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Challenge Match: Sublimecraft vs Skyfloating - Is Religion a set-back to personal intellectual advan

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posted on Nov, 19 2012 @ 05:53 AM
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I am honoured to be given the opportunity to Debate on ATS.

Thank-you Skyfloating for being my first challenger for the aforementioned question.

I will be debating that YES - Religion is a set-back to personal intellectual advancement.

.........................................................................................................................................

This opening piece will focus primarily on examples of peoples religious views and their level of intelligent thinking associated with everyday life.

So - we have this definition..............


RELIGION is a collection of belief systems, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to explain the origin of life or the Universe. They tend to derive morality, ethics, religious laws or a preferred lifestyle from their ideas about the cosmos and human nature. According to some estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world.

en.wikipedia.org....

I disagree with portions of this definition.

Religion and Spirituality must be separated here at the outset.

Religion is based on bricks/mortar and all too human rulers in high places who are intent on control of the masses through interpretation of events that may or may not have occurred.

Spirituality is a personal philosophy and understanding of truth, your love for fellow man and the reason(s) why you exist.

Seldom do the two coincide when principalities, powers and rulers in high places have earthly agendas to fulfil.

When your loved one is sick are you going to seek assistance from the medical profession or religious profession? Well, for some, the latter has the answers and the former is shunned - shunned due to religious beliefs.

Individuals that decide that the means of healing can only be attained by the grace of God are usually left burying their loved one(s) before their time. Their faith in Religion and its teachings have been skewed by misinterpretation of what has been handed down from past generations.


On Easter Sunday of 2008, 11-year-old Kara Neumann of Weston, Wisconsin, suffered waves of nausea as she lay motionless on her deathbed, too weak to walk or speak. Kara's parents — both followers of the Unleavened Bread Ministries, an online church that shuns medical intervention — knelt in prayer beside their dying daughter. They did not call a doctor for help. A few hours later, Kara died of diabetes, a relatively common — and treatable — condition. Read more: www.time.com...


Have you ever heard of individuals performing “exorcisms” with the consequential effect resultant from the ritual being the death of the alleged person who was possessed?

It is examples like this that are all too common in our lives.

What would drive a person to choose such doctrines, to exercise such limited lateral thinking?

It is the basic instincts of the individual rather than the analytical side of the brain that is dominant that causes this way of thinking and when that occurs a "cap" is put on your ability to think methodically, to analyse, to ascertain probability and permutations.

Studies appear to confirm that this is the case.

Religiosity and intelligence – this is the core of the argument


The topic of religiosity and intelligence is the statistical relationship between intelligence and religiosity. Studies have begun to explore the link between religiosity and issues related to intelligence and educational level.
Various studies further suggest that intuitive thinking and inductive reasoning styles tend to increase religious beliefs, but also imply more conservative beliefs in general. Less religious people prefer analytical and deductive reasoning. IQ only measures mathematical and analytical capabilities, so it usually correlates with less religiosity.
Although statistical studies show that the poorest countries tend to be more religious, experts suggest that the reason may be that religions play a more active social, moral and cultural role in those countries, emulating nationalism. Religions in wealthy countries used to have a more specific moral and spiritual role.

en.wikipedia.org...

This graph below shows a correlation between average IQ vs a belief in God - it was created using data from Appendix A in the paper "Average intelligence predicts atheism rates across 137 nations" by Richard Lynn, John Harvey & Helmuth Nyborg published in the journal Intelligence.



Now, some of the most intelligent people I have met and have read about professed a deep faith in their respective religions. That deep faith is what I deem "spirituality" and it is a personal trait.

At one point in its colourful history, the Catholic Church forbade the reading of the Bible by individuals - truly indoctrination with a splash of ulterior motive.

Waco Texas and the Branch Davidians.

Jim Jones and the Jonestown Massacre.

Heavens Gate.

All are examples of the individual intellect being set-back or stalled.

Religion is indoctrination to adhere to a particular philosophy which goes well beyond the ideals taught by their particular progenitors - and this is what I believe causes some to have a stalled intellect - those who are brainwashed by that indoctrination to the point that logic and lateral thinking takes a back seat to Religious beliefs gained through indoctrination.

