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 Post subject: Is the RCC a force for good? (Zixinus V Ruben) PostPosted: 2009-11-20 06:59am
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BATTLE!

The topic of this thread: Is the Roman Catholic Church a force for good? Ruben and Zixinus have been debating this hotly in Off-Topic, and they decided to settle it in the Coliseum one-on-one!

RULES:
  • Each Gladiator will first make an opening statement posting what they intend to argue.
  • Whoever posts first will get to make the first argument. If he so chooses, he may cede the floor to his opponent.
  • No editing allowed. Make sure you post what you want to post.
  • One post per rebuttal. If you can't fit it all into one post (unlikely), only then may you extend it into two.
  • There will be a 48 hour time limit per reply. Extensions will be granted only if real-world obligations are interfering.
  • The winner will get bragging rights and possibly a small digital prize. The loser receives only SCORN!

Ready?

FIGHT!

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 Post subject: Re: Is the RCC a force for good? (Zixinus V Ruben) PostPosted: 2009-11-22 02:51pm
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It would be good to get this thing rolling, so I cede the floor for Ruben to lay out his argument as to why the Roman Catholic Church is an irreplaceable force of good in this world. I say irreplaceable force, for the good it does must be greater than what other institution dedicated to charity creates. Otherwise it would be replaceable, therefore no greater good in the world than other institutions (such as the UN, just to name an example).

I shall lay out my proper opening statements hopefully within the next week, once I feel that I have made adequate research in certain questions and have self-analysed my argument to my satisfaction.

I ask the administrator to ignore the 24-hour-reply rule until I have prepared my opening statement and I ask this extension given to Ruben's opening post as well, so he too may have time to make research and preparation for his post to his satisfaction.



Dungeon Keeper 3, under a different name, in the works. On kickstarter.

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 Post subject: Re: Is the RCC a force for good? (Zixinus V Ruben) PostPosted: 2009-11-22 04:22pm
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Joined: 2009-11-11 06:34pm
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Note: This is not my first post.

Quote:
It would be good to get this thing rolling, so I cede the floor for Ruben to lay out his argument as to why the Roman Catholic Church is an irreplaceable force of good in this world. I say irreplaceable force, for the good it does must be greater than what other institution dedicated to charity creates. Otherwise it would be replaceable, therefore no greater good in the world than other institutions (such as the UN, just to name an example).


I think this is overly simplistic. In order for somthing to be a source for good it doesn't need to be better than everything else. I think instead we should focus on whether it does more good than harm, or vise versa. We also need to debate both historically and modernlly. In order to get a clear view of the church, we need to examine it's whole history along with what it is doing today. It is my job to show that it has contributes more good than harm, it is your job to show the opposite.

Quote tags fixed ~Edi

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 Post subject: Re: Is the RCC a force for good? (Zixinus V Ruben) PostPosted: 2009-11-23 02:07am
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Let me first be permitted to thank the moderators of this forum for allowing me the opportunity to defend my religion in its entirety in the open forum of the coliseum. With that said, I will move to make my opening argument.

To anyone who has a good understanding of history, it should be known that the “coliseum”, that is to say the real coliseum, holds a special a place for Christians, and especially Catholics; for the coliseum was the ground where so many catholic saints gave their lives for the religion which they followed, and the God whom they loved. The coliseum was the place where Romans from all across the empire could go to see a Christian thrown to lions as a spectacle for amusement. Now, I too come before you as a man thrown to the lions; a man given over to the captors who seek to gnaw away at every fiber of his religious being, and those captors are none-other than the atheists. Yes, I too have been made into a spectacle for your amusement; a man of faith given over to die in an impossible fight to the death. Yet, there is one difference between this fight and the one took place nineteen-hundred years ago; this time, I have the ability to fight back, not physically, but intellectually. If one remembers, or has a good understanding of the way in which the Christians were viewed in those times; one should know that Christians were one of the most hated minority groups in the entire empire. Indeed, the early Christians were blamed for everything from burning Rome to “hating humanity”, and the Romans did not spare any expense in making sure that they did away with these hated people. Now, in the modern age, things have not changed much. Yes, even today people are making ridiculous assertions against the Church, and Christianity in general. Everything from Aids to the holocaust is being put squarely on the shoulders of the Christian people, and it has come upon me to set the record straight, and show the good that the Church has truly done for the world and humanity in general.

In order for any proper defense of the Catholic Church to take place, it is necessary to focus on two principle parts of the Church. Firstly, the Church’s history; for if it can be shown that the Catholic Church has contributed a great deal of good to the history of man; It would clearly work towards showing its worth to the world. However, it will not be upon me, at least in this first post; to address every wrong that the church, or those acting in its name, have committed. I am sure my opponent will address that matter thoroughly. Instead, it will be upon me in this first post to demonstrate the good that the Church has offered to society in both the past and present. Again, if it can be shown that the Church does contribute in a positive way in these areas than it would do a great deal to prove their worth to humanity.

In order for my opponent to win this debate; it will be upon him to show that the church has through it’s history, doctrines, and current state of being, contributed more harm than good to the world. For while no one will argue that the church has never done wrong, he must demonstrate in no uncertain terms that the church has contributed more harm than good. Only if my opponent is able to demonstrate this point, will he be able to claim he has won the debate.

The Catholic Church is an institution that has existed since at least the 3rd century. Although many may believe that it is older; for the sake of a clear debate, I will only address the periods of church history that we all agree upon. Church history, as I will define it, is a period of time between 300 and 1963 AD. These are the dates that shall constitute “Church History.” The reason that this time period ends in 1963 is because that was year of the Second Vatican Council, an event that many believe constituted the beginning of the “modern church”. I will not, however, address every aspect of church history in this first post.

In order for me to make my point clearly, I will separate my analysis of Church history into four categories; first, the role of the church in preserving civilization during the collapse the Roman Empire; second, the contributions to the preservation of western culture and literacy it made during the dark ages; third, the contributions to science that the catholic church has made throughout its history; and fourth and finally, the contributions that the church has made to law.

The first period on our list that must be addressed is the “early church. Here I will attempt to demonstrate how the Catholic Church worked to preserve western civilization. At the start of the late 2nd century AD, Rome had begun it’s steady decline. Commodus, the corrupt son of the emperor Marcus Aurelius, had become emperor, and so started a series of events that would eventually lead to Rome’s collapse. The emperor sold government offices to the highest bidder, the Roman Army was neglected, and the morals of the nation began to decline as well. This over expanded, overinflated, and decadent Empire was making it’s way to decline, and though this process, paving the way for a new civilization to rise [1][2][3].

From this point in history onwards, I will make the case for the Catholic Church’s positive role in the course of events by making two major historical assertions: one, the decline of Rome was inevitable; two, the Catholic Church helped preserve the culture of the western Roman civilization until the renaissance.

The collapse of Rome, as stated above, began as an ever increasing process from the time of Commodus onward. The Empire had been engaged in civil war from 234-284 AD. They had seen twenty-two different emperors come and go, most of them by violent means. Hordes of Germanic barbarians were flooding into the empire from the Völkerwanderung. The currency of the Roman Empire had gone from gold to silver, and the government seized live stock and other goods from the population leading to an ever weakening economy. All of these factors contributed to an ever weakening state of the Roman Empire and lead to it’s eventual collapse.[3][4][5]

One of the most destructive of these barbarians was Attila the Hun. Attila had spread across Italy leaving destruction in his wake, and was now poised to strike Rome. It was in this time that pope Leo I marched out to meet the great barbarian chieftain, through his intercession Attila was persuaded to turn back, and stop his assault on Rome. The story goes that Attila was persuaded to turn back by an image of saint peter, but it is more likely that he was convinced by the logistical argument that Leo made.[10] In any case, Rome was protected from being sacked by the church, and this undoubtedly served to the protection of western civilization to some extent.

The next important point I will focus on, is the conversion of the Frankish king Clovis I. While the other predominately Arian Goths were aiding in the destruction of the Roman Empire [12][13], the church was working to convert the Franks to the preservation of classical civilization. The first major conversion that took place was that of King Clovis I [11]. The conversion to Christianity provided Clovis with a way to unite his people and granted legitimacy to his empire.

During the reign of Clovis I, the Franks beat back the Visgoths and conquered a great deal of land. Much of these conquests constitute land that now forms modern day Italy and France [11]. The success of Clovis brought a sort of stability to the west and paved the way for the Carloingian Renaissance under Charlemagne.

Before the time of Charlemagne, however; another important victory for the west took place. This victory is, of course, the battle of Tours. With the rise Islam in 623, the West had a seen a new horde passing into the western world: the moors. The moors had moved into Europe by the start of 8th century and had conquered all of Spain by 718 AD [16]. The Islamic invaders next set their sights on France [18][17][15]. The battle of tours was ultimately won by the Frankish Catholic general Charles Martel under the guidance of the Church. If this battle had not been won, it is likely that Europe would be speaking Arabic today [15][14][17][18].

With victory at the battle of tours, the way was opened up for the next great catholic leader on our list, Charlamagne. The rise of Charlemagne saw the reestablishment of unity in the west and the beginning of the Carlolingian renaissance. After Charlemage’s crowning as the Holy roman emperor and conversion to Christianity, the franks once again were untied under a common cause, which lead to the creation of the Carlolingian Empire [21][22][23]. The empire expanded from northern Italy to the ends of Germany. It constituted the modern day nations of France and Germany, and it sparked the beginning of the Carolingian renaissance.[21][22][23]

Under great influence from the Church, the Carloginian renaissance became a period of resurrection for learning, architecture and culture for the Franks who had begun to fall back into barbarism before the rise of Charlamagne [19][20]. The monasteries saw a rise in literacy, and the ancient manuscripts began to be read and copied [19][20]. There were also great strides in economic legal reforms [19][20].

If the Catholic Church had not converted the franks to Christianity, it is my view that Western Civilization as we see it today would not exist. I would also assert that the unifying effect that the Church had in the west was paramount to surviving the dark ages.

The next area that I will assess is the actions of the Church in preserving literacy, agriculture and knowledge throughout the “dark Ages”. In Dark Age Europe’ the centers of learning and stability became the churches and monasteries. The monks copied the ancient manuscripts, preserved knowledge and developed expansive gardens that contributed to the economy of Europe [24][25][26][27]. If it was not for the work of these monks it is likely that much of ancient antiquity would have been lost.

The medieval monks were known for copying Greek and Roman classical texts, and for their dedication to knowledge and learning [27][26][29]. Not only did they copy many of the ancient texts of antiquity, but they also established schools, and made major contributions to the fields of philosophy [31]. St. Benedict was the monk who established the abbey Monte Cassino, a place that is one of the most important sites to the development of modern western culture [31]. In this abbey, ancient works of antiquity were copied and laid down for future generations. Great minds like Desiderus, also remembered as Pope Victor III, over saw the preservation of such works as: Josephus, Paul Warnfrid, Jordanus, the “novels” of Justinian, the works of Terrance, Virgil, Cicero’s “De natura deorum”, and Ovid’s Fasti [33]. Through the learning and meticulous record keeping of the monasteries, cathedrals eventually established organized school systems. These institutions would later set the foundation for the modern day university [35]. During the Carlolingian Renaissance, the Church also played a crucial role. Scholar and theologian Alcuin is credited as one of the architects of the Carloingian renaissance. He over saw the education of the royalty and improved the abbey schools. Alcuin is credited with the invention of lower case letters; he also contributed to the field of mathematics [32]. Wherever the monks went they established schools and centers of learning. St. Anselm and St. Boniface were some of the leading forces in this area [31][33]. St. Boniface established schools in every abbey he founded in Germany, as did St. Augustine in England and St. Francis in Ireland[31][33]. The monks contributed extensively to the preservation of literacy and knowledge in the barbarian invasions. Without their work, civilization might have been lost.

