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Are religious debates useless?

There are many discussions about religion and God... It seems that neither side will be persuaded to accept the other no matter how good the arguments...
Are people so set in their believes that they cannot be persuaded in any way?

  • Apr 30 2011: In any religion there are always doubts.
    It's funny how religion can change education and training of a citizen ...

    I believe that all religions seek to achieve the same goal: "Salvation"
    What we call happiness.

    No debate is unnecessary. Since the objective is to learn and improve our situation.

    Man's history shows us how religion was used as a pretext for acquiring wealth, land, etc.. These discussions are unnecessary.

    Faith, belief, the supreme love for something that supports us at all times ... is the first point in common between all human beings.

    What should be debated is: "If the goals are the same, why not walked the path together?"
  • Apr 28 2011: From the debates I read, It's not really a constructive debate anymore. Both sides just dig up the same arguments over and over again. And I feel nobody really cares about what's true or not. Everybody just wants to be right and prove the other wrong.

    The debate is pointless especially if you put yourself in the shoes of a Christian: Where in the Bible did God ask you to prove to the world that he existed? I thought there were something about Christ and making disciples, spread the good news, stuff like that? Why do Christians inflict upon themselves something that even God never asked them to do? Duh! God is a big boy, he can handle himself, he doesn't need you or america to defend him.

    Atheists have science, rational thinking, and humanity as their own god, they put blind faith into progress and technology. Respect their religion and their beliefs, just as you want to be respected.
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    Apr 1 2011: i dont understand debating it. spirtuality is SO personal, how could you even debate it? discuss, ask questions, but to question something so personal to someone is just wrong.
  • Mar 31 2011: Religious beliefs are not rational thoughts, they are beliefs based on faith, which is an irrational concept. Faith asks you to believe without knowing, without questioning, without disputing or objecting - there is no room for debate in faith, for when debate enters the room argument closely follows.

    Historically, the ones with the biggest guns or largest army won the argument, and their belief was said to be supreme. Until the next doctrine or collective objective grew tired of the old dogma and moved to overthrow. A vicious cycle based largely on stubborn blindness rather than the pursuit of rational collective objectives.
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    Apr 21 2011: Yes, so much so for me that this is the last entry I will make. I love the fact that people have faith and they believe strongly in a greater being. However, there is no proof of such a being and any conversation can only be on a philosophical level. So when people head down the rocky road of who created what and when and why the rest of us are wrong I am unsure as to the value of that. If you observe the TED talks few are on religion and those that are, are about the experience the speaker has had and not their belief as to how we should live our life. Those I get great enjoyment and educational value from, the rest to me at least is back to right wrong good bad.

    It's been a pleasure.

  • Apr 21 2011: If by debating we mean "believe this, don't believe that, because..." it's useless. If the conversation includes details and nuances and promoting greater understanding of the many things that religion can be about, growth can occur. I say growth rather than change from one belief to another. The purpose of religion must be to find meaning in life and to learn to live fully and ethically.
    People argue over who's right instead of thinking about how beliefs originated and why different religion even exist.
    For those who do believe, think about this for a moment: what purpose might it serve for people to have developed different religions? For those who say that religion has caused harm to others by war, persecution, etc (a frequent refrain among critics) what purpose can this ultimately have? When one looks at several major religions today each claiming divine inspiration, what if that inspiration comes to some individuals pure but unformed, with the individuals struggling to express it in words and story? What if the source is the same, whether it's God or our own nature?
    That religion divides us at times is true.Nothing will change until or unless each can see the other as himself, see the other's suffering as his own. Perhaps every group, every religion, every nation, every race, every ethnic group will suffer in turn until we can do that. That may be the lesson that we need to learn, though we learn it the hard way.
  • Apr 1 2011: I think it depends on people's state of mind on whether they can leave their religion. I heard about many cases of kids that parents bring to Church and once kids grow up they realize that they do not share their parent's beliefs.

    Religion cannot be really debated and conclusions cannot be made because in real world no one can observe and measure things that each religion talks about. In addition, religious text can be interpreted in many ways and people interpret them differently (that is why we have so many flavors of the same religion).

