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Kirkus
10-30-2004, 08:54 AM
From another thread:

One thing that puzzles me is how some are so bent on taking the word "God" out of anything public. I think the word "God" refers to a supreme being the same one for Christians, Jews, Buddists, Islamics etc. It seems the majority of people around the world believe in a supreme being ....so what's the big deal?

Furthermore, the teachings of the various religions have a lot in common and promote kindness and goodness. So why is there such fury over the word "God" appearing in the pledge of alligiance or on money for example? Even those who don't believe in a supreme being should be able to at least think the teachings of the religions promote goodness. I think most religions do.....not all of course. But much of what ever may be bad is the result of human misinterpretation.

The "pledge" debate seems trivial, but it really is not.
I'm not going to recite a history lesson here, but the separation of church and state is extremely important to this country. If the word "God" becomes part of the daily routine of school children, it's not a big step, but it certainly is a step away from that separation.

Is this really separation of church and state, or is it state attempting to separate the church from people?

Too many people today are twisting the Bill of Rights to justify their own personal beliefs. My beliefs about God are apparent in the "Religious" threads. Yet, what in the hell is the big deal about "In God We Trust", "One nation under God", etc. etc. I don't even have a problem with displaying the Ten Commandments in government buildings. My God (pun intended) if you find the Ten Commandments offensive, then don't read them!!!

I think there are plenty more important issues facing this country that our time and energy would be better spent on.

Sebastien447
10-30-2004, 09:18 AM
I LOVE it! The topic fully encompasses two separate boards! Should we start a "Politics + Religion" board? :P

Part of this hypersensitivity to "God" is just the Political Correctness craze that's going on these days.

Just a reminder ... NEVER call a person who is unable to see as being "blind" ... we should be more sensitive and refer to them as the "visually challenged."

meadfish
10-30-2004, 10:53 AM
The battle cry of the day is "My Constitutional Rights!". We can never in this day capture the spirit of a constitution written so long ago in a time so different. Some would argue that "People should be treated decently regardless of the age" true, but by whose standards? Our forefathers? I assure you our forefathers are rolling over in their graves at the permissive and "free" society we are professing under their names. A little research shows our forefathers were deeply religious. Some were ordained ministers, most prayed daily, and most would chastise a child for not saying "under God" Seperation of church and state meant the state stayed out of the church's affairs, not opposite. and justice?? If I kill my wife and chop her into tiny bits and stuff her in the trunk of my car, and the police find the tiny parts with no warrant.. guess what? I go free. I think I just heard another forefather roll over :-/

Kirkus
10-30-2004, 11:35 AM
Fishy said:
If I kill my wife and chop her into tiny bits
OMG! Couldn't you have just killed her and put her body in the trunk. What's up with cutting her into pieces... Oh wait, "tiny bits". Dude! What's up with that?
:P

Sebastien447
10-30-2004, 11:08 PM
The battle cry of the day is "My Constitutional Rights!". We can never in this day capture the spirit of a constitution written so long ago in a time so different. Some would argue that "People should be treated decently regardless of the age" true, but by whose standards? Our forefathers? I assure you our forefathers are rolling over in their graves at the permissive and "free" society we are professing under their names. A little research shows our forefathers were deeply religious. Some were ordained ministers, most prayed daily, and most would chastise a child for not saying "under God" Seperation of church and state meant the state stayed out of the church's affairs, not opposite.

Interpretation of the Constitution is certainly problematic at times and we entrust the Supreme Court with that job. They are ultimately held accountable by the people.

The personal religious convictions of our forefathers are of no consequence. The Constitution, and it's interpretation is ... specifically, as per the discussion at hand, the First Amendment. The following is from "The Myth of Separation of Church and State." http://www.no-apathy.org/tracts/mythofseparation.html

Anytime religion is mentioned within the confines of government today people cry, "Separation of Church and State". Many people think this statement appears in the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution and therefore must be strictly enforced. However, the words: "separation", "church", and "state" do not even appear in the first amendment. The first amendment reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." The statement about a wall of separation between church and state was made in a letter on January 1, 1802, by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut. The congregation heard a widespread rumor that the Congregationalists, another denomination, were to become the national religion. This was very alarming to people who knew about religious persecution in England by the state established church. Jefferson made it clear in his letter to the Danbury Congregation that the separation was to be that government would not establish a national religion or dictate to men how to worship God. Jefferson's letter from which the phrase "separation of church and state" was taken affirmed first amendment rights. Jefferson wrote:

I contemplate with solemn reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.


There is evidence here that Jefferson was beginning to expound upon The First Amendment. What exactly do the words in that Amendment mean? It is clear that Jefferson saw the Amendment as a "wall of separation."

