What do you think? I'm not gonna argue it, though I may come in later and post my opinion, but I wondered if many people here would agree with that term as an apt description of our country. Additionally she says
“Lest anyone try to convince you that God should be separated from the state, our founding fathers, they were believers,” said Palin. “And George Washington, he saw faith in God as basic to life.”
Do you think "God should be separated from the state"?
Here's a link, I'm sure you can find more details somewhere else on what she said if you're really interested.
http://friendlyatheist.com/2010/04/22/s … hes-wrong/
Yes, American is a Christian nation.
I don't mean the specific denominations of Catholic or Presbyterian or Disciples of Christ or Methodist or even Baptist or whatever. Especially it doesn't mean the religions of Islam or Buddhism or even Mormonism. I mean that American is a Christian nation, based on Godly principles, period, based on belief in God Almighty the Creator, and should remain so.
Many attempts have been made, and are still being made, to undermine that foundation; specifically these days from our highest Office in the land.
I guess time will tell whether those attempts succeed overall.
But with all due respect, could this idea of most people believing in God also apply to many other nations? Lots and lots believe in God, but they certainly aren't Christians, and their governing principles are based on their ideologies of God. If that's the case, many other nations are just as God-fearing as America is. That would make us more similar than different, wouldn't it?
To start with what are the values of the U.S? Not to take anything away from America and its Beautiful people I would think otherwise. Currently America has the highest number of abortions in the World, the highest divorcees,most prisons. On the foreign scene, its the single loudest advocate of homosexuality. What is so christian about these?
Thanks for your perspective.
I agree with your viewpoint completely.
I like your observation but America has always had a "do as I say, not as I do" type of policy. Why shouldn't the people practice their religion the same way?
sarah palin needs to show proof that she has a high school diploma.
She might not have that, but she has at least 6-7 college transcripts to make up for it!
If you read "all" of the magazines, you don't really need a diploma.
George Washington may have been the most religious, but the founding fathers were intellectuals with a wide range of religious convictions, but most of them were deist/agnostic and not really Christian or atheist.
Some of the founding fathers were Freemasons. You don't have to be a Christian to be a Freemason but you have to believe there is only one creator, you have to believe there is only one God. A Jew could become a Freemason and so could a Muslim and of course a Christian. Benjamin Franklin was a Freemason.
I country can have all the mechanisms it wants to separate church from state, but the fact is that religious faith lies within individuals not mechanisms. Unless you can separate individuals from their faith, this sort of separation isn't really possible. At the end of the day, the point is moot.
Church and State will be intertwined to the exact degree that the collective minds of its people are intertwined with this religion or that.
I believe the constitution says what it says. That the government should not impose one religion over another on it's people. I also believe in what it says about NOR deny the free expression there of!
A poll conducted last year by Newsweek or Time Magazine showed 80% of those polled considered the U.S. a Christian Nation.
If you are asking if the U.S. should govern from the religious perspective I would say no!
I believe the country was founded with Christian beliefs, but on the same token I believe in separation of church and state.
lol @ separation of church and state. When is the last time a president got elected that wasn't forced to have a religious belief?
True. In fact, there's only one member of Congress, Pete Stark, who has been open about being atheist. (Fortunately, he represents a rather educated, open-minded district in northern California) Of course, there is no way he could win the presidency, despite a long, distinguished career in the House.
Ironic and sad, that a man of accomplishment and integrity would have no chance at the White House because of a lack of belief, but Sarah Palin, a compulsive liar who knows virtually nothing, is within spitting distance of winning the Republican primary for the top office.
The mob wants what the mob believes. You would think since a president is supposed to be an individual and leader, they wouldn't be expected to be a religious follower.
I think it would make more sense for religious belief to rule out someone being a president rather than ruling them in. Religious beliefs are biased to those that believe as them.
They should absolutely be a private matter, especially when there's a long record for someone demonstrating what kind of person they are.
I understand that in the absence of any information/history about a person's values, using religion can be a shortcut (it can often tell you how vote on certain hotbed issues), but a person without an examinable record is probably not a great candidate for office, anyway.
It's amazing that those adages we're taught as kids "actions speak louder than words, " "well done is better than well said," etc are all ignored by a majority of people when it comes to choosing a politician to support.
I agree, but I don't think even records are of much value, those can also lie. A person could have a horrible record in the past and learned from every mistake in bettering themselves or they could have an excellent record the entire time based on lies unknown to the public.
Agreed, the presidency has turned into a popularity/faith contest rather than the most logical standing a chance.
Washington was a deist. Not a christian.
He never took communion.
Every president ever elected (except Jefferson) has affiliated with a church - but ask yourself why?
If a candidate in our times declared himself to be an atheist, would he stand any chance of being elected? Things were no different 200 years ago.
"[I do not wish to be] exposed to the malignant perversions of those who make every word from me a text for new misrepresentations and calumnies."
He must have known Palin's great great great grandparents.
This nation was not founded with Christian beliefs. The Fathers stated so specifically.
"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion...
Some of the founding fathers were theists (or deist, which ever it is), not Christians. Thomas Jefferson carried his own version of the Bible around with him. (He had some pretty major edits, including a very different view of who Jesus was.) Benjamin Franklin believed in God, but did not ever support any church, saying that most, if not all, were corrupt. Many others felt similarly.
If that categorizes them as Christians, then I suppose they were. However, I think not. I do think most people believe this is a Christian nation, but when you get right down to what individuals believe, I think the numbers are much more in the gray areas.
I've never believed that a state religion is good, nor will I.
When I mentioned "Christian beliefs" I wasn't talking about that in relation to the government, but the general population.
Is it not Christianity that the country was founded? I believe history tells us the original settlers came here seeking freedom of religion. Was the basic principle of the nation not founded on Christian values? I thought it was.
I believe you are correct, I think some are talking about our government not being created on Christian beliefs.
Freedom of religion and freedom from religion.
The values that this nation was founded on do not come from christianity. The Fathers said so explicitly.
"Thou shalt not kill" is a value that you can find in any code of morals throughout history, for example.
The values overlap because they are common.
The US has a Christian majority. This is indisputable. Does this mean that the US is a "Christian Nation?" Absolutely not, but obviously, this is disputable, since there are so many people disputing it.
My favorite argument from the "Christian Nation" folks is the one where they say that the founders were all Christians, therefore the US was founded on Christian values. Really? Then please explain to me why those founders did not see fit to mention any of these Christian values in our Constitution? Were they being forgetful? Sloppy? Or did they perhaps deliberately keep religion (of any kind) out of the process of selecting and running a government?
Article VI makes it pretty clear to me: "...no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."
For further evidence, take a look at the actual text of the oath of office for the President ("I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."). Note that there is no mention of God or Christ whatsoever.
So either the founders were bumbling idiots who forgot to include their most dearly cherished values in the founding document of the United States, or they deliberately chose to keep religion (of any kind!) out of the selection and administration of government.
You still don't get it, do you?
Yes, religion was intentionally kept out.
But not Faith in God nor those Godly values.
There's a huge huge difference.
Cite sources please.
Here is my source:
Jefferson's bible, constructed in 1820.
The government is to stay out of our religious affairs. That's simple. If I want to pray to a big blue sack of tennis balls that I believe is alive and lives under my house, that's my right. But the government can't force everyone else to learn about my fairy tale god or your fairy tale god.
You can believe what you believe, and I can believe what I believe. That's all there is to it.
And morality is not exclusive to one religion Brenda.
True. Although my blue sack god smites perverts pretty mightily. Don't know how you atheists can really be moral without the fear of getting smote.
I'm not an atheist. I pray to the one true god-FSM.
He can and will smite the infidels who follow the blue sack or Jehova.
Beam in my eye and smote in yours.
Oh, I get that there's a difference between faith and religion. And no, there's no bar for a person of faith (or religion) to serve in government. No religious test, remember? The point is, it's not supposed to matter what faith a person follows (or if he even follows a faith at all) when said person is being considered for a government position.
Voters can make their choices based on anything they want to, of course, from which political party a candidate belongs to to what color suits he favors to what religion he professes to follow.
The worry I have about this "Christian Nation" nonsense (and I believe it to be utter nonsense, based on our actual history, not some made-up history that the religious right would have us believe in) is that it may (and probably will, if left unchecked) function as another stepping stone to the Christianization of the US.
Christians have rights. No argument. But so do Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Wiccans, and yes, even atheists. I think the noise that these other groups have started to make in asserting their rights is making Christians, who have been complacent in their overwhelming majority for a very long time, nervous. It shouldn't. It's awesome that our country has reached the point where folks who follow these minority faiths have the courage to speak out.
Brenda, what is the difference in having faith in God and having Godly values? I thought one was the reflection of the other?
According to who's God? I am so incredibly sick of being dictated to by the extreme Christian minority. And yes, in spite of their bullhorn noise levels, they are a minority. Sure, the bible is a good book that highlights many terrific moral values. BUT...it is still just a story - one that has been retold under different names throughout history. This is a free country and we shouldn't allow anybody's personal faith to govern us.
They may indeed be a minority by now; I dunno!
Good point there.
Perhaps even a point to promote activist advocacy for.....ya know, what with all the "minority" groups we have these days in the great USA.
No matter how "incredibly sick" you feel Christians are not a minority in the US.
Take two aspirin and see a demographer in the morning.
I think she's talking about the right wing nutjob Christians, not the majority of Christians.
And how do you quantify a demographic that exists only in the partisan opinions of liberal/atheists?
I'd reply but I don't think you have the capacity to understand.
I wouldn't quantify that demographic either, that's the point - the basis of reality shouldn't be founded on bias
When the polling and demographics actually reflect the populace, as opposed to targeting for specific numbers, I'll be very interested to see what the results are. If you have your thumb on the pulse of the younger generations, you'll notice the group of agnostics growing like none other.
76% is hardly a minority. And the number of agnostics is actually growing at a slower rate than in the 1990s.
76% of people polled, not 76% of the actual population. Dig through the social networking sites and take note of people's religious designations on their profiles if you want a dose of reality
also it says 76% of adults. There are more young people in this country than adults nowadays.
Spin, spin, spin...
Says a lot that you know you have to embarrass yourselves this way
To be embarassed I would have to actually care about what you think or say. In this case you are ignorant of the topic being discussed so you just say crap. Enough time wasted on you. Better do some research so you dont look this way again.
"dig through social networking sites"...
Qute the scientific method there...
A social networking site is where you go for reality? I'm sorry for you.
Wow - you guys are funny. So quick to dismiss. No, that's not where I go for reality, but there is quite a representation of young people there. You have to look in all the cracks if you want well-balanced information. What would you suggest for reality? FOX?
There are definately more non-christians than christians in this country.
Which country are you referring to, specifically?
Obviously you dont know what you are talking about.
Sab Oh says you're wrong, that makes you wrong..
Jeez, wtf is so difficult to understand ?
"Obviously you dont know what you are talking about."
I know quite well, thanks.
I'm not so completely sure....
I think if asked, most Americans would say they are Christians, but if you define exactly what a Christian is, I also think you'd find that people are very, VERY much in the gray areas of Christianity. A lot of Americans believe in God and Jesus, and still DO NOT believe in the basic tenets of Christianity.
God-fearing, or God-believing is more like what America really is, and if that's the case, then we're not much different than a lot of other countries on the planet.
Good point, Daniel. Most modern 'christians' can't stomach the basic tenets and would define themselves more as universalists than christians.
There are plenty of Christians who can't seem to hold to the basic tenets of Christianity; the universalists are the best of them. They get the best of the moral side (and all the other fun stuff: the music, the holidays, etc.) without the incredibly irritating "Repent Sinners!" holier-than-thou attitude. By contrast, the evangelicals (particularly the right wing) fall into the opposite trap: they have more than enough hellfire for everyone, are eagerly awaiting the rapture, and are looking to make life as miserable as possible for those who do not fit their idiotic and twisted morality in the mean time (this is, of course, in addition to their often nonsensical political views).
So yes indeed, thank god for the universalists.
Note: I am intentionally speaking in generalities, I'm aware that there are certainly excellent evangelicals and immoral universalists. (Although the evangelicals have, without question, the more annoying theology).
Whats is so wrong with being the minority? What is most important is what Christianity stands for.
However, there are the words on US currency that I've mentioned before..."In God we trust." In the Judicial system..."Swear to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God!"
In God We Trust was added during the cold war.
The point was to rally everybody against non-christian Russia / USSR.
It didn't exist before the '50s.
Wyanjen, it first appeared on paper money during the 50's, right along with the insertion of "under God" into the pledge of allegiance. It appeared on coins first. Specifically, it first appeared on the 1864 two-cent coin.
But you're right about the propaganda. God was inserted into our pledge and onto our paper money in an attempt to differentiate the officially secular USA from the officially atheist USSR.
Probably about the same time "under God" was added to the Pledge of Allegiance.
"there are the words on US currency that I've mentioned before" Which didn't appear until the Civil War.
"In the Judicial system..."Swear to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God!""
Except that "so help me God" part is traditional, and not prescribed. A typical affirmation used in U.S. District Courts goes:
"You do affirm that all the testimony you are about to give in the case now before the court will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; this you do affirm under the pains and penalties of perjury?" No god, of any kind.
Witnesses of non-Judeo-Christian faiths can also ask to substitute an alternate text for the Bible. And atheists can ask to affirm atop a plain black book.
And as an interesting bit of trivia, when President John Quincy Adams was sworn in, he used a book of American laws rather than a Bible.
