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Old 03-29-2003, 04:07 PM   #46
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Very well said Melon...
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Old 03-29-2003, 04:35 PM   #47
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What in the world is wrong with thinking your country is blessed by God? God has blessed America. Why would I deny that if it's true?
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Old 03-29-2003, 04:41 PM   #48
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The question I would pose to counter that is if you believe that other nations are blessed by God. Has God blessed Canada? Europe? Asia? The Middle East? Or do you think just America? I think the latter is what people think when that sentiment is evoked.

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Old 03-29-2003, 04:42 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
If you honestly believe that Jesus would support interpretations like this--interpretations that the Pharisees themselves believed similarly with the Old Testament--then I do not see a reason why Jesus had to come on Earth in the first place, if he was just going to say "keep up the good work."
Thank you for saying this.

I have been looking more and more at Eastern religions like Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. Then, I turn on my TV and see these right wing Christians offering up interpretations of the Bible, which frankly I find frightening. What an insult to Jesus' pacifist teachings some of these interpretations are. I almost feel like I must believe in a different God than they do.
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Old 03-29-2003, 04:45 PM   #50
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What in the world is wrong with thinking your country is blessed by God? God has blessed America. Why would I deny that if it's true?
Yes, but does that mean that everything America does gains God's blessing as well? I certainly don't think so.
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Old 03-29-2003, 05:52 PM   #51
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Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen


So do I

It would be nice if people didn't generalize here about religion, or about all Americans. It's easy to try to put people into neat little boxes sometimes...
Mrsspringsteen


When nbcrusader brought this to my attention I addressed it. Maybe you missed my post, here it is again.

Quote:
Originally posted by deep


Nbcrusader,

You are right about the saying.
I still think that a scoundrel will use religion in the same way that he will use patriotism.
A patriotic person should not be offended at the saying and religious people should not be offended at what I wrote.
I am offended seeing phony patriotism and religion used for political reasons.

Many people, yourself included (I believe) pray for these things on a daily basis. Bringing politics into it only cheapens it.
Here is some information about the saying.

Quote:
Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

Boswell tells us that Samuel Johnson made this famous pronouncement that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel on the evening of April 7, 1775. He doesn't provide any context for how the remark arose, so we don't really know for sure what was on Johnson's mind at the time.

However, Boswell assures us that Johnson was not indicting patriotism in general, only false patriotism.

Johnson does not indict patriotism, only false patriotism (I called it phony patriotism).
I believe it is less than sincere religiousness when politicians use it for political reasons.
Many people in this forum have offered prayers and comfort for loved ones (myself included).
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Old 03-29-2003, 05:58 PM   #52
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Religion a Strong Current in U.S. Wars

The nation often has invoked faith in waging its conflicts. A subtext has been a belief that we have been uniquely blessed by God.

By Larry B. Stammer
Times Staff Writer

March 29, 2003

As the United States prosecutes war with Iraq, many supporters of the effort have invoked religious language to define the national purpose, making themselves part of a long stream in American history.

From the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the 1600s through a young nation's westward expansion to the two world wars of the 20th century, the belief that American purposes reflect a divine will and blessing has served to inspire, sustain and, in the eyes of critics, to warp American views of the world.

Controversy over the current war has focused particular attention, not only on the faith of President Bush and its possible influence on his decisions, but also on the religious roots of what scholars call American exceptionalism: the belief that the country is uniquely blessed and has a God-given obligation to share that blessing with and secure it for others.

The idea has deep roots in America's past. Sailing to the New World on the ship Arabella in 1630, the Puritan minister John Winthrop wrote a sermon, "A Model of Christian Charity," that set out what he saw as God's purposes for the colony of New England.

"We shall be as a city upon a hill," he said. It was a phrase often repeated by President Reagan during his presidency.

In 1845 the idea that the hand of God was at work in America acquired a name, which provided a justification for the nation's westward expansion and a war with Mexico. Democratic leader and editor John L. O'Sullivan wrote of "our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions."

Similar religious language has been used by many national leaders since.

"We are a nation under God," Reagan said in 1984. "I've always believed that this blessed land was set apart in a special way, that some divine plan placed this great continent here between the oceans to be found by people from every corner of the Earth who had a special love for freedom and the courage to uproot themselves, leave homeland and friends, to come to a strange land."

Bush has expressed a similar sentiment in several speeches, including one at Ellis Island on the anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks, in which he borrowed a phrase from the New Testament: "This ideal of America is the hope of all mankind .... That hope still lights our way. And the light shines in the darkness. And the darkness will not overcome it," he said.

