Mocking Those of Faith

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itsthesheppy:

Bentusi16:

itsthesheppy:

First of all, if you're like to engage in a conversation I'm happy to do it. But if you're going to point at the Library of Congress and say 'Unless you prove to me, because I have assumed the authority to do so, that you have read all of this, your opinion is beneath mine', then this is not going to get anywhere very quickly. If you have something to add to the conversation, do so. Don't just point in the general direction of a massive body of work and make grunting noises like it means something. If you have indeed read all of those sources yourself, good for you. By all means, lay out some education for us.

In the real world, we deal with social issues brought to us by people convinced of the authenticity of their arguments. They don't need to explain why homosexuality is bad, or why protected sex is bad, or why stem cell research is bad. The bible says its bad, and we know the bible is a reliable source. Why? Because its the word of god. Can god be wrong?

Go on, ask your progressive christian friends if god can be wrong. If they say yes, then quiz them on what makes god a better authority on anything than the rest of us? The entire point of a divine being who hands out mandates to its mortal flock is that it rests on a plane above us; we are mortal sinners. God cannot sin; how would he have any authority to judge us if he did? God needs to be perfect. The things he says needs to be perfect, otherwise it just doesn't work. They can say it does all they like, but the reasoning is riddles with bleeding holes.

Also, in keeping with your declarations unto me, I will not accept a response that does not come accompanied by no less than fifty (for a reasonably statistically significant sample size) audio or video recordings if you conducting these interviews. That's not an annoying or silly stipulation to add to a video game forum debate, is it?

No see, my problem is that your sitting there shouting "I SEE NO HISTORICAL EVIDENCE OF JESUS" and then when I link you a bunch of shit that actually sort of answers the question one way or another, you dismiss it out of hand; or to put it another way, you are dogmatically clinging to your belief that there could not be a historical Jesus and choosing to ignore the fact that there is even evidence that there was.

Also, you do understand that again, many Christians acknowledge the BIBLE as being written by mortal hands; mortal hands are fallible, even if being spoken to by their God.

And you know what? None of the ones I was talking about hate homosexuals, not openly, no 'protesting because they get married or have teh gaysex'. None of them. See, that's the thing about a personal religion, it lets you come up with your own ideas to fit around the core, which is again, the belief in Jesus as a messianic figure. Most christians I know are reasonable people, most are educated, most don't hate the gays. None of the ones I would consider friends or companions do, that's definite. Hell, I was on a team speak server earlier talking with a catholic about what god thinks about threesomes (Since you're not supposed to cheat on your spouse) with a gay guy; they're old friends, and have known each other longer then I've known them.

If you have an issue with someone relying on the bible, feel free to undermine them with your own beliefs, and they are beliefs, trust me, and frankly I think one of the lines you should use is "Why does a religion that defines it self on loving thy neighbor then turn around and preach hate". It's a fun one to break out.

But most Christians? They'll admit not everything in the bible is 100% accurate; it's almost as if they're human beings and not robots or lockstepped and brainwashed.

I never said I knew Jesus didn't exist. I said I'm not convinced by the evidence that did, and certainly not convinced that he was anything other than a perfectly mortal evolved ape like the rest of us. I've looked at the historicity of Jesus; I'm not a Vatican scholar, but I feel like I've at least sampled the surface of what's there. And what's there isn't very much. For a guy what is supposedly the son of the creator of the universe, sent here to rescue humanity from itself, you'd think there'd be more contemporary information on his life and doings than your average ancient roman senator.

In you have specific examples you would like to supply that you feel would be compelling, you're invited to do so. But again, pointing at a stack of books and grunting at me is not an argument. I note you didn't provide your interview research I demanded. It seems we're at an impasse. Maybe we can stop making silly demands of each other, and merely converse about our mutual ideas? It might help facilitate the conversation a little bit better.

You then go on to declare that you know lots of Christians who don't believe what you think I think they believe. Given that entire states are banning gay marriage in the US, and that the Republican National Platform for 2012 included provisions that abortion should be illegal in all cases including rape, can you perhaps assent that the progressive country club Christians you know represent the societal minority, in at the very least large portions of the country? After all, if all were as you say they are, then there wouldn't be anything to argue about, would there? But alas; there is.