They saved "God" for the state constitutions. In every state's constitution that includes a preamble, the word "God" is mentioned. Except for Oregon's.
And, of course, God is mentioned in the Declaration of Independence.
But what does God have to do with Christianity?
Do Muslims have God? Hindus? (The mention of God may irritate an athiest. That's something for them to work out.) But there is NOTHING in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution to support Sarah Palin's claim that Christian philosophy has an inside track politically.
The founding fathers shut the door on religious meddling in public affairs over 2 centuries ago - and for 2 centuries, ambitious religous con men have been trying to force the door open.
I think she should stop using religion to mask her lack of grasp of anything. Her issues are uninspiring, and yet annoyingly, I am talking about her.
Perhaps because it is fascinating for me to watch someone so lacking in whattostandfor rise to such prominence...its mind boggling how americans continue to cheer this person into thinking enough people will vote for her in 2012
We don't have to worry about Sarah Palin getting elected because my big blue ball sack will destroy the world in 2012.
Judgement cometh, sinners! Prepare to be smote!
Would we still be talking about her if she looked like Janet Reno?
If she still had the same screaming-cat voice..
But look how long we talked about Janet Reno because she looked like... Janet Reno.
Sarah Palin stated this as true. Do we need further evidence that it is not?
If she stated that the Earth is spherical, millions of scientists would rush to their labs to reconsider what had been accepted as fact.
hahahahaha!! Actually, I read that they now think Earth is more pear shaped. See? Palin was wrong...again!
Your source is incorrect. The PEOPLE of Earth are becoming more pear-shaped, not the planet itself.
Well, doctors say it's healthier to be pear shaped that apple shaped. I'm more of an overall circle! lol
I am jelly doughnut shaped. I think it's genetic.
What a waste of time and bandwidth. The issue was settled already.
do you realize, Ron, that we both have Homer as our choice of avatar?
thanks for the giggles.
here's a great quote I found, don't know the author.
“When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.”
christian doesn't necessarily mean godly. it's just a label. if I can remember correctly, the name 'christian' originally came from those who ridiculed them. the first council of nicaea decided what the basic christian doctrine would be... convened by constantine 1, who was a rather controversial figure.
plenty of people believe in some higher power/source.
True, but mine has had the greater impact on western society.
I have a question.
Do human beings have any innate rights?
Where do those rights come from?
I know it is stated "by their creator" in the Declaration of Independence.
Creator not being part of the equation from what source do we inherit our basic human rights?
Ron, my town has a bakery that makes the BEST doughnuts in the world! They're incredibly light and fluffy. They must use extra yeast or something. They sell out every day!
If you look strictly at the numbers the majority of Americans are Christian. But so what?
If this was truly a Christian nation, it would not be anything like it is today!!
We keep forgetting who the adversaries were....the money changers!
America worships money, that's the problem! IMO
Thanks Jeff for your astute observations. I can add litle but perhaps Thomas Jefferson can.
"Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting "Jesus Christ," so that it would read "A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination."
-Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom
So if TJ was hubbing he would say - NO - the United States is is not a Christian Nation and the founding fathers never inteded one.
That omission was why Brenda declined to sign the declaration. She stomped out of the room and referred to the congress as a bunch of perverts and socialists, which is really weird when you consider that there were no socialists at the time.
Palin and her base are generally misunderstood but a lot easier to comprehend in the context of this post. Sarah is an evangelical christian, which makes her more inclined to impose her religous beliefs on all society than a normal Christian.
According to Wikipedia, evangelicals make up 26% of the population. According to a Washington Post/ABC poll from Februaray, 26% of those surveyed thought Sarah is qualified to be president. Get that 26% and 26%... Where are the Sarah Palin supporters coming from? IMO - almost ALL evangelicals - and almost nobody else.
If you are the kind of person who would be comfortable with someone like Brenda (to name someone we all know and love) telling you how to live the most personal aspects of your life - then Sarah Palin is the natural pick for you.
On the other hand...
Of course we are not a Christian nation. That is why the Oath of Office is taken with a Bible. Thgat is why you are sworn to tell the truth the whole truth aand nothing but the truth so help you God right ?
This is the text of the first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We already covered that in this thread.
Hmm. It doesn't sound like that when I say it.
Adams was sworn in using a volume of constitutional law. Roosevelt also did not use a bible.
It is not a legal requirement - the presidential oath as written in the constitution does not include the phrase "so help me god" and the bible is not mentioned.
You forget about the nations that were already here before the Europeans came.
They took a whole Cherokee Nation
Put us on this reservation
Took away our native tongue
Taught their English to our young
Took away our way of life
The tomahawk and the bow and knife...remember that song?
Very cruel bit of history....somehow I think Jesus would have been on their side!
Pailin is a zealot. Worse, she is a full blown tongue talking zealot. If she were to become President America will have no friends left in the world, and considered a laughing stock!
Can you imagine this loony getting up in front of the world and talking in tongues?
That she has even had a run at politics is sad enough, but if America is her version of a christian nation, then America will sink like a stone!
She is the first SEO politician.
Her speeches are stuffed with keywords. She doesn't even seem to notice that she doesn't make sense - she only want to get those phrases in there.
"If she were to become President America will have no friends left in the world, and considered a laughing stock!"
You seem to have a hard time grasping this concept, or maybe you can't hear us from way down there on the 'misc' level of nations but WE DON'T CARE WHAT YOU THINK.
You should take all the energy you use worrying about 'liking' us and try to make your little nation the very best it can be, and be proud of it.
Our "Little nation" is doing fine. Your opinion is as always of no interest to anyone who can think past your local village.
Sad sab, just sad.
Australia has always been a good friend to America, and those who take your isolationist view are a problem to America's world image, not the solution.
I have seen you needle everyone on hubpages until your last sock puppet TK got banned.
Your opinions are always the same, you are against anything that resembles common sense, and seem to enjoy displaying bigotry like a flag.
Get over yourself, you're comments are like a very sad broken record.
"Our "Little nation" is doing fine."
I certainly hope so.
" Your opinion is as always of no interest to anyone who can think past your local village."
Yes, I guess I've never been past the local village because you say so...
"Australia has always been a good friend to America"
That's great. YOU certainly don't sound like one.
" and those who take your isolationist view"
When did I ever say I took an isolationist view? Don't get ahead of yourself.
" a problem to America's world image, not the solution. "
Are you still not listening?
" you are against anything that resembles common sense, and seem to enjoy displaying bigotry like a flag."
Could you give me an example of being against common sense? (be careful you mean common sense and not just YOUR subjective view)
And show me an example of bigotry on my part or be prepared to apologize for that charge.
"Would you like to take a poll?"
No, I'd like to see some evidence of it - as I said. Although it is painfully obvious why you are already avoiding that.
We were founded as a Christian nation to control the mob. Read a dollar bill, it says "In God we Trust". What God do you think they are talking about?
"We were founded as a Christian nation to control the mob. Read a dollar bill, it says "In God we Trust"."
Okay, one more time. The phrase "In God We Trust" first appeared on our paper money when?
D) It doesn't matter: it's there now, so it must have been put there by GOD HIMSELF to declare that non-Christians should just shut up and sit in the back.
E) None of the above
1957, but only someone of ignorance would think a government would put religion on currency that wasn't founded and had belief in religious principals.
And Limbaugh. Maybe this is why socialism is winning over conservatism, conservatists are failing to evolve from religion while preaching against government control when religion is government control within itself, same as socialism.
This reminds me of a poll:
The percentages of those polled (Americans) that dislike San Francisco, New York, France and Europe, were virtually the same, about a third.
There are a few xenophobes that resent and hate everyone else, especially anyone they think looks down on them.
Maybe unsurprisingly, the highest percentage of dislike among these 4 places was registered by Southerners...
I believe the best answers to social problems are summoned through personal foundations in the gospel. From that perspective I believe it is important for God to play a part in a persons decisions while in public office. However, I emphatically support that no favoritism or even the appearance of favoritism be granted toward any religious organization by one, or entity, in public office. This includes no oppression to any group Christian or atheist, black or white, tall or short (me), bald or hippie or even pro-life or pro-abortion. To hold public office is to acknowledge that all facets of belief are under your care. You have a duty to equally recognize and protect all segments of society. If one feels they cannot do this they should not be in public office.
If you crop your pic so there is not so much space over your head, we won't see how short you are.
Yeah. Just bump yourself up a little... cut out some of those extra flowers up there at the top, and you'll look taller.
(j/k of course)
Good for standing up for what you believe.
Yeah I agree, nicely stated GP.
(Shh, don't tell anyone I said so.)
While it is true that religion can be perverted to evil ends, the fact still remains that religious belief is the foundation of moral behavior. Because of that, religion is the foundation of social behavior as well. Argue all you like the logic is inescapable. Why else would every human society have some sort of religious belief system?
"the fact still remains that religious belief is the foundation of moral behavior."
So, atheists are by definition immoral people?
According to the mob/majority, yes. Try winning the United States presidency without claiming a religious belief. See how far you get.
Obama pretty much did that. He down played the fact that he is a secularist by his "hope" and "change" inspirational addresses. People got a religious feeling from his ability to speak, and disregarded that he is pretty much non-religious, despite that fact he has a muslim background and attended a Christian congregation. It was all about garnering support, not about devotion for beliefs.
I guess if you say the logic is inescapable it must be true.
The implication of your statement is that those without religion are also without morals. Quite the opposite is true. If your morals are based on plagiarized myths (the resurrection story that pervades so many religions for one example) of what use are they? If religion is the foundation of moral behavior, why were the big 3 spread through acts of terrorism?
Many societies sprung from religious foundations. Those same societies, as they evolve and become more progressive are turning away from religion rapidly.
Why do you assume that if you espouse Judeo-Christian beliefs you have to believe in the Resurrection? The core belief of Christianity is that we are all brothers and sisters and we should treat each other accordingly. It is entirely possible to believe in something like that without a belief in the Resurrection.
I'd disagree with your contention that as societies evolve, they move away from religion. Even supposedly atheistic nations like the Soviet Union had a very active religious population. Indeed it would seem that the less religious a state seems to be, the more brutal it is when it begins killing people. Millions murdered by Soviet and Maoist forces. Even prior to the 20th century, nations that moved away from a religious base tended to kill much more than those who had a belief in something. The French Revolution comes to mind, especially when you contrast it to the Revolution in the English Colonies. It should come as no surprise that the Founders wished to protect the ability of people to worship, or not worship, as they saw fit; whereas the French attempted to replace their religion with one based on "Reason".
Now if you were to say that societies as they evolve tend to move away from fundamentalist religions, well there we'd be in agreement. Although historically we've seen movement towards and away from fundamentalist positions; for the most part the trend is always away. Calvinism was very popular in the 17th century, for example, but today few examples if any remain of that belief system.
Your last sentence isn't quite true. At least it certainly wasn't ten years ago. Sure free will is the popular cry, but TULIP is alive and well.
It's a good position for a christian, really. Makes everything nice and easy.
It's also entirely possible to believe in something like that without a belief in Christianity.
Just thought I'd mention it.
That is the opposite of the thing which is true. Religion is often cited as the foundation of moral behavior, but it seems far more likely to me that this is something ascribed to religion ex post facto, with some sense of moral behavior preceding religion. This seems likely for several reasons: first, there are plenty of religions in which the gods are i- or a- moral (see Greek mythology, or Norse); second, moral behavior still exists without religion (see studies on very young children, for example, in a lesson on instinctive compassion).
Finally, "the foundation of social behavior"? That's just ludicrous, as that would imply that religion preceded social behavior as well, which is pretty self-evidently untrue.
I'm a Christian, but I have to disagree with the above. Some of the most moral people I've known are actually atheists.
Ask them what the foundation of their morality is. I've asked around a few times, but can never get a straight answer. Perhaps you'll have better luck than I. It's a shame really, I am quite curious about where an atheist gets their ideas of morality from. I have a suspicion that most of them, at base, have a Judeo-Christian view of morality, at least as opposed by a belief in Nietzsche or Marx or something like that.
Interesting, most of my pych and sociology professors will tell you that humans don't have instinct, they have reason. Even more interesting, I agree with them on that. I am curious, do you make a distinction between reason and logic? I think you mean to say that moral behavior is perfected by logic and thought, not reason and though. At any rate, I'd like to hear your definition of reason, I don't want to make any assumptions.
I assume the second paragraph is intended for me.
Humans have both instinct and reason. We all have an innate moral sense motivated by our instincts and natural tendencies, as science has shown. But that is not enough. We then need to use reason/ logic to be even more moral. I don't think, for the purposes of this topic, there is much substantive difference between "reason" and "logic," but I like these definitions from Dictionary.com:
Reason: "the faculty or power of acquiring intellectual knowledge, either by direct understanding of first principles or by argument."
Logic: "reason or sound judgment, as in utterances or actions"
To say humans do not have instinct is not true. Why do babies get startled by loud noises? They are not old enough to equate sounds with danger!
How has science shown we have instinct exactly? I'm sure I'd have heard something about it. No the truth is that the tabula rasa seems to be the norm for newborn humans. If we had instinct there would be no need to mothers and fathers to raise children, they'd instinctively know what to do. Since that is obviously not the case, if you don't believe me try not potty training your kids, you cannot say with any authority that people have instinct.
What we have a learned behaviors, but even these can be changed under the right or wrong circumstances. As for reason and logic, there is a very good reason not to interchange the two. Reason is the use of the human mind in conjunction with the five senses to gain understanding about the world. In that, we agree, I think. Logic is a pathway to discovery. A very good pathway, I believe, but sometimes logic is just a way to go wrong with confidence.
