards for what it meant to be a follower of Christ. Was there one God? Three? Dozens? Hundreds? Early Christian variations taught all of these. Was Christ the saviour of the Jews? Jews and Gentiles? Gentiles only? Again, there were flavours of Christianity that carried each of the three as a core teaching.

The emergence of the Roman Catholic church, in the first centuries following Christ's death, as the standard bearer of Christian orthodoxy was critical to the faith's consistency and universalism. A Corinthian could travel to Alexandria, find a church that was "in communion" with the church of Corinth (in other words, another Catholic church) and be assured that the teaching, fellowship and Eucharist were the same as she would find at home.

As humans are wont to do, dissension on issues, both great and small, have brought us to a point today where it is claimed that there are over 38,000 variations of Christianity (most of those, of course, coming from Congregationalist churches, who determine their beliefs on a church by church basis, not by an overarching authority,) but there is still the one Roman Catholic church, which continues to establish standards of uniformity in theology, practice and worship. I was in Alaska a couple of weeks ago, and attended Mass in two different churches, and though the physical structure of the churches, the people and the environment was different, the message, Mass and Eucharist were the same as I find in my local church.

There have been many abuses of this standardization on the part of the Roman Catholic church, but I view these as being as much about power as they were about religious orthodoxy. In the early days of the church, heretics were treated as suggested by Christ and the Apostle Paul -- you went to them, pointed out their error, tried to get them back into orthodoxy, and if they insisted on going their own way, you kicked them out of the church. No "burning at the stake", no beheadings, you just told them to leave, and they did, going off to start their own church.

That changed, once the church became the power that it did, and resulted in Inquisitions, religious wars with Muslims and Protestants, and all kinds of reprehensible behaviour, but the proscribed actions to take against heresy are still, to this day, the original, kicking them out of the church.

Can. 1364 ß1 An apostate from the faith, a heretic or a schismatic incurs a latae sententiae excommunication, without prejudice to the provision of Can. 194 ß1, n. 2; a cleric, moreover, may be punished with the penalties mentioned in Can. 1336 ß1, nn. 1, 2 and 3. (Source)

Because of its rigid enforcement of doctrinal standards, a Roman Catholic can positively aver what his faith teaches. He doesn't necessarily agree with it, or follow it, but there is little argument as to what it actually is. That's something that a Baptist or Lutheran would struggle to do, as it differs with each variation of that religion. In addition, all Christian churches, including Protestants, point to original Catholic Orthodoxy for a definition of "who is Christian". Core shared beliefs, such as the Trinity, and the sacrament of baptism, are used to demonstrate that, while some people "follow Christ", they are not Christians (examples being the Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses.) Though these standards, exemplified in creeds such at the Nicene Creed, are Roman Catholic in origin, they are upheld by all Christian denominations.

This standardization, I believe, is the most important religious role that the Roman Catholic church has played over the centuries and will continue to perform until the end of time.

In addition, from a religious standpoint, the unique approach of honouring holy persons, through the veneration of saints, serves to provide the faithful with strong role models, who demonstrate that, no matter what one's circumstances might be, living a holy life is not merely desirable, but also achievable by all who strive for sanctification. This points to the very Catholic notion of the daily devotion of Christians to their God -- from the daily Mass, to structured prayers such as the Liturgy of the Hours, to the singular devotion of nuns, priests and monks, the Roman Catholic church calls its people to an immersion in faith like no other Christian church can.

Having reviewed the religious oriented positive influences of the church, in my next post, I will look at the positive secular influences of the Roman Catholic church, particularly as regards education, science, medicine, charity and the arts.

posted on Sep, 4 2012 @ 01:50 PM
reply to post by adjensen

Thank you, adjensen, for accepting my challenge. This is a topic of immense importance, and I am pleased to debate with someone so knowledgeable on a subject that is, I think, near and dear to both of our hearts.

It will be important for those reading and judging to remember the limitations inherent in any discussion of history. Precisely because events in the past played out the way they did, it is impossible to know for sure how they might have played out otherwise. Precisely because the church DID enforce positive standards of worship and practice, it is impossible for us to claim that some other authority could or would not have done the same. And done so, perhaps, with far fewer negative consequences.

