WTF? - "Suppressing religion is not the key to world peace"

BGH
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WTF? - "Suppressing religion is not the key to world peace"

This editorial was in today's St. Louis Post Dispatch from a local contributor.

The writer basically states that placating religion is the way to achieve world peace. She asserts Europe is in serious trouble because of their efforts to keep society secular and encouraging religious beliefs to be private.

I found it interesting that she asserts muslims in secular societies only have a choice between militant atheism or militant islam. This is a complete non-sequiter, the article pretty much started my morning off right by completely pissing me off.

"Suppressing religion is not the key to world peace




I recently returned from a cultural exchange program in Switzerland, where I
spent my days admiring alpine vistas, eating too many truffles and trying to
explain American religiosity to puzzled Europeans.

Gently — but persistently — my Swiss interlocutors pressed me for answers: Why
are Americans so religious? Why does faith play such an important role in
American debates? And why, in an age in which terrorists murder in God's name,
do Americans affirm the value of religion in public life?

Implicit in many of these questions is the view that religion is a divisive
force best quarantined from public life. For many Europeans, this view is
confirmed by their continent's history of religious wars and by the assumption
that all religions and religious beliefs are essentially the same: that is,
essentially irrational and inherently dangerous.

Although atheist regimes from

Stalin's to Mao's made the 20th century the most murderous ever, many
secularists still believe that suppression of religion and rejection of theism
are the keys to world peace.

Attempts to eradicate religion's influence appeal to secular Europeans facing
the threat of Islamic extremism. After witnessing bombings in Madrid and
London, riots in France and worldwide violence to protest Danish cartoons, many
Europeans believe such incidents can be combated only with aggressive
secularization laws such as France's ban on religious apparel in state
schools.

That law, which sparked a fierce Muslim backlash, illustrates a deeply rooted
distinction between contemporary American and European approaches to religion.

Unlike Europeans, Americans never have had an established national church. Our
democratic experiment began as a quest for religious and political freedom, not
as a rejection of religion. Our founding documents explicitly refer to God and
draw on a Judeo-Christian worldview to assert the dignity and equality of all.

This heritage of defending religious freedom while affirming religious faith
explains our American tendency to see faith as a source of liberty rather than
tyranny and as a marker of individual identity that still allows for a common
civic heritage. From this heritage came our tradition of welcoming the diverse
religious beliefs of immigrants, while insisting that they accept the
fundamental values of our democratic society.

Our nation and its immigrants have not always achieved this assimilation ideal.
But a key factor in our success has been our vibrant religious marketplace.
This marketplace tends to marginalize and moderate extremist voices by forcing
them to compete with more reasonable religious voices and appeal to shared
values in the public square.

Our insistence on dealing with religious conflicts through vigorous debate,
rather than through state-sanctioned gag rules, makes life messy, but it also
undercuts the appeal of violent extremism. While Muslims in rigidly secular
societies must choose between militant atheism and militant Islam, Muslims in
America have other alternatives. Not surprisingly, they tend to be more
assimilated, tolerant and content than their European counterparts.

A recent Pew poll confirmed this, finding that most American Muslims have a
positive view of society, believe they can be devout Muslims while living in a
modern society and report no religious discrimination.

The picture is not entirely rosy: Eight percent of American Muslims and 15
percent of American Muslims under 30 believe suicide bombings are justified at
times. Those are alarming numbers, but the fact that they are significantly
higher in Europe suggests that Islamic extremism flourishes more in the vacuum
of Europe's staunch secularism than in the competitive marketplace of America's
religious pluralism.

As we confront Islamic extremism at home, we should remember the heritage of
religious freedom that has taught us that the best way to fight bad ideas is
with better ones.

Colleen Carroll Campbell is an author, television host and St. Louis-based
fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Her website is

www.colleen-campbell.com."

[edit - removed quote box]


Rigor_OMortis
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I've tried counting the

I've tried counting the inaccuracies and contradictions in the article, but gave up when I ran out of fingers.

There's one thing to say about it, and may I quote Pinky on it: "NARF!"

Inquisition - "The flames are all long gone, but the pain lingers on..."
http://rigoromortis.blogspot.com/


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Phtttttp.  Ugh.  Thanks

Phtttttp.  Ugh.  Thanks for ruining my day to BGH.  Eye-wink

While this made my blood pressure rise slightly, I'm really only going to point out one thing:

Stalin and Mao did not have ATHEIST REGIMES!!!!! 

Ugh!  It ticks me off when they say stupid shit like that. 

If god takes life he's an indian giver


lgnsttefrst
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Religion has been used as a

Religion has been used as a political tool since the days of the Sumerians, but I don't believe that taking religion away would make things so much better, or so much more peaceful. The motivation of governments, kings, emperors, etc. is money and power. In essence, they see the world as one great pissing contest. Religion is simply a convienient means by which to retain control over the masses. This leads in to the point of my post; If religion were to suddenly not exist, then gonvernments would be forced to choose different ways in which to control the population. Ie: control the food supply, control through strict policing of ideas, you know, like "thought police" (cough cough China)... the possibilities are almost endless.


