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English Debate Club

This week's topic:

Is religion & tradition a foundation of stability for us, or is it a hindrance to a better life?

Science, rationalism, individualism, liberalism and the age of reason has pushed back religious explanations. Rapid urbanisation has put a stop to many traditions for the many people who have made the move.

Many of us believe that this is for the better on the whole, but some voices are heard that we may have thrown out the baby with the bathwater and people are now falling for beliefs that are more dangerous than the old ones, and that humans may have caught hybris, changing and destroying things in a way that can not be undone.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Arab-american thinker and author of the 2007 world number one non-fiction bestseller "The Black Swan" is himself a practising religious man (Greek Orthodox).

He believes that religion is important, as a set of time-proven traditions that prevent people from doing foolish things. In fact he sees religions foremost as a set of practices, where you also put in a god mostly to hammer home the importance of following the traditions. The video below is about 8 minutes long, but well worth it if you have the time and can hear what he is saying:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=VuJD5Zfqti8#t=43

He claims among other things that the ballooning national debts of countries like Ireland, Italy, Spain and Portugal are a consequence of the strong taboo against lending in the Catholic church, and that the borrowing spree started as the church lost its grip, and people indulged in what previously had been frowned upon.

If we look at other things, forced sterilization was practised in 1900s,  in Europe and also the United States. Indeed, in Sweden it did continue until now (although with more medical concerns). It can be observed that this mostly happened in protestant countries, and not in catholic ones. Some observers mean that the Catholic view on life is incompatible with these programs.

Communism can be seen as a hodge-podge of beliefs under the guise of being "scientific", with a special emnity towards (other) religions.

 

Directions to the place

Inside the Café:
Go into the far (deepest) corner in the Café. Go right into the wall there. Not kidding, go right into the wall. On your left there is then a staircase leading down. Some people are still unable to find the staircase, if you are one of them, just ask the staff to show you where the basement is. We are downstairs.

By metro + bus:
Take a bus from Slussen. 3 (towards Södersjukhuset) or 76 (towards Norra Hammarbyhamnen), get off at the second stop after Slussen (Åsögatan), turn right and walk 1 minute down Bondegatan. You'll see the café in front of you, at the end of the block.

By metro + walking:
Closest Metro station is "Medborgarplatsen", and the address of the café is Nytorgsgatan 38. If you look near the top of this page you will see this address, and if you click the name of the Café, a map should appear.

On that map, locate the big street "Folkungagatan" north of the Café, and trace it to the west until you see a "T" in a circle. That is the metro station "Medborgarplatsen".

From the main railway station:
For if you arrive with a suburban train (pendeltåg) or a long distance train. Grab bus 59 from outside of World trade center at the top level of the station (Klarabergsviadukten) and get off the bus at the Bondegatan stop.

The English Debate Club:

Challenge and improve your English skills with lively discussions and debates!  Sometimes we stick to debate format, other times it evolves into a general discussion.

Participants are welcome to prepare beforehand or wing it - but everyone will be encouraged to contribute to the discussion.

Focus will be on crafting arguments in English, phrasing for emphasis and expanding vocabulary at an advanced level.  Native English speakers who would like to brush up on their debating skills very welcome also!It's okay to interject and to reply directly as long as it does not get out of hand (in which case a speaker's list will be more strictly enforced). People who have not spoken much get precedence.

If you just like to sit and listen that is fine too. For the few who really like to talk at length: You may be interrupted and asked for clarification, or it may be pointed out that you're repeating yourself.

First hour is usually a bit more free form, looking at the subject from different angles, and then we may home in on specifics more during the second hour

 

Join or login to comment.

  • A former member
    A former member

    Topic 2. Could really a massive increase of organic, fair trade and local products consumption/ demand boost the offer and distribution of these items, while reducing sensibly their prices? Also, what consequences such a sustainable commerce, if becoming major, will have on global economy and our local lives (e.g. the reduction of exportations)?

    1 · September 18, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    1) How to improve Stockholm urban area. This is very wide, but I can think about the following items: a) is it waste separation/ waste recycling/ management really working? It seems doing pretty well, however why during the summer rubbish on the "strands" are often out of their bins? Why here Compost rubbish is not separated from ordinary garbage? Please the knowledge of "experts" is very welcome (I am also new in Stockholm so I don't know much). B) would it be possible to render house finding not so difficult (even in suburbs) while building just few new blocks, therefore preserving the natural environment? I bet the answer would be "no", but maybe some ideas could be suggested

    1 · September 18, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hello Everyone! I really enjoyed the debate yesterday! I have tried to find the right place where to write the new topic for the next time.... However, maybe here is the only place now? Sorry, I now can write down just some ideas, but if you like I can develop them better:

    1 · September 18, 2013

  • Jane

    Sorry.problem with subway by blue line.

    September 17, 2013

  • Reem_1976

    Jag är fram

    September 17, 2013

  • Jorgen

    Topic has now been set: "Is religion & tradition a foundation of stability for us, or is it a hindrance to a better life? "

    The text became a bit long, but don't feel obliged to read all of it!

    September 13, 2013

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