It's up to us, the citizens of this country, to decide for ourselves what we understand those words to mean, and voice our opinions. Personally, I believe that Jefferson's concept of a wall of separation makes sense. I feel we need a complete separation of church and state. Even though it is not stated as such, verbatim, in our Constitution.

Sebastien447
11-02-2004, 09:16 AM
Who are the ones thinking that the meaning of separation of church and state means that all mention of God and any religious belief must be removed from public view?


Jefferson was one, as he began to see the First Amendment as a "wall of separation." And there are others today who see such a wall to be necessary.

renegade711
11-02-2004, 09:37 PM
8) Dubwa doesn't appear to be one of them.

Kirkus
11-03-2004, 08:05 AM
Kirkus to me the phrase "wall of separation" only refers to the fact that the state shall not force people to practice any certain religion. He doesn't diverge onto other points stating that relgious items should not be allowed on display in public office for example.
I didn't say anything about the "wall of separation". :P I'm just over here stewing in my post-election broth minding my own business. ;)

Sebastien447
11-03-2004, 09:05 AM
OH sorry Kirkus, I got you and Sebastien confused.



um,

kirkus is Mr. Doom and Gloom ...

where as I'm Director of Entertainment! ;D

Sebastien447
11-03-2004, 09:11 AM
Oh, and I support interpreting the 1st amendment to mean a wall of separation, a big fat impenetrable wall!

Sebastien447
11-03-2004, 11:06 AM
schools are taxpayer supported

God is religion supported

3mlm
11-04-2004, 02:54 AM
Maybe people are grabbing at straws and mistakenly believing that merely saying the word "God" is forcing a certain religion. It is not. God is a general term which can refer to the God of any religion. To me the same God precides over all religions any way.



It may not be forcing a "certain religion" but it is forcing religion. There are those (including me) that do not believe there is any god.

The pledge of allegiance did not include the words "under god" until 1954 when they were added by an act of Congress. Eisenhower said as he signed the bill, "millions of our schoolchildren will daily proclaim in every city and town ... the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty." Talk about forcing religion.

Writing for the majority in Lee vs. Weisman, Justice Kennedy of the Supreme Court stated, "What to most believers may seem nothing more than a reasonable request that the nonbeliever respect their religious practices, in a school context may appear to the nonbeliever or dissenter to be an attempt to employ the machinery of the State to enforce a religious orthodoxy."

Even George W. Bush wants a "secular government" in Irag.

meadfish
11-04-2004, 11:09 AM
I don't think God is supported by religion. God exists with or without man's support. It's more like God supports the world. God takes care of us....not the other way around.

Well said PJVA!! ;D

Sebastien447
11-04-2004, 05:55 PM
I don't think God is supported by religion. God exists with or without man's support. It's more like God supports the world. God takes care of us....not the other way around.

I am not sure what your point is....



God is a product of man's intellect. If a person has faith in a God, then God can be everything one's faith wants Him to be. Though for others, God is a concept promoted by organized religion and that is all.

And I believe that persons with strong faith have a difficult time looking at this issue objectively. I don't know what it's like to have such faith, but I can imagine that it would be very difficult to separate yourself from it. If you believe in a God, I can see how you would have no difficulty with Him being added into affairs of the state.

Though for me, whenever I see the danger signs for slippery slope ahead, I feel it is best to err on the side of caution.

Sebastien447
11-04-2004, 10:25 PM
I know many people view these issues as trivial, i.e. the mention of God in the pledge, hanging the 10 commandments in one's courtroom etc ... But in my opinion they are steps away from a needed separation of church and state ... small steps sure, yet steps which could serve to make taking the next step a little easier to accept, and so on and so on ... could get a little slick.

And with any potential slippery slope, I just assume steer as far away from the edge as possible. JMHO

Sebastien447
11-05-2004, 04:45 AM
PJ, I know that as real as you feel your God to be, there are other people who feel just as stongly that a God does not exist. And I feel that that our government aligning with a belief in God is unfair to those who do not believe in Him. How would you feel if atheist propaganda was allowed to hang in your state Capitol, or was made part of our dollar bills?

I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with mentioning God in the pledge and the like, per se, I'm just saying that it's not the state's affair. I feel there is a need to keep religion out of government, even if it's something so small as one word in the pledge.

Sebastien447
11-08-2004, 12:10 AM
Oh God the low carb thing! I'm so sick of hearing about that! Why not try a balanced diet and exercise people?! Good grief it's NOT that hard!

And the percentage of non-atheists does not matter to me. I believe that a government should not endorse religion in any way, it's not the state's concern. And I'm not talking about religious displays in public. There's nothing wrong with that. I'm talking about promoting religion with government. That's a bad mix.

