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Lerkfish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 02:35 PM
Original message
the role that religion should/should not have in government
Personally, I support the complete separation of church and state, even though I'm a christian.
My reasons are that as long as one religion is favored or reviled, all religions suffer.

however I'm interested, as a sociological pathology, why "they" (whoever they are) deem that candidates must wear their religion on their sleeves and then must be judged as having the proper "faith" to get elected?

This doesn't mean anyone here has to be behind that requirement, but I wanted to open that up for discussion.

What do you think? And I especially want to invite poster from any, all or no faiths to repsond.
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MindPilot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 02:41 PM
Response to Original message
1. The idea that Christianity equals morality is very deeply ingrained
Someone who doesn't profess a "faith" (preferably a belief in Jesus as God, resurrection and redemption) simply won't get elected because they are seen as immoral and--strangely enough--weak.

I see it as a fundamental (pun intended) flaw in American culture.
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Lerkfish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 02:46 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. I also see it as a flaw. The problem is that irrationally voters have set
themselves up to adulate, for the lack of a better term "boy scouts" as leaders. But the problem is, most politicans are everything but boy scouts. But because they know voters want that, they lie and pretend to be boy scouts.

Tis a very warped and irrational relationship between voter and candidate. The candidate cannot be human, and the voter is too easily comforted by falsehood in the pursuit of "family values" whatever that is.

If we get back the govt, I wish we would address this dysfunctional dynamic, and accept leaders as human and get on with governing.
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raccoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-26-06 08:12 AM
Response to Reply #1
38. This should be printed in gold letters ten feet tall!
"The idea that Christianity equals morality is very deeply ingrained"
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 02:44 PM
Response to Original message
2. I'm perfectly OK with believers as candidates
who allow their faith to guide some decisions while realizing that their faith shouldn't dictate secular law. I don't think believers can or should try to turn that part of themselves off when they enter office.

However, they need to know that their faith ends at their own skin and that the rest of us live here, too, and damned few of us would agree with them completely on the particulars of that faith, even the ones in the adjacent pews of their churches.

Whenever someone feels compelled to tell me how religious he is, though, I tend to check that my wallet hasn't been lifted and look for the closest exit. Candidates of faith need to show us, not tell us.
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populistdriven Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 02:45 PM
Response to Original message
3. Founding Fathers - America was not founded on any christian religion
Edited on Mon Oct-23-06 02:49 PM by bushmeat
The Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense founded on the Christian religion. The 'Christian Nation' is a myth.

If you are a Christian then you shouldn't lie about this. After you read the following you should realize that stating otherwise is in fact, not telling the truth.

If you believe this, like I once did, you could not be MORE wrong about this country being founded on judeo-christian ideals.

To all of those who believe that our founding fathers founded this country on religion, most notably Christianity... please re-think your position. These are the same founding fathers who are viewed as great men, who are quoted unequivocally and whose ideas and laws are considered the best-laid of any in history.


Thomas Jefferson was a Deist. A Deist according to Webster's is (1) The belief in the existence of a God on purely rational grounds without reliance on revelation or authority; especially in the 17th and 18th centuries. (2) The doctrine that God created the world and its natural laws, but takes no further part in its functioning. Thomas Jefferson wrote his own version of the Bible (The Jefferson Bible). It TOTALLY removes all accounts of the divinity of Christ and all of the miracles - including the virgin birth. Benjamin Franklin was raised Episcopalian, but was also a Deist. John Adams was raised a Congregationalist, but later became a Unitarian. Here are what some of the other founders had to say about it:

Thomas Jefferson:
Thomas Jefferson wrote:
"I have examined all the known superstitions of the world, and I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology. Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned. What has been the effect of this coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites; to support roguery and error all over the earth."

"Christianity...(has become) the most perverted system that ever shone on man. ...Rogueries, absurdities and untruths were perpetrated upon the teachings of Jesus by a large band of dupes and importers led by Paul, the first great corrupter of the teaching of Jesus."

"in this age, there is no substitute for Christianity...That was the religion of the founders of the republic, and they expected it to remain the religion of their descendants."

"The Christian god can be easily pictured as virtually the same as the many ancient gods of past civilizations. The Christian god is a three headed monster; cruel, vengeful and capricious. If one wishes to know more of this raging, three headed beast-like god, one only needs to look at the caliber of the people who say they serve him. They are always of two classes: fools and hypocrites."

"The authors of the gospels were unlettered and ignorant men and the teachings of Jesus have come to us mutilated, misstated and unintelligible"

"Christianity...(has become) the most perverted system that ever shone on man. ...Rogueries, absurdities and untruths were perpetrated upon the teachings of Jesus by a large band of dupes and importers led by Paul, the first great corrupter of the teaching of Jesus."

"The clergy converted the simple teachings of Jesus into an engine for enslaving mankind and adulterated by artificial constructions into a contrivance to filch wealth and power to themselves...these clergy, in fact, constitute the real Anti-Christ."

Thomas Jefferson, letter to General Alexander Smyth, Jan. 17, 1825:

"It is between fifty and sixty years since I read it (the Apocalypse), and I then considered it merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams."

Thomas Jefferson, letter to Horatio G. Spafford, March 17, 1814:

"In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own."

Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823:

"The truth is, that the greatest enemies of the doctrine of Jesus are those, calling themselves the expositors of them, who have perverted them to the structure of a system of fancy absolutely incomprehensible, and without any foundation in his genuine words. And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter... But may we hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this most venerated reformer of human errors."

Thomas Jefferson, letter to Richard Price, Jan. 8, 1789:

"I concur with you strictly in your opinion of the comparative merits of atheism and demonism, and really see nothing but the latter in the being worshipped by many who think themselves Christians."

Thomas Jefferson to Dr. Benjamin Rush, Sept. 23, 1800:

"They believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly; for I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. But this is all they have to fear from me: and enough, too, in their opinion."

Thomas Jefferson to Alexander von Humboldt, Dec. 6, 1813:

"History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes."

Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814:

"Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law."

From Jeffersons biography:

"...an amendment was proposed by inserting the words, Jesus Christ...the holy author of our religion, which was rejected By a great majority in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and the Mohammedan, the Hindoo and the Infidel of every denomination."



George Washington:
George Washington wrote:
"The United States of America should have a foundation free from the influence of clergy."



