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For Christ's sake, Part II

In my earlier piece about Christianity and terrorism, the Ku Klux Klan was cited as a "Christian terrorist" group. I kind of let that slide, but it occurred to me one very compelling argument why that's a bogus categorization.

If you look at the examples of the Klan, my adversary cited their bombings of 19 churches in the summer of 1964. That would be 19 Christian churches. Kind of takes the steam out of the "Klans as Christian terrorists" notion, when they're blowing up their fellow Christians.

Further, I don't recall the other criterion I specified being fulfilled with any of the groups cited as 'Christian terrorists" -- that they are either endorsed or, at least, refused to be condemned by -- mainstream Christian leaders. In Islam, there is most often a deafening silence when militant Islamists commit their acts of terror. That, or a soft codemnation of the act, followed by a quick rationalizing of the act by citing "offenses against Islam" that "provoked" the atrocities.

Now, on to the main point of this piece. How do I, as a proclaimed agnostic and non-Christian, feel about a lot of the Church-State arguments going around?

First of all, let me say that I think Michael Newdow is a world-class asshole. He's got way, way too much time on his hands, and a serious problem with making sure no one nowhere ever dares disagree with his beliefs.

Does "IN GOD WE TRUST" belong on our currency? Probably not. I don't like government messing around with religion, and religion messing around with government. I don't think the government has any business pushing any sort of particular faith, even something as broad as monotheism. But it's no big deal to me. I could care less. It means absolutely nothing to me, as an issue.

Should "under God" be in the Pledge of Allegiance? No, I think not. It wasn't in the original Pledge, but was added in the 50's in the efforts to fight Godless Communism. But whenever I've recited the Pledge, I've usually blipped over that phrase. I think that part should be considered optional, for people like me who feel a fierce loyalty and pride in our citizenship, but don't feel any similar feelings towards a higher power. If someone tries to compel that, then I'd support fighting it on the "establishment" grounds. But until that happens, again it's no big deal to me.

Faith-based charities? Governments enouraging and cooperating with religious institutions to commit acts of charity? I am innately suspicious, but with a few minor restrictions, I have no problems. The institutions should not be allowed to discriminate on who they offer their aid to, cannot put conditions or requirements on the needy, and should minimize their proselytizing. But it's an unmistakable fact that these institutions are taking these actions because of their religious beliefs, in accordance with the tenets of their faith. To require them to conceal or deny that motivation is unrealistic, offensive, and just plain wrong.

So, do I think that the Religious Right is trying to make the United States over into a theocracy? No, I don't. Sure, there are some who'd like to see steps in that direction, like Pat Robertson, but they're kept at arms-length by most people. It ain't happening any time soon.

I do think that there is a push among conservatives to prefer people of strong religious faith in high office over those who lack that, and again I have no problem with that. Those people tend to have a stronger sense of ethics than others, and I think that's generally a good thing. It's no guarantee -- I personally think of myself as an exception, and certainly don't think that faith is a guarantee of good behavior -- but I think it's certainly an indicator, and there are worse grounds for choosing leaders. For example, I really can't think of why Ted Kennedy keeps getting re-elected.

So, in the end, I am a bit suspicious of large-scale organized religion. It seems to me that many of the greatest atrocities in human history were committed in the name of God, and I am not eager to see that happen again. But the more recent ones were done in the name of ideologies that rejected God (Nazism, Communism), so it's no hard and fast rule. And for the most part, religion has been a positive force in society.

But anyone who tries to coerce me into ascribing to their faith is in for a very unsatisfying experience. I know just enough about most of them to be able to blaspheme quite strenuously.


Comments (71)

Nice post.... (Below threshold)

Nice post.

Video: Charlie Company At W... (Below threshold)
Beezer:

Video: Charlie Company At Work In Iraq
http://bareknucklepolitics.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=137

JayMy only quibble... (Below threshold)

Jay

My only quibble is that I don't find "under God" in the Pledge a statement of religiousity.

I covered my reasons why quite thoroughly here, including what I believe in regards to the usual "Godless Soviet" rationale:

There are those that point out the “youth” of the phase ‘under God’ in the Pledge, as it appeared in 1954 during the Cold War. Usually the last pointed out in a deliberate effort to discredit the Pledge as part of the ‘Red Scare’ 50’s. Such people either choose to ignore the era or never lived through it. The ‘dismissal of the Soviets as a real threat’ historical revisionism is a topic for another time; however, it is true that the phrase WAS a response, but only as I have pointed out – to differentiate between a society in which rights to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness are Man’s alone, neither granted nor withdrawn by other men vs. a society in which each individual’s existence was affirmed only by the whim or pleasure of other men. Individualism vs. collectivism. Ends vs. means.

Well-written post, Jay.... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Well-written post, Jay.

Funny, but for some reason while I was watching last Friday night's House vote on Iraq on C-SPAN, I saw the words "In God We Trust" chisled into the marble above where the Speaker of the House sits.

I've never been offended by the phrase, mostly because I've believed the word "God" embodies all religions and faiths, not just Christianity—even though it was the dominant religion of the Founding Fathers.

I've always thought that it... (Below threshold)
ryan:

I've always thought that it should say something like "One nation under every imaginable belief, philosophy, religion, and ideology imaginable, and which doesnt favor any above another."

Or something like that. I know, too wordy.

lol

Jay, you TRULY deserve your... (Below threshold)
JimK:

Jay, you TRULY deserve your own blog in whch to shine. Nicely written...again.

Thanks for the laugh, ryan!... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Thanks for the laugh, ryan!

Jay, seems like we agree pr... (Below threshold)

Jay, seems like we agree pretty much on the religious side of things, although I consider myself an atheist.

I think the "under God" should be stricken from the Pledge as it is completely unnecessary in a pledge to our country, and the law which placed that phrase into the Pledge violated the 1st Amendment, as there can be no doubt that the phrase respects the Jeudeo/Christian god, or if you want to stretch it, monotheism as you said.

Bring back the original pledge!

As far as "In God We Trust" on money, I'll let that one slide, although that technically also does violate the 1st Amendment. I think it would simply be too costly to change all our bills and everything else this phrase is put onto. The Pledge is different since it is a pledge, something that is said and heard, and not costly at all to revert.

Faith-based charities are fine as long as any faith can apply, since that would keep in line with the 1st Amendment.

Michael Newdow does seem like a dick though. However, I know that the Supreme Court fears the day they will have to hear a case on the Pledge, because there can simply be no doubt that the law that changed it violates the 1st Amendment.

Religion is often used as a... (Below threshold)

Religion is often used as an excuse to do whatever the hell people feel like doing so they can soothe their guilty consciences. For some people hypocrisy knows no bounds. That doesn't mean we should reject religion, though.

A lot is made of things add... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

A lot is made of things added in the 50's or some other relatively recent times to imply that the sentiment behind those laws is also relatively recent. As if the recent sentiment is an abboration.

But laws passed in recent times don't necessarily mean its from recent sentiment. It's simply that what the law is trying to prohibit was unthinkable, literally or figuratively, on any significant scale previously.

For example, many laws prohibiting drugs are recent because 120 years ago there were not here in any quantity and most people didn't realize the damage they caused.

As for In God we Trust, he's a little history from Wikipedia:

The final stanza of "The Star-Spangled Banner," written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key (and later adopted as the U.S. National Anthem), contains one of the earliest references to a variation of the phrase: "...And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."

The most common place where the motto is observed in daily life is on the money of the United States. The first United States coin to bear this national motto was the 1864 two-cent piece. It did not appear on paper money until the 1950s.

Essentially the sentiment existed beforehand and was taken for granted. It's only when society started to change and more atheists & more vocal atheists started to appear did the existing society felt the need to further ascert it.

Sorry, forgot how wonky the... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Sorry, forgot how wonky the comments are here and each paragraph needs its own HTML tags. The second last paragraph is also taken from Wikipedia.

One thing about the pledge,... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

One thing about the pledge, while the "under God" was added in the 1950's, it is important to remember that from the begining the founding fathers believed that our inaliable rights came from a creator-why is this concept important-because if our rights come from a creator, man can't take them away, but if our rights come from man, then at some point man can take them away.

The are inaliable, because they are God given.

there can be no doubt th... (Below threshold)

there can be no doubt that the phrase respects the Jeudeo/Christian god, or if you want to stretch it, monotheism as you said.

So does the Declaration of Independence.

Shall we Bowdlerize that, too, just as the ACLU runs around the country threatening municipalities large and small if the dreaded Cross shows up on a city/county seal?

Ethical monotheism posits that we have inherent rights as human beings. We are not animals who are allowed rights by the whims of other men. That was the essential difference Americans strove to make clear in the face of a Soviet ideology that considered men existed at the pleasure of other men.

"If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be if without it?" ~~ Ben Franklin

Damn Jay, you opened up a c... (Below threshold)
Stephen:

Damn Jay, you opened up a can of worms that would take me 1000 pages to explain why, in my opinion, your opinions are in contradiction with the Constitution of the United States, The Declaration of Independence, countless other founding documents, as well as the intentions of the authors of those documents.

To condense my argument, let's start with the First Amendment, which does NOT mandate the SEPARATION of church and state. Anyone who finds the origin of that expression from a reputable source gets a $5 check from me (no group names please, there are a million "Kool Aid lovers who support separtation of church and state" out on the web - they don't count).

