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auron
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I've started reading Sean Hannity. Maybe that's the problem.

Anyway, I've become increasingly aware of a not-so-uncommon belief that America's constitution is based on Christian principles. It's not an implausible belief. After all, the founding fathers were largely Christians, partially Deists, and maybe one atheist.

What concerns me is that some people seem to be stretching this notion to an implausible conclusion: America's constitution is based on Christian principles, therefore our government is a Christian government. As a Christian government, we enjoy the favor of God. It is therefore our responsibility to spread not only the word of God, but this favored system of government, all over the world. We are unquestionably right in this endeavor, because we're following God.

No one says that; at least, not many people say it very loudly. But I suspect that a number of prominent figures in governmnet and media hold this belief, if indirectly. They express it as spreding American values, including freedom and democracy, worldwide. It's sort of a neocon/theocon joint venture. Maybe the founding fathers intended it; maybe they didn't. In any case, it's wrong.

It's wrong for the same reason religious government and religious wars and presumed religious righteousness are wrong. Pretty much every religion -- at least the major ones -- teach that only God is infallible, and then man is very, very fallible; in fact, inclined to do wrong. Only by acting in accordance with the will of God can man escape his wrong tendencies. The problem is, man also assumes that if God is infallible, and his actions are in accordance with the will of God, then his actions are infallible. His actions can't be wrong, because they're what God wants. What these men never bother to consider is that, in their fallibility, they may have misjudged God's will. This is why men can fly planes into buildings and never suspect that they're doing wrong; indeed, they expect an afterlife full of reward.

Some of America's governmental leaders have assumed infallibility. Especially the president, who has scared me on more than one occasion with his talk of being divinely chosen, carrying out a mission, etc. So many people -- or perhaps a few people with very loud voices -- have lashed out at liberals for lacking the 'moral courage' and 'strength of conviction' to go through with proposed actions, including some measures in the war on terrorism and the war in Iraq. But what these liberals are doing, purposefully or by accident, is what all of us should have been doing from day one -- questioning ourselves.

Even when we're sure we're right, we can be wrong, and often are. Instead of a religious idea -- assumed infallibility -- maybe we ought to consider a scientific one. Observe, advance and test hypotheses, form a theory, and move forward in the assumption that this theory are correct -- but always keep the door open for a new theory.

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KnightEnder
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Amen!

KE

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Harmony
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"Especially the president, who has scared me on more than one occasion with his talk of being divinely chosen".
Did Mr Bush say that or I misunderstood ? If yes, does he think he is a king ? Normally only the "old fashioned kings" thought they were devinely chosen. That might be the after effects of the sins of his previous life !
Maybe it's time to make your revolution !

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Kent
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Of course I believe that America is great and it should spread freedom/democracy throughout the world. Of course I believe that God protects America as long as it is good. But there is no way you are going to get me to admit it.
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KnightEnder
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"freedom/democracy"" What if they don't want democracy once they are free?

KE

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Kent
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Come on KE, it's obvious, we let them elect a tyrant and do it all over again until they learn. Raising a democracy takes time. You can't be short-sighted about a democratic hegemony.
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KnightEnder
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Silly me.
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Everard
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"Of course I believe that America is great and it should spread freedom/democracy throughout the world. Of course I believe that God protects America as long as it is good. But there is no way you are going to get me to admit it."

I love litotes *grin*

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The Drake
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Only if his brother Jeb becomes King Bush III, Harmony. No revolution until then.

"I believe that God wants me to be president."

This is the quote that is most often cited. It was given when he was running for office in 2000.

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Kent
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I belive that God wants me to be God. Vote for me.
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Harmony
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The bushs' are the american "bourbons" : a real dynasty !

[Wink]

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auron
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"Of course I believe that America is great and it should spread freedom/democracy throughout the world. Of course I believe that God protects America as long as it is good."

I wasn't saying don't believe. I was saying that believing doesn't make you correct, and that you ought to recognize that.