If you make a false assumption, for example, by the faulty use of reason, using logical inference based on that false assumption can get you to a very bad place. Like the idea that centralized planning of the economy is a good thing. If you accept the assumption that people need to be told what to do, logic would dictate that a centralized economy is the way to go. That assumption is false however, because when you examine societies that have experimented with centralized economies, they have always failed. So that first assumption, people must be told what to do, must be wrong and reason tell us that it must be discarded.
It seems the issue here is semantics and the definition of the word "instinct." Here's what Wikipedia says under "Instinct":
"Instinct is the inherent inclination of a living organism toward a particular behavior. The fixed action patterns are unlearned and inherited. The stimuli can be variable due to imprinting in a sensitive period or also genetically fixed. Examples of instinctual fixed action patterns can be observed in the behavior of animals, which perform various activities (sometimes complex) that are not based upon prior experience..."
It goes on:
"Some sociobiologists and ethologists have attempted to comprehend human and animal social behavior in terms of instincts. Psychoanalysts have stated that instinct refers to human motivational forces (such as sex and aggression), sometimes represented as life instinct and death instinct."
"Other sociologists argue that humans have no instincts, defining them as a "complex pattern of behavior present in every specimen of a particular species, that is innate, and that cannot be overridden." Said sociologists argue that drives such as sex and hunger cannot be considered instincts, as they can be overridden. This definitory argument is present in many introductory sociology and biology textbooks, but is still hotly debated."
So the issue is definition of "instinct." Call it instinct, call it reflex, call it whatever you want. But what is clear is that humans tend to do certain things regardless of environmental influence. Among these things are certain moral-related things, like feel empathy. Thus, we have learned as well as unlearned behaviors.
Logic and reason: ok, whatever. Again, semantics are not important to me in this discussion. Some would switch your definitions of logic and reason.
I tried once to explain this, but it backfired horribly when folks thought I was calling them sociopaths. (I was not! )
So, I'll use a secondary source this time. Basically, the answer is that humans are social animals.
Sociopaths do not have inherent morals. Why? They do not have empathy.
Here is an excerpt, along with a link to the whole article:
Where does the Moral Tendency come from?
And that, luckily enough, leads us to the foundational principle of morality: empathy. Psychopaths lack empathy with their fellow human beings, and cannot be truly said to have a moral impulse.
The principle of morality is empathy; what differs are our approaches to that principle, and how we interpret our feelings of empathy in order to make a coherent system.
So your assertion is that morality comes from empathy. Is that correct? That then begs the question as to where empathy comes from. If we have empathy, why don't predator species have empathy? Why do some species nurture their young while others do not?
Empathy is part of the human condition - and humans are social animals.
Some predator species do have empathy. Some non-preditors (prey? lol) do not show empathy.
Our species has survived and thrived with a social model. We survive by relying on each other. In order to do that, we have to have empathy.
It's not instinctual, it is learned behavior.
I haven't studied this subject (instinct) too deeply, but I remember reading that the only instinct a human is born with is the suckling reflex.
I think this fact of itself explains where empathy (and all human qualities) comes from. Like I said, I haven't researched it a ton, but my thinking is that because newborns require so much attention, as opposed to animals born with many instincts that do not need much parenting to survive, they are able to develop more complex thought.
What I'm trying to say is survival based on instinct does not require deeper thought processes.
Humans mature very slowly compared to other species. This fact emphasizes the social aspect of survival.
With or without religion, morals stem from empathy. Empathy is a social behavior, and it is learned.
Using your example of a crying baby: without empathy, a parent would not respond to the child.
Oh I agree, empathy is what separates us from lower orders of animals. I'm not so sure I believe in empathy from wild animals. Some domesticated animals like horses and dogs, sure. If you've proof of predatory empathy and prey lack of same, I'd like to see it. Otherwise I think we can classify that as an assumption.
I'm glad you recognize empathy as a learned behavior. I'm sure between the two of us we can come up with dozens of examples of people who don't act with empathy. So would you agree that religion is one way to teach empathy to each succeeding generation? If so, what sort of mechanism would atheists use to pass along the same teachings?
Earnest, you only think that because he agrees with your assumptions. Caribe, you've skipped over vast swatches of US history in order to make a point. That's not exactly kosher. Are you aware that Jefferson signed his documents while he was President "In the year of our Lord Christ, [date]"? Hardly the actions of a deist/atheist.
http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesAr … p?id=22345
You really might consider doing research first and coming to a conclusion rather than the other way round. Your arguments tend to hold more water that way.
"Jefferson signed his documents while he was President "In the year of our Lord Christ, [date]"?"
Of course, that was the custom then (and now), you will see that in every document from the period up until the 19th century, either in Europe and the Americas. In Western societies we count the years, before Christ (BC) and after Christ (AC) or Anno Domini (AD, which means "Year of the Lord")
BTW... I never stated in my post that Jefferson was a deist/atheist.
Plus, I like to debate ideas and did not attack anyone personally in my comment, I will appreciate the same.
Empathy in wild animals is very well documented. Here is a quick snip, but bear in mind it happened at a zoo, not in the wild:
Take, for example, the story of a female western lowland gorilla named Binti Jua, Swahili for “daughter of sunshine,” who lived in the Brookfield Zoo in Illinois. One summer day in 1996, a three-year-old boy climbed the wall of the gorilla enclosure at Brookfield and fell twenty feet onto the concrete floor below. As spectators gaped and the boy’s mother screamed in terror, Binti Jua approached the unconscious boy. She reached down and gently lifted him, cradling him in her arms while her own infant, Koola, clung to her back. Growling warnings at the other gorillas who tried to get close, Binti Jua carried the boy safely to an access gate and the waiting zoo staff.
I would agree that religion is one way to teach empathy, however I don't see any value whatsoever in adding "because jesus said so" at the end of the lesson. It's like re-branding - putting a brand name on a generic product.
You mentioned Jefferson earlier:
the phrase "In the year of our Lord Christ, [date]" does not have religious connotation.
It was only used as a reference to the calendar, like the way we use AD now.
That's really grasping at straws, because Jefferson was the most outspoken of the fathers regarding his lack of belief in god.
this conversation is much fun, but it is late & I have to hit the sack.
Duh! That is how it works Ledefencetech! Are you saying that because I agree with someone I must be wrong? Poor logic I would think.
Actually, it's pretty well known that Jefferson was what is considered a diest, not a Christian. However, the debate continues on, because they can't seem to find any statement Jefferson made about it. However, there is plenty of evidence about his feelings toward religion and even Jesus Christ.
He felt that the ethical teachings of Jesus were supreme examples of human interaction, and he went to great lengths to separate out those ethical teachings from religious dogma and supernatural stories.
So, one could deduce easily tbat he had no quibbles about signing things "in the year of our Lord..." because he regarded Jesus very highly. But as to the religious and dogmatic aspects of Jesus' life in the Bible, he apparently had no stomach for it.
Google any of this and you'll find loads of links and information.
I still maintain that while some of the founding fathers were traditional Christian, many others were not at all. However, that does not preclude their believing in a supreme force or God. And I think that many in America today are in line with this thinking rather than subscribing to traditional sects of Christianity.
I'm breaking the promotion rule, but this hub explains Jefferson.
Also, search David Bowman.
We're talking about the 19th century. Most of the Founders were members of one of a wide variety of Christian denominations. Which is exactly why they did not want a state sponsored church. Pennsylvania is a case in point. When William Penn founded the colony, it was to have been a safe haven for English Catholics who had been persecuted on and off since the reign of Henry VIII. Over the years of royal administration of the colonies, that haven was destroyed and the Anglican church made the official religion by the King. Why the change? Pressure by the "official" church of England, of course.
The funny thing is that it doesn't matter what the Founders believed. They were wise enough to know that humanity's original condition was one of maximum liberty. Jefferson bounced back and forth about religion and belief. If you look at his writings, he seems almost and agnostic or atheist in his younger years, but he seems to have shifted his belief to a more orthodox belief in Christian values as he got older. That is where most of the confusion sets in.
Incidentally, that is what drives most atheists mad about Jefferson. He was a doubter but then found comfort in the teachings of Christianity as he got older. Which is not unusual. Jefferson's tale reminds me of Gerard Manley Hopkins, a poet of the Victorian era. Hopkins was an interesting guy. He was a Jesuit priest who came very much to doubt his faith.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerard_Man … priesthood
Again it's very strange to have so many people who are...apprehensive over a religion whose core teaching is that all human beings are to be treated as brother and sister.
That is because we have seen how these followers of Christ actually behave, rather than how they say they will.
It is very strange to see people like yourself pushing this religion and then forgetting the slavery, abuse and lest we forget - Amerika dropped the first Atomic bombs on a civilian population. How Kristian is that?
I forget nothing Mark. Unlike you, however, I understand that while someone may call themselves a thing, like Christian, humanitarian, what have you; that unless their actions match up with what they profess, well they aren't what they profess are they? You cannot be a Christian if you don't treat other human beings as being a brother or sister to you. You can call yourself a Christian all you want, but you're not, not really.
I think where your confusion stems from is from the fact that often times throughout history Christianity has allied itself with total government. That seems to be the genesis of the Wars of Religion in the 17th century in Europe. By attempting to control the religious beliefs of the population, Europe was plunged into the Thirty Years' War.
As for slavery, it's interesting to note the attempts of the first Bishop of Mexico to stop abuses by the conquistadors in marking Indians with the G, prisoners of war in other words, and then working them to death in the silver mines. Of course the Spanish came back with, but these Indians are really apostates, which then made it OK to enslave them and work them to death in the mines. That, however, is a problem of government, not one of religion.
That is what makes our First Amendment so precious. It's the freedom to worship as you see fit or no to worship as you choose. Even more interesting is the prohibition of the government to get involved in any way with the private choices made by people concerning religion, or their lack of it. Because of that Mark, atheists are free to not believe, Jews are safer here than anywhere else in the world, Sunni and Shi'a live in peace here unlike in their homeland. Rather than spend all your time ridiculing and poking fun, you might want to take some time to think about the significance of the fact that we have so little religious violence here and why that is.
I respect religions and their followers to practice the belief their god will send me to a lake of fire to burn in agony for eternity.
It's so precious.
You might try learning more about the various beliefs of religions before you categorize them all as believing you get cast in a lake of fire for being evil after you die. It's strange to me how many self-appointed intellectuals are, in reality, so ignorant of things. One must wonder why.
Ah, I love it when the condescending believe everyone else is ignorant of things. One must wonder why.
LOL Cut for brevity.
What does that have to do with your ridiculous assertion that religion is the source of all morals?
Nothing. Meaningless gibberish that supports my position that there are no real Christians and therefore the religion is worthless nonsense that people say they follow but never do.
What were you trying to say again?
Sigh. Hard as it may be for you to believe, Mark, there are people who do truly believe in the tenets of Christ and attempt to follow them. I'd be careful about claiming that people don't really follow the gibberish. Consider the case of Maximillian Kolbe: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maximilian_Kolbe
Take out the references for the supernatural and you still have a man who ministered to his people in the most horrible of conditions.
Not to mention those who risked their lives to shelter Jews from the Nazis: http://german-history.suite101.com/arti … rld_war_ii
Tell me Mark, why would those people risk arrest and death in a concentration camp just to shelter Jews. Why not act like the majority of their countrymen and ignore the problem, being glad it wasn't them targeted. Why?
Dear me/condescending sigh.
What does that have to do with anything?
Once again some one is saying "oh but they were not real Christians."
What is your point exactly?
Edit - what you wrote was political gibberish.
You claim that nobody follows the teachings of Christ. I countered with examples from history that show people risking their very lives to follow those teachings. Come on Mark, I expect better from you than ridicule and dismissive tricks.
I'd also pose you a question Mark. If religion is not a way to transmit morality, then what is the transmission method?
Yes - I agree you should set your slaves free after 12 years of service and women should not be allowed to teach. Wonderful morals. Have you ever read a bible?
So - we are now back to ignoring the wars and the vast majority who follow the religion and do bad things.
What is your point exactly? That religious people are better than atheists?
What are you trying to prove? Would you like me to find a few atheists who did good things? Would that prove that religion is worthless crap that we (even now) end up fighting about?
How many good Christians wipe out the deeds of the bad ones?
Actually Mark, I'm one of those who believe that the Old Testament should not have been part of the Bible. Numbers and Deuteronomy also dictate what sorts of food are to be eaten and which are to be rejected. I don't follow that either. The prohibition against pork is a sound one, at least during the time of the Patriarchs because food poisoning is easy if you don't properly prepare pork. So there really is a good reason for that prohibition, but in modern times that reason no longer holds force.
Mark, I could make the same arguments about atheists. Communists forced atheism on their populace and as a result were able to murder millions upon millions of people. You claim that you can find good atheists and I don't doubt that. How much goodness perpetuated by atheists does it take to wipe out the horrors of the gulags or the killing fields of Cambodia?
My point is simply this. Theist or atheist we can all fall prey to evil behaviors and do very bad things to one another. Theists are not inherently more moral than atheists, but I do believe that the idea that you will be judged on your actions after your death tends, tends mind you, to have a moderating effect on bad behavior. Does it always hold true? No. But it helps. You could even say that secular humanists have the same sort of belief that they are judged by their actions, but they are judged while they live, not after death. This, too, would have a moderating effect on bad behavior.