The Church was not the first complex system, nor was it the first to impose standards of practice on society. Long before the church existed, there was the Roman Empire, which performed the same vital functions, but did so in a secular, tolerant way. What does distinguish the church is the ruthlessness with which its standards were imposed on all -- not just its followers -- and the violence of its methods. The Catholic Church emerged during the high summer of the Roman Empire, a social order distinguished by its religious tolerance, cosmopolitan nature, and forward-looking optimism. Roman peace was often imposed, but Roman virtue, Roman patronage, and Roman prosperity never needed to be imposed -- they were always eagerly accepted.

"The toga was seen often among them." 1 So Tacitus, writing in the first century, describes the eagerness with which British provincials accepted the Roman way of life, mere decades after the Roman conquest of Britain. The toga was never imposed. It didn't need to be imposed. The virtue of Roman law and ethics was always self-evident. The teachings of the Church, however, needed to be imposed, because they were so often rejected by those to whom they were offered freely.

It is my contention that from the very first, the Church's influence on the world was a profoundly negative one. True, it established an authority, and that authority had some positive effects, but it did so only by subverting and then supplanting an already extant order which was far more civilized, constructive, and loved by the people. In order for the Church to remake the world, it first had to destroy the world.

In his great epic, "The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire", Edward Gibbon argues that the emergence of the Christian Church was directly responsible for the decline of Roman virtue, and the eventual decay and collapse of western civilization. By insisting on the supremacy of the Here-After, the Church discouraged men from devoting themselves to the improvement of the very real world around them. By destroying the old ties of patronage, of lineage, and the old household gods, the Church stripped men of their past and their independent future. It fixed men to a fate that was not theirs, and over which they had no power. It replaced mastery and optimism with servility and worldly pessimism.

I have started at the beginning, because that is where the argument starts. In my subsequent posts I will go on to consider the centuries that follow more or less as they followed, and demonstrate clearly and without bias that the Catholic Church's influence on the world is and was a negative one. The good that it did does not mitigate the harm that it did, and whereas the harm is for the most part demonstrable, the good is often in doubt. Did the Church free the slaves, or did the Empire free the slaves? That is a question open for debate. That the Church encouraged the enslavement of Saracens, and the murder of pagan priests -- that is hardly in doubt.

From the incestuous Popes of the early Middle Ages, through the Albigensian Crusades, to the slaughter of the Baltic pagans -- all to the cry of "God Wills It!" Its genocidal acts, its suppression of scientific truth, its enslavement of thought and backwards social policies -- none of these can be assuaged by mere material charity or the illusion of spiritual comfort.

Whole cultures lost forever to history, their art and memories obliterated from the world. Can the enrichment of a more-or-less positive Christian culture compensate for that? Can the building of a thousand Gothic cathedrals ever really atone for the destruction of a single Aztec temple? Can the creation of some new spiritual life staunch the flow of blood? We are still bleeding from these wounds!

In the five hundred years since the Protestant Reformation, secular societies have done more to feed, clothe, and house the poor than the Church has ever done. The small triumphs of religious mysticism have been utterly eclipsed by the humanity of science.

For now, I rest.

posted on Sep, 5 2012 @ 12:07 PM
The notion that Christianity was one of the main factors in the fall of Rome wasn't a new one with Gibbon -- it was, in fact, contemporary with said fall. One of the early church fathers, Augustine of Hippo, addressed those claims with a series of books called The City of God, which pointed out that, rather than weakening the state, Christian notions could strengthen it, were they followed. Rome had its problems throughout its history, whether pagan or Christian, and Augustine pointed out that this disassociates Rome's calamities from its religious tenor.

In Decline and Fall, written about 1,300 years after Augustine, at the beginning of the "Age of Reason," Gibbon has an agenda, to demonstrate that non-Enlightened Christians could destroy the most powerful of states through their primitive thinking. However, the consensus among modern historians is more along the lines of corruption, poor leadership and circumstances beyond the control of the Romans as being the root causes. (Source)

A curious thing that one notes in the study of war is that every conflict has one thing in common, the presence of human beings. It doesn't seem to matter if a war is about religion, resources, ethnic differences, or any other factor, humans are always at the root of the matter. Contrary to popular belief, there have been only three major conflicts that were solely about matters of religion (the Crusades, the Muslim conquest of Europe and the Catholic/Protestant wars of the 1600s) and over 60% of major conflicts had no religious aspect whatsoever. (Source) From this, we may draw the logical conclusion that, were Christianity suddenly wiped off the face of the Earth, the amount and degree of violent conflict would change little, if at all, because the root cause of conflict is people, not faith.