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Kent
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Auron. Come now, I'm willing to recognize it; then dismiss it.
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TCB
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Auron said:

quote:
Anyway, I've become increasingly aware of a not-so-uncommon belief that America's constitution is based on Christian principles. It's not an implausible belief. After all, the founding fathers were largely Christians, partially Deists, and maybe one atheist.
I read on arts and letters daily not long ago an article addressing the idea that America was founded on Christian principles. A quote I found very interesting was taken from the Treaty of Tripoli, ratified in 1797, just 10 years after the completion of the Constitution:

quote:
As the Government of the United States...is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion--as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity of Musselmen--and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
This treaty was written and unanimously ratified by our founding fathers. I can't imagine a stronger rejection of the idea that this nation was founded on Christian principles.

Some might argue that, while the treaty clearly states that our nation was not founded on the Christian religion, it was still founded on Christian principles. Perhaps 2000 years ago some ideas were exclusively Christian. However, by the time our nation was born most of these ideas had diffused into the larger Western culture, and Christianity lost the right to claim exclusivity. In other words, in the late 18th century, most Christian ideas were simultaneously Enlightenment ideas.

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auron
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quote:
Originally posted by Kent:
Auron. Come now, I'm willing to recognize it; then dismiss it.

Good enough for me. [Big Grin]
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towellman
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Is democracy not the best form of government in the world today?
Should we not care about other inhabitants of the world?

I don't think the desire to spread democracy comes exclusively from the religious of this country, nor does assiciation with religious leaders make it necessarily wrong (at least for people who still think). No, The obvious "yes" answers to the above question provide reason enough to try to spread democracy.

"Especially the president, who has scared me on more than one occasion with his talk of being divinely chosen, carrying out a mission, etc"

Ok, so do ministers or priests scare you? Most of them felt divinely called to a specific purpose in life. Just because someone feels they have a "calling" to pursue a certain vocation doesn't make them evil, scary or unqualified.

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auron
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quote:
Is democracy not the best form of government in the world today?
As far as I know, it is.
quote:
Should we not care about other inhabitants of the world?
I believe we should.
quote:
The obvious "yes" answers to the above question provide reason enough to try to spread democracy.
First, the answers aren't obvious to everyone. And second, no they don't, any more than two yes answers to
a)do you not believe that oreos are the best food in the world? and
b)should we not care about world access to food?
would imply that we should go around spreading oreos, although that does sound like a delicious plan. I repeat: your belief in something does not make it right. You have a point in that we should only act on what we believe, but when we're talking about something as serious as forcible regime change, we ought to make sure that our idea is the absolute correct one. And that means accepting dissent, accepting criticism, and being ready to accept the possibility that we are wrong.
quote:
I don't think the desire to spread democracy comes exclusively from the religious of this country, nor does assiciation with religious leaders make it necessarily wrong (at least for people who still think).
You're right on both counts; religious people aren't the only ones who want to spread democracy, and the desire to spread democracy is not wrong based on its association with religious leaders. What is wrong is that they assume they're always right, and the other guy is always wrong, without considering the possibility that this might not be the case. I'm not criticizing religion; I'm criticizing the way it's used by these leaders. And, for that matter, I'm criticizing anyone who refuses to consider the possibility that they're wrong.
quote:
Ok, so do ministers or priests scare you?
Some do, yes. Esepcially Jerry Falwell.
quote:
Just because someone feels they have a "calling" to pursue a certain vocation doesn't make them evil, scary or unqualified.
It does when they're my president. As an example: if I believe that God chose me to post this message (ignore, for the sake of hypothetical, the irony of that situation) then there's no use arguing with me. I've got God on my side, and to stand against me is tantamount to define His divine will. I have attained infallibility by association with God.

I would prefer to be ruled by a guy who will listen to dissent and make a well thought out decision than someone who thinks his decisions carry the weight of heaven.

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Kosmic_Fool
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quote:
Is democracy not the best form of government in the world today?
"It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." ~ Sir Winston Churchill

Sorry, just couldn't avoid the lead-in. [Smile]

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KnightEnder
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auron,

Well said.