Sebastien447
11-08-2004, 03:15 AM
I guess that I look at the phrase "In God We Trust".....or "Under God" as something that goes in one ear and out the other for most people. I don't see that as enforcing a religion.


I don't either. I see it as promoting religion.

Sebastien447
11-11-2004, 09:21 AM
I wonder what the ratio is to believers vs atheists in this country? That would make a difference to me.


You asked for it ... you got it ...

90% of adults believe in God
84% believe in the survival of the soul after death
84% believe in miracles
82% believe in heaven
69% believe in hell, and 68% believe in the devil
77% believe in the virgin birth
51% believe in ghosts
31% believe in astrology
27% believe in reincarnation

http://www.harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/index.asp?PID=359

Kirkus
11-12-2004, 11:23 AM
I don't either. I see it as promoting religion.


As an athiestnostic (I made that up so Sebers won't argue about what I am. :D -- oop oop oop). I just don't see what the big deal is. What if I'm wrong and there is a God? I certainly hope He's watching out for us.

Doll_Face
11-12-2004, 02:15 PM
As an athiestnostic (I made that up so Sebers won't argue about what I am. :D -- oop oop oop). I just don't see what the big deal is. What if I'm wrong and there is a God? I certainly hope He's watching out for us.


I truly believe OUR LORD is alive and watching out for ALL of us!

There is no substitute for FAITH

But, why is this in the politics section? Something is screwey and the Doll knows it! (shhhh, Bush)

Sebastien447
11-13-2004, 12:34 AM
What if I'm wrong and there is a God?

Allright you atheistnostic, how bout we do a little wagering ... * la Pascal's bet that is ...

If you wager that there is a God and you're right, you win the afterlife along with all of the riches that such a belief promises. If you're wrong you lose nothing.

But if you bet that there isn't a God and you're right you win nothing. If you're wrong you lose everything.

Nothing like a mathmetician trying to find faith eh?

Kirkus
11-15-2004, 02:31 AM
Either Kirkus or Seb or both said that they believe in treating people as they want to be treated. I just wonder what is the motivation to not take advantage of people if you don't believe in God. Suppose you could steal and get away with it....would you do that?
Your premise is equating ethics and morality with a belief in God. I don't need a faith in a higher power to be ethical or moral. Just as a belief in a higher power doesn't automatically guarantee it. The child molestation scandal in the Catholic Church is a perfect example.

Sebastien447
11-15-2004, 05:01 AM
ditto ... organized religion, as an "opiate of the masses (Marx)," can serve to keep people in line. But it doesn't always succeed. Why is that?

Kirkus
11-15-2004, 01:31 PM
God's word does teach ethics and morality. Organized religion is a completely separate thing....invented by man. Organized religion can be good or not good. However, that is not God's fault.

Not everyone who believes in God is necessarily a good person....but anyone who strives to follow the way God teaches us to live would be rather good. He/she would care about others and think that all acts count even those not seen by anyone.



It's an interesting turn that this thread has taken... thought provoking.

When reading your story about Francis Shuerder made me think of another example... Saddam Hussein's 2 sons. The stories of their depravity are legend; pure evil. Another case where the question arises -- what makes someone moral or immoral?

Obviously, most western religions promote "good will" and moral behavior. But does the lack of a religious belief promote "ill will" and immoral behavior? Off course not.

Why am I a moral and ethical person? The best response I can come up with is... because it's the right thing to do.

Upbringing must play some part in it, but how big a part? i think of the many parents who have raised their children to be good people only to have them grow up as thieves or murderers. So ones upbringing is not the entire answer. Nor is a belief in a "higher power" or a "hereafter".

I don't know the answer. Perhaps this is one of those questions that man will never been able to answer.

Sebastien447
11-16-2004, 07:10 AM
I've had this discussion with a very good friend of mine on a number of occasions. I came up with a scenario, altogether unlikely, yet necessary to shed light upon the core of human behavior. Here goes:

A ship wrecks on a deserted isle. All persons are killed, except for a small baby who somehow manages to survive. The ship provides shelter and enough food and water for the child to live for many lifetimes. The child was so small at the time of the shipwreck that he knows nothing of other humans, other than the humanoid bones on the ship. The child wonders about these bones but can remember nothing of the crash or before.

One day, years later, the child see's a rabbit. Will his natural propensity be to bash the rabbit with a rock, or will he peacefully coexist with the animal, even try to befriend the creature?


I believe that the child will befriend the rabbit. He has no reason to kill the rabbit, other than from pure maliciousness. But the child knows nothing of such cruelty. The child has not been subject to society. He understands nothing about sin and virtue. He is human, though he knows nothing of humanity.

