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Thread: How would you debate this argument

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    Veteran Member NobleSavage's Avatar
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    How would you debate this argument

    From another site

    Didn't you notice that the countries that are Christian countries are always much better then the countries that serve other gods.Muslims are even the worst. Look the arabs - they have so much money with this petrol and look at they are not educated, they are stupid, no culture what so ever, low in every way.....Why?

    My first thought is historical, when the Christians were going through the dark ages it was the Arabs who kept learning alive. My second thought is to point out the nations that lean atheistic France, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweeden, etc do better in most categories of human development. (I'm afraid that the come back will be that they started as Christian nations).

    As to the Arabs having no culture, I don't believe it, yet I don't know enough about Arabs to know what cultural artifacts exist.

    For the wealth point I'd reference the Resource Curse http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resource_curse

    What am I missing?

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    Veteran Member Ford's Avatar
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    Off the top of my head I'd counter that the "countries that are Christian countries" are in fact secular countries that happen to be populated by some Christians. Their systems of government are not based in any way on religious principles (unless you can find a Biblical basis for democracy) and if those nations were still under the rule of "The Church" (Protestant or Catholic variations) they'd likely still be as repressive as they once were.

    By the same token, give the Muslim countries a long period of secular democracy and they'd be doing just fine - with the added benefit of "culture" that in some cases predates what we think of as "western civilization."

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    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    Don't forget China and Japan, both of which had long periods of scientific discovery, prosperity and advancement at times when Christendom was a seething cesspool of ignorance, disease and intellectual stagnation.

    Someone is always on top. So far, the various Egyptian, Greek and Roman polytheisms, Shinto, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam and post-Christian secularism have all been the religion that dominated the 'best' parts of the world at one time or another - and that is far from a comprehensive list. Christianity can't match many of these for either duration or for the degree with which they exceeded their neighbours quality of life; In fact the only thing Christianity has going for it is that it has been on top quite recently - indeed it is no coincidence that the dominance of Christian nations in education and quality of life measures almost exactly matches the rise (and fall) of the British Empire. Post-Christian secularism overtook it in about the middle of the 20th Century, so it has been top dog within living memory; Christians in the US Bible Belt share a nation with the post-Christian secularists of the North East and West Coasts of the US, which might add to the illusion from that POV that Christianity is still on top; but a quick look at the differences in science, education and quality of life across the US shows them to be mistaken.

    The huge number and diversity of dominant world religions through history is very solid evidence that none of them is right; The old battle-cry of "If God is with us, who can be against us?" requires God's chosen people to always be, and always have been, victorious. That no one religion has achieved, or even come close to universal dominance for all history shows that none of them actually has access to supernatural assistance.

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    Arguably it's not so much christian countries because southern European colonies have not fared particularly well on the development scale.

    It's perhaps more the Anglo-Dutch-German cultural respect for order and the rule of law that is responsible for the advanced development in Northern Europe and in English and Dutch colonies. Of course, it's arguable this culture is linked to Protestantism, with cause and effect indeterminate.

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    if culture means strip clubs, bars, liquor stores, legalized marijuana, and movie theaters then I would like an explanation how that is Christian. oh yeah and the freedom of expression and religion amendments. AND a woman having birth control and abortion as a choice which seems to go against Christianity.
    Last edited by none; 09-30-2014 at 04:49 AM.

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    Super Moderator Bronzeage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NobleSavage View Post
    From another site

    Didn't you notice that the countries that are Christian countries are always much better then the countries that serve other gods.Muslims are even the worst. Look the arabs - they have so much money with this petrol and look at they are not educated, they are stupid, no culture what so ever, low in every way.....Why?

    My first thought is historical, when the Christians were going through the dark ages it was the Arabs who kept learning alive. My second thought is to point out the nations that lean atheistic France, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweeden, etc do better in most categories of human development. (I'm afraid that the come back will be that they started as Christian nations).

    As to the Arabs having no culture, I don't believe it, yet I don't know enough about Arabs to know what cultural artifacts exist.

