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Thread: America: The founding fathers' Nightmare?

  1. #21
    "To the corruptions of Christianity I am, indeed, opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense in which he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others; ascribing to himself every human excellence..." - Thomas Jefferson

    April 21, 1803 letter to Benjamin Rush in Bergh, ed., Writings of Thomas Jefferson 10:379

  2. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by aaqucnaona View Post
    Look em up, there are lots and lots of pages full of quotes by jefferson and washinton and admas and others, who, regardless of their belief in God, maintian that organised religions are not good for the freedom of the people.
    Do not confuse church with religion. I am a christian, but i will proudly stand with any atheist and say that mainstream Christianity is, and has been, a screwed up thing.

  3. #23
    This sentence is a lie aaqucnaona's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Socratic Spelunker View Post
    Do not confuse church with religion. I am a christian, but i will proudly stand with any atheist and say that mainstream Christianity is, and has been, a screwed up thing.
    Wow.
    You are great.
    If all religious people were like you, there would be no need for atheists. Thank you, for making me realised there is some hope for theists.

  4. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by aaqucnaona View Post
    Wow.
    You are great.
    If all religious people were like you, there would be no need for atheists. Thank you, for making me realised there is some hope for theists.
    There is some hope. Not much, I think, but there is some

  5. #25
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    “ Originally Posted by Socratic Spelunker
    Do not confuse church with religion. I am a christian, but i will proudly stand with any atheist and say that mainstream Christianity is, and has been, a screwed up thing.
    good

    finally a truth , from the religious people

    good

    [QUOTE=aaqucnaona;2880654]Wow.
    You are great. [/quote ]

    perhaps , we'll see ware this goes

    certainly encouraging though

    religion becoming down to earth for change , hmmm. maybe

    but why ?

    If all religious people were like you, there would be no need for atheists.
    your kidding me here , right ? right ? if not , you do not know what being an atheist means to me

    apparently
    Last edited by river; 12-27-11 at 09:52 PM.

  6. #26
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    “ If all religious people were like you, there would be no need for atheists. ”



    by north
    “ your kidding me here , right ? right ? if not , you do not know what being an atheist means to me

    apparently

  7. #27
    This sentence is a lie aaqucnaona's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by river View Post
    by north
    Well I meant that atheism is generally inspired by reason. With reasonable theists around, atheists wouldn't even have to discuss god.

  8. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by aaqucnaona View Post
    Well I meant that atheism is generally inspired by reason. With reasonable theists around, atheists wouldn't even have to discuss god.
    I think if both sides could be rational about it, then we'd be all the more obligated to discuss it, but maybe that's a topic for another thread.

  9. #29
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    With reasonable theists around, atheists wouldn't even have to discuss god
    atheists would have to unfortuantly , because


    theists , theism ( noun (1678) : belief in the existence of a god or gods) ; specif : belief in the existence of a one god viewed as the creative sourse of the Human race and the world who transceds yet is immanent in the world

  10. #30
    Curmudgeon of Lucidity Grumpy's Avatar
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    wellwisher

    I interpreted that to mean that the government needs to be impartial in terms of using religion as the basis for its relationship with other countries, like that of the Musselmen. This was practical advices since religion often becomes, my way or the highway, and could lead to strained relationships. There was secular advantages in this practical thinking.
    George Washington meant exactly what he said, our country is in no way founded on the Christian religion.

  11. #31
    OIF Veteran 2003-2011 Thoreau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aaqucnaona View Post
    Its well known [just read their quotes on religion] that the founding fathers of America were not just secularists but also extremely anti religious, and almost certainly predominately agnositics and atheists.

    Quote: The fact that the United
    States was not founded as a Christian nation was early stated in the
    terms of a treaty with Tripoli, drafted in 1796 under George
    Washington and signed by John Adams in 1797:
    As the Government of the United States of America 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. *Dawkins, the god delusion.

    Again, from the same source:
    I find the following advice of Jefferson, again in his letter to
    Peter Carr, moving:
    Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which
    weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in
    her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every
    opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a
    God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of
    the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.

    But big Bush left no doubts when he said that Atheists aren't citizens or patriots, citing "One nation under God". One has to only replace atheists with Jews or Moslems to see the extreme injustice done here.

    Take the government, of all the 5000 or so core personnel in the overall administration, there is an overwhelming probabilty of atleast a 10% share of Atheists, given that its over 15% for the public and over 92% among leading biologists. Yet we know of not 1 who is an Atheist. That there are none is just impossible, u dont qualify for the best chairs in the world without a brain to match, and 43 out of 45 studies have showed that people with greater IQs have lower belief in religion and one has to look not farther than the scientific intelligencia in the last few centuries. {As we'll see on my post on Science and Religion}.

    Here, I dont protest religion or support atheist but severly condemn the overwhelmingly negative and irrational response to atheists and the ease with which people have forgotten secularism while remembering, very clear, the freedom of speech. I will, in a future post explore the inappropriately important status given the religion, particularly exempting from law those would cite their afflience to it.

