heres an idea pass a law that says that any non-specific reference to god (in god we trust, god bless america ...) does not constitute an establishment of religion and shall be interpreted/ defined to mean "the source of good" this would work for any philosophy, religious or not, since any moral/ethical/logical system has things which are 'good' and those which are 'not good' Then maybe it would get rid of the whole 'help help im bein repressed, di you see 'im repressin me jus now?' whenever anyone dares to mention god on public property.
Except that wouldn't work either, Tom, since I know Bob, and believe you me, he ain't the source of "good." (That many bad puns can't come from anything completely "good." )
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maniacal, no mere law will stop the courts from "justly invoking their judicial review to interpret the constitution." besides, we've all seen what happens to laws that try to weaken Judicial review or get around it, they get CRUSHED. and there is definately ZERO chance of getting an amendment passed.
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This is actually interesting. Many conservatives are okay with the idea of gay marriage in the legal sense, just as long as they don't use the word marriage to describe the union. Marriage is reserved for the holy state of matrimony approved by the church. Now here is someone encouraging liberals to co-opt a holy word (THE holy word) to mean something non-religious. Interesting.
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None of it will change until the US is no longer a primarily Christian country. But did you know that the "under god" thing wasn't added till [url=http://history.vineyard.net//pledge.htm]1954[url]?
But what happens if I don't believe in god and I need to get sworn in to testify for something? What do I do then--just tell the judge it won't happen?
jonathan thats the point - in the oath that you take the word god will mean "the source of good" as a religious person i will believe that that is the god of abraham, isaac, and jacob. if a muslim is taking that oath they mean allah, a buddhist will mean the purple mist in the east, or whatever (ok so I'm not up on my buddhism). For an aetheist it will mean rational thought, or whatever they use for a source of good.
The point is that it would not be an establishment to merely use the word god.
brian, marriage currently means the union between a man and a women, and is so defined throughout human history in any society that I can think of. sometimes its polygamous, sometimes sex and child-rearing are separate, but the core of it is always there. God means different things to different people, but they all view god as the source of good, or maybe as the definer of good. any group that takes on faith a set of assumptions and then deduces a moral code is a religion. and all religions have something that, in that religion, defines what is good, or moral, or right, or not wrong, or whatever. The point is that aetheism meets this definition of a religion. and so then god, when said in an oath by an aetheist, would mean 'what I use to define good and evil'.
Again, ME, I wouldn't endorse your approach unless you agreed to use a word less steeped in monotheistic semantics than "god." (And while we're at it, it's worth noting that many religions actually believe in the existence of multiple gods, few of which could be considered a "source of good.")
If you substituted the word "plotz," perhaps: "one nation, under plotz." "In Plotz We Trust."
See? I'd be okay with that. I'd even be okay with "In the Source of Good We Trust," although I'd like to point out that being "under a 'source of good'" or "trusting" a non-sentient, impersonal "source of good" is really pointless, meaning that the whole thing would clearly just be an exercise in pointlessness for agnostics, Buddhists, and others.
But in the same way that you see an important semantic difference between "civil union" and "marriage," I see a very important semantic difference between "god" and "source of good."
Why not just admit that you're looking for any excuse to pledge allegiance to the Christian god that you can get past the courts?
[This message has been edited by TomDavidson (edited October 23, 2002).]
animist, then any oath you took would be suspect, since lying etc would not be off limits to you. I regard a person who does not believe that there is good, even relative good, as a very dangerous person indeed.
As i have thought about some of the posts on this thread, I think that i is important to note that the constitution does not deny the mention of god in government, but only forbids 'the establishment of religion' this proposal of mine just clarifies that merely mentioning god is not establishing a religion.
ev, yup, it does. and any specific reference to god still would. my idea would allow, for instance, the posting of the declaration of independence with its reference to a 'decent respect to nature and natures god' or words to that effect. Right now everyone gets their panties in a bunch claiming that it is a violation of the establishment clause. It is no such thing, and this would clarify it. All specific references to god would still mean what they now mean. Posts: 962 | Registered: Nov 2000
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So, ME, do you claim that the "god" mentioned in the phrase "under god" is, in fact, meant to be a generic god of nature? Because, if so, I'd be happy to produce several documents written by the people behind the original addition of that clause that make very clear, indeed, that they specifically meant the Christian "god." Posts: 22935 | Registered: Nov 2000
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ME- ANd why are you opposed to the accepting of your proposition IF god is changed to another word?
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quote:But what happens if I don't believe in god and I need to get sworn in to testify for something? What do I do then--just tell the judge it won't happen?