A Religious Divide

Religious Americans are, on average, more likely to support the current war than their more secular countrymen, even though a large share of the nation's religious leaders oppose it. Scholars say the long religious tradition of seeing America as a special nation may help explain that.

A Gallup Poll this month found that 60% of Americans who say religion is very important in their lives supported military action against Iraq.

By contrast, among those who said religion is not very important, only 49% supported the war.

For those who see American civilization as superior, there is "quite often more readiness to exert ourselves in the world," said William R. Hutchison, a professor of the history of religion in America at Harvard University.

Nearly half of Americans (48%) said they think the United States has had special protection from God for most of its history, according to a poll a year ago by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. Four in 10 took the opposite view.

That belief is strongest among white evangelical Protestants, a group that makes up about a quarter of the nation's population and that is a core constituency for the Republican party. Among that group, 71% said in the Pew center poll that they think the United States has special divine protection. Among white non-evangelical Protestants and Catholics, only four in 10 took that position.

"Evangelicals believe there is a purpose for our nation: to be good, to give, to help the oppressed, to strive for equality," said Ted Haggard, the newly appointed president of the National Assn. of Evangelicals. That belief, he said, is "the whole idea of the powerful using their strength to serve the weak."

Professor Jeffrey Walz of Concordia University Wisconsin in Mequon, Wis., said: "One tenet that many evangelicals would subscribe to is this idea of American exceptionalism, this sense that the U.S. is a city on a hill, that we have a special role and place in history, that America is a nation chosen by God to be an example to other nations."

"The question of how evangelicalism might be impacting world events would go back to American exceptionalism," he said. "I see this as well in Bush."

"We are an impatient country, and we have been historically, at least in part because of our confident view of America's role in the world. We tend to want to dive in and involve ourselves, or have historically -- and then sort out some of the details later," Walz said.

Evangelicals do not have a corner on patriotism, said Jack Fitzmier, professor of religious history and dean of the Claremont School of Theology. Many Americans, regardless of their faith, regard the flag and the Bible as important. "But evangelicals tend to baptize it," he said.

A Range of Ideas

Yet within American evangelicalism there is a range of ideas on how God and country are properly joined.

Some religious figures have allied faith to power in support of broad national purposes. By contrast, other religious leaders have viewed power with suspicion and sought to separate religion from government.

In 1992, for example, eight liberal evangelical scholars published a book, "No God But God: Breaking with the Idols of Our Age." In it, one author lamented that "many American evangelicals have been truly more American than Christian, more dependent on historical myths than spiritual realities, more shaped by the flag than the cross."

A decade later, the split was summed up by Jim Wallis, executive director and editor of Sojourners, an evangelical magazine based in Washington, D.C., which generally takes liberal positions on economic and social justice issues.

"Religion either is invoked to bring God's blessing on our activities or is used to hold us accountable to God's intentions. Those are very different purposes," Wallis said in an interview. "Evangelicals fall on both sides of that."
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Old 03-29-2003, 06:21 PM   #53
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I nominate melonhead president of FYM
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Old 03-30-2003, 11:19 AM   #54
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram


I have been looking more and more at Eastern religions like Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. Then, I turn on my TV and see these right wing Christians offering up interpretations of the Bible, which frankly I find frightening. What an insult to Jesus' pacifist teachings some of these interpretations are. I almost feel like I must believe in a different God than they do.
Certainly right wing Christians don't represent and/or speak for all Christians. I am a Christian, but I am an individual, and I don't fit into a neat little box where I can be labeled right wing, left wing, or whatever. I'm not saying that's what you said here, but I'm just throwing that out, for what it's worth.

I know what you're saying, but it just seems like all Christians are sometimes judged by the "right wing Christians". I would never condone religion being used for political reasons, or to justify war.

When I think of God Bless America, I think of "God please give us strength, love, and hope"-more along those lines, certainly not God condones everything we do or blesses ONLY America.
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Old 03-30-2003, 05:14 PM   #55
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
I'll just say this. If we can justify war with the Bible and marginalize women and gays in the Bible simultaneously, then we can see why religion is a device for prejudice, hatred, and war. Argue all you want, but this is reason why I believe "the Antichrist" will be conservative, thanks to interpretations like that. If you honestly believe that Jesus would support interpretations like this--interpretations that the Pharisees themselves believed similarly with the Old Testament--then I do not see a reason why Jesus had to come on Earth in the first place, if he was just going to say "keep up the good work."