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Paladine
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quote:
What concerns me is that some people seem to be stretching this notion to an implausible conclusion: America's constitution is based on Christian principles, therefore our government is a Christian government. As a Christian government, we enjoy the favor of God. It is therefore our responsibility to spread not only the word of God, but this favored system of government, all over the world. We are unquestionably right in this endeavor, because we're following God.
Give me a break. We established a government in Afghanistan that recognizes Islam as its official religion. We're not Christianizing anyone. This isn't a crusade, no matter how much many on the Left might like to paint it as such.

quote:
No one says that; at least, not many people say it very loudly. But I suspect that a number of prominent figures in governmnet and media hold this belief, if indirectly. They express it as spreding American values, including freedom and democracy, worldwide. It's sort of a neocon/theocon joint venture. Maybe the founding fathers intended it; maybe they didn't. In any case, it's wrong.
Well, that's quite a bold assertion for someone who goes on to decry the absolutism of others. Perhaps that statement merits a bit of qualification? Additionally, I hardly think we're "imposing American values" upon anyone. We're allowing people to draw up their own constitutions with their own (mostly Islamic) values, which are at times quite different from our own.

quote:
It's wrong for the same reason religious government and religious wars and presumed religious righteousness are wrong. Pretty much every religion -- at least the major ones -- teach that only God is infallible, and then man is very, very fallible; in fact, inclined to do wrong. Only by acting in accordance with the will of God can man escape his wrong tendencies. The problem is, man also assumes that if God is infallible, and his actions are in accordance with the will of God, then his actions are infallible. His actions can't be wrong, because they're what God wants. What these men never bother to consider is that, in their fallibility, they may have misjudged God's will. This is why men can fly planes into buildings and never suspect that they're doing wrong; indeed, they expect an afterlife full of reward.
And I'm endlessly astonished that you manage to paint with so broad a brush and have room left on the canvas for anything resembling reality. Every adherent to any major religion who tries his level best to act according to what he thinks to be God's wishes thinks himself to be infallable? I'm a Catholic, and my Church teaches that it is impossible to know for certain the will of God.

We're imperfect beings, we do imperfect things and prayerfully hope that God forgives us our shortcomings, many as they're bound to be. Your generalization is an extremely poor one.

quote:
Some of America's governmental leaders have assumed infallibility. Especially the president, who has scared me on more than one occasion with his talk of being divinely chosen, carrying out a mission, etc.
Many, myself included, see our mission as serving an end that is in fact consistent with what our respective deities would wish for us to do. That's not to say that the aforementioned is the foremost consideration in policy formulation, or that the methods we choose might be incorrect in serving what we believe to be a good and just end. Many of us do believe that our purpose is just, this isn't at all inconsistent with the questioning of the method (was war necessary? was it waged properly? were there other options we should've explored?). A belief that one is right is different from a belief that one is perfect.

quote:
So many people -- or perhaps a few people with very loud voices -- have lashed out at liberals for lacking the 'moral courage' and 'strength of conviction' to go through with proposed actions, including some measures in the war on terrorism and the war in Iraq. But what these liberals are doing, purposefully or by accident, is what all of us should have been doing from day one -- questioning ourselves.

Many are doing precisely as you say, and for that they have my respect (and my respectful disagreement). Many others are tossing out all sorts of ridiculous straw men and making unsubstantiated motive attributions, wild-eyed assertions about the evil and foolishness of the administration and the political Right as a whole. These have and deserve nothing but ridicule. If Hannity represents one extreme of ridiculousness, these people, the Al Franken/Michael Moore crowd, represent the other. A plague on both their houses.

quote:
Even when we're sure we're right, we can be wrong, and often are. Instead of a religious idea -- assumed infallibility -- maybe we ought to consider a scientific one. Observe, advance and test hypotheses, form a theory, and move forward in the assumption that this theory are correct -- but always keep the door open for a new theory.
Questions of morality, of "right and wrong", are not and should not be subject to some sort of scientific process. As for what's effective, that's another matter entirely, and here we may agree. You fault the administration for conflating the two, but seem to do the same yourself (albeit with the opposite effect).

quote:
First, the answers aren't obvious to everyone. And second, no they don't, any more than two yes answers to
a)do you not believe that oreos are the best food in the world? and
b)should we not care about world access to food?
would imply that we should go around spreading oreos, although that does sound like a delicious plan. I repeat: your belief in something does not make it right. You have a point in that we should only act on what we believe, but when we're talking about something as serious as forcible regime change, we ought to make sure that our idea is the absolute correct one. And that means accepting dissent, accepting criticism, and being ready to accept the possibility that we are wrong.