Following the fall of Rome and the conquest of the barbarians, Europe entered the Dark Ages, and it would be 500 years before it would stagger out, led out by the Catholic church, which had taken steps to preserve ancient knowledge in the monasteries of Ireland (Source) and other places. Throughout the Dark Ages, Catholics kept alive the notion of education, in monastic schools throughout the continent. Though they were focused on religious education, they taught other subjects, as well, and in early Medieval times, some of these schools became the earliest universities.

The earliest institutes of higher learning (as we now recognize them) were in Italy, Britain and France, were Catholic institutions, and were focused on teaching the arts, medicine, theology and the law. While secular education institutions would later overwhelm the parochial, the Roman Catholic church was the originator of the modern higher education system, which continues to this day, with over 1,300 Catholic universities, such as Notre Dame, Boston College and Loyola University, scattered around the world.

A misconception exists as regards the Catholic view of science, particularly as regards the perceived conflict between religion and science. Contrary to public opinion, the Roman Catholic church does not promote literal reading of the Bible, nor does it eschew evolution. This is spelled out in the Constitution of Catholic Faith:

Though faith is above reason, there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason. Since the same God who reveals mysteries and infuses faith has bestowed the light of reason on the human mind, God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever contradict truth. (Dei Filius 4: DS 3017)

In other words, religion has nothing to fear or resent from science, as they are two complimentary methods of investigating reality. As we have seen, the schools of the Catholic church were the foundations of modern science, and apart from instances where human dignity is compromised (which is a fundamental religious tenant of the faith,) Catholics are not the Luddites many take them to be.

Two past instances are often cited to demonstrate Catholic "suppression" of science -- Bruno and Galileo, but such views overlook that Bruno was condemned for his religious heresy not his scientific, and Galileo was not arguing against God, he was arguing against the Aristotelian view of physics, in favour of what would be later known as the Newtonian view. But change comes hard to something held as truth for thousands of years, and Galileo made the critical error of not only turning the discussion political, but by "bringing the Pope in on his side" in a writing, which was not appreciated by the powers that be.

Rapidly running out of space, the remainder of my points will need to wait for my final post in the debate.

posted on Sep, 8 2012 @ 04:33 PM
I'd like to begin by stating what I offer freely:

A curious thing that one notes in the study of war is that every conflict has one thing in common, the presence of human beings.

I will grant this proposition, for two important reasons. One, it is almost trivially true, and two, I consider it a strong point in my favor. Yes, all conflicts have man in common, but you have left out the obvious addendum: All conflict is human in origin, also, all charity, all virtue, and all progress are human in origin. If you can explain away the crimes of the Church by appealing to man's nature, then I can explain away the triumphs of the Church in the same way. Reducing the Church's influence to a null may be intellectually convenient on occasion, but it concedes your entire argument. Is this what you want?

Let us ask ourselves some different questions. Has the Church ever done anything positive that a secular institution could not have done? I do not think there is a convincing argument for the affirmative. All virtues available to the believer are available to the non-believer. But there are absolutely crimes of which blind Faith is capable that Reason is not. A Church and a Government can both commit genocide, build schools, organize society, or rule by terror. But only a Church is capable of punishing a man after he is gone. Only a Church can terrorize men with the horror of the here-after. This tool of power, this ability to dominate man body, mind, and soul is unique to institutions of faith. No secular power can wield that horrible cudgel.

It is a horrible and terrible thing to rule men by their fear of eternal punishment. It is by no means certain that an institution of faith need use this tool, but it is by no means surprising that the Catholic Church DID use this tool, violently, and continues to do so. This is one crime you cannot lay at the feet of Man. This weapon was invented by Faith, and blind Faith is necessary for it to exist. Only a Church could create this evil.

I feel almost as though I could rest here, so strong do I perceive this point to be. I am willing to grant you nearly all the rest you have offered, with a few caveats.