But the facts do not bear this belief out. And - once again - we are back to pretending that religion has some positive effect - despite the obvious proof that it does not. And quite happy to ignore the repentance get-out card as well.
Still - now you admit that theists are no better than atheists - what point are you trying to make exactly?
2000 years of wars and fights. Surely it is time to try another approach?
Sigh. Good actions and evil actions are all choices. We make those choices due to the values we hold. My position has been that religion is one way to transmit those values. Does that mean that people will always follow those values? No, it does not.
Again, you seem to get caught up in the whole naming conundrum. People are free to label themselves whatever they want. Whether they are actually deserving of that label is another thing entirely. But this is the thing: if, by their actions, a person doesn't live up to their self-professed label, you are under no obligation to treat them as if they have a right to that label.
If I call myself a Christian, for example, but I beat my wife, abuse my children, etc.; I should not expect to have people accept me as a Christian. Likewise an atheist may claim to be a humanitarian, but if they traffic in slaves, drugs, etc. they have no right to claim the mantle of a humanitarian.
You can't seem to wrap your head around that fact that I don't care that you are atheist. I respect your right to not believe, I don't ridicule you, nor do I try to convert you. All I ask is the same respect.
Notice that your position has been precluded by centuries of practiced failure in that regard?
Oh, but I do respect your right to believe your god will cast me in a lake of fire for an eternity, but unfortunately, you turned off your brain in favor of "substance."
Never mind, Mark. You can't seem to have a conversation with anyone about belief unless it's an argumentative one about how you're right and they're stupid for believing superstition.
I actually agree with all you've written in this particular thread. And I don't see why Mark finds it so controversial.
Mark doesn't find it controversial. He just doesn't see what the point is. So - 99% of people who call themselves Christians are not really - OK. There are some good Christians - OK.
So what? What does that have to do with America being a Christian nation - or not?
Mark likes to argue, for whatever reason. I don't particularly care why that is, I'm more interested in where atheists get their morality from. I know where I get mine from, but that's me. I'm interested in how other people think about these things and why they think that way.
I get my morals from the dictates of the society I live in. The same place as you do.
Now - what is your point exactly?
Really? So if we were both Aztec, would that mean human sacrifice is OK? Or what if society believes that women are witches and steals the essence of men to power their spells. Does that mean it's OK to murder them?
It sure is funny when believers dream up these situation comedies to support their beliefs.
It's okay to murder if it's in the name of your god.
Mark has a point. What it means to be a good Christian is dictated far more by your social milieu, than the other way around. Some Christians think being Christlike is good, other ones (the Dominionists) believe it means protesting military funerals and voting Republican.
Which makes "a (any religion) country" pretty meaningless.
Sorry but I, and a majority of Christians I'd imagine, totally disagree with the Dominionists. While they may claim to be Christian, by their actions they have more than shown they do not follow the one dictum you must as a Christian and treat all people as you would want to be treated.
Even as despicable as those people are, you don't see real Christians lining up at a Dominionist funeral and picketing it in retaliation. Why? Because that would be a violation of the Golden Rule. Instead, my belief, an the belief of a majority of Christians I'd image, compel us to succor and comfort the families of our fallen soldiers and (although I'm sure I'm in more of a minority in this) reaching out to our brothers and sisters who happen to be gay or lesbian and assuring them that they too are inheritors of Christ's sacrifice. But again that is my belief, you're welcome to agree with me or not.
Sorry, are you saying you want to be treated as ignorant and stupid and be dismissed because others don't agree with you?
Too bad it's just a belief.
I understand what you mean, but the Dominionists believe the exact opposite - you're not a true Christian. They claim the name for themselves. (They, of course, hate being called Dominionists or Christianists)
I agree that it's a minority of Christians who are like this...they just happen to be very, very loud about it.
Which brings it back to Mark's point about the meaningless of the term "Christian nation" - whose definition of Christian?
Well, LL, all I have to say is this. I believe there is an afterlife and we have to account for our actions after our life has ended. I may be arrogant, but I'm not so much so that I believe that I have a monopoly on truth. I am certain that the Dominionists are in for a rude awakening when they have to account for their deeds.
Remember the core belief of a Christian is to treat another as you'd like to be treated. If you don't do that, you're not really a Christian, no matter what you call yourself.
Christian nation is one of those words that are misconstrued. It really goes back to a time in which the religion of a king, duke, prince, or other noble determined the religion of the territory ruled by that noble. It's more or less an obsolete term in the modern era as many advanced nations have religious toleration laws.
It would be more accurate to say that the United States was founded on traditional Judeo-Christian principles like love thy neighbor as yourself and on principles like charity, liberty and freedom. While we can quibble about what "Christian" really means, the principles Christianity are founded on are pretty much set in stone.
Now this is interesting, because in another thread you said something which, to paraphrase, amounted to "there's theory and there's practice, and the theory doesn't matter, only the practical results." I find this slightly confusing in view of your consistent argument that many of the things done by the Church or by Christians for cited religious reasons were not truly 'Christian' or were done by people who were not 'true Christians.'
And, oddly enough, they bear a distinct resemblance to numerous other sets of ethical principals. In fact the specific use of "we are all brothers" as an ethical and national foundation dates back, at least, to Plato's Republic.
Your point about Plato is well taken, however since the early Christian writings were done in Greek and many early converts were Greek that's not too surprising. Thomas Aquinas used this to revolutionize Christian thought concerning revelation and reason during the High Middle Ages and paved the way to not only the Renaissance but also the Enlightenment.
My theory and practice quote was in reference to economic systems. The theory of Communism vs the practice of same, for example. As regarding Christianity, that's a bit different. The economy is ruled by laws that classical economists illustrated centuries ago. Likewise Christianity claims to show a way for people to live together in harmony as long as you live according to certain rules. The upshot is that you cannot just claim to know the rules like some economists and some theists would have us believe. Those rules must be tested and if found wanting, rejected.
The difference comes when you have certain beliefs like gays are an abomination in the eyes of God for example. The implications of that belief violate some of the core tenet of Christianity like universal brotherhood and charity. So any Christian who bases their faith on reason should, rightly, reject the premise that homosexuality is an abomination in the sight of God.
They are exactly the same thing. One punishes you more based on the intent of the crime. The other punishes you more based on the intent of the crime. Both do so because we (society) have decided that certain intents change the nature of the crime and thus merit different degrees of punishment.
Notice what is at issue here: intent. Race is not at issue. Hate crime laws do not "punish a white guy more for killing a black guy or vice versa," they punish a guy (of any color, class, or creed) more for committing a crime inspired and driven by a particular and abhorrent kind of group hatred.
How is this any different from my saying, "any moron who misreads Marx to construe it as calling for the destruction of the intellectual class is doing it wrong"? Or, to put it more generally: how is saying, "Soviet Russia and Communist China misread Marx" any different from saying "Pat Robertson misread the Bible"?
Sure they both deal with intent but whereas first/second degree murder applies to everyone equally, hate crimes are dependent on the race/ethnicity/current political cause of the day. Not exactly the same thing.
The difference lies in one simple fact. Socialism of any stripe relies on a police state in order to function. You can have an immediate police state like in Russia or Germany, or it can take a while to get there like in France or England. The fact remains that you need a police state. Marx himself understood this and openly advocated for an all-controlling police state.
Pat Robertson, by contrast, preaches in the US, where we are free to listen to his nonsense or not as we choose. Pat Robertson can only influence, he cannot compel.
Unlike Stalin or Mao, you cannot be thrown into a gulag or work camp for disagreeing with Pat Robertson.
Now if you had a voluntary commune, that's a bit different. I'm all for that. If you want to start a socialist/communist commune, that freely allows people to join or leave, by all means go for it. It's the use of force to compel people that I have a problem with and therein lies the difference.
Also it is entirely possible to "misread" the Bible and inject your prejudices into the teachings. But again, I'm a believer in natural law and a study of history can lead us to, I believe, a better interpretation of the tenets of Christianity than that of Pat Robertson. When considering faith vs reason, reason must win out.
But, I do not have a desire to see you burn for an eternity in hellfire, nor do I love and worship a god who will make that happen. It looks like you are forced to treat me NOT as I would treat you.
You mean they were set in stone, canonized and then set in stone again,
I understand and agree, although the Golden Rule spans many beliefs and I suspect most nonbelievers also agree with it (honestly, except for zealots, who wouldn't?):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethic_of_r … philosophy
If there ever were one simple rule of what it means to be "good" I think we could all agree that would be it.
As I understand it - that was acceptable morally - yes. Strapping people to an electric chair and giving the government power to end their lives is in some US states now. Just like slavery was in your society recently and dropping an atomic bomb on a civilian population was in 1945.
But - you seem to be under the delusion that you get your morals from somewhere else. Where is that exactly? And why do they keep changing?
I believe the universe runs according to certain laws and that through a study of history and using reason we can uncover those laws. While history is full of examples in which religion has been used for great evil, there are also examples in which great good has come from it. By understanding what causes great good and great evil to occur, we can get a better handle on these natural laws. In my studies, I've found the core beliefs of many religions to be based on these natural laws. It takes a bit of thinking and reading, but the understanding and enlightenment you get from it is worth the hard work.
I'm sorry you seem to be a relativist. The world must be a very cold and chaotic place for you.
Oh - the condescending "I know something you don't know and I feel sorry for you," approach of the religionist huh?
I am familiar. Natural laws huh? Strong dominate the weak. Great. See - this is why religion needs to go and be replaced with something we think up for ourselves that means something and we all decide to adhere to instead of the mysterious threat that has been proven not to work.
Studies? Enlightenment? Don't make me laugh.
Yes I do feel sorry for you. Your relativistic view on things doesn't really leave much room for humanity or hope does it? The very fact that all you bring to the table is sarcasm and ridicule is proof of that.
Your characterization of natural law as the strong dominating the weak is way off. Let me ask you this Mark, if people really are naturally scum, then why did something like Gandhi movement in India or the King movement in the US work? It worked because if you show people how others are being treated with injustice, they'll work to end that injustice. Look at "Uncle Tom's Cabin". The real impact of that book was that, for the first time, Northerners got a very close look at the injustice of slavery and the calls for abolition of slavery became much more strident after that book came out.
So Mark, what do you bring to the table other than empty sarcasm and ignorant ridicule?
A suggestion that we work together to come up with something that might actually work instead of your holier than thou nonsense which has proven not to work.
What exactly are you bringing to the table? Apart from condescending holier than thou nonsense, ignorance and an inability to educate yourself?
I genuinely pity you. You think you can read a book and have an answer? LOL It is lazy people like you that prevent us from moving forwards as a species. You are too easily satisfied with Uncle Tom's cabin and happy to ignore the ongoing abuses.
Once again - what is your point exactly? Religious people are better than atheists?
Why do you keep coming back to the same nonsense? Several posts back I admitted that there is no reason to say that an atheist is any better than the theist and vice versa, you even commented on it. You make unfounded accusations in a poor attempt to change the conversation. Not only that, you absolutely cannot seem to wrap your brain around the idea that there are believers who don't think that non-believers are hellbound or amoral.
As to finding something that works, first of all we would need to decide how to define what works and what does not. How would you go about doing that? Personally I think John Start Mill was on to something when he started talking about utilitarianism. But then again I just read that in a book, so what does that really have to do with anything? Never mind that I've also read guys like Marx, Nietzsche, Goethe and other philosophers, oh yeah, also about history and how those philosophies have played out in reality. But then again why bother trying to make a rational, reasoned argument when it's just much easier to take the intellectually lazy way out and dismiss and ridicule.
It's a bit of a intellectual exercise. Looking at Christian theology if you accept the fact that Christ died for our sins, you have to accept that fact that he redeemed us regardless of our belief in redemption. You see this sort of discussion in the early Church when they were deciding which books to include in the Bible. The Apocalypse of Peter basically says we're saved no matter if we believe in Christ or not, and that is why that book was not included in the Bible.
Most of the idea that you must believe or go to hell is just a ploy by preachers and priests to get people to go to church. Personally I think my faith and belief is a bit more robust than that. Mostly because I know that preachers and priests are human and just as prone to error as anyone else. Also as a believer we have a duty to understand the universe and our role in it.
As an aside, how is a believer thinking that a non-believer is hellbound any different than an atheist believing a theist is deluded?
The former is deluded, the latter is correct.
Or rather, the former is based on ancient stories, the latter is based on the former's belief in ancient stories.
You think it's delusional, I for one, am not so sure. Doesn't every myth have a grain of truth to it?
Really? I beg to differ, but don't really want to get into an involved discussion about it except to say that myths have always been a way to transmit information across generations. Why else have they been written down and passed from generation to generation? Someone must have found them useful. The fact that you do not, nor that you don't believe in them is immaterial.
Grain of truth = found them useful.
And once again - your point is? Believers lie? OK - excellent - I agree. Yes - you do
Seems to me you are here for the fight and have no point to make.
Well, no. Some myths, or actually, not sure and it doesn't matter enough to look up, I agree don't want to get into a deep discussion over a trivial point, but I think what you refer to mostly would be referred to as a legend, whereas a myth is something made of total thin air, though perhaps is meant to explain something or to make a point, teach a lesson.
Like the way mothers make up boogey men to discourage their children from doing something they don't want them to do. The story gets spread around and passed down and a myth is born. You could say the grain of truth was in the mother's desire to keep her child from harm, but the myth itself is totally made up out of thin air.
Legends are generally huge exaggerations based on old actualities.
