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Reply #12: This is a lot of breath wasted on a dumbass--but an atheist response: [View All]

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vixengrl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-12-08 12:12 AM
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12. This is a lot of breath wasted on a dumbass--but an atheist response:
Medved made three points in imagining that an Atheist would be an unsuitable choice for higher office, all of which suggested, in an off-hand way, that an atheist can not be a patriotic American. He appears to have conflated the lack of a belief in a Deity with a lack of belief in anything, and the lack of religious feeling, with a lack of national pride. He is full of crap, but that is not how I will address the argument--if by argument you mean, "anti-atheist, 'they suck, we rule'" bullshit.

I will respond according to his three points, even though they are bullshit. Why not? Atheists debate--it's like our job, or something.

Hollowness & Hypocrisy at State Occasions

I will cop to a certain hypocrisy when participating in the rituals of state occasions--obviously. No one is their private self in public. But much of our ceremonial American trappings do involve the invocation of a higher power. Singing "God Bless America" would mean something different for me--but it wouldn't therefore be meaningless. I may omit "under God" from my pledge, but it would not change my ideals with respects to the government for which the flag stands.

I actually like "America the Beautiful", even despite its slightly God-spangled lyrics. It's easier to sing than "The Star-Spangled Banner"--which is a challenge for any non-gifted singer or unschooled voice. But "America the Beautiful" sounds great, when done with feeling:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=-3pIwPGM4JY

Alas, Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land" is not likely to replace "The Star-Spangled Banner", nor even Emma Lazarus' "New Colossus" set to music:

"Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

(Too controversial for the anti-immigration, don't you know?)



How about I do sing "God", but I will mean "General Operating Directions"--you know,the fundamental rules that seem to make our universe work. And you can look on it as a diety if you like. You see it as a personal omnipotent observer, I see it as the fortunate twist that allowed something we think of as sentience in a carbon-based lifeform here on the Milky Way's outer rim. Near enough for government work?


As for solemnity and ceremony, I have found that despite my nonbelief, I laugh and cry in the same places as believers. Were I to preside over, say, a Thanksgiving table, I'd of course give thanks to the pilgrims and other immigrants who built this country, and to the Founding Fathers and other leaders who tried to write and act on the great promise of this country. I may not believe in a God, but I do believe in people. And this is so for other solemn and uniquely American holidays: honor Veterans on Veterans' Day. Honor those who gave all on Memorial Day. Workers on Labor Day.

It would actually be hypocrisy to forget the people, wouldn't it?


Disconnecting from the people

The American people, at all times, have had leaders with whom they did not see eye-to-eye on all subjects, with whom they did not share all the same values, or with whom they did not share a cultural background. I do not find torture to be morally acceptable as an atheist. It does not reflect my own feeling that one should not harm others, or wish on another what I would not desire. I know there are other atheists who may disagree with me, just as many born-again Christians would disagree with GWB on signing off on such a thing. I have more in common with a Christian, like Mr. Ashcroft, in agreeing that history would not judge such an act kindly. We share the value of compassion and not willing our fellow man to suffer--but Bush and Cheney may not. The three gentlemen are all Christians. I lack a faith in God. But I can still connect with a moral or ethical code.

Medved believes that it is a shared faith that mediates between the governed and the governor. I say it is a trust. It is the public servant who should and must respond to the needs of the people--without intercessor or mediator. The communication is two-way--and the prayers of an unhappy people are not more beneficial than a strongly worded e-mail to a leader's press to get him on the same page.

He says an odd thing, when he implies that it is the atheist alone who claims a superiority of ideology. Does a Catholic, Baptist, or Mormon, not suppose that his own path is the "right way" to God? If they really have these faiths, why do they have their own particular faith? Is there a superior benefit? More godliness?

If I intended to go into office, I would have to want to do it for all people--even if they disagreed with me. Whether they had faith or not--so of course I'd try to represent all. I would listen--they would answer--where's the disconnect?

As for Medved's final point:

Islamo-Nazism (where has the Islamo-fascism gone? Is Nazi the new Fascist? Is Bin Laden more like Mussolini than Hitler? I am so not au courant on right-wing slang!) I will entertain that he means by this something like : "Authoritarian or totalitarian repressive theocracies."

Well, er, as an atheist, I am strongly against your Authoritarian or Totalitarian repressive theocracy. I don't want one here in America, so why would I approve of it elsewhere? My answer to that is, that while I represent a non-faith-based view, I nonetheless do not represent anti-Americanism, because I would be pro-democracy. Medved's straw-secularist rejects the notion that human beings crave godliness--but I would say we crave justice and freedom. I would intend to treat people fairly, and encourage democracy--of the people and by the people (they help, or solely make their own democratic revolution.) Also, if you mean to seriously confront fascism, shared belief means little. You do not fight against the religion, but the ideology. It's free the minds first, and then the behinds follow.

So, er, I am a poor debater, but Medved made a pretty poor argument, so there's my response.

(Do dumbasses like Medved ever recognize that LIB-erty and LIB-eral have the same root?)
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