Implicit in your statement is the notion that the people of a given country elected a government freely and that we supplanted it in order to impose what we thought to be the best form of government upon them. This just isn't the case.

quote:
I'm criticizing anyone who refuses to consider the possibility that they're wrong.
Well, don't be too hard on yourself and KE. You guys are interesting to talk to. [Wink]

quote:
As an example: if I believe that God chose me to post this message (ignore, for the sake of hypothetical, the irony of that situation) then there's no use arguing with me. I've got God on my side, and to stand against me is tantamount to define His divine will. I have attained infallibility by association with God.
Wrong. Read your Bible. God chose imperfect leaders who screwed up pretty regularly. They weren't put there because their decisions were perfect or "carried the weight of Heaven". They were put there in spite of their mistakes and their imperfections because they were the people best able to lead their people according to God's plan.

You might not buy this, but if you're at all interested in the perspective of a religious person who believes himself to have been chosen by God, it generally doesn't imply that his decisions are perfect.

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Grendel
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quote:
Is democracy not the best form of government in the world today?
quote:
Democracy may not be the best system there is, but it's the best we have.
- The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, RA Heinlein, 1966

quote:
Democracy is based on the assumption that a million men are wiser than one man. How's that again? I missed something.

Autocracy is based on the assumption that one man is wiser than a million men. Let's play that over again, too. Who decides?

- RA Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

quote:
It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government... except all the others that have been tried.
- Winston Churchill


For other good quotes about democracy, see http://www.quotationspage.com/subjects/democracy/

I am sure there are many more references.

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auron
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quote:
Give me a break. We established a government in Afghanistan that recognizes Islam as its official religion. We're not Christianizing anyone. This isn't a crusade, no matter how much many on the Left might like to paint it as such.
But we're 'christianizing' their government. It doesn't mean we're making them recognize Christianity. It means we're spreading, as I said before 'God's favored system of government.' And I do believe there are people who see this as a crusade, their duty to God to spread democracy.
quote:
Well, that's quite a bold assertion for someone who goes on to decry the absolutism of others. Perhaps that statement merits a bit of qualification?
I don't believe qualification is necessary; it is nmecessary only that I consider possibility that I may be wrong. In this case, if I'm wrong, I should keep posting anyway, because I don't have to consider that a possibility. [Big Grin]
quote:
Additionally, I hardly think we're "imposing American values" upon anyone. We're allowing people to draw up their own constitutions with their own (mostly Islamic) values, which are at times quite different from our own.
They express it as 'spreading american values' when we invade. At the bare minimum, we are spreading 'freedom' and 'democracy,' which they see as American values.
quote:
Every adherent to any major religion who tries his level best to act according to what he thinks to be God's wishes thinks himself to be infallable?
I am not attacking religion, nor the practitioners of it. I attack those followers of religion who 'try their level best' to do God's will without seriously considering the possibility that they're wrong about God's will, especially in matters of import, and consistently question themselves along the way. Like bombing an abortion clinic, or flying into buildings, or invading another country.
quote:
These have and deserve nothing but ridicule. If Hannity represents one extreme of ridiculousness, these people, the Al Franken/Michael Moore crowd, represent the other. A plague on both their houses.
Seconded.
quote:
Questions of morality, of "right and wrong", are not and should not be subject to some sort of scientific process.
I believe in an absolute right and wrong. What I don't believe is that I will ever get anywhere near uunderstanding these absolutes. So I have to constantly modify my understanding of them, in a way not at all different from the scientific method. This is why I question.
quote:
You fault the administration for conflating the two, but seem to do the same yourself (albeit with the opposite effect).