I will grant you the Church's contributions to higher learning in the early Medieval period, I only pause briefly to point out that these contributions were minor compared to the effects of the Greek and Arab manuscripts made available to Europeans five centuries later, which overturned most of the precepts of earlier times, and led directly to the Renaissance. That the Church eventually accepted the intellectual reforms of Aquinas and embraced the new Baconian science does not dismiss the fact that it was Augustine and his insistence on the supremacy of Faith over Reason that was a major factor in retarding that intellectual growth in the first place.

That the new science finally began to blossom only as the power of the church waned in the late middle ages should not be ignored. That the Church finally accepted science and Reason is not a point in favor of the Faith. What good is it to say that the Church accepted the Enlightenment when we only mean that the Church eventually accepted the Enlightenment? The Church's greatest triumphs are its apologies!

I will grant that the Catholic Church accepts evolution. So what? All sane, thinking men accept evolution. I will even grant, if you wish, that Galileo was only punished for satirizing the Pope, and not for telling the truth. Whether or not satirizing the Pope was a good enough reason to place him under house arrest until the day he died, is, I suppose, another matter.

But what of what followed? What of the annihilation of nearly every Mesoamerican culture, and the calculated destruction of their historical texts? A campaign driven entirely by the Church, and carried out for particular and peculiarly religious reasons. You cannot lay that crime at the feet of man qua man.

What of the Church's insistence on the virtues of poverty and servility? On keeping men materially poor so that they might be spiritually rich? Again, the familiar pattern re-emerges: The evil is certain, the good is in doubt. The actual effect of these values is negative, the hoped-for positive effects are a matter of blind Faith.

I will save the remaining arguments for my final response.

For now, I maintain that you have done little to demonstrate the Church's positive influence on the world. Your insistence on the pervading influence of man's basic nature defies the central tenets of your position. The one thing that makes the Church unique, the one reason that it was ever granted temporal power, was its insistence on a spiritual mandate from beyond the world, emanating from some ultimate Good. But the only power that has been demonstrably drawn from that inspiration is the power to damn: To chain men to doctrine even after death.

It has introduced no virtue not already in the world.

It has unleashed only devils.

posted on Sep, 10 2012 @ 10:59 PM
With apologies for my delay in responding, I believe that my first order of business needs to be to point out that my opponent has gone a bit off the rails with his last argument. The subject of this debate is "The Catholic Church has had a positive influence on the world", which he largely concedes it has done, but then goes on to claim that it doesn't matter, because he has a case, if the debate was about something else.

Could secular groups have done similar work to what the Catholic church has done over the centuries in advancing the cause of providing western civilization with a moral framework, the establishment of higher education, the foundations of modern science, art patronage and all the rest of the good that the church has done? Can we imagine an "alternative history", where all those things came into being without the church?

Perhaps, but the answer is not relevant, as neither addresses the issue of this debate.

The Catholic church is slow to accept advances in science? Well, their primary mission is providing the religious and theological framework of those who opt to be Roman Catholic -- if it was the promotion of science, that would likely be a valid complaint.

With that in mind, let's move along to our list of positive contributions that the Roman Catholic church has given to the world.


In 2011, Catholic Charities USA spent $794,000,000 in direct aid to the poor, oppressed, abandoned and stricken, and that is just one Catholic charity. In this article (Wikipedia, sorry), one can see that there are over 100 distinct charities in the Archdiocese of New York alone. From food shelves to adoption counseling to disaster relief, the Catholics are there to help others, and have been since the days of Paul (see Galatians 2:10.)

(I will stave off the inevitable complaint by noting that the vast majority of Roman Catholic assets are real estate, and the vast majority of that are churches, which cannot be sold to raise money for the poor.)


Hand in hand with the charity work of the church was the establishment of hospitals, originally intended as simple "hospitality" for strangers, but eventually growing into the modern institution of medical care.

But that the Christians in the East had founded hospitals before Julian the Apostate came to the throne (361) is evident from the letter which that emperor sent to Arsacius, high-priest of Galatia, directing him to establish a xenodochium in each city to be supported out of the public revenues. As he plainly declares, his motive was to rival the philanthropic work of the Christians who cared for the pagans as well as for their own. (Source)

The remainder of that article is an excellent source regarding the evolution of Roman Catholic sponsored hospitals over the centuries.

Patronage of the Arts

A picture is worth a thousand words…

Yes, there are many art patrons and museums in the world, but are not these Catholic sponsored, and publicly available for viewing, contributions to the world of beauty a positive contribution to the world?


