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Old 01-27-2004, 06:44 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Filtherton... Here's our hijack thread...

From the CBS thread, since I'm sick of thread hijacking thought this would be more appropriate.

I said...
Quote:
quote:
Whats wrong with mentioning God the creator in the pledge? After all it was through him that all our rights were endowed and on that basis and tradition that our country was founded
You replied...
Quote:
Through him? Give me a break. I guess i was mistaken. I was under the impression that our country was founded on the basis of democracy and the idea of basic human rights and equality. This country does not belong to your god. This country belongs to all of its citizens, even the ones who don't believe in jesus or god.
I cite
Quote:
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 hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Furthermore it is well documented how the Judeo-Christian influence nurtured and helped influence our founding and laws, I hope that even you would not argue that.

You wrote
Quote:
You throw around the word ignorant like you have no concept of irony. Did you even read what you wrote?
Well, thanks for enlightening me on the existence of judaism. Perhaps now you will let me return the favor by letting you in on a little secret. Not all americans fall into either the christian or jew category. Some don't even believe in god at all. In fact the founding fathers didn't believe in your god. Is that the basis and tradition that you were speaking of? Why should people who don't share your particular belief system have to be exposed to some other religion's propaganda in light of the statistical certainty that a whole lot of conservative christians would throw an absolute hissyfit if some judge dared to have a shrine to buddha in the rotunda of a courthouse? The state and the church shouldn't mix. It never works out well for anyone except the priests and the clerics.
I hear what you are saying, I was jsut pointing out an earlier statement were you stated that the 10 commandments in a court house is forcing Christianity down other peoples throats. And your right if there was a shrine of Buddha in a court house Christians would get pissed, but I somehow doubt that the righteous ACLU would say anything...

So bottom line for me is, if you don't believe in god, whether it be Christian/Hebrew/Islam/Shiva/Vishnu/Gaia/Etc. types, fine. Just don't get past the fact that this country was founded on Religious principles, and that God the creator has a role in our founding and our society... and he doesn't have to be Christian.

Quote:
"All persons living in this province, who confess and acknowledge the One Almighty and Eternal God to be the Creator, Upholder, and Ruler of the world, and that hold themselves obliged in conscience to live peaceably and justly in civil society, shall in no wise be molested or prejudiced for their religious persuasion or practice, in matters of faith and worship; nor shall they be compelled at any time to frequent or maintain any religious worship, place or ministry whatsoever." April 25, 1662- William Penn signed this to establish religious liberty in the new provence of (Pennsylvania).
Quote:
"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists but by Christians, not on religion but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We shall not fight alone. God presides over the destinies of nations. The battle is not to the strong alone. Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, ALMIGHTY GOD! Give me liberty or give me death!" Patrick Henry of the Constitutional Convention
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"Such being the impressions under which I have, in obedience to the public summons, repaired to the present station, it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being, who rules over the universe, who presides in the council of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States.." "...Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency" From President George Washington's Inaugural Address, April 30th, 1789, addressed to both Houses of Congress.
Quote:
"I have lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth -- God Governs in the Affairs of Men, And if a Sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, Is it possible that an empire can rise without His aid?" Benjamin Franklin

"Except the Lord build the house, They labor in vain who build it." "I firmly believe this." Benjamin Franklin, 1787, Constitutional Convention
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"We have no government armed in power capable of contending in human passions ubridled by morality and religion. Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other." John Adams, address to the militia of Massachusetts, 1798.
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"Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever." President Thomas Jefferson
Quote:
"Before any man can be considered as a member of civil society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe. And to the same Divine Author of every good and perfect gift [James 1:17] we are indebted for all those privileges and advantages, religious as well as civil, which are so richly enjoyed in this favored land." James Madison
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"Human law must rest its authority ultimately upon the authority of that law which is divine....Far from being rivals or enemies, religion and law are twin sisters, friends, and mutual assistants. Indeed, these two sciences run into each other." James Wilson, a signer of the Constitution and an original Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court
Quote:
"The only assurance of our nation's safety is to lay our foundation in morality and religion." Abraham Lincoln.
and finally...
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"Fellow countrymen: At this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office, there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first...The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself; and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured...