    Its perhaps a great irony in western history that Britain, which started out with a single unfied church with political backing and a religious outsight is not one the most secular, if not downright non-religious countries in the world while America, with all the noble intentions of its founders, is now one of the few countries where religion holds such importance and plays so strong a part in the daily lives of its citizens.

    Perhaps Dawkin's urge to Atheists to come out is timely, if not quite overdue.

    Ps. the poll:
    Personal god:Monotheistic/ Polythiestic god, listens prayers,etc.
    Agnostic:Uncertain of His existence.
    Atheists: Maintain there's no god.
    Diests: A non personal god, created the universe but doesnt work thereafter.
    Spinoza's God: Pantheism, einstein and Stephen Hawkin's God.
    NonThiest: Buddhists and other nondeity faiths.
    Might I add to also refer to T. Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptist Church and Thomas Paine's Age of Reason.

  12. #32
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    A distinction should be made between religion and belief in God. If any of the founders were atheists I'm unaware of it. I think they recognized the value of a belief in God in maintaining the morality of the people. I'm not suggesting that Godless states might not posses some virtues aswell, but their ethics would most likely be vastly different. Nazi Germany comes to mind.

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by MBA View Post
    A distinction should be made between religion and belief in God. If any of the founders were atheists I'm unaware of it. I think they recognized the value of a belief in God in maintaining the morality of the people. I'm not suggesting that Godless states might not posses some virtues aswell, but their ethics would most likely be vastly different. Nazi Germany comes to mind.
    morality was based on reason not god

  14. #34
    “The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”
    ― Thomas Jefferson
    “The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession.”
    ― Abraham Lincoln, Speeches and Writings, 1832-1858
    “Shake off all fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God, because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.”
    ― Thomas Jefferson
    “I prayed for freedom for twenty years, but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.”
    ― Frederick Douglass
    “It will not do to investigate the subject of religion too closely, as it is apt to lead to infidelity.”
    ― Abraham Lincoln
    “It is hard to see how a great man can be an atheist. Without the sustaining influence of faith in a divine power we could have little faith in ourselves. We need to feel that behind us is intelligence and love. Doubters do not achieve; skeptics do not contribute; cynics do not create. Faith is the great motive power, and no man realizes his full possibilities unless he has the deep conviction that life is eternally important, and that his work, well done, is a part of an unending plan.”
    ― Calvin Coolidge
    “Religion is an illusion and it derives its strength from the fact that it falls in with our instinctual desires.”
    ― Sigmund Freud
    “If Jesus had been an actual historical figure we have a thorny paradox. Either this Jesus was a remarkable individual who said and did a host of amazing, revolutionary things – but no one outside his fringe cult noticed for over a century. Or he didn’t – and yet shortly after his death, tiny communities of worshipers that cannot agree about the most basic facts of his life spring up, scattered all across the empire. The truth is inescapable: there simply could never have been a historical Jesus.”
    ― David Fitzgerald

  15. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by MBA View Post
    A distinction should be made between religion and belief in God. If any of the founders were atheists I'm unaware of it. I think they recognized the value of a belief in God in maintaining the morality of the people. I'm not suggesting that Godless states might not posses some virtues aswell, but their ethics would most likely be vastly different. Nazi Germany comes to mind.

    Atheism, Himmler wrote, “is the only world- or religious view that is not tolerated within the SS.” He further wrote, “I have not tolerated an atheist in the ranks of the SS. Every member has a deep faith in God, in what my ancestors called in their language Waralda, the ancient one, the one who is mightier than we are.” (Longerich, Heinrich Himmler, Oxford University Press, 2012, p. 220)

  16. #36
    Please use Sugar Cane Alcohol Billy T's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saturnine Pariah View Post
    ... Question with boldness even the existence of a God, because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.” ― Thomas Jefferson...
    Tom put it better than me, but I have long used this as counter to Pascal´s wager.

    I.e. perhaps a god, if there is one, wants to spend time (eternity is quite long so they say) with souls who can think for themselves, not those who just blindly believe without reason. They are NOT likely to be selected to spend eternity with God. - He surely does not want only "Yes Men" around that long parroting back his every idea to him with nothing added or questioned (unless God is a vain, dim-witted egoist), etc.

  17. #37
    We have to separate personal 'religious' belief from 'organized' Church.

  18. #38
    We have to separate personal 'religious' belief from 'organized' Church.
    When I lived in southern US, in the middle of the bible belt (due to an engineering job), I used to like arguing with the bible toters. It was friendly but animated debate, with them wanting me to show them proof of my position, via bible quotes. They were often composed of independent churches that less dogmatic and would cut me slack, if I could not offer quotes.

    I used to like pointing out what are called the red letter versions of the bible, which uses red letters to highlight just the quotes made by Jesus. In my POV, these quotes, by themselves, defined the heart and soul of Christianity.

    Christianity was not the entire bible, such as the fire and brimstone of the old Testament. The red letters quotes, were a smaller sub-set, of even the New Testament. These quotes were very positive, in terms of how people should relate. Christ reduced the law to just love God and love each other. It was simple. All the rest that was added, I assumed, was due to secular interests, especially since the old testament had been for-filled. The founding fathers of America, in my opinion, were for the simplicity and community of the red letter quotes, but not for the secular addendum implicit of the Church.