BGH
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lgnsttefrst

lgnsttefrst wrote:

Religion has been used as a political tool since the days of the Sumerians, but I don't believe that taking religion away would make things so much better, or so much more peaceful. The motivation of governments, kings, emperors, etc. is money and power. In essence, they see the world as one great pissing contest. Religion is simply a convienient means by which to retain control over the masses. This leads in to the point of my post; If religion were to suddenly not exist, then gonvernments would be forced to choose different ways in which to control the population. Ie: control the food supply, control through strict policing (cough cough China)... the possibilities are almost endless.

There are countries (Iceland, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark) that have secularized society and the government is not using food supply, strict policing, etc. to control the masses.  Why can't we do this here?


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There is no reason we can't,

There is no reason we can't, in fact I believe that a society in which religion and gonvernment are completely seperate would be ideal. The likes of mankind cannot be trusted to not use religion as a political tool when they are placed in position which grants an oppurtunity to do so. (think GWB's "crusade" and "God told me so" comments) People in power are often corrupt and abusive of their powers. What I'm saying is that the nature of humans is to use anything to get a leg up on "the other guy". Also, you must agree with this, there are countries in this world that are more dominant and powerful than others, Iceland, Switzerland, Norway, and Denmark don't exactly stack at the top of the list. (militarily that is, for them peace is more profitable)

 

ninja edit: below is some more Bush invocation info   http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/jesus/president/invoking.html


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Quote: Although atheist

Quote:
Although atheist regimes from Stalin's to Mao's made the 20th century the most murderous ever, many secularists still believe that suppression of religion and rejection of theism are the keys to world peace.

 

This comment alone proves she is a clueless idiot. If she's going to call these regimes atheist in the sense that this would be their prime ideology (which it isn't) then I'm going to call every other regime theist.

I wonder how many deaths they're responsible for?

Freedom of religious belief is an inalienable right. Stuffing that belief down other people's throats is not.


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Rigor_OMortis wrote: I've

Rigor_OMortis wrote:

I've tried counting the inaccuracies and contradictions in the article, but gave up when I ran out of fingers.

There's one thing to say about it, and may I quote Pinky on it: "NARF!"

I did the same thing. I was out of fingers in the first three paragraphs. LOL

 

pariahjane wrote:

Phtttttp. Ugh. Thanks for ruining my day to BGH. Eye-wink

While this made my blood pressure rise slightly, I'm really only going to point out one thing:

Stalin and Mao did not have ATHEIST REGIMES!!!!!

Ugh! It ticks me off when they say stupid shit like that.

Sorry Jenny, I did not mean to 'ruin' your day. I totally am sorry! Eye-wink

 


ajay333
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TO: Any 'professing atheist'

Mod edit - Post removed

Please do not spam other threads trying to get Sapient to respond to your so called 'challenge'. 


JCE
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lgnsttefrst wrote: Also,

lgnsttefrst wrote:
Also, you must agree with this, there are countries in this world that are more dominant and powerful than others, Iceland, Switzerland, Norway, and Denmark don't exactly stack at the top of the list. (militarily that is, for them peace is more profitable)

 

ninja edit: below is some more Bush invocation info http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/jesus/president/invoking.html

Interesting point!  And a little (a lot) frightening.  I am not quite sure what to make of it - are the countries more peaceful because they are secular or are the secular because they are more peaceful?

As far as the article goes, I was a little uncomfortable with her use of the word "assimilation".  Reminds me of a creepy guy, with a fanatical gleam in his eye, standing behind the curtain and rubbing his hands together saying, "Yes!  They are almost completely assimilated!  The plan is working!  Bwahahahahaha".  Yikes.

 

 


jive turkey
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lgnsttefrst

lgnsttefrst wrote:

Religion has been used as a political tool since the days of the Sumerians, but I don't believe that taking religion away would make things so much better, or so much more peaceful. The motivation of governments, kings, emperors, etc. is money and power. In essence, they see the world as one great pissing contest. Religion is simply a convienient means by which to retain control over the masses. This leads in to the point of my post; If religion were to suddenly not exist, then gonvernments would be forced to choose different ways in which to control the population. Ie: control the food supply, control through strict policing of ideas, you know, like "thought police" (cough cough China)... the possibilities are almost endless.

I can't tell you how happy it makes me to finally hear an atheist (no theist tag) on this board say that.  Thank you kind sir!  I kept thinking to myself, "surely they must understand that point".  I have said the same thing several times and only heard the crickets back.  The credit must go to your elegant phrasing.

Oh, and ditto and more power to ya.

{edit = typo}


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jive turkey

jive turkey wrote:
lgnsttefrst wrote:

Religion has been used as a political tool since the days of the Sumerians, but I don't believe that taking religion away would make things so much better, or so much more peaceful. The motivation of governments, kings, emperors, etc. is money and power. In essence, they see the world as one great pissing contest. Religion is simply a convienient means by which to retain control over the masses. This leads in to the point of my post; If religion were to suddenly not exist, then gonvernments would be forced to choose different ways in which to control the population. Ie: control the food supply, control through strict policing of ideas, you know, like "thought police" (cough cough China)... the possibilities are almost endless.