    How can we discuss something that can't be proven and is subject to fairly wide range of interpretations?
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    Apr 1 2011: Yes, believers never change their minds, and atheists will never believe.
  • Mar 31 2011: Beliefs are beliefs because one is believing something that isn't proven true. If they were proven true beyond doubt they would be facts, or knowledge. The fact is, regarding religion, we don't have universal proof that isn't doubted.

    The way I see it, there are so many religions in our world, and so many of them have conflicting claims that they obviously can't all be right. But most religions, from experience, tend to do more good than evil. It's only when the authority figures in powerful position abuse that power that religion turns sour. The good is undeniable. Religions build communities and help connect people.

    It's just a shame that more people can't be accepting that what they believe might be as right or wrong as what the next guy believes. If we could all accept that none of us know, we can get past all this petty arguing and start working toward a better tomorrow, together. We're all humans, we're all Earthlings... It saddens me that it'll probably take a world wide catastrophe to bring us together so we can see that.
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    Mar 31 2011: Debates are to made in order to get the right source of thought, through which, we can demonstrate the outcomes by their sources. It is advisable to come up with good debates and respect other's mind by constructing the patterns from diff views, as a whole of it all :)

  • Mar 31 2011: There are plenty of examples of conversions one way or another that prove it's not pointless to debate religion. The inability to concretely prove one's side, is the primary hindrance in the debate arena, in my honest opinion.
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    Mar 31 2011: yes some of the issues have been debated (and debating)for centries and yet there's no result.neither sides can and cant prove the other side is wrong,if you know what i mean.and we go around and, we need to know what other people's perspective is and therefore we creat mutual understanding for the sake of respect.
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    Mar 31 2011: No debate is useless, however they can be useless if the people participating are not open to rethinking their own thoughts.

    The ability to take, give, and organize criticism is essential for debating.

    The problem is most believers of God have their whole foundation of what their arguments based on their faith rather than broadening their perceptive on the idea of God, they simply build on the idea of God. Building on an idea reinforces it, broadening allows multiply interpretations to be allowed and made.

    I like to think that if we taught babies and children how to critically think about how to take in information and what to do with it. The idea of god would not be surface to a being that flooded the earth because he was mad and punishes his most loyal followers to prove something to his counter part. (In terms of the bible) Indeed the idea of god would probably seem silly to a child who would understand that without physical evidence there is no certainty.
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      Mar 31 2011: Is it really okay to say those things at TED?
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        Mar 31 2011: Not really sure, but I respond to someone who would feel I am wrong even if they are going to continue to use a holy book and faith to defend themselves.

        But like I said if people were taught how to handle criticism, it would not matter what I say because like you said they are going to stick to their beliefs anyways.

        Edited: I think David Brown is actually more mean than I am, I am not stating god isn't real i am saying arguments should be based on more than just faith and literature.
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          Mar 31 2011: O no, I didn't say that you were mean Nicholas... it's just that every time I've stated something similar the comment has been deleted...
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        Mar 31 2011: Well than one of the moderators is a religious person who doesn't like put downs, I guess try not to be obscenely negative towards religion. Keep it "professional" I had them deleted too.
  • Mar 31 2011: I think they are, simply because they are personal beliefs and convictions to which no one else has access. They cannot be proved or disproved. They are just that - personal belief systems.
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      Mar 31 2011: Well yes, but don't people have the power to affect each other, I mean someone probably affected you to believe what you believe today.
      Is it not possible that someone might do the same thing (but differently) to you tomorrow?
      • Apr 1 2011: Depends on the subject of debate. If, for example, I say "global warming is real (or not real)", that can be debated. If I say " I love my Mom", that is not debatable and deeply personal.
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          Apr 1 2011: So "personal matters" are not up for debate?
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          Apr 1 2011: Okay I cannot argue that you love your mom, agreed.

          but, I can argue how much you love her, what type of love you have for her and so on.
          Although the argument of fact cannot be done, the argument of what is essential as part of the facts can be done (level of emotion in this example).

          Thus, I believe you can argue personal feelings, but, the arguers need to be willing to do so.
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        Apr 1 2011: yes, but debating wouldnt affect anyone, not without realization which your debate may not cause.
  • Mar 30 2011: I think they are useless. I was brought up Christian and now identify as agnostic-atheist. It took my own experiences, observations, and education to allow me to drop the label "Christian" and adopt the label "agnostic-atheist". No debating on someones else's part could have converted me either way.