I feel, though, that your experience (which I am not denying you) is atypical. And this feeling is borne out of my being able to just look at what the world appears to us to be like. As soon as states stop striking down gay marriage via popular vote, I think your point will carry a great deal more weight. But not yet.

So, here's an interesting couple of ideas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_by_country

If you click on % of population and scroll down you'll find that America is according to last data gathering, 73% christian identified. That's more then half the population by far; and yet we have states with gay marriage. And every election we get more and more.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage_in_Maryland

This is my own states take on it; if you go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_in_the_United_States#Demographics_by_state you'll find that 41% of Maryland people attended church at last survey.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maryland_Question_6 Here's the actual referendum. The measure passed at 51% of the vote. So despite 73% of the country being christian, gay marriage is still making a headway.

Not really any points, just thoughts.

Also, these aren't country club christians. I'm lower middle class, and have lived in a Nebraskan town where the entire economy is based around a grain mill and a pair of dog-food factories. The other place I've lived is a largely rural/southern democrats area whose entire economy is basically based on the DOD. It has a military base and many many military contractors working the area.

Dijkstra:

Glasgow:

itsthesheppy:

And you tried to trap me, and you missed. Being attached to an organization due to unavoidable reasons (membership being compulsory, or living in a place where not being a member is life threatening) is not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about free adults making free choices.

Why are you accusing me of foul play? It's not very nice of you.

Back to my point, I will think of another - USA military is voluntary. Lets say that someone enlists and becomes a soldier. Through all of his service he doesn't make contact with the enemy and passes it with ease. Is he responsible for the wars the military goes through, the death its soldiers cause, the destruction and the collateral damage?

He's certainly responsible for aiding it, and volunteering to possible be a part of it. If they asked him to I assume he'd go along and do as he's told.

'Assume'? Were you a soldier in the past, or a part of a similar system? Every person has a line he cannot pass. It's usually long before killing children at point black distance.
As always, there's the Wermacht and there's the SS. A few can execute people in cold blood. Combat, on the other hand, is a whole different animal. When you're trained for war and you're thirsty for revenge, you won't hesitate even if you see the white in their eyes. This isn't from personal experience, but I know someone I trust that experienced war first hand. Propaganda helps, but you never experienced true war unless you have seen your friend die in your arms and charged forward to kill the fuckers that did it to him. It's true for everyone.

itsthesheppy:

Glasgow:

itsthesheppy:

And you tried to trap me, and you missed. Being attached to an organization due to unavoidable reasons (membership being compulsory, or living in a place where not being a member is life threatening) is not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about free adults making free choices.

Why are you accusing me of foul play? It's not very nice of you.

Back to my point, I will think of another - USA military is voluntary. Lets say that someone enlists and becomes a soldier. Through all of his service he doesn't make contact with the enemy and passes it with ease. Is he responsible for the wars the military goes through, the death its soldiers cause, the destruction and the collateral damage?

Trying to trap someone in a logical snare is a debate tactic as old as time and nothing to be ashamed of. It's not foul play. It's by the book. I'm just saying, you missed.

Now, the military. There might actually be something there. The unfortunate thing is, the military is completely necessary in a way that religions are not. We need it to safeguard our citizens from governments who have militaries of their own who might someday wish us harm; their use as a tool to push our domestic policy abroad is not one with which I agree.

It rests in a gray area, I suppose. Where, yeah, you could point out the rocky history that every global military carries with it. But it's not optional; not yet, anyway. Religion is entirely optional. Also, military doctrine is subject to change. the military can learn from mistakes and try to make things better. When the military kills civilians, they are at the very least trying not to. As time marches on, they will find better ways of accomplishing their goals with the least amount of collateral damage.

What I'm seeing, globally, is not a religious movement to roll back the oppression, misogyny, homophobia (in the west), not the violence and sectarian war (in the middle east), but rather a panicked 'circling of wagons', as they fight a losing battle with an increasingly secular zeitgeist. Contrary to the military's constant efforts to improve and learn from mistakes, religion appears to be going down fighting in defense of its outdated and malicious ideals.