I can't tell you how happy it makes me to finally hear an atheist (no theist tag) on this board say that. Thank you kind sir! I kept thinking to myself, "surely they must understand that point". I have said the same thing several times and only heard the crickets back. The credit must go to your elegant phrasing.

Oh, and ditto and more power to ya.

{edit = typo}

Am I understanding right, Jive, that you're saying this is an argument *for* keeping religion?  That the alternative must necessarily be worse? 

That's a BS argument.  That's like saying "if we cure cancer, people will just die from heart disease instead."  (And I don't even think this is what  lgnsttefrst meant either.)

 It's a very Christian/Augustine assumption to believe that, if you take away a source of control-through-ignorance, people will just behave worse than before.  In reality there's also a chance that people will be freed to behave better.

"After Jesus was born, the Old Testament basically became a way for Bible publishers to keep their word count up." -Stephen Colbert


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Sign....  ignorance,

Sign....  ignorance, ignorance, ignorance...  I can just imagine all the good Christians bringing this article to church to show their friends they have more evidence that the EU will be bringing forth the anti-christ soon....


jive turkey
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Textom wrote: Am I

Textom wrote:
Am I understanding right, Jive, that you're saying this is an argument *for* keeping religion? That the alternative must necessarily be worse? That's a BS argument. That's like saying "if we cure cancer, people will just die from heart disease instead." (And I don't even think this is what lgnsttefrst meant either.) It's a very Christian/Augustine assumption to believe that, if you take away a source of control-through-ignorance, people will just behave worse than before. In reality there's also a chance that people will be freed to behave better.
A fair question. Here are some excerpts from what I wrote in other threads:
Quote:
"It's people who carry out atrocities, not religion. The atrocities are done NOT because of what's in religion, but because of what’s in ourselves." "My feeling is that what we are seeing when Christians persecute non-Christians here in the US is a product of human nature and not a product of a particular belief system. People in positions of power or majority have persecuted and taken advantage of the less-powerful, the week and the vulnerable throughout human history and irregardless of belief system. It seems to me that the energy that some put into ending religion (or simply promoting religion) would be more effectively used if it were channeled into actually helping people with their problems. (There are plenty of problems like disease, hunger, slavery and poverty that we can all agree on….I'm not trying to debate what is good.)" "My belief is that the problem is not broadly in belief systems but in a specific thing that is in me and in you, namely selfishness. I have done destructive things not because of my religion (rather they were against my religion) but because I simply wanted to, thought I deserved it, or justified it in some way. I believe human atrocities are done for the same reasons, it's just that some people are in positions to inflict more destruction. I also believe that any answer will not come by mocking or attacking others but through showing by example. " "Selfishness and moral imperfection seem to be enough to drive all kinds of destruction and suffering…I'm hard pressed to think of man made horrors that don't boil down to that."
My point is that focusing on religion is a distraction, a rabbit trail that leads away from the real issue. To use your medical analogy, the cancer is not religion, the cancer is selfishness and short-sightedness. These are much more difficult issues to deal with but because they underlie the abuse of power and ideology (theistic or not) one will find oneself fighting endless lines of 'new cancers' if the true source is not dealt with.


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jive turkey wrote:

jive turkey wrote:
My point is that focusing on religion is a distraction, a rabbit trail that leads away from the real issue. To use your medical analogy, the cancer is not religion, the cancer is selfishness and short-sightedness. These are much more difficult issues to deal with but because they underlie the abuse of power and ideology (theistic or not) one will find oneself fighting endless lines of 'new cancers' if the true source is not dealt with.

How do you know it's not religion that's the cancer? The evidence speaks to the contrary.

See here and check the link at the bottom. This entire post is funny given the study.

"All it would take to kill God is one meteorite a half mile across - think about why." - Vorax

Visit my blog on Atheism: Cerebral Thinking for some more food for intelligent thought.


Wishkah311
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jce wrote: As far as the

jce wrote:

As far as the article goes, I was a little uncomfortable with her use of the word "assimilation". Reminds me of a creepy guy, with a fanatical gleam in his eye, standing behind the curtain and rubbing his hands together saying, "Yes! They are almost completely assimilated! The plan is working! Bwahahahahaha". Yikes. 

I concur, jce.  I kept flashing back to my history classes and the attempt of our precious forefathers to force the Native Americans to "assimilate" - with guns and sickness and liquor. 

Ah, the pitter patter of tiny feet in huge combat boots.


jive turkey
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Vorax wrote: How do you

Vorax wrote:
How do you know it's not religion that's the cancer? The evidence speaks to the contrary.

See here and check the link at the bottom. This entire post is funny given the study.

From the information provided in the article, the study was too narrow and did not eliminate other factors. Perhaps they did but the info just isn't in the article.

"(The study) compares the social peformance of relatively secular countries, such as Britain, with the US…"

You could have made the correlation be between soccer and football. There are simply too many social forces at play in the US to cherry pick religion and say this it's the one responsible for differences when compared to society X.