The next topic I will address in this discussion of Church History is the contributions that the Catholic Church, and particularly the Jesuit order, can be seen to have made to the field of science. It is often asserted by those of the atheist persuasion that the Catholic Church has been an impediment to the advancement of science, and I am here to assert that that is simply not the case. The Catholic Church has made tremendous contributions to the fields of genetics, astronomy, mathematics, archaeology, and physics throughout it’s History. The father of modern day genetics is none other than Gregor Mendel, a Roman Catholic Monk [36][37]. Through his study of pea plants, he developed he modern field of genetics. Even developments to the atomic theory can be attributed to the Catholic Church to a certain extent[36][37], as the Jesuit priest Roger Boscovich is considered by many to be the father of modern atomic theory [38]. Nicolas Steno, another Jesuit, is credited with the development of modern day geology [39]. Even the field of Egyptology can be rooted back to the Roman Catholic Church in the form of Jesuit priest Athanasius Kircher. Kircher did not only found Egyptology however, he was also one of the first people to observe microbes through a microscope, and was ahead of his time in that he proposed that the plague was caused by microorganisms [40][41]. Despite what we might hear about Galileo, the Church did in fact support, and contribute to, the field of astronomy. The Jesuit priest Giovanni Battista Riccoli was an astronomer, and was also the first person to measure the rate of acceleration of a free falling body [42]. The father of aviation, Father Lana de Terzi, was also a catholic priest.[47]. Even the Big Bang theory, which is often used to disprove the existence of God, was developed by a catholic priest with the support of Pope Pius XII[43][44]. In fact, the list of Jesuit who have made major contributions to science is absolutely staggering.

• • François d'Aguilon-Belgian mathematician and physicist who worked on optics.
• Giuseppe Asclepi-Italian astronomer.
• Joseph Bayma-He did work relating to stereochemistry.
• Giuseppe Biancani-Astronomer and selenographer who wrote Sphaera mundi, seu cosmographia demonstrativa, ac facili methodo tradita
• Bonaventure Berloty-first director of the Ksara Observatory in Lebanon.
• Michel Benoist-Missionary to China and scientist.
• Mario Bettinus-Mathematician and astronomer.
• Jacques de Billy-He wrote on number theory and astronomy.
• Michał Boym-Missionary to China known for botanical and zoological works.
• Roger Joseph Boscovich-Polymath (1711-1787) (17 famous for his atomic theory in part. Also for devising perhaps the first geometric procedure for determining the equator of a rotating planet from three observations of a surface feature and for computing the orbit of a planet from three observations of its position.
• Paolo Casati-Meteorology and speculation on Vacuums.
• Tommaso Ceva-Mathematician and poet who wrote a work on geometry.
• Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955), French Palaeontologist and philosopher involved in the discovery of the so-called Peking Man.
• Christopher Clavius (1538-1612), most noted in connection with the Gregorian calendar, but also his arithmetic books were used by many mathematicians including Leibniz and Descartes.
• Guy Consolmagno (1952-), an astronomer at the Vatican Observatory who has primarily devoted himself to planetary science.
• George V. Coyne (1933-), astronomer whose research interests have been in polarimetric studies of various subjects including Seyfert galaxies.
• Albert Curtz-German astronomer.
• James Cullen (mathematician)-Known for the Cullen numbers.
• Johann Baptist Cysat-He did important research on comets and the Orion nebula.
• Jean-Charles de la Faille-Belgian mathematician.
• Josef Dobrovský-philologist, linguist, slavist and historian. One of most promminent persons in Czech national revival.
• Gyula Fényi-Hungarian astronomer noted for his observations of the Sun.
• José Gabriel Funes-Argentine who currently heads the Vatican Observatory, succeeding George Coyne.
• Christoph Grienberger-Astronomer and mathematician.
• Francesco Maria Grimaldi-He coined the word 'diffraction' and used instruments to measure geological features on the Moon.
• Maximilian Hell-A director of the Vienna Observatory who wrote astronomy tables and observed the Transit of Venus.
• Pierre Marie Heude-French missionary and zoologist.
• Georg Joseph Kamel-Missionary and botanist, the genus Camellia is named for him.
• Athanasius Kircher-In his Scrutinium Pestis of 1658 he noted the presence of "little worms" or "animalcules" in the blood, and concluded that the disease was caused by microorganisms. This is antecedent to germ theory.
• Wenceslas Pantaleon Kirwitzer-Astronomer and missionary to China.
• Franz Xaver Kugler-Most known for his study of cuneiform tablets he was also a chemist.
• Antoine de Laloubère-Mathematician who studied the properties of the helix.
• Eugene Lafont- Founder of the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science
• Manuel Magri (1851-1907) - Maltese folklorist and archaeologist.
• Charles Malapert-Known for observing the stars of the southern sky and being against Copernicus.
• Paul McNally-American astronomer who was a director of the Georgetown observatory.
• Christian Mayer-Czech astronomer known for pioneering study of binary stars.
• Juan Ignacio Molina-Chilean ornithologist and a botanist with a Author citation (botany).
• Alexius Sylvius Polonus-Polish astronomer.
• Franz Reinzer-He wrote about comets, meteors, lightning, winds, fossils, metals, etc.
• Vincenzo Riccati-Jesuit mathematician and physicist.
• Matteo Ricci (1552-1610), mathematician, math translator, and noted for importance to the Jesuit China missions.
• Giovanni Battista Riccioli-He wrote several works on astronomy and was the first to note that Mizar was a "double star."
• Giovanni Girolamo Saccheri-A mathematician who was perhaps the first European to write about Non-Euclidean geometry.
• Christoph Scheiner-Astronomer noted for a dispute with Galileo Galilei over the discovery of Sunspots.
• Gaspar Schott-He wrote on various mechanical and scientific topics, example gear, but little original research.
• Angelo Secchi-He discovered the existence of solar spicules and drew an early map of Mars
• Gerolamo Sersale-Selenographer, the crater Sirsalis (crater) is named for him.
• Ignacije Szentmartony-"obtained the title of royal mathematician and astronomer" and used his astronomical knowledge in mapping parts of Brazil
• André Tacquet-His work prepared ground for the eventual discovery of calculus.
• Franz de Paula Triesnecker-Austrian astronomer.
• Theodor Wulf-Among the first experimenters to detect excess atmospheric radiation.
• Niccolo Zucchi-Italian astronomer known for his study of Jupiter and work on telescope design.
• Giovanni Battista Zupi-Italian astronomer who discovered that Mercury had orbital phases.[45]

Even today, the Catholic Church continues to contribute to the development of science through the pontifical Council of Sciences [46].

The Roman Catholic Church has also had significant role on the development of civil law. Western law as we know it has had two primary influences: Roman law and cannon law. After the fall of Rome, most of the roman legal laws still existed but were changed and influenced by the Catholic Cannon Law. The Catholic Church has always had a dedication to legal principles as is evident to anyone who has ever read cannon law, which contributed greatly to the development and preservation of Roman law[48][49][50]. But, the Church didn’t only contribute to civil law, but also to the development of international law. In fact, the man who is credited with the creation of international was a Jesuit by the name of Francisco de Victoria. Victoria did not believe that Christian princes had the right to dominate and abuse pagan peoples, so he developed a theory of international law that would apply to all nations; this theory is credited as the foundation for modern day international law[51][52][53][54].

Now that we have finished the history of the church, I will address the good that church is doing in the modern world. Today the Catholic Church operates a total of 638,116 charitable and religious institutions; it runs 125,016 schools, 1,046 universities, 5,853 hospitals, 8,695 orphanages, 13,933 homes for the elderly and handicapped and 74,936 dispensaries, leprosaries, nurseries and other institutions[55]. The Catholic Church also plays a pivotal role in world politics. Through the support of John Paul II, the Poles under the leadership of Lech Walesa lead a peaceful revolution against the communist government. It was the Pope’s 1979 speech that sparked the revolution that would eventually lead to the demise of the communist bloc [56][57]. Through its charity work and political activism, the Catholic Church is a force for good in the modern world.

Whether you believe in God or not, I would like you to consider the case that has just been made. We have seen through history how the influence of the Church preserved western civilization; we have seen the contributions that have been made to science; we have seen the contributions to the field of law; and not least of all, we have seen the selfless dedication to weakest members of our society. Now, no one will claim that the Catholic Church has never done wrong. But, I ask you; is it reasonable to hate an institution that we all have benefited from? Is it reasonable to hate an entity that is so enshrined in the very culture and history of the western world? Is it reasonable to hate an institution that runs hundreds of thousands of charities worldwide? Is it reasonable to hate an institution that’s influence has freed millions of people under the oppression of communism? I tell you no! It is not reasonable! With that said,I tell you that the Catholic Church is, without any doubt, a source for good in the world.

1. http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_are_the_ ... ll_of_rome
2. http://www.unrv.com/decline-of-empire/d ... empire.php
3. http://www.roman-colosseum.info/roman-e ... empire.htm
4. http://socyberty.com/history/did-christ ... an-empire/
5. http://www.cliffsnotes.com/WileyCDA/Sec ... an-Empire-
6. Did-Christianity-play-a-role-.id-305402,articleId-8104.html
7. http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/fa ... t_rome.htm
8. http://metanexus.net/Magazine/ArticleDe ... fault.aspx
9. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franks
10. http://www.laughtergenealogy.com/bin/hi ... italy.html
11. http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/Pla ... oryid=ab74
12. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goths
13. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arianism#A ... c_kingdoms
14. http://www.thenagain.info/webchron/West ... Tours.html
15. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Tours
16. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spain#Muslim_Iberia
17. http://militaryhistory.about.com/od/bat ... /tours.htm
18. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5itBgiz3 ... xt_from=PL
19. http://www.lycos.com/info/carolingian-renaissance.html
20. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carolingian_Renaissance
21. http://familyhistory1.homestead.com/Charlemagne.html
22. http://www.boisestate.edu/courses/westc ... s/04.shtml
23. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlemagne
24. http://www.britannica.com/facts/5/53904 ... on-of-work
25. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_monasticism
26. http://www.faculty.de.gcsu.edu/~dvess/i ... 4950.shtml
27. http://www.medieval-spell.com/Medieval- ... Monks.html
28. http://www.economictheories.org/2008/11 ... eries.html
29. http://www.enotes.com/classical-medieva ... literature
30. http://home.gwi.net/~rdorman/frilond/bac/writing.htm
31. http://metanexus.net/Magazine/ArticleDe ... fault.aspx
32. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcuin#Literary_influence
33. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Victor_III
34. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Boniface
35. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of ... n_overview
36. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregor_Mendel
37. http://www.accessexcellence.org/RC/AB/B ... Mendel.php
38. http://www.faculty.fairfield.edu/jmac/s ... covich.htm
39. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicolas_Steno
40. http://www.companysj.com/v192/renaissance.htm
41. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athanasius_Kircher
42. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giovanni_Battista_Riccioli
43. http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius12/P12EXIST.HTM
44. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Lema%C3%AEtre
45. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Jesuit_scientists
46. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontifical ... f_Sciences
47. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francesco_Lana_de_Terzi
48. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_law
49. http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/society/A0859206.html
50. http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p_mla_a ... index.html
51. http://www.worldandi.com/specialreport/ ... a22623.htm
52. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francisco_de_Vitoria
53. http://www.answers.com/topic/francisco-de-vitoria
54. http://books.google.com/books?id=uklB6A ... ns&f=false
55. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_C ... ehle30-207
56. http://www.religion-cults.com/pope/communism.htm
57. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolution ... _in_Poland

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 Post subject: Re: Is the RCC a force for good? (Zixinus V Ruben) PostPosted: 2009-11-23 12:43pm
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 Post subject: Re: Is the RCC a force for good? (Zixinus V Ruben) PostPosted: 2009-11-25 12:05am
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Here I stand in the Colosseum to debate the one-hit boy wonder named Ruben, who has posted no where else but in Catholic-related forums (in one forum in particular) and so far, every one of his posts have met harsh and poignant criticism. Even though moderators asked to not overwhelm him, most could not help themselves to point out the massive fallacies in his argument. I admit with guilt that I was such one debater, taking part in having Ruben debate against three to six people. During so, I asked whether it would be worthwhile to make a Colosseum debate on the subject and since apparently no one else is willing to debate him on a one-on-one basis, I volunteered.