In your world-view, a military is necessary yet a religious institution isn't? But isn't there a choice for people to not volunteer for these kinds of armies (not talking about conscription, but even then you can refuse and get sent to jail). You voluntarily agree to be in the military, no matter whether the military is necessary or not.

You're looking at this wrong. If you're one of those that says "Religion is about to disappear! Hahaha!" then I don't know if I can continue the conversation. There are massive untapped markets in Africa, South America and Asia. The African population growth can explode once its local issues are resolved. Many of those are Muslims and Christians (mostly Catholic and Anglican, though all kinds are out there, somewhere) and they will continue believing in the religion and adhering to its institutions. Europe isn't the center of the world. Trends within it do not represent global trends.

Military doctrine isn't necessarily subject to change. World War One taught us that officers and generals can be fixated in the past while ignoring the present. Today it's urban warfare, yesterday was tanks, the day before that was trenches. A Military force doesn't necessarily avoid civilian casualties... the laws of war can be followed, but then again - who cares? It can all change.

Glasgow:

Dijkstra:

Glasgow:

Why are you accusing me of foul play? It's not very nice of you.

Back to my point, I will think of another - USA military is voluntary. Lets say that someone enlists and becomes a soldier. Through all of his service he doesn't make contact with the enemy and passes it with ease. Is he responsible for the wars the military goes through, the death its soldiers cause, the destruction and the collateral damage?

He's certainly responsible for aiding it, and volunteering to possible be a part of it. If they asked him to I assume he'd go along and do as he's told.

'Assume'? Were you a soldier in the past, or a part of a similar system? Every person has a line he cannot pass. It's usually long before killing children at point black distance.
As always, there's the Wermacht and there's the SS. A few can execute people in cold blood. Combat, on the other hand, is a whole different animal. When you're trained for war and you're thirsty for revenge, you won't hesitate even if you see the white in their eyes. This isn't from personal experience, but I know someone I trust that experienced war first hand. Propaganda helps, but you never experienced true war unless you have seen your friend die in your arms and charged forward to kill the fuckers that did it to him. It's true for everyone.

I'm assuming he'd go to war. War is what you said, don't go off on some asinine tangent.

itsthesheppy:
1 Corinthians 6. The new testament also comes out very clearly against homosexuals. So the teachings of Jesus are not exempt from this rule...

Indeed it does, however it's still under the same rule: Love thy neighbour as you love yourself. Any action must be held to this first - and Jesus granted that rule power to override everything else in the Bible, even the word of his own Father. Christians have to be better to their neighbours first and foremost. "Would I want them to do this to me?" If yes, then do it. If no, then don't. It's the overriding singular rule of Christianity - the very definition of what it means to follow Jesus Christ.

itsthesheppy:
As I've addressed earlier, atheists who commit bad things have very rarely ever had those bad things linked to their atheism. I can't summon to mind an incident where someone kills someone (or a group of people) declaring that the reason he was doing that was because he believed there was no god. The statement itself rolls off the tongue clumsily; any reasonable person can see that such an individual would have to be divorced from reality, because the logic just doesn't hold.

Unfortunately you're creating a divide here, and holding atheists separate.
"If an atheist does something bad, it's because they're not really an atheist" is one way for that to be interpreted. I don't believe you mean it that way - so though do jump in if I'm wrong here. As an obvious appeal to intelligence ("any reasonable person can see...") I believe you mean that such a person might be mentally ill or is merely using it as a smoke screen, so to speak?
Yet, when a religious person would make a similar statement, you'd wash it away. Why the separation?

As for an incident, the most obvious one would be the anti-religious campaigns of the former USSR, most notable are those actions during World War II when some 100,000 religious believers from the central Russian churches were executed by firing squad and many times more were imprisoned, tortured and experimented on.
This particular anti-religious campaign stretched from the earth 20th century till around 1950 I do believe, though I haven't read up on it for some while. It's a fascinating look at how anything - even the lack of belief - can be used to supply an "escape goat".
The atheist civilian population of the USSR formed their own anti-religious groups independent from the Government, and burned Churches, Mosques and holy buildings, raped and murdered their patriots, and generally treated the religious as cattle. They did this because they believed that religion was the cause of all their ills, and so tried to stamp it out in any form. Some of the propaganda created during this time mirrors a lot of what we see coming out of modern day atheists - hence my concern today.

itsthesheppy:
...But it's not Episcopalians legislating against homosexuals. Pentecostals aren't the ones picketing abortion clinics. It's always "Christians" when they want to change something, when they want to influence policy directly. This is a "Christian Nation", they are fond of saying. Not a Catholic Nation, not a Baptist Nation. when it suits them, they are a monolith...

