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What America can learn from its atheists

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Underseer, Apr 6, 2004.

  1. Underseer

    Underseer IncGamers Member

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    What America can learn from its atheists

    I do not agree with everything in this article, but found it interesting overall.

    http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=20040412&s=wieseltier041204

    The assertion by 32 Christian and Jewish clergy about taking God's name in vain was surprising to me, but seems to fit what I've heard about Judeo-Christian ideology.
     
  2. dantose

    dantose IncGamers Member

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    whether or not it is in there should be decided by the will of the people, not the courts. The same goes for any change in such things whether the change is religious or not. Atheist rights are being tramped no more than my rights would be if I heard the muslim call to prayer. We have the right to free speach not free hearing.
     
  3. Yaboosh

    Yaboosh IncGamers Member

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    And if the line was Under Allah? Or Under Ganesh? Or Under No God? Change your feelings at all?
     
  4. Underseer

    Underseer IncGamers Member

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    You're comparing the Official Pledge to a Muslim call to prayer?

    If you heard the Muslim call to prayer, you would hear it coming from a Mosque. You can't complain about prayer coming from a private place of worship, and it's silly of you to suggest it. We're not talking about a prayer coming from a private place of worship, we're talking about a prayer masquerading as the Pledge of Allegiance, a prayer that millions of schoolchildren are expected to recite.
     
  5. Damon_Othello

    Damon_Othello IncGamers Member

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    Actually, we aren't talking about a prayer at all. If it were a prayer, it would be adressed to God. The only thing the "Under God" represents is that the pledge is conditional. What a conditional pledge means, is that the pledge is like a contract. I pledge allegiance to the flag and the country (So long as they are) One nation, under god, individisable, with liberty and justice for all. At any point that the country is not one of those things, then the pledge is null and void. It is in no way a prayer, it is also not a slight on anyone's beliefs or lack thereof. Coming from a non-Christian, This does not offend me.

    The country was founded on Christian religious beliefs. If you don't believe that, go do research. Every state acknowledges "God" in their state constitutions, and almost everyone is stated in a phrase similar to, "Arizona 1911, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Arizona, grateful to Almighty God for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution.." If you want another state you change state name, and usually add a different adjective before God.

    Also, the constitution has nothing in it about the seperation of church and state, which a lot of people attest that it does. The first amendment states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..." it says nothing about the SEPERATION of church and state.

    America was founded by a large group of Christians, what they built was a free country that is absolutely ingenious in its laws. As a nonChristian, that doesn't mean that I think we shouldn't respect the ideas that our country was built on, which is what everyone is asking us to do. We don't have to believe in "God" to accept the fact that Christian beliefs were used to make our country what it is.

    Anyway, that's what my research has taught me.
     
  6. llad12

    llad12 IncGamers Member

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    With the exception of constitutional amendments, any law written by "the people" is superceded by our most sacred national document ... the Constitution of the United States. If any such laws are in conflict with the guaranteed rights or legal positions of the Constitution, then they will be struck down and rightly so.
     
  7. Lone_C

    Lone_C IncGamers Member

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    It seems like a complicated issue, but really it's a matter of interpretation.

    Does 'one nation under God' mean we were founded by God-fearing men under Christian ideals, or does it mean that the nation is under the rule of God, and therefore Christian?
     
  8. dantose

    dantose IncGamers Member

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    not a bit my friend
     
  9. dantose

    dantose IncGamers Member

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    The constitution can be ammended by the people and their representitives. I think the courts carry their powers too far in many cases. We seem to be changing from a country that betters itself because it's people desire it to a country that morality and justice (or immorality and injustice depending who you ask) are forced upon the people by those they have not elected. With most arguments I hold the veiw that the people should be given the choice to define the country they live in.

    When we ended slavery it was through constitutional amendment. Womens sufferage- constitutional amendment. The Equal Rights Amendment was the same thing (though it was unfortunately not passed). Yet now we have the courts forcing changes on us.

    The people should define the offical pledges, song and mottos of both the states and the nation. If the congress changes it or the people change it by direct action I will have no problem with it. Until then the courts should not be involved.
     