Here, we will see Ruben try to justify a particular subset of Christian cult that is known as the Roman Catholic Church (henceforth "RCC") in its actions throughout history as well as its modern-day operations. The question is raised: is it a force for good?

The question was raised for a TV debate: each side given only a few minutes to state its position and attack or defend others. The judges were none less, than the audience present at the studio and the people arguing against the RCC won by a landslide. They not only took in the undecided but also took away most of the supporters of RCC. There was no time or even need to define "good" and there was also no time or need to create a more nuanced definition.

So, instead, I will interpret the topic's question as thus: Does, or does not, the RCC benefit humanity as a whole in this world?

My answer: no, it does not! It benefits itself! It is an overgrown cult that prefers to

It provides aid only to countries and charity to population that has its followers as majority.

Let me repeat that: It benefits only its followers! Not humanity as a whole, not everyone, but only those that is its own!

Throughout its history it was not afraid to use violence to defeat its religious foes such as the Byzantine Empire. It does not stop at that level neither: throughout its rules, especially during its early periods when it enjoyed supreme authority, it has sent thousands, perhaps even millions to death for being sceptical or critical of its teachings.

I would like to list all of its crimes, but that is by no means an easy task. Here, we see have an thousand year old institution. For fairness's sake, I will only judge the RCC as an institution. I will only be critical of its beliefs and ideology if I find that it central in causing human suffering.

I will not judge the works of individual Catholics, both good and bad, unless their work was supported by the RCC. But even with that, this is not as simple task, particularly that I prefer to make my accusations based on as much evidence as I can possibly gather. Finding on-line sources for the crimes and misdeeds is an enormously time-consuming task. Real-life duties and my own desire for free time does not allow me to list all of its crimes.

So, instead I will only address one accusation, one that is done today, in this day and age. It is not an easily addressed one, due to the political power that the RCC musters to this day:

Dismissal of contraceptives.

This may seem a rather trivial argument to make, but that is a narrow view. Contraceptives are the most important innovations of the 20th century, its importance in reducing population growth one of the most important social programs ever created. Families can control the amount of children they support, allowing children to grow up in loving care and in an environment ready for them.

Contraceptives are any modern medical measure to prevent conception that would resort in birth. These include condoms, hormonal pills, and intrauterine contraceptive devices (which refers only to its copper-based variant in the UK), just to name a few. For the sake of discussion, I will not include abortion, as that is another subject.

Contraceptives has created the sexual revolution: an movement to embrace human sexuality and enjoy it without the fear of unintended children by the use of contraceptives. It has expressed itself especially in the First World countries, but even in Second world countries its appearance cannot be ignored.

It is important to establish that it is not an unified movement: some merely adopted it to simply reduce the number of children expected in their marriage. Others have embraced it beyond reason, as evidenced by the period known as "free love", that appeared as part of the subculture in the USA. Exact regional and political versions of these vary between the two extremes, usually settling for monogamous relationship that is most natural to humans in modern times.
The institution of marriage, especially in the view of the end of noble descent, has changed and is still changing, much to the horror of the conservative.

It has also been discovered that a certain type of contraceptives, namely condoms, prevent the infection of retro-viruses that are found in bodily fluids produced during the sexual intercourse.

To this, the Church has written Humane vitae, with this:

Quote:
14. Therefore We base Our words on the first principles of a human and Christian doctrine of marriage when We are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children. (14) Equally to be condemned, as the magisterium of the Church has affirmed on many occasions, is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary. (15)

Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means. (16)


This effectively bans all use of contraceptives.

Families have a far more difficult time in controlling the number of children that they must provide for, an important aspect of the human being is denied and most appalling of all, it allows the further spread of sexually transmitted diseases, such as the incurable and unvaccinated HIV virus that promises a slow, painful death to anyone who catches it.

We live in a world where overpopulation is a serious threat: we can only produce so much food on our planet and even if we produce food, we have a massive population that must be educated, housed, irrigated (as in, by sewers), and medicated for countless diseases and conditions. These present an avalanche of serious problems for even for rich and effective governments of the world.

Just last week as this was written, I must remind all the spectators, was the UN's Food Security and Climate Change Conference in Rome [3]. As we have changed our climate, we now face the reality that producing more food for more people will only be harder, not easier. That was one of the conclusions of the conference.

Even rich, effective governments can only hope to reduce population growth to combat these countless problems. And population will go below the level of sustainability, the only question is how. Will be trough famine, war and plaques? Or will it be careful planning of reducing population growth by massively reducing the number of people that we need to provide for[8]?

Then, let us enter the AIDS epidemic in Africa. The topic is broad and my time is short, so I'll go to simple facts: HIV originally appeared in Africa and has spread world-wide. It is a disease that has effected much of the populations and is a mayor problem to this day. Many of Sub-Saharan countries have massive AIDS prevalence, sometimes over a whopping 20%, according to UNAIDS 2007 report [9].

And to this, the Church writes this sickening document called THE TRUTH AND MEANING OF HUMAN SEXUALITY

Which has this excerpt:
Quote:
138. In some societies professional associations of sex-educators, sex-counsellors and sex-therapists are operating. Because their work is often based on unsound theories, lacking scientific value and closed to an authentic anthropology, and theories that do not recognize the true value of chastity, parents should regard such associations with great caution, no matter what official recognition they may have received. When their outlook is out of harmony with the teachings of the Church, this is evident not only in their work, but also in their publications which are widely diffused in various countries.

139. Another abuse occurs whenever sex education is given to children by teaching them all the intimate details of genital relationships, even in a graphic way. Today this is often motivated by wanting to provide education for "safe sex", above all in relation to the spread of AIDS. In this situation, parents must also reject the promotion of so-called "safe sex" or "safer sex", a dangerous and immoral policy based on the deluded theory that the condom can provide adequate protection against AIDS. Parents must insist on continence outside marriage and fidelity in marriage as the only true and secure education for the prevention of this contagious disease.


Note that the document rejects the sexual revolution and denies the possibility of condoms useful against AIDS.

Yet, actual scientific studies have shown the opposite is true [10] [11]. While it does not completely eliminate the risk, it massively reduces the chance of a possible HIV infection.

Unless mayor measures are taken, such as the Ugandan ABC program that promotes among other things the use of condoms, the RCC refuses to acknowledge a disease that millions have died.

No doubt that the RCC will only change this policy when the death tolls rank up and up and higher, when we will have countries where a significant portion of the population is dead men walking. It has acknowledge morality in avoiding such mass suffering usually only when outside political climate would favour it.

The RCC demands to use a system that is straight out of the Victorian age: it is both biologically, scientifically and humanely unrealistic. But no matter, let millions die more in Catholic-majority countries. Let HIV-infected parents wonder how long their HIV-infected babies will live, because by doctrine they are not supposed to use condoms and are not supposed to learn about it. They are to reject the sexual revolution's help against fighting viral diseases by the doctrine of the RCC.

Countless other atrocities can be mentioned, but this is the most serious and this is a case when the RCC is consciously choosing to ignore and lie about evidence to the detriment that is nothing less than a global issue. Beforehand, the RCC had superior power over European kingdoms and later, fledgling power over the colonial empires and today it still speaks to a population of a billion on an Earth that has the human population of six billion!

What greater crime can be said? What other thing can be mentioned that would not pale in regards to the damage this one, negligible point causes? I ask you spectators, why must humanity suffer

And now, I shall answer my opponent's arguments.

Quote:
Let me first be permitted to thank the moderators of this forum for allowing me the opportunity to defend my religion in its entirety in the open forum of the coliseum.


Here my opponent completely and utterly misunderstands the question of the topic.

The question raised here is not about Christianity. It is about the Roman Catholic Church (henceforth RCC), with its leadership, the Holy See, the papacy and curia. The issue here is not what Christians had done. The question is aimed at the RCC as an institution, with its leaders and directive to its followers.

What its followers has done shall be considered irrelelavant to the discussion unless they specifically received backing by the RCC itself, this principle applying itself to both positive and negative inputs to the history of humanity.

Quote:
To anyone who has a good understanding of history, it should be known that the “coliseum”, that is to say the real coliseum, holds a special a place for Christians, and especially Catholics; for the coliseum was the ground where so many catholic saints gave their lives for the religion which they followed, and the God whom they loved. The coliseum was the place where Romans from all across the empire could go to see a Christian thrown to lions as a spectacle for amusement. Now, I too come before you as a man thrown to the lions; a man given over to the captors who seek to gnaw away at every fiber of his religious being, and those captors are none-other than the atheists. Yes, I too have been made into a spectacle for your amusement; a man of faith given over to die in an impossible fight to the death. Yet, there is one difference between this fight and the one took place nineteen-hundred years ago; this time, I have the ability to fight back, not physically, but intellectually. If one remembers, or has a good understanding of the way in which the Christians were viewed in those times; one should know that Christians were one of the most hated minority groups in the entire empire. Indeed, the early Christians were blamed for everything from burning Rome to “hating humanity”, and the Romans did not spare any expense in making sure that they did away with these hated people. Now, in the modern age, things have not changed much. Yes, even today people are making ridiculous assertions against the Church, and Christianity in general. Everything from Aids to the holocaust is being put squarely on the shoulders of the Christian people, and it has come upon me to set the record straight, and show the good that the Church has truly done for the world and humanity in general.


And where would a religious apologist be without creating a sense of persecution? Ruben tries to set himself as a victim, a victim of.... what again? He, the boy wonder who doesn't post anywhere else but to Catholicism-related threads, directly participating in blowing a simple thread way out of proportion (11 pages and counting)? He came here, under his own volition and volunteered to enter a Colosseum match with me, with no outside pressure but his own ego. He has nothing to do with the martyrs throw before the lions; he is a gladiator and he should act like one.

Of course, the fact we live in an age where it is now the Christians that persecute those different than them, where they are usually the majority in many powerful nations today, living in a society that was held in the intellectual grasp for centuries and having its oldest branch's leader given space in the UN seems a minor matter to Ruben. It doesn't seem to occur to him that it is those critical of Christianity that have been persecuted very much in the last century and are still met with ostracization and rejection in various levels of society throughout the Western world.

Quote:
In order for any proper defense of the Catholic Church to take place, it is necessary to focus on two principle parts of the Church. Firstly, the Church’s history; for if it can be shown that the Catholic Church has contributed a great deal of good to the history of man;


Here Ruben shoots himself in the foot by stating that the RCC has contributed to the history of humanity, rather than just its own followers. When was the last time that the RCC given massive donations to countries that were not catholic or at least Christian?

Quote:
In order for my opponent to win this debate; it will be upon him to show that the church has through it’s history, doctrines, and current state of being, contributed more harm than good to the world. For while no one will argue that the church has never done wrong, he must demonstrate in no uncertain terms that the church has contributed more harm than good. Only if my opponent is able to demonstrate this point, will he be able to claim he has won the debate.