It's pretty much up for grabs as to which one christianity is.
Myth and legend are essentially one and the same. The terms are largely used interchangeably. Most myths and legends of antiquity have been tied to historical events. The oral tradition of story-telling prior to the written word had it's primary purpose in recording human history, and it was a serious career type occupation for the persons who were charged with that task. Today, our history books are corrupted by people who seek to change actual events, they are fast becoming merely "myths" or "legends" for our children to be taught.
Spirituality and belief in a higher power beyond one's self has been a driving determinant of human actions and choices for at least several thousand years of known human history. That's not a myth or legend or folktale - it is fact.
The Biblical stories of Christianity and the Muslim faith have many key events of great similarity. Unfortunately, the recorded tenets of the teachings of the prophet Mohammad vs. Jesus diverged into completely different tones.
This country was founded my men who did believe in a "higher power" and even more importantly believed that everyone should have the right to worship as they chose. The last 20 years have seen a bastardization of the 1st Amendment and the concept of the separation of church and state.
The removal of all religion from schools is proving to be a very negative cultural change judging from the rise in violence in our schools. The tenets of Christianity, upon which, our country was indeed founded, are tenets of forgiveness and goodness to your fellow man. Remove any and all spirituality from the schools, the parent is already removed from the child's life to a greater degree than ever before with both parents generally working, and what guidance to help form moral character is left?
When Palin says we are a "Christian Nation", she's generally correct. It is not necessary to minutely analyze what constitutes a Christian and it's not necessary to denigrate the core of the Christian biblical "myth" or "legend". The majority of Americans were reared in Christianity, governed by men or women who were/are Christians, it matters not whether they sit at church every Sunday and listen to "what is spewed" as someone put it. In general, if asked, most Americans would say they are Christian, and will come up with some denomination to affiliate themselves with on their hospital forms even if they no longer attend regular church service.
Obama regularly sat in Christian church services every Sunday and listened "to what was spewed" -- and I've no doubt it was because it was the politically correct thing to do, as most Americans are Christian.
Isn't it nice to be able to have this debate in this Christian Nation?
So what is it you miss from the "good old days"? The destruction of the Native American people? Segregation? Atomic bombs dropped in a civilian population? World wars? Purposefully infecting service men with syphilis? Slavery? The Great Depression?
What was it back then that you crave that is missing now?
I do think it is fantastic that you were there when the declaration was written and know that separation of church and state was not intended.
Fortunately - things are changing. The Muslims like to breed heavily and the atheist/agnostic population is expanding also.
I suspect you will be glad of the church/state separation thing when the Muslim population outweighs the Christian one.
Is this the actual intent behind the 'movement' to discredit and weaken western religious beliefs and societies? Thanks for sharing.
I think he's saying that you only want to characterize the US as a Christian nation because you are Christian yourself. If you were a member of a minority belief system, you might feel differently.
No - you bought it on yourselves. 2000 years of proving to be hypocrites will do that to you.
The pope is ducking and weaving even as we speak.
But - love your suggestion that being truthful about the religious practices will "weaken societies." Rather makes it a baseless society if it relies on a lie. This is the real issue.
So - what is it you miss? The world wars? The depression? Slavery? All from good christian values that are now sadly weakening society?
You're wasting your time on this one Mark. She told me the other day that these sins were not the fault of American Christians, but rather a bunch of European monarchs drunk on Scotch and Irish whiskeys.
None of the brutality perpetrated by Christian Americans is actually their fault. To suggest so indicates that you hate the United States and wish to live elsewhere.
You might as well talk with TK. The two craniums seem to be made of identical concrete-like materials.
Now it's my turn to call you out for making unsubstantiated statements... Every myth has a grain of truth to it? Really?
Unfortunately, through the belief of prayer, the laws that govern our universe have been abated by the meek.
This is pretty funny though. The universe is what, 14 billion years old? We have been around for 30,000 years or so and apparently - by studying history - you can uncover these laws.
Bet they say gay people should not get married,
First Law of the Universe..................
Did you get it from a holy book passed down from your parents? If so, are you in full agreement with your god that I should burn for an eternity in hellfire? I'm sure you are.
For someone who claims others are ignorant and should read up on things, who condescends and generalizes, you sure are the hypocrite. LOL.
Hey Aya, what's up?
I understand what you're saying with your examples, but the real question is where do the ideas from our literature, philosophy and actions come from. I believe as Locke did that we are born tabula rasa. An assumption on my part, I know, but a reasonable one I think. That being the case, where does morality originate?
As I said I agree totally with your examples, but much like Thomas Aquinas discovered when he was exposed to ancient writers, there are certain....themes, for lack of a better word, that seem to run throughout human societies irrespective of culture, ethnicity or historical era. It is those things that most interest me because I believe that is the best way to understand, through reason, the best way to live and the best way to treat one another. I also believe that it is the best way we have to understand the mind of God. I am a believer after all, but belief is not a precondition to ask these sorts of questions. Which is why I'm interested to hear the views on non-believers.
Morality evolved because it is useful. It helps us survive, individually and in groups. It is a cultural artefact, and it is transmitted socially and culturally.
Yes, but there has to be some underlying rules to the whole thing. Otherwise why is something like reason so superior to superstition? Do we live in a world of moral relativism or do we live in a world governed by certain moral and ethical laws? If that is the case, is religion, as well as culture, literature and philosophy a valid way to transmit those ideas, or do all those words basically mean the same thing? In other words are words like culture, religion, literature, even our personal examples ways of describing how the world works?
If you want to teach a child to speak, then speak to it. If you want to teach a child how to live well, then show a good example. These are ways of showing how the world works, yes. Of course, a negative example is also a way to show how the world works. The important point being that actions have consequences.
Not all actions have consequences unless you believe there is divine justice that sees and judges all.
That's why it continues to evolve. Truth and morality are not static. Religions that proclaim to have the key to eternal truth are lying to themselves.
Really, so are there instances where murder is acceptable? Not killing, murder. The deliberate taking of another persons' life in a situation that is not self defense or the defense of another. Or are there situations where lying makes things better, rather than worse? Or how about a society built on the idea that it's OK to take your neighbors goods, can a society survive if that is enshrined in the values of a society?
Really? So if I jump off a cliff I can believe that I'll be OK when I hit the bottom, I'll be OK? Or how about being abusive to my significant other, can I expect there to not be any consequences?
Sorry if it sounds like I'm being critical but it's not a very good idea to issue blanket statements like "not all actions have consequences" when its obvious that you can easily refute that in an intellectual exercise.
How do you feel about the death penalty?
I can think of many, many instances in which case it would.That is what the taxman does. Wars don't pay for themselves, do they?
Sorry, to be clear, MOST actions have palpable consequences. Some actions don't have negative consequences unless you believe you'll either be caught or brought to justice somehow, either here (by an enforcement authority, or by "divine retribution") or in the afterlife. My point was that, in the absence of justice (real or imagined), I would gather that most would commit bad acts.
Actually, religion is just another form of government. That's all it's ever been. Shepherding the flock is a euphemism for government herd control. The difference is religion claims to "love" the flock. However, as we can clearly see, love has little to do with it in many, many cases.
While there are fabulous individuals who do become good examples of Christianity, there are as many examples of non-religious and atheitst who are very humanistic in the lives they live/have lived.
Goodness is not confined to religion. Goodness is innate in each of us. Contrary to what religion teaches I do not think that morales come from God. They are innate in each of us, always have been there, but it's up to us as to whether we nurture and foster these innate feelings.
Of course, that is a debatable argument. But I'm certainly not without allies on this point, just as those who believe goodness must be instilled in by God.
In reality, it's a moot point, because when pressed, nearly all humans want to foster goodness in humanity. So we are, therefore, agreed.
Not always Daniel. I am in full agreement with the idea that the early Church make a fatal mistake in allying itself with Rome. At the time Rome needed the Church far more than the Church needed Rome. It was merely a way for imperial officials to get a hold of Christian riches to prop up an increasingly faltering Empire. And is was an expedient way for the Church to "save" as many souls as possible, at least according to their thinking.
I also agree with the idea that any religion that allies itself with government becomes destructive. Whereas most people seem to place the blame on religion, the true blame belongs to the government. Why? Simply because, unlike any other human organization, the government has the ability to lock you up or kill you. When religion allies with government, we call it a theocracy. When big business allies with government, we call it fascism. When unions ally with government, we call it communism. All three forms of government are destructive, but it's not due to religion, business or workers, it's due to the government and the fact that government can compel people to things they otherwise wouldn't choose to do.
As for goodness, well that's certainly debatable. I think we approach the idea from different sides, but we both get to the same place. People are inherently good and can choose to do good or evil in their lives. It's really a chicken and egg argument is it not? But you're correct, where goodness comes from is immaterial. The fact is that goodness exists and we live in harmony with one another the best when we foster that sort of behavior.
"Pennsylvania is a case in point. When William Penn founded the colony, it was to have been a safe haven for English Catholics who had been persecuted on and off since the reign of Henry VIII. "
Surely you're thinking of Lord Baltimore's Maryland? William Penn was a Quaker.
"Again it's very strange to have so many people who are...apprehensive over a religion whose core teaching is that all human beings are to be treated as brother and sister."
No, mate, it's not that. Heck, Christianity is great. It's the behavior of certain Christians that's the problem.
For example, some Christians would forbid members of the same sex to marry, on the grounds that it would be an abomination unto the Lord. Maybe it is. But that's not the issue. Nobody is trying to force Christians to become abominations unto the Lord. Those who support the right of consenting adults to marry each other, regardless of what sex the adults happen to be, do so because we reckon it's not our right to stop other consenting adults from voluntarily becoming abominations unto the Lord.
If you (the general "you") want to go and fornicate with any consenting adult partner you can find, I have no right to try to stop you, even though I may believe that such behavior is sinful.
If you want to eat lobster (an abomination unto the Lord), I have no right to stop you.
If you want to buy beer on Sunday morning instead of go to church, I have no right to stop you.
If you want to work on the Sabbath (whether you think the Sabbath happens on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or Pluterday) I have no right to stop you.
This stuff is between you and God.
I can try to convince you that you oughtn't do those things, and maybe I should, but it wouldn't be right to try to use the force of law to stop you. Not only would it infringe on your right to choose eternal damnation if you want it, but it wouldn't make you a more virtuous person. You wouldn't be choosing the path of righteousness, but rather having it thrust upon you. That won't make you a righteous person.
And you may be thinking, "Well of course! This is obvious!" But think about all the religious fervor about same-sex marriages. There are enough Christians who would (and do!) try to use the force of law to make others obey the commandments of a faith not their own to make those of us who love civil liberty very nervous.
And the fact that there are laws against doing stuff that the devout wouldn't do anyway is why I will always call shenannigans when anybody tries to claim that the US is a "Christian nation." That, and the fact that it was deliberately designed to be a secular republic.
No I'm pretty sure I mean Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania was the one of the only colonies founded on the precept of religious freedom. It was meant for Quakers, but their toleration extended to other Christian sects as well. Maryland did pass the Maryland Toleration Act in 1649, but prior to that there was a Protestant uprising which briefly evicted the governor of the colony, which illustrates the sort of religious wars that would have most likely engulfed the colonies had it not been for things like the Toleration Act.
I think we both agree that using the force of law to compel people to do things is immoral no matter if you're at theist or atheist. Quite properly that is an individual matter. I'd even go so far as to say if same sex couples wanted to marry, well they should find a church which will perform the service. Will all denominations offer such a service? No. But that is their choice.
Where we run into problems is when we try to legislate moral behavior and morality. In my opinion the state should have nothing to do with marriages. It's an individual decision and not one that the state should have anything to do with. Likewise things like the granting of employee benefits should be between the potential employee and employer.
What happened is that in the early 20th century, evangelical Christians and political Progressives got together and started passing vice laws, which culminated in the very bad idea known as Prohibition. Just goes to show you can't legislate morality. It has to come from somewhere else than laws.
Yes, it is their choice to be hypocrites.
Well, we could rant on about how ignorant and stupid that remark is but we'll leave those type of responses to you.
"I think we both agree that using the force of law to compel people to do things is immoral no matter if you're at theist or atheist."
Yes, and no. I'd add, "when action or inaction does not infringe on the rights of another."
It doesn't infringe on my rights when two guys decide to get hitched.
"I'd even go so far as to say if same sex couples wanted to marry, well they should find a church which will perform the service. Will all denominations offer such a service? No. But that is their choice."
God bless you for that! And you're absolutely right that it's up to each church whether they will sanctify a marriage (any marriage) or not. The real test is how one feels about whether a Justice of the Peace should be allowed to refuse to legally marry any two consenting adults who want to be wed. If we have true freedom of religion, (and freedom of association, etc), then a representative of the State should perform the same service for any set of prospective spouses.
And then there's the question of other stuff that infringes on rights, like employee benefits. If whether spouses get benefits is strictly a matter between employers and employees, that kinda opens the door for folks' rights to be violated. If a heterosexual married couple, say, get a set of benefits, then any married couple should get those same benefits, shouldn't they? Whether they're a homosexual married couple, or a mixed-race married couple, or a Catholic/Jewish married couple, or whatever? Or should employers be allowed to extend spousal benefits to only the married couples they approve of?
"evangelical Christians and political Progressives got together and started passing vice laws, which culminated in the very bad idea known as Prohibition. Just goes to show you can't legislate morality."
True, but you can make it a crime to violate someone's civil rights.