As you made obvious above, this is applicable to any group - atheists, religious, patriotics, etc. Why are you singling religion out on this issue? It's the nature of an organised group of any kind: together we stand, alone we fall.

As for the "Christians", your now holding literally billions of people responsible for the words of a few with access to the media. If a Christian Minister gets on TV and says "That gunmen shot and murdered the children in that school because gays are getting married" you're the one who's taken what we says and assumed he represents everyone else on his word alone. You reject what he says when you don't like it, but accept what he says when you agree?
This appears to be a form of confirmation bias; anything that furthers your established position is taken as gospel, so to speak. Do 2.3 billion Christians really need to stand up and say "He's not speaking for us?" when an atheist can say "Religion and it's followers are evil and should be exercised" in various mediums, upto inciting hatred, and you don't step in and say "Whoa, he's not speaking for me!".
It seems to me you might be assuming the worst of people because of their belief.

itsthesheppy:
...The point is though, is that there doesn't seem to be much enthusiasm for that sort of thing...

Neither is there for atheists to step forward and say "I don't hate the religious". I'm not seeing a point here, other than you think religious people should be required to state their position on everything, to make it easier to divide them into groups of "You should be allowed to continue with your religion because you agree with me" and "You shouldn't be allowed to continue with your religion with you don't agree with me".

itsthesheppy:
...and much in the same way that we attacked Afghanistan because they harbored terrorists, I attack the faithful for being the bulwark behind which the bigoted 'extremists' prosper, safe and protected, whether the moderates know it or not...

Quite the stretch there, from my point of view, and based on misinformation.
Afghanistan wasn't invaded because it merely "harbour" terrorists - as in, a place of safety for them. They funded, trained, supported and even encouraged the extremists in an official, Government backed capacity. They nodded to the West in public, and funded attacks against them in the dark.

However, while some members of religion actively support the extremists of their various faiths, they are in the minority. And I emphasis minority. And, at the end of this, you're simply saying to someone "Someone did something bad and they believe in the same thing as you - why didn't you stop them?" even if you think you're saying something different. I still question this type of logic: attacking someone you know to be innocent of the accusation, but doing so because those you accuse share the same religion?
That's a recipe for hate crimes.

Edit: Polarity27, sorry, I've run out of time. I'll reply to you tomorrow :)

Zeh Don:

itsthesheppy:
As I've addressed earlier, atheists who commit bad things have very rarely ever had those bad things linked to their atheism. I can't summon to mind an incident where someone kills someone (or a group of people) declaring that the reason he was doing that was because he believed there was no god. The statement itself rolls off the tongue clumsily; any reasonable person can see that such an individual would have to be divorced from reality, because the logic just doesn't hold.

Unfortunately you're creating a divide here, and holding atheists separate.
"If an atheist does something bad, it's because they're not really an atheist" is one way for that to be interpreted. I don't believe you mean it that way - so though do jump in if I'm wrong here. As an obvious appeal to intelligence ("any reasonable person can see...") I believe you mean that such a person might be mentally ill or is merely using it as a smoke screen, so to speak?
Yet, when a religious person would make a similar statement, you'd wash it away. Why the separation?

That really isn't one way for it to be interpreted. All he said was it was not because they were atheist.