Here my opponent expresses his delusion that he controls the debate, rather than be judged objectively by any who read it. So far in the debating history of the SDN Colosseum the only form of judgement ever made was from its mighty Emperor, who owns the forum and even then, he only made a closing commentary post. Ruben is under the delusion that I am subservient to him in this debate, that I am his student with goals that I am must meet to satisfy him.. A rather interesting turn from the earlier self-victimization earlier. He doesn't understand that he is put into a level playing field: we are equals. I don't play by his rule, only by the rules of logic and the Colosseum.

Also please take note spectators that Ruben here tries a slightly dishonest strategy: he sets me impossible goals; he thinks that "good" can be somehow put into numeric numbers and put unto a scale or common metric.
The RCC's history is turbulent, not the least because of the many Christian scholars that have written and influenced the outlook on history even today. The winners write the history and the RCC has held Europe in its intellectual grasp for hundreds of years.

In order for me to win the debate I must create such a metric, which would no doubt be a subject to immediate argument of what constitutes "good", but also make an equation of every one of the RCC's atrocities and somehow try to counterbalance it by all of the "good" is had caused.

I have already made my standpoint in my opening: the Catholic church is nothing but an oversized cult that has provided charity only for its own members, acknowledging morality only to gain political gain and has happily abided atrocities when it was suited for it.

Quote:
Here I will attempt to demonstrate how the Catholic Church worked to preserve western civilization.


Here my opponent insinuates that the people of Western Europe could have not developed a civilization of their own, without the Church's involvement.

Quote:
<snip history lesson notes>


Here, my opponent again completely misunderstands the question posed as the start of the debate. Again. He tries to distract us with his interpretation of history rather than make a solid argument over the case of the RCC.

Quote:
The conversion to Christianity provided Clovis with a way to unite his people and granted legitimacy to his empire.


While I give space for concession about unification (religion has been able to make itself such a part of identity for different ethnicities, thereby providing common ground between them) my opponent tries to imply that Clovis was not a legitimate empire before its conversion to Christianity.

Laugh at his naivety: the idea that an empire has to be "legitimised" by anything else than the acceptance of the people it is composed of and the military, economic, political and power it wields is ridiculous.

Quote:
If the Catholic Church had not converted the franks to Christianity, it is my view that Western Civilization as we see it today would not exist. I would also assert that the unifying effect that the Church had in the west was paramount to surviving the dark ages.


Here my opponent tries to insinuates that Charlemagne renaissance was somehow created by the RCC rather than due to blooming economy and its intellectual emperor.

Also, my opponent makes a clear implication that is so stupid that I can't even name its category: that somehow, the Western civilization was purely from Rome.

He ignores the developing culture of all the pre-Christian people in Europe. Cultures that had their own complex religions, their own technological innovations as well as its own writings and monuments. This is nothing to him, again probably because these cultures are known mostly only by historians and archaeologists. Western civilization that is today is not just a product of the experience of Rome, but of hundreds of years of different kingdoms competing with each other for supremacy, as well as the work of thousands of scientists, philosophers, engineers, craftsmen and even politicians.

Of course, it is also clear that my opponent does not recognise that during the "dark ages" the RCC wielded supreme power. Its followers were almost every mayor European kingdom. There was no question of its doctrine, its clergy spread everywhere it could, converting followers either based on their own will or under pressure from outside forces that favoured Christianity.

Why, I remember my studies of my own nation, Hungary, had to adopt to Christianity because it was argued that it was the only way for it to gain legitimacy and peace with neighbouring kingdoms. Imagine, a kingdom as large as early Hungary that held most of the Carpathian Basin, with an army composed of warriors that had terrorised Europe for centuries, had to convert to Christianity to ensure its survival. The RCC was that powerful.

Quote:
In Dark Age Europe’ the centers of learning and stability became the churches and monasteries. The monks copied the ancient manuscripts, preserved knowledge and developed expansive gardens that contributed to the economy of Europe [24][25][26][27]. If it was not for the work of these monks it is likely that much of ancient antiquity would have been lost.


While this is not untrue and that these monasteries did preserve texts and were the intellectual heavens of the time, my opponent ignores much of the Arabic scholars that have copied texts from antiquity and re-entered these texts later in the Enlightenment. [2] Thus the idea that the written works of antiquity would be lost is false.

Also, my opponent does not mention that the creation of these monasteries were not completely made for the sake of learning: they were profitable trough its products of crafts and animals, even though that was not their original goal. Their original goal was nothing less than isolation from the outside world. Even to this day, monasteries are expected to be self-sufficient, although they do this by economy rather than industry.

As for schools, it is important to mention that not everyone was allowed to learn: only priests and perhaps high-ranking noblemen. The idea of dedicated universities and freely-accessible schools only came later, during the Enlightenment with the emergence of the free, urban middle class.

Quote:
The monks contributed extensively to the preservation of literacy and knowledge in the barbarian invasions. Without their work, civilization might have been lost.


Again, my opponent demonstrates his western-catholic centralism by saying something stupid as this. Yes, books and treasures would have been lost, but not civilization itself.

Quote:
It is often asserted by those of the atheist persuasion that the Catholic Church has been an impediment to the advancement of science, and I am here to assert that that is simply not the case.


My opponent has created a false dilemma: he says that either the RCC impeded the advancement of science or helped it, when both can be true. We are talking about, after all, a institution that is a thousand years old. It could have done one at one time and the other at a different time. Also, the Church would support scientific advancement if it did not contradict its doctrine.
The issue is, what happens when it meets something that contradicts its doctrine?

Are we to ignore that many book burnings that the RCC practised, such as those described by Don Quixote [4]? Was not almost all of the Cathar texts, the rich Mayan and Aztec codices destroyed? Are we to ignore the many people threatened, ostracized and even tortured for their doctrine-defiling beliefs? Was Arnold of Brescia, Giordano Bruno, Thomas Aikenhead and countless others not burned at the stake for their intellectual views that opposed the RCC's? Was the RCC's wrath even against its own theologians, such as Peter Abelard [5] not done, was he not humiliated and practically forced to renounce his intellectual work that analysed the time's doctrine beliefs?

There appears to be countless historical examples of the Church suppressing and destroying anything contradicting its doctrine. In every book about censorship, it is there. The RCC has violently fought against even other Christians religions, even declaring Crusades against them. The same has been applied in an individual scale as well: during the medieval ages when the RCC was not hindered by secular opinion, anyone who publicly decries the Catholic teachings were asked to either renounce what they said or suffer the pain of death.

So, I ask my opponent, how the bloody fucking hell is this not the suppression of science?

Quote:
The Catholic Church has made tremendous contributions to the fields of genetics, astronomy, mathematics, archaeology, and physics throughout it’s History.

<snip name-listing masturbation>


I ask my opponent to show not just examples of religious people contributing to the common knowledge base that is modern natural and human science, but to name research efforts that the RCC has supported both politically and financially. I also ask that is scientific, as well as showing that these research efforts were not impeded in any way by RCC doctrine. I ask him when these practises started and why.

No sane atheists doubts that Christians and even Jesuits have contributed to modern science. The question is whether the RCC suppresses and opposes research attempts on the basis that it contradicted its doctrinal beliefs?

Stem cell research is quite openly opposed by the Catholic church [6] and have created great political pressures to stop research effort of cells incapable of independent life, despite the fact that embryonic stem cell research shows potential in medicine. A study conducted by University of California shows that:

[quote= [7] ] "Human embryonic stem cell-derived oligodendrocyte progenitor cell transplants remyelinate and restore locomotion after spinal cord injury"[/quote]

As we can see, this avenue of research can help people with spinal injuries recover. However, research into this field is increasingly more difficult and researchers now prefer to

Quote:
The Roman Catholic Church has also had significant role on the development of civil law. Western law as we know it has had two primary influences: Roman law and cannon law.<snip>


I ask my opponent why Roman laws were to become important after the fall of the Roman Empire.

Quote:
But, the Church didn’t only contribute to civil law, but also to the development of international law. In fact, the man who is credited with the creation of international was a Jesuit by the name of Francisco de Victoria. Victoria did not believe that Christian princes had the right to dominate and abuse pagan peoples, so he developed a theory of international law that would apply to all nations; this theory is credited as the foundation for modern day international law[51][52][53][54].


I ask my opponent to show how Francisco de Victoria's effort to recognise international law funded by the RCC.

Quote:
Today the Catholic Church operates a total of 638,116 charitable and religious institutions; it runs 125,016 schools, 1,046 universities, 5,853 hospitals, 8,695 orphanages, 13,933 homes for the elderly and handicapped and 74,936 dispensaries, leprosaries, nurseries and other institutions[55].


Wikipedia is not considered a credible source here. I ask my opponent to use credible statistics and numbers.

I also ask my opponent to show how many of these charities, schools and medical care centres give help to non-Catholic and non-Christian and how many of these are funded solely by the Roman Catholic Church, as opposed to being self-sustaining by asking money for the services all of these provide.

Quote:
But, I ask you; is it reasonable to hate an institution that we all have benefited from? Is it reasonable to hate an entity that is so enshrined in the very culture and history of the western world? Is it reasonable to hate an institution that runs hundreds of thousands of charities worldwide? Is it reasonable to hate an institution that’s influence has freed millions of people under the oppression of communism? I tell you no! It is not reasonable! With that said,I tell you that the Catholic Church is, without any doubt, a source for good in the world.


A source for good for who? Its own members, and those that claim to follow its piety. My opponent also makes some rather arrogant assumption about me: he thinks I hate the RCC.

I do not hate the RCC just for its existence alone, I do not hate all Christians. I am a humanist and I believe that no one should be judged than any lower or higher degree that he, or she, is a human being with his (or her) own needs, world-view, character and personality, work and so many other things. Anyone can judge a deed but no one can truly judge a human being.

My opinion of the RCC is mixed: I know of its atrocities and I do not see it as a necessary institution to humanity. I believe it serves chiefly and almost only itself, rather than the whole of humanity. However, I find it a slightly more rational variant of Christianity, partly because it does not view the Bible as absolute and is willing to actually change its doctrine, even if it does so under pressure. Compared to some of the USA churches out there, the Catholic church is relatively tame but it still ignores real, physical human suffering in favour of its belief system. In fact, it believes suffering to be necessary to archive spiritual goals, which is all find and dandy if it is voluntarily self-inflicted but not so when it is forced.
I am appalled at some of its policies but if I were given hypothetically near-absolute power, I would rather change these policies than just wipe out the entire RCC.

Now, unto my own conclusion:
We have seen that the RCC promotes policy that gives root cause to overpopulation and the spread of STDs that could be prevented by the use of condoms.

I have finished my argument.

Sources:

[1] Count of Christian adherents: http://www.adherents.com/adh_branches.html#Christianity

[2] The importance of Arabic scholarship in the medieval ages: http://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/2 ... nglish.htm

[2] http://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/2 ... nglish.htm

[3] From the UN's Secretary-General statement on the 2009 conference, as found here: http://www.un.org/issues/food/taskforce/index.shtml

[4] From the Don Quixote society, in regards of book burning: http://medievalhistory.suite101.com/art ... al_society

[5] http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/abelard/

[6] http://www.americancatholic.org/NEWS/StemCell/

[7] http://www.jneurosci.org/cgi/content/ab ... 25/19/4694

[8]To those who still do not comprehend the full weight of the problem: Professor Albert Bartlett the University of Colorado-Boulder tells us with shockingly simple math what is the problem, and has presented it with a comprehensive video that has been published on youtube here. In it, he explains the massive dangers of exponential growth when faced with the problem of resource utilization.