Secondly, I'm mystified by the assertion in the press or elsewhere that the US is a Christian nation…I just don't see it. For this to be a Christian nation we, on the whole, would need to be following the teachings of Christ…clearly not the case.

As an aside, to me religion is simply a belief system or world view so the notion of ending belief systems is absurd.


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jive turkey

jive turkey wrote:

Secondly, I'm mystified by the assertion in the press or elsewhere that the US is a Christian nation…I just don't see it. For this to be a Christian nation we, on the whole, would need to be following the teachings of Christ…clearly not the case.

Thank you!  It makes me happy to hear from reasonable theists.   

jive turkey wrote:
As an aside, to me religion is simply a belief system or world view so the notion of ending belief systems is absurd.

As an aside, I do not think belief and word view are the same things.  Ending religion may not even be necessary.  Why does it need to be part of EVERYTHING though, particularly politics?  It is a topic that is overly focused on in this country and there is no need for it.  I do not care what a politicians religious beliefs are because those should not affect that persons ability to perform their duties to the country. 

For the most part, employers are not even allowed to ask what a potential employee's religious affilitation is so why should politicians be treated any differently?  To me, this is what drives the focus of religion into the spotlight and I am tired of it.  If a clear message was sent across this nation that religion has no place in govermenment, a large portion of the problem would end. 

By all means keep religion; just keep it out of my government.


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Here is a response

Here is a response to the editorial I am working on, please keep in mind it is a very rough draft but I would like to hear some input. Thanks!

 

 


This letter is regarding “"Suppressing religion is not the key to world peace” by Colleen Carroll Campbell Thursday, Jun. 07 2007.
 

The author tries to make an argument that secular societies somehow inspire more violence; this could not be further from the truth. As history has shown the inspiration for violence against a government or its citizens is oppression and political environments that make the masses feel like second class persons. Secular or theistic, what causes uprising and violence is infringement of personal rights. The regimes of Mao and Stalin were not atheistic; they were oppressive and treated the citizens poorly. The people killed under these regimes were not murdered in the name of atheism; rather they were exterminated in an effort to exert power over the people.

The author also set up a false dichotomy by claiming in secular society there are only two choices for Muslims, militant Islam or militant atheism. These are clearly not the only choices when living in a secular society, when the people have freedom of religion there are many choices and personal beliefs remain just that, personal. In a free society there is a lack of governmental endorsement of one ‘type’ of religion and everyone is free to worship as they please so long as the worship does not violate any laws. Secularism can be the ideal system of governing as it promotes the individual and encourages personal freedoms.

 


 

 {edit - added the part about Mao and Stalin}


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Hey B, I like it, it sounds

Hey B, I like it, it sounds good.  Perhaps you could add something about the comment about 'atheist regimes'?  Just wanted to throw it out there.

If god takes life he's an indian giver


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I think its good.  But

I think its good.  But you're using too many big words that you'll probably lose half your audience Smiling

Let us know if it gets printed. 


BGH
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pariahjane wrote: Hey B, I

pariahjane wrote:
Hey B, I like it, it sounds good. Perhaps you could add something about the comment about 'atheist regimes'? Just wanted to throw it out there.

Thanks, I edited it. 


BGH
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Andyy wrote: I think its

Andyy wrote:

I think its good. But you're using too many big words that you'll probably lose half your audience Smiling

Let us know if it gets printed.

Thanks, should I try to tone it down? 


Andyy
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BGH wrote: Andyy wrote: I

BGH wrote:
Andyy wrote:

I think its good. But you're using too many big words that you'll probably lose half your audience Smiling

Let us know if it gets printed.

Thanks, should I try to tone it down?

Tough call.  As it is, it sounds intellegent and makes you sound like an expert.

But I'm trying to imagine my a few of my theist family members and old friends, and I have a hard time seeing them understand phrases like "The author also set up a false dichotomy" and "inspiration for violence against a government or its citizens is oppression and political environments that make the masses feel like second class persons."  But they're probably hopeless anyway. Smiling

I say leave it as is.


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Andyy wrote: Tough call.

Andyy wrote:
Tough call. As it is, it sounds intellegent and makes you sound like an expert.

But I'm trying to imagine my a few of my theist family members and old friends, and I have a hard time seeing them understand phrases like "The author also set up a false dichotomy" and "inspiration for violence against a government or its citizens is oppression and political environments that make the masses feel like second class persons." But they're probably hopeless anyway. Smiling

I say leave it as is.

My vote is the same.  BGH, this is great.  I really hope they print it.  If someone does not understand a big word, they can crack open a dictionary.  (Along with a few other books.)


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Well, I sent it. It

Well, I sent it.

It probably will not get published but it was nice to get it off my chest. 


BGH
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Thanks for the input on the

Thanks for the input on the letter Pariah, Andy and JCE. I doubt it will be printed, I have re-read it a bunch of times and there are some things I wish I changed before I sent it. It will suffice though to get my point across I guess.


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what i meant

I didn't think I left much room for interpretation of what I meant, but since there seems to be some confusion, ill clarify.