Let's go to the source:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Quick analysis:
Let's see, congress gives tax breaks to religious groups (that seems to fall under respecting the establishment of religion - Literally interpreted, that one sentence would prohibit government from printing money with the word "God" on it. TAKE NOTE: This sentence taken out of context from the first amendment does NOT say establishment of "a" religion. It says "an establishent of religion" - period. ANY religion. (One could argue that the religious organizations are shown financial favoritism because thay are non-profit organizations.

The sentence in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States that is most often referred to by separationists is essentially ambiguous, at least in and of itself. The precise definitions of the key words within the context of that famous sentence, namely: respecting, establishment, and religion, are simply not known.

The only reliable way to determine the intent of the framers of the Constitution in this case is to examine the context and circumstances under which it was written.

I will leave it to the reader to research the events leading to the ratification of the first amendment to the Constituiton, which in this writers opinion was ratified to prevent a majority religion from imposing its religious beliefs on minority religions through legislation. I do not see the First Amendment as a promise or obligation by the government to "sheild" citizens from being exposed to other religions.

Forcing someone to practice a religion they don't believe in or prohibiting someone from practicing their own religion are likely much closer to the problems envisioned by those drafting the First Amendment.

Darlene said:"Ethi... (Below threshold)
Denny Crane:

Darlene said:

"Ethical monotheism posits that we have inherent rights as human beings. We are not animals who are allowed rights by the whims of other men."

Just Me said:

"it is important to remember that from the begining the founding fathers believed that our inaliable rights came from a creator-why is this concept important-because if our rights come from a creator, man can't take them away, but if our rights come from man, then at some point man can take them away.
The are inaliable, because they are God given."

I'm scratching my head wondering where you both were when gay marriage was discussed--or whether such issues should be decided soley by the voting public and not by the courts charged with upholding the Constitution. I am curious--is it the legislature who protects "god given" rights?--or those 9 people charged with the Constitution? --or are the rights confered directly by god after your demise?

I already know how many of you will argue this, and I've already addressed it in my mind. I can't wait for the flames.

By the way, I'm not challenging Darlene or Just Me--I'm challenging those of you who are nodding along with them, but said diametrically opposed things in the past two months.

Hmmmm.But... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

But anyone who tries to coerce me into ascribing to their faith is in for a very unsatisfying experience. I know just enough about most of them to be able to blaspheme quite strenuously.

I'm an Animist. Does that include my religion?

DennyI'm not exact... (Below threshold)

Denny

I'm not exactly sure what you're getting at, and your snarkiness aside, I'll try and make a stab at it.

"Marriage" is not a right, it is a social institution. Straight, gay, poly ... if the government decided to bail tomorrow completely out of the civil marriage business and only enforced private contracts, that would not be a "banning" of marriage. History demonstrates that marriage was basically a private institution, the only time government getting involved was in disputes over inheritances.

The defining of the parameters of marriage belong to legislatures.

All three branches of government are charged with upholding the Constitution.

Ok Darleen, I won't argue m... (Below threshold)
Denny Crane:

Ok Darleen, I won't argue marriage, even though it is universally recognized as a "right." To avoid the semantic difficulties, lets move on.

Lets talk about racial segregation. Where were the voters and legislature?--and does anyone disagree with the Court's role in Brown v. Board of Ed.? Be honest--many of you must based on your comments. Are you going to tell me that racial equality falls outside the "god given" rights you mentioned earlier?

About the three branches, you are only partially right. Who is charged with upholding the Constitutional protections when the voters aren't on board? By voters, I'm also refering to the directly elected officials in two of the branches.

Damn, I'm a conservative, yet I'm fighting back urges to refer to Wizbang commenters as "you people." As in "you people" don't seem to have a logical thread of consistency through any of your arguments. As in, "some rights are conferred by god and can't be taken away by man," and "if I don't happen to agree with the right, then it should only be conferred by my vote." Also, "if the Constitution confers a right that I disagree with, then the Court should not protect that right--if it were meant to be, then the legislature should handle it." Sigh.

One thing I've noticed about Wizbang commenters (particularly among the "Christians") is that you seem to be result oriented--in fact, fixated solely on the result. If you disagree with the result, you try to work backward and criticize it. If you agree, then you work backward to defend it. Yet the process ties you in knots. You'll defend a process when it suits you, and criticize it when it leads to bad results. There's no consistency or coherence. You're schitzo.

Ok, the liberals are much worse, but I expect better from my side. Some intellectual honesty is a rare commodity around here. Double sigh.

Some religious factions in ... (Below threshold)
ben:

Some religious factions in this country chooses to believe that the Constitution reads Freedom Of Relegion not Freedom from Religion. Thus opens the door to the debate. It makes it difficult to worship ones own beliefs when a nation is being held hostage to a certain denominations beliefs. As for the KKK and Christ, growing up in the south (please forgive me for repeating this) it was a common sermon to hear preachers say that the blacks (referred to by another name in those days) were damned my God and made to suffer in slavery and so they had been colored. I don't agree with that but that was the belief system to many of a generation not too long ago. That belief may still trickle through some families and religions, I don't know. I can't support the cause of today's religious movements because they appear to based on the judgement of others and how to bring hardships on people just trying to live in todays time. I am spiritual by nature and wish the best for everyone. But for our nation's sake we must keep a keen distance between our three branches of government and any religous organization, less we fall victim to the very thing our troops fight for. To keep us Free!
Thanks and nice post.

ben:I don't know W... (Below threshold)
-S-:

ben:

I don't know WHERE you "went to church," but I grew up in the South, too and I never, not once, heard any preacher, minister or otherwise speaker in any church there speak out against or about "blacks" as you say you heard.

I grew up in an area of the South where everyone knew which of our schoolmates' father was the head of the Klan in that area but never talked about it. I went to places called "The Primitive Baptist Church," the local Catholic Church, the Church of Christ, the Southern Baptist Church, the Methodist Church and the Episcopalean Church and sometimes I went to tent revivals with the honest-to-goodness preachers doing what they do, casting out spirits, yelling about hell, the whole thing. Hollywood has yet to capture just what those experiences were like but if you ever saw "The Apostle," some of those revivalist scenes are somewhat accurate.

I wasn't a member in all those churches but over the course of many years in grade school and junion high school and later, high school, all in that same area, same playmates, same families, we all went with one another's families at one time or another to various church sermons, revivals, crusades and the like, and I got to experience the full range of Christianity in the (very) Deep South over many years, in many denominations.

And I never, not once, heard one person from those churches, not one of them, ever speak out against or about "blacks" as you allege. And where I grew up is about as Southern as you will ever hope to find, or find repulsive, depending upon one's perspective.

Part of that time, segregation was not present and then it was and neither before nor after did I ever hear anything about anyone of any racial type in any disparaging, condemning way as to race.

ben:I don't know W... (Below threshold)
-S-:

ben:

I don't know WHERE you "went to church," but I grew up in the South, too and I never, not once, heard any preacher, minister or otherwise speaker in any church there speak out against or about "blacks" as you say you heard.

I grew up in an area of the South where everyone knew which of our schoolmates' father was the head of the Klan in that area but never talked about it. I went to places called "The Primitive Baptist Church," the local Catholic Church, the Church of Christ, the Southern Baptist Church, the Methodist Church and the Episcopalean Church and sometimes I went to tent revivals with the honest-to-goodness preachers doing what they do, casting out spirits, yelling about hell, the whole thing. Hollywood has yet to capture just what those experiences were like but if you ever saw "The Apostle," some of those revivalist scenes are somewhat accurate.

I wasn't a member in all those churches but over the course of many years in grade school and junion high school and later, high school, all in that same area, same playmates, same families, we all went with one another's families at one time or another to various church sermons, revivals, crusades and the like, and I got to experience the full range of Christianity in the (very) Deep South over many years, in many denominations.

And I never, not once, heard one person from those churches, not one of them, ever speak out against or about "blacks" as you allege. And where I grew up is about as Southern as you will ever hope to find, or find repulsive, depending upon one's perspective.

Part of that time, segregation was not present and then it was and neither before nor after did I ever hear anything about anyone of any racial type in any disparaging, condemning way as to race.

Shocking facts were exposed... (Below threshold)

Shocking facts were exposed by me (Rex Curry) during research for court litigation against the Pledge of Allegiance. Court litigation about the Pledge of Allegiance exposed frightening discoveries about the Pledge's past. The new Pledge case (9/14/05) from Elk Grove, California, virtually guarantees the high court again will consider the constitutionality of the Pledge, and I will be there to tell the whole truth, (including the parts that are hidden by the courts and media). As a libertarian lawyer, I provide pro bono services in schools nationwide (and via this letter) to educate the public about the news:

1. The USA’s first Pledge used a straight-arm salute and it was the origin of the salute of the monstrous National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazis). It was not an ancient Roman salute. http://rexcurry.net/pledgesalute.html

2. The Pledge began with a military salute that then stretched outward toward the flag. Historic photographs are at http://rexcurry.net/pledge2.html and at http://rexcurry.net/pledge_military.html Due to the way that both gestures were used, the military salute led to the Nazi salute. The Nazi salute is an extended military salute. http://rexcurry.net/book1a1contents-pledge.html

3. The Pledge’s creator was a self-proclaimed socialist in the nationalism movement in the USA and his dogma influenced socialists in Germany, and his Pledge was the origin of their salute. "Nazi" means "National Socialist German Workers' Party." A mnemonic device is the swastika (Hakenkreuz in German). Although the swastika was an ancient symbol, it was also used sometimes by German National Socialists to represent "S" letters for their "socialism." Hitler altered his own signature to use the same stylized "S" letter for "socialist."
http://rexcurry.net/book1a1contents-swastika.html

The Pledge is part of the USA’s growing police-state. The insane government in the U.S. could cause comatose persons to Pledge dis-allegiance, desecrate the flag, and recite a declaration of independence. Remove the Pledge from the flag, remove flags from schools, remove schools from government.