As for an incident, the most obvious one would be the anti-religious campaigns of the former USSR, most notable are those actions during World War II when some 100,000 religious believers from the central Russian churches were executed by firing squad and many times more were imprisoned, tortured and experimented on.
This particular anti-religious campaign stretched from the earth 20th century till around 1950 I do believe, though I haven't read up on it for some while. It's a fascinating look at how anything - even the lack of belief - can be used to supply an "escape goat".
The atheist civilian population of the USSR formed their own anti-religious groups independent from the Government, and burned Churches, Mosques and holy buildings, raped and murdered their patriots, and generally treated the religious as cattle. They did this because they believed that religion was the cause of all their ills, and so tried to stamp it out in any form. Some of the propaganda created during this time mirrors a lot of what we see coming out of modern day atheists - hence my concern today.

And guess what? It wasn't their atheism that did it still. Atheism is not believing in a deity. That does not imply anything more, such as what you ought to do about it. It's a single belief. Their atheism was part of a larger ideology. It's like saying that theism is responsible for churches existing.

If a Christian is allowed to mock an Atheist and say we will go to hell, then we damn well have the same right to mock a Christian for believing in fairy tales.

Dijkstra:

Glasgow:

Back to my point, I will think of another - USA military is voluntary. Lets say that someone enlists and becomes a soldier. Through all of his service he doesn't make contact with the enemy and passes it with ease. Is he responsible for the wars the military goes through, the death its soldiers cause, the destruction and the collateral damage?

He's certainly responsible for aiding it, and volunteering to possible be a part of it. If they asked him to I assume he'd go along and do as he's told.

Well, you are assuming, and there's the fact that said soldier hasn't done anything.

While I have a bone to pick with secular activists that muscle lawsuits against cities or schools because they're offended by something, I'm certainly not going throw every Atheist down the pipe alleging they all contribute to that nonsense. Not everyone who identifies as Christian even reads a Bible or goes to a church. It's not a standing army wearing the same uniform and taking direct orders.

Soljer13:
If a Christian is allowed to mock an Atheist and say we will go to hell, then we damn well have the same right to mock a Christian for believing in fairy tales.

If something is so untrue, then why even waste the energy?

Some of the most outspoken secular people, the way I want to respond to them I'm reminded of The Dark Knight:

Batman: "You're garbage who kills for money."
Joker: "Don't talk like one of them, you're not."

AgedGrunt:
If something is so untrue, then why even waste the energy?

Because it's incredibly insulting that they think we're going to be tortured forever and it's an okay setup? These folks worship this guy as just, righteous and good. People should openly voice their opinions on that, I think.
It's not that it's not untrue, it's that it says a lot about the people believing and accepting it as just.

Anyway, as a more direct example: I don't have to believe something to be true to be offended by it. If somebody, say, calls me a rapist, I'm going to be insulted despite fully well knowing that I never raped anybody; so I'm going to speak out. I don't just let it go.

While I have a bone to pick with secular activists that muscle lawsuits against cities or schools because they're offended by something, I'm certainly not going throw every Atheist down the pipe alleging they all contribute to that nonsense.

Those lawsuits are usually about restoring constitutional order, you know. Just because Christians often have unconstitutional advantages over other religious folks and Atheists and have had them for a long time in many instances doesn't mean it should stay that way. Plus - and this is important - secular and Christian aren't mutually exclusive. I can't quite remember whether it was the Secular Coalition or some other secular group that was actually headed by a Christian priest fighting against public imposition of Christianity on people. That imposition is the main problem that we all should combat, no matter which religion or lack thereof, because it's dangerous to all of our freedom.
As a little side-note, who is to say that the Christianity being imposed would be a variety you are in favour of even if you're a Christian yourself? There are a lot of differences in views. It just ends up a mess for everybody if we don't curtail it and ensure people's freedom of as well as from religion.

Skeleon:

As a little side-note, who is to say that the Christianity being imposed would be a variety you are in favour of even if you're a Christian yourself? There are a lot of differences in views. It just ends up a mess for everybody if we don't curtail it and ensure people's freedom of as well as from religion.

Precisely why I was a secularist even when I was a Christian. To say nothing of my own unjustifiable views, there were plenty of Christians even then that I wanted well away from any kind of political institution.

Bentusi16:

itsthesheppy:

Bentusi16:

No see, my problem is that your sitting there shouting "I SEE NO HISTORICAL EVIDENCE OF JESUS" and then when I link you a bunch of shit that actually sort of answers the question one way or another, you dismiss it out of hand; or to put it another way, you are dogmatically clinging to your belief that there could not be a historical Jesus and choosing to ignore the fact that there is even evidence that there was.

