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Old 06-19-2007, 04:49 PM   #211
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So here, in the United States, what is a Christian to do? Suppress our moral conscience, or openly support public policy in line with Judeo-Christian morals? Argue the issues at hand solely in secular terms, or use religious language and arguments? Fight for justice, or accept injustice?
Since when is respecting minority religious views "suppressing moral conscience?"
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Old 06-19-2007, 05:14 PM   #212
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Since when is doing the right thing dependent on having faith in a higher power.
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Old 06-19-2007, 05:24 PM   #213
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So who orchestrated the massive hijack of my thread?

It wasn't me!
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Old 06-19-2007, 07:14 PM   #214
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What role do you want to see for Christianity in the USA?
I would really appreciate seeing this spelled out, as well--there's a huge difference between politicians feeling free to invoke God and their own personal religious sensibilities in their speeches, or a Deist indentifying God as the source of that capacity for Reason which grants men the right to rule themselves unimpeded by 'divinely revealed' legal absolutes or 'divinely authorized' kings...and, on the other hand, arguing that the 'Founding Fathers' intended the Christian Bible to be preferentially used as a source for legislation, or that American schoolchildren must invoke a personal God they may or may not believe in as the price of being allowed to share in the swearing of allegiance to our country, Constitutional stipulations against 'religious tests' for public office and eligibility for citizenship regardless of creed notwithstanding. I really am not very clear at all as to where between those two points all this vague rhetoric about 'public religion and faith' or 'God in the public square' is tending towards.
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All I can say is I believe there to be an ongoing intellectual and societal struggle between two world-views. Between the Judeo-Christian philosophy and materialism or secular values. (Islam is a 3rd) I believe the Judeo-Christian model to be better for mankind. The better to deal with questions of morality and the better to confront true evil in the world.

Europe has shown us the results of embracing secularism. There the eroding of Christianity led to Nazism and Communism in the last century and they find themselves now economically stagnate, aging, unable to defend themselves militarily, intellectually or culturally, and morally unprepared to meet the challenges presented by Islamic immigration.

So here, in the United States, what is a Christian to do? Suppress our moral conscience, or openly support public policy in line with Judeo-Christian morals? Argue the issues at hand solely in secular terms, or use religious language and arguments? Fight for justice, or accept injustice?
Accept the wisdom of John Adams "Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other." Or follow in the footsteps of Europe?

Civilization has never seen a greater success than the American experiment. Public religion and faith, while only one of many, have been a vital thread in that great tapestry...let's not remove it.
Wow. You know, as many times as I've gotten vocally cranky in here about a certain kind of facile and stereotype-driven anti-Americanism that rears its head occasionally, now you're making me feel as if I owe our European posters an apology for what some of them may understandably take as the implication that their cultures are shit, their states impotent and degenerate, and their hard-earned attitudes towards the role of religion vis-a-vis the state responsible for the actions of Hitler and Stalin. As Irvine asked--have you spent much time in Europe lately? How do you suppose Native Americans feel about this "greatest success of civilization" that is "the American experiment"? Do you expect me as a Jew of European descent not to laugh at loud at the implied concept that the Nazis apparently introduced the "godless" "new idea" of the 'Jewish threat' to a 'post-Reformation Northern Europe' in which we apparently previously enjoyed full religious and civic freedoms (ever read Luther's vicious little tome, On the Jews and Their Lies--one of the Nazis' favorite texts--in which he advocated his own 'final solutions' to the Jewish problem)? Do you really see 18th, 19th and early 20th century Russian history as providing a solidly analogous background for the speculation that that was where an increasingly irreligious Western Europe was headed but for...I don't know...the grace of God? Have you not noticed that the tension in Western thought between the ideals of individualism, personal liberty, capitalism, materialist empiricism etc. on the hand, and the 'greater good' of the community, nationalism, civic responsibility and the 'social contract' on the other, is a theme which rears it head over and over in numerous intellectual arenas, and is hardly limited to the alleged debate between secularism and 'Judeo-Christian philosophy' (whichever version that means, and pardon me for harboring doubts as to how much you really know about the history of Jewish thought as opposed to the 'Christianity, Act I' version)? Can you not understand why our status as the last Western country to abolish slavery (setting aside the continuation of segregation for a century afterwards); one of the last to extend suffrage to women; the excesses of the "Red Scare" years; the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII; the not inconsiderable economic and political advantages we reaped from escaping all-out ravaging of our economy and infrastructure during WWII; our own bitter disputes over how to handle our own "immigration crisis", and so on, might cause the rest of the Western world to look with skepticism on the triumphalism of your "greatest success of civilization" claim?