Yours in Liberty, Rex Curry Attorney At Law

"If you look at the example... (Below threshold)
edmcgon:

"If you look at the examples of the Klan, my adversary cited their bombings of 19 churches in the summer of 1964. That would be 19 Christian churches. Kind of takes the steam out of the "Klans as Christian terrorists" notion, when they're blowing up their fellow Christians."

Kind of like Muslim terrorists blowing up Muslim funerals, mosques, etc.

Jay, I see you're finally starting to "get it". It ain't about the religion. These are politically motivated groups trying to make political statements with their terrorist actions. While they may use religion to justify their actions, that's NOT their goal. They are after political power, in one form or another.


Darleen,The Declar... (Below threshold)

Darleen,

The Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution never reference God. The Declaration of Independence references the "Creator". I'm not sure how you can pinpoint that on the Jeudeo/Christian god...

I can, for example, consider the Earth my "Creator". Which brings me to the question: why didn't they just say "God" instead of the "Creator"?

There's a reason. Figure it out.

"In God We Trust" is not re... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

"In God We Trust" is not religious, it's a statement of fact. Courts have ruled that it's a motto and when the majority of voters no longer support making that statement, then it can be taken off or replaced by something like "A Godless Nation", "We Trust No One", or "E Stupidus Bumum".

Just as some don't say "one nation under God" during the pledge, I will add that phrase should it be taken out of the official pledge. I won't pledge allegiance to a godless nation.

As for the faith based programs, I'm against them. Religious organizations should not accept government money, as it always comes with strings attached.

To our founders, the word "religion" didn't mean "IF" you believed in God, but the "way you worshiped and served God." This original meaning is evident from the actions of the first Congress as they blatantly violated the modern meaning of religion. So what are the consequences of that shift in meaning?

Well, court rulings based on the new meaning are taking religious icons and words out of our government, thus atheism can't be considered a religion or the courts are violating their own rulings by establishing atheism. If atheism is not a religion then it's not protected by the 1st amendment. Thus, I'm free to fire any employee who professes to be an atheist. Those who want to follow the letter of the law need to think about that.

Why is this so complex?... (Below threshold)

Why is this so complex?

The key to this is very simple. It's found in the purpose of the first ten Amendments. They were designed to limit government, not the people.

The two statements in the first Amendment that address religion aren't paired to create ambiguity, but to quell the concerns of the founders that the new government had been given so great an authority as to present a threat to religious freedom, either by endorsement of religion or by restricting religious practice. Both sides of government interference in religion were valid concerns, and needed to be addressed separately.

They never dreamed, I don't think, that the very phrases they authored and ratified into the Constitution to protect religious freedom would be used as tools to eradicate religion from public life.

BoDiddly gets it right.<br ... (Below threshold)
sabrina:

BoDiddly gets it right.
I think there are lots of people who seem to be completely unaware of what the purpose of the Bill of Rights is.
The conversation gets a lot more simple when you remember that the BOR is about empowering the people, limiting the government. Not the other way around.

OK, Mac Lorry, you have tha... (Below threshold)

OK, Mac Lorry, you have that dead wrong. I'm not an athiest, but a secular humanist (the two are often confused) but in any state in this country if you fire ANYONE for a personal creed or philosophy, or lack thereof you will lose the court case when they sue you. It doesn't have to be recognized by any existing world religion to be protected under the laws of every labor board in the country, and the personal, private beliefs and practises of your employees are their business not yours. The only example that does not follow this rule is the recent firing of employees who smoked tobacco on their own time, and that's because of a medical insurance policy covered in the copmpanies policy manual. Since it was about money the company can do what they want. You can't put it into your policy manual that your employees must believe in SOME higher power, of any kind, because that battle has already cleared the courts and been lost.

I have news for you rabid Constitutionists out there, it does not matter if the framers of the document were believers in a creator or not, cultures change, and so do countries. Any idiot who believes in a static system hasn't been to college and learned about chaos theory. There is no such thing as perpetual motion, and the Constitution is a good base but already has needed multiple ammendments. Those ammendments should continue to reflect our changing mores and cultural values, regardless of whether you agree with those advances or not.

The previous comment applies here, the right-wing evangelicals are happy to point to anything in the un-ammended document that supports their arguments, yet happily take advantage of newer tax laws and non-profit rulings to open private religious schools and support their proselytizing. In my state formerly small churches have boomed into giant schools with a bunch of federal money being taken out of a desperate public school system to support private religious brainwashing. I not only disagree, I believe it should be made illegal. If the only schools in the country were state-sponsored, then we could easily mandate what kind of REAL science gets taught. How many of these poor kids educated in a local church are going to be able to pass basic biology, when all they learn is "Of Pandas and People"?

To those who support removing religion from our culture completely and destroying the power base of the madmen leading these religions, keep up the good work. To those undecided on which side they want to come down, be very mindful of the insidious way religions take over cultures and governments (Taliban, Nazi Aryianism, Roman Catholicism) and work to keep your own self-interest protected. To those who are permanently deluded or brainwashed by the religious meme, we are working on a vaccine to cure you....

SYRINX http://outgrowinggod.blogspot.com/

I won't argue marriage, ... (Below threshold)

I won't argue marriage, even though it is universally recognized as a "right."

Denny, if that were so, there would be no argument for you to opt out of. ;-)

Syrinx,Actually th... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Syrinx,

Actually the constitution doesn't protect you from non-governmental entities, it only restrains the government. Apparently you missed that lesson in your public school, or maybe you haven't gotten that far yet. Your employer can fire you for any reason that's not specifically protected by legislation. Legislation often embodies constitutional concepts, but not always.

If atheism is not a religion, someone professing to hold such beliefs can't claim protection under the 1st amendment. If your claim is that all beliefs are "religion", and therefore protected by the 1st amendment, then courts can't impose atheism any more than they can impose Christianity. If secular humanism is a religion, then it can't be taught in public schools. If secular humanism is not a religion, then it's not protected by the 1st amendment. I don't know of any laws that protect those who profess non-religious beliefs from being fired by their employer, should the employer decide those beliefs don't fit into their business. Business owners have constitutional rights of association and property that override employee's non-protected beliefs. Try wearing your PETA t-shirt to your meat packing job and see how long you're on the payroll. Of bring your Whopper to your PETA job and see what happens.

No need to get into your ignorant statements about religion taking over governments other than to note how poor your public education was.

For example, I really ca... (Below threshold)
Seam:

For example, I really can't think of why Ted Kennedy keeps getting re-elected.

Because his two older brothers were assassinated, and people living in/around Boston have bigger hearts than brains when it comes to the Kennedy's.

If your claim is that al... (Below threshold)
Seam:

If your claim is that all beliefs are "religion", and therefore protected by the 1st amendment, then courts can't impose atheism any more than they can impose Christianity.

Whether atheism is a "religion" or not is irrelevant, it still cannot be forced on anyone. That's because the 2nd Amendment guarantees people the freedom to practice the religion of their choice. Therefore, atheists cannot abolish God from society just because they disagree with believers.

As far as "In God We Tru... (Below threshold)
Seam:

As far as "In God We Trust" on money, I'll let that one slide, although that technically also does violate the 1st Amendment.

A quick lesson on the so-called "Establishment Clause" (which in reality is the 1st Amendment). The 1st Amendment does not say the governmente will not "respect" religion. It does not say the government will not "acknowledge" religion. It does not say that government cannot have anything at all to do with religion, ever. It says the government will not establish a religion.

For those that consider themselves Originalists, Textualists, etc., and are railing against "activist" judges, take heed. The Founding Fathers were the sons of religious men who fled to the Colonies in search of .... Religious Freedom. They were fleeing from ..... the Church of England, and its persecution of non-Anglicans.

The purpose of the 1st Amendment is to prevent another National Church with the authority and ability to trample on the beliefs of others. Nowhere, except in the minds of activist judges, does the Constitution or its Amendments require that our government not respect religion, not acknowledge religion, or profess atheistic ideas.

Seam,Whether at... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Seam,

Whether atheism is a "religion" or not is irrelevant, it still cannot be forced on anyone. That's because the 2nd Amendment guarantees people the freedom to practice the religion of their choice. Therefore, atheists cannot abolish God from society just because they disagree with believers.

Sorry I didn't specify before, but I'm referring to the Constitution of the United States of America. I have no idea what Constitution you are referring to, but the 2nd Amendment in the U.S. Constitution says: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." The 1st Amendment doesn't “guarantees people the freedom to practice the religion of their choice" any more than the 2nd Amendment guarantees people the right to carry the weapon of their choice. The amendments prevent the government from infringing upon those rights, not non-government entities. Federal, State and local laws do protect people form discrimination due to their religion and other factors, but these are enacted laws, and thus, different then constitutional amendments.