John Adams:
John Adams wrote:
"This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it."

"The doctrine of the divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity."

"...Thirteen governments thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind."



Thomas Paine:
Thomas Paine wrote:
Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and tortuous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind.

"I would not dare to so dishonor my Creator God by attaching His name to that book (the Bible)."



James Madison:
James Madison wrote:
"What influence in fact have Christian ecclesiastical establishments had on civil society? In many instances they have been upholding the thrones of political tyranny. In no instance have they been seen as the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wished to subvert the public liberty have found in the clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate liberty, does not need the clergy."

"Religion and government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together."

"During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution."

"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise."



Abraham Lincoln:
Abraham Lincoln wrote:
The Bible is not my book, and Christianity is not my religion. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma."



Lastly, and most significantly, Article 11 of The Treaty of Tripoli, ratified and unanimously approved by the Senate in 1797, and signed by John Adams:
John Adams wrote:
"As the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion..."



These men were not athiests, they believed in God and country and they founded our country but they knew that religion and politics should never mix (they were secularists) because it could lead to the downfall of our nation, so stop throwing that "America was founded on Christian beliefs" crap at us... it's just NOT TRUE.
I think the beliefs of the Founding Fathers are pretty clear as they state in their own words above. Perhaps you are confusing the Founding Fathers with the Pilgrims?

US Law States this clearly:

http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/diplomacy/barbary/bar...

ARTICLE 11.
As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

The Barbary Treaties :

Treaty of Peace and Friendship, Signed at Tripoli November 4, 1796
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CJCRANE Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 03:26 PM
Response to Reply #3
10. This should be a thread on its own..
even better if it was on FreeRepublic to show them the real foundations of America.
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cosmik debris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 02:51 PM
Response to Original message
5. Us vs. Them
One idea that the political right has fostered is the idea that we are divided into us and them. And the lines cannot be blurred. That carries over nicely into religious ideology. "The Other" is always characterized as evil, and dehumanized so that it is easier to hate them. And thus, you must be one of "Us" to be Worthy of public office.
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Lerkfish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 02:55 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. I hope that we find some way to break that paradigm.
I think it has destructively framed our politics and runs antithetical to the concept of personal liberties.

for the record, I think a good example in my lifetime of a president who did it correctly was Carter, because if asked about his religion he would not shy from explaining his personal beliefs, but he did not expect his beliefs to be part of his job.
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cosmik debris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 03:05 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. Politics used to be the art of compromise
Edited on Mon Oct-23-06 03:05 PM by cosmik debris
Since the era of Newt Gingrich it has become the art of victory. The republicans have made it an "all or none" battle. We can't win by defeating the Republicans, we have to defeat the "all or none" mentality.
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tocqueville Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 03:02 PM
Response to Original message
7. none
except for the legal structures providing for freedom of religion. In many European countries showing off your religion is mostly a handicap when you are a politician. A good way of NOT being reelected or at least lose influence. This doesn't apply to religious influenced parties like Christian-Democrats, as long as the politicians in those parties don't use their faith as an argument.

In countries like France and Scandinavia the suspicion that your religious background might influence you in not being neutral is a clear handicap.

If you belong to a cult like Scientology or Jehovah's witnesses, forget about a political carreer.
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bryant69 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 03:20 PM
Response to Original message
9. Religion should have no role in government
The mixture of politics and religion is poison. Particularly if you are not a member of the dominent religion, but even if you are, it's not good. Because once you combine religion with politics (which has never been the cleanest of professions)

As for the second question - it's a bit of conundrum - because they usually say it like "I"m a Christian so I'm a moral person." The implication being that Christianity is what makes them a moral person, which could be seen as indicating that Morality and Christianity go together, which is of course not true - Christians can be jerks, Atheists can be highly moral.

On the other hand, its valuable to know how a person thinks - Clintons, Carters and Current President Bush's statements on religion gave us insight into how they looked at the world, and in Bush's case, at least, should have sent up a red flag.

Bryant
Check it out --> http://politicalcomment.blogspot.com
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cyborg_jim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 03:31 PM
Response to Original message
11. I don't know if you've noticed but...
... Christianity hardly sets itself out as a 'lets have some thoughts about all this stuff' religion, more like a, 'this is the truth, no arguments, don't even bother' religion.

Are people really surprised by these attitudes given this kind of thinking?
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damntexdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 04:16 PM
Response to Original message
12. Every once in a while, the U.S. goes through an irrational period, ...
of religious revival. We are in the midst of one. It has always been a see-saw battle between advocates of religion in government (and government in religion) versus separation -- e.g., Baptists along with Jefferson and Madison pushed separation back when the established churches were Congregationalist and Episcopalian. Unfortunately, the entire world is undergoing a wave of religious fundamentalism today. So just figure that home-grown Christian fundies are our counterparts of the Wahabis and Taliban, or for that matter of Israel's ultra-orthodox and ideological land-grabbers. All we can do is try to protect as best we can the independence from religious domination of government, of society as a whole, and of ourselves.

Oh, and my religion: agnostic Unitarian-Universalist.
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varkam Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 05:47 PM
Response to Original message
13. As an official stance, religion should have as much place in govt as
Edited on Mon Oct-23-06 05:48 PM by varkam
an open bar should have at an Al-Anon meeting. One is a positively destructive force on the other, supposing that we value things such as freedom and independent thought.

However, I personally have no problem with leaders themselves having faith in the metaphysical so long as two conditions are met:

1) Political figures should not legislate or in any sense attempt to force upon their constituency certain rules or laws that derive power solely from their religious training.

2) Political figures should not use their religion as a means of swaying other figures in political argument or as a means of giving the impression to voters that they are automatically moral or good people.

Which brings me to second issue - the "sociological pathology" (which I think is a nice way of putting it, BTW). I think that this is so because we live in such a religious society. People are generally afraid of or distrustful of those they view as different. The relevant case here is those who claim a different religion (i.e. Hindus or Buddhists) or no religion altogether (i.e. Atheists). I think it is an extremely poor rule by which to judge political candidates, as history has shown that religiosity means little regarding future behavior or moral strength.
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Evoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 05:59 PM
Response to Original message
14. Easy..its based on misunderstandings and lies.
To many people atheist=pagan=muslem=buddhists=EVIL. If you think someone is evil, why would you vote them in? And if you were afraid that one of the EVIL people may slip into office, then it becomes not only important, BUT NECESSARY to know what religion your politician belongs too. There are many people who think that people who are loud and proud about their christianity are more moral than the rest of us...once you understand that, you understand why the religious right CANT vote for anybody else. Would you vote for someone you were sure was a child molester? Would you vote for someone you thought drank blookd and killed puppies? Thats the way they see us, Lerkfish.