[END - PART 1]
edit on 11/19/12 by Hefficide because: Edited title - approved by ME!





posted on Nov, 19 2012 @ 07:46 AM
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I will be debating that NO - Religion is not a set-back to personal intellectual advancement. Religion has been a primary source of personal intellectual advancement. Looking beyond sophomoric pop-culture views that see it as some antiquated relic of rigid mental confinement, its not difficult to see why Religion has been the basis of human culture, civilization and science. I dare say that without its precepts we'd still be at the evolutionary stage of murderous savages.

Consider the 10 commandments:



Consider the 10 unwholesome deeds according to Buddhism:


1. taking life
2. taking what is not given
3. sexual misconduct
4. lying
5. sowing discord
6. harsh speech
7. idle gossip (or worthless chatter)
8. covetousness
9. ill will (or wishing harm on others)
10. wrong views

Source: Rigpa Wiki

Whether its religions in the East (Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Shintoism, Taoism) or Religions in the West (Islam, Judaism, Christianity), they all lay a foundation from which to flourish spiritually, intellectually and live in peace and prosperity among each other.

If theft and murder were a normal way of life, what "intellectual advancement" would that support? Most people would be fighting for bare survival rather than studying, learning, working, sharing, growing.

So what about the negative examples cited by Sublimecraft? It is because humans have a "lower nature" (as religion correctly teaches!) that they distort and misuse most anything. A knife can be used to cut bread or to kill. Electricity can be used to provide warmth or weapons. Religion can be USED to manipulate or enlighten, to indoctrinate or educate. Saying that Religion is "Bad" is like saying electricity or knives are "bad". Sublimecraft is spilling the baby with the bathwater. Not Religion as such that is bad (as we can see in its teachings), but what mere mortals make of it.

Humankinds lower nature is not a result of Religion, its a result of being "half angel and half animal" so to speak. Our evolutionary progress is not yet at a stage where we can leave our car-keys hanging and assume nobody will ever steal the car. Being mindful that "thou shalt not steal" would act as a deterrent rather than the cause of theft.

My opponent tries to correlate low IQ with religiosity, so I will counter that with showing that atheists/seculars are significantly less prosperous than adherents of most the great world Religions (Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism).



Source: New York Times: Is Religion your Financial Destiny?

You can interpret that any way you like. If having brains = making money, then your stats must be false. Or, if you can also make money without brains, then Id guess that IQ is not the only factor for a happy life. But if we take it to a meta-level Id say that neither IQ nor money are big factors in a happy life but rather health and relationships. Out of curiosity: If you had the choice to be either brainy or wealthy, what would you choose?

As examples of what Religion is and means my opponent cites Waco, Heavens Gate and Jonestown. Rather than representing Religion as a whole, with its Billions of sane, good-willed, intelligent adherents, Sublimecraft picks out the 0.000001% of mind-control cults saying "that, ladies and Gentlemen, is Religion!". As any reader will concede, picking out the tiny exception to the rule is not a valid argument of logic or evidence.

Sublimecraft also tries to redefine Religion as something different than Spirituality. But the term "Spirituality" is merely an umbrella-term to denote spiritual practices and Religion in general, without focus on a particular denomination. Some practice spirituality within Religion, some without.

Religion has been the basis of mankinds advancement. As humankind advances, the nature of Religion changes, but the essential teachings of religion remain the same. This is because they have been proven to work to the benefit of mankind. These days there are thousands of "personal development", "self-improvement, "self-help" or as my opponent says "personal intellectual advancement" books out there. A familiarity with the ancient religious books will reveal that none of what these modern teachings say is new. Be it the Lotus Sutra, the Vedas or The Sermon on the Mount, all these "modern" ideas of personal advancement have been taught before...in Religion.

Learning at least the basics of the great old books of the world will advance you intellectually and spiritually. These old books are treasure troves of wisdom.



posted on Nov, 19 2012 @ 07:00 PM
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Looking beyond sophomoric pop-culture views that see it as some antiquated relic of rigid mental confinement, its not difficult to see why Religion has been the basis of human culture, civilization and science. I dare say that without its precepts we'd still be at the evolutionary stage of murderous savages.

