I've been pretty busy lately preparing for and actually attending a debate convention.
I won two best speaker awards there, and one of them was for a debate over whether religion and politics are inseparable. The debate really just devolved into an issue over morals. I used a lot of what I have learned here and shut down the religious crowd in the room and articulated what the other atheists in the room were trying to get out but just couldn't quite do.
I think the final decision was that they weren't, but considering the majority of religious people in the room, it was a lot closer than it should have been.
Some of their arguments were infuriating, circular, and just fucking stupid, as is to be expected.
One kid argued that atheists may not derive their morals from the Bible, but they get them from their parents who were influenced by the Bible. When I brought up the point that Christianity accounts for only a third of the population of the world, and that my parents, having grown up in India, never had any exposure to the the ten commandments or the Bible, this kid responded by saying "Well, when the British colonized India, they exerted their religion and their influence all over the country. I'm pretty sure most Indians speak English so...."
I ripped him to shreds
Another kid stated that without religion, humanity would have no morals and would act with just as much savagery as primitive animals. I brought up the point of biological altruism and how humans, a social animal, are biologically predisposed to act on more than just a personal scale. He then proceeded to repeat his same exact point, completely disregarding what I said.
I heard a lot of "the only thing preventing us from going around raping people constantly is religion."
I also brought up the fact that the form of government in which religion and politics are most closely intertwined is a theocracy, and how well that turns out....
And the fact that in Newsweek's metric of the "best nations", countries in which politics and religion have been fully separated are ranked the highest.
And of course, the usual bullshit about the Founding Fathers basing the constitution and the Declaration of Independence of religion....
I also brought up the comparison between Iran (stoning a girl to death for exposing her shoulders) and the Western World. The response was that in Islam, it is okay to stone people. Well, the same is true of Christianity, but the reason it doesn't happen here is because we have separated religion from politics and secularized. And of course I brought up the condoning of slavery, sexism, racism, torture, slaughter, murder, homophobia, genocide etc... etc...
This fact seemed to be ignored over and over again, and people continued to insist that morals be derived from religion. Furthermore, they said that if we separated religion from politics, we couldn't have laws against murder or robbery because those are derived from religion as well.
You know, typical bullshit