Also, you do understand that again, many Christians acknowledge the BIBLE as being written by mortal hands; mortal hands are fallible, even if being spoken to by their God.

And you know what? None of the ones I was talking about hate homosexuals, not openly, no 'protesting because they get married or have teh gaysex'. None of them. See, that's the thing about a personal religion, it lets you come up with your own ideas to fit around the core, which is again, the belief in Jesus as a messianic figure. Most christians I know are reasonable people, most are educated, most don't hate the gays. None of the ones I would consider friends or companions do, that's definite. Hell, I was on a team speak server earlier talking with a catholic about what god thinks about threesomes (Since you're not supposed to cheat on your spouse) with a gay guy; they're old friends, and have known each other longer then I've known them.

If you have an issue with someone relying on the bible, feel free to undermine them with your own beliefs, and they are beliefs, trust me, and frankly I think one of the lines you should use is "Why does a religion that defines it self on loving thy neighbor then turn around and preach hate". It's a fun one to break out.

But most Christians? They'll admit not everything in the bible is 100% accurate; it's almost as if they're human beings and not robots or lockstepped and brainwashed.

I never said I knew Jesus didn't exist. I said I'm not convinced by the evidence that did, and certainly not convinced that he was anything other than a perfectly mortal evolved ape like the rest of us. I've looked at the historicity of Jesus; I'm not a Vatican scholar, but I feel like I've at least sampled the surface of what's there. And what's there isn't very much. For a guy what is supposedly the son of the creator of the universe, sent here to rescue humanity from itself, you'd think there'd be more contemporary information on his life and doings than your average ancient roman senator.

In you have specific examples you would like to supply that you feel would be compelling, you're invited to do so. But again, pointing at a stack of books and grunting at me is not an argument. I note you didn't provide your interview research I demanded. It seems we're at an impasse. Maybe we can stop making silly demands of each other, and merely converse about our mutual ideas? It might help facilitate the conversation a little bit better.

You then go on to declare that you know lots of Christians who don't believe what you think I think they believe. Given that entire states are banning gay marriage in the US, and that the Republican National Platform for 2012 included provisions that abortion should be illegal in all cases including rape, can you perhaps assent that the progressive country club Christians you know represent the societal minority, in at the very least large portions of the country? After all, if all were as you say they are, then there wouldn't be anything to argue about, would there? But alas; there is.

I feel, though, that your experience (which I am not denying you) is atypical. And this feeling is borne out of my being able to just look at what the world appears to us to be like. As soon as states stop striking down gay marriage via popular vote, I think your point will carry a great deal more weight. But not yet.

So, here's an interesting couple of ideas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_by_country

If you click on % of population and scroll down you'll find that America is according to last data gathering, 73% christian identified. That's more then half the population by far; and yet we have states with gay marriage. And every election we get more and more.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage_in_Maryland

This is my own states take on it; if you go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_in_the_United_States#Demographics_by_state you'll find that 41% of Maryland people attended church at last survey.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maryland_Question_6 Here's the actual referendum. The measure passed at 51% of the vote. So despite 73% of the country being christian, gay marriage is still making a headway.

Not really any points, just thoughts.

Also, these aren't country club christians. I'm lower middle class, and have lived in a Nebraskan town where the entire economy is based around a grain mill and a pair of dog-food factories. The other place I've lived is a largely rural/southern democrats area whose entire economy is basically based on the DOD. It has a military base and many many military contractors working the area.

I live in NH. There are four churches in my little town of Newmarket, and we legalized gay marriage too. So welcome to the Cool Kid's Club. The reason that country is steadily rolling back the tide of fundamentalism is very much due to a national conversation we are having right this moment, you and I. I am fine with representing the side that is not yet satisfied. That considers the job only partway done for as long as there are states still outright banning it. The struggle isn't over, either; my state legislature recently struck down a measure attempting to repeal the progress we've made.