Daniel Pearl's wife and family, Nicholas Bergs' wife and family would disagree with you. I also disagree with this opening comment.
Case in point is one Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh - The bloke that beheaded Daniel Pearl.


Also these Muslim lads that did Allah's bidding by beheading Nicholas Berg and posted their talented work on YT. Here is a pic of him just before his last breath

Murderous savages indeed - all in recent times and all are acts that are motivated by Religious belief.

Now, its important that my friend in the oppositions' corner does not fall into the trap of providing an argument verifying that Religion has benefited the "collective" intellectual advancement of the human race.

Mr Skyfloating is generalising and packing the entire human civilisation into a single box:


Whether its religions in the East (Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Shintoism, Taoism) or Religions in the West (Islam, Judaism, Christianity), they all lay a foundation from which to flourish spiritually, intellectually and live in peace and prosperity among each other.


The underlined is an attempt at skirting around the issues we have today when we turn on the news or read the paper.

The 10 commandments or Buddhist unwholesome acts are foundations. Foundations that are soaked in the blood of those slain in the name of those respective religions. Foundations being undermined and eroded by those in charge of religions so as to maintain control of an unquestioning faithful.

I'll give you another 8 examples of Killing in the name of God - surely you will not be surprised to find wholesome Buddhists amongst this list?

1. Buddhist Burma & the sacrifice to the foundations of the Temple.
2. Thuggee Murders
3. Mountain Meadows Massacre.
4. The Inquisition.
5. The witch hunts.
6. The Roman persecution of the Christians.
7. Aztec human sacrifices.
8. Islamic Jihad
listverse.com...

Past and present murderous acts by unquestioning adherents - there is that stalled personal intellect again. Rearing its ugly head whenever an atrocity in the name of "God" is uncovered.

Is Religion a set-back to personal intellectual advancement? Lets all take a look at the elephant in the room shall we.

The Middle East:
1. Taliban beheadings / stonings in Afghanistan.
2. Saudi Arabia prohibition of religious freedom.
3. JERUSALEM

Lets look closely at number 3.

Religions in the West (Islam, Judaism, Christianity), they all lay a foundation from which to flourish spiritually, intellectually and live in peace and prosperity among each other.


I disagree with Mr Skyfloatings statement - again. Look right here on ATS - pick a day in the last week and look at the forums - jam-packed with the Middle East, Israeli's, Palestinian's, Hamas. ALL are adherents to their religions. ALL claim ownership of this land due to their Religions, ALL kill in the name of their religious mindsets.
Is Zionism linked to Religion - yes. Is Islamic Jihad linked to Religion - yes.

Is the world being held to ransom by Religious nutters who want the apocalypse to come so their long awaited Messiah can come - yes.

The Iranian Ayatollahs claim their throne(s) in the name of their religions and constantly spruke, amongst other die-hard adherents of Islam, for the Re-Establishment of a global Caliphate and the destruction of other religions AND monuments. Pyramids, Sphinx - they need to be destroyed because someone has interpreted that that is what Allah wants and the rest of humanity can be damned for disagreeing.


Rather than representing Religion as a whole....is not a valid argument of logic or evidence.
Once again we are talking about personal intellectual advancement, however, it seems befitting of my friend to consistently generalise:

Religion has been the basis of mankinds advancement. As humankind advances, the nature of Religion changes, but the essential teachings of religion remain the same.


Lets hear specific examples of individuals whom have advanced intellectually due to their religion.

Learning at least the basics of the great old books of the world will advance you intellectually and spiritually. These old books are treasure troves of wisdom.