In effect, you can't legislate homophobia away. There will always be people who look down on gays. But you can make it so that it's hard to act on that hatred and get away with it.
I disagree about the employer violating the "rights" of an employee. Only the prospective employee has the knowledge of what they will settle for. If they need a job badly enough, they may accept a position in which benefits are not extended to their same sex lover. It would be a bad idea on the part of the employer, simply because that would impact how well that potential employee does his job.
As a practical matter, employers are interested in getting the best applicants for the job. Better quality employees, after all, mean more profit and an expanding business.
I really disagree about the idea of "hate crimes". Violence against a person for who or what they are is still violence. Race, creed, sexual orientation, none of that matters, none of it is an excuse. You're right in that we can never eliminate things like racism, homophobia or other examples of ignorance, it's up to the individual to better themselves and stop being racist, homophobic, etc. The good news is that it's very easy to stop being ignorant, all you have to do is hang out with the groups you are prejudiced against. Familiarity breeds contempt after all, and prejudice is rightly labeled as a condition of ignorance.
What we can do as a society is make sure there is no "official" discrimination like Jim Crow laws, etc.
I really take issue with this notion of "need a job badly enough." What it implies is that the person has no other choice than to take whatever job offered them. Your rejoinder is, of course, that they still have a choice, they can refuse the job or not, it is entirely within their own volition. Yes, it is, in exactly the same way that I can choose to disregard the orders of a man with a gun to the back of my head. Simply because the coercive power is not a readily identifiable agent does not mean that the coercion does not exist.
I take it you disagree with the notion of second degree murder then. And manslaughter too, presumably. The notion of a "hate crime" is that some crimes are made worse by the intent with which they were carried out. The exact same notion justifies the existence of degrees of murder, the existence of crimes of negligence (as opposed to charges based on the actual negative effects of said negligence), etc.
"I really disagree about the idea of "hate crimes"."
Did I mention "hate crimes?" Or even "violence?"
Violence against anyone, no matter the reason, is bad and should be punished. On that we're agreed. I further (probably) agree that it's no worse for a skinhead to kill a black guy because of racial hatred than for a poor guy to kill a rich guy for the money in his wallet.
"What we can do as a society is make sure there is no "official" discrimination like Jim Crow laws, etc." Yes, and we should. (And have done.) But I think as a society we also need to ensure that, for example, the only factors considered when someone applies for a loan are financial ones: does the applicant have money in the bank, does he have a steady job, &c. Not skin color, religion, sexual preference, &c.
Banks already do that with no laws involved. Banks have to make loans to make money. If they don't make loans they don't make money. If they make bad loans they don't make money. Look at the CRA. It was an attempt to halt "redlining" and all it did was start the subprime mess. It also created the CDO mess when banks, in an effort to get these bad loans off their books, suckered people into buying "investments" that turned out to be worthless. All this over a law that didn't need to be enacted.
I didn't mean to imply that you have to settle for whatever job is out there regardless of your preferences. I'm just saying that sometimes that's the case. I imagine there are lots of people out there right now who would take any sort of job. Does that mean they're going to just accept the job even if it's something they loathe? No. Personally speaking I'd like any sort of job right now, but I'm also returning to school in the fall and retraining myself for a position in the health care field. So while it it more likely that I can be coerced into I job I won't care to do now, that won't always be the case. What it takes is initiative on my part to make myself a more valuable employee. Rather than vie for unskilled jobs or jobs that have low demand, I'll be entering a field in which there is a high demand for skilled work and I'll be in a much better position to negotiate what sorts of terms I want as an employee.
The two are not exactly the same thing. Second degree murder covers those instances in which a person murders another without premeditation. First degree murder is reserved for those who plan to murder someone else. That's not exactly the same thing as punishing a white guy more for killing a black guy or vice versa. We are all supposed to be equal before the law but hate crimes make some people more equal than others.
I take the "hate the sin, not the sinner" mentality.
Except I don't believe in sin.
What I mean is this: I don't judge individual people based on their system of belief. I'm a humanist, and I understand that personal spirituality makes for a happy human.
This exchange here about the roots of moral behavior is a perfect example of one of my arguments against religion.
Morality is a human condition. Those who try tie a basic human quality to a divine source are doing nothing more than exploiting human nature.
You know that nagging feeling in the back of your mind when you think you may have done something wrong? Well, that's god telling you that you have sinned. Say a prayer, put your money on the collection plate, and you'll feel better.
I have known a number of Christians who wish this country to become more "God Centered" but when asked further as to how that would look reply that it should be based on Christianity.
There are a number of religions that are believers in God but the dogmas and traditions are all somewhat different. Just look at the middle east and the mess the Islamic countries have between the same faiths?
I have asked a number of young people who claim to be God fearing followers of Christ a simple question of what is the "Golden Rule" of life in the Christian faith. The answers range from they don't know to Gods day of reckoning for the homosexuals.
With this diversity of different awareness of religious dogma how can anyone expect to base a government on it?
By the way the "Golden Rule" is "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" for those still guessing.
The foundation of moral behavior is human instinct and human nature. Moral behavior is perfected by reason and thought, not following someone else's imaginings about the universe.
Because they all have a certain percentage of wackos intermixed in the bunch!
Is this any better wyanjen? Be truthful, or my nose will darken the sun over your state.
Why, thank you! It only took my Wheaties this morning and Popeye food (spinach) last night to make it work. Of course, filling my belly button with Miracle Grow last night may have nudged it along as well. Gee, now I'm a BIG people now!
Scratch the spinach pun. Spinach is repulsive and desecration of all life on the planet, but that's just my opinion.
I was teasing but damn. You really do look taller now.
Y'know, I'm 5'10" - and I'm the shortest one in the family.
Two guys I work with complain because I stash stuff way up on the highest shelves, and they need to get a chair to reach. I do try to be more considerate.
Now for a completely unrelated smiley which makes me laugh. I must share:
I am rolling on the floor! You guys simply must share how you do these wonderful additions to posts.
I work in retail management. A co-worker like to tease me at times. She offers me a piece of cigarette paper to stand on for additional heighth. You know, if I didn't have mom and dad's genes of extreme humor I would be offended quite often in my life.
I see it this way. My nose may be large but my height keeps me stable and grounded.
I welcome instruction on the cool pictures!
One of these days I'll put up a pic that shows my nose.
I promise you it is the largest nose you will ever see. It's ridiculous. I look normal straight on, but from the side, I look exactly like a duck.
Some of the smileys I use, I make for myself. But most of them come from this site:
This is the easiest thing in the world. The codes contain everything you need: just find one on the list that you like, copy the code underneath it, and paste it in the forum.
I wonder if a country in which 80-95% of people have sex before marriage is a "Christian" country? Hmmmm...
http://www.guttmacher.org/media/nr/2006 … index.html
Fact: the vast majority of Americans call themselves "Christian" when asked by a pollster
Fact: the vast majority of Americans are not actually Christian.
Any society where Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, and gangster rap music become widely popular is not a Christian society, no matter what the people say or want to believe. Period.
Yeah, true. Very. Not saying anything wrong with those, just that they clearly aren't what christians are supposed to be clamoring for.
Excellent point. I concur.
A step further: gangsters, thugs, murderers, etc., who still go to church. Mafia comes to mind. Others do to. They may consider themselves Christian, but I don't think any one else does.
Ever care for a very young baby? About the only thing they know to do is cry when they are in some sort of distress. That in a nutshell, is why humans don't have instinct. Lower animals do. Salmon compelled to swim upstream are driven by instinct so they can spawn. People, as said in your linked article, can override those compulsions and thus change their behavior.
What examples do you have of humans doing things regardless of environmental influence. Not trying to be picky, just trying to get a better understanding of the point you're trying to make. I get the impression what you call instinct I call by another name.
Again, I am not interested in an academic debate among sociologists about whether humans have "instincts" or just "unlearned behaviors" or whatever.
If you're not comfortable with the term "instinct," fine. But you do know, as you alluded, that humans do things regardless of environment. Examples? As you mentioned, crying is an example. Just think about what babies or small children do all over the world regardless of culture or the values of their societies: cry, run around, laugh, seek out companionship, etc.
That's the type of thing I'm talking about. It is in those very fundamental and basic human tendencies that we see the stuff of which rudimentary morality is made. That's one major reason why human societies the world over exhibit broadly similar moral tendencies--case in point being the "golden rule."
The world over, and throughout the course of history.
Religion is simply claiming that it is responsible for something that happens anyway.
Or it could be that religion is the vehicle by which we understand things like the golden rule. Why is it that so many peoples use religious methods to transmit things like the golden rule?
Sure, the golden rule is understood through various means: religion, philosophy, indoctrination, legal codes, etc.
But as Wyanjen said, religion is simply claiming that it is responsible for something that happens anyway.
We know it happens anyway because, as I said, the golden rule and many things like it exist across the world, with or without religion, before and after religion. So religion, which is variable, cannot explain the golden rule or other such moral things, which are constant.
To answer your last question, they use religious methods to transmit the golden rule because religion is (1) simple to understand, (2) popularly accepted, (3) has been fully developed over many years, (4) typically deeply ingrained in the culture and customs of a people, (5) often offers simple, black-and-white answers to complex questions, etc
If you mean do unto others, that has enough flaws in it to drive a truck through! There are a lot of people who would steal and do many bad things. Should the "Do unto others" be applied to them, they would be very upset!
"Ever care for a very young baby? About the only thing they know to do is cry when they are in some sort of distress. That in a nutshell, is why humans don't have instinct."
This is false. Infants have been found to have several instincts.
1) as mentioned by someone else above, infants fear loud noises. Why?
2) the suckling instinct. Nobody teaches a baby how to suck.
3) the grip instinct. Infants grab stuff (with a surprisingly strong grip) and hold on. We don't know why, but similar behavior is documented among other primates, who use all their limbs for locomotion, and whose babies have to hold on to the parents.
My "two cents" to the controversy here...
The original motto of the United States was secular: "E Pluribus Unum" ( "One from many"). It refers to the welding of a single federal state from a group of individual political units (colonies and after 1789, states). In the mid-nineteenth century eleven Protestant denominations developed a campaign to add references to God to the U.S. Constitution and other federal documents. In 1861, Rev. M.R. Watkinson was the first among many ministers to write a letter to the Secretary of the Treasury to promote this concept. During the Civil War the concept took hold.
As Jeff Berndt stated in one of his posts, In 1864, the motto "In God We Trust" and applied to a newly designed two-cent coin.The phrase was a reminder that the Union considered itself on God's side with respect to the causes and aims of the war.
Almost a century after that, in the mid-1950's, the nation was immersed in the Cold War and the McCarthy communist "witch hunt". In this context, communism was associated with Atheism and Christianism with Democratic, Capitalist and Liberal Western countries. During this decade, the Congress and the President approved a new law which replaced the national motto to "In God we Trust" in the currency. Also during this period, as Ralph Deeds pointed out, the phrase "under God" was added to the otherwise secular Pledge of Allegiance. After that, there was a proliferation of God references in federal documents.
So... the references to God in federal documents mostly appeared in the context of the Cold War, thus they are not part of the foundational legacy of the US.
And of course, most Americans identify themselves as religious persons and many of them Christians, but the political entity called USA, is secular, which guarantees the freedom of religion (or lack off), otherwise you will be living in a Theocracy.
That is a pretty healthy 2 cents worth! Well stated and factual, a bit rare in a thread like this one!
Welcome to the forums CaribeM
But I have to ask: are you using the 1864 two-cent coin, or just two regular pennies?
Thanks for the welcome... About the two cents, I used the "E Pluribus Unum" ones ; )
And a sense of humor. Excellent!
You know I haven't heard anyone mention e pluribus unum in a long time.
I can't believe I didn't think of the "E Pluribus Unum" motto (the one the founders chose) as further evidence of the secular roots of the USA's founding. It also goes hand in hand with another motto, "Novus Ordro Seclorum." (I need to 2ble check the spelling of that one) that appears on the great seal of the US.
No time to look stuff up just now though.
"Novus Odro Seclorum" ("the beginning of a new era"') refers to the year of the Declaration of Independence MDCCLXXVI (1776, in case S. Palin read this ), printed in the base of the pyramid. The year marks the founding of a new political entity.
It also can be translated as "A New World Order."
Is that a black helicopter I hear?
In fact, that's the meaning British gave to the expression in the early 20th century.
NOVUS means novel, young, new, or renewed.
ORDO means row, order, or series.
SECLORUM means generations, ages, or centuries.
So the proper literal translation will be "A New order of the Ages".
"Even prior to the 20th century, nations that moved away from a religious base tended to kill much more than those who had a belief in something. The French Revolution comes to mind, especially when you contrast it to the Revolution in the English Colonies."
I think you are forgetting some things... slavery, genocide of the First Nations...
Then there were the inquisitions, and the wars of the Reformation etc.
No comparison to the numbers who have died under Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol-pot, Kim, etc.
Don't think it wasn't for lack of trying. It has simply become increasingly easy to kill people. Although, even if you wanted to compare absolute numbers, if you were to include the things William R. Wilson mentioned, it might be surprisingly close (and you of course wouldn't want to forget the Crusades, in which the Albigensians (Cathars) were wiped off the face of the planet, and the streets of Jerusalem were soaked in blood up to your ankles.
Although I should add that I'm not particularly after religion here; my argument is more one of equality, that is to say: people kill people for all kinds of reasons. Ideology is a common reason. Within ideology you've got a whole lot of subcategories, none of which I would particularly privilege insofar as being particular sources of death and destruction (although nationalism would be a strong contender).