I did NOT and I say again did NOT mean that "taking away religion would lead to worse things so why bother." I WAS making an objective analysis of what I thought was a poorly written article. I also don't think that Mr. J. Turkey was alluding to what is described in your cancer analogy.

Textom when you said "In reality there's also a chance that people will be freed to behave better." I whole heartedly disagree. Governments are hardly benevolent organizations, them behaving better as you put it is hardly in the realm of reality. As for the people of the world... maybe some intellectual folk would learn to better cope with life in the absence of powerful state sponsored religions and big buisness churches (mega churches, the vatican, etc.) But remember, the majority of people are quite plebian. Were talking about a nation in which the majority choose not to vote who the leader of their country is, the nation which idolizes the likes of Paris Hilton, etc, etc, I could go on forever saying that most people are idiots.

Suggesting that people would make a sudden turn around with religion out of the picture is quite a leap of faith. If you'd care to expand on your idea, I'd enjoy hearing about it. Perhaps I did not follow you completely, afterall, I have been up for 20 hours at this point.


jive turkey
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jce wrote: (Religion) is a

jce wrote:
(Religion) is a topic that is overly focused on in this country and there is no need for it. I do not care what a politicians religious beliefs are because those should not affect that persons ability to perform their duties to the country.

I see two basic ways religion enters politics: citizens making it an issue and politicians using it as an issue. Citizens are suppose to be able to bring issues that they care about to the government. So I don't see citizens exercising this right when it comes to their religiously based values or ideals as a bad think in and of itself. (I mean, if Christians in this country told their representatives that they care about poverty and want the government to erase third-world debt, would that be a bad use of religious conviction?) Certainly there are limits and a balance that needs to be found. I'm not arguing that there should be no line between church and state, simply that the government is ideally to tool of the people. The other way religion enters politics is more troublesome to me. Politicians use religion as a wedge issue to divide the citizenry, get elected and to distract from more important issues. For example, is someone's stance on abortion really the single most important factor to consider when selecting or confirming a Supreme Court justice? (Really?) And when you add the level of political apathy we have, extreme views get magnified because those people vote in higher percentages.

jce wrote:
If a clear message was sent across this nation that religion has no place in govermenment, a large portion of the problem would end.

This would be tantamount to telling 50% of the population what they think does not matter…that's just not democracy.

jce wrote:
By all means keep religion; just keep it out of my government.

But it's OUR government.


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Quote:

jiveturkey wrote:
jce wrote:
If a clear message was sent across this nation that religion has no place in govermenment, a large portion of the problem would end.

This would be tantamount to telling 50% of the population what they think does not matter…that's just not democracy.

 

jce wrote:
By all means keep religion; just keep it out of my government.

But it's OUR government

Hey, it works in other parts of the world -- many third world countries have religion in their governments - it's ripe in the middle-eastern countries all good there - Germany in the 40's had Christianity going in a big way with the state and nothing bad happened there right?

...the point... If you don't seperate church and state you make society unsafe. One man's "vision from god" is another man's unjustified war. Unless the government can prove unequivicably that they are in communication with god, it shouldn't be mentioned in any way in any decision the government makes. Voting, reason, ethics and logic should dictate the laws, not a bible. Leaders should not be able to say "god told me this was the right thing to do".

If Bush said tomorrow that "God told me that we must eliminate gays in this country as instructed in Leviticus 20:13" - you might better understand exactly why this idea is dangerous.

"All it would take to kill God is one meteorite a half mile across - think about why." - Vorax

Visit my blog on Atheism: Cerebral Thinking for some more food for intelligent thought.


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Im with Vorax all the way on

Im with Vorax all the way on this one Turkey. As you may know, the United States is a representative democracy. This means that the voting citizenry has the constitutional right to vote for who ever they please, for whatever reason they see fit. This includes a "faith based decision". This is completely acceptable and is an example of people with differing opinions excersing their rights. However, religion should not be an influence in the voting habits of those in the house, senate, courts, etc. Im not saying that they should not make moral decisions for our country, but the decisions they make should be free of any direct religious influence. Eg:You dont need to be a holy man to know that its wrong to kill someone. In the same breath ill also tell you that I disagree with lobbies. Why should a large corporation have such undue representation? Because they have lots of money? 


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lgnsttefrst wrote: Im with

lgnsttefrst wrote:
Im with Vorax all the way on this one Turkey. As you may know, the United States is a representative democracy. This means that the voting citizenry has the constitutional right to vote for who ever they please, for whatever reason they see fit. This includes a "faith based decision". This is completely acceptable and is an example of people with differing opinions excersing their rights. However, religion should not be an influence in the voting habits of those in the house, senate, courts, etc. Im not saying that they should not make moral decisions for our country, but the decisions they make should be free of any direct religious influence. Eg:You dont need to be a holy man to know that its wrong to kill someone. In the same breath ill also tell you that I disagree with lobbies. Why should a large corporation have such undue representation? Because they have lots of money?

What lgnsttefrst and Vorax say is true, the only way to make a representative democracy equal and fair to all is to seperate church and state. This does not mean eliminate religion, just remove it from goverment. This is the only way all citizens will be able to believe as they wish and feel part of the collective and not as an outcast for thinking differently.