No - this quote is the reason why we are in this mess. Die-hard adherents hang their hat on "the basics". Eg: The world being created in 6 days is not wisdom yet many intellectually challenged religious individuals will disagree with me on this, citing Genesis as proof.
edit on 11/20/12 by Hefficide because: Edited By Hefficide - edit approved to resolve compliance with character limit rules.



posted on Nov, 19 2012 @ 07:05 PM
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Post removed due to misunderstanding of debate forum post limit rules - member was allowed to amend and edit previous post to include information formerly here. Authorized by Hefficide - Debate forum moderator.
edit on 11/20/12 by Hefficide because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 20 2012 @ 03:22 AM
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Sublimecraft continues to make lists of the most atrocious psychopaths ever to walk the earth and links them to Religion. But the cause of violence and mayhem are emotions such as anger and a lack of ethical codes of conduct. These behaviors are the opposite of what Religions teach. Islam for example, teaches that you shouldnt even kill a bug, not to mention humans. Those who behead, are not doing so because of religion, but because they are emotionally disturbed.


Evidence shows strong relationships between levels of violence and potentially modifiable factors such as concentrated poverty, income and gender inequality, the harmful use of alcohol, and the absence of safe, stable, and nurturing relationships between children and parents


Source: Violence

All scientific studies point out the correlation of poverty and violence, drugs and violence, bad upbringing and violence. NONE of this studies say "Religion causes violence". On the contrary....religious households tend to provide a more nurturing upbringing for children and in this way facilitating their intellectual advancement. Sublimecraft is doing the Billions of law-abiding, decent, friendly, loving, caring, tolerant Religion-Adherents a great disservice with his gross distortions.

I realize that his view reflects that off the greed-ridden mass-media that loves to focus the camera-lens on the worst of the worst, but that kind of zoomed-focus does not reflect everyday reality in any way, shape or form. I am saddened at the extremist and unrelenting demonization of religious people in the media and on Forums such as this. Don't get me wrong...I am not arguing that all Religion is good. But its not all bad either.

Put simply: If a doctor commits a crime, that doesnt mean "doctors are bad". If a dog kills someone, that doesnt mean "dogs are bad". And if some nutter kills in the name of "religion" that does not mean "religion is bad". To make this world a better place and advance intellectually we need to reduce these kinds of generalizations and think more deeply and honestly.

The following statistical Infographic was neutrally compiled and really dispells the popular myth that religious people are backwards idiots with no social life and no intellectual capacity:



Conclusion: A deranged suicide-cult-leader or jihadist-beheader do not represent the great majority of religious people.

Regarding Israel/Palestine: A little known fact is that the religious among arabs and jews have great respect toward each other. They refer to one another as "people of the book". It is not the authentically religious who are waging this war. That war has to do with territorial problems and somewhat with racism, not religion. Just because Hamas invoke the name of Allah does not mean they are acting according to islamic faith. Likewise, just because the KKK endorses Romney and Black Panthers endorse Obama, does not mean that the love is mutual. Make sense?

Sublimecract cites...



8 Atrocities committed in the name of Religion


which is again just more "listing" of the worst of the worst while ignoring the great majority of reality. He cites JERUSALEM (in caption no less) as an example of how bad religion is. Anyone who has actually travelled to Jerusalem is impressed at how the three religions Islam-Christianity-Judaism, live side by side in peace and harmony. Before traveling there and seeing it for myself I did not realize it because I had been spoon-fed mayhem-entertainment by the MSM. This war is waged not by the religious of Jerusalem, its waged by the Hamas and the Israeli Government.

My opponent cites monuments such as the Pyramids and the Sphinx as being in danger of destruction by Religion. He seems to have forgotten that the Pyramids and Sphinx were built AS religious monuments. In fact most of the greatest stuctures throughout History were build by Religion...

The Great Cathedrals
The World Wonders
The Pyramids
The great Temples and Shrines

Wait a minute....the structures that MOST represent our intellectual advancement were religious structures




Lets hear specific examples of individuals whom have advanced intellectually due to their religion.


Einstein, Planck, Copernicus, Kepler, Bacon, Descartes, Galilei, Newton, Faraday, Boyle, Kelvin....space limitations do not allow me to go on. But its well known that many of the most famous scientists of all time were not only deeply religious people but themselves said they were inspired by Religion. Do you agree that these are specific individuals that have contributed to our personal intellectual advancement?



posted on Nov, 20 2012 @ 03:14 PM
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Sublimecraft is doing the Billions of law-abiding, decent, friendly, loving, caring, tolerant Religion-Adherents a great disservice with his gross distortions.