I happen to believe in god and even if I need to get sworn in to testify for something, I would still refuse to take God's name in vain (following the third commandment).
We could quibble about whether the original commandment refered only to the original Hebrew word or to the common translation into English as well. And also about how ME's proposal could modify the "meaning" of the word.
But personally, yes, I'd probably just tell the judge that as a person who believes in God and respects the truth I refuse to make a mockery of either by swearing to tell: The truth - as if I really knew it. The whole truth - as if the lawyers would let me tell it. Nothing but the truth - as if I could always know the difference.
I think I could probably get away with that in a US court of law. But if the judge happens to take a dislike to me as a witness because of that there is not much I can do about that, is there?
Just saw this dicussion and felt I must comment.
I take personal offense to passing legislation to say that 'Bob' is the source of all good. Bob is the source of Bobliness. It is not for unbelievers to contstrain Bob.
However I will pledge Bobly allegiance to the Bobly flag of the United Bobly States of America . . . one nation under Bob, with liberty, justice and Bobliness for all.
'In Bob we trust' works on coins too.
But simply partaking of Bobly pleasures and pledging your Bobly allegiance is not enough. The holy book of Bob is required reading for all who would claim to be Bobly followers. And it is essential that all people, unbelievers or not, understand this one, basic principle:
We worship Bob because his lawn is mowed.
P.S. Listen to the blessed follower TomBobDavidson . . . he can guide you in the true Bobly direction.
[This message has been edited by Falken224 (edited October 24, 2002).]
tom Which christian god? The catholic three in one? the mormon three distinct and separate with physical bodies? What I have in mind is somrthng like the 'higher power' that AA uses, but without all the smoking, cofee, and self introductions. Posts: 962 | Registered: Nov 2000
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But "higher power" still isn't PC for aetheists and agnostics. Having "god" or "higher power" mentioned anywhere in government is unnecassary and damaging. No sort of god is needed for the government; we're perfectly capable of creating our own laws without the help of religion's rules (which are often innane covenants with god). And saying "under god" seems to infer that the government has a sort of mandate of heaven, which is an outdated concept that has no place in the modern world.
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jonathan the omnimpotent, (sorry, couldn't resist, I am not omnipotent) To reiterate:
any group that takes on faith a set of assumptions and then deduces a moral code is a religion. The point is that aetheism meets this definition of a religion.
Aetheists are just as religious as me, they just call their philosophy non-religious. The assertion that there is no god, that knowable truth is only knowable by science and logic, and, that there is no truth, only opinion, these assertions are a matter of faith and not knowable by other epistemologies. I know aetheists who are in AA, their higher power is an ashtray named ralph, or a hedgehog named spiny norman, or richard stans (and to the republic for ... you know who) All I am asking is that a generic reference to god be legally interpreted, not as an establishment, but as an aknowledgement of whatever power in the universe that is greater than mankind.
The assumption that there is no god. Those who doubt if there is a god are agnostics. Atheists who make the positive claim that there is no god are making that assumption on pure faith and therefore qualify as a religion.
ME, just Jonathan is fine.I usually have my friends call me "Jon" but I find that a longer named makes me sound dignified and more important. [Insert wicked-grin emoticon here.] That, and I don't want to get confused with Jon Camp.
quote:any group that takes on faith a set of assumptions and then deduces a moral code is a religion. The point is that aetheism meets this definition of a religion.
I think a lot of aetheists would be a little infuriated at being called religious. Personally, I don't like the word "moral" because it invokes thoughts of religious piety. I've chosen not to believe in morals because of that, though I understand the two are not necessarily mutually inclusive. I regard it a prerequisite of any successful society that most of its members not treat each other like shtit, which is my replacement for "moral code." The only code I follow is logic; if I and everyone else treats each other with respect and dignity, then we'll all get along.
If you want to call following logic (and science) religious, so be it. But these are systems of reasoning and determination, not "higher powers." Science has no control over me--it's just the collective knowledge that our intelligence has accrued over the years. And the point of aetheism and agnosticism is that there are no (or may not be) higher powers.
So yeah, aetheism may be a belief system...but one that includes the belief that no higher power exists in the world. As an agnostic, I find it highly preumptuous for the government to claim and recognize a higher power--whatever it might or might not be--but also because I feel misrepresented every time I look at the back of a dollar bill. The government, in a way, speaks for what values I believe in: freedom is one; living "under god" is not.
But the issue is what good would a generic reference of a "higher power" do? I can only envision bad things coming from it, as recognition of a higher power invites laws regarding that power. I see no place for "god" in government or legal terminology in any form or interpretation. What good do you see coming from such an acknowledgement?
