Quincy University hosted a debate about the necessity of religion
A debate was held at MacHugh Theatre on Nov. 1, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The debate was centered around whether religion was necessary for the common good. Daniel Strudwick, PhD., and Jessica Howell argued for religion, while Robert Manning, PhD., and Neil Wright, PhD., against religion.
Everyone gave their stance on religion and whether it was necessary for the common good before giving the audience the opportunity to ask questions. Manning argued against religion while admitting that he is a Protestant. Strudwick opened by stating that people can get rid of the old religions but they will replace them with new religions, as it is inherent in human nature. Wright argued that one can pick good elements from religions but religion is not necessary to achieve the common good.
“There’s a lot of good questions and a lot good content brought up about faith, Christianity, Divinity, and even positions about not believing,” Ryan Obert, senior, said.
Questions from the audience were in–depth at times, with a faculty member asking how does one define common good after he prefaced the question stating that objective morality is subjective. Strudwick responded by pointing out that if good is subjective, then how can define what is moral. A student asked about the dropping rate of young people believing in religion and a higher rate of interest in philosophy. A priest said stating that there is no objective morality is a terrible stance before proceeding with his question.
Throughout the debate, the participants gave examples from history and personal experiences for whether religion should be seen as necessary or not. Howell gave her personal history of how she became a Christian through a tumultuous time in her life. For Howell, religion is not only necessary for the common good, it is necessary to maintain a healthy and fulfilling life, and maintaining healthy relationships with people.
Manning mentioned how the topic of religion has negative feelings for some people, and listed his wife as an example. Manning’s wife is a Romanian, and during Word War II, Romanian Catholics aided the Nazis in eliminating Romanian Jews. Manning concluded with a recertification of why religion is not necessary but can even be inhibitive to the common good. Manning also believed that to achieve the common good, it must be agreed upon by all people involved.
“Neil and I, we’re on the same side of the argument, but he was coming at it from a completely secular perspective and I’m not a completely secular person. I’m more of a religious person. So, we were making the same argument that no, religion is not necessary for the common good. It might be conducive to the common good, that’s another question, but it’s not necessary for the common good,” Manning said.
“It went in a lot of different directions and it wasn’t circular, which I was a little afraid that it would get circular. So, I’m glad that each person had a very specific thing that they wanted to bring up, because we touched on a lot of topics. I think people are going to leave thinking, which was the goal,” Howell said.
The debate centered mostly on Christianity as the religion for discussion. Everyone was well–mannered and eloquent with their stances and disagreements.