Strophios, you're forgetting the 30 Years War (Christians vs Christians) and the sack of Constantinople (another Christians vs Christians thing). We Christians are really good at persecuting one another. Sometimes we forget that we really should be persecuting other people.
Any belief system which gives its followers the illusion of certainty can lead to atrocity. These ideologies can also tie together quite nicely - religion can feed into nationalism and racism, for example.
So the problem is not religion, or lack thereof, but rather, the instinctive Us vs. Them mentality and our inability to transcend it.
Sarah Palin should know, she reads all the newspapers and must know everything about of which she speaks.
God is no respecter of persons....He makes the sun to shine on the good and the evil
NWO: Nazi's Within the Order
New Order of the Ages....I wonder if they were talking abou 2012, just as the Mayans and possibly Nostradamu?? ALL people's/religions/myths actually have this "Apocalypse" time don't they?
Because we ARE entering a new age..going from Pisces to Aquarius.
As above, so below.
And the capstone hasn't been placed on the great pyramid (dollar bill)...but I read they are having ceremonies preparing for it....
I wonder if our founders were talking about the end to the Mayan calender, and the new Age of Aquarius coming?
(1776, in case S. Palin read this )...hahahaha---good one!
I thought that was Gods job ( to decide)
Guess Sarahs thinks he needs a hand
If I was born in a garage ,would that make me a car?
(No.. a baby silly)
Anybody can say anything in a democratic country, don't mind
Sarah Palin is a fruit cake. The same Christmas fruitcake people throw away, and only send to people they really hate.
She is a Fruitcake.
Hi Greek! You think??? I'd take her ex-husband for a spin myself. But his mouth would have to be either taped shut or overfilled.
They all are loons.
Sadistic torture, illegally keeping people locked up, re-creating a mind as they did with Padilla, starving, homelss, wars for oil and power,the evil justice system we have....if this is Christian, I'd hate to see the opposite!
Wow you hate us so much maybe you do need to see the other side. Try living in Saudi Arabia, or maybe Somalia.
If I hated "us" I would say so...stop being so childish!
And don't we do business with Saudi Arabia?
Aren't we big supporters of any number of tyrants when it suits our purpose? *cough* *cough* Saddam....
Stop this clap-trap about how "good" we are, and get real!
We are "good" and we are "bad"...
Didn't he say "You shall know them by their fruits?"
So why are we still in such a mess?
Patti Smith once said something like "If we really believed Jesus it would transform the world".
If we are such a Christian Nation, there is a whole lot of dis-connect in what we say we believe!
Why not being a Christian nations just say we believe,it does not make us a nation that can not live in the world it just says we have values and beliefs it does not require all to believe just those who choose to.
"America is a Christian Nation"... Lets look at what it's about. Evangelicals want to establish as a LEGAL principle - not limited to those of their church - that life begins at conception. The courts have repeatedly struck that down.
To get back in the game, they have to undo the concept that the United States is a secular nation - which it is - and which they want to reverse.
Evangelicals can say what they want - think what they want - pray when they want. No problem from me - in their homes and churches.
Keep it out of my face.
"Keep it out of my face."
What an interesting choice of words. In a country founded on religious freedom, freedom to be 'religious' in its many facets in those days, and which was freely exercised by our Presidents and by our Congressman in those days, by our brand new citizens.....YET, your interpretation of religious freedom, of the separation of Church and State....is Keep it out of My Face!
That is a terribly bastardized interpretation of the original and TRUE concept of the Separation of Church and State. The principle was not to throw out God or whomever you conceive as your Higher Power, Mohamed or otherwise, it was instead to be accepting, NOT throw it out. Govern with religious freedom, not require the people to adhere to the President's religious beliefs. Let the live in religious peace.
IN GOD WE TRUST. This Administration will have it removed, or redefined. Until then, it is IN Your Face.
Actually no, this country was founded on greed. Religious freedom put no money into the hands of those countries financing the exploration and settlement of the New World.
The first Spanish explorers brought with them priests who witnessed extreme cruelty and bloodshed to the Native American tribes while attempting to enslave them. They needed them to replace the decimated ranks of those working the cane fields in Cuba and other Caribbean isles.
And it wasn't much better when the British took over from the Spanish. Many native tribes were purposely annihilated by disease tainted blankets and by killing off the vast herds of bison which they depended on for food and clothing.
These Godly folks then brought in African slaves to till their fields and settle the wilderness for them for many generations while they went to church and worshiped the god who gave them permission to do these evil things.
If there is a god, he must be sorely embarrassed for his name to be associated with the way this country was founded and the legacy still carried on by these same adherents.
Take the greed and the killing and the slavery up with the United Kingdom and Europe. The actual people that founded this country with their blood and sweat, that weren't rich, weren't titled, came here seeking freedom of religion or freedom from government controlled poverty with no generational end in sight, and a goodly number sought simply limited serfdom in lieu of death or imprisonment in their home country. Those are the people from which the majority of us have sprung, including me.
Freedom from treating natives like fellow human beings..
Freedom from paying negroes for their labor...
Freedom from being nagged by pesky females at the polling places...
One of my maternal Gr. Grandomother's was a fullblood Choctaw who was too ashamed to sign on to Dawe's, the other was a poor Scotch-Irish Confederate widow who drank laudanum(sp?) and grieved, one paternal Gr. Grandmother was a maid who made her way with her sister all the way from Illinois and married a widower who died while her children were young and got kicked out to the street and made her way on her own and across many miles to Texas and married again and lived a long rich in love life. Take your one liner BS to someone else. Life is what you choose to make it, that is what being an American is about, and that is what is in danger of being forever changed.
Take up the annihilation of our Native Indians, the introduction and perpetuation of slavery with the UK and Europe. America can validly own the 'pesky females' who demanded a voice.
Scotch-Irish probably refers to a blended whiskey. The people you are refering to, my ancestors, are Scots-Irish.
Your take on U.S. history is really, really......
People of a great nation can look honestly at their past without white washing the evil elements of it.
Actually the "Scotch-Irish" or "Scots-Irish" were the "meanest, damnedest people in the world" per my Gr. Grandfather. You clearly know nothing about America's personal history as a working class inheritor. Maybe you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, and have great practice with white-washing your well-born, slave-holding, Indian-killing British roots.
Andrew Jackson and George A. Custer were British? And you are suggesting you know history well?
There was a little thing called the Crusades when adherents of your God didn't care to listen to those with a different set of beliefs. They even wiped out cities inhabited by fellow Christians because these citizens dressed and talked like those they "disagreed" with. Brilliant, Godly representatives of your deity. They are still many ancestors of these ancient self righteous folks around today. Especially in Texas! LOL
So we weren't Americans until after the Civil War? So, you have no ancestors who owned slaves or took part in any unsavory segment of American history. You are the only exception I am aware of whose family tree is spotless.
Even the Puritans were expected to turn a profit for the financial backers of their colony. If it hadn't been for the local natives they would not have succeeded with their early settlements. Look at how they were repaid for their kindness. "God helps those who help themselves" in this case, to other peoples lands and livelihood.
But you keep telling yourself God was fully behind these actions by our early founders. You'll be fine!
Is there a reason you are so confrontational?
I agree with Doug completely here. How do you figure he misinterpreted this? Your post makes no sense.
I'm not sure how you figure that freedom of religion means everybody else has to put up with being confronted. Nobody is telling you that you can't pray. There is no reason to be getting up in people's faces about it.
Freedom of religion is the same as freedom from religion.
"Freedom of religion is the same as freedom from religion."
Apparently not these days. In its original conception, yes. If it's in your face and you are agnostic or atheist, you are offended, and want it permanently legislated away as though your right is greater. That is not freedom of religion. That is not tolerance. That is ignorance or fear.
Your right is greater than mine.
Freedom of religion means the right to bully and confront people who don't share your religion.
Tolerance means you have to let people cram stuff down your throat.
I'm stupid because I don't agree with you.
And I'm afraid of something.
I just learned five new things.
And would you like it if others felt free to be "in your face" with witchcraft or some other belief you detested? No one wants to hear other peoples versions of their deity. Religious freedom means others not having to experience what YOU believe. Or what anyone else believes, for that matter!
I'm actually quite fascinated with witchcraft, and would not object to a practicing 'witch' to be elected to the U.S. Congress. You are so wrong about people not wanting to hear others beliefs, that discourse has been a fabric of life for hundreds of years, only in recent history are the differences suddenly to be scorned with arrogance, rather than death. The middle road of the years in between are much preferable.
I'm responding to JWestCattle - up a ways from here. If you read what I said, I have no desire or inclination to discorage ANY practice of religion by anyone. The place to practice that religion is personally - by each individual -- and with his/her family and in the church they select.
I said - 'Keep it out of my face.'
That means in the public sector - I don't want your religion or aspects of your faith imposed on me. If I wanted to hold as an article of faith that life begins at the moment a sperm penetrates the ovum, I would join your church. I didn't I haven't and I won't. Neither do I think a woman who hasn't joined your church should have to live by the precepts of your church. This is not the only issue at stake. There are attempts by churches to meddle in a patient's right to issue directives regarding end-of-life. There are attempts to discriminate based on gender issues. I say again -
Keep it out of MY face!
"IN GOD WE TRUST. This Administration will have it removed, or redefined."
You mean like the Eisenhower Administration added it?
I don't see how removing the slogan from our currency is any worse than adding the slogan where it didn't exist before.
Goldenpath, I have a question. I was wondering about what you said here, about you believing in the separation of church and state and feeling that elected officials had a duty to work towards justice for all americans, regardless of religious belief or lack of such.
Does that mean that you wouldn't oppose gay marriage? And/or that you didn't condone the california mormom protests?
Religion aside, one's opinions and actions are rooted in their foundations. My foundation holds that marriage is of paramount sacred nature duly held between man and woman. They are both to have their shoulders squared toward the Lord. In other words, only with their focus on the Lord can they truly become one. Like a triange, with the Lord on top and the man and woman at the bottom two corners. Only when we climb the ladder of focusing our lives on gospel principles are we, with our spouse, drawn closer together in oneness.
I believe in free speech and therefore applaud the efforts of the Latter-day Saints as well as the Catholic faith and others in California to protect the sanctity of marriage. We, as Latter-day Saints, firmly attest that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the destiny of His children. The vital part of that family is husband and wife who are legally and lawfully wed. We feel that the family and marriage in general is under severe attack in the world today. The breakdown of this institution is reaping frontal attacks not only socially but politically as well. Those who uphold the family and the marriage union have an obligation to instruct and persuade those who have fallen victim to the skewed views of the eternal design of the family.
Lay aside the eternity thing that I always talk about. Just here in mortality the vast numbers of people fail to consider or even contemplate the lasting and generational affects of their decisions. Infidelity, cohabitation, incest and abuse are but a few topics which damage the hearts and minds of not only the self but the rising generation and those to follow. How we raise our children deeply affects how they will percieve the world and morals and how they, in turn, will raise their families. From there it continues down the line as a festering virus or a cancer slowly drying up a family that once had an eternal brightness of hope.
If we but strive to master communication and anger management, as well as tolerance and understanding, in our marriages and families we will obtain happiness that will last generations. Failing to do so will lead us in the path of so many fallen nations from times past - the utter breakdown and destruction of the family relationship - without morals or internal guidance.
Yes, I condone any attempt to protect the family. This goes for any group and not just religious ones. As a public official if you have this foundation and roots then it is your obligation to go forth in protection of the family against such immense threats as exists today.
It's odd. I seem to recal that in the history of the Mormon Church, marriage coould be between a man and a woman or a man and several women. Many offshoot LDS 'cults' still practice polygamy and fervently believer THEY are following the teachings of Joseph Smith.
Times change. Gay or Lesbian couples can be just as committed and nurturing as straight couples. Their personal relationships do nothing to undermine yours. This is glorified bigotty of a sexual kind, which you are free to hold as God's sacred word and practice - in your home - and in Temple. But I am inclined to boycott LDS businesses when I can.
If LDS businesses don't like being discriminated against, perhaps they won't be so eager to discriminate.
You're right! Only we can undermine our own relationships, however in preserving a nation the institution must be protected.
I won't get into the polygamy thing again and again. Yes, there are many offshoot who do practice it. They are not of the mainstream Latter-day Saints (Mormons). They deny the very revelation that instituted the practice as in times of old. The Church was instructed of the Lord to cease the practice to prevent the acquisition of the Church, it's property and assets at the hands of the government. We are a law abiding people and so the practice ceased. No smoke and mirrors, just plain and simple. That's all I'll say on that "old" subject as there need nothing else to be said.
I don't know what discrimination you refer to. Be it known, though, that we are all human and humans make stupid mistakes and judgments. However, if you are talking employment opportunities it is well known that many businesses, mostly non-LDS, actively search for members of the Church because of their integrity and trustworthiness. This has always baffled me yet remains an encouragement.
Every faith has offshoots. Every faith has doctrines that others don't understand or believe in. Every faith has enemies. Every faith has good people as well as the undesirable. Let us not be so blind as to separate the Latter-day Saints as anything exceeding these tallies. It's equal for any faith or group of people.
Okay GP. I see some contradictions in what you say, but I don't want to argue with because I appreciate that you were willing to answer the question. We just made up, I don't want to fight! And I do see a huge difference in the tone of your posts these days, a good difference, and I appreciate that as well.