The interesting thing is the way people behave when they find out you aren't of their religion, when they assumed you were. They can either

1)shift their world view..."not all people of other religions are evil! I was wrong!"

2)or they can defend their world view "Your not a christian! you are no longer my friend/politican/barber/cocaine dealer!"

Unfortunately, many people (not all) on the religious right are unwilling to do #1, and are used to automatically responding with #2.

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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 06:13 PM
Response to Original message
15. Pat Robertson and others
decided to take over the Republican Party in order to get political power.
Read about it here: http://www.theocracywatch.org/taking_over.htm

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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-24-06 01:38 AM
Response to Original message
16. Religion should have no role in government
When the two combine the results are disastrous for everyone. The religious use the government to achieve their agendas, the government uses the religious to get votes and support for their agendas. Members of minority religions and the non-religious become subject to Tyranny of the Majority as more and more "faith based" legislation gets passed (the faith being that of the majority). The more power the majority gets, the freer they feel to bully the minority, and the more power they seek.

Government must remain religion neutral for the good of all.
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JerseygirlCT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-24-06 06:32 AM
Response to Original message
17. I think people are looking for shortcuts when it comes to
judging character.

Of course, that sleeve-worn religion is often useless for that purpose. But it seems to be taken as such, nonetheless, by too many. (See George Bush)

I believe, as you do, that a strict separation is a good and healthy thing. Not only for government, but also for religions. Which was the dual purpose our insightful founders had in mind.

People ought to look beyond simple labels and learn to ask real questions of their public figures. It takes a bit more work, but things that are worth it often do, don't they?
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MindPilot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-24-06 08:22 AM
Response to Original message
18. Compare the basic tenets of Christianity with the Constitution
US Constitution: Power is derived from the consent of the governed.
Christianity: Divine right of kings.

US Constitution: Representative lawmaking.
Christianity: God is the lawgiver.

US Constitution: Equality under the law.
Christianity: Some groups are Gods chosen ones.

US Constitution: Freedom of and from worship.
Christianity: "Thou shalt have no other gods..." etc.

US Constitution: No cruel or unusual punishment.
Christianity: Leviticus & Deuteronomy.

US Constitution: Right to question leaders.
Christianity: Render unto Caesar...

US Constitution: Right to keep and bear arms.
Christianity: See #3.

US Constitution: Freedom from coercion & surveillance
Christianity: God watches and judges every thought and action

US Constitution: Right to self-determination
Christianity: Gods will is your destiny

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Finder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-24-06 08:37 AM
Response to Original message
19. The opiate of the masses...
as Marx stated. It is easier to identify with and pander to a large group than an individual.



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Dorian Gray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-24-06 10:21 AM
Response to Original message
20. I think that it's important to
keep religious leaders from making our laws. The issue of Sharia Law being introduced into certain areas of Canada scares the heck out of me, though I think that was in discussion stage.

It's an ongoing fight here in the USA. I think that having the argument about "In God We Trust" on the money is a good thing. I think discussing whether "Under God" has a place in the pledge keeps the idea that our government is separate from our religion in the forefront. Our government's place is to protect its citizens, of all background, and not enforce any particular religion. I'd be uncomfortable if Roman Catholicism were upheld as the state government, even if it mirrored my own personal beliefs.

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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-24-06 12:05 PM
Response to Original message
21. I also favor the complete separation of church and state.
It has been an essential principle in our country's history that has insured our success as a nation, and will continue to insure that in our future.

I don't mind speaking about their faith, I actually find that refreshing, I do mind if they think that they hold a special corner on morality because of it.

I watched about a minute of a Larry King show that featured a fundamentalist minister who was trying to insist that the founding fathers were very religious people who never intended to separate church and state. I had to change the channel.
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Evoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-24-06 12:54 PM
Response to Reply #21
23. I guess the question is
would you ever vote for an atheist? You said you don't mind people speaking about their faith..that is fine. But would that weigh in on your decision?
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-24-06 02:46 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. Possibly
I would be far more likely to vote for an agnostic, though. Depends on the person.
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Evoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-24-06 02:50 PM
Response to Reply #24
25. Why? Why would you be more likely to vote for an agnostic?
Why would you only "possibly" vote for an atheist? Why wasn't your answer, "I sure would vote for an atheist if he had good policies" ?

What is lacking in an atheist that a christian candidate or even an agnostic candidate has?
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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-25-06 03:14 PM
Response to Reply #24
30. Wow - you REALLY don't like atheists, do you?
Shameful answer.

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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-26-06 08:22 AM
Response to Reply #30
41. I don't like SOME atheists.
Some atheists are as much "true believers" as any fundamentalist Christian, in my opinion.

Like it said, it depends, and I am using the dictionary definition of "atheist". The A-word is used to cover many different conceptions of atheism, at least as I see it around here

I certainly wouldn't vote for Sam Harris, for instance.

If I am looking at a candidate's character, if they were an extreme advocate for any philosophy or religion, I probably wouldn't vote for them. I don't vote for idealogues of any persuasion.
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Lerkfish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 11:58 AM
Response to Reply #30
72. You've made it clear you really don't like theists....right?
nearly every one of your posts makes it clear you don't like theists, so why are you the only allow to choose whom you like or dislike?

just curious.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 02:14 PM
Response to Reply #72
73. What utter bullshit.
Zhade is one of the most open minded and liberal people I know.

You don't have a clue what you're talking about, you're in a rage and you just want to lash out at atheists for some unfathomable reason.

Why don't you do something constructive, like calling out your bigoted brethren?

We're a lot more tolerant of them than they are of us.

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Lerkfish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-25-06 01:58 PM
Response to Reply #23
28. not me, anyways.
in fact, I'd vote for an atheist OVER a fundamentalist christian zealot, if their qualifications were equal otherwise.
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Evoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-27-06 02:39 PM
Response to Reply #28
67. That choice seems easy, but what about
Athiest vs a liberal christian?
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Lerkfish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 11:57 AM
Response to Reply #67
71. It would depend on how much an issue that christian was making of their
own religion. If they were making it a reason to vote for them, even though I share their religious POV to some extent, I would still not prefer for them to USE religion in that way.