[9] UNAIDS report of 2007 prevalence of AIDS: http://data.unaids.org/pub/GlobalReport ... R08_en.jpg The whole report is avalaible trough this link.

[10] http://www3.niaid.nih.gov/about/organiz ... Report.pdf

[11] http://www.mrw.interscience.wiley.com/c ... frame.html



Dungeon Keeper 3, under a different name, in the works. On kickstarter.

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 Post subject: Re: Is the RCC a force for good? (Zixinus V Ruben) PostPosted: 2009-11-26 09:47pm
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Joined: 2009-11-11 06:34pm
Posts: 60
In my rebuttal I will first mention my great disappointment in way in which my opponent responded, and the arguments he made. 25% of his post was nothing but personnel smears and attacks, when I showed nothing but respect for his position. He showed incredible intellectual cowardice in first refusing to research many of his opinions, and then he makes absurd accusations without the slightest shred of evidence what so ever.

Quote:
Here I stand in the Colosseum to debate the one-hit boy wonder named Ruben, who has posted nowhere else but in Catholic-related forums (in one forum in particular) and so far, every one of his posts have met harsh and poignant criticism. Even though moderators asked to not overwhelm him, most could not help themselves to point out the massive fallacies in his argument. I admit with guilt that I was such one debater, taking part in having Ruben debate against three to six people. During so, I asked whether it would be worthwhile to make a Colosseum debate on the subject and since apparently no one else is willing to debate him on a one-on-one basis, I volunteered.


My opponent starts his intellectually enlightened rebuttal by first making sure to poison the well big time by referencing previous debates that have no relevance to the current one. He brings up that I have never posted anywhere else on this forum even though this isn’t the slightest bit relevant to the conversation at hand. He says my works are loaded with fallacy while he starts his own argument out with one really big one.

Quote:
The question was raised for a TV debate: each side given only a few minutes to state its position and attack or defend others. The judges were none less, than the audience present at the studio and the people arguing against the RCC won by a landslide. They not only took in the undecided but also took away most of the supporters of RCC. There was no time or even need to define "good" and there was also no time or need to create a more nuanced definition.


Next my opponent makes sure to appeal to popularity by referencing a mismatch T.V. debte.

Quote:
The question raised here is not about Christianity. It is about the Roman Catholic Church (henceforth RCC), with its leadership, the Holy See, the papacy and curia. The issue here is not what Christians had done. The question is aimed at the RCC as an institution, with its leaders and directive to its followers.


Roman Catholicism is my religion.

The papacy and the roman curia are not the only parts that constitute the Catholic Church.

Quote:
And where would a religious apologist be without creating a sense of persecution? Ruben tries to set himself as a victim, a victim of.... what again? He, the boy wonder who doesn't post anywhere else but to Catholicism-related threads, directly participating in blowing a simple thread way out of proportion (11 pages and counting)? He came here, under his own volition and volunteered to enter a Colosseum match with me, with no outside pressure but his own ego. He has nothing to do with the martyrs throw before the lions; he is a gladiator and he should act like one.


Here he takes my opening statement literally. He overlooks the fact that this was intended to be amusing and poke fun at the fact that I am a Christian in the coliseum. The fact that Zixinus even took this part seriously is, frankly, laughable.

Quote:
Of course, the fact we live in an age where it is now the Christians that persecute those different than them, where they are usually the majority in many powerful nations today, living in a society that was held in the intellectual grasp for centuries and having its oldest branch's leader given space in the UN seems a minor matter to Ruben. It doesn't seem to occur to him that it is those critical of Christianity that have been persecuted very much in the last century and are still met with ostracization and rejection in various levels of society throughout the Western world.


I’m not sure what world Zixinus is living in, but in popular culture it is very “hip” to criticize Christianity. Does he even watch T.V.?

Quote:
Here my opponent expresses his delusion that he controls the debate, rather than be judged objectively by any who read it. So far in the debating history of the SDN Colosseum the only form of judgement ever made was from its mighty Emperor, who owns the forum and even then, he only made a closing commentary post. Ruben is under the delusion that I am subservient to him in this debate, that I am his student with goals that I am must meet to satisfy him.. A rather interesting turn from the earlier self-victimization earlier. He doesn't understand that he is put into a level playing field: we are equals. I don't play by his rule, only by the rules of logic and the Colosseum.


Again, here my opponent takes a debate device literally. He thinks I have set a “metric” scale for him to meet, but he does not realize I am speaking figuratively. I do not claim to control the debate. I am merely pointing out that if the Catholic Church is not a source for good it must shown to be a source for bad. In order to demonstrate that the Church is not a source for good, he needs to weigh the negative influences against the positive. It is up to the observer to decide whether or not he has done this effectively or not.

Quote:
Also please take note spectators that Ruben here tries a slightly dishonest strategy: he sets me impossible goals; he thinks that "good" can be somehow put into numeric numbers and put unto a scale or common metric.


Hardly impossible, if the Church is as bad as Zixinus claims it is; this should be a fairly easy task. If Zixinus can’t accomplish this; we can either assume he is not a very good debater or his position is incorrect.

No I do not want a mathematical account. I want a clear analysis of the good weighed against the bad, hardly unreasonable.

Quote:
In order for me to win the debate I must create such a metric, which would no doubt be a subject to immediate argument of what constitutes "good", but also make an equation of every one of the RCC's atrocities and somehow try to counterbalance it by all of the "good" is had caused.


In other words, a debate would take place?

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It provides aid only to countries and charity to population that has its followers as majority.


After that my opponent makes an extremely ignorant statement which he clearly did not research in the slightest. If he had done any such research, he would know of Caritas international, a Roman catholic sponsored international charity organization that provides relief services to over 200 countries. Some of these include pagan India[1], muslim Iran[2], Eygypt[3], Syria[4], Cyprus[5], Jordan[6], Morrocco[7], Lybia[8], Somolia[9], Algeria[10], and Pakistan[11]. Not to mention Catholic relief work to pagan and muslim south east Asia[12]. Caritas international also provides relief for those living in the Gaza strip [13], which is predominantly Muslim by the way. Caritas International works closely with the United Nations in aids prevention as well [14].

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My answer: no, it does not! It benefits itself! It is an overgrown cult that prefers to


I ask my opponent to prove that Catholic Church is a cult.

The Catholic Church is not a hive mind. It does not seek to do any one thing. All of it’s leaders have not always agreed on the best way to handle things, but to claim that it has forever and always been a solely self serving institution is beyond ignorant. That statement is no more bigoted than the anti-semites who claim the Jewish race only exists to extort money through the use of banks.

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Let me repeat that: It benefits only its followers! Not humanity as a whole, not everyone, but only those that is its own!


My opponent seems to think that the Catholic Church does not care about non-catholics at all, but I will demonstrate that they do care about the lives of non-catholics by showing papal bulls intended to protect non-christians.

The first one I will address is the papal condemnation of the enslavement of non-Christians in 1537[15].

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We, who, though unworthy, exercise on earth the power of our Lord and seek with all our might to bring those sheep of His flock who are outside into the fold committed to our charge, consider, however, that the Indians are truly men and that they are not only capable of understanding the Catholic Faith but, according to our information, they desire exceedingly to receive it. Desiring to provide ample remedy for these evils, We define and declare by these Our letters, or by any translation thereof signed by any notary public and sealed with the seal of any ecclesiastical dignitary, to which the same credit shall be given as to the originals, that, notwithstanding whatever may have been or may be said to the contrary, the said Indians and all other people who may later be discovered by Christians, are by no means to be deprived of their liberty or the possession of their property, even though they be outside the faith of Jesus Christ; and that they may and should, freely and legitimately, enjoy their liberty and the possession of their property; nor should they be in any way enslaved; should the contrary happen, it shall be null and have no effect-Sublimus Dei 1537 Pope Paul III


Next we will look at the consistent and clear condemnation of Jewish persecution by a list of Popes. First on our list is Sictut judaeis by Pope calixtus II[16]

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"[The Jews] ought to suffer no prejudice. We, out of the meekness of Christian piety, and in keeping in the footprints or Our predecessors of happy memory, the Roman Pontiffs Calixtus, Eugene, Alexander, Clement, admit their petition, and We grant them the buckler of Our protection.
For We make the law that no Christian compel them, unwilling or refusing, by violence to come to baptism. But, if any one of them should spontaneously, and for the sake of the faith, fly to the Christians, once his choice has become evident, let him be made a Christian without any calumny. Indeed, he is not considered to possess the true faith of Christianity who is not recognized to have come to Christian baptism, not spontaneously, but unwillingly.
Too, no Christian ought to presume...to injure their persons, or with violence to take their property, or to change the good customs which they have had until now in whatever region they inhabit.
Besides, in the celebration of their own festivities, no one ought disturb them in any way, with clubs or stones, nor ought any one try to require from them or to extort from them services they do not owe, except for those they have been accustomed from times past to perform.
...We decree... that no one ought to dare mutilate or diminish a Jewish cemetery, nor, in order to get money, to exhume bodies once they have been buried.
If anyone, however, shall attempt, the tenor of this degree once known, to go against it...let him be punished by the vengeance of excommunication, unless he correct his presumption by making equivalent satisfaction."-Sictut judaeis Pope Calixtus II[3]


This Bull is further upheld by Gregory X in 1272[17].

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Even as it is not allowed to the Jews in their assemblies presumptuously to undertake for themselves more than that which is permitted them by law, even so they ought not to suffer any disadvantage in those [privileges] which have been granted them. [This sentence, first written by Gregory I in 598, embodies the attitude of the Church to the Jew.] Although they prefer to persist in their stubbornness rather than to recognize the words of their prophets and the mysteries of the Scriptures [which, according to the Church, foretold the coming of Jesus], and thus to arrive at a knowledge of Christian faith and salvation; nevertheless, inasmuch as they have made an appeal for our protection and help, we therefore admit their petition and offer them the shield of our protection through the clemency of Christian piety. In so doing we follow in the footsteps of our predecessors of blessed memory, the popes of Rome -- Calixtus, Eugene, Alexander, Clement, Innocent, and Honorius.

We decree moreover that no Christian shall compel them or any one of their group to come to baptism unwillingly. But if any one of them shall take refuge of his own accord with Christians, because of conviction, then, after his intention will have been manifest, he shall be made a Christian without any intrigue. For, indeed, that person who is known to have come to Christian baptism not freely, but unwillingly, is not believed to posses the Christian faith.

Moreover no Christian shall presume to seize, imprison, wound, torture, mutilate, kill or inflict violence on them; furthermore no one shall presume, except by judicial action of the authorities of the country, to change the good customs in the land where they live for the purpose of taking their money or goods from them or from others.

In addition, no one shall disturb them in any way during the celebration of their festivals, whether by day or by night, with clubs or stones or anything else. Also no one shall exact any compulsory service of them unless it be that which they have been accustomed to render in previous times.

