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ashlad
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 5:53 am    Post subject: Not trying to start a religious debate, but... Reply with quote

...I thought this was interesting.

I saw mention of it in Psychology Today, which BTW is a worthless rag.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 6:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Someone finally figured out how to say "I'm an athiest" without the negative associations.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
They stand for “a level playing field” that provides the same foothold in society as citizens who believe in the supernatural.


Quote:
2. The Brights conserve original definitions
A Bright is an individual whose worldview is naturalistic (free from supernatural and mystical elements).

We accept that personal interpretations of the above vary. Hence, Brights have their own individual understandings of the terminology, purpose and implications of The Brights’ Movement.


Interesting website, the only problem I see is how do you level a playing field with a society that believes in some type of supreme being and one that does not.

Which leads me to my ultimate question is Atheistism a religion?

If the answer is yes, should we not hold atheists to the same standards as other religious groups. Since freedom of religion would mean that removing God from things for the Atheists would be taking away religious freedom and rights from those who believe in a God.

If the answer is no, they why do we have all these lawsuits for something that doesn't effect a religious belief or freedom of religion if it is not a religion. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A system of beliefs, or a belief, does not constitute an organized religion.

I don't know, Quag. Everytime I was forced to listen to prayer on the ship, or forced to listen to the acknowledgement of God in the line that was added to the Pledge of Allegience in school, it infuriated me.

I don't believe in god. Period. I do believe organized religion, and monotheism in particular is bad. I do not reguire anybody else to believe those things.

I do not require the government to espouse or endorse my beliefs. I do require the government to not cram beliefs that I find obscene down my throat.

I believe that a true separation of church and state is necessary. I believe that freedom of religion does not exist if I do not have freedom from religion.

There is a system of thought prevalent among American Christians that freedom of religion means that you have the right to be whatever kind of Christian you like.

You assert that the beliefs of people who are not religious don't matter, other than that I can't make heads or tails of your argument, or your spelling.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe Ash has summed up my beliefs nicely. Although, I don't know if organized religion is all bad, but that subject really doesn't interest me enough to debate it. I dislike religion haters(communist China, for example) about as much as I dislike theocrats. I don't care if "in god we trust" is on my money, that doesn't affect my life in any great way, but I wouldn't care if it was removed. I would care if I had to hear prayer over a loudspeaker in a government facility or public building not dedicated to religious practice. I do care about laws limiting or denying the rights of non-criminal subcultures in such contexts as the marriage battle, because that is overtly injecting religious beliefs into our laws, circumventing the constitutional law forbidding respect for the establishment of a religion. I do believe that "under God" should be removed from the Pledge since it was artificially added to it in the '50's, and that amounts to the same thing. I do like seeing christmas stuff everywhere, just love the holiday. If all that stuff were gone, I'd miss it. I don't believe there's a war on christmas(except in a few towns scattering the States, towns I wouldn't go to anyway).
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually I wasn't even referring to Christians, my statement was concerning the word "God." We use it on our currency, in the pledge of Allegiance, in our constitution with the bill of rights, and the declaration of independence.

Quote:
Amendment I - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.



Our country was founded by people who were persecuted for what they believe in, which is why we have a choice of freedom of religion.

As a Christian I do hope and believe that those I know would one day too become Christians, yet as a Christian I also know I can't force them to become a Christian it is a choice they ultimately have to make.

As an American, I view freedom of religion to mean that if you are Hindu you are free to worship any Hindu God you want, Buddhist worship Buddha, and so on. This is why we use the generic term of God with things in this country since it isn't specific to any religion.

Contrary to popular belief, there is no separation of church and state in the Constitution or any of it's amendments. (It is in a letter written by Thomas Jefferson) There is the statement above that the Government will not endorse any one religion. Which is why the term God or creator (Declaration of Independence) is used. You have freedom from any specific religion in this country, the problem is to take the word God or creator out of everything is basically rewriting the history this country was founded on.