I'm only doing it this once, and only to prevent a massive paradox (if I'm wrong, I should never have considered the possibility that I'm wrong) and spare the universe. If you're talking about my assessment of the administration, I'm perfectly willing to change my mind. I'd be glad to. I could sleep better. But when the president talks about being divinely chosen, and goes about trying to free the people of the world, are there are those who criticize the people who question his mission...
quote:
Implicit in your statement is the notion that the people of a given country elected a government freely and that we supplanted it in order to impose what we thought to be the best form of government upon them. This just isn't the case.
No, the case is that they had one government imposed on them, and now they have another government imposed on them. A fairer government? Yes. Was it the right thing to do? Maybe. Was the reasoning behind it very pure? I doubt it.
quote:
Wrong. Read your Bible. God chose imperfect leaders who screwed up pretty regularly. They weren't put there because their decisions were perfect or "carried the weight of Heaven". They were put there in spite of their mistakes and their imperfections because they were the people best able to lead their people according to God's plan.
But if someone was chosen as a leader by God, and made a decision -- assuming it was, in fact, God's will -- then yes, their decisions do carry the weight of heaven, and they're not going to waver in their cause. Where I worry is that some people may be assuming something to be God's will, regardless of whether it is, and thus assuming that their decision carries the weight of heaven and refusing to waver in their cause -- 'assumed infallibility.'
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potemkyn
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auron,

"But we're 'christianizing' their government. It doesn't mean we're making them recognize Christianity. It means we're spreading, as I said before 'God's favored system of government.' And I do believe there are people who see this as a crusade, their duty to God to spread democracy."
Please. You are making a serious error here by merging George Bush's personal faith with his foreign policy agenda. There has never been a 'God's favored system of government' except one where He is recognized implicitly and is the motivator for all actions.

You have stated that Bush's foreign policy and beliefs are directly linked without offering any proof. You are talking about motivation, and that's super hard to pin down. In fact, this whole thread is based on your assumption about what is going on in G Bush's head.

Just because Bush says God Bless America, does not mean that his Christianity is taking him on a crusade. In fact, I'd argue that Bush has done a fairly good job of making his faith (which by all accounts is very sincere) a minimal concern considering. Think about it. If this man is as devout as they say he is, why is he championing economic policies which fly directly in the face of Christian teachings that the poor are to be the primary concern of Christians?

As for the idea of being "called" to a certain position, it commonly refers to realizing that God wants you to go into a certain profession or take a stand somewhere. It does not imply infalibility. It is not a "get out of jail free" card. It's a recognition that God plays a role in your life, and you listen to his desires for what He wants you to do. If you consider that too uncompromising, I suggest you look at what you actually value enough to make a stand. Is there something which you value that highly? Since we are looking at this scientifically, perhaps your theories are misplaced yourself. Drawing lines and sticking to them is no vice.

Potemkyn

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KnightEnder
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I agree with Potemkyn, GW's greed trumps his religion. The war in Iraq is about oil and pacifying a region full of oil. If God's will gets carried out, that's just a bonus.

KE

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The Drake
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I thought it was far creepier when John Ashcroft said something about God sending a snowstorm to save his wife from the indignity of listening to his farewell speech. I couldn't find a transcript, unfortunately, but he said that kind of stuff all the time.

These Christians are spooky, the ones who really think of natural and human events as shaped by God's pottery wheel. Not that I'm intolerant or anything, but seriously! How would you handle a job applicant that said something like, "God guided me to your newspaper advertisement."

On this level, I am bothered by the President's statements - which seem along those lines. It suggests a suppression of free will, that God supposedly gave to humans (according to most Christians). When they say, "God chose me." they are indicating that they didn't choose for themselves. But I haven't yet seen him crossing all the way over the line to that mentality.

His quote says, "I believe God wanted me to be President" - not that he had nothing to do with it. It still leaves plenty of room for him to not be President by his own actions.

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KnightEnder
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In that vein Drake, did you hear Star Jones after the Tsunami? She was there a week before and she said "God blesses". Apparently God held off killing all those people until Star could get her fat ass off the island. [Big Grin]

KE

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Richard Dey
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The idea that a democratic republic was founded upon the 'principles' of a religion whose king is going to come and save us is oxymoronic. The republic was founded in the best traditions of the Englightenment as an "experiment", and even Roger Williams' "lively experiment" was quoted in the founding. Sociologically, it is a scientific experiment. So far so iffy.