It would be a harder, choice, though, and in that case it would depend on individual situations.

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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-24-06 12:08 PM
Response to Original message
22. Public policy requires public justifications.
Arguing that we should do something because God said so is just as nonsensical as arguing that we should do something because the aliens said so.
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Ron Green Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-25-06 12:23 PM
Response to Original message
26. Although right-wing fundamentalist religion in this country has been
sold into many corners of government, religion itself was much a part of daily life of the Founders. I imagine the deism of most of them was not seen as a threat to the act of governing, but rather a normal part of their human functioning. Religion being as natural as curiosity, I would hope for its improvement, rather than a pie-in-the-sky wish that it simply go away.
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immoderate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-25-06 01:12 PM
Response to Reply #26
27. I wonder where you get that from.
The first five presidents were not Christian. Deists of that time would be atheists today. They saw no interaction with any deity. Why would you ignore all those quotes above?

George Washington was coerced into going to church by constituents. When there, he did not participate or pray. He refused to see any clergy when he was on his deathbed. His last act was to take his pulse.

It is clear that the founders did not participate in religion as part of their daily routines. They were products of the Enlightenment.

Where did you got the information that "religion itself was much a part of daily life of the Founders?"

--IMM
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Ron Green Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-25-06 03:01 PM
Response to Reply #27
29. I didn't say anything about Christianity,
although it's clear from Jefferson's writing that he was well aware of the teachings of Jesus. Perhaps I needn't have said that religion was "a part of daily life," meaning the practice of religion, but all men of letters of the Enlightenment would certainly have known the Bible, along with their Greek and Latin, better than most people of today know any book.

Your statement that "deists of that time would be atheists today" is just odd.
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immoderate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-25-06 03:46 PM
Response to Reply #29
31. Not if you try to name some atheists of that time.
It was a transitional period. It was the birth of modern science, and cultural influences were dominant. They acknowledged a creator because there was little alternative. But they generally ignored the practice of religion or the possibility of a caretaker god. If they were alive today, surely Franklin, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison would be atheists, and the ever ubiqitous Washington would probably be ambiguous. Remember, Washington did not pray or take communion. He refused clergy on his deathbed.

Of course I can only speculate, and perhaps, as politicians, these men would remain in the closet. But surely, they were rationalists, and did not subscribe to the magic and miracles of religion.

--IMM
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Ron Green Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-25-06 06:58 PM
Response to Reply #31
32. It's the magic and miracles that give religion a bad name.
Many people who want to have no trace of religion in government, or who would eliminate it altogether from society, characterize it as nothing BUT magic and miracles. In my ideal world, the idea of a "caretaker god" or even a god with a separate personality would give way to an understanding of something much more inclusive, something that would not allow for enemies or separation of people from each other. Such an abstract concept is difficult, which is why the caricature of the Boss God is the popular idea.
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immoderate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-25-06 08:07 PM
Response to Reply #32
33. OK, let's get away from the fundy god for a moment.
He doesn't get much play here, anyway. What you get is a euphemistic god. A god that is love, or goodness, or consciousness, or conscience, or some other virtue (but never anything bad.) I see these virtues a part of the human makeup, without which our species could not survive.

Furthermore, when I hear religious liberals describe their god, it sounds like they are projecting what they would like god to be, and then ascribing some reality to that. If god existed in any form outside of the individual, why would there be as many descriptions as there are people? I have had someone on these forums state that her view of atheists is that they lack imagination. Really. And I think she rather obliviously made my point. God is something that people think up. It's an imaginary thing. But it is pervasive in our culture for theists to condescend to atheists, as if it is we who have a blind spot. DU is a rare place indeed, where atheists can express themselves in a group other than one that comes together only for the purpose of supporting atheists.

Now, all the virtues and wonders that people ascribe to god are nevertheless real. Love, and goodness, altruism, charity, morality, kindness, and the wonder and awe at the glories of nature, emanate from our humanity, and are even present in some degree in other species. Religions, in their beginnings, did not encompass those things, but were an attempt to describe mysterious origins, and ultimately to control people and retain adherents. The virtues were originally embedded in tribal culture and passed on by group pressures. As we outgrew our tribal roots, the religions co-opted the virtues, and their success has been mixed, because they also fomented genocides. In short, god appears nowhere in the equation. He's a prop.

I won't burden you with the line about respecting everyone's beliefs, 'cause I don't. I don't think you can respect a belief without sharing it. But I do respect the fact that beliefs are individual, and all people will have them, and they can't all be right. I think that beliefs are so individual in fact, that at most, only one person can be right. I respect a person's right to hold their beliefs, but not the beliefs.

Let me signal my complete agreement with the ideals you expressed in your post, "something that would not allow for enemies or separation of people from each other." That sounds good to me. :)

--IMM
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Ron Green Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-25-06 11:55 PM
Response to Reply #33
35. Here it is in a nutshell:
There's only Love and Fear. Love is God, and Fear is non-God, which is an illusion. In fact, all differentiation of matter, personalities, time and space - all illusion. The reality is the infinite, the place where you and I are not only in agreement, but we're brothers. In fact, we're the same. That's God.

But as long as we're bound here on this earth by time and space, we have to deal with Fear (the illusion that we're separate). And that's our job, as I see it, to deal with each other, and our different beliefs, and the ways we piss each other off, and the ways we blow each other up. And through Love (remember, I'm ascribing to it much more than just another on a list of virtues, as you did above), we learn to overcome the lies we made up about ourselves and the world when we were young and first afraid. We do it by reaching out to others, and responding appropriately to our fear of them ... this is courage. And we haltingly make our way back to God. It's the archetypal journey of the hero, if you will. God is our home.

That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it. (or not, as I learn and grow)

:-)
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immoderate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-26-06 01:04 AM
Response to Reply #35
36. I like it. I don't believe it, but I like it.
I think I would deal with the world very much as you describe. So in effect it works for me. My personal world view wouldn't include the terms infinite, illusion, or god. I might substitute vast, perceptions, and nature as my metaphysical constructs. But it could wind up in the same effective "reality."

Yeah, that's pretty good.