Personal Intellectual advancement - that is what I am referring to. In each example I have provided, the motivation for the individual to commit these crimes has been their interpretation of their religion.

At no stage have I lumped all adherents into the same category - I have focused on the individual person or small group that possesses the same mindset.

From your link:

Examples of scientifically credible strategies to prevent violence include...school-based programmes to address gender norms and attitudes...reducing access to guns and knives; and promoting gender equality by, for instance, supporting the economic empowerment of women

With the examples I have provided in the previous posts, the atrocities may have been prevented, had the perpetrators received or sort an adequate level of education in such matters - unfortunately, this type of education is sorely lacking in many parts of the world.


To make this world a better place and advance intellectually we need to reduce these kinds of generalizations and think more deeply and honestly.
You can only help those whose are willing to help themselves. It all starts and ends with the individual. The community then nation then the whole world becomes more enlightened. So, the personal intellectual advancement of certain individuals is proven to be restricted because they refuse (or are denied) education which departs from their own world-view - that view being, in many cases, engrained since birth by Religiosity.


The following statistical Infographic was neutrally compiled and really dispells the popular myth that religious people are backwards idiots with no social life and no intellectual capacity:
Indeed, but certain factions and/or individuals fall outside the normal intellectual level of the "religious people" which make up this statistical infograph - refer to my 2nd post for associated examples.


Conclusion: A deranged suicide-cult-leader or jihadist-beheader do not represent the great majority of religious people.
Agreed, however, a deranged suicide-cult-leader or jihadist-beheader has a "capped' intellectual level due to the Religion they follow and have interpreted accordingly - the adherents they have "sucked-in" are in the same category - personal intellectual advancement limited / eliminated / set-back.


Wait a minute....the structures that MOST represent our intellectual advancement were religious structures
Inspiration/methods for the construction of and design purpose of such monuments is in no-way conclusive. I will give you the opportunity in you retort to provide corroborative evidence that these structures are Religious in nature / inspired.

Once again, the call for their destruction is some lunatics interpretation of his Religion - show me a religious text that refers to these monuments as icons to be revered or worshipped - or referenced as evil in the sight of the Almighty.


Einstein, Planck, Copernicus, Kepler, Bacon, Descartes, Galilei, Newton, Faraday, Boyle, Kelvin....space limitations do not allow me to go on. But its well known that many of the most famous scientists of all time were not only deeply religious people but themselves said they were inspired by Religion. Do you agree that these are specific individuals that have contributed to our personal intellectual advancement?


Our personal intellectual advancement? This statement is an oxymoron and pluralistic and does not focus on the issue - the individual, the ego, the self, the one who stands before the Almighty at the judgement to be judged. The beheader, the cult leader, the cleric/priest with the ulterior motive - those individuals have not advanced intellectually as a result of their Religion.

So in finishing, allow me to provide quotes from some of the individuals you have mentioned.

Einstein

The further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.


Galileo

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect intended us to forgo their use.


Newton

And thus much concerning God; to discourse of whom from the appearances of things does certainly belong to Natural Philosophy.[science]


In His name.....
edit on 20-11-2012 by Sublimecraft because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 20 2012 @ 04:37 PM
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Final Rebuttal


Originally posted by Sublimecraft
In each example I have provided, the motivation for the individual to commit these crimes has been their interpretation of their religion.


This is an accurate statement. Its their interpretation of Religion, not Religion itself.




With the examples I have provided in the previous posts, the atrocities may have been prevented, had the perpetrators received or sort an adequate level of education in such matters


I fully agree. In fact, many jihad-type-fighters are reportedly illiterate and couldnt understand their religious texts even if they wanted to. So instead of scapegoating religion we`d have to work on education and literacy. This is also what the studies on violence conclude. I am glad to see that in this case science, me and you agree.