We can see that the Roman Catholic church has, for almost 2,000 years, contributed in a positive manner to the world at large. As the fundamental responsibility of a religious institution is the proper dispensation of orthodox teaching, we can trace the roots of this success from the very earliest days of the church, with the Apostles, with Paul's establishment of missionary churches, and with the establishment of Biblical canon, right up through today, when the church continues to consistently preach a message that focuses on devotion to God and to the preservation of human dignity, whether by opposing abortion, charitably supporting the poor, speaking out in favour of human rights and against capital punishment, and more.

Has the church committed fault over the years, even going as far as grievous fault? This cannot be denied, but it does not negate the greater good. Rationally, we must ignore "alternate histories" and comparisons to secular actions in the 21st century in our analysis -- it is all well and good to say that "in another world, someone else might have established the higher education system, modern science, medical care, charities, and other benefits to society", but that doesn't negate the fact that in our reality, they were established by the Roman Catholic church, and no other.

Setting aside the hyperbole of "It has unleashed only devils" and similar irrational anti-theistic claims, it is clear that the Roman Catholic church has had a positive impact on the world we live in.

posted on Sep, 12 2012 @ 08:44 PM

With apologies for my delay in responding, I believe that my first order of business needs to be to point out that my opponent has gone a bit off the rails with his last argument. The subject of this debate is "The Catholic Church has had a positive influence on the world", which he largely concedes it has done, but then goes on to claim that it doesn't matter, because he has a case, if the debate was about something else.

With all due respect to my opponent, that opening paragraph is a piece of pinocchian conjuring. I have not gone off the rails, but I am eager to disembark from whatever broken train of thought he is trying to conduct.

[...]providing western civilization with a moral framework, the establishment of higher education, the foundations of modern science, art patronage and all the rest of the good that the church has done? Can we imagine an "alternative history", where all those things came into being without the church?

I don't need to imagine an alternative history, because I know where those things came from. Their foundations were not set by the Church, but by the philosophers of the Greek and Roman world. The Church merely borrowed these disciplines in order to color them with its own doctrine and values. The secular world did accomplish these things, and the modern secular world has carried them farther than the Church could have ever done.

Contrary to his claim, I have not conceded anything, and I know very well what we are debating about. I have granted the Church a few small, circumstantial victories in the dark ages of our past. I maintain they are inconsequential when compared to all the evil that the Church has done.

I lay the genocide of an entire continent at his feet, and he comes back with patronage of the arts. I know of several men serving terms in prison for murder who are wonderful artists, but that has not forced me to change my opinion of their general moral character. Incidentally, here's a wonderful piece of medieval Christian art:

For almost two millenia children in the western world grew up being taught that this was a real place, and that they would go there for all eternity if they did not believe what the Church told them to believe. That is pure evil, and it has had a profoundly negative impact on the spiritual, emotional, and psychological well-being of our civilization.

In the United States, today, right-wing politicians are engaged in a ceaseless effort to make all charity faith-based charity. Never-mind that the State could easily feed, clothe, and house the poor if it chose to, these politicians -- most of them Christians -- are working tirelessly to ensure that it does not, and that only the Church be given the keys to the hearts and minds of the poor.

At the same time the Church patronizes the poor, it simultaneously advocates for social policies that ensure they will remain poor. It forbids birth control, ensuring that women will remain trapped in the cycle of annual pregnancies that results in poverty, high rates of mortality, and the oppression of women. The Church builds schools, which immediately set about reinforcing that same oppression and which succeed by delivering the same metaphysical black-mail they have always sold as a hopeful promise.

The Church builds hospitals, while at the same time forbidding the use of condoms -- the only effective method of preventing the spread of HIV, a disease which overwhelmingly affects the very people that the Church claims to protect. The poor.

The Church is not a friend of the poor. The Church is a friend of poverty. It wants to keep people materially poor -- so that it can make them spiritually rich. In other words, it knows that the poor and the oppressed are the most likely to accept the Church's peculiar spiritual medicine when they offer it, so it sets about perpetuating, glorifying, and idealizing the conditions of poverty that keep its ranks swelled with desperate, fearful souls.

Blessed are the poor: They keep coming to Church.

