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Old 01-17-2005, 05:14 PM   #1
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American Law/Legal System

Well, did the founding fathers base it on "judeo christian" beliefs?

It was derailing another thread (a rather boring one on capital punishment)and I think it is a worthy debate. Having argued with Melon that it was, I am now willing, in his absence, to take the other side.

Any takers?
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Old 01-17-2005, 05:16 PM   #2
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American law? Or USA law? Many American countries laws are Christian based.
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Old 01-17-2005, 05:17 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by beli
American law? Or USA law? Many American countries laws are Christian based.
Touche...USA...my apologies to the rest of the Americas.....
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Old 01-17-2005, 05:21 PM   #4
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We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their

Creator

with certain unalienable Rights

this is were the argument begins and ends
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Old 01-17-2005, 05:21 PM   #5
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Re: American Law/Legal System

Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox
Having argued with Melon that it was, I am now willing, in his absence, to take the other side.

Any takers?
Maybe this is off topic, but hasn't Melon been absent long enough??? I miss him here.
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Old 01-17-2005, 06:15 PM   #6
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Ok Dread good thinking.... bring this to a new thread because the discussion there was getting boring due to the conversation not staying on topic....

Ultimately it comes down to logic in my opinion. You have a group of people who are for the most part "religious". These people decide to make laws. A good many of the people believe that man's law should be in line with God's law. One knows this because of the many quotes or the biographical information one reads in regards to these men's views on lawmaking. That being the case would it not be logical to conclude that with these men's views on lawmaking, they would not exercise those views when making law?

The following link is to a portion of a site that I think is called America and the Bible
http://www.errantskeptics.org/Fifty_...John%20Langdon .

The quotes are from several of the men you sited on the other thread. Now you said earlier a quote from a site that has an agenda isn't good enough, so I took the quote from George Washington and found the entire speech it was from. The context of the entire speech supported the single quote sited. (Your only reply was .... I can't remember but it wasn't oh sorry that does make sense, my bad).

I have a feeling that the same will occur with these quotes found on this site. If needed I will look for the speeches from which each quote was taken and then provide links for those speeches.

It is pretty silly to go to these lenghts to make a valid point about a group of men who were religious and made laws based on their religious beliefs.

People today say that "The Religious Right" are making laws based on their beliefs but on the other hand are saying the founding fathers didn't. I am simple minded, I admit, so maybe that is why I don't see the logic in that.
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Old 01-17-2005, 06:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
it is pretty silly to go to these lenghts to make a valid point about a group of men who were religious and made laws based on their religious beliefs.
About half the elected members of congress are Democrats

They attend services regularly.

They are what you would call "religious"

Most of them do not use their religion in promoting laws

btw,

That site you posted has some of these historic figures saying things like


Quote:
Nathaniel Gorham, a Congregationalist, helped write the Massachusett's Constitution, which required:
"Any person chosen governor, or lieutenant-governor, cousellor, senator, or representative, and accepting the trust, shall before he proceed to execute the duties of his place or office, take, make, and subscribe the following declaration, viz. 'I, ____, do declare, that I believe the Christian religion, and have a firm persuasion of its truth.'"
Such a religious test was Constitutional until 1947 when the Supreme Court rewrote the Constitution by making the First Amendment apply to the states, not just the federal government.
No Judeo in that Christian.
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Old 01-17-2005, 07:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by deep

About half the elected members of congress are Democrats

They attend services regularly.

They are what you would call "religious"

Most of them do not use their religion in promoting laws

btw,

That site you posted has some of these historic figures saying things like



No Judeo in that Christian.
I am not speaking about the state of our government today and those who take an active role in policy making (which no one could possibly know what goes into their decisions i.e do they consider how their vote would line up with the Bible, do they say a personal pray before casting the vote...etc) I am speaking of people who laid the foundations of our system of law. That is what the debate is over anyway.