Contrary to your statement, whether a belief system is classified as a religion or not is very relevant. A religious belief system is protected by Federal, State and local laws. A non-religious belief system is not protected. If your employer finds out you are a member of a Christian church, they can't legally fire you for your religion. If you employer finds out you are a member of PETA they can legally fire you if they feel your employment negatively impacts business. PETA's belief system is not considered a religion, and thus, it's not protected. Likewise, atheism is not considered a religion and is not protected. The difference is not irrelevant.

Sorry if I offended anyone ... (Below threshold)
ben:

Sorry if I offended anyone that was not my intention. I was merely passing on what was in my time.If you didn't experience the same things I did I am grateful for you. I didn't agree with it then and I don't now. I came from a very segragated area and to this day there is still separation like it or not the truth hurts. As for the topic of Religion it belongs in one's home and one's heart, used to live by as an example an excellent tool. Shoved down someones throat a daming weapon!

Mac, I hate to think that t... (Below threshold)
SYRINX:

Mac, I hate to think that there are other bigots out there like you who would fire someone just because they don't share the same religious beliefs as you do, but I know there are plenty more where you came from. Most people hate to think they have been worshipping a flawed concept for their entire life, I guess that's why they rabidly attack anyone with an opposing viewpoint. I am not a child, or a PETA liberal, or anything but a regular person with a considered personal philosophy, and it is in fact far more conservative than most who profess a religious affilliation. I wasn't referring to the Constitutional protection of the first ammendment, but the many state labor board rulings that prove me right, and you wrong. Take the case in my own state of a woman who applied to be a cashier at a christian book store, and was denied when she told the manager she did not go to church or believe in a god. The job did not require her to do anything that only a Christian could do, and there was to be no discussion of christian spiritual matters, she was just there to run a cash register. When her case came before our courts, she won, the bookstore lost. Why? Because unless a designated belief system is REQUIRED in order to do the job (clergy, kosher butcher, etc.) the employer may not discriminate against ANYONE, even a Muslim had one applied for that job. You have the right to not hire a woman to play the part of a male Santa without fear of reprisal, but if you refuse to hire a MAN for a male Santa, regardless of his christianity or lack there-of, or even his resemblance to the character, you are open to suit and reprisal. It's a real fact that most of you who think the answer ends and begins with the old Constitution forget that times change, and applicable 'rights' and 'entitlements' change. Maybe there are more and more vocal athiests and secular humanists because of intolerant close-minded wonks like you. If I had to go to church with the (privately educated ie spoiled preachers kid) likes of you I'd want to renounce that religion as well. Hope your vaunted education allows you to comprehend and respond in a coherent manner, although that's unlikely judging by your earlier posts...
Should I use smaller words?
Syrinx

Mac,You have a ver... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Mac,

You have a very strange view of religion.

I won't pledge allegiance to a godless nation.

Our constitution is designed to keep government out of religion. If our nation takes no stance on god either way (as it should), that does not make it godless or atheistic, it just means it takes no stance. Second, what possible difference could it make whether your nation was godless or not? Your faith is your own, independent of the state. Nations fall and become corrupt; they are fleeting. Your god is eternal, right? If you pledge allegiance to this country, you pledge allegiance to a country that has no opinion about your god or any god. God is for you. Leave the state out of it. Or perhaps some of the religious states around the world might interest you. Saudi Arabia or Pakistan, perhaps?

Well, court rulings based on the new meaning are taking religious icons and words out of our government, thus atheism can't be considered a religion or the courts are violating their own rulings by establishing atheism.

Not mentioning god is not establishing atheism. Quoting Neitzche maybe, but not simply remaining silent. Saying nothing about god establishes nothing, and that is how it should be (constitutionally speaking).

A religious belief system is protected by Federal, State and local laws. A non-religious belief system is not protected. If your employer finds out you are a member of a Christian church, they can't legally fire you for your religion.

Companies are not forbidden from firing employees based on religion under the first amendment, but under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. I know you mention antidiscrimination laws but you also claim religious people are protected from firing by the constitution but non-religious people are not. Untrue. Neither are.

Nondiscrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex in all areas of employment.

The laws do not protect "relegious belief systems", they protect people from being discriminated against based on religion. Firing someone for their lack of religion is firing them on the basis of religion, and that doesn't mean that atheism is a religion. The House of Representatives passed a measure to explicitly exclude atheists from the Civil Rights Act in '64. The Senate wisely killed it because they thought atheists should be not be excluded. And they are not.

In the eyes of the law the difference is irrelevant. Nice try.

Seam,It does no... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Seam,

It does not say that government cannot have anything at all to do with religion, ever. It says the government will not establish a religion.

No, it doesn't:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

An establishment of "religion", not "a religion". That means the whole subject of religion is off limits. It does not mean that Congress will not pick one religion to support, but they can go ahead and support religion in general. The framers knew the difference between "religion" and "a religion". So should you.

DennyMarriage is a... (Below threshold)

Denny

Marriage is a "right" like food is a "right" or clothings is a "right" or a Pony under the Christmas Tree is a "right."

Seixon

I think I was quite clear that the supernatural sentiments expressed in the Declaration was purposeful to demonstrate the assumed philosophy of the Founding Fathers that HUMAN BEINGS are not animals and that men cannot usurp the inherent rights of Man.

I don't care if you want to rub blue mud in your navel under a full moon, as long as the anti-JudeoChristain bigots at the ACLU or AUSCS stop Bowdlerizing American history and society of its rich religious traditions. I'm tired of the members of the Church of the Easily Offended.

Get.A.Life.

Syrinx is a living paradox.... (Below threshold)
D. Doré:

Syrinx is a living paradox. From one side of his mouth he speaks of protecting yourself from those religious fanatics who would take away your liberty, while from the other side of his mouth he'd have the government quickly establish the religion of Secular Humanism taking away your liberty and freedom of religion.

He is also a fabulous poster child for what motivates Evangelical Christians to exercise their political rights (to vote, to speak about their political beliefs, and express their opinions to their representatives, and in some cases to seek office themselves).

Even someone like Pat Robertson who ran for presidency back in the 80's wasn't looking to gain political power to force Christianity on the American people. However we are looking to preserve what little religious freedoms we have (not only ourselves but for all faiths including the faiths of Secular Humanism, Atheism, Darwinism ). , and to perhaps gain back some of those that have been lost in the recent past.

Continually, things happen to infringe upon our religious freedoms and we are told to shut-up and eat it. When we stand up for ourselves, especially politically we are seen as the "Hard Right Christian Wing" "Fringe Wackos" (insert your favorite anti-christian defamatory statement here: "_________________") who are trying to "legislate a theocracy".

Most (not all) Christians who rely on the Bible as their ultimate moral compass believe that the killing of an unborn fetus for the sole reason of "inconvenience" is wrong morally. Now, it's one thing to have abortions to be found a legal right in this country so that people who don't hold that view can still use them to abort as many fetus's as they'd like. However, when you take a person whose faith says that such things are "sin" and you make them accomplices to those activities by using a portion of their tax money to pay for them... well at that point you've just infringed upon the excercise of that person's religious freedom.

If a person of faith holds the view that life was created through intelligent design, but mandate that the school that their children must attend (because they can't afford a private school) must only teach the theory of evolution (and to do so as if it's an absolute fact), now you've infringed upon their religious freedoms again. (I'm not asking to have evolution removed from our schools, and I'm also not asking to have a biology teacher teach my children about Adam & Eve. However, I do think it's most accurate if evolution would once again be taught as what it is: a theory. No more, no less.)

If the ACLU takes a school to court because they allowed a Senior High School student acknowledge his relationship to his God (whoever that might be) in the form of a prayer at a student banquet, that's again one thing... but to have the tax dollars of the parents who taught that student his faith, be used to subsidize the ACLU for winning that case, I think you've just infringed upon their religious freedom.

Our religious freedoms are also being threatened by people like Mr. Newdow who desire to impose their religious beliefs on all. The use of the word "God" in the pledge of allegiance, or in the motto on buildings or even our currency doesn't establish religion for ANYONE. The government doesn't define who that God is. So you can define it as you see fit personally.

And then we return to the virulent types like Syrinx who (although claims rage against the hatred of Nazi Aryianism) would very quickly use tax dollars to create special "state-sponsored internment camps" that would specialize in either the "re-education" or "sterilization" of people of faith.

If the only schools in the country were state-sponsored, then we could easily mandate what kind of REAL science gets taught." -Syrinx

Yea, he said "State-sponsored". I don't think anything: Osama Bin-Laden; John Kerry; Massachusetts; or even sexual impotence scares us more than someone as Syrinx does. Not him personally, mind you. But the ideology that is incarnate in him. That plus the fact that when he says: "To those who are permanently deluded or brainwashed by the religious meme, we are working on a vaccine to cure you.", he's only exercising his freedom of speech. Yet when I quote from the Bible, I'm using: "Hate Speech".

Hey edmcgon! How's it goin'? I know this doesn't surprise you but, I disagree with you. Not in whole, however. I believe that there are politically interested groups trying to gain power through violence who masquerade as religious groups. Yet most (I won't say all) of those under the flag of Islam, however don't wear a mask because they have no need.


Mantis,What's "an ... (Below threshold)
D. Doré:

Mantis,

What's "an establishment of religion"?