I believe it is in our nature as humans to do good and to be good. And when we do bad, we go against that nature. We all have a conscience that allows us to know the good, to know the bad, and to see the better of the good. When we go against our conscience by choosing to do wrong, we're going against our nature. And humans are always aware of that fact on one level or another.

Some people for whatever reason, typically bad parenting, have trouble heeding their conscience, or even understanding it. This is sad ... but their human nature has not changed from any other person's. It's just that a heap of garbage has covered it up. Yet it's still in there. And the gunk, no matter how deep, can always be removed.

Kirkus
11-16-2004, 07:41 AM
So now my question is what makes you think being a moral ethical person is the right thing to do? Where does that philosophy come from?

I don't think it comes from anywhere... it just is. I know that being good is right and being bad is wrong. Following along with Seb's story, I think the knowledge of good and evil is primal; built-in, if you will. Maybe even a product of human evolution.

Even those who are evil (with the exception of the mentally ill), I believe know that their deeds are wrong. But they don't care. They do them anyway with the full knowledge that what they are doing is wrong.

Sebastien447
11-16-2004, 07:47 AM
However, would the child be completely fair and kind if there were other children on the island competing for food? What if certain items were sought after and only a few were able to obtain them? Would the child steal then if it saw something it wanted ?

With this twist we're at risk of the scenario becoming too animalistic for the child. It becomes more of a basal survival of the fittest scenario here.

You had asked:

what makes you think being a moral ethical person is the right thing to do?

And I believe that the scenario that I've discussed before with a friend, is relevant. The scenario could never come to pass, but our opinion about the child's actions or lack thereof ... can speak about human nature.

btw ... this friend whom I've been mentioning believes just the opposite. He believes that the boy would kill the rabbit.

Kirkus
11-16-2004, 07:50 AM
Does your friend say why the child would kill the rabbit?

If the rabbit peed in my tent (assuming i have a tent) I'd kill it.

Sebastien447
11-16-2004, 08:01 AM
believe it or not, this friend of mine believes that human nature is bad ... and that we have a natural propensity to do wrong. He believes that religions have saved human kind, and if left to themselves, without any governing bodies, humans would kill themselves into near extinction.

He makes a very compelling case, with which I disagree wholeheartedly.

meadfish
11-16-2004, 12:45 PM
MY Turn!! First the boy on the island... children by nature push to see how far they can go. The parent's job is too enforce where the boundaries are thus instilling right and wrong into the child. But.. children learn by watching, not by listening. So you can tell a child right from wrong, but it will draw its conclusion from observing your actions. The child on "Sebastien Island" would have no boundaries so killing the rabbit might not seem wrong ???. Another view may be seen in a similar story... Adam and Eve had two sons Cain and Abel (also later Seth and others, but let's stick to the first two) 2 kids raised side by side, but obviously differing values. One a hard worker and the other a murderer. So parenting can only do so much. something is inside us. Seberino called it "conscience" but I call it a spirit. since God is spirit this is how he communicates with us. Satan is Spirit also, so he communicates to us also. an old Eskimo story goes...A father and son were talking: "Dad, sometimes I feel like there are two dogs fighting inside me, one black and one white, each wanting to control me" The father asks, "Which one do you think will win?" The son replies "Whichever one I feed the most"

meadfish
11-16-2004, 12:47 PM
Oh, and I agree with Kirkus.. The first time I found a rabbit dropping in my coconut milk... it's "supper" >:(

3mlm
11-16-2004, 03:51 PM
Human beings need to cooperate with other human beings to survive.

That's the root of compassion and empathy in humans (other than the instinctive parental care for offspring evident in many species).

I know that's a simplistic concept but I'm too tired to expound.

meadfish
11-17-2004, 11:11 AM
Meadfish......in the story of the child on the island, the child had no parents to be an influence, so what would you see happening there with no outside factors?I can only express what I think I would do based on my personal upbringing. Every person would have a different answer and none would be wrong.


I thought that with Cain and Abel there was a big jealousy factor going on. Didn't it have to do with one have more success or parental approval?Both were to bring an offering to God. Abel was a shepherd and brought only his best livestock and offered it joyfully. Cain was a farmer and just grabbed what ever was closest, not the best, and offered it with a bad attitude. God accepted Abel's offering but rejected Cain's and rebuked him. This led to jealousy which led to anger which became hate, which manifest in murder.

Sebastien447
11-19-2004, 05:05 AM
Yes, my friend there is a bit ... maybe "dark" is the best word. Great guy though!

And don't you love the twists and turns that a really juicy thread can take ... the end can be like a box of chocolates ...

(I won't say it!)