--IMM
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-26-06 08:11 AM
Response to Reply #31
37. Pure speculation is right.
The Founding Fathers are like a Rorschach test. Everyone claims them to support their own viewpoint, be it liberal or conservative, religious or non-religious. The religious right sees them as Bible-believing Christians.

Insisting that they would be atheists is just one more piece of that.
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-26-06 08:15 AM
Response to Reply #37
39. Of Course
there is very little to no evidence to place the solidly in the Christian camp. Shit, the five IMM talks about self-identified as deists, for goodness sake.
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-26-06 08:17 AM
Response to Reply #39
40. It depends, as always, how one defines "Christian".
Claiming them as atheists is pretty silly, in my humble opinion.
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immoderate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-26-06 09:31 AM
Response to Reply #40
42. I think it's speculative, but not silly.
Edited on Thu Oct-26-06 09:33 AM by IMModerate
Surely they would not have been conservative about religion. And it's reasonable to say they wouldn't have been more religious now than they were then. That puts them somewhere between the liberal Christians of today, who tend to fabricate their own view of god, and the atheists. Add to that the intervening discoveries about the universe and evolution and consider how much they were dedicated to rationalism, and I don't think my projection is silly.

Remember, these guys rejected Christianity and theism when it was the overwhelming predominant view. It's hard to conceive of them latching on to some new age Christianity today. I guess that some might see them as modern crystal gazers or hard core fundies, as with the Rorschach theme, but where's the case for that? Clearly they embraced the ethics of religious systems, but rejected the dogma and ritual trappings. Where would that put them now?

--IMM
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-26-06 10:41 AM
Response to Reply #42
43. well
IMM

"That puts them somewhere between the liberal Christians of today, who tend to fabricate their own view of god,"

I find this characterization of liberal Christians offensive, and would ask you politely to refrain from using it. Everyone who is a believer has a unique belief, to some extent, but there is great commonalities among those beliefs. They don't "fabricate" their beliefs, but arrive at them through a process of discernment and study.

"and the atheists. Add to that the intervening discoveries about the universe and evolution and consider how much they were dedicated to rationalism, and I don't think my projection is silly."

"Remember, these guys rejected Christianity and theism when it was the overwhelming predominant view. It's hard to conceive of them latching on to some new age Christianity today."

They could also latch on to another religious belief altogether. There is no reason to believe atheism to be the only alternative.
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Finder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-26-06 10:46 AM
Response to Reply #43
44. Customize? n/t
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immoderate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-26-06 11:41 AM
Response to Reply #43
45. Agree that atheism is not the only alternative.
But those religious alternatives were available then as now, and they rejected them as well as Christianity. Scientology? Pastafarianism? It is reasonable to presume that their core thinking would not differ. To say that, would be to assume that their basic personalities differ. But that's like saying they would be different people today and that begs the question. I think you could go as far as to say they would still be Deists. But the Deist god is distant and unknowable, and today there are scientific explanations of such things as life that makes god even more distant and unknowable. I would speculate they'd say that it could be god that set off the big bang, but that view is indiscernible from say, my own.

I think that we don't disagree much that the views of god as expressed by most here is arrived at by an internal process, even though there are external and cultural influences. If the god they arrive at is not a reflection of their own experiences and preferences, then they will adopt those of someone else's personal views. If they study, what are they studying except for someone else's personal views, and those differ widely. So they will pare them down to the ones that fit their aesthetic and moral preferences. I don't think you can point to anything in the world and definitively state that "this is a clear manifestation of god and reveals his nature" that people can roll into their view of god.

Indeed from my interactions with theists on this board, I have not found anything which is an objective commonality of attributes. If you are looking for commonalities, it comes down to anything good comes from god, and anything bad is the result of our own flaws. I admit that might be overly simplified, but if you get more detailed than that, I'm not sure you would maintain the unanimity you claim. If I'm missing something here, please enlighten me to what those commonalities would be.

Perhaps I was careless to choose fabricate, because I did not mean to offend (any more than theists normally get offended by materialist views.) My dictionary says "to construct from diverse and usually standardized parts." How is that different from what you said? You can say people "arrive at" rather than "fabricate" their own personal views of god, but what does that mean? Is arrive at different from construct?

I'll reflect back your own words, "Everyone who is a believer has a unique belief, to some extent, but there is great commonalities among those beliefs." Why is that so?

--IMM
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-26-06 12:37 PM
Response to Reply #45
46. The difficult part of this speculation is simply that they were men of that
Edited on Thu Oct-26-06 12:37 PM by kwassa
era.

Trying to transport them to modern times as a "what if" scenario isn't particularly helpful, as they would be quite different as individuals as growing up in the modern world. This would be inevitable.

IMM:
"I think that we don't disagree much that the views of god as expressed by most here is arrived at by an internal process, even though there are external and cultural influences. If the god they arrive at is not a reflection of their own experiences and preferences, then they will adopt those of someone else's personal views."

But even if they do, even if they grow up in the most structured dogmatic environment, their views will still have a subjective understanding. There is no way to program subjective human perception, no matter how hard belief groups try. That subjectivity may be closely held, but it still exists.

"If they study, what are they studying except for someone else's personal views, and those differ widely. So they will pare them down to the ones that fit their aesthetic and moral preferences."

Or, they will arrive at a synthesis that is perhaps a new view that has not been expressed before, which might be based on experiential elements, as well.

Gotta go, I'll address the rest of your note later.

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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-26-06 02:48 PM
Response to Reply #45
48. second reply
IMM
"Indeed from my interactions with theists on this board, I have not found anything which is an objective commonality of attributes."

I'm not sure what the word "objective" means in this context.

"If you are looking for commonalities, it comes down to anything good comes from god, and anything bad is the result of our own flaws."

I disagree. I believe that we all believe, as theists, in God, though what form or formlessness God consists of might be quite contested. I, for example, have no belief in God as a Supreme Being, or a being at all.

One basic commonality is that God is infinitely greater than our ability to know him, a theme that runs in many religious stories. God is complete knowledge and all-encompassing. That includes good and bad, yin and yang. Prayer is, in essence, the act of receptivity, of turning towards God in order to receive his knowledge, if that is possible. That act of receptivity is informative. I think this is pretty universal. Most religions have some form of the Golden Rule. Jesus said to love God above all others, and to love your neighbor as yourself. That's Christianity, to me. Sin is the act of falling away from God, and hurts not God, who holds us in love, but only ourselves.