"any group that takes on faith a set of assumptions and then deduces a moral code is a religion. The point is that aetheism meets this definition of a religion."
Several problems with that statement just from the perspective of an atheist.
1) I don't take on faith that there is no god. I consistently say there is a chance god exists. My view point is that an agnostic is someone who is looking for god, an atheist is someone who looked, hasn't found god, and has given up, and acts under the supposition god does not exist.
2)Atheism is not a "Group." It is a definition. Likewise, we could say that all materialists are a "Group." Well, technically, yes. They are teh subset of humans who believe that only matter exists, and souls or ideas do not.
3) Atheists, as a general rule of thumb, aren't taking anything on faith from which a moral code can be derived. This is because atheists have whole VARIETIES of moral codes, ranging from amoralism, to moral relativism, to deontologicalism, and beyond. Whereas a group taking on faith something from which a moral code can be derived, (i.e. god) arrive at moral absolutism.
4) "he point is that aetheism meets this definition of a religion."" Well, atheism ISN'T a religion, for the reason you missed due to the above problems, and also the further reason that you then mis-defined religion. Just using dictionary.com as a starting point
"re·li·gion Pronunciation Key (r-ljn) n.
Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe. A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship.
The life or condition of a person in a religious order. A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader. A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion."
Atheism meets none of these definitions for a religion. Further, I think that religions need to be grounded in something beyond a moral code. Would you say that christianity is a religion because it establishes a moral code? No. There is more going on in religion then morality, and thats because morality is a seperate concept from religion. Religion ecompasses ideas that are not morals, and morality encompasses whole ranges of ideas that don't belong in religion.
an atheist 'acts under the assumption that god does not exist'. Isn't that taken on faith? it can't be proved scientifically since you cant subject god to a test. IOW science is an invalid epistemology for supernatural or transcendant truth.
not a group? isnt there a united atheist of america or something? i dont think that there is a united materialists of america.
'Not taking anything on faith from which a moral code can be derived' If you assume that man has no divine component to his being that will inform any and every moral decision you make, or even your conception of if their is such a thing as morality.
as far as definitions "a cause, principal, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion" sure sounds like a lot of atheists I have encountered. or maybe they are anti-theists and that is their religion. But you can't be anti something if it doesn't exist, so I guess they are aetheists. and it sure feels like a religion to me when I get similar treatment from aetheists that I get from ... oh.. southern baptists for instance.
further there are some things like (strains to remember) taoism or confucianism, in which there are no divine beings, but they talk about universal energy or something. Aetheist talk about logic, reason, the scientific method, etc as being the ultimate authority. I submit that that constellation of ideas is the aetheists 'god'. whatever the dictionary definition, aetheism is the functional equivalent of religion. why not just recognize it as such.
The thing, M_E, is that there's a HUGE difference between "god" and "something that's really important to me."
Atheists might have things -- including baseless beliefs -- that are really important to them, but they don't consider those things to be "gods."
This is a fairly important difference, and not just a semantic one. It's part of the reason why redefining the word "god" as you're seeking to do simply won't work, because it's like redefining the word "porcupine" to include badgers.
I have to contend part of the definition asserted by Ev's dictionary.
quote:A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader.
Religion isn't necessarily pontificated by a spiritual leader. It's usually like that, today, but thousands of years ago religion was a very personal matter. Spiritual leaders evolved from certain belief systems, and not always in the same way (ie: shamans instead of priests).
As a belief system, it is similar, though there really isn't any spiritual--or unspiritual leader--for aetheists.
But the big difference is that religion exists to reconcile the supernatural. It is used for the time when current scientific knowledge is unable to explain the unknown--until the last few hundred years, that was just about everything you couldn't see with your own eyes.
The whole point of aetheism is to not believe in any mythos at all, much less an ultimate authority. To atheists, all of the mythos in religious literature is hogwash--a futile attempt at explaining the unknown with stories. And defining science as an ultimate authority is counterintuitive; science is fueled by the fact that we have no ultimate authority to explain everything to us, and all theories in science can be disproven with sufficient proof. Nothing is set in stone. Is it an authority, nonetheless, if not ultimate? Maybe, but aetheists don't worship it any way shape or form.
I agree with you, ME, so far as belief system goes, but science is no deity, and the basic tenet in aetheism is that there is no such thing as supernatural.
But back to the original question--what good do you think, ME, can come if you replace "god" with something more benign (as if there is such a desirable alternative)?
[This message has been edited by JonathanTheOmnipotent (edited October 25, 2002).]