Your characterization of the French Revolution is similarly, almost breathtakingly selective. Yes, there were certainly radical atheists like Hebert, but also Deists like Robespierre, Theophilanthropists like Lepeaux, and Jacobin nationalists like Marat centrally involved; not to mention that that revolution on the whole had, in contrast to ours, very much the character of a ferocious civil war, a fever pitch of anti-clericalism which had long since reached its peak in Britain, and a culmination in an exhausted slide into coup d'etat and the dictatorship of Napoleon. Inarguably a profoundly influential phase in the development of modern Western political culture, but also a lousy point of comparison to our own Revolution in many ways--just ask de Tocqueville.

As I said above, I'm reluctant to condemn your conclusions about the proper place of religion in our 'public square' without having a clear fix on what kinds of consequences that ideally entails for you. But all this heavy-handed, selective generalizing about points of comparison between recent American and European political history, and tendency to fall back on Such-and-such-revered-American-figure-was-Christian-and-proud-of-it,-therefore-secularism-is-corrupting-and-evil type of argument doesn't convince me of much of anything, other than that you like the fact that Christianity remains a central fixture of American society and culture (which is fine, and hardly something that bothers me) but apparently want something more, and specifically political, to come from that (which does trouble me, but then again I have no clear idea what you mean by it).
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Old 06-19-2007, 08:59 PM   #215
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or maybe someone's just reading too much Dennis Prager.
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Old 06-19-2007, 09:29 PM   #216
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I would really appreciate seeing this spelled out, as well--there's a huge difference between politicians feeling free to invoke God and their own personal religious sensibilities in their speeches, or a Deist indentifying God as the source of that capacity for Reason which grants men the right to rule themselves unimpeded by 'divinely revealed' legal absolutes or 'divinely authorized' kings...and, on the other hand, arguing that the 'Founding Fathers' intended the Christian Bible to be preferentially used as a source for legislation, or that American schoolchildren must invoke a personal God they may or may not believe in as the price of being allowed to share in the swearing of allegiance to our country, Constitutional stipulations against 'religious tests' for public office and eligibility for citizenship regardless of creed notwithstanding. I really am not very clear at all as to where between those two points all this vague rhetoric about 'public religion and faith' or 'God in the public square' is tending towards.
I would like to believe that people just like to embrace a Christian identity on a personal level and want to see it codified as a national identity while being fully unaware of the rights that secular governance is able to afford them and the religious pluralism enabled by it But taking the package of items that the generalised Christian right embrace I think that it is a way of garnering political support for their side on gay marriage, abortion, evolution, education, censorship, stem cell research and issues not yet on the radar by casting it as a way of bringing Christian values back and casting out the evils of secular atheistic materialism (abortions, faggotry and porn).

Of course with the first amendment being phrased the way that it is and a not insignificant part of the populus always looking at issues that cross the line (thank you political left) there shouldn't come a time when Christianity is given such special recognition - which just means that having a secular government is going to be the perpetual rallying point for such cultural crusades.

What strikes me is how the idea of being morally good depends so much on faith, how one can objectively be a good person but unless you embrace a creator as the reason that your good or why you do good then your entire worldview is supposedly subjective and meaningless with a tendency towards evil. There are plenty of good evolutionary reasons for good behaviour in social networks mathematical models can help reveal how behaviours can be mutually advantageous. And as subjective as looking at the world from a materialist perspective is good things still feel just as right because of how our brains work and not because God made it so.
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Old 06-19-2007, 10:08 PM   #217
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Originally posted by yolland

I would really appreciate seeing this spelled out, as well--there's a huge difference between politicians feeling free to invoke God and their own personal religious sensibilities in their speeches, or a Deist indentifying God as the source of that capacity for Reason which grants men the right to rule themselves unimpeded by 'divinely revealed' legal absolutes or 'divinely authorized' kings...and, on the other hand, arguing that the 'Founding Fathers' intended the Christian Bible to be preferentially used as a source for legislation, or that American schoolchildren must invoke a personal God they may or may not believe in as the price of being allowed to share in the swearing of allegiance to our country, Constitutional stipulations against 'religious tests' for public office and eligibility for citizenship regardless of creed notwithstanding. I really am not very clear at all as to where between those two points all this vague rhetoric about 'public religion and faith' or 'God in the public square' is tending towards.