Everyone's beliefs matter, at least to each individual person. My question still stands is Atheism (My only spelling error corrected from above) actually a religion because in the article that was linked, they want to level the playing field. I honestly do not see how you can level a playing field when you have two sides that are completely opposite of each other the article uses those who believe in the spiritual/supernatural and those who don't. (ie some form of God or no God). Removing all forms of God makes one side happy but not the other and leaving God in place does the exact same thing.

Ash, you don't like to hear or see the word God. I can respect that, the problem is you link the term God with Christianity yet the term God used by our government it is only talking about a supreme being and not Christian beliefs in general.

My question is how do you level a playing field that cannot be leveled and make both sides happy.

www.usconstitution.net
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ashlad
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion...


Sounds like I oughta have my freedom from religion.

And no, Quag. When you say God as "IN GOD WE TRUST" or "One Nation Under God", you are referring to a monotheistic God. You are certainly not making room for the beliefs of the natives. And yes, I believe American Christendom seeks to eradicate other religions. That's the inescapable end goal for all monotheistic religion. It's built in.

I don't actually give a shit about any of these people's lawsuits. I'm not going to join them. Suing people doesn't gain anybody respect.

I think that the valid point they make is that atheism (not atheistism) is a belief, not a lack thereof. I'm not somebody who hasn't formed an opinion. My opinion isn't invalid because it's not backed by a church.

I don't care about the "IN GOD WE TRUST" on the dollar. You'll note that note also says "NOVUS ORDO SECLORUM", or "NEW SECULAR ORDER".
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

It does not say "endorse". It says "respect". No law can be created in that context. "Establishment", in this context, means the institution thereof, the very existence of it. If Congress makes a law which supports any given religious belief, it is respecting its institution. Period. Laws based on religious belief should be included in that context. Banning marriage for homosexuals is based purely on religion, regardless of how anyone tries to spin it. Making laws protecting the Ten Commandments on government property is also an example of respecting said establishments. Personally, I don't mind all that much about it, but I believe our government is, and was meant to be by its founders, secular. I don't want religion forcibly affecting everyone in the country simultaneously through said laws or amendments. "God" is also inherently religious, so using it respects all religions at once, so it seems to contradict the first amendment.
Quote:
religion
1. Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.
2. A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship.
3. The life or condition of a person in a religious order.
4. A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader.
5. A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.

Number 5 seems to support the thought of atheism as a religion. But it still contradicts the other 4. I'd say it's a toss-up. I don't see my beliefs as religious. I certainly don't proselytize. If you need religion, I'm not going to try to convince you otherwise. I think that would be a crappy thing to do.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Beliefs with respect to religion are beliefs. "Respecting the establishment" is a broad term, and to my eye "endorsing the establishment" fits inside of that term.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
"endorsing the establishment" fits inside of that term.

But is not exclusive to "endorsing the establishment". That was what I was trying to get at.
Quote:
Beliefs with respect to religion are beliefs.

Say whaaaa?
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Beliefs with respect to religion are religious beliefs.


Fixed. Good catch.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
not exclusive to "endorsing the establishment"


Inclusive is just as good.

I actually posted the URL at top because I thought those guys were a bunch of nutbags in the way they were trying to gain recognition. The Brights? C'mon.

However, I do believe a secular worldview is at least as legitimate as a religious one.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think, I'll stay away from the eradicate comment. Would open a nice whole can of worms.

I also think we'll have to agree to disagree on the "In God we Trust" and such, I honestly believe our founding fathers were trying to do the best they could to make everyone happy and using a generic title was probably the best solution especially considering a large majority of people believe in a monotheistic religion, also the polytheistic ones generally have certain Gods who are higher or more elevated (lesser and greater) than others. By changing it to "Gods" I think that would have caused quite an uproar with the majority of people in this country at that time, since with the exception of the Native Americans most were monotheistic.