"an atheist 'acts under the assumption that god does not exist'. Isn't that taken on faith? it can't be proved scientifically since you cant subject god to a test. IOW science is an invalid epistemology for supernatural or transcendant truth."
Well, this is almost true... except you took what I said about acting under assumptions out of its context. Yes, some atheists accept on faith that god does not exist. Those of us with internally consistent philosophies don't. I don't have faith god doesn't exist. I believe he doesn't, but leave myself a 2% margin of error where god DOES exist. I haven't found him, and at this point, the onus is on god to make himself known to me if he wants my attention. Secondly, science isn't the only epistomological method to atheism... another trap you appear to be falling into. While science is a nul-epistomology to the transcendent, logical induction and deduction are not, nor is emotive induction.
"not a group? isnt there a united atheist of america or something? i dont think that there is a united materialists of america."
There probably is, and it probably represents the same percentage of materialists as any atheist group in the U.S. Atheism is NOT a group, other then by philosophical definition. There are as many versions of atheism as there are atheists. There is no gathering of atheists do worship or discuss atheism, no organizational structure of the belief, etc.
"'Not taking anything on faith from which a moral code can be derived' If you assume that man has no divine component to his being that will inform any and every moral decision you make, or even your conception of if their is such a thing as morality."
Don't you see how the complexity of that sentence invalidates your assertion? If a moral code can be derived from something, then other moral codes that are also derived from it are incorrect. That is, iff X--->A, iff X---/>B, unless A=B.
"as far as definitions "a cause, principal, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion" sure sounds like a lot of atheists I have encountered. or maybe they are anti-theists and that is their religion. But you can't be anti something if it doesn't exist, so I guess they are aetheists. and it sure feels like a religion to me when I get similar treatment from aetheists that I get from ... oh.. southern baptists for instance." The question here is, do atheists do this? Yes. Do even most of athiests do this? No. Do homosexuals do this? Yes. Do all homosexuals do this? No. Is homosexuality a religion? No.
"further there are some things like (strains to remember) taoism or confucianism, in which there are no divine beings, but they talk about universal energy or something. Aetheist talk about logic, reason, the scientific method, etc as being the ultimate authority. I submit that that constellation of ideas is the aetheists 'god'." Again, not all atheists think this way. And, you'll note, that the ultimate authority, as you put it, for an atheist, is a very different sort of thing then the ultimate authority for a taoist. Logic, reason, and the scientific method, make up an epistomological method. God, or even universal energies, are quite abit different from epistomological methods.
"whatever the dictionary definition, aetheism is the functional equivalent of religion. why not just recognize it as such."
Because its NOT. Religion, and philosophical beliefs, are very different things, and as much as certain branches of christianity want to merge the two, they are not even remotely the same thing. Atheism isn't a functional religion, at least in part because there is no shared history, no shared story, no shared culture, no shared morality, and no shared dogma (beyond that god doesn't exist, which, again, is a belief, and if thats the definition for a religion, then everyone who shares a belief is a member of that particular religion. E.g. I believe that the sky is blue, and other people do as well. We are all part of the religion "blueskyism." THis is a false statement).
quote:But the big difference is that religion exists to reconcile the supernatural. It is used for the time when current scientific knowledge is unable to explain the unknown--until the last few hundred years, that was just about everything you couldn't see with your own eyes.
whoo says thats why religion exists. My religion exists because god came to earth and said do this and such. there is really minimal discussion of reconciling the supernatural or explaining the unexplained.
Mythos: 2)a pattern of beliefs expressing, often symbolically, the characteristic or prevalent attitudes in a group or culture
quote:The whole point of aetheism is to not believe in any mythos at all, much less an ultimate authority.
Aetheists have no symbolic espression of the prevelant attitudes in their group? Ev's quote that follows yours uses symbology to express a logical proposition (which symbology i actually am unfamiliar with, although I think I get the gist of it) I have heard radio interviews with the leader of the aforementioned united aetheist, in which she described the aetheist symbol, an atom with an A on the nucleus and open ellipses as orbits. she noted that the orbits are open, denoting that scientific aetheists are open to new truth. Sounds like a religious symbol to me.
quote: Is it an authority, nonetheless, if not ultimate? Maybe, but aetheists don't worship it any way shape or form.
worship: 2)to regard with great, even extravagant respect, honor, or devotion. if you use science for all truth, in other words if you hold that only science is a valid way to know truth, then I would say that that holding is, essentially, worship. definition 1) is to honor or reverence as a divine being or supernatural power. aetheist would say that they do not fit this because they deny anything divine or supernatural.
eddie please note that i said a ***nonspecific*** reference. If you say 'Allah' that is a specific god, just as if you say jesus, jehovah, yahweh, elohim gautauma, vishnu etc you are referring to a specific god. A specific god is arguably more of an establishment of religion, because it establishes a specific religion. As far as the pledge goes, my canadian born wife doesn't say the pledge at all. she just stands politely and silently.