It seems you would govern according to your religious beliefs, which in truth is how I think people who take their faith seriously must govern. Which is also why I think people who take their faith seriously and are members of religious groups who discriminate (even in their minds) against any good group of society (good group meaning noncriminal, with no harm to others in their practices) should NOT govern. So basically what I mean, I guess, is that I feel only universalists and buddhists are capable of just governing even when they are committed to their religions.
Then again, one could argue that a nonbeliever's view of religion might interfere with just governing as well, but then nonbelievers tend to understand that you cannot legislate peoples' hearts and minds. By trying to force people, all you do is strengthen their convictions, just as the religious outcry against gay marriage has brought many non-gay people to their defense.
I'm sure you will find that offensive, but of course you must realize that the LGBT community would find what you have said offensive, and though I am not a member of that community, I find the hatred exhibited for them offensive. Hatred I know is a strong word, as is discrimination, and perhaps better words could be found.
I do not buy into the theory (see I'm trying, I was gonna say this b.s.) that gay marriage or gays in general are a threat to our society and the 'sanctity of marriage'. I feel they are being used as a scapegoat, and I find that very... unfortunate. There is absolutely no legitimate reasning behind it. Two members of the same sex loving each other and celebrating that love has nothing to do with crime, the corruption of morals, the lack of decency in society, or anyone else's marriage.
Indeed, if society would honor their love as love ought to be honored, it would only strengthen the 'sanctity' of marriage.
If religious people were seriously concerned with the 'sanctity' of marriage, they'd do much better to put their efforts into promoting strong marriages society-wide, and discouraging foolish ones.
But I really didn't ask the question just to argue against your point of view. I was curious about your statement earlier. It didn't really mesh.
Now I see that what you meant was something like you would govern the people equally, according to your own religious views. I'm not certain if that makes you any different from Palin and company.
Again, I would think any person committed to their religious views would have to govern according to them. I don't find that odd at all. If one didn't, it would mean they didn't take their religion seriously, which of course I'd prefer unless they were buddhists or universalists, but it probably wouldn't say much about such an individual's personal integrity. And I'm not sure about all universalists and buddhists either.
Thanks for answering. You had to know you'd be disagreed with, and I appreciate the friendly tone you answered with despite that.
Why do you lump all believers together? Look at it from the perspective of a theist talking to an atheist. Mark and Daniel are both atheists, yet are miles apart when it comes to their beliefs and their willingness to talk about things. The same thing holds true for believers. You're much more likely to get an intolerant response from a fundamentalist than you would if you talked to a religious moderate. Yet I am sure there are some open minded fundamentalists out there just as there are some close minded religious moderates out there.
One thing we can say for certainty is that we are all individuals and value things differently. But that doesn't preclude us from agreeing on things even if we don't believe the same things.
I am not sure I did. In any specific way. I did use the term "committed" and I did exclude universalists, so that should cover any believers who don't hold to any specific religious dogma.
If someone says they're a christian, then I consider it fair to think they believe a bunch of people are willful rejectors of goodness who are hell-bound. In which case they clearly cannot support us or justly consider our needs, much like presidents who refuse to even meet with atheist groups.
If this is not a part of their personal beliefs, then they are not a christian, they are a universalist. Now, the fact is that many christians are universalists, in which case they really aren't christians by the actual definition. Although they may be christians in the only way jesus ever would have wanted.
Sorry, but I don't see any error in what I said.
It's a matter of definition. You consider a Christian to be a fundamentalist. That's not entirely accurate, but I see where you're coming from. My definition of a Christian is someone who follows the teachings of Christ, like the Golden Rule.
In that respect it's a matter of taste. You'd consider me a universalist, whereas I consider myself a Christian. As long as we're clear on our definitions, the terms we use don't really matter.
You are not a christian.
A christian would never, ever get into a verbal argument. A genuine christian would have divested himself of his earthly belongings and be walking the earth helping people like jesus christ said to do.
I have never met a real christian myself. I have met a lot who claimed to be, but - I suspect that is just me mis-interpreting what Jesus said.
I'm not interested in arguing in circles Mark. All you want to do is fight with people and I'm not interested in that. Must be the part of me that is Christian.
And still you cannot make clear whatever it is you are supposed to be saying other than to be condescending. As i say - I have never met a real christian - only people like you.
I am sure jesus is very proud of you. LOLOLOL
No you just refuse to entertain anything that doesn't appeal to your orthodox atheism. You can and never will accept anyone or anything that isn't atheism. Funny thing is you have more in common with the fundamentalists you claim to hate so much than people who are genuinely open minded and willing to question.
And still - I have no idea what your point is. Other than you think you are better than me.
Your point being? That you will not fight?
Hmmmmmm ... OK LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL
"Funny thing is you have more in common with the fundamentalists you claim to hate so much than people who are genuinely open minded and willing to question."
Are any of those around here somewhere?
Yes, I think the terms do matter, politically at least, which is in fact what we are discussing.
For instance, when politicians consider that polls show that 76% of americans are christians, that is what they're going to pander to. Additionally -unlike yourself- you have these people who don't believe half of what their church teaches, but they support it anyway, financially and often ideologically as well. Not to mention that they sit there every week with their families and listen to the stuff spewed.
If a christian doesn't believe that atheists are willful rejectors of goodness and hellbound, from whence does he get his beliefs? Obviously not from the tenets of the christian churches.
Is there any sect of christianity who does not believe that belief in jesus' divinity gives one salvation from eternal hell? While some of the members personally believe that "belief" in Jesus' divinity gives one salvation from an earthly hell, and discard any beliefs in heaven and hell, their thinking is rather flawed, I think, but it does indicate a lack of commitment to their religion.
You'd be surprised to know that there are and were sects of Christianity that rejected the divinity of Jesus. Some sects of Gnostic Christianity come to mind.
As for politics, well suffice to say that when politicians use polls to justify positions they'll twist the numbers to suit their purposes. Polls are something of a rigged way to justify points, so to an extent polls don't matter.
If politicians are "pandering" to one group at the expense of another, well then that points to structural problems with our politics does it not? After all, the United States was founded on the principle of maximum liberty, so if you're concerned about some sort of theocracy, then you need to look at the interjection of government into the private life of its citizens.
So which sect of christianity exists today and does not hold tenets of an actual heaven and hell?
I'm not so sure you can say a certain sect does or does not have that belief. One of the things that came out of the Protestant Reformation was the idea that no religious authority had an exclusive lock on the truth. You're confusing the beliefs of a sect with the belief of an individual. I'm nominally Catholic, but there are many tenets of the Church that I don't agree with. Their views on homosexuality for one. But even within something as monolithic as the Church there are differences of opinion. The views of Opus Dei are different from the views of Liberation Theology. Religion today is much more of an individual thing than it was in the past. Gutenberg's printing press had a lot to do with that.
So it's a bit of a fallacy to judge people by the sect they belong to. Every sect has those who believe that people who don't believe as they do are hellbound just like there are those who don't believe that you are hellbound if you believe differently or even don't believe at all. The best you can do is say the tendency of the believer of a certain sect is more likely to be fundamentalist or not.
Yeh sure there are people probably in every sect who don't believe all the tenets, or don't even know them, or just don't really understand all the implications of them. I've said many times why it is that I find this sort of compromise and lack of understanding unfortunate. Maybe i'll put it in a hub one day.
"So which sect of christianity exists today and does not hold tenets of an actual heaven and hell?"
Regardless, you don't seem to understand the terms.
Having spoken at length to some Jehovah's Witnesses that stopped by one time, it's my understanding that they don't buy into the existence of Hell as a place of torment. Rather, the Jehovah's Witness view of what Hell is is either eternal life cut off from the glory of God, or else an end to existence.
It's been a while since our talk, and I'm not a Jehovah's Witness myself, so take that under advisement.
"Not to mention that they sit there every week with their families and listen to the stuff spewed. "
By using terms like "spewed" you disqualify yourself from any serious discussion and lower yourself to the level of others here who only ever mention religion as an excuse to vent their bigotry.
In addition. Unlike so many of all faiths I choose not to like or support behaviors and/or lifestyles of some people, but that doesn't mean I don't like the people themselves. Dislike the action but don't dislike the people. If I was in office I'd advocate for the traditional family relationship but would equally govern all under my jurisdiction. I'd uphold the law and the Constitution of the United States.
A reasonable official would still equally govern regardless of his stance all of the following segments:
Pro-abortion and Pro-life
Drilling for oil and Environmentalists
Free Market and Socialists
Eggs hard and Eggs Sunny-side Up
Big Noses and Small Noses
Pro-war and Anti-war
Pro-Moon landing and No Space Program
Jackson was the son of Scottish-Irish immigrants. Custer's ancestors were German immigrants, including a Hessian soldier who fought for the British.
Both were American citizens and doing the killing of Native Americans at the behest of our "founded on God" government. I would venture to say most agnostics and atheists could care less who or what you worship concerning you own particular beliefs.
Just do not subject us to yours unless we request it and there will be no problems. Easy enough if you "do unto others."
Whatever you do, don't throw me in that briar patch!! Are you on the island?
We are leaving for the island in the morning. We found out today the replicas of the Pinta and Nina will be at Brunswick over the weekend. Wonderful coincidence!
You never cease to surprise me, Earnest! I wouldn't think you would be familiar with Harris's Brer Rabbit tales Don't let Holle fool you, she loves a little punishment. At least the threat, anyway!
Woops on my spelling of it. Been a long time!
Whoops on my spelling of whoops too!
Dang, Randy, you don't have to share all my deep dark secrets here!
Cool about the Nina and Pinta. Take lots of pics!! Will they be at the wharf on 341?
christianity or religiosity is hard to define
according to census data US is 70 plus perecent Christians -- different denominations
Not sure what America was founded on anymore..but seems to me probably no different to any new land and their pilgrims.
Hard work, cunning and a whole lotta prayer! maybe thats where the Christian nation concept comes from..but praying dont make anyone a Christian,but does make them good 'yappers'
My personal opinion is this , A Christian nation would live and fight, for Christian principles,similarily other nations will fight for what they believe in (be it Christian, or otherwise)
Their fervour and determination makes most Western countries look wishy washy and weak...
In my experience, Mormons are friendly people, but they tend to be backwards when it comes to human rights (towards African Americans, gays, etc.) and only belatedly join the rest of humanity when it comes to respecting them.
I don't think this is a matter of theology but rather the fact that administration and policy seem to be in the hands of very, very old people in their church. The current president is 82, just months younger than the Pope...and we know where the Catholic and Mormon churches agree (opposing full civil rights for gay people).
It's not so much the age of the potentates of the various churches as it is the doctrines which drive them. Mormonism and Catholicism agree on gay rights, or rather lack of rights, due to the doctrine that homosexual relations are inherently against the will of God. It doesn't matter if the Pope is 23, 33, 43 or 83; it's the doctrine that drives that belief. Likewise with the Mormons the doctrine drives the belief, it doesn't matter the age of their Elders.
I thought everyone who did missionary work was an Elder? I've seen what look like teenage boys with "Elder" on their nametag.
Yes, they all point to doctrine, but I think preference of what doctrine to enforce or to emphasize is very much a matter of the leaders of a church. Those churches with older leaders tend to have more conservative priorities than do younger ones (generally).
To point to a counterexample: The Episcopal Church (one of the most liberal mainline Christian churches): Jefferts Schori is 56
Of course they do, but even the Catholic Church changes doctrine as time goes by. 400 years ago, for example, the priest would have a something like a curtain to separate him from the congregation during the Eucharist. That would be unthinkable today. Or the fact that Mass is done in the vernacular today whereas a century ago it was done exclusively in Latin.
That's a function more of the structure of the churches I think. Those that are very hierarchical and centralized tend to grind exceedingly slowly. Sometimes that is not a bad thing, other times it can prolong injustice. Likewise those churches that are more decentralized tend to adapt and adopt much more quickly. Again a mixed bag. In the case of injustice it's a good thing to move quickly to end it, but moving quickly for movement's sake only is usually a mistake.
The Elder thing is a major difference between Liturgical churches and more Evangelical ones. Liturgical churches tend to be hierarchical and more "traditional" whereas Evangelical sects and to be less hierarchical and more "dynamic". That's why you can see teenage "Elders".
I don't agree that that is the core belief of christianity. If so, they're doing a lousy job of promoting.
I think the core belief of christianity is the belief that JC died and rose again. That is what every christian religion believes.
it doesn't require christianity to believe in a brotherhood of man.
The US is a majority-Christian nation, not a Christian Nation. Do you understand the difference?
by Zelkiiro4 years ago
A little bit of history will show you that's not necessarily the case...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQrD1ty-yzs
by Prophecy Teacher14 months ago
Is it reasonable to assume that 13 different Christian Chartered Colonies, would send to a convention in Philadelphia a group of men - to make a Constitution - that allowed their way of life to end? Is it further...
by Hokey3 years ago
One of the many attacks on our country from the Religious Right is the claim that our country is a Christian Nation...not just that the majority of people are Christians, but that the country itself was founded by...
by marinealways247 years ago
What is the ratio of liberal Christians compared to conservative Christians? It seems like the conservative Christians would outnumber the liberal Christians. If you are a liberal Christian, what are your political...
by paarsurrey6 years ago
Hi friendsIs America a Christian nation?ThanksI am an Ahmadi peaceful Muslim
by LondonGirl8 years ago
I've seen several discussions of the extent to which the USA was historically a Christian country, and came across this treaty from 1797, placed before the Senate, which stated:"As the government of the United...
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