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jive turkey wrote: Vorax

jive turkey wrote:
Vorax wrote:
How do you know it's not religion that's the cancer? The evidence speaks to the contrary.

See here and check the link at the bottom. This entire post is funny given the study.

From the information provided in the article, the study was too narrow and did not eliminate other factors. Perhaps they did but the info just isn't in the article.

"(The study) compares the social peformance of relatively secular countries, such as Britain, with the US…"

You could have made the correlation be between soccer and football. There are simply too many social forces at play in the US to cherry pick religion and say this it's the one responsible for differences when compared to society X.

Secondly, I'm mystified by the assertion in the press or elsewhere that the US is a Christian nation…I just don't see it. For this to be a Christian nation we, on the whole, would need to be following the teachings of Christ…clearly not the case.

As an aside, to me religion is simply a belief system or world view so the notion of ending belief systems is absurd.

You are right WE ARE NOT a Christian nation, and it has nothing to do with crime or politics. Our nation has had a history of a Christian majority. BUT OUR CONSTITUTION  is secular.

No one here should want goverment to use guns to shut down churches. What we mean in ending, is actually by using the free market in using our points of view to compete. Business compete, and even religion competes. We simple want to give people an alturnigive to superstition. But no one should ever suggest it be forced on anyone. 

Being more religious wont solve problems. Saudi Arabia and Iran are very deeply religious and neither you or I would want to live there. 

BTW, just to let you know, you pulled what is called a "True Scottsman" fallacy. Dont know if you can spot it in your post. But give it a shot. 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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vorax wrote: ...the

vorax wrote:
...the point... If you don't seperate church and state you make society unsafe. One man's "vision from god" is another man's unjustified war. Unless the government can prove unequivicably that they are in communication with god, it shouldn't be mentioned in any way in any decision the government makes. Voting, reason, ethics and logic should dictate the laws, not a bible. Leaders should not be able to say "god told me this was the right thing to do".

I don't see how you got this from what I said. I said, "I'm not arguing that there should be no line between church and state, simply that the government is ideally to tool of the people." and "The other way religion enters politics is more troublesome to me. Politicians use religion as a wedge issue to divide the citizenry, get elected and to distract from more important issues." Hardly sanctioning a religious state.

But asking people (in this case public servants) to completely separate themselves from any religiously based or inspired view is unrealistic. For example, let's say Person X is an atheist and is against some current abortion laws because they belief that life is all that there is and, therefore, it should valued even in the state of the unborn. Person Y is a Christian and beliefs current abortion laws are too permissive as well but is also influenced by the idea that since life ultimately comes from God it should be protected. (I'm not trying to discuss abortion, I'm just lazy and picked an easy example.) How are you going to parse through the thoughts of Person X and Y and tell one that their view is OK because it involves no belief system that invokes a deity and tell the other their view is invalid because "we" detected some "religiously charged" thinking? Should the Bible be used as support for a law, no. But can a person be expected to check their belief in God at the door? Not realistic. Why not ask them to leave their legs there too? We don't want them running off.

lgnsttefrst wrote:
religion should not be an influence in the voting habits of those in the house, senate, courts, etc.

I simply think this standard is too high and not enforceable.

lgnsttefrst wrote:
the decisions they make should be free of any direct religious influence.

I can agree with the language here much more. I would use the word 'exclusive'...the decisions they make should be free of any exclusive religious influence. As I stated above, if some religiously based thought passes through the head of a law-maker or judge when they are deliberating, 1) how you gunna know 2) how does that necessarily corrupt the final decision?

Brian37 wrote:
BTW, just to let you know, you pulled what is called a "True Scottsman" fallacy. Dont know if you can spot it in your post. But give it a shot.

If you are referring to my statement that this is not a Christian nation because we are not following Christ, then I have to disagree. The suffix '-ian' means 'follower of', so 'Christian' is just a linguistic short-cut to 'follower of Christ'. My statement was to point out the (smilingly) obvious by being redundant: "For this to be a (Christ-following) nation we, on the whole, would need to be following the teachings of Christ." Just a simple statement of fact. "For that to be a red car it, on the whole, would need to be painted red."


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Nice try. No dice. Other

Nice try. No dice.

Other people think their car is "red" and you think their car isnt.

Who got it right?

Now, you will never hear an atheist say, "They are not a "true" atheist, or at least they shouldnt."

All atheists have in common is a lack of belief in super natural beings.

FOR EXAMPLE ONLY: Lets say someone who says, "I dont hold any god beliefs" Lets say that person goes into a movie theater and shoots 20 people.

I would not say, "That is not a "true" atheist." I would merely say I dont like what that person did.

You tried to replece the word "true" with "red" and it still doesnt  change the fact that other people claiming to believe in Jesus think their car is red and yours is not. 

You have the same thing in common with Pat Robertson and the Pope. All of you believe in the divinity of Jesus and that he is the son of the one true god. The fact that you may dissagree on how to interpret the bible doesnt change that.

You did commit the "True Scottsman" fallacy.