"Neither party expected for the war, the magnitude, or the duration, which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with, or even before, the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and as a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other...The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully...If we shall suppose that American Slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South, this terrible war, as the woe due to those by whom the offence came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a Living God always ascribe to Him?

Fondly do we hope - fervently do we pray - that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said 'The judgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.'

"With malice toward none; charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan - to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." Immediately afterwards, Lincoln kissed the Bible, bowed, and retired from the platform. Abraham Lincoln's 2nd inaugural address, March 4th, 1865.
I figured I'd throw down some words of the FF, since they can make the case better then me.
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Old 01-27-2004, 07:20 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I think anyone who tries to say Christianity didn't take a large roll in forming the United States in laws & culture is being nieve.
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Old 01-27-2004, 07:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Deism will never, EVER equal Christanity, no matter how much you want it to. In those quotes I saw all of three that made direct references to Jeudo-christian belief, a generic god still isn't christanity.
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Originally Posted by Norseman on another forum:
"Yeah, the problem with the world is the stupid people are all cocksure of themselves and the intellectuals are full of doubt."
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Old 01-27-2004, 07:29 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I wasn't arguing for Christianity, just that God played a role in the foundation of this country.
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Old 01-27-2004, 07:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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They may not have explicity said the the Christain God but that doesn't mean it wasn't the God they were implieing. You would have to look that their religion to be sure or perhaps take the quotes in context. When I talk about God I don't say "The Christian God" but I sure mean the Christian God.
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Old 01-27-2004, 07:33 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mojo_PeiPei
I wasn't arguing for Christianity, just that God played a role in the foundation of this country.
Unless it is the Diest God, who by definition couldn't play a role in the formation of this country. We both know you meant the Judeo-Christian god when you started this thread, don't backpedal...
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Originally Posted by Norseman on another forum:
"Yeah, the problem with the world is the stupid people are all cocksure of themselves and the intellectuals are full of doubt."
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Old 01-27-2004, 07:42 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I appreciate your efforts to make your point of view more clear. It's always helpful to know just what it is we're disagreeing about. People on both sides of this issue have a personal stake in it, as atheism and religion of any kind are in the most fundamental form of opposition, which is to say that they are 100% mutually exclusive.

But, that's not what we're talking about, is it?

Here are a few of my thoughts on the matter. One, the founders did inherit an intellectual tradition that was largely religious and largely Christian. However, the intellectual movements of the time were inevitably becoming secular. In 1779, Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion were published. This work had the effect of removing religion from serious philosophy (an effect that has lasted to this day). It is also important to note freedom of religious practice and freedom from a religious government are protected in the constitution. Granted, the Bill of Rights was not in the original constitution, but the wonderful democratic process that went on during the time put them there.

To these men, the world was viewed as a wonderful machine created by God. This idea has its roots in Newton, who produced a theory that explained how things move. There are a couple of points worth making about the religiosity of the founders. One is that many of the founders practiced a form of Christianity called Deism, which basically viewed God as an inventor. He created the world in such a way that it would work perfectly without further intervention, and God was therefore unnecessary in everyday life. This view empowered men to try to understand the world. It was a religious school that worked very hard to accomodate science. Secondly, the mentions and incantations related to God in much of the writing in the time was not meant literally. The "In God we trust" on currency serves a largely ceremonial purpose. This practice is called ceremonial deism. Note here that I'm not talking specifically about your quotes. Ceremonial deism is mostly written.

The thing is, none of our governing documents establish christianity as our religion. Indeed, that is expressly forbidden by the greatest thing those religious men ever wrote. Religion may have been important to them, but they knew that the only just government is one that stays as far away from religion as it can.
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Old 01-27-2004, 07:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Who's backpedaling? I was talking about God the creator, not from any particular denomination. And your arguement about Deism is moot, just like your stating my assertation of Christianity's role, a few representatives of Deism does not take away from the role Christianity and its teachings had in the founding of this country.
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Old 01-27-2004, 07:50 PM   #9 (permalink)
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There seems to be some confusion here.