Note that those making the claim never enumerate them ... for the reason that most of them aren't originally Christian, none of them are very Christian today, and the primary one will lead us back to absolutist monarchism.

The idea that we are a Christian nation is Christian self-delusion, the idea that we were founded on the Christian religion is demonstrably false, and the claim that we are founded upon Christian principles puts both the United States and Christianity at serious risk of being misperceived.

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javelin
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Yes, I know - it's either/or! Anyone who argues anything different is an oxy-moron! I get pretty tired of hearing that "anyone who thinks this, is an idiot and therefore the exact opposite is true" - ever wonder why no one takes ya seriously?
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potemkyn
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Drake,

"Not that I'm intolerant or anything, but seriously!"

I'm not racist but...

Come on. Just come out and say it. Everyone else has had their cracks about religion and religious people, you can do it. Just say it, "Religious people are idiots who should just follow God off a cliff and be done with it."

Do you feel better now?

Did you read what I wrote about this or did you read it and not understand?

"Potemkyn: As for the idea of being "called" to a certain position, it commonly refers to realizing that God wants you to go into a certain profession or take a stand somewhere. It does not imply infalibility. It is not a "get out of jail free" card. It's a recognition that God plays a role in your life, and you listen to his desires for what He wants you to do. If you consider that too uncompromising, I suggest you look at what you actually value enough to make a stand."

God plays a role in my life and at some level I'm sure it fits into his plan that I'm debating with you about this. Am I freaking you out yet? Perhaps where you are confused is that you still need to choose his path. For example, passing up a nice job in the suburbs to go live in a poor urban community where you can make a serious difference because you feel God calling you to it. That freak you out? Plenty of people "know" what God wants but then decide to do otherwise. So just because someone recognizes God's role in his/her life, you're going to judge them? Oh well. Humanity goes down another notch.

Informal poll: Am I the only one that thinks that religion bashing has taken an upsurge in the past couple of weeks? And more specifically, bashing of those who are religious?

Potemkyn

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auron
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I'm not here to bash anyone's religion. I used to be a fairly religious person myself; my parents are religious. I know a lot of good religious people. There's nothing inherently wrong with religion. There's nothing inherently wrong with believing you're called to do something, either. But some people take their 'calling,' and their religion, too far. I have used as examples fundamentalist islamic terrorists and abortion clinic bombers; to that I might add Deanna Laney, who klled her two sons because 'God told her to,' and Philip Badowski, who killed his parents for the same reason.

Now, it's entirely possible that all of these things represent, in some form or another, God's actual will, however unlikely. In the interest of fairness, let's say it's a 50/50 shot. I think that's reasonable. 50/50 God was behind every act committed in his name -- the ones we call good and the ones we call bad.

Two things, now: one, I'd say at least a substantial portion of those believing that they're carrying out God's will never bother to actually question their understanding of it. They believe because that's what they've been taught, or because that's what they assumed, or because God told them outright. But since they assume it's God's will, they assume they're doing the right thing -- that's the assumed infallibility I was talking about. And two, regardless of whether they're actually carrying out God's will, the observing world has no way of knowing, particularly when their actions go against traditional religious doctrine.

So when we have a group of people in Washington at least appearing to spread democracy as some sort of divine mission, I get worried. Because there's a 50/50 shot that they're wrong, they believe they're 100% right, and I have no way of knowing for sure, especially when their actions fly in the face of what I always thought of as traditional Christian doctrine. I would at least like for them to question themselves and their understanding of God's will. No, wait, that's not it at all. First, I guess, I don't want my leader taking his orders from God. A pastor, maybe. A president, no. But if I am put in the unfortunate situation where he is taking God's orders, I want him to question a lot.

And, to Potemkyn and anyone else interested, I have compiled a list of quotations (the last one is a secindhand quotation) by George W. Bush on the nature of freedom, his war on Iraq, America's mission, our faith in our cause, etc. Some of them make my point, some prove me wrong. That's politics for you. Anyway, enjoy:

"I believe all these things because freedom is not America's gift to the world, it is the Almighty God's gift to every man and woman in this world."