Inasmuch as the Jews are not able to bear witness against the Christians, we decree furthermore that the testimony of Christians against Jews shall not be valid unless there is among these Christians some Jew who is there for the purpose of offering testimony……

We decree, therefore, that Christians need not be obeyed against Jews in a case or situation of this type, and we order that Jews seized under such a silly pretext be freed from imprisonment, and that they shall not be arrested henceforth on such a miserable pretext, unless -- which we do not believe -- they be caught in the commission of the crime. We decree that no Christian shall stir up anything new against them, but that they should be maintained in that status and position in which they were in the time of our predecessors, from antiquity till now.
We decree in order to stop the wickedness and avarice of bad men, that no one shall dare to devastate or to destroy a cemetery of the Jews or to dig up human bodies for the sake of getting money. [The Jews had to pay a ransom before the bodies of their dead were restored to them.] Moreover, if any one, after having known the content of this decree, should -- which we hope will not happen -- attempt audaciously to act contrary to it, then let him suffer punishment in his rank and position, or let him be punished by the penalty of excommunication, unless he makes amends for his boldness by proper recompense. Moreover, we wish that only those Jews who have not attempted to contrive anything toward the destruction of the Christian faith be fortified by support of such protection ...
Given at Orvieto by the hand of the Magister John Lectator, vice-chancellor of the Holy Roman Church, on the 7th of October, n the first indiction [cycle of fifteen years], in the year 1272 of the divine incarnation, in the first year of the pontificate of our master, the Pope Gregory X.

Pope innocent III again upheld the ruling in 1199[18].
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Just as, therefore there ought not to be license for the Jews to presume to go beyond what is permitted them by law in their synagogues, so in those which have been conceded to them, they ought to suffer no prejudice. These men, therefore, since they wish rather to go on in their own hardness than to know the revelations of the prophets and the mysteries of the Law, and to come to a knowledge of the Christian faith, still, since they beseech the help of Our defense, We, out of the meekness proper to Christian piety, and keeping in the footprints of Our predecessors of happy memory, the Roman Pontiffs Calixtus, Eugene, Alexander, Clement, and Celestine, admit their petition, and We grant them the buckler of Our protection.
For we make the law that no Christian compel them, unwilling or refusing, by violence to come to baptism. But if any one of them should spontaneously,a nd for the sake of faith, fly to the Christians, once his choice has become evident, let him be made a Christian without any calumny. Indeed, he is not considered to possess the true faith of the Christianity who is recognized to have come to Christian baptism, not spontaneously, but unwillingly.
Too, no Christian ought to presume, apart from the juridicial sentence of the territorial power, wickedly to injure their persons, or with violence to take away their property, or to change the good customs which they have had until now in whatever region they inhabit.
Besides, in the celebration of their own festivals, no one ought to disturb them in any way, with clubs or stones, nor ought any one try to require from them or to extort from them services they do not owe, except for those they have been accustomed from times past to perform.
In addition to these, We decree, blocking the wickedness and avarice of evil men, that no one ought to dare to mutilate or diminish a Jewish cemetery, nor, in order to get money, to exhume bodies once they have been buried.
If anyone, however shall attempt, the tenor of this decree once known, to go against it - may this be far from happening! - let him be punished by the vengeance of excommunication, unless he correct his presumption by making equivalent satisfaction.
We desire, however, that only those be fortified by the guard of this protection who shall have presumed no plotting for the subversion of the Christian faith.
Given at the Lateran, by the hand of Raynaldus, Archbishop of Acerenza, acting for the Chancellor, on the 17th day before the Kalends of October, in the second indiction, and the 1199th year of the Incarnation of the Lord, and in the second year of the pontificate of the Lord Pope, Innocent III.


Next I would like to address some of your erroneous historical statements Zixinus made, and believe me, there are many. Not the least of which is his opening one.

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Throughout its history it was not afraid to use violence to defeat its religious foes such as the Byzantine Empire.


I’m not sure what force you’re referring to in reference to the Byzantine Empire because the Catholic Church was allies with the Byzantines throughout the Crusades. I think what you could possibly be referring to the sack of Constantinople. If you’ve read history, however, you should know that Pope Innocent III actually condemned the crusaders who took part in the sack[19].

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Innocent III had also decreed the Fourth Crusade in 1198 C.E., which was intended to recapture the Holy Land. The Pope directed his call towards the knights and nobles of Europe rather than to the Kings; he wished that neither Richard I of England (1189 C.E.–99 C.E.) nor Philip II of France, who were still engaged in war, not to mention his German enemies, should participate in the crusade. Innocent III's call was generally ignored until 1200, when a crusade was finally organized in Champagne. The Venetians then re-directed it into the sacking of Zara in 1202 and of Constantinople in 1204 C.E. Innocent III was horrified by the attack on the Byzantines. Prior to the launching of the Crusade he had insisted that no Christian cities be attacked. He sharply denounced Boniface of Montferrat, commander of the so-called "Fourth Crusade" (1202 C.E. –1204 C.E.) for his actions in seizing Constantinople instead of retaking Jerusalem as his crusader oath had pledged. Innocent III condemned him for desecrating Byzantine Churches in no uncertain terms, sympathizing with the Greeks who called his men "dogs”.


You should also know that the first crusade was, in fact, called for to protect the Byzantines from Islamic aggression. In fact, the Byzantine Emperor Alexius I had petitioned Pope Urban II for aid in fighting the Muslims. Here is the letter of Alexius I[20][21].

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The Letter of Alexius to Count Robert of Flanders

O most Illustrious count and especial comforter of the Christian faith! I wish to make known you prudence how the most sacred empire of the Greek Christians is being sorely distressed by the Patzinaks and the Turks, who daily ravage it and unitermittently seize [its territory]; and trerc is promiscuous slaughter and indesribable killing and derision of the Christians. But since the evil things they do are many and, as we have said, indescribable, we will mention but a few of the many, which nevertheless are horrible to hear and disturb even the air itself.

For they circumcise the boys and youths of the Christians over the Christian baptismal fonts, and in contempt of Christ they pour the blood from the circumcision into the said baptismal fonts and compel them to void urine thereon; and thereafter they violently drag them around in the church, compelling them to blaspheme the name of the Holy Trinity and the belief therein. But those who refuse to do these things they punish in diverse ways and ultimately they kill them. Noble matrons and their daughters whom they have robbed [of their possessions] they, one after another like animals, defile in adultery. Some, indeed, in their corrupting shamelessly place virgins before the faces of their mothers and compell them to sing wicked and obscene songs, until they have finished their own wicked acts.

Thus, we read, it was done also against God's people in antiquity , to whom the impious Babylonians, after making sport of them in diverse ways, said: "Sing us one of the songs of Zion." Likewise, at the dishonoring of their daughters, the mothers are in turn compelled to sing wicked songs, [though] their voices sound forth not a song but rather, we believe, a plaint, as is written concerning the death of the innocents: "A voice was heard in Ramah, Weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; and she would not be comforted, because they are not."

However, even if the mothers of the innocents, who are figured by Rachel, could not be comforted for the death of their children, yet they could derive comfort from the salvation of their souls; but these [mothers] are in worse plight, for they cannot be comforted at all, because they perish in both body and soul. But what further? Let us come to matters of greater depravity. Men of every age and order i.e. boys, adolescents, youths, old men, nobles, serfs, and, what is worse and more shameless, clergymen and monks, and alas and alack, what from the beginning has never been said or heard, bishops! - they defile with the sin of sodomy and now they are also trumpeting abroad that one bishop has succumbed to this abominable sin.

The holy places they desecrate and destroy in numberless ways, and they threaten them with worse treatment. And who does not lament over these things? Who has not compassion? Who is not horrified? Who does not pray? For almost the entire land from Jerusalem to Greece, and the whole of Greece with its upper regions, which are Cappadocia Minor, Cappadocia Major, Phrygia, Bithynia, Lesser Phrygia (i.e. the Troad), Pontus, Galatia, Lydia, Pamphylia, Isauria, Lycia, and the principal islands Chios and Mytilene, and many other regions and islands which we cannot even enumerate, as far as Thrace, have already been invaded by them, and now almost nothing remains except Constantinople, which they are threatening to snatch aware from us very soon, unless the aid of God and the faithful Latin Christians should reach us speedily.

For even the Propontis, which is also called the Avidus and which flows out of the Pontus near Constantinople into the Great Sea, they have invaded with two hundred ships, which the Greeks robbed by them had built; and they are launching them with their rowers, willy nilly, and they are threatening, as we have said, speedily to capture Constantinople by land as well as by way of the Propontis. These few among the innumerable evil things which this most impious people is doing we have mentioned and written to you, count of the Flemings, lover of the Christian faith. The rest, indeed, let us omit in order not to disgust the readers. Accordingly, for love of God and out of sympathy for all Christian Greeks, we beg that you lead hither to my aid and that of the Christian Greeks whatever faithful warriors of Christ you may be able to enlist in your land- those of major as well as those of minor and middle condition: and as they in the past year liberated Galicia an other kingdoms of the Westerners somewhat from the yoke of the pagans, "so also may they now, for the salvation of their souls, endeavor to liberate the Kingdom of the Greeks; since I, albeit I am emperor, can find no remedy or suitable counsel, but am always fleeing from the face of the Turks and Patzinaks: and I remain in a particular city only until I perceive that their arrival is imminent. And I think it is better to be subjected to your latins than to the abominations of the pagans. Therefore, before Constantinople is captured by them, you most certainly ought to fight with all your strength so that you may joyfully receive in heaven a glorious and ineffable reward.

For it is better that you should have Constantinople than the pagans because in that city precious relics of the Lord, to wit: the pillar to which he was bound: the lash with which he was scourged: the scarlet robe in which he was arrayed: the crown of throns with which he was crowned: the reed he held in his hands, in place of scepter: the garments of which he was despoiled before the cross: the larger part of the wood of the cross in which he was crucified: the nails with which he was affixed: the linen clothes found in the sepulcher after his resurrection: the twelve baskets of remnants of from the five loaves and the two fishes: the entire head of St. John the Baptist with the hair and the beard: the relics or bodies of many of the innocents, of certain prophets and apostles, of martyrs and, especially, of the protomartyr St. Stephen, and of confessors and virgins, these latter being of such great number that we have omitted writing each about them individually.

Yet all the aforesaid the Christians rather than the pagans ought to possess: and it will be a great momument for all Christians if they retain possession of all these, but it will be to their detriment and doom if they should lose them. However, if they should be unwilling to fight for the sake of these relics, and if their love of gold is greater, they will find more of it there than in all the world; for the treasure vaults of the churches of Constantinople abound in silver, gold, gems, and precious stones, and silken gaements, i,e, vestments, which could suffice for all the churches in the world. But the inestimable treasure of the mother church, , namely St. Sophia, the Wisdom of God, surpasses the treasures of all other churches and without doubt, equals the treasures of the Temple of Solomon. Again, what shall I say of the infinite treasures of the nobles, when no one can estimate the treasure of the common merchants? What is contained in the treasures of the former emperors? I say for certain that no tongue can tell it; because not only the treasure of the Constantinopolitian emperors is there contained, but the treasure of all the ancient Roman emperors has been brought thither and hidden in the palaces. What more shall I say? Certainly, what is exposed to men's eyes is as nothing compared with that which lies hidden.

Hasten, therefore, with your entire people and fight with all your strength, lest such treasure fall into the hands of the Turks and Patzinaks: because, while they are infinite, just now sixty thousand are daily expected, and I fear that by means of this treasure they gradually will seduce our covetous soldiers, as did formerly Julius Caesar who by reason of avarice invaded the kingdom of the Franks and as antichrist will do at the end of the world after he has captured the whole earth. Therefore, lest you should lose the kingsom of the Christians and, what is greater, the Lord's Sepulcher, act while you still have time; and then you will have not doom, but a reward in heaven.

In fact, the Byzantines were allies with the crusader almost the entire way through, although there was some mistrust between the two groups [22].

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Here my opponent tries to insinuates that Charlemagne renaissance was somehow created by the RCC rather than due to blooming economy and its intellectual emperor.

Also, my opponent makes a clear implication that is so stupid that I can't even name its category: that somehow, the Western civilization was purely from Rome.