Wow. You know, as many times as I've gotten vocally cranky in here about a certain kind of facile and stereotype-driven anti-Americanism that rears its head occasionally, now you're making me feel as if I owe our European posters an apology for what some of them may understandably take as the implication that their cultures are shit, their states impotent and degenerate, and their hard-earned attitudes towards the role of religion vis-a-vis the state responsible for the actions of Hitler and Stalin. As Irvine asked--have you spent much time in Europe lately? How do you suppose Native Americans feel about this "greatest success of civilization" that is "the American experiment"? Do you expect me as a Jew of European descent not to laugh at loud at the implied concept that the Nazis apparently introduced the "godless" "new idea" of the 'Jewish threat' to a 'post-Reformation Northern Europe' in which we apparently previously enjoyed full religious and civic freedoms (ever read Luther's vicious little tome, On the Jews and Their Lies--one of the Nazis' favorite texts--in which he advocated his own 'final solutions' to the Jewish problem)? Do you really see 18th, 19th and early 20th century Russian history as providing a solidly analogous background for the speculation that that was where an increasingly irreligious Western Europe was headed but for...I don't know...the grace of God? Have you not noticed that the tension in Western thought between the ideals of individualism, personal liberty, capitalism, materialist empiricism etc. on the hand, and the 'greater good' of the community, nationalism, civic responsibility and the 'social contract' on the other, is a theme which rears it head over and over in numerous intellectual arenas, and is hardly limited to the alleged debate between secularism and 'Judeo-Christian philosophy' (whichever version that means, and pardon me for harboring doubts as to how much you really know about the history of Jewish thought as opposed to the 'Christianity, Act I' version)? Can you not understand why our status as the last Western country to abolish slavery (setting aside the continuation of segregation for a century afterwards); one of the last to extend suffrage to women; the excesses of the "Red Scare" years; the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII; the not inconsiderable economic and political advantages we reaped from escaping all-out ravaging of our economy and infrastructure during WWII; our own bitter disputes over how to handle our own "immigration crisis", and so on, might cause the rest of the Western world to look with skepticism on the triumphalism of your "greatest success of civilization" claim?

Your characterization of the French Revolution is similarly, almost breathtakingly selective. Yes, there were certainly radical atheists like Hebert, but also Deists like Robespierre, Theophilanthropists like Lepeaux, and Jacobin nationalists like Marat centrally involved; not to mention that that revolution on the whole had, in contrast to ours, very much the character of a ferocious civil war, a fever pitch of anti-clericalism which had long since reached its peak in Britain, and a culmination in an exhausted slide into coup d'etat and the dictatorship of Napoleon. Inarguably a profoundly influential phase in the development of modern Western political culture, but also a lousy point of comparison to our own Revolution in many ways--just ask de Tocqueville.

As I said above, I'm reluctant to condemn your conclusions about the proper place of religion in our 'public square' without having a clear fix on what kinds of consequences that ideally entails for you. But all this heavy-handed, selective generalizing about points of comparison between recent American and European political history, and tendency to fall back on Such-and-such-revered-American-figure-was-Christian-and-proud-of-it,-therefore-secularism-is-corrupting-and-evil type of argument doesn't convince me of much of anything, other than that you like the fact that Christianity remains a central fixture of American society and culture (which is fine, and hardly something that bothers me) but apparently want something more, and specifically political, to come from that (which does trouble me, but then again I have no clear idea what you mean by it).
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Old 06-19-2007, 10:09 PM   #218
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Yolland for President!
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Old 06-19-2007, 10:34 PM   #219
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Originally posted by A_Wanderer
What strikes me is how the idea of being morally good depends so much on faith, how one can objectively be a good person but unless you embrace a creator as the reason that your good or why you do good then your entire worldview is supposedly subjective and meaningless with a tendency towards evil.


and what remains striking is how much better the secular humanist Blue States of, say, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, California, New Jersey, etc., do on these supposed Christian values -- divorce, teen pregnancy, abortion, domestic violence, drug abuse -- than do the Bible Belt states of, say, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, and Arkansas.

and the difference, of course, is education and economics. nothing to do with the presence or absence of religion.
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Old 06-20-2007, 05:32 AM   #220
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You know, all kidding aside, Americans are literally fed this dogma from the time they can speak...that we're "free-er", or that we're the only free country, or that America is the only place where you have opportunities blah blah blah. Now that propaganda is probably there by design, to keep us docile and satisfied with the status quo.

I love my country, really, but I don't think being American makes me better off than being Irish, or German, or Swiss, or whatever. And I cringe when I hear somebody repeat it, that we are, because there's sure to be someone ready to point out that most Americans can't tell where on a map Iraq is, reinforcing the stereotype that we're a bunch of morons.
I certainly don't believe that all Americans are morons, the majority of posters here are obviously American and I have the deepest respect for you all.

It just baffles me that anyone can believe that nonsense about Europe as much as it baffles me anyone can believe all Americans are idiots.
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Old 06-20-2007, 09:49 AM   #221
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It just baffles me that anyone can believe that nonsense about Europe as much as it baffles me anyone can believe all Americans are idiots.


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Old 06-20-2007, 09:58 AM   #222
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and what remains striking is how much better the secular humanist Blue States of, say, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, California, New Jersey, etc., do on these supposed Christian values -- divorce, teen pregnancy, abortion, domestic violence, drug abuse -- than do the Bible Belt states of, say, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, and Arkansas.

and the difference, of course, is education and economics. nothing to do with the presence or absence of religion.
Irvine has bingo!
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Old 06-20-2007, 10:31 AM   #223
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and the difference, of course, is education and economics. nothing to do with the presence or absence of religion.
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