Religion brings unity
This topic really struck a chord with the students as a lot of people have their values and beliefs deep-seated in religion. There were a lot of strong opinions expressed during the course of this thought-provoking debate.
Points for the motion
As an example, Buddhism brings unity among people because it emphasizes the interdependence of all beings.
In a democratic structure, the will of the majority generally predominates. Hence, the people in power have the support of the people who are under administration.
Buddhism talks about how all human beings have to bear suffering in their lives. Through compassion and mutual understanding, one can find peace and unity can be brought about in a community.
Devout people have faith in a higher power. This implies that they will not commit what is regarded in their community as 'sins' for fear of the consequences. For example, communities that believe in rebirths will fear for their next lives. Abiding by one's religion brings people together.
Buddhism is a unified religion, symbolically represented as an ocean. Buddhists have the 'sangha' or the ordained Buddhist monks or nuns. Anyone is allowed to join this sangha regardless of colour, creed or religion. Once one becomes a monk, morality is of utmost importance and this brings the sangha together.
Points against the motion
Religion can cause conflict and war. For example - the Kashmir issue between India and Pakistan which has been going on for decades.
Religious differences cause people to discriminate against someone who does not belong to the same religion.
For example, in Hinduism there are four caste systems amongst which marriage was earlier not allowed. This divided Hindus on the basis of caste.
Religious beliefs can sometimes create misunderstandings or gaps in comprehension of each other's cultures and ideas.
Religion can turn into fanaticism in case of extremist beliefs. This causes a very rigid outlook in believers and they are not open to new ideas. This is a barrier to understanding and does not contribute to unity in any way.