Ben, I can support your acc... (Below threshold)
epador:

Ben, I can support your account from experiences in the 60's, and also appreciate -S-'s descriptions as valid representations of some areas. I also can say I had a Baptist minister tell me "we don't have any of "those people" in our town" in 1995 when trying to sway me to move and practice there. Against my better judgement I moved there anyways, but only lasted 2 years.

Jay, best way to get folks all riled up is make a debate about religion in general. The ferocity of the debate above kinda speaks for itself on why keeping some separation from ORGANIZED religion and government is a good idea.

There just is no real "politically correct" way to represent the spirituality of "One Nation Under God" or "In God We Trust" without offending some folks. I'd rather deal with offending those folks than the offenses of a state imposed religion, or state imposed denial of religion.

It will truly be a sad day and near the end of our noble experiment in democracy when such spirituality is banned. If you are so opposed to God, I hear there's nice villa near Paris that will be available soon...

What's "an establishment... (Below threshold)
mantis:

What's "an establishment of religion"?

An accomodationist, eh? I'm not really going to get into the semantic argument over the establishment clause with you, D. Dore, as it has been done to death (see Laycock and Malbin's debate for more). I'll simply refer you to this page:

Legislative History of the Religion Clauses

(Initial House amendment):
"Congress shall make no law establishing religion, or to prevent the free exercise thereof, or to infringe the rights of conscience."...

The House amendment went to the Senate in August. On September 3 the Senate took up three alternatives to the House language. The wording of these versions were as follows:

* Congress shall make no law establishing one religious sect or society in preference to others.

* Congress shall not make any law infringing the rights of conscience, or establishing any religious sect or society.

* Congress shall make no law establishing any particular denomination of religion in preference to another.

None of these versions passed muster. Instead, the Senate approved the following, much broader, language: "Congress shall make no law establishing religion." Six days later the Senate returned to the Amendment for the final time and approved the following: "Congress shall make no law establishing articles of faith or a mode of worship, or prohibiting the free exercise of religion." The Senate, in other words, rejected three versions of the First Amendment that would have codified the accomodationist position (i.e., the barring of a national church, and little else) in favor of a version that, while not as broad as the House proposal, was no longer narrowly focused on the establishment of a "sect," "society," or "denomination."

Given the approval of different versions of the Bill of Rights by the House and Senate, a conference committee was created to resolve differences. The House members of the committee (headed by Madison) flatly refused to accept the Senate version of the religion Amendment, thereby "indicating that the House would not be satisfied with merely a ban on preference of one sect or religion over others" (Levy, "The Original Meaning of the Establishment Clause," p. 60). The Senate conferees then abandoned the Senate proposal, and the current version of the Amendment was adopted.

It is "an establishment of religion", not an establishment of a religion, or one religion, or one religion over others, but "of religion". This is not a mistake.

So, to answer your question, D, your church is an establishment of religion, any and all churches are establishments of religion, "under god" in the pledge and the ten commandments in a courthouse are establishments of religion, and Of Pandas and People is an establishment of religion. In my opinion, of course. ;)

I'd like to suggest that Wi... (Below threshold)
-S-:

I'd like to suggest that Wizbang save and otherwise preserve this thread in some 'Hall of Fame' category...it sure is an excellent read.

I'm quite appreciative of what Mac Lorry has written here, as with the entire thread, all combined.

And yours, also, mantis. <... (Below threshold)
-S-:

And yours, also, mantis.

ben and epador: my religio... (Below threshold)
-S-:

ben and epador: my religious experiences within my social experiences define what it is I know and am familiar with as to the alleged (but inaccurate, in my experience) denigrations about "blacks" in, as per my experience, Southern Christian groups.

What is significant as to difference here is that I don't discount that what ben experienced was his, was real in that experiential sense, but it's also not defined, specified by ben as to where he heard what he alleges he did hear, within the context of "church" in what area.

I'm not expecting anyone here, wherever on the internet, to reveal personally compromising details about themselves or others, but I am questioning the wrongful assumption that to be Southern and Christian is to be affiliated with people who denigrate "blacks" based upon racial characteristics.

It's important here, just as at the outset of the thread itself, to delineate just who does that sort of denigration, or at least did, and again I write, that it was not affiliated nor AN ASPECT TO OR ABOUT Christianity (in the South, as per my experiences). Racially motivated groups -- and they don't begin and end with the KKK nor in the South or elsewhere -- are the answer here and not Christianity and not the South as a region.

There are people who are motivated upon elevating or denigrating (and usually a combination of both of those in equal measure) one human racial type over another and they do not define what Christianity is, nor who a Christian is, nor what a Christian believes, nor what Christianity posits, aspires for, instructs.

The KKK is not a Christian organization, is not a group that instructs upon the Bible, is not a religious organization, is not a faith...it is a social group of persons. Just as is the NAACP. Just as is the Jewish Defense Council. Just as is the...(name your racial group here).

These are not religious organizations, they are not faiths in a religious sense. An exception to that could be the Nation of Islam that does instruct religious principles based upon racial type but I'm not familiar enough with them (and don't have plans to be) to be any more specific about them beyond what I've gleemed through reading of a non-academic type about them. However, I do note that there are also Jewish groups who have similar racial issues as an aspect to their religious beliefs, but then again, I can only speculate.

There are people from all racial types, all social expereinces, who attempt to bring a human being's racial type into the context of religion but in my experience, which has been extensive, both in the South (and a quite culturally traditional, Deep South at that) and elsewhere in the United States, Christianity is not one of those who do. One's racial type is not an aspect to Christian beliefs or ideology, nor taught from any Bible-centric person or leader nor ideology within Christianity as I know Christianity to be.

Mistakenly and sadly to my view, on the part of some, they arrive from other cultures even from within our country, to another one (in their perceptions) and can't understand or are offended even by cultural uniqueness of another area and attempt to extend that disquieted perception upon "Christians" just because it's a region or another, or just because some one person with socially and/or academically unpleasant opinions affiliates with Christianity in some way or another (you're greeted by some randy character who uses a racial slur while refusing you service, who wears a cross around his neck and you assume that the new town you've arrived in is a place where "Christians are racists" -- however wrongly your assumption is, you do not revise that wrongful assumption despite an abundance of information to the contrary in years following).

It's important for people with bad experiences such as those to become more specific about them and to separate the unpleasant social, perhaps cultural, experience/s from the religious beliefs of, especially, Christianity. If you can't, then at least recognize that what you hang onto is a stumbling block to your own growth and within the context of Christianity, your own salvation.

Never underestimate the popularity and frequency by which people are dissuaded and discouraged from accepting Christ. Give Him another try, maybe try another town if the one you're in is socially discouraging.

I can, at least, bear witness to the fact that there are many millions of people in the United States who are Christian, Southern and who are not racists. Neither white ones nor black ones.

D,Just a couple mo... (Below threshold)
mantis:

D,

Just a couple more things.

I do think it's most accurate if evolution would once again be taught as what it is: a theory. No more, no less.

I have news for you, it is taught that way. Want to know a couple of other theories we don't absolutely know everything about? Atomic theory and the theory of gravitation. Shall we teach alternatives to those or for some reason claim there's a controversy because of some people with no theory or evidence who disagree?

I have never heard of a high school biology teacher denying the existence of god in a classroom. But in school districts in many states we have people wanting to deny the legitimacy of science in a science class, for religious reasons. That's what private schools are for. If you want to tell your kids that science (or just modern biology?) is crap, go ahead, but don't force it on the rest of the students whose parents may want them to understand science.

but to have the tax dollars of the parents who taught that student his faith, be used to subsidize the ACLU for winning that case, I think you've just infringed upon their religious freedom.

Tax dollars do not go to the ACLU. They get their funding from numerous foundations and grants, and from small donations from people like me (Yes, I'm a card carrying member. Boo!).

I know I'm not virulent (or stupid) like Syrinx, so you probably won't respond. But please get your facts straight.

D. Dore,I don't thin... (Below threshold)
edmcgon:

D. Dore,
I don't think we disagree at all, based on your comment:
"I know this doesn't surprise you but, I disagree with you. Not in whole, however. I believe that there are politically interested groups trying to gain power through violence who masquerade as religious groups. Yet most (I won't say all) of those under the flag of Islam, however don't wear a mask because they have no need."

BTW, last time I saw the beheading videos, the terrorists were wearing masks. It's only the terrorist leaders, like bin Laden, that appear in videos without masks. But that's a minor point.

SYRINX,Maybe th... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

SYRINX,

Maybe there are more and more vocal athiests and secular humanists because of intolerant close-minded wonks like you. If I had to go to church with the (privately educated ie spoiled preachers kid) likes of you I'd want to renounce that religion as well. Hope your vaunted education allows you to comprehend and respond in a coherent manner, although that's unlikely judging by your earlier posts...

And you call me a bigot. Apparently you think that all beliefs are religious, and thus protected by the 1st amendment of the U.S. Constitution. That and your citing of the 2nd Amendment is what lead me to believe you're not well educated. The Supreme court no less has ruled that political beliefs are not "religion", and thus, are not protected by the 1st amendment. Try going to work for the Democratic party and then let it be known you are a Republican and see how long you are employed. Your example about the lady in the Christian book store is based on local or state laws that give employees more protection than the Constitution itself. Federal, state and local laws also set the minimum wage and you won't find that anywhare in the Constitution. Atheism is not a religion and so apart from such laws an Atheist could be fired for their belief system. It's settled law that non-religious beliefs are not protected by the 1st Amendment. I didn't say I would fire someone for being an Atheist, only that I could do so under the 1st Amendment. Do you see the distinction?