"Perhaps I was careless to choose fabricate, because I did not mean to offend (any more than theists normally get offended by materialist views.) My dictionary says "to construct from diverse and usually standardized parts." How is that different from what you said? You can say people "arrive at" rather than "fabricate" their own personal views of god, but what does that mean? Is arrive at different from construct?"

The reason this would be offensive is because we don't see it as fabrication, because we don't see it as construction at all, but rather divination of that which is already there. Fabrication implies that we are the source of ourselves, when we see that source as outside of us, and our feeble attempts are to find out what that external source is really like.
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immoderate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-26-06 05:03 PM
Response to Reply #48
49. "Most religions have some form of the Golden Rule."
So do most atheists I know. I think that is too universal to be a function of religion. Maybe that is what people call god or part of it. What I'm getting from you (or maybe not getting) is any conceptualization of god that is outside of the relationship with god. What I'm saying is, that your god would not be here if you were not here. And the things you reference as god also exist outside of god.

As an atheist, I have a notion of what might be termed a universal consciousness or what the Taoists would call the "one mind." I think it is a function of the Anthropic Principle. It is our relationship with existence itself. Some might call it god, but I'd rather call it what it is. For me the clincher is when you eschewed god as a being.

As so often occurs, arguments are over what words mean. Nevertheless, this was a most satisfying exchange.

--IMM
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-27-06 09:36 AM
Response to Reply #49
57. IMM
IMM:
"What I'm getting from you (or maybe not getting) is any conceptualization of god that is outside of the relationship with god."

Agreed. There is none. It is all about the relationship.

"What I'm saying is, that your god would not be here if you were not here."

Disagreed. God exists for us all at all times. Our ability to perceive him, and how we perceive him, and our decision to perceive him at all is subjective and individualized.

"As an atheist, I have a notion of what might be termed a universal consciousness or what the Taoists would call the "one mind." "

Which is what I would call God.

"I think it is a function of the Anthropic Principle. It is our relationship with existence itself. Some might call it god, but I'd rather call it what it is. For me the clincher is when you eschewed god as a being."

Existence, in and of itself, is not enough, as it is about consciousness in relation to existence, and about the greatest possibilities that lie within that. "One mind" is a pretty good description, or greatest consciousness. I don't see God as a being, and never have, as it is too limiting a model, and seems to be mostly anthropomorphic projection for those that need a fixed image.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-26-06 01:24 PM
Response to Reply #43
47. You've been politely asked - MANY times...
to refrain from your mischaracterizations of "belief" when it comes to atheists. Even when it's been pointed out to you that atheists find it offensive.

So why the double-standard? Why should someone care if they use words that you find offensive? Your track record clearly indicates you don't give a rats ass - you'll continue to use the terms because YOU think they're accurate. Why don't you afford others the same luxuries of using words THEY think are accurate?
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-26-06 11:27 PM
Response to Reply #47
50. If there is a God, I hope he's taking notes.
I find this characterization of liberal Christians offensive, and would ask you politely to refrain from using it. Everyone who is a believer has a unique belief, to some extent, but there is great commonalities among those beliefs. They don't "fabricate" their beliefs, but arrive at them through a process of discernment and study


What an astounding example of hypocrisy. I was literally speechless when I read it. It defies all logic. Does he actually NOT see what he's doing?

A history lesson is in order.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...


I don't know about you, trotsky, but I'm just tickled to death to know that kwassa hates the word "fabricated" when used to define his religious beliefs, even though, according to the dictionary, it's being used correctly. :D
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-27-06 07:29 AM
Response to Reply #50
53. Sad, isn't it?
One set of standards for kwassa and liberal Christians, another for everyone else.

The silence is deafening.
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-27-06 09:20 AM
Response to Reply #53
55. I am only silent when I see little to respond to.
I agreed months ago to not discuss my views of atheism any longer. I abide by that.

If you and BMUS would like to continue to dig up old posts of mine to find posts that are offensive to you, you can do this, but I don't think that it is productive in keeping a pleasant current conversation in this forum, for any one of us.

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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-27-06 09:30 AM
Response to Reply #55
56. Oh, so if one doesn't talk about a double standard, it doesn't exist?
Okey dokey. Just making sure.
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-27-06 09:39 AM
Response to Reply #56
58. No, the double standard doesn't exist.
It is a mutual tolerance agreement.

I have agreed not to express my views on atheism, which is to be respectful to your views.

I ask in turn that atheists respect believers' views.

No double standard. No hypocrisy.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-27-06 09:47 AM
Response to Reply #58
59. You have agreed not to express your views on atheism?
What, right at this moment?

Because you did just that in a post that's only one day old:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Back to your old innocent "I'm just using the dictionary definition" reasoning.

Honestly, kwassa, I don't see how you expect to get away with this when DU has such a great search feature.
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-27-06 10:10 AM
Response to Reply #59
60. How can you disagree with my statement?

quoting myself:
"Some atheists are as much "true believers" as any fundamentalist Christian, in my opinion."

Using "true believers" in quotes simply means that I am using a metaphor here.

Some atheists are what you call strong atheists, and try to push that viewpoint strongly, and it is central to their lives, and they are equally intolerant to religion as the fundamentalists are to those that don't agree with them.

The operative word is SOME. Do you disagree and don't think any atheists do that? I certainly see it.

By the way, I use the word "belief" like it is used in the dictionary, too. If you are unhappy with it, why don't you get that dictionary changed? The dictionary reflects common usage.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-27-06 10:33 AM
Response to Reply #60
61. I am not saying anything about agreement/disagreement.
I'm pointing out that what you say now is not what you did just yesterday.

By the way, I use the word "belief" like it is used in the dictionary, too. If you are unhappy with it, why don't you get that dictionary changed? The dictionary reflects common usage.

Yup, same old kwassa.

BTW, if you're unhappy with the use of the word "fabricate," why don't you get that dictionary changed?

2 : CONSTRUCT, MANUFACTURE; specifically : to construct from diverse and usually standardized parts


Clearly liberal Christians take a portion of the bible to construct their view of god, but they also gather information from experience, from others, from praying, etc. Do you deny this?