If it were about the lawmaking in contemporary America would folks not be saying that certain Christians have an agenda? That they have this belief system and they are going to let it factor in to their decsion making process and that is a danger. Would they not then say that their religious views are affecting the way they make laws? Yes. I see it all too often. Yet on the other hand a lot of times these same people are saying the founding father's somehow miraculous did not do that, when in fact that is exactly what they did.

I showed where some of the people Dread pointed out had very religious beliefs in regards to what law is and the manner in which laws are made. If those people believed that way in regards to how laws should be made, is it so ridiculous to think that they would have taken that approach to lawmaking?

No Judeo in that Christian? You do realize that Judeo-Christian means drawing from both the Torrah (Old Testament - laws of the Jews - Judeo) and the New Testament (Teachings by and about Christ - Christian)? Christianity's roots are in Judaism. You can not have Christianity without Judaism. If you didn't know that you can't really be faulted for the "No Judeo in that Christian" remark.
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Old 01-17-2005, 09:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by thacraic



If it were about the lawmaking in contemporary America would folks not be saying that certain Christians have an agenda? That they have this belief system and they are going to let it factor in to their decsion making process and that is a danger. Would they not then say that their religious views are affecting the way they make laws? Yes. I see it all too often. Yet on the other hand a lot of times these same people are saying the founding father's somehow miraculous did not do that, when in fact that is exactly what they did.

Ok so can we name a law in our books today that was written by our founding fathers that was solely biblical and not based on does this harm others, harm society, etc.

If law was based on Judeo-Christian belief why wasn't honor thy mother and father, adultery, strange gods before me(that would seem to be the biggest if we were going to ensure a Judeo-Christian society), lord name in vain, or sabbath holy?
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Old 01-18-2005, 03:49 AM   #10
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It is accurate to say that many of the founding fathers believed in the Bible.

A good deal of them, did not believe in the divinity of Christ.

Jefferson being the easiest to prove on this topic.

I cannot claim that the laws are based on "Judeo-Christian" teachings because these men were not "Christian" by the definition of the religious right today. "Judeo-Christian" is too broad a term, one that would imply that the fouding fathers were in line with many people's thinking of Christ today.
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Old 01-18-2005, 04:03 AM   #11
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But the greatest of all the reformers of the depraved religion of his own country, was Jesus of Nazareth. Abstracting what is really his from the rubbish in which it is buried, easily distinguished by its lustre from the dross of his biographers, and as separable from that as the diamond from the dunghill, we have the outlines of a system of the most sublime morality which has ever fallen from the lips of man; outlines which it is lamentable he did not live to fill up. Epictetus and Epicurus give laws for governing ourselves, Jesus a supplement of the duties and charities we owe to others. The establishment of the innocent and genuine character of this benevolent moralist, and the rescuing it from the imputation of imposture, which has resulted from artificial systems,* invented by ultra-Christian sects, unauthorized by a single word ever uttered by him, is a most desirable object, and one to which Priestley has successfully devoted his labors and learning. It would in time, it is to be hoped, effect a quiet euthanasia of the heresies of bigotry and fanaticism which have so long triumphed over human reason, and so generally and deeply afflicted mankind; but this work is to be begun by winnowing the grain from the chaff of the historians of his life. I have sometimes thought of translating Epictetus (for he has never been tolerable translated into English) by adding the genuine doctrines of Epicurus from the Syntagma of Gassendi, and an abstract from the Evangelists of whatever has the stamp of the eloquence and fine imagination of Jesus. The last I attempted too hastily some twelve or fifteen years ago. It was the work of two or three nights only, at Washington, after getting through the evening task of reading the letters and papers of the day. But with one foot in the grave, these are now idle projects for me. My business is to beguile the wearisomeness of declining life, as I endeavor to do, by the delights of classical reading and of mathematical truths, and by the consolations of a sound philosophy, equally indifferent to hope and fear.




* e. g. The immaculate conception of Jesus, his deification, the creation of the world by him, his miraculous powers, his resurrection and visible ascension, his corporeal presence in the Eucharist, the Trinity; original sin, atonement, regeneration, election, orders of Hierarchy, &c.

( Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Short, from Monticello, October 31, 1819; Merrill D. Peterson, ed., Thomas Jefferson: Writings, New York: Library of America, 1994, pp. 1430-1433. )
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Old 01-18-2005, 04:05 AM   #12
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By Jeffersons own writings, it is clear he is not a Christian. He believes there is a moral message, diamonds hidden in the dungheap, that is the four Gospels.

This does not make him Christian. He does believe in the morals of the message of Christ though.
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Old 01-18-2005, 04:10 AM   #13
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[Q]The context of the entire speech supported the single quote sited. (Your only reply was .... I can't remember but it wasn't oh sorry that does make sense, my bad).[/Q]

I believe I said that the speech had nothing to do with the American legal system or law, set up by the constitution.

All of the founding fathers had respect for the moral message of the Bible. They were not all Christians. Respect for the Bible does not make them Christian. To claim they our constitution and laws are Judeo Christian is wrong. They were of the age of enlightenment. Like it or not, many were classical scholars of the Greek Philosophers. This is where our governement came from. Was the Bible included in helping form the morals, yes. Was the Bible included in the sense they were attempting to establish a Christian governement, no.

It is wrong to say they were Judeo-Christians. They were moralists.

EDITED TO ADD:

Adams, Jeferson, and Washington did not create the Constitution. These were the men you quoted. They were founding Fathers, but they were not part of the men in Philidelphia who created the constitution.

If the constitution is the LAW of the land, how can one claim it was Judeo-Christian based on the quoted of Adams, Jefferson and Washington when their names are not on the document.
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Old 01-18-2005, 06:13 AM   #14
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Hello Dread,

To everything you posted....

Never once did I say these men were Christians or even Judeo-Christians. Ever. I said they were religious and that they used Judeo-Christian principles in their lawmaking. That is a truthful statement and that is what people were disagreeing with.

As far as Jefferson, Adams etc being moralist, yeh they were, but their morals were rooted in Judeo-Christian philosiphy. As far as the 55 people who were responsible for framing the constitution, from everything I have read, that would be true of the majority of them as well.

As far as their being Diest just because someone does not accept the diety of Christ does not mean they do not embrace His teachings. I have met far to many people in my life that think in that way. Funny enough, more recently, I have been going to some Christian rooms on Paltalk and have had some interesting conversations with people (non-trinitiarian, calvinist, preterist to the last one) and the conversations get heated at times, but overall it is great fun and non-combative. At any rate back to the topic....

I am not saying that these men wanted a theocracy. They didn't. I am thankful for that. As a Christian and with the manyyyyy takes on Christianity out there I do not want anyone deciding how I embrace my faith. The people who founded this country didn't either. None of that changes the fact that they used the Bible as a source in their approach to lawmaking. Nothing anyone has said has made me think otherwise. I for one am open to hearing evidence that shows that it isn't the case.

In turth however, it doesnt matter to me either way. It is the greatest LEGAL document in the world and all in all it would just be nice to know more of the histroy behind it.
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Old 01-18-2005, 06:24 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Do Miss America


Ok so can we name a law in our books today that was written by our founding fathers that was solely biblical and not based on does this harm others, harm society, etc.

If law was based on Judeo-Christian belief why wasn't honor thy mother and father, adultery, strange gods before me(that would seem to be the biggest if we were going to ensure a Judeo-Christian society), lord name in vain, or sabbath holy?
They did not set out with the intent to create a Judeo-Christian society. That does not mean they didn't approach lawmaking with Judeo-Christian beliefs about it. That is all that is being said here.

People seem to be running with what is said and making conclusions about the original intent of the discussion.

I used the example of people being up in arms about Christians in office who make decisions that affect everyone to show that people are saying that these people are "letting their beliefs" cloud their judgement but on the other hand are not willing to say the founding fathers did.

I am not debating what laws do and do not infringe on personal liberties. I am debating whether or not the founding fathers approached lawmaking with a Judeo-Christian belief of said lawmaking.
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