    For the wealth point I'd reference the Resource Curse http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resource_curse

    What am I missing?
    The Dark Ages is a misnomer. If one actually studies the history of Europe, one sees there was a steady growth in technology and the standard of living throughout the time period usually defined as the Dark Ages. The breakdown and fall of the Eastern Roman Empire was not the worst thing that ever happened, but many historians call it so. It's true that the Arab world was more advanced in sciences such as astronomy and mathematics, but the Islamic world never embraced the printing press. This had a long lasting effect on Islamic academics. The printing of Bibles and other religious materials provided an expanding market for print shops. The cost and effort of sharing knowledge over long distances was greatly reduced. In the century after Gutenberg's first Bible, books of all kinds were available. It could be argued the Protestant Reformation was a direct result of the printing press. The press made it possible to organize resistance to the Roman Church over large areas of Europe.

    I find the statement "countries that serve other gods," a little strange. The Islamic God and the Christian God are one and the same, so it can't be said one God is somehow superior to the other.

    As for the Resource Curse, there is probably something to that. It would be a curse to be surrounded by something which is valuable to people far away, and useless to oneself. The great advantage of the North American continent was it's resources were land, timber and water. None of this is easily exportable, so it gets used on the spot, which enriches the people who live there. In South America, the economic drive was always to extract mineral wealth in silver and gold, and bring it back to Europe. Throughout the height of the Spanish Empire, most of their revenue was spent on just moving the stuff, which was very expensive. When it was all said and done, and in spite of the riches they possessed, very little profit was actually made off the exchange.

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    Formerly Joedad
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    Quote Originally Posted by NobleSavage View Post
    From another site

    Didn't you notice that the countries that are Christian countries are always much better then the countries that serve other gods.Muslims are even the worst. Look the arabs - they have so much money with this petrol and look at they are not educated, they are stupid, no culture what so ever, low in every way.....Why?

    My first thought is historical, when the Christians were going through the dark ages it was the Arabs who kept learning alive. My second thought is to point out the nations that lean atheistic France, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweeden, etc do better in most categories of human development. (I'm afraid that the come back will be that they started as Christian nations).

    As to the Arabs having no culture, I don't believe it, yet I don't know enough about Arabs to know what cultural artifacts exist.

    For the wealth point I'd reference the Resource Curse http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resource_curse

    What am I missing?
    What does the poster mean by "much better." The Nazis were all baptized christians. These "much better" christian nations waged war against each other for centuries.

    Perhaps the poster never read Guns Germs and Steell or something similar and so has no appreciation for the roots of inequality.

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    Veteran Member dystopian's Avatar
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    My second thought is to point out the nations that lean atheistic France, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweeden, etc do better in most categories of human development. (I'm afraid that the come back will be that they started as Christian nations).
    I would also point this out. If they reply with the argument that they started as Christian nations, I would point out that the Netherlands started overtaking every Christian country on the planet during it's golden age; when it had radical freedom of religion, science literature rose to the top of the bestsellers list, and secularism started gaining traction. I would then point out that France only started becoming a decent place to live after the French Revolution, which was a thoroughly secular revolution.

    I would also point out that there are in fact quite a few muslim countries that don't really do all that bad on the human development index. Brunei (30th) and Qatar (31st) rank above Estonia (33rd); and Saudi Arabia shared 35th place with Poland. These positions are all above the majority of Christian nations in the worlds.

    I would also point out that Japan (17th), South Korea (16th), Hong Kong (15th), and Singapore (9th); are not exactly Christian nations either. Sure, Christianity is the biggest religion in South Korea, but only 37% of the people are Christian versus 42% who are non-religious. Plus it didn't start out as a Christian nation. Fewer than one percent of Japanese are christian (70-80% of Japanese people do not identify themselves as religious, although Shinto/Buddhist traditions do hold sway with the majority). Buddhism is the dominant religion in Singapore; although it is very diverse in terms of religious adherence. Finally, Chinese Folk Religion (Shenism), distantly followed by Buddhism and Taoism are the dominant religions in Hong Kong.

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    Most Christians are in Africa and south America, not Europe and the US. The poster wants to compare the US to Iran. But if he's correct, Peru, Columbia and Kenya ought to outperform Iran, and they don't.
    Arab countries historically have done better, for longer, with better technology, than Christian countries have.
    Countries with high numbers of atheists regularly outperform Christian countries.
    Ignorance of culture is not absence of culture.

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    Elder Contributor Keith&Co.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NobleSavage View Post
    From another site

    ... they have so much money with this petrol and look at they are not educated, they are stupid, no culture what so ever, low in every way.....Why?
    I'd ask for an objective standard of how to measure 'culture.'

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