As to the laws concerning religious beliefs. Such as the Ten Commandments and marriage. The cases where the displays were allowed were in areas where other legal or historic laws were also on display including those from other religions. Same also goes for displays at Christmas. Our laws state it is not right for a display of one particular religion, but if the displays include other religions and not just one it become constitutional because the government is not endorsing one specific religion. You have to remember, our laws are based on moral right and wrong. This moral right and wrong had to be based on some higher standard, which is why most of our laws are derived from some type of religious moral teaching. Some argue that we all have our own morals and they are relative to each person and their upbringing. Moral Relativism, which is the belief, if I remember correctly that each person's morals are specific to them only sound good on paper but fall short for a reason for a law. Somewhere someone decided stealing, murder and such was wrong, although to the person who is doing it to say feed their family it may not be wrong to them, so who gets to judge and decide? (Philosophy is always bad to discuss so I'll stop) Very Happy

I'm also going to stay away from the marriage one since it will open up a bunch of worms.

I will also agree to disagree with our founders creating a secular nation, I think their goal was to make sure one specific religion was not able to enforce their beliefs on the whole populous and have people arrested for disagreeing with those beliefs. Not for making a secular nation with any religious ties. Take England and how the church of England had people imprisoned and such for disagreeing with them. The Pilgrims come to mind as a prime example of people who came to America to be free of that religious persecution. Which would explain why our founders wanted to avoid that and put it in the Constitution.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Morality does not come from religion. Religion evolves from shared morality. Our laws are derived from civic morality, not religious. Both statements can be strongly supported through example and historic fact, but it's way too late to get into it tonight. Tomorrow maybe, if anyone cares.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The answer to your question about leveling the playing field Quag, is that if the government endorses no opinion about religion whatsoever, then everyone is free to have their own opinions and beliefs, equally.

I would disagree with you about "God" being generic. Muslims refer to Allah, Hindus have multiple gods, not one and so the singular clearly doesn't include them. Buddhists don't exactly have a god. Wiccans usually talk in terms of a "Goddess", although in practice they worship both a Goddess and a God.

I think the term "God" is neutral to Judaism and Christianity, but makes others feel excluded.

The real answer is to not have government reference god in any fashion. I don't really understand what the fuss is about. It's not like the government is providing a spiritual foundation for anyone. Relationships with Christ are personal, and perhaps enhanced by a church, a preacher, or a mentor. I wouldn't even want the government endorsing my religion, because I'm pretty sure they'd just muck it up.

I think Crush & Ash more or less summed up the rest of my opinion.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 2:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good comments Mishlai, although have a few clarifications.

With my studies, I've gotten to look into other religions. The reality is Allah means God and with the Hindus there are over 300 million gods in their culture although they are not equal. This quote is from the hindu.org website.

Quote:
The Hindu trinity is of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. They are respectively the creator, preserver and destroyer of the universe. They are also aligned as the transcendent Godhead, Shiva, the cosmic lord, Vishnu and the cosmic mind, Brahma.


Even Buddhism has some deities in it and the representation of Buddha can be that of a monk or of one of their meditation deities.

I believe our founders used the term God because they knew who they were referring to since a large majority of them were from Christian-Judeo backgrounds. The reality is they did not get Christian specific by using the name of Jesus; instead they went with God because most religions have some type(s) of god/goddess.

My concern is that most of the people who want a level playing field are not really after a level playing field but are targeting Christianity. There is probably good reason for it, since Christians probably hurt most of those people at one point in their life or another. I remember Haven once said to me, that why would he ever want to be a Christian when some of the meanest people he ever met were Christians. He had met Christians who didn't practice what they believed and it set him off to Christianity. I actually speak about that conversation when I preach or teach because there are a lot of Christians who don't act the way Christians should (We all are human and mess up).

The reality is with the ACLU and other groups, the lawsuits they file are not to stop Government endorsement of religion but government endorsement of anything Christian. Take the city in Michigan that has the call to prayer and broadcasts the prayers throughout the day. The same goes for cities that put up Kwanzaa displays and nothing else. The only lawsuits that get filed are those targeting Christianity so you'll forgive me for being skeptic of people who want a level playing field. When you level something, it means to make everything equal. A government that acknowledges a creator or supreme being doesn't endorse a specific religion, but to say there is no god would basically endorse Atheism if it is considered a religion. So how do we level the playing field so everyone can be happy with the outcome?
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 4:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree that Christianity does get targeted, and that this is wrong. It happens partly because Christianity is in the majority, and everybody likes to pick on the big guy.