Charlamagnes renaissance occurred almost exclusively among the clergy. The monasteries advanced in their learning and in education. The one’s who educated the nobility were also Roman Catholic clergy. So, yes the Catholic Church deserves a ton of credit for the Carlolingian renaissance[23].

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He ignores the developing culture of all the pre-Christian people in Europe. Cultures that had their own complex religions, their own technological innovations as well as its own writings and monuments. This is nothing to him, again probably because these cultures are known mostly only by historians and archaeologists. Western civilization that is today is not just a product of the experience of Rome, but of hundreds of years of different kingdoms competing with each other for supremacy, as well as the work of thousands of scientists, philosophers, engineers, craftsmen and even politicians.


No I don’t. I fully acknowledge the work of the Greeks, the Roman and the other civilizations that contributed to western culture, but the culture we see today was predominately preserved and united by Christianity and the Roman Catholic Church.

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Of course, it is also clear that my opponent does not recognize that during the "dark ages" the RCC wielded supreme power. Its followers were almost every mayor European kingdom. There was no question of its doctrine, its clergy spread everywhere it could, converting followers either based on their own will or under pressure from outside forces that favored Christianity.


Firstly, I would really like to know how exactly Zixinus defines the “dark ages”. Most scholars today agree that the dark ages ended by about 10th century at most, while some have pushed the time back to the 7th century. Non-the less it is not true that the Catholic Church had supreme power during this time period. The height of Papal Power was not until Innocent III in the 12th century, which is generally considered to be the high middle ages. During the dark ages the roman Church had anything but supreme power, in fact, they were constantly at odds with various secular rulers. Many popes like John XII were deposed by Holy Roman emperors. Otto I actually conquered the papal states in the 10th century, so much for absolute authority[24].

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While I give space for concession about unification (religion has been able to make itself such a part of identity for different ethnicities, thereby providing common ground between them) my opponent tries to imply that Clovis was not a legitimate empire before its conversion to Christianity.

Laugh at his naivety: the idea that an empire has to be "legitimised" by anything else than the acceptance of the people it is composed of and the military, economic, political and power it wields is ridiculous.


Clovis I viewed all of his actions as a defense of Christianity. He viewed all of his conquests as Holy Wars and he was always seeking to create a Christian empire. Without this sense of destiny he would not have been able to mobilize himself as effectively against the barbarians[25].

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Here my opponent insinuates that the people of Western Europe could have not developed a civilization of their own, without the Church's involvement.


Eventually sure, but without the unifying effect that Christianity had, it would have taken a lot longer. Many of the writing of ancient antiquity would also have been lost. Without the learning that took place in the monasteries knowledge would not have taken root.

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While this is not untrue and that these monasteries did preserve texts and were the intellectual heavens of the time, my opponent ignores much of the Arabic scholars that have copied texts from antiquity and re-entered these texts later in the Enlightenment. [2] Thus the idea that the written works of antiquity would be lost is false


My opponent forgets that the Arabs only obtained the ancient writings from conquering Christian kingdoms[26].

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Also, my opponent does not mention that the creation of these monasteries were not completely made for the sake of learning: they were profitable trough its products of crafts and animals, even though that was not their original goal. Their original goal was nothing less than isolation from the outside world. Even to this day, monasteries are expected to be self-sufficient, although they do this by economy rather than industry.


So what? If anything that makes them more useful. They preserved knowledge, learning and contributed to the economy. You also ignore all the contributions the monasteries made to agriculture.

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As for schools, it is important to mention that not everyone was allowed to learn: only priests and perhaps high-ranking noblemen. The idea of dedicated universities and freely-accessible schools only came later, during the Enlightenment with the emergence of the free, urban middle class.


Wow. So you don’t think the fact that they lived in a feudal society where farming was necessary for survival had anything to do with this? You don’t think the lack of printing press might have influenced this at all? Besides that, my opponent forgets that Charlemagne’s Empire used monasteries to provide education to anyone who was intelligent enough to use it. All the schools were run by the Catholic Church[27].

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My opponent has created a false dilemma: he says that either the RCC impeded the advancement of science or helped it, when both can be true. We are talking about, after all, a institution that is a thousand years old. It could have done one at one time and the other at a different time. Also, the Church would support scientific advancement if it did not contradict its doctrine.
The issue is, what happens when it meets something that contradicts its doctrine?


The only place you can point to show that the Catholic Church “suppressed science” is the case of Galileo. Even in that case, Galieo was not condemned for violating doctrine; he was condemned for not providing sufficient proof, as we can see from this quote from Cardinal Robert Bellarmine the inquisitor of the time[28].

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“… If there were a real proof that the Sun is in the centre of the universe, that the Earth is in the third sphere, and that the Sun does not go round the Earth but the Earth round the Sun, then we should have to proceed with great circumspection in explaining passages of Scripture which appear to teach the contrary, and we should rather have to say that we did not understand them than declare an opinion false which has been proved to be true. But I do not think there is any such proof since none has been shown to me.”5


Galileo also received a Great amount of support early on from Pope Urban VIII[29].

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Are we to ignore that many book burnings that the RCC practised, such as those described by Don Quixote [4]? Was not almost all of the Cathar texts, the rich Mayan and Aztec codices destroyed? Are we to ignore the many people threatened, ostracized and even tortured for their doctrine-defiling beliefs? Was Arnold of Brescia, Giordano Bruno, Thomas Aikenhead and countless others not burned at the stake for their intellectual views that opposed the RCC's? Was the RCC's wrath even against its own theologians, such as Peter Abelard [5] not done, was he not humiliated and practically forced to renounce his intellectual work that analysed the time's doctrine beliefs?


Not one of the people you mentioned was burned at the stake for scientific beliefs.

The Cathar texts were not scientific. Prove that the books in Don Quixote were scientific works. Peter Abelard was not a scientist either.

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here appears to be countless historical examples of the Church suppressing and destroying anything contradicting its doctrine. In every book about censorship, it is there. The RCC has violently fought against even other Christians religions, even declaring Crusades against them. The same has been applied in an individual scale as well: during the medieval ages when the RCC was not hindered by secular opinion, anyone who publicly decries the Catholic teachings were asked to either renounce what they said or suffer the pain of death.


Firstly, the only crusade to be launched against Christians was the Albigenisen crusade, which had nothing to do with science.

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So, I ask my opponent, how the bloody fucking hell is this not the suppression of science?


You didn’t provide any evidence for scientific suppression. You provided some evidence for theological suppression, but nothing in the way of science.

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I ask my opponent to show not just examples of religious people contributing to the common knowledge base that is modern natural and human science, but to name research efforts that the RCC has supported both politically and financially. I also ask that is scientific, as well as showing that these research efforts were not impeded in any way by RCC doctrine. I ask him when these practises started and why.


First, I ask you to show me where the papacy impeded the progress of science.

As to my opponents request for proof of papal support, I will point to one Guy De Chauliac who served as the Papal physician to Popes Clement IV, Pope Innocent IV and Urbain V[30]. I would also mention Regiomontanus a Papal astronomer[31]. Andreas Vesalius who did developments in anatomy taught at the Papal University of Bologna[32]. Andrea Cesalpino was the Papal physician to pope Clement VIII, and did extensive work on blood circulation[33].

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Stem cell research is quite openly opposed by the Catholic church [6] and have created great political pressures to stop research effort of cells incapable of independent life, despite the fact that embryonic stem cell research shows potential in medicine. A study conducted by University of California shows that:

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= [7] ] "Human embryonic stem cell-derived oligodendrocyte progenitor cell transplants remyelinate and restore locomotion after spinal cord injury"


As we can see, this avenue of research can help people with spinal injuries recover. However, research into this field is increasingly more difficult and researchers now prefer to


I’m sure if I destroyed your life and then studied your cells I could do some valuable research too, but that doesn’t make it moral.

My opponent is also unaware of the third option: Parthenogenesis, which has been put forward as an alternative to embryonic stem cells[34].

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I ask my opponent why Roman laws were to become important after the fall of the Roman Empire.


All historians of law recognize that modern day western laws are influenced by the Romans.

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I ask my opponent to show how Francisco de Victoria's effort to recognize international law funded by the RCC.


Here my opponent shows a very obscure definition of the Catholic Church, he seems to think that the only thing that constitutes the church is the papacy, but I’m sorry that is not the case. The Catholic Church is more than just the popes. It is more than just the cardinals. It is more than just Rome. The Catholic Church constitutes all members of the clergy. Francisco de Victoria was a member of the Dominican order and professor at the University of Salamanca, Salamanca was a Catholic University; therefore, his work was sponsored. Unless you can prove that the church opposed his work, it still counts as Catholic.

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My opinion of the RCC is mixed: I know of its atrocities and I do not see it as a necessary institution to humanity. I believe it serves chiefly and almost only itself, rather than the whole of humanity. However, I find it a slightly more rational variant of Christianity, partly because it does not view the Bible as absolute and is willing to actually change its doctrine, even if it does so under pressure. Compared to some of the USA churches out there, the Catholic church is relatively tame but it still ignores real, physical human suffering in favour of its belief system. In fact, it believes suffering to be necessary to archive spiritual goals, which is all find and dandy if it is voluntarily self-inflicted but not so when it is forced.


The Catholic Church is a collection of individuals. It has had members, even popes, who have done bad things. But it has also had many good and wise members, Popes as well. I would tell you that the Catholic Church is necessary to humanity. It provides an extensive amount of charity to nations all around the world, even to non-Catholics. Most importantly it has helped to preserve western civilization. If it were not for the church, the world would not be as prosperous as it is today. My opponent is correct in that he asserts that Civilization would not have been entirely lost if the Catholic Church did not exist. I’m sure humanity would have developed some sort of civilization eventually, but western civilization in particular is what the church helped to preserve. Western civilization has since become the most prosperous , most technologically advanced, most enlightened and most humane society on earth. Now, of course, this was not all developed by the church directly, but if it was not for the unity and protection that the church provided in the early years of Europe; it is likely that none of this would be possible. That is why I say the Catholic Church is a force for good.

Lastly, I will address zixinuses argument on Contraceptives.

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This may seem a rather trivial argument to make, but that is a narrow view. Contraceptives are the most important innovations of the 20th century, its importance in reducing population growth one of the most important social programs ever created. Families can control the amount of children they support, allowing children to grow up in loving care and in an environment ready for them.


Wow really, it is more important than the airplane, more important than the polio vaccine, more important than radio, internet, all of the other cures for diseases that have been developed? Really?

Apparently Zixinus doesn’t think that children will receive loving care if families have more children. I wonder if Zixinus has any evidence to back that assertion. He also overlooks the fact that other means of birth regulation exist besides the pill, namely natural family planning. He over looks that studies run by planned parenthood have found that parents who use natural family planning are generally happier and have a low divorce rate[35].

Quote:
14. Therefore We base Our words on the first principles of a human and Christian doctrine of marriage when We are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children. (14) Equally to be condemned, as the magisterium of the Church has affirmed on many occasions, is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary. (15)

Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means. (16)


This effectively bans all use of contraceptives.


My opponent erroneously states that the Catholic Church “banned” condoms. I’m sorry Zixinus, but the Catholic Church didn’t “ban” anything. It doesn’t have that ability. The RCC can’t come into your house and remove your condoms, nor can they prevent you from purchasing or using them. They can only rule on the morality of using a condom. A condom is typically 90% effective; this still leaves a 10% chance for infection, while this may decrease your risk that does not make it moral thing to do. If you have aids it is not moral for you to put some one else’s life at risk through sex under any circumstances.

Quote:
it allows the further spread of sexually transmitted diseases, such as the incurable and unvaccinated HIV virus that promises a slow, painful death to anyone who catches it.