    If you look at history, earliest Christianity lived by the red letter teachings. This would have been good in utopia. However, it made them sheep being led to slaughter, because they lived in a dark real world. They did not resist evil, so they were gathered and executed, without a fight. If you turned the other cheek, and tried to love your enemy, but your enemy did not have to, after he slapped you, he would stab you.

    Bullies gravitate to those who don't fight back. As such, Christianity eventually changed, so the bullies could not take advantage quite as easy. The inclusion of the old testament, was one way to get an eye for an eye back on the table. Once the sheep grew horns, the bullies paused. After the first century, Christianity changed and was less vulnerable to bullies. But it was not the original red letter church anymore.

    The merger of Rome and Christianity, in the 4th century further changes Christianity, since Rome was the boss. The new church would now contain more in the way of the secular interests of Rome. Rome adopted Christianity because Christian soldiers were the toughest in battle; stopped turning the other cheek, so it was OK for them to kick butt, like in the old testament. As an honor and reward for their exceptional valor, Christianity gained prestige in Rome and became the official religion.

    Nobody in modern times, has problems with ancient Rome conquering other countries, since they were advanced and it was Darwinism. But once Rome merges with Christianity, and the atheists get displaced, perception changes. The bullies become the victims of the new bullies who didn't haves to turn the other cheek.

    It became harder to bully Christians, when the new church had access to all the secular options of Rome. Rome was tough. The new church became the bully on the block, due to Roman secularism. The church included secular things from Rome, like scholarship, reason, ingenuity, artistic ability, government, military, etc. This was not part of the original church.

    The founding fathers were cautious of the various secular Roman-Christian composite churches (mainstream churches), but were not against the red letter christian ethic. The separation of Church and State would help separate these. This would once again create a bully problem for the red letter Christians.

    I am a Christian, but I tend to blend that with the Roman. Part of this blend is for defense, but part is for secular reasons; inference, ingenuity, knowledge, science, etc. The Romans were unique in that they could live off the land and not need a supply line. They were skilled in all the crafts, and could transform even hostile lands into a defensible position. I try to copy this unique culture, but temper it with red letter ethics. I might fight forward but I never finish off the enemy, even if I can. I set myself up to be nuked, now and then.
    Last edited by wellwisher; 04-10-12 at 10:13 AM.

  19. #39
    Christianity is not a peaceful faith by any means. There are plenty of passages about slaughtering enemies to be found in the gospels.

    However, I do agree that the inclusion of the Old Testament is really what prevents Christianity from being a better religion than it is today. It's hard enough to take a "peaceful" faith seriously when its prophet asks that his detractors be brought to him at the end of a sword, or that those who do not love him must spend eternity in fire, but adding the sky-monster Yahweh to the mix makes such a thing impossible.

  20. #40
    This has got to be one of the most bizarre threads I have come across.

    It's really mostly irrelevant. The founding fathers: The records we have are that a majority proclaimed a christian affiliation. We can only base our judgements on the records we have, or else consider tossing out all such historical records as unprovable. That would move us into the land of philosophy and it would get really weird in here.

    So, they're mostly christian. Ok. Their goals, as shown in what they set forth in the two big documents, the declaration of independence and the bill of rights suggest that they mainly wanted to set forth that the country was a place where citizens could have more power than their government in as many areas as possible. The only references to religion in these documents were "Nature's God" and "Creator". In their time, the idea of true atheism was severely in the minority, and so it was the thought that most had some religion, and these references could be reasonably made.

    They do not espouse religion of any kind, but seek to protect the ability of any flavor of religion to be unassailed by the government. Wicca, Hinduism, Christian, Muslim, The church of DAVE, scientology, Atheism, Deism, Agnosticism... the worship of magical flaming ducks, whatever.

    Based on what I see evidenced by this, I can't say that the US of today is what they had in mind, but not really because of the government, but due to societal pressures. Someone else stated the power of the political support of any religion. Automatically, because christianity is the largest claimed religion in the United States, there are going to be very few politicians espousing atheism, deism, satanism, or anything else. The average person in the US was raised with some familiarity to church of some sort. Atheism requires some serious abstract thinking if you start from there. Most people are more comfortable to believe what they have been told. This is why, while alternatives to christianity are gaining ground in the US, it is a slow growth.

    In the end, though, and most relevant to the titled topic(the initial post was pretty specious and addressed by others, so I'm not really worrying about it), no, I doubt that our America is,"A nightmare".

    Have there been recent book burnings supported by the government to eliminate inappropriate nonchristian or other religious writings? Has anyone been sentenced to prison or worse for belief or not belief in any given deity?

    You don't think that they'd be proud of things like protection from religious discrimination? Or does the idea that if a christian denies you a job for being atheist you can take them to court seem a small thing? If so, what would have happened 100, 200, 400 years ago, in these lands, if you tried to take such a thought to the authorities?

    I think it's sad that people have to suggest that "those darn religious people have ruined everything" so that they can masturbate to their own warped sense of piety.

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