It also happens because there are a large number of Christians (not a majority necessarily, but a lot of them) who attempt to legislate or otherwise push their beliefs. Frankly, a number of Christians have worn me thin on the topic. That's no reason to persecute the rest of you, my point is simply that non-christians are a bit tired of it all. It's not an excuse, I'm just illuminating the thinking of the other side for you.

If I'd ever encountered a place where I couldn't buy pork because it had been outlawed, well, I'd get hostile about that. Maybe if Jews were in the majority we'd be having this problem. I don't know. They seem a pretty private and non-intrusive bunch, but minorities usually are. You never know what people are really like until they're in charge.

There are nutbags on both sides. All the "reasonable people" on my side of this argument are simply asking for fair treatment by the government across the board, regardless of your religion (or lack of it). I'm certainly not trying to create a revelation-style anti-christian society. I just want my beliefs to be treated as valid.

I've had serious discussions with Christian friends of mine who really didn't understand what the big deal was, why the minority religions got upset about an enormous cross in the background of their graduation ceremony, etc. They've said things to me like "majority rules, that's what democracy is."

That's the kind of attitude that we're railing against. I just want God out of politics.

I want, for example, to buy beer on Sunday. There's absolutely no non-religious reason why beer is legal on Saturday and illegal on Sunday.

That's small patatos, but Christian ideaology permeates our entire society, and my point is that many people don't even realize that they're inflicting their beliefs on someone else because they take their own beliefs for granted, and because it's a natural human tendency to assume that others share your views and behaviors. Liars expect to be lied to, thieves expect to be stolen from, and honorable people expect to be dealt with honorably. I think Christians just naturally expect that other people are Christian too, without even thinking about it.

I mean, obviously you don't need to buy beer on Sunday, you're supposed to be in church. Everybody knows that.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 4:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, and congratulations on not starting a religious debate Ash.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That was what I like to call a disclaimor.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The Hindu trinity is of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. They are respectively the creator, preserver and destroyer of the universe. They are also aligned as the transcendent Godhead, Shiva, the cosmic lord, Vishnu and the cosmic mind, Brahma

The trinity are also three facets of a singular deity. All of the 300 million gods are representations of the trinity, which are themselves representations of the one. Having lived there for a while, I heard this stuff all day and night. My personal favorite is the Mahabharata. Basically an epic myth involving what amount to aliens interfering with earth. Indian mythology and religion are, for my money, the most interesting hands down.
Quote:
He had met Christians who didn't practice what they believed and it set him off to Christianity

There's another topic for debate. Every religion has schism. What you say is the "true way" to believe and practice might be different than someone else's. How are outsiders to tell which is the true face of the religion and which is the false prophet? Most all religious institutions also have a propensity to contradict themselves, even(especially) in the holy texts that they are guided by. I'd wager that sets people off moreso than the humans preaching it. Then again....they were written by humans, so I guess it amounts to the same.

As to the choice\belief debate....well, I don't know, but I have a thought. Anyone can *choose* to believe in something. That doesn't mean they do believe in it. One has to have faith. I see that as feeling it in every bone and muscle, feeling beyond all logic or contradictions that you are on the right path. It's a deeply emotional thing. That's where it gets tricky. Humans have a remarkable ability to convince themselves of just about anything. I think real faith is different. Very difficult to tell apart from the self deluded by someone who has no real faith themselves, but still possible. One example - my boss and his family. I believe they are truly faithful Christians. They are open and honest about it, but it doesn't annoy me. They don't preach their beliefs all the time through scripture, they do it through actions. I may disagree with their Bible, but I still like being around them. Very Good People. It's the effect they have on me that convinces me they have real faith. That they actually believe. Of course, I could be deluding myself.

*edited because I forgot to add the point.
Anyone can choose to believe, noone can choose to have faith.
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