You have no reason to be upset, kwassa. IMM simply used the dictionary definition of a word.
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-27-06 10:39 AM
Response to Reply #61
62. you're just wrong again.
Nothing I can do about that.

trotsky:
"Clearly liberal Christians take a portion of the bible to construct their view of god, but they also gather information from experience, from others, from praying, etc. Do you deny this?"

Sure do. The view isn't constructed.

Already explained why to IMM.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-27-06 10:50 AM
Response to Reply #62
64. And I say you're wrong again.
People "arrive at" a certain view of god? How exactly does that differ from contructing or assembling a view of god?

Many people - I'd say most - have different views of their god at different times in their life - are they simply "arriving at" different views, or are they gathering new information and adding it to their construct?

If you think what you posted to IMM was an explanation, I've got news for you: it wasn't.
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-27-06 11:32 AM
Response to Reply #64
65. Whatever
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-27-06 02:05 PM
Response to Reply #65
66. Inland? Is that you?
FYI, though I can't give too much weight to Wikipedia, their entry for Liberal Christianity is pertinent here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberal_Christianity

Liberal Christianity, within a modern Christian context, is a movement within Christianity that is sometimes known as progressive or modernist, and is often characterized by the following features:

* internal diversity of opinion that may or may not include those of Conservative Christianity
* an embracing of higher criticism of the Bible with a corresponding willingness to question supernatural elements of biblical stories (e.g., the virgin birth)
* the rejection of biblical literalism and the inerrancy of the Bible
* the freedom to construct different views of God that may include unitarian beliefs.

...

The freedom to construct one's personal view of God is another hallmark of liberal Christianity. Each person comes to their own understanding of the who, what, how, and why questions relating to the nature and purpose of God. Each person has their own perception of how God moves and works in their life.


Since it's presumably liberal Christians themselves responsible for this Wiki entry, I'd say it carries some particular validity here.
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cosmik debris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-27-06 10:42 AM
Response to Reply #60
63. What a marvelous rhetorical construction!
All we have to do is put "some" before our use of stereotypes and we are instantly absolved from guilt. Then if we say our stereotypes are simply metaphors, the slate is wiped clean.

I hope you remember that you established that standard when you are cast in the same light.

And by the way, if it is a metaphor, dictionary definitions don't apply. You need to decide whether you are using a metaphorical meaning or a dictionary meaning and quit trying to use them interchangeably.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-26-06 11:34 PM
Response to Reply #43
51. "I know you don't like it when I say that."
Edited on Thu Oct-26-06 11:47 PM by beam me up scottie
kwassa (1000+ posts) Thu Oct-26-06 10:41 AM
Response to Reply #42
43....

I find this characterization of liberal Christians offensive, and would ask you politely to refrain from using it. Everyone who is a believer has a unique belief, to some extent, but there is great commonalities among those beliefs. They don't "fabricate" their beliefs, but arrive at them through a process of discernment and study.




kwassa (1000+ posts) Fri Feb-18-05 11:53 AM
129. no, but atheism is a faith

I know you don't like it when I say that.

Of course, we define the word athiesm and faith differently, so it is pointless to argue. I'm stuck on those old-fashioned dictionary definitions



http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...









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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-27-06 07:30 AM
Response to Reply #51
54. Bmus .....
I was asked months ago to refrain from expressing a view I hold on atheism that many atheists here found offensive. I have done so, and have not expressed that view since.

If you wish to keep going back and dredging up old notes by me that expressed that view, and which you found offensive, then that is on you. I've kept my end of the bargain, in order to keep peace here on the board.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 11:18 PM
Response to Reply #54
69. Is that true?
Edited on Sat Oct-28-06 11:20 PM by beam me up scottie
I don't recall reading that post.

And in case you missed it, most atheists who regularly post here agreed quite some time ago to not compare religious belief to belief in fairy tales.

You know, just to keep the peace.

Except we've stuck to our part of the bargain.
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SPKrazy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-25-06 09:15 PM
Response to Original message
34. I Think It Is A Pathology
Sociopaths and narcissists who wear their religions on their sleeves for their own purposes.

If the public didn't seem to be obsessed with religion, then politicians wouldn't care.

There is no room for mixing church and state. We all have to fight to keep our nation from becoming a "Christian Nation" because as you stated: "as long as one religion is favored or reviled, all religions suffer"

There should be no favoritism or reviling from the government about any religion, that is truly freedom of religion. Government involvment in religion contaminates the religion, and biases the government to the detriment and peril of the people of this country.

I don't want a Baptist government, I don't want a Catholic government, I don't want an Episcopal government. I don't want a Hindu government. I don't want an Islamic government.

There is no room for religion in politics in my opinion. I think any candidate who suggests otherwise is in fact doing themselves, the people of our country, and their party a disservice (at a minimum) as it is nothing but divisive to those who don't agree with you, and against the original intent of our founders.

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Chulanowa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-27-06 02:52 AM
Response to Original message
52. I have no problem with the religious being elected...
But I DO have a problem with that religion guiding their hand. An elected official is there to represent the entirity of hteir constituents. Not just one party or the other, not just those that share your religion. And when your religion guides your thought processes and decisions as an elected official, you are disenfranchising a portion of your people. It might be a small portion, depending on your level of government and location, but they're there.

"I worship Jesus" should not be a campaign slogan, because Jesus shouldn't figure into legislation. If he wanted to run for office, he would have done so already.
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Lerkfish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 11:55 AM
Response to Reply #52
70. I like how you put that.
nicely said: "If he wanted to run for office, he would have done so already"
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TallahasseeGrannie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 06:54 PM
Response to Original message
68. Religion of any kind
has no place in government or the public square.

It is separate and apart, and when it is, it is a beautiful thing. When it becomes enmeshed in the world and the world's affairs, it becomes corrupt and soiled.

There is nothing more precious in life than a man or woman's personal decision to believe or not. It is...shall we say...."sacred."
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lisadinoldo Donating Member (8 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-31-06 03:44 PM
Response to Original message
74. Sorry, there is no "separation of church and state."
"Separation of church and state" isn't in the Constitution. And by the way, that phrase that was used by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to the Danbury Baptists, was first used in a Baptist sermon by Roger Williams. The sermon was called "The Garden and the Wilderness" - the "garden" is the church and the "wilderness" is the government. These Christians didn't want their church (their "garden") overrun by the government (the "wilderness"). Jefferson must have used this phrase because he knew that the Baptists would know it's from the (widely known) sermon. So... it's really the other way around. He wasn't endorsing keeping all religion out of government, but rather the government out of the churches.
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Realityhack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-31-06 04:44 PM
Response to Reply #74
75. Thats not quite the complete truth
Many of the founding fathers where quite distinctly secularist. While the constitution does not state that there should be a separation of church and state a number of the founding fathers made it quite clear that they believed religion had/has no place in government. The striping of religious language from the constitution was quite conspicuous, and several of the founding fathers where quite outspoken about their criticism of organized religion especially Christianity.