  10. Underseer

    Underseer IncGamers Member

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    If congress makes a law that is unconstitutional, it is up to the courts to strike it down. The legislative branch passes the laws, the judicial branch interprets the laws. That's a little something called "separation of powers" that the founding fathers put into our government on purpose, and they did it for a very good reason.
     
  11. llad12

    llad12 IncGamers Member

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    I do understand your point of view. In my hometown we had a similar problem with a small Christian cross stuck in the corner of the city seal. A lawsuit was filed on behalf of the ACLU and two religious groups that this cross violated the separation of church and state. The federal courts ruled against the city. The city council and people of Edmond, Ok ( a strong upper middle income, God-fearing, suburb located in heart of the Bible belt) were understandably outraged.:p They subsequently fought it, tooth and nail, all the way to the US Supreme Court, spent a fortune, and lost again. Although the whole episode seemed to me to be a colossal waste of time, effort, and money on both sides, there is a precedent.

    The implementation of what you are promoting, (i.e., letting the people decide on pledges or mottos over the courts), could create a pandora's box. The rights of minorities could eventually be trampled on as it could conceivably create a "gray area" in which the majority could impose their will on the rest. Lawyers are slick ... give them a tiny hole and they will eventually drive a Mac truck through it. Discrimination could spread to other areas with far worse consequences for both our people and the nation.

    This must not happened.

    The checks and balances of our three branches of government are sound. To abrogate the constitution, for any reason (other than an amendment), is ill-conceived and puts our entire system at risk. Although it seems that the words on the pledge of allegiance or a certain religious item on a city seal are trivial and minor inconveniences at worst, to ignore them, or allow the majority to rule over and above the "law of the land", is to potentially invite a disaster of the worst kind.
     
  12. publius

    publius IncGamers Member

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    What most people don't know is that the concept of "Separation of Church and State" wasn't founded by "evil godless athiests" trying to take away the rights of religious people, or anything so silly.

    It had its origins long before Europe began colonizing America. Church officials felt that the concept was necessary so that they could keep higher religious matters separate from earthly matters of governing a state. Ironically today the primary opponents of separation of church and state happen to be religious people.
     
  13. Anakha1

    Anakha1 Banned

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    Something tells me that Christian beliefs did not make the U.S. what it is. And a goodly amount of the founding fathers and their political descendents are quoted athiests.
     
  14. dantose

    dantose IncGamers Member

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    My understanding is that the atheist movement in europe never really took root here. Most of the founding fathers who weren't christian were deists, a movement that has since mostly died out.

    EDIT: I mean the atheism at that time. Obviously we have an appreciable move towards atheism now.
     
  15. Underseer

    Underseer IncGamers Member

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    It's a good thing they were deists instead of Christians; I think we would have a very different country if not for that.
     
  16. publius

    publius IncGamers Member

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    Actually ever since the 18th century American history has been marked by a continuing trend towards secularism, separated by religious revivals every 20 years or so to push back the clock a bit.
     
  17. MithrandirX

    MithrandirX IncGamers Member

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    I'm a high school teacher, so you might say I am on the front lines of the Pledge of Allegiance issue. We start every day with the pledge, but many children don't say it, and that is perfectly fine. Some children say it but leave out the "under God," and that is fine too. No one is being forced into subscribing to any religious belief here, so I don't see what all the fuss is about.

    Newdow seems to be complaining about his child having to hear the words, which is ridiculous. Out of all the things that can be heard in a high school classroom, "under God" is about the most innocuous. That being said, I really wouldn't be all that upset if they took those words out of the pledge either. It doesn't seem to me to be an issue worth fighting about.

    Mith

    P.S. Anyone ever been to the Supreme Court and seen the Ten Commandments engraved on the chamber door? Wierd, huh?
     
  18. Underseer

    Underseer IncGamers Member

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    There's also a depiction of Moses on the outside of the building.

    Some misinterpret that to mean that the architect was implying that the Constitution and/or our laws derive from the Bible and/or the ten commandments in spite of statements by the founding fathers quite to the contrary. The exterior of the Supreme Court building is "ancient lawgiviers" and includes all kinds of ancient figures historical and otherwise that were associated with law (e.g. Hamurabi, Confuscious, Mohammed, etc.).

    There's a full explanation at Snopes.
     

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