This line of logic also causes people to point at political oposition in America, be it a a politician or their neighbor and say, "You are not a "true" American." Or, "That is unAmerican|".

People born in America or naturalized are citizens no matter where their parents were from and no matter what their religion is and no matter what politicall affilation is.

Not liking someone's behaivor doesnt change what they think in their head. 

 

 

 

 

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BGH wrote: This letter is

BGH wrote:

This letter is regarding “"Suppressing religion is not the key to world peace” by Colleen Carroll Campbell Thursday, Jun. 07 2007.


The author tries to make an argument that secular societies somehow inspire more violence; this could not be further from the truth. As history has shown the inspiration for violence against a government or its citizens is oppression and political environments that make the masses feel like second class persons. Secular or theistic, what causes uprising and violence is infringement of personal rights. The regimes of Mao and Stalin were not atheistic; they were oppressive and treated the citizens poorly. The people killed under these regimes were not murdered in the name of atheism; rather they were exterminated in an effort to exert power over the people.

The author also set up a false dichotomy by claiming in secular society there are only two choices for Muslims, militant Islam or militant atheism. These are clearly not the only choices when living in a secular society, when the people have freedom of religion there are many choices and personal beliefs remain just that, personal. In a free society there is a lack of governmental endorsement of one ‘type’ of religion and everyone is free to worship as they please so long as the worship does not violate any laws. Secularism can be the ideal system of governing as it promotes the individual and encourages personal freedoms.

 


 

I received an email response from the newspaper today, they asked for daytime phone number for verification and said they would contact me if the decide to print it. 


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BGH wrote: This editorial

BGH wrote:

This editorial was in today's St. Louis Post Dispatch from a local contributor.

The writer basically states that placating religion is the way to achieve world peace. She asserts Europe is in serious trouble because of their efforts to keep society secular and encouraging religious beliefs to be private.

I found it interesting that she asserts muslims in secular societies only have a choice between militant atheism or militant islam. This is a complete non-sequiter, the article pretty much started my morning off right by completely pissing me off.

"Suppressing religion is not the key to world peace




I recently returned from a cultural exchange program in Switzerland, where I
spent my days admiring alpine vistas, eating too many truffles and trying to
explain American religiosity to puzzled Europeans.

Gently — but persistently — my Swiss interlocutors pressed me for answers: Why
are Americans so religious? Why does faith play such an important role in
American debates? And why, in an age in which terrorists murder in God's name,
do Americans affirm the value of religion in public life?

Implicit in many of these questions is the view that religion is a divisive
force best quarantined from public life. For many Europeans, this view is
confirmed by their continent's history of religious wars and by the assumption
that all religions and religious beliefs are essentially the same: that is,
essentially irrational and inherently dangerous.

Although atheist regimes from

Stalin's to Mao's made the 20th century the most murderous ever, many
secularists still believe that suppression of religion and rejection of theism
are the keys to world peace.

Attempts to eradicate religion's influence appeal to secular Europeans facing
the threat of Islamic extremism. After witnessing bombings in Madrid and
London, riots in France and worldwide violence to protest Danish cartoons, many
Europeans believe such incidents can be combated only with aggressive
secularization laws such as France's ban on religious apparel in state
schools.

That law, which sparked a fierce Muslim backlash, illustrates a deeply rooted
distinction between contemporary American and European approaches to religion.

Unlike Europeans, Americans never have had an established national church. Our
democratic experiment began as a quest for religious and political freedom, not
as a rejection of religion. Our founding documents explicitly refer to God and
draw on a Judeo-Christian worldview to assert the dignity and equality of all.

This heritage of defending religious freedom while affirming religious faith
explains our American tendency to see faith as a source of liberty rather than
tyranny and as a marker of individual identity that still allows for a common
civic heritage. From this heritage came our tradition of welcoming the diverse
religious beliefs of immigrants, while insisting that they accept the
fundamental values of our democratic society.

Our nation and its immigrants have not always achieved this assimilation ideal.
But a key factor in our success has been our vibrant religious marketplace.
This marketplace tends to marginalize and moderate extremist voices by forcing
them to compete with more reasonable religious voices and appeal to shared
values in the public square.

Our insistence on dealing with religious conflicts through vigorous debate,
rather than through state-sanctioned gag rules, makes life messy, but it also
undercuts the appeal of violent extremism. While Muslims in rigidly secular
societies must choose between militant atheism and militant Islam, Muslims in
America have other alternatives. Not surprisingly, they tend to be more
assimilated, tolerant and content than their European counterparts.

A recent Pew poll confirmed this, finding that most American Muslims have a
positive view of society, believe they can be devout Muslims while living in a
modern society and report no religious discrimination.

The picture is not entirely rosy: Eight percent of American Muslims and 15
percent of American Muslims under 30 believe suicide bombings are justified at
times. Those are alarming numbers, but the fact that they are significantly
higher in Europe suggests that Islamic extremism flourishes more in the vacuum
of Europe's staunch secularism than in the competitive marketplace of America's
religious pluralism.

As we confront Islamic extremism at home, we should remember the heritage of
religious freedom that has taught us that the best way to fight bad ideas is
with better ones.