Lest we also forget, the Jews expected a warrior Messiah who would come to vanquish their enemies and to exult them as the greatest kingdom on Earth. Because of Jesus' peaceful nature, rather than a warrior nature, He was rejected. If Jesus was for war, then why didn't He encourage the Jews to revolt against the Romans like the Jews expected from their Messiah?

I think there is something wrong with these interpretations, considering the pacifist nature of the first 300 years of the church.

Did I also mention how much I dislike St. Augustine? Ugh...

Melon
Melon, I like how you think. So very well put. I'm so happy to know I'm not the only one in these parts who thinks the same way...
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Old 03-30-2003, 05:16 PM   #56
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
The question I would pose to counter that is if you believe that other nations are blessed by God. Has God blessed Canada? Europe? Asia? The Middle East? Or do you think just America? I think the latter is what people think when that sentiment is evoked.

Melon
Exactly.
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Old 03-30-2003, 06:00 PM   #57
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
Because of Jesus' peaceful nature, rather than a warrior nature, He was rejected. If Jesus was for war, then why didn't He encourage the Jews to revolt against the Romans like the Jews expected from their Messiah?
Melon
First, I never said Jesus was "for war". That makes him sound like he's a warmonger. I said he condones certain wars. There is a vast difference. I am not a warmonger, but I do condone this war.
Yes, Jesus came to Jerusalem riding on a donkey. Yes, Jesus had an inner peace about him. But to say that Jesus was always acting "peacefully" is not accurate. Who, in an enraged state, drove the money makers from the temple with a whip, turning over tables and creating chaos? Yeep, Jesus. Who was it that said "I come not to bring peace, but a sword"? Once again, Jesus. In fact, who told his disciples to take their swords with them? Yeep, Jesus.
The reason Jesus didn't "encourage the Jews to revolt against the Romans like the Jews expected from their Messiah" was because war and politics were not his purpose in coming here. Salvation of man's soul was the reason he came. The Pharisees tried to trick him into making a poltical statement that would get him in trouble with teh Romans. They asked "Is it right that we should pay taxes to Caesar?", and he said "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's". Let me turn the question around on you...I ask, "If Jesus were AGAINST war, why didn't he speak out against the actions of Simon the Zealot and Barrabas and other Jews who were actively trying to incite a rebellion?" The simple fact is that we don't know Jesus' thoughts on the matter of Israel rebelling against Rome. He never told us what his thoughts were. He may have indeed been against Israel rebelling against Rome. If he was, it doesn't necessarily follow that he is against all wars.
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Old 03-30-2003, 06:08 PM   #58
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram

What an insult to Jesus' pacifist teachings some of these interpretations are. I almost feel like I must believe in a different God than they do.
Is Jesus a pacifist? Did he teach pacifism? If you're talking about Jesus teaching that in your relationship and on an individual basis, you are to react nonviolently when someone wrongs you, then you are rigth. However, if you are claiming that Jesus taught pacifism on a "world" and "war" level, then you're not correct. Jesus didn't address the issue of whether war is ever right or not in the Bible. And if he had, you might be surprised at his answer. remember, Christ is God's Son, and in the Trinity, he is God himself. Now, think back to the Old Testament, the many times that God instructed the Israelites to wage war against Satanic nations. If Jesus is God, would he disagree with God's stance on the matter? If so, he'd be disagreeing with himself. Yes, Jesus had an inner peace about him. But to say that Jesus was always acting "peacefully" is not accurate. Who, in an enraged state, drove the money makers from the temple with a whip, turning over tables and creating chaos? Yeep, Jesus. Who was it that said "I come not to bring peace, but a sword"? Once again, Jesus. In fact, who told his disciples to take their swords with them? Yeep, Jesus.
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Old 03-30-2003, 06:13 PM   #59
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
The question I would pose to counter that is if you believe that other nations are blessed by God. Has God blessed Canada? Europe? Asia? The Middle East? Or do you think just America? I think the latter is what people think when that sentiment is evoked.
Melon
No, I do not believe God has blessed only America. I think many people have been blessed by God in ways the don't even realize. However, I don't think you're correct when you assume that people who say "God Bless America" are saying that God has only blessed America. I've never heard that in my life and I'm 35 years old. If that were the case, the saying would be "God bless just America and America alone". When people say "God Bless America", they are essentially saying two things:
1)God, please bless America (and what is wrong with asking God for blessings?) They're NOT saying "Please bless ONLY America"
2)God, thank you for blessing America.
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Old 03-30-2003, 06:15 PM   #60
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Quote:
Originally posted by Diemen


Yes, but does that mean that everything America does gains God's blessing as well? I certainly don't think so.
And neither do I. Nor have I ever made that claim, nor do most people.
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