Zixinus has yet to prove how Humane Vitae contributed to the aids pandemic. Humane Vitae simply asserted the immorality of contraception.

Quote:
Then, let us enter the AIDS epidemic in Africa. The topic is broad and my time is short, so I'll go to simple facts: HIV originally appeared in Africa and has spread world-wide. It is a disease that has effected much of the populations and is a mayor problem to this day. Many of Sub-Saharan countries have massive AIDS prevalence, sometimes over a whopping 20%, according to UNAIDS 2007 report [9].


Again, he provides no proof to support Church responsibility for this.

Quote:
138. In some societies professional associations of sex-educators, sex-counsellors and sex-therapists are operating. Because their work is often based on unsound theories, lacking scientific value and closed to an authentic anthropology, and theories that do not recognize the true value of chastity, parents should regard such associations with great caution, no matter what official recognition they may have received. When their outlook is out of harmony with the teachings of the Church, this is evident not only in their work, but also in their publications which are widely diffused in various countries.

139. Another abuse occurs whenever sex education is given to children by teaching them all the intimate details of genital relationships, even in a graphic way. Today this is often motivated by wanting to provide education for "safe sex", above all in relation to the spread of AIDS. In this situation, parents must also reject the promotion of so-called "safe sex" or "safer sex", a dangerous and immoral policy based on the deluded theory that the condom can provide adequate protection against AIDS. Parents must insist on continence outside marriage and fidelity in marriage as the only true and secure education for the prevention of this contagious disease.
Note that the document rejects the sexual revolution and denies the possibility of condoms useful against AIDS.

Yet, actual scientific studies have shown the opposite is true [10] [11]. While it does not completely eliminate the risk, it massively reduces the chance of a possible HIV infection.


Here Zixinus grossly misreads a church document. The document only mentions that condoms are not “adequate” protection. It does not claim that they are not effective; it merely states that there is still a possibility for failure; therefore, it is not safe enough. If I had a 10 barrel gun with 1 bullet in it, would you feel safe if I pulled the trigger?

He also failed to realize that this document was in reference to children. Does Zixinus really think 8 and 9 year old kids should have condoms thrown at them?

Quote:
Unless mayor measures are taken, such as the Ugandan ABC program that promotes among other things the use of condoms, the RCC refuses to acknowledge a disease that millions have died.
The RCC demands to use a system that is straight out of the Victorian age: it is both biologically, scientifically and humanely unrealistic. But no matter, let millions die more in Catholic-majority countries. Let HIV-infected parents wonder how long their HIV-infected babies will live, because by doctrine they are not supposed to use condoms and are not supposed to learn about it. They are to reject the sexual revolution's help against fighting viral diseases by the doctrine of the RCC.
[/quote]

Here my opponent references the Ugandan ABC program, but fails to realize that major reduction in HIV prevalence took place before widespread condom promotion. In fact, the very first Ugandan aids prevention booklet that was distributed said very clearly “ The government does not recommend using a condom as a way to fight Aids”(Rethinking aids prevention: pg 152)[36] the booklet also said that condoms “ give people a false sense of security”(pg 152)[36]. Yet, while these booklets were being distributed by the Ugandan government the aids prevalence rates continued to go down. Yes, the Ugandans did not need the U.N., who at that time supported condom only programs, to step in and dump condoms all over their country to reduce their HIV prevalence rates. In fact, it was not only the government pamphlets that questioned condoms, but also the president himself who in a key note speech said he did not believe that condoms were an effective aids prevention strategie(152)[36] So, my question to Mr. Zixinus is, why exactly would the Catholic Church questioning condoms lead to higher aids rates? The Ugandan government did the same thing. So, why didn’t their aids rates go up? Uganda has a 42% Catholic population after all [37]. So why wasn’t the aids problem exacerbated by the Catholics there? These are questions that my opponent has yet to answer.

My opponent also failed to mention that HIV prevalence rates are lower in areas where the church is strong. Uganda for instance, has a 42% Catholic population[37], yet they were able to launch one of the most successful anti-aids campaigns in history. Burundi is another Roman Catholic majority country, with extremely low aids rates[38]. Rwanda, again a Roman Catholic country, has a low aids rate[39]. As do the Philippines[40], Angola[41], Congo[42] and the Democratic republic of Congo[43]. So, Mr. Zixinus tell where exactly the Catholic Church is creating higher aids prevalence rates? Is it Botswana, a country with a 5% Catholic population[44]? Or maybe it’s South Africa, a country with a 7.1 percent catholic population[45]? Tell me Mr. Zixinus, where is it?

In closing, ladies and gentle men, I ask you to take a look at the way this debate has played out so far. Who appears to want it more? Who appears to be producing more research? In my first post I provided 57 links. In Zixinuses first post, he provided 11. Who is the one making more of an effort to back up their claims?

1. http://www.caritas.org/worldmap/asia/india.html
2. http://www.caritas.org/worldmap/mona/iran.html
3. http://www.caritas.org/worldmap/mona/egypt.html
4. http://www.caritas.org/worldmap/mona/syria.html
5. http://www.caritas.org/worldmap/mona/cyprus.html
6. http://www.caritas.org/worldmap/mona/jordan.html
7. http://www.caritas.org/worldmap/mona/morocco.html
8. http://www.caritas.org/worldmap/mona/libya.html
9. http://www.caritas.org/worldmap/mona/somalia.html
10. http://www.caritas.org/worldmap/mona/algeria.html
11. http://www.caritas.org/worldmap/asia/pakistan.html
12. http://www.caritas.org/worldmap/asia/index.html
13. http://blog.caritas.org/2009/01/14/gaza ... otiations/
14. http://www.cptryon.org/compassion/70/cath-ch.html
15. http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Paul03/p3subli.htm
16. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sicut_Judaeis
17. http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Greg10/g10jprot.htm
18. http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/i ... tjews.html
19. http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/ent ... nocent_III
20. http://www.rdsinc.com/pdf/samples/sp691771.pdf
21. http://www.crusades-encyclopedia.com/le ... exius.html
22. http://www.crusades-encyclopedia.com/by ... mpire.html
23. http://www.historyguide.org/ancient/lecture20b.html
24. http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Pope_John_XII
25. http://www.historyguide.org/ancient/lecture20b.html
26. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam
27. http://www.medieval-life.net/education.htm
28. Koestler, Ref. 4, p. 448.
29. http://galileo.rice.edu/gal/urban.html
30. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_de_Chauliac
31. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regiomontanus
32. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andreas_Vesalius
33. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrea_Cesalpino
34. http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cac ... bFo753SA1g
35. http://www.physiciansforlife.org/index2 ... f=1&id=193
36. http://books.google.com/books?id=6pUFCr ... q=&f=false pg152
37. https://www.cia.gov/library/publication ... os/ug.html
38. https://www.cia.gov/library/publication ... os/by.html
39. https://www.cia.gov/library/publication ... os/rw.html
40. https://www.cia.gov/library/publication ... os/rp.html
41. https://www.cia.gov/library/publication ... os/ao.html
42. https://www.cia.gov/library/publication ... os/cg.html
43. https://www.cia.gov/library/publication ... os/cg.html
44. https://www.cia.gov/library/publication ... os/bc.html
45. https://www.cia.gov/library/publication ... os/sf.html

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 Post subject: Re: Is the RCC a force for good? (Zixinus V Ruben) PostPosted: 2009-11-28 11:07am
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Joined: 2007-06-19 12:48pm
Posts: 5212
Location: Putting out fires in the library.
Due to family (mother is back home) and school reasons (test season has begun), I'll have to forfeit the debate.

In a short summary: I admit that I have debated badly and have laid out my argument in a bad manner. This is the first time I ever got into a proper former debate, so technically Ruben won against one of the forum's most inexperienced debater. I admit that I have underestimated him. I had a response in the works, but I have a series of tests I must study for and frankly, I wasted a lot of time on this debate. I do not enjoy it, and rather than waste my weekend, I've decided to rather face scorn from anonymous internet people that I've never met personally.

Without getting into too many points: I concede the point about Caritas, but I must ask: since when does it do that? Did it do that before WW2? Could it be possible that it does "pagan" charity out of a sense of modern values?
Science: do you honestly think that it makes any difference whether we would call those hundreds, thousands of people and books burned scientific? The fact that the RCC destroyed and threatened people for nothing less than being contrary to its doctrine is evidence enough. The idea that the Inquisitors were somehow justified is morally bankrupt.

I admit that my knowledge of the Crusades is a bit fuzzy. It was years ago that I've read the book on the subject, but I specifically recall that one Crusade was made against "heretics" on French land (I think). As for motivations of Urban the second, one of them was a vein hope to unite the divided Church. Instead, it ended up destroying it. The Byzantine was an ally, yes: but a reluctant one.
Oh, and I'm not ignoring the agricultural contributions of monasteries: if anything, that further proves my point that it was in the Church's interest to develop them. In fact, it is known that princes and nobles often paid or contributed significant sums of money to enjoy the benefits that monasteries bring.

As for the AIDS: condoms prevent HIV infection, and yes, it does it most of the time rather than just "every possible circumstance" which you insinuate it must follow. The countries you quoted still have pretty high infection rates and Congo was one of the origin countries of HIV. The fact that the document I've quoted and linked specifically asks parents to take out their children from sex ed classes and asks teachers to abide this, as well as openly renouncing condoms is evidence enough that it willing to let the population suffer in favour of its insane idea of chastity. An idea that is relatively modern and not found in medieval history, except for noblewomen that are not to be much more than cattle according to the Bible and priests, whom were actually only asked not to marry. The Philippines and Latin America is suffering from doctrine-inspired policies. It isn't a stretch to say that the same happens in Sub-Saharan countries that most of the West doesn't give two fucks about.

As for Uganda: I've addressed the point about you lying about Green's position earlier. In fact, others have done it too: he is not saying what you would like to say him. And even if he was, he admits that he has no evidence and a single researcher is hardly enough authority to sway any serious opinion. Certainly, the idea that telling people to fuck less and/or to fuck with less possibly entered into it, but condoms were there. In the very same book you cited (and doesn't have the page you cited as in the preview, so your source is unverifiable) he talks about how when FBO's (whatever that is) met someone who openly admitted they will not deny one aspect of their humanity, the FBO took that person aside and told him to use a condom. In fact, there is a still ongoing study in Uganda (Ratai or however it is spelled, look at my sources) that shows that abstinence and monogamy training did not play as much role in the thing as previously thought. Could it be that stopping AIDS infections is not as simple as you think it is, due to how it involves millions people? Could it be that it would involve more than telling people when and how to have sex? I think it does.

On a final note: wikipedia is not a credible source precisely because anyone can modify it. Making a lot of references and links to it doesn't constitute evidence. Using the same site as a different source doesn't mean you are using more sources. It is interesting to see that you also included a pro-life websites. Having greater quantity of websites is meaningless.

My sources that I've collected so far:
[1] http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/M ... ousTargets
(take a look at atheist section)

[2] http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/ni/2009/03/a ... the_p.html

[3] http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/324/7351/1426

[4] http://www.reuters.com/article/lifestyl ... 0620080130

[5] http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNe ... 5720071023

[6] http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/20349.php

I hope some find it an interesting reading.

Anyway, have a nice day.



Dungeon Keeper 3, under a different name, in the works. On kickstarter.

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 Post subject: Re: Is the RCC a force for good? (Zixinus V Ruben) PostPosted: 2009-11-28 11:52pm
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For Those About to Rock We Salute You
For Those About to Rock We Salute You
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Ruben may make a closing statement.



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