This country was founded by people with strong religious principals.

They were wise enough to found it on solely secular grounds, despite their beliefs.



And to the original poster, Abraham Lincoln was not one of the founding fathers.
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Old 01-27-2004, 07:51 PM   #10 (permalink)
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You said...

Quote:
Furthermore it is well documented how the Judeo-Christian influence nurtured and helped influence our founding and laws, I hope that even you would not argue that.
Followed by...

Quote:
I wasn't arguing for Christianity, just that God played a role in the foundation of this country.
And then...

Quote:
Who's backpedaling? I was talking about God the creator, not from any particular denomination.
Then....

Quote:
a few representatives of Deism does not take away from the role Christianity and its teachings had in the founding of this country.

Really, do I need need to go any further on that issue ?

On the founding father thing, the only person who you list that made a Judeo-christian comment and could be concidered a founder is Henry. He kept RI from having input in the CC II, kind of keeping him from founder status.
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Originally Posted by Norseman on another forum:
"Yeah, the problem with the world is the stupid people are all cocksure of themselves and the intellectuals are full of doubt."

Last edited by nanofever; 01-27-2004 at 07:55 PM..
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Old 01-27-2004, 08:22 PM   #11 (permalink)
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And since I'm a firm believer in "whats good for the goose is good for the gander" when quoting people who have been dead for 200 years.



James Madison"What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not." - James Madison, "A Memorial and Remonstrance", 1785

"Experience witnesseth that ecclesiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of religion, have had a contrary operation. During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution." - James Madison, "A Memorial and Remonstrance", 1785


John Adams
"As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is, a revelation. But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed?" - John Adams, letter to F.A. Van der Kamp, Dec. 27, 1816

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

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

"The priesthood have, in all ancient nations, nearly monopolized learning. And ever since the Reformation, when or where has existed a Protestant or dissenting sect who would tolerate A FREE INQUIRY? The blackest billingsgate, the most ungentlemanly insolence, the most yahooish brutality, is patiently endured, countenanced, propagated, and applauded. But touch a solemn truth in collision with a dogma of a sect, though capable of the clearest proof, and you will find you have disturbed a nest, and the hornets will swarm about your eyes and hand, and fly into your face and eyes." - John Adams, letter to John Taylor


Thomas Jefferson
"In every country and every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot ... they have perverted the purest religion ever preached to man into mystery and jargon, unintelligible to all mankind, and therefore the safer engine for their purpose." - Thomas Jefferson, to Horatio Spafford, March 17, 1814

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

"Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear." - Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, Aug. 10, 1787

"It is too late in the day for men of sincerity to pretend they believe in the Platonic mysticisms that three are one, and one is three; and yet that the one is not three, and the three are not one. But this constitutes the craft, the power and the profit of the priests." - Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, 1803

"But a short time elapsed after the death of the great reformer of the Jewish religion, before his principles were departed from by those who professed to be his special servants, and perverted into an engine for enslaving mankind, and aggrandizing their oppressors in Church and State." - Thomas Jefferson to S. Kercheval, 1810

"History I believe furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of which their political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purpose." - Thomas Jefferson to Baron von Humboldt, 1813

"On the dogmas of religion, as distinguished from moral principles, all mankind, from the beginning of the world to this day, have been quarreling, fighting, burning and torturing one another, for abstractions unintelligible to themselves and to all others, and absolutely beyond the comprehension of the human mind." - Thomas Jefferson to Carey, 1816