Colleen Carroll Campbell is an author, television host and St. Louis-based
fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Her website is

www.colleen-campbell.com."

[edit - removed quote box]

Has this person ever been to Europe? Western Europe is one of the most peaceful parts of the planet! Low gun crime, low sectarian violence (cf. Northern Ireland), acceptance and toleration, scientific freedom etc etc. We also have much lower levels of religious fundamentalism. Yes, there are problems with extremist Islam in the UK, France etc etc. But perhaps in America they feel more pressured to say that they don't condone terrorism, the reasons are obvious.


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BGH wrote: I received an

BGH wrote:

I received an email response from the newspaper today, they asked for daytime phone number for verification and said they would contact me if the decide to print it.

OOuuu.  Possibly to be published in the Post-Dispatch!  Smiling

Be sure to let us know if you hear anything else.

 

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Susan wrote: OOuuu.

Susan wrote:

OOuuu. Possibly to be published in the Post-Dispatch! Smiling

Be sure to let us know if you hear anything else.

I will. Though the more I pay extra attention to the letters to the editor I think I might agree with Andyy. I think I used too many big words, I really do not see it getting published. 


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Ugh. She was a speech writer

Ugh. She was a speech writer for Bush. Isn't that something you'd love to have on your resume.

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Vastet wrote: Ugh. She was

Vastet wrote:
Ugh. She was a speech writer for Bush. Isn't that something you'd love to have on your resume.

Maybe for August BUSCH III, not for W though.... 


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Quote: Colleen Carroll

Quote:
Colleen Carroll Campbell is a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a former speechwriter to President George W. Bush, and author of The New Faithful: Why Young Adults Are Embracing Christian Orthodoxy

http://www.colleen-campbell.com/

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I think you misunderstood

I think you misunderstood me Vastet.

I was not denying she was a speech writer for Bush, you asked:

Vastet wrote:
Isn't that something you'd love to have on your resume.

And i responded:

BGH wrote:

Maybe for August BUSCH III (Preisdent of Anheuser-Busch at one time), not for W though....

I would not want "speech writer for George W. Busch" on my resume. 

 


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Oops. Lol. Sorry man.

Oops. Lol. Sorry man. Sticking out tongue

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Quote: Stalin's to Mao's

Quote:
Stalin's to Mao's made the 20th century the most murderous ever, many

secularists still believe that suppression of religion and rejection of theism
are the keys to world peace.

I just knew the Reductio ad Stalinum/Reductio ad Maonem was going to be used!

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Holy ship batman, if we

Holy ship batman, if we call a duck a duck the world will end!

Mr Rogers,  would you be offended if I said crime existed?"

"Why yes! If you face me with any notion that I cant wear my magical knit sweaters in public. It can only be a beatifull day in the neibhborhood if I burry my head in the sand. If you challange my dellusion, I dont want to be your neighbor."

Who cares if studying human phycology will help. As long as Allah promises 72 virgins, and as long as Ganish can hold 8 ice cream cones, and as long as Yahwey can garuntee your  car can stop on a dime and pick it up, as long as Jesus doesnt mind being a replacement for canabalism, WHO THE FUCK CARES? My deity(incert label here) is more imortant to believe than actually solving common human problems. 

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Diaphanus

Diaphanus wrote:
Quote:
Stalin's to Mao's made the 20th century the most murderous ever, many

secularists still believe that suppression of religion and rejection of theism
are the keys to world peace.

I just knew the Reductio ad Stalinum/Reductio ad Maonem was going to be used!

If I had a nickle for every time I brought up an objection to magic, being equated to a genocidal monster, I'd make Bill Gates look like a street wino.

Funny though it seems to me if they are looking for vendictive bastards, all they need to do is read the holy books of the major three,

Listen cheerleaders. NO one is, or should suggest that your club be forced out of existiance by government any more than we'd want you to force atheist out of existance by government. SO PLEASE GET A CLUE.

We were not raised in Russia under Stalin and we did not grow up under Hitler in Germany. So please spare us the boogieman tripe you are trying to falsely levey on us.

We merely dont want your holy book becoming government law. Anymore than you'd want the Quran being our law. If you dont make your dogmatic law everyone else's law, we will refrain from doing the same? Sound fair?

So please spare us your sob story about being the victim.

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The newspaper called today

The newspaper called today to verify my information, now we will see if my letter gets published.

 


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BGH wrote: The newspaper

BGH wrote:

The newspaper called today to verify my information, now we will see if my letter gets published.

 

Woot! Good sign man. Laughing out loud

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I am shocked but the letter

I am shocked but the letter was actually printed today in the St. Louis Post Dispatch.... right next to a letter saying this is a christian nation and our nation was founded on "under god" and "in god we trust".

Ugh. 


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BGH wrote: I am shocked

BGH wrote:

I am shocked but the letter was actually printed today in the St. Louis Post Dispatch.... right next to a letter saying this is a christian nation and our nation was founded on "under god" and "in god we trust".

Ugh.

Grats on getting it printed! 

To bad they had to sprinkle some insanity on the side Sad

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