The zeitgeist is shifting. Slowly. I see no reason to stop pushing now, just because some headway is being made. It's important to recall that Mitt Romney was a serious contender for the Presidency, a Mormon who was very clear on what he thought of homosexuals. He lost, which was a comforting sign, but we're not yet in the clear.

Also, "Country Club Christian" is not a phrase that refers to economic status. It's a phrase that refers to a Christian who does not fundamentally follow the laws of the bible. Eating shellfish, coexisting peacefully with homosexuals, that sort of thing. Otherwise known as "Buffet Christians". I'll have the nice parts of the bible, please, but not the nasty bits.

I'm not sure why they don't just rewrite the bible. Seriously. I mean, just cut out the parts that are stupid and backwards and evil. Rewrite the commandments; maybe include something about child abuse in them, or rape. I feel like many would sooner dump a bucket of paint on their car than do that, though.

Glasgow:

In your world-view, a military is necessary yet a religious institution isn't? But isn't there a choice for people to not volunteer for these kinds of armies (not talking about conscription, but even then you can refuse and get sent to jail). You voluntarily agree to be in the military, no matter whether the military is necessary or not.

You're looking at this wrong. If you're one of those that says "Religion is about to disappear! Hahaha!" then I don't know if I can continue the conversation. There are massive untapped markets in Africa, South America and Asia. The African population growth can explode once its local issues are resolved. Many of those are Muslims and Christians (mostly Catholic and Anglican, though all kinds are out there, somewhere) and they will continue believing in the religion and adhering to its institutions. Europe isn't the center of the world. Trends within it do not represent global trends.

Military doctrine isn't necessarily subject to change. World War One taught us that officers and generals can be fixated in the past while ignoring the present. Today it's urban warfare, yesterday was tanks, the day before that was trenches. A Military force doesn't necessarily avoid civilian casualties... the laws of war can be followed, but then again - who cares? It can all change.

The existence of a military is entirely necessary. Countries that wish for their sovereignty to be respected need to be able to defend it, for as long as 'countries' exist. Otherwise we might be in real physical danger at the hands of those who wish us harm. The existence of religions is optional; you can not have one, and your culture can get by just fine. I'm not talking about an individual's membership to these organizations, I'm talking about the organizations themselves. And rest assured, if everyone tomorrow quit being Christians, all that would mean is there wouldn't be any Christians. If everyone quit the US army, the army would implement a draft. That's the difference. Military service is only optional right now because we can afford it to be.

Also, I suffer no delusions that the human race will ever be without religions. For as long as we fear death, there will be some who will invent magical ways to escape it, or cope with its inevitability. My argument is that religions should go away. Not that they ever will.

Zeh Don:

itsthesheppy:
1 Corinthians 6. The new testament also comes out very clearly against homosexuals. So the teachings of Jesus are not exempt from this rule...

Indeed it does, however it's still under the same rule: Love thy neighbour as you love yourself. Any action must be held to this first - and Jesus granted that rule power to override everything else in the Bible, even the word of his own Father. Christians have to be better to their neighbours first and foremost. "Would I want them to do this to me?" If yes, then do it. If no, then don't. It's the overriding singular rule of Christianity - the very definition of what it means to follow Jesus Christ.

The bible contradicts itself? Stop the presses.

Seriously though, why would the bible have bits in it where it's like "These people are bad and will go to hell" and have different bits that say " Never mind all that, just be nice and you'll be fine." Also, jesus makes it clear in John 14:6 that just being a nice guy isn't enough. you also have to specifically accept him as your messiah. What if you don't? You could be the nicest guy on the planet and still not get into heaven? Look, what parts of the bible are "real" and which ones aren't? Because its tough to tell; the bible seems to operate under the assumption that everything it says is the word of god, since it keeps reminding us.

If there are bits that don't apply anymore, why haven't they been edited out? Why haven't the newer printed versions added footnotes that say "Just ignore this part, god doesn't really think that anymore"?

itsthesheppy:
As I've addressed earlier, atheists who commit bad things have very rarely ever had those bad things linked to their atheism. I can't summon to mind an incident where someone kills someone (or a group of people) declaring that the reason he was doing that was because he believed there was no god. The statement itself rolls off the tongue clumsily; any reasonable person can see that such an individual would have to be divorced from reality, because the logic just doesn't hold.