"But the greatest of all reformers of the depraved religion of his own country, was Jesus of Nazareth. Abstracting what is really his from the rubbish in which it is buried, easily distinguished by its lustre from the dross of his biographers, and as separable from that as the diamond from the dunghill, we have the outlines of a system of the most sublime morality which has ever fallen from the lips of man. The establishment of the innocent and genuine character of this benevolent morality, and the rescuing it from the imputation of imposture, which has resulted fro artificial systems, invented by ultra-Christian sects (The immaculate conception of Jesus, his deification, the creation of the world by him, his miraculous powers, his resurrection and visible ascension, his corporeal presence in the Eucharist, the Trinity; original sin, atonement, regeneration, election, orders of the Hierarchy, etc.) is a most desirable object." - Thomas Jefferson to W. Short, Oct. 31, 1819

"It is not to be understood that I am with him (Jesus Christ) in all his doctrines. I am a Materialist; he takes the side of Spiritualism; he preaches the efficacy of repentence toward forgiveness of sin; I require a counterpoise of good works to redeem it.
Among the sayings and discourses imputed to him by his biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence; and others, again, of so much ignorance, so much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being. I separate, therefore, the gold from the dross; restore him to the former, and leave the latter to the stupidity of some, the roguery of others of his disciples. Of this band of dupes and imposters, Paul was the great Coryphaeus, and the first corruptor of the doctrines of Jesus." - Thomas Jefferson to W. Short, 1820

"The office of reformer of the superstitions of a nation, is ever more dangerous. Jesus had to work on the perilous confines of reason and religion; and a step to the right or left might place him within the grasp of the priests of the superstition, a bloodthirsty race, as cruel and remorseless as the being whom they represented as the family God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob, and the local God of Israel. That Jesus did not mean to impose himself on mankind as the son of God, physically speaking, I have been convinced by the writings of men more learned than myself in that lore." - Thomas Jefferson to Story, Aug. 4, 1820

"The doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend all to the happiness of man. But compare with these the demoralizing dogmas of Calvin.
1. That there are three Gods.
2. That good works, or the love of our neighbor, is nothing.
3. That faith is every thing, and the more incomprehensible the proposition, the more merit the faith.
4. That reason in religion is of unlawful use.
5. That God, from the beginning, elected certain individuals to be saved, and certain others to be damned; and that no crimes of the former can damn them; no virtues of the latter save." - Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Waterhouse, Jun. 26, 1822

"Creeds have been the bane of the Christian church ... made of Christendom a slaughter-house." - Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Waterhouse, Jun. 26, 1822

"The truth is, that the greatest enemies of the doctrine of Jesus are those, calling themselves the expositors of them, who have perverted them to the structure of a system of fancy absolutely incomprehensible, and without any foundation in his genuine words. And the day will come, when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter." - Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, Apr. 11, 1823

"The metaphysical insanities of Athanasius, of Loyola, and of Calvin, are, to my understanding, mere lapses into polytheism, differing from paganism only by being more unintelligible." - Thomas Jefferson to Jared Sparks, 1820


Benjamin Franklin
"I think vital religion has always suffered when orthodoxy is more regarded than virtue. The scriptures assure me that at the last day we shall not be examined on what we thought but what we did." - Benjamin Franklin letter to his father, 1738
"I cannot conceive otherwise than that He, the Infinite Father, expects or requires no worship or praise from us, but that He is even infinitely above it." - Benjamin Franklin from "Articles of Belief and Acts of Religion", Nov. 20, 1728

"I wish it (Christianity) were more productive of good works ... I mean real good works ... not holy-day keeping, sermon-hearing ... or making long prayers, filled with flatteries and compliments despised by wise men, and much less capable of pleasing the Deity." - Benjamin Franklin Works, Vol. VII, p. 75

"If we look back into history for the character of the present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practiced it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England blamed persecution in the Romish Church, but practiced it upon the Puritans. They found it wrong in Bishops, but fell into the practice themselves both here (England) and in New England." - Benjamin Franklin
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Originally Posted by Norseman on another forum:
"Yeah, the problem with the world is the stupid people are all cocksure of themselves and the intellectuals are full of doubt."
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Old 01-27-2004, 08:30 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
"The reason that Christianity is the best friend of Government is because Christianity is the only religion that changes the heart." President Thomas Jefferson

"Of all systems of morality, ancient or modern, which have come under my observation, none appear to be so pure as that of Jesus." Thomas Jefferson, To William Canby, 1813

"We have no government armed in power capable of contending in human passions ubridled by morality and religion. Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other." John Adams, address to the militia of Massachusetts, 1798.