I'd say that there are organizations. I would also agree that most atheists are not particularly devout.
quote:While science is a nul-epistomology to the transcendent, logical induction and deduction are not, nor is emotive induction.
logical induction and deduction may be able to deal with the transcendant, but what do you use as the data on which to base the logic? there must be some premise which is held as axiomatic. That premise is the foundation of whatever you logically construct, and it is held on faith, just as religion is based on faith. let me make sure that i understand your symbology "iff X--->A" means A necessarily follows from premise X, "iff X--/>B" means B necessarily does not follow from premise X. , unless A=B. Ok, but X=man is not merely an animal/ is touched by the divine, god exists. Y= god is a silly fiction. then iff X--->A, iff Y--->B. whats the problem?
"God, or even universal energies, are quite abit different from epistomological methods." the Taoist concept of deity is closer to the atheist ultimate authority (which should maybe be called TRUTH), than it is to the personal monotheist god of judaism/chritianity/islam. ( I am gradually refining this thing, I'll get there eventually) atheists must believe in truth, otherwise why get all worked up about religion.
quote: Atheism isn't a functional religion, at least in part because there is no shared history, no shared story, no shared culture, no shared morality, and no shared dogma (beyond that god doesn't exist, which, again, is a belief, and if thats the definition for a religion, then everyone who shares a belief is a member of that particular religion. E.g. I believe that the sky is blue, and other people do as well. We are all part of the religion "blueskyism." THis is a false statement).
there IS a shared story, the big-bang-red-giants-to-white-dwarfs story. there IS a shared dogma as you pointed out. As for homosexuality or bluesky-ism being a religion- maybe I need to refine this thing further. blues sky can be observed and quantitatively measured; blue sky is not used as a basis for moral decisions (it wouldn't be OK to attack Iraq, except that the sky is blue), belief in blue sky does not distinguish anyone from anyone else. blueskyims is not a religion. Homosexuality, that is being attracted to the same sex, is not, by itself, a religion. any more than a sweet tooth, or intolerance for alcohol is a religion. but the **assumption** by gays that their natural inclination is OK, or that they can do what they want, or that their sexual behavior is equivalent to straight' ; those assumptions might make it a religion.
(edited to complete a comparative statement that was left hanging)
[This message has been edited by maniacal_engineer (edited October 25, 2002).]
I'm sorry, M_E, but you're basically saying that any philosophical stance is, if adopted by a movement, inherently a religion.
Now, I'll agree that some specific atheist organizations are, indeed, probably religions: the Secular Humanists, the Unitarian Universalists, etc. They've got a stated moral code, a creed, a list of general beliefs, etc. But those atheists who just simply DON'T BELIEVE IN A GOD -- especially if they don't hang out with other atheists to talk about it -- can hardly be considered religious.
As you've pointed out, the word "god" can be a generic term describing multiple gods (though, of course, it's unfortunate that the Western world insists on referring to THEIR god as "God," in the same way that we call our planet "Earth;" you might well assume that aliens would have trouble pledging allegiance to earth, even if you insisted that you meant ANY planet with earth on it.)
The bigger problem, however, is that the term "god" is, after all, only a generic reference to a single god -- and there are plenty of non-theistic and polytheistic people out there who wouldn't find the term acceptable.
As I've said, I have no problem pledging to some nebulous "source of good," provided you can find some term for it that doesn't involve divinity. Frankly, the fact that you seem unwilling to make that attempt suggests to me that you have ulterior motives driving your choice of words.
Summation. Atheism as itself is a belief. From the fact god does not exist, you cannot derive a moral code. If you add premises to the fact god does not exist, then you can. Atheism, as itself, is not a religion, nor are their groups of atheists, as atheists. Atheist organizations do exist, and some of these may be religions, however, to say that all atheists are religious is to say that all blue-sky observing people are members of a religion, or that all materialists are members of a religion.
ME, I'm not sure where to go, because you are taking the fact SOME atheists exhibit religious tendencies, and applying this to the belief atheism, and saying atheism is a religion. Atheism is only a religion if you start adding things to it... at which point you are no longer talking about the philosophical belief atheism, you are taking about a philosophical belief structure, which includes more then just a single belief in the absence of god. A philosophical belief structure, IF it includes certain things, may be a religion. But the key word there is structure, and atheism is not a structure. Its a single concept from which almost nothing can be explicitly derived.