Free speech is also protected by the 1st Amendment, but it's incorrect to say the 1st amendment guaranties the right to free speech. The 1st Amendment only prevents the government from infringing on the enumerated rights. However, it doesn't prevent non-government entities from infringing on those rights. An employer can restrict a person's speech while they are on the job. Going back to your example, had the lady expressed non-Christian views to customers, her employer would have been justified in firing her even in light of the 1st Amendment.

Enacted law, not the Bill of Rights, is what guaranties individuals certain rights in regard to employment, housing, and education. Stop using examples based on enacted law to argue constitutional issues.

D.Dore is wrong, on so many... (Below threshold)
Syrinx:

D.Dore is wrong, on so many points. So many that I doubt he can read. NOWHERE did I say the government should sponsor, establish or make any comment on secular humanism. Nowhere did I suggest that I have 'faith' in secular humanism, as it is not a religion and is only a philosophy. I have faith in my fellow man, but you guys are sure making it harder.

As far as evangelical motivation, I have never proselytized my philosophy in any way until very recently. I have never let anyone know what my personal views were, because I've been attacked for not having the same kind of religious certainty and faith that most from my region do. SO I am certainly NOT the cause of the influx of highly religious people into the political arena. Since I've been aware of the problem, I've been writing a short blog on it and commenting in other related postings, and that's all so far.

OK, virulent I can understand, you just want to make me seem bad and scary, but I don't know where you made up that crap about internment camps, if you re-read my posts you'll see that I never suggested any such thing. I don't care what you believe, I really don't, I just don't want to have to put up with it in public. I don't want to have to have a'moment of silence' or a 'prayer' or anything before a sporting event, if the players and fans want to let them do it privately.
I certainly don't want my representatives (and they are mine too, regardless of what they personally believe) making decisions and voting based on their faith instead of logic. Abortion may be bad, but it's one of those necessary evils right now, and I too hope for the day when all are well educated and have access to birth control to prevent this from ever having to happen. But isn't it the same religious people who objected to having free and easily accesible birth control (condoms) in school? So what you really want is a world where no kid EVER makes a mistake and if they do they should be forced to carry to term a child they cannot raise and that they do not want? How is that fair to the poor little thing? Either of them?

D.Dore, if you can't afford to send your kids to private school, go get a second job or go back to school, because the majority of kids in this country should be educated in the physical sciences, whether you agree with them or not. I think it's hilarious how many of you claim evolution is just a 'theory' as though that somehow invalidates it. As far as the "state" I mentioned, it was the actual 50 States I was referring to, I know it's hard but try to keep up. State school boards run the public schools, and should be the ONLY schools. Just so all our kids are on the same page when they hit college and the work force.

And I do think that 95% of the population ARE deluded, and brainwashed, so it's not hate speech it's an opinion. I'm sure you have one too.

I'm gonna split this thread, as it seems controlled by that special dimwitted variety of thought that prevails in minds given to mysticism and mythology. You will believe what you want, and you can always rationalize or fantasize your way to making any argument if it supports your cause, but you are incapable of recognizing a salient point if it hit you in the face. You cannot concede the points I've made in my posts and you cannot defend against them, so now I'm under attack by a couple of intellectual lightweights with a keyboard and a bag full of hatred. Some fine examples of Christianity you are. No wonder I renounced religion.

SYRINX

Yo, Mac, you are arguing wi... (Below threshold)
Syrinx:

Yo, Mac, you are arguing with so many people you got lost.

Not my post that you are referring to, never mentioned 2nd ammendment or anything else about the Constition except to say that under local and state laws you could be held liable in such a firing, for different non-constitutional (ie legislative) reasons. I'm quite sure that my education is acceptable.


SYRINX

Mantis,You have so... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Mantis,

You have some thoughtful points, but they are inconstant.

The dictionary defines "atheism" as the doctrine or belief that there is no God. That's different than "saying nothing about God." The term "agnostic" more accurately describes "saying nothing about God."

When a court orders the removal of religious icons because of the complaint of an atheist, the court is establishing the belief that there is no God. If the Civil Rights Act defines Atheism as a religion, then recent court rulings are establishing a religion. The alternative is that courts hold that Atheism is not a religion regardless of the Civil Rights Act. As I've stated before, enacted law can and often does exceed protections based on the Bill of Rights in our Constitution. Enacted law could protect employees from an employer's mandated dress codes or just about any other thing else. You can't use examples based on enacted law to make constitutional arguments. It's settled law, however, that non-religious beliefs are not protected by the 1st amendment. PETA is an example of strongly held beliefs that are non-religious and not protected by the 1st amendment. Even current enacted law won't protect an employee from being fired from their meat packing job if they come to work with a PETA t-shirt on.

As for what you say is my "very strange view of religion", it comes right out of the Gospels. Basically, there is no natural position. If you are not for God you are against God. A nation that won't confess it's under God is not a nation I will pledge allegiances to. For every atheist that's offended by the phrase "under God" in the pledge there are many more religious people who will give up on this nation should it reject it's Jewdao Christian heritage.

SYRINX,Okay, I did... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

SYRINX,

Okay, I did incorrectly attribute the 2nd amendment mistake to you. However, contrary to your current claim that you never mentioned anything else about the Constitution you wrote the following:

Constitution is a good base but already has needed multiple ammendments. Those ammendments should continue to reflect our changing mores and cultural values, regardless of whether you agree with those advances or not.

If you want to split hairs, my posts were based on court cases where Constitutional issues were being raised. You then replied to me basing your arguments on enacted law. I see we now agree that they are different.

edmcgon,I don't fi... (Below threshold)
D. Doré:

edmcgon,

I don't find any humor in the beheadings by islamic terrorists, but your post did make me laugh. I hadn't been thinking in the "literal" sense in masks... but point well taken!

M,Just a couple mo... (Below threshold)
D. Doré:

M,

Just a couple more things.


"I do think it's most accurate if evolution would once again be taught as what it is: a theory. No more, no less." - D.Doré

"I have news for you, it is taught that way." - mantis

Yes, it's taught that way in Kansas. But it's not taught that way throughout the USA. That's why there's a hailstorm of conflict created when a schoolboard decides that because a science text book refers to evolution as solid fact and not theory they would simply put stickers on the book saying that evolution is a theory, and that other theories exist. The temper tantrums thrown by strict evolutionists (and secular humanists) were so strong it caused a tremor that rated 2 on the richter scale! You would have thought that the sticker said: "Evolution was just a joke Darwin had rustling around in his head. Everyone knows creationism is fact! Look, here's Adam & Eve's address..."

But that's not what happened.

"Tax dollars do not go to the ACLU. They get their funding from numerous foundations and grants, and from small donations from people like me (Yes, I'm a card carrying member. Boo!)." - mantis

For a card carrying member (I always think their Christmas cards are funny by the way), you must not read the newsletter very carefully. If the ACLU takes any form of government (local school board, etc...) to court (especially when arguing over matters of the establishment of religion) and win, their court costs are then reimbursed by the government. Government is pretty much sole founded with tax dollars. So, even though I don't hold a card from the ACLU (or even get a handwritten "thank you") they've gotten funding from me through my tax dollars. People of faith around the country are subsidizing their own dismantling by the ACLU. I believe that infringes upon my religious freedom.

So to sum this up I'd like to quote someone who I know for a fact isn't stupid:

"But please get your facts straight." - mantis

Mac,I was going to... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Mac,

I was going to respond but this is just too much:

If you are not for God you are against God.

Whatever.

D. Dore,

People of faith around the country are subsidizing their own dismantling by the ACLU. I believe that infringes upon my religious freedom.

I didn't realize you were talking about legal fees won in court cases. I'm not sure how you would prevent this short of banning the ACLU altogether. However it's not intentional funding, the government is not trying to award the ACLU. In any case how does that infringe on your religious freedom? Are you unable to go to church because the ACLU got money in a court case? How are the ACLU "dismantling" people? Why do you think public schools should be churches?

"D.Dore is wrong, on so ... (Below threshold)
D. Doré:

"D.Dore is wrong, on so many points. So many that I doubt he can read." - Syrinx

Apparently I read well enough to have spotted this paradox in your posts:

"I don't know where you made up that crap about internment camps, if you re-read my posts you'll see that I never suggested any such thing. I don't care what you believe, I really don't" - Syrinx

And:

"To those who support removing religion from our culture completely and destroying the power base of the madmen leading these religions, keep up the good work."

"To those who are permanently deluded or brainwashed by the religious meme, we are working on a vaccine to cure you...." - Syrinx

It's like: "Contradictions On Parade" and Paul Kurtz is the Grand Marshal.

"Nowhere did I suggest that I have 'faith' in secular humanism, as it is not a religion and is only a philosophy." - Syrinx

Actually, even the Supreme Court recognizes Secular Humanism as a religion in Torkoso v. Watkins (1961), the Supreme Court said that "among religions ... are Buddhism ... and secular humanism," etc.

If that wasn't enough, it even calls itself a religion. (The Humanist, Sept. 1984) The title of an article in The Humanist, Feb. 1983, for example, describes the movement as "A Religion for a New Age."