Agreed, however, a deranged suicide-cult-leader or jihadist-beheader has a "capped' intellectual level due to the Religion


I think I've already proven that their intellectual level is not due to religion. You yourself just admitted that education is a factor. Upringing is a factor. Emotional health is a factor. LACK of ethical code (religion) is a factor.



I will give you the opportunity in you retort to provide corroborative evidence that these structures are Religious in nature / inspired.


You want me to provide evidence that the great Cathedrals are religiously inspired? I thought that is common knowledge. The Cathedrals were built as houses of worship. .


A cathedral is a Christian church which contains the seat of a bishop,[1]

Source

The Pyramids were built, among other things, to assist the souls passing through the afterlife...thats why bodies are buried within them.


The Pyramids of Giza and others are thought to have been constructed to house the remains of the deceased Pharaohs who ruled over Ancient Egypt.[3] A portion of the Pharaoh's spirit called his ka was believed to remain with his corpse. Proper care of the remains was necessary in order for the "former Pharaoh to perform his new duties as king of the dead." It's theorized the pyramid not only served as a tomb for the Pharaoh but also as storage for the various items he would need in the afterlife. "The people of Ancient Egypt believed that death on Earth was the start of a journey to the next world. The embalmed body of the King was entombed underneath or within the pyramid to protect it and allow his transformation and ascension to the afterlife."[10]


Source



Our personal intellectual advancement? This statement is an oxymoron


Not at all. "Our personal advancement" refers to mine, yours, hers, his, theirs.



"The further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge" - Einstein


Quite a wonderful quote. Einstein was an adherent of the Bhagavad Gita and the Vedas which prize rational knowledge as godly. Einstein was also influenced by the Jewish faith which teaches that science and rational thinking are to be cultivated.

The other two quotes you provide, indicate that other scientists too were inspired by their religions to gain knowledge and wisdom. Thats why they became scientists.

Dear Reader,

A few bad apples have done harm in the name of religion, but that does not outweigh what spiritual and religious thought has brought to the world. Religion has inspired written text, the printed book, universities, philosophy, epistemology, science, ethical codes of conduct, self-improvement, wealth-building, the great monuments and structures of the world, architecture in general, counseling, human aspiration. It has given countless generations hope, the ability to dream bigger dreams, the striving for a better life, the curiosity to want to understand the mysteries of life and nature, a bigger view of the cosmos and centuries of discourse and debate. Having a basic understanding of the great old traditions of the world and these ancient books...the Bible, the Quran, the Torah, the Vedas, the buddhist scriptures will not set you back intellectually, it will expand your mind and understanding of the world as well as deepen your understanding of other cultures and the human mind. That I am 100% sure of and I hope I was able to communicate my personal enthusiasm for the study of religious books.

I thank my opponent Sublimecraft for a lively and vigorously fought debate and look forward to future encounters!



posted on Nov, 22 2012 @ 03:36 PM
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Judges have made their decisions.

Skyfloating is the winner of the debate.


I'm surprised that neither debtor brought up the Jesuits. A branch of Catholocism that pursued the intellectual aspects of faith. But that's just me.

Sublimecraft offered specific examples for his argument.

Skyfloating attempted to respond in a broader sense.

The issue, I felt, was that by focusing on just the specifics, you lose the ability to "see the forest through the trees". By narrowing the focus, the argument was lost in that there can and will be exemptions to any specific rule.

Skyfloating took the larger picture and responded well to Sublimecrafts assertions.

While both did very well, the win goes to Skyfloating




Challenge Match: Sublimecraft vs Skyfloating - Is Religion a set-back to personal intellectual advancement

Sublimecraft starts right off making one of the most common mistakes in Debating; attempting to redefine the debate for the readers. This just took up space and gave Skyfloating a HUGE opening for his first post.

Sublimecraft could have made a better argument had he stayed away from presenting individual cases as being representative of the whole. Skyfloating was able to not only refute that effectively, but then continued to further his stance with more examples of how religion has shaped the world and not just individuals

Win to Skyfloating hands down


Congratulations Skyfloating!
edit on 11/22/2012 by tothetenthpower because: (no reason given)





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