"So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world."

"America will lead by defending liberty and justice because they are right and true and unchanging for all people everywhere."

"Americans are a free people, who know that freedom is the right of every person and the future of every nation. The liberty we prize is not America's gift to the world; it is God's gift to humanity."

"America stands for liberty, for the pursuit of happiness and for the unalienable right for life. This right to life cannot be granted or denied by government because it does not come from government, it comes from the creator of life."

"We go forward with complete confidence in the eventual triumph of freedom. Not because history runs on the wheels of inevitability; it is human choices that move events. Not because we consider ourselves a chosen nation; God moves and chooses as He wills."

"America is a nation with a mission, and that mission comes from our most basic beliefs. We have no desire to dominate, no ambitions of empire. Our aim is a democratic peace -- a peace founded upon the dignity and rights of every man and woman."

"Now we go forward — grateful for our freedom, faithful to our cause, and confident in the future of the greatest nation on earth."

" We Americans have faith in ourselves, but not in ourselves alone. We do not know -- we do not claim to know all the ways of Providence, yet we can trust in them, placing our confidence in the loving God behind all of life, and all of history."

"The Peace Corps is an opportunity to spread American values throughout the world."

"Freedom is the birthright and deep desire of every human soul, and spreading freedom's blessings is the calling of our time."

"I believe that God has planted in every heart the desire to live in freedom."

"The wisest use of American strength is to advance freedom."

"This crusade, this war on terrorism is going to take a while."

"Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty, have always been at war, and we know that God is not neutral between them."

"I've heard the call. I believe God wants me to run for president."

"We're fighting people that hates our values. They can't stand what America stands for."

""I fully understand that the job of the president is and must always be protecting the great right of people to worship or not worship as they see fit. That's what distinguishes us from the Taliban. The greatest freedom we have or one of the greatest freedoms is the right to worship the way you see fit."

"I feel like God wants me to run for President. I can't explain it, but I sense my country is going to need me. Something is going to happen... I know it won't be easy on me or my family, but God wants me to do it."

"God told me to strike at al Qaeda and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam [Hussein], which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them."
--Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Abu Mazen quoting Bush when they met in Aqaba; reported in The Haaretz Reporter by Arnon Regular

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Harmony
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I'm amazed to see how religion is important for american people. I mean religion is present in almost all posts whatever the topic is.
I can understand why it comes in posts related to wedding, abortion but what has it got to do with politics or being capable to run a country ?
How can people believe that a man was chosen by god especially when you know that this guy was not complying with the "you won't kill" commandment ?
My question might sound silly, but it seems that you see all the topics through one prism : the one of religion. That's probably why Mr bush run his campaign like this. This was demagogy.

But this is probably out of topic.

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TomDavidson
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quote:

How can people believe that a man was chosen by god especially when you know that this guy was not complying with the "you won't kill" commandment?

Many people do not interpret that commandment as "Thou shalt not kill." A far stricter reading of the text is "thou shalt not murder."
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Harmony
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I see. That's a HUGE difference !
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KnightEnder
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Harmony,

You'd be suprised at how little wiggle room Bush and Co. need to committ horrible acts in our name. [Frown]

And, yes, everything in this country comes down to religion. That's how powerfully entrenched Christianity is in our culture. It permeates every facet over our lives. It is ridiculuous and terrifying.

KE

[ April 17, 2005, 11:18 AM: Message edited by: KnightEnder ]

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Richard Dey
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Harpyiae dirae! It's like a subcutaneous rot.
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auron
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Religion is the newest, and most powerful, single-issue vote. You have religious leaders passing out voter guides actually instructing peple to vote against their own eceonomic interests, against their personal beliefs, in favor of religious teachings. You have lawmakers decrying the judiciary just because they made a decision that they felt right. You have church groups organizing to decry the democratic filibuster as 'against people of faith.' If I weren't so disgusted, I'd give the conservatives a hand -- hijacking, reducing, and reinterpreting religion to suit their party's interests might be the most morally questionable yet unquestionably effective tactic since Nixon's southern strategy.

It all goes back to the infallibility issue -- if God wants you to vote one way, who are you to argue?

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