"you are incapable of recognizing a salient point if it hit you in the face. You cannot concede the points I've made in my posts and you cannot defend against them, so now I'm under attack by a couple of intellectual lightweights with a keyboard and a bag full of hatred. Some fine examples of Christianity you are." - Syrinx

Look again at the posts I've made from your arguments. It would appear that this paragraph is completely void. Although I don't believe that I exemplified hate in my postings towards you about your writings, I am truly sorry if you felt hurt by them. However I don't seem to see much name calling in my postings.

But using my skills in reading once again I do find comments like: "faith instead of logic" (implying that both are in direct opposition to one another, and therefore that I or any other person of faith lacks logic); "95% of the population ARE deluded, and brainwashed"; "dimwitted"; "intellectual lightweights"; and "bag full of hatred" within your posts.

Totally forgot about the ev... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Totally forgot about the evolution bit.

Yes, it's taught that way in Kansas.

No, it's taught the looney way in Kansas, everywhere else it's taught as a theory. In Kansas, they changed the definition of science to include untestable, hypothesis-free, supernatural occurences. What is to stop physics teachers from offering the theory that the movement of the planets is actually the tetherball game of the gods? Nothing, anymore. Not only that but the new Kansas standards outright lie to the students, saying

the basic Darwinian theory that all life had a common origin and that natural chemical processes created the building blocks of life have been challenged in recent years by fossil evidence and molecular biology.

There is no evidence, there are no alternative scientific theories in molecular biology or elsewhere.

In any case you seem to think the reaction from the scientific community is overdone. In a narrow view, maybe so, but when you consider this as yet another battle in an ongoing war against religious extremists who want to subvert the foundation of science in our schools, I wish the reaction were stronger. Some of us want kids to learn real science in schools, not mythology or psuedoscience.

D. Dore,I'm glad you... (Below threshold)
edmcgon:

D. Dore,
I'm glad you liked the mask comment.

I do have to nitpick on one thing you said:
""faith instead of logic" (implying that both are in direct opposition to one another, and therefore that I or any other person of faith lacks logic)"

The definition of faith (from dictionary.com) would disagree: "Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence."

While it does NOT mean that a person with faith is incapable of logic, certainly the faith itself can be called devoid of logic.

I love watching Creationist vs. Evolution arguments. You folks may continue, but let's have a clean fight. No hitting below the Neanderthals, ok?

Come on mantis, there's no ... (Below threshold)
D. Doré:

Come on mantis, there's no place in any of my posts that I asked for schools to become churches. In fact I expressly said in my discussion:

"I'm not asking to have evolution removed from our schools, and I'm also not asking to have a biology teacher teach my children about Adam & Eve." - D. Doré

(I can't believe I just quoted myself. That's just weird)

Prior to Paul becoming an apostle of Jesus, he was called Saul and was the most stridant and effective pharisee and destroyer of Christians. If his living was earned from the taxes placed upon the very people he was persecuting, those tax payers would unwillingly be paying for their own destruction. I would say that's an infringement upon their religious freedom.

The ACLU (and if you are a card carrying member then you know personally) isn't only concerned with keeping crosses out of public seals, and the Ten Commandments out of court houses.

The ACLU's founder, Roger Baldwin, stated: "We are for SOCIALISM, disarmament, and ultimately for abolishing the state itself... We seek the social ownership of property, the abolition of the propertied class, and the SOLE CONTROL of those who produce wealth. COMMUNISM is the goal."

Communism and and and all religions are directly opposed to one another. They can not co-exist.

George Grant, author of "Trial and Error," puts the ACLU's annual budget (1993) at $14 million - much of which is supplied by the American Taxpayer through the Federal program mandated by the Civil Rights Attorneys' Fee Awards Act of 1976. If the ACLU wins a case that involves a public institution, for instance, the organization collects the full legal fees of its attorneys even though those attorneys offered their services pro bono (without charge).

So for my money to be taken from me and without my approval be used to support the very organization that desires the complete secularization of the USA and the irradication of my faith... I see that as an afront and threat to my religious freedom.

Also... I was so concerned with writing to Syrinx I almost forgot about your use of "establishment of religion".

I very much appreciate your answer to me in that post and I found it very educational. Yet I believe research into the school systems (those created and run by the state) used reading primers. I've yet to see a primer (pronounced with a soft "i" like "in") created any time during the 1700's and 1800's that weren't almost completely based on teaching reading lessons from scripture and moral lessons taught from the Bible. Isn't amazing that the authors of the Bill of Rights wouldn't have pitched a fit over such things and mandated a completely secular primer be created?

How many governmental seals and logos would be created in that time period, or existed during the ratification of the Bill of Rights in 1791? Wouldn't the same House that "would not be satisfied with merely a ban on preference of one sect or religion over others" be appauled by them and say that such things would need to be removed or changed immediately?

Your text is intriguing but Levy makes a vast assumption when interpreting Madison's flat refusal of the Senate's version. The quote would almost make it appear that Madison himself made those statements, but those are simply Levy's words and not Madison's. I'm not saying you made the quote that way... you simply posted what someone else had penned in that fashion.

Jumping off my educated fri... (Below threshold)
D. Doré:

Jumping off my educated friend edmcgon's provided definition of faith I must tell you that such verdant followers of evolution have much more faith in their theory than I do in all of my religion.

I also find it very convenient for you that evidence that supports the theory that you like the most is defined as "science" but any scientific evidence that calls into question your predefined ideology automatically becomes called "pseudo-science" or "para-science", anything you want, just as long as you don't have to revaluate your position.

Man it's really silly seeing as how that's the same kind of thing claim creationists or intelligent design scientists of doing.

On a side note to edmcgon:

Thanks for the definition of faith. It's nice and very clinical. The point I was trying to make (and apparently failed) to Syrinx was that faith and logic can go hand and hand. My faith in Christianity is aided by tons of both historical and experiential evidence. My faith is logical in both its practice and its system of beliefs. They work tangently and cohesively and not at odds with one another. That's what I was trying to explain in a more succint way.

Hey... I gotta run for a day or two.

mantis, mac, s, syrinx, darleen and especially edmcgon,

Have a GREAT Thanksgiving! I hope you have a great weekend filled with moments of merriment and great memories!

Mantis,I see you c... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Mantis,

I see you consider my phrase that if you are not for God you are against God to be "just too much." Yet, you claim the same for evolution when you say that "there are no alternative scientific theories in molecular biology or elsewhere." In effect, you either accept evolution or you're some kind of loony.

It would be more correct to say that currently there are no commonly accepted alternative scientific theories in molecular biology or elsewhere. If science has demonstrated anything it's that there are few issues settled in science. Consider the surprise when the classic laws of motion were overturned.

Scientist realize that a computer based on quantum mechanics would be vastly more powerful that current technology. Quantum computers are not based on chemistry, but a strange property of sub atomic partials called entanglement. There are many natural sources of entangled partials in the universe. Could such partials come together in such a way as to produce intelligence? Could that intelligence evolve to become self-aware and beyond? If it sounds absurd remember that evolution requires the absurd notion that chemicals came together in such as ways as to produce life. There's no logic in rejecting one possibility and then accepting the other. Are you prepared to claim that advanced intelligence can only arise in the wetware between human ears? If a quantum intelligences did arise it would be as superior to human intelligence as a quantum computer would be superior to your PC. If such an intelligence influenced the development of chemical based life, how would we detect such influence? That's what the theory of ID is about. If you can discover structures in living organisms that can't be explained by evolution, then you have discovered some other influence. Perhaps that influence is not intelligence, but rather built into the natural laws of this universe. Either way the current scientific dogma labels anyone wanting to do such investigations as a loony.

On a much more practical level I don't believe science can explain the origins of life and species when they have yet to explain what causes hemorrhoids.

Mac,I see you c... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Mac,

I see you consider my phrase that if you are not for God you are against God to be "just too much." Yet, you claim the same for evolution when you say that "there are no alternative scientific theories in molecular biology or elsewhere." In effect, you either accept evolution or you're some kind of loony.

That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying no one has come up with a scientific theory that in any way refutes evolution. Theories abound, but none scientific. For a theory to be scientific it must be falsifiable; it must produce testable hypothoses. ID or creationism have not produced a scientific theory. If someone actually comes up with a theory explaining how species developed that produces testable hypothoses and relies upon evidence, I will welcome it to the debate wholeheartedly. No one has yet done that.

As I said before, there are unanswered questions in the theory of gravitation and atomic theory. However, since the evidence supports these theories, and no one has yet offered any scientific alternatives, they stand as commonly accepted among scientists. Same goes for evolution. The classic laws of motion were reconsidered when evidence supporting testable hypothoses based on a scientific theory (Quantum Mechanics) proved them to be wrong (or incomplete, rather).

You are not a loony if you don't accept evolution, but you're not being scientific either (unless you come up with some scientific reasons/theory). Which is fine with me, by the way; science and faith are two different things.

As far as your statement of "either for god or against god", I find it ridiculously stupid. I'm not for or against god, just as I'm not for or against the tooth fairy. I don't believe they exist. I'm never "for or against" nonexistent things. (For the record I'm not anti-religion either; I think religion and religious people have done a lot of good in the world. I also like Jesus very much. Jesus the teacher, that is, not the god.)

Mantis,Actually is... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Mantis,

Actually is was Relativity that overturned the classic laws of motion.