"I hold the precepts of Jesus as delivered by Himself, to be the most pure, benevolent and sublime which have ever been preached to man..." President Thomas Jefferson

"The highest story of the American Revolution is this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity." President John Adams
At the very least we're going to have to agree to disagree.
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Old 01-27-2004, 08:42 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Let's not forget that the social contract thinking tradition started primarily with Thomas Hobbes as a way to justify government without relying on God to do so. Other contract thinkers (such as John Locke) following him had nicer views of the state of nature and a belief in God, but the whole movement began with a squirrely Englishman afraid for his life. The words in our Constitution and Bill of Rights contain a strange mix of the ideas of these thinkers. I don't particularly think that God needs to be in the pledge of allegiance (come on, the Cold War is over), but I think that looking at tradition to justify the removal of the line or keeping it is full of weird paradoxes. I have trouble having children say it, because of the Age of Reason problems with it. I know adults that have become so automated with the pledge that they don't realize that they're following in Hobbes's footsteps with the idea that for a government to be legitimate it needs to be agreed to by the citizens. This is an explicit change to how things were several hundred years ago, and people take it as a common everyday thing, as though it was always that way... it's a little troubling to me that something so profound as this kind of pledge has been reduced to this question of God and extreme patriotism. I think there's a lot more going on here...
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Old 01-27-2004, 10:32 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Wow, i go see a movie and come back and there's a thread bearing my name. Not only that, but someone has already made my point better than i ever could. Nanofever is my hero.

I agree, christians have played a vital role in that christianity has been the religion of the majority for a long time. But i might also point out that democracy is at its very nature the exact opposite of the church. There is no democracy in religion. The pope doesn't wait for a quorum, much less a consesus. Religions historically have sought a monopoly on the power over and dreams of their subjects. How is that anything like america? The ten commandments claim to be the laws of god him/herself- unchangable and as just as the universe itself. Well, here in america we believe that the law should be made by the people, and that it should be alterable in case we make a mistake.
So now you may say to yourself, "Why shouldn't we post the ten commandments on public property?" Well from one perspective it's public property and the ten commandments ARE religious. Foundation of law-whatever, lots of americans are christian-whatever. However you try to present the ten commandments you are never going to be able to say "These commandments have absolutely nothing to do with any specific religion and are in no way endorsing said religion" and still be an honest, rational person. I know a lot of christians pretend to be history buffs just trying to spread the good word about the foundations of law when it comes to the ten commandments. That's fine. Just tell me why, if it is simply a matter of history, must the ten commandments be posted on public property? Why wouldn't a museum do? No! If only we might have one statue erected on public property that might halt the intoxicated masses from forgeting that this is a mostly christian country.

The same goes with "in god we trust". How can you try to claim that little phrase isn't religious? By virtue of the fact that not all religions have just one god, or even a god at all, it endorses all single god based spirituality at the expense of many other completely valid religions.

Freedom from religion has more to do with america being what it is than christianity ever could. Christianity could be any other religion as far as the constitution is concerned. In bizarro world we could be on here debating whether the eightfold path should be posted on public property(although that seems like the kind of thing that a monk probably wouldn't be too concerned with) and america could be exactly the same aside from the majority religion.
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Old 01-27-2004, 10:52 PM   #15 (permalink)
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One thing, just to add a point
the constitutional debate waged on for quite some time over certain issues. The bill of rights was a compromise that explicitly spelled out certain things gov't could and could not do. so in essence, it was written as a way to keep religion out while including it.
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