It would be absurd to try to ban peoples religion from affecting their views on government in any way (how would keeping religion out of government look on paper?) but several of the founding fathers thought religion (Christianity / bible) was an absurd foundation for morals and between the no religious test language and the no law respecting the establishment of religion (being separate from prohibiting the free practice of) they made an active effort.

What specifically do you see as being the difference between what is in the constitution and separation of church and state aside from the particular language used?
What would be an example of something that would not constitute separation of church and state but would be allowed under the constitutional wording?
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lisadinoldo Donating Member (8 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-05-06 08:33 PM
Response to Reply #75
77. You keep saying "several Founding Fathers"...
... questioned Christianity and religion in general. Can you give me some examples? I don't doubt that some of them did, but most of them were firm believers. You can see that when they use the word "Creator" in the documents they wrote.

The First Amendment says:

"Congress shall make no respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof."

Has Congress ever made a law establishing a national religion - one that everybody has to follow? No.

Does a Nativity scene in a public place prohibit you from practicing your religion? This is just absurd.

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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-05-06 08:42 PM
Response to Reply #77
80. Just off the top of my head:
"Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon, than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness, that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind."

- Thomas Paine


"Is uniformity attainable? Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth."

"History I believe furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of which their political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purpose."

"On the dogmas of religion, as distinguished from moral principles, all mankind, from the beginning of the world to this day, have been quarreling, fighting, burning and torturing one another, for abstractions unintelligible to themselves and to all others, and absolutely beyond the comprehension of the human mind."

- Thomas Jefferson


"Experience witnesseth that ecclesiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of religion, have had a contrary operation. During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution."

"What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not."

- James Madison


"As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is, a revelation. But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed?"

"I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved--the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!"

"What havoc has been made of books through every century of the Christian era? Where are fifty gospels, condemned as spurious by the bull of Pope Gelasius? Where are the forty wagon-loads of Hebrew manuscripts burned in France, by order of another pope, because suspected of heresy? Remember the 'index expurgatorius', the inquisition, the stake, the axe, the halter and the guillotine."

"The priesthood have, in all ancient nations, nearly monopolized learning. And ever since the Reformation, when or where has existed a Protestant or dissenting sect who would tolerate A FREE INQUIRY? The blackest billingsgate, the most ungentlemanly insolence, the most yahooish brutality, is patiently endured, countenanced, propagated, and applauded. But touch a solemn truth in collision with a dogma of a sect, though capable of the clearest proof, and you will find you have disturbed a nest, and the hornets will swarm about your eyes and hand, and fly into your face and eyes." "Where do we find a precept in the Bible for Creeds, Confessions, Doctrines and Oaths, and whole carloads of other trumpery that we find religion encumbered with in these days?"

- John Adams


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Realityhack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-06-06 04:33 PM
Response to Reply #80
81. Thanks BMUS.
Somehow I missed these responses to my post.

BMUS posted some good quotes. I am sure you can google more quite easily.

So yes some of the most famous of the founding fathers where quite outspoken against the Christian church and organized religion in general.

As for your reading of the constitution,
Putting up a nativity on public land may seem harmless. Certainly its far from declaring an official religion right? Except what happens if the church of the antichrist wants to put up a display next to it? Do we honestly believe they will be treated the same way?
Public religious displays often fail because they do not allow equal access to all religions. Other times they fail because public funds would be used for them.

When writing the constitution the founding fathers where very careful to remove references to religion. For example unlike the declaration of independence it does not make anything dependent on a creator.
The only mention of religion before the bill of rights is the specific ban on any religious test for office. Not a test for a particular religion but specifically any religious test.

The founding fathers where quite clear about their belief that religion was a corrupting influence on government as much as the other way around, and they made it quite clear that they intended to have an entirely secular government.

What may I ask is the problem with putting said nativity scene on church or private land? Why is it so important that it be on public land?
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-06-06 11:30 PM
Response to Reply #81
82. You're more than welcome.
This is an argument I hear all the time down here. In an act of defiance, the city has gone out of its way to violate the first amendment.

Some people just don't get it.
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-08-06 03:10 PM
Response to Reply #77
84. What BMUS said, but don't forget
that the use of the term "Creator" instead of "God" is a pretty clear indication of the Deist leanings of many of the founders. Cause why would sons of Abraham not just have used the word "God" if they were "firm believers" and "good Christians"?
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lisadinoldo Donating Member (8 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-05-06 08:33 PM
Response to Reply #75
78. You keep saying "several Founding Fathers"...
... questioned Christianity and religion in general. Can you give me some examples? I don't doubt that some of them did, but most of them were firm believers. You can see that when they use the word "Creator" in the documents they wrote.

The First Amendment says:

"Congress shall make no respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof."

Has Congress ever made a law establishing a national religion - one that everybody has to follow? No.

Does a Nativity scene in a public place prohibit you from practicing your religion? This is just absurd.

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lisadinoldo Donating Member (8 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-05-06 08:33 PM
Response to Reply #75
79. You keep saying "several Founding Fathers"...
... questioned Christianity and religion in general. Can you give me some examples? I don't doubt that some of them did, but most of them were firm believers. You can see that when they use the word "Creator" in the documents they wrote.

The First Amendment says:

"Congress shall make no respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof."

Has Congress ever made a law establishing a national religion - one that everybody has to follow? No.

Does a Nativity scene in a public place prohibit you from practicing your religion? This is just absurd.

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Realityhack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-31-06 05:15 PM
Response to Reply #74
76. see also
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scholarsOrAcademics Donating Member (194 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-08-06 02:40 PM
Response to Original message
83. Impossible to avoid
The first thought that comes to mind is the attitude Orientalism, the writing of Edward Said:the superiority of the West. The patronizing British rule over India is probably responsible for the paternalistic hyper-mascularity of present India.
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