In order for evolution to be science it must be falsifiable. Knowing that, Darwin himself explained how his theory could be proven false. ID uses Darwin's own example to test his theory and ID has some real scientists working on it, yet evolutionists won't consider any challenge as "scientific" as if they get to decide what is or is not science.

The possibility of quantum based intelligence is a wild theory just as relativity was in it's day. Yet, real science embraces such theories, because that's where breakthroughs often come from. Among scientists, only evolutionists act as if they were protecting a religion rather than a scientific theory. That's why evolution is better characterized as the religion of scientists, rather than science.

There are many things outside the scope of human knowledge. If M theory is right, the universe is likely infinite both in size and age. It seems foolish then to reject the witness of good men the Jesus is Lord.

I thought I had relativity ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

I thought I had relativity in there next to quantum mechanics, but I guess I should proofread better.

In any case, you still have not addressed the criticism that no testable theories have arisen to dispute evolution. If you can cite one testable hypothesis that if supported by evidence would contribute to a theory other than evolution that explains any species origin, please do so. Until then, none of this business of "evolution is a religion" means crap. Just because "real scientists" are working on it doesn't mean they have come up with anything. When they do, let's look at the evidence and draw conclusions from it. Until they present some hypotheses and evidence, there is no debate.

Relativity was considered a wild theory when Einstein introduced it because people didn't understand it and because it contradicted commonly held scientific theories. However, Einstein had evidence, falsifiability, and an actual theory! ID has none. Einstein of course was wrong on some things, as quantum theory has shown, with evidence, falsifiability, and actual theory!

Science explains natural processes. Science has rules. ID proposes supernatural processes. ID has no rules. ID is not science. That is why scientists overwhelmingly reject it.

Try going into a university geology department and propose the idea that volcanos are caused by invisible firebreathing dragons that live deep under the earth (or "Dragon Design", as I'll call it). When they ask you for evidence or a way to actually prove this, tell them you have none but that current theory concerning volcanos has "gaps" in it. When they laugh in your face will you then declare geology to be a "religion of scientists"?

Mantis,Darwin prop... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Mantis,

Darwin proposed that to falsify his theory one would need to show some structure existed that couldn't be produced by a series of small steps. Searching for irreducibly complex structures is defined by Darwin himself as a scientific test of evolution. No explanation is required as to how such structures came to be, only that they exist. By claiming the search for irreducibly complex structures, which is the central idea in ID, is not science, evolution fails the test of being falsifiable, and thus, is itself not science. In short, by refusing to acknowledge the science of irreducibly complexity, evolution itself becomes pseudo-science.

The evolution of a new species has never been observed either in nature or in the lab. Creating a new species in the lab proves species can be created by intelligent design, not by evolution. Easily reproducible experiments demonstrate process that can lay down many layers of sediment in a short time and grow such layers horizontally. These simple experiments prove that layers in sedimentary rock are not reliable indications of either time or sequence. However, much of the underpinnings of evolution are based on just such indications of time and sequence due to layering in sedimentary rock. Radiometric dating has so many problems and counter examples that labs have to ask researcher how old they believe a specimen is in order to get an acceptable date. Of course they can't date sedimentary rock with inorganic radiometric dating techniques, so researches use the theory of evolution to date the fossils they find in adjacent sedimentary layers to arrive at an age for the igneous rock they submit for radiometric dating. They then use the radiometric date to support some aspect of evolution theory. Such curricular logic is never acceptable in any other science.

Try going into a university geology department and propose the idea that volcanoes evolved from older volcanoes and use the existence of volcanoes to prove they evolved. When they laugh in your face will you then declare geology is pseudo science?

It's apparent from your writing that you think religious beliefs are illogical, but that position is grounded in the profound ignorance of humankind. Perhaps you are right, but perhaps you are wrong. The Bible teaches that in God's wisdom God cannot be found by human wisdom, only by faith. His purpose is to give the faithful the most magnificent treasure, one that's beyond all human understanding and experience. He hides the keys to that treasure in plain view of all knowing the proud will never find them. Even when someone says "look here are the keys to the treasure", many won't believe. If you are right, neither of us will ever know, but if I'm right we'll both know. The difference is that I'll show up with the keys.

D. Dore,"The point I... (Below threshold)
edmcgon:

D. Dore,
"The point I was trying to make (and apparently failed) to Syrinx was that faith and logic can go hand and hand. My faith in Christianity is aided by tons of both historical and experiential evidence. My faith is logical in both its practice and its system of beliefs. They work tangently and cohesively and not at odds with one another."

Then you have knowledge, not faith. Knowledge is a far better thing.

You have a great Thanksgiving too! Save some cranberry sauce for me. ;)

WOW! Checl out what this C... (Below threshold)
D. Doré:

WOW! Checl out what this Crazed Hard Right Wing Christian Nut Cake had to say about Thanksgiving! Good thing THIS lunatic isn't running for office!

"Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor -- and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be -- That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks -- for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation -- for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the tranquility [sic], union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed -- for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted -- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.


And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions -- to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually -- to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed -- to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn [sic] kindness onto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord -- To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease [sic] of science among them and us -- and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York
the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789."

George Washington

Wow. Now he's once crazed evangelical! You know, I'm pretty sure he had a hidden agenda to turn the government of the USA into a theocracy! And this happened all during the process of the Bill of Rights being ratified.


(Sorry for hijacking the th... (Below threshold)
mantis:

(Sorry for hijacking the thread Jay)

Mac,

I'm glad you've brought up some specific arguments. I don't have a whole lot of time to go into all of this as I have to pack for the Thanksgiving nightmare, but your points have all been dealt with by people more familiar with speciation and radiometric dating than me.

1. Searching for irreducibly complex structures is defined by Darwin himself as a scientific test of evolution.

Here's the actual quote you're referring to from Origin of the Species:

If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down, but I can find out no such case.

And here is the actual definition of irreducible complexity:

"a single system which is composed of several interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, and where the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning". (Michael Behe, Molecular Machines: Experimental Support for the Design Inference)

You're a bit late with your debate points on this topic, as Behe introduced this idea in 1996, and was long ago convincingly refuted.

The irreducible complexity definition is distinct from what Darwin was talking about, so we're not really talking about what Darwin stated, but no matter. Many of the things Behe claims to be irreducibly complex are not, and the things that are irreducibly complex can still be explained by evolution. See here for a long article on evolution of irreducibly complex structures as well as reducibly, but very complex structures.

Interestingly, Behe published this idea almost at the same time that this study (You'll need access to a library with a subscription for this one) came out, which explains the evolution of a complex biochemical structures, which Behe claimed no one has explained.

By claiming the search for irreducibly complex structures, which is the central idea in ID, is not science, evolution fails the test of being falsifiable

The search for irreducibly complex structures is not unscientific, the claim that evolution can't explain them is.

(It is also worth noting that Behe does not dispute that evolution exists or is a theory supported by much evidence, he merely claims that some things can't be explained by evolution, distinguishing himself from many others in the ID movement, including the Kansas school board and, presumably, you).

2. The evolution of a new species has never been observed either in nature or in the lab.

False. See these pages:
Claim CB910: No new species have been observed.
Claim CB901: No case of macroevolution has ever been documented.

3. On radiometric dating (Read the whole thing, it's fascinating):

Radiometric Dating and the Geological Time Scale:

The geological time scale and the techniques used to define it are not circular. They rely on the same scientific principles as are used to refine any scientific concept: testing hypotheses with data. There are innumerable independent tests that can identify and resolve inconsistencies in the data. This makes the geological time scale no different from other aspects of scientific study.

4. It's apparent from your writing that you think religious beliefs are illogical, but that position is grounded in the profound ignorance of humankind.

I don't believe that religion belief is illogical, just some religious beliefs. I don't think that evolution rules out the existence of god. In fact the very existence of evolution in nature is for me a plausible (if not testable) reason to believe in god. There is a reason that life tends to mutate, recombine, and borrow genes, to evolve in order to succeed in environments and expand to new ones. It may be explained scientifically someday, but I doubt it. It could be god. I don't believe it is, but it could be.

5. The Bible teaches that in God's wisdom God cannot be found by human wisdom, only by faith.

So stop trying to find him through science, and just have faith.

Thanks D. Dore! That is a g... (Below threshold)
edmcgon:

Thanks D. Dore! That is a good reminder of what Thanksgiving is all about.

Sorry to all the atheists out there, but Thanksgiving is a secular holiday with religious intent. Ok, maybe I'm not sorry. :P

"I don't believe that relig... (Below threshold)
edmcgon:

"I don't believe that religion belief is illogical, just some religious beliefs. I don't think that evolution rules out the existence of god. In fact the very existence of evolution in nature is for me a plausible (if not testable) reason to believe in god. There is a reason that life tends to mutate, recombine, and borrow genes, to evolve in order to succeed in environments and expand to new ones. It may be explained scientifically someday, but I doubt it. It could be god. I don't believe it is, but it could be."

mantis,
I completely agree with most of your statement, with the mild exception being that I do believe science will one day explain God (but not in my lifetime).

"So stop trying to find him through science, and just have faith."

Why should we stop trying to find God through science? For me, that is the ultimate purpose of science.

I would phrase this differently: Stop looking to science for God. They haven't found Him yet. In the meantime, have faith.




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