Meanwhile, the secular governments and charities of the world are doing far more to help the poor, while simultaneously battling the harmful effects of the Church's regressive social policies. The Church can leave off the charity altogether in my opinion, so long as they promise to leave off the proselytizing and moral propagandizing as well. The world would be better off.

In the 2000 years since its unfortunate and devastating arrival the Church has done incredible evil to our world. Its doctrine of damnation, its suppression of science, and its unethical social policies have destroyed whole generations and untold individual lives. Its small contributions to learning and the arts, and its dishonest charity can never atone for its evil.

The Church's influence on the world has been a negative one.

posted on Sep, 18 2012 @ 01:53 AM
The votes are in!

Judge one said:

I have read the debate and come to a conclusion. It was a hard decision, as both sides had to concede very important points to the other over the course of the debate, but I thank you for the chance to contribute in whatever small way I can.

The winner is adjensen.

Although adjensen's opening post only made the case of how the Catholic Church positively impacted the church itself, subsequent posts effectively argue that the church was instrumental in the retention of knowledge throughout it's existence and played an important role in educating and molding the culture of the people. It is also important that he/she pointed out that it is not religion, per se, that drives Man to commit atrocity. It is the fallibility of Man itself that is to blame.

While RedBird brings up some very good points, his assertion that any good done by the church could have been done by secular entities only deflects from the fact the church DID create those positive effects, not government or other non-religious entities.

And judge two said:

Good debate with some Hitchen’s style arguments.
Neither side proposed overall introduction criteria for what is positive nor negative, resulting in comparison of arguments for the most part.

A number of arguments go unanswered, not directly addressed, or only partially addressed on both sides including that Rome fell due to not following Christian notions, the slavery/genocide point, the position that most wars are not religious, the eternal punishment argument, points regarding the reform ... etc
The debate is therefore judged on a comparison of argument and evidence quality, coupled with the quality of unanswered arguments.

The pro position managed to sneak in a key undisputed point that the Church has no responsibility to promote science which went unanswered by the con.
Whilst the con position answered a point that religion does not cause wars, it responded to the wording of the argument rather than the statistical conclusion. Essentially part of the argument remained in play (regardless of my own thoughts on this argument’s merits) and the ‘people do good’ as well point was not necessarily followed through.

The genocide argument is left largely unaddressed as is the after life argument. The points regarding Aquinas and the reform are potentially strong to those who understand them, and again left mostly unhandled.
The opponents clash on charity with valid arguments both side. The pro position provides evidence regarding faith based charity, and the con doesn’t follow through an argument stating that secular charities are doing more for the poor but does bring up some valid points.

The con position seems to concede points unnecessarily in some areas, removing weight from otherwise strong arguments. Sometimes valid points such as secular charity and the forceful imposition of the Church are left without evidence or in favour of promoting the benefits of secularism. These points let down otherwise strong analysis. (Philosophers argument was especially strong.)

The pro position leaves some elephants in the room (genocide/after life) but keeps up with consistent evidence and proofs to back up fair arguments, and continued rebuttals such as the Roman debate which the con position let go.

This has been difficult to judge with a number of dropped arguments scoring frequently, but goes to the pro position for consistency, direction, and evidence. Would have really loved to see how a few Socratic queries might have redirected the debate.

Congrats to both!

adjenson is the winner of this debate.

Congratulations to both debaters for a very entertaining and enlightening engagement! You both did a heck of a job!


posted on Sep, 18 2012 @ 08:51 AM
Well, I'm surprised by the outcome, but very grateful for the opportunity to debate a very sharp foe, and for the judges and their critiques. I agree, wholeheartedly, that I dropped a number of points, a couple fairly significant, but it was the sacrifice I decided I needed to make to free up space for my "pro" points going forward.

Lesson learned, for me: a super broad topic like this is very challenging, and prioritize refutation points.

Again, thank you to RedBird, Heff and the judges!

posted on Sep, 18 2012 @ 10:55 AM
Congratulations to adjensen, and thank you Judges for a very thorough and thoughtful analysis.

The judges were quite correct in pointing out that I failed to follow through on some of my arguments.

As I think adjensen discerned, my primary strategy was to tie him up on his earlier points so he would have less space to elaborate on the demonstrably positive acts of the Church vis-a-vis charity.

I really thought I would win this debate, but consistency, it seems, is the take home lesson.

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