Unfortunately you're creating a divide here, and holding atheists separate.
"If an atheist does something bad, it's because they're not really an atheist" is one way for that to be interpreted. I don't believe you mean it that way - so though do jump in if I'm wrong here. As an obvious appeal to intelligence ("any reasonable person can see...") I believe you mean that such a person might be mentally ill or is merely using it as a smoke screen, so to speak?
Yet, when a religious person would make a similar statement, you'd wash it away. Why the separation?

As for an incident, the most obvious one would be the anti-religious campaigns of the former USSR, most notable are those actions during World War II when some 100,000 religious believers from the central Russian churches were executed by firing squad and many times more were imprisoned, tortured and experimented on.
This particular anti-religious campaign stretched from the earth 20th century till around 1950 I do believe, though I haven't read up on it for some while. It's a fascinating look at how anything - even the lack of belief - can be used to supply an "escape goat".
The atheist civilian population of the USSR formed their own anti-religious groups independent from the Government, and burned Churches, Mosques and holy buildings, raped and murdered their patriots, and generally treated the religious as cattle. They did this because they believed that religion was the cause of all their ills, and so tried to stamp it out in any form. Some of the propaganda created during this time mirrors a lot of what we see coming out of modern day atheists - hence my concern today.

You're dead wrong on a couple points here.

1. I'm not playing "no true scotsman". Read what I'm saying: If an atheist does a bad thing, unless it's proven that his or her atheism is causal to the bad action, then you can't blame the atheism on the bad action. For example, if an atheist steals a car, it doesn't mean that atheism made him do it. but if he says "I'm stealing this car because god is fake" then you could certainly blame the atheism. It would be causal.

2. The religious crackdown in communist Russia is the great trump card that loves to get played but is totally wrong. Before the communist uprising, Russia was under the rule of tsars who professed to be, while not gods or demigods, at least more than human. They were closer to divine than normal humans were. The church was not just tied closely to the state, it practically was the state.

So when the communists took over, they would be bad at their job if they didn't make it very clear that new bosses were in town. What better way then to destroy the old bosses utterly? Stalin, who had no interest in sharing power, saw the church as a challenge to that power. It competed with him for the minds and hearts of his people. So, being the brutal totalitarian asshole he was, he just started murdering people who disagreed with or challenged him and his power. I mean, just look at this quote from him: ""Fuck the Pope. How many divisions does he have, anyway?" Here is a guy who is all about mortal power and influence in the real world. He didn't murder dissenters and destroy the church because he thought they had the wrong opinion about the nature of the universe. He did it to grab as much power and influence as possible, and let's face it; especially at that time, the church had a lot of power. He destroyed a competitor to his own influence.

His atheism was not causal. His political ideology was.

If this is frustrating to you, it should be; Not many people do things because of things they don't believe in. I've never rioted for a sports team I don't follow. I've never acted a certain way to a person because of my not racism. Atheism doesn't have a mission statement or a singular agenda. People happen to be atheists in much the same way they happen to have mustaches. It's a character trait, but typically not causal to behaviors in the same way that religions can be.

itsthesheppy:
...But it's not Episcopalians legislating against homosexuals. Pentecostals aren't the ones picketing abortion clinics. It's always "Christians" when they want to change something, when they want to influence policy directly. This is a "Christian Nation", they are fond of saying. Not a Catholic Nation, not a Baptist Nation. when it suits them, they are a monolith...

As you made obvious above, this is applicable to any group - atheists, religious, patriotics, etc. Why are you singling religion out on this issue? It's the nature of an organised group of any kind: together we stand, alone we fall.

As for the "Christians", your now holding literally billions of people responsible for the words of a few with access to the media. If a Christian Minister gets on TV and says "That gunmen shot and murdered the children in that school because gays are getting married" you're the one who's taken what we says and assumed he represents everyone else on his word alone. You reject what he says when you don't like it, but accept what he says when you agree?
This appears to be a form of confirmation bias; anything that furthers your established position is taken as gospel, so to speak. Do 2.3 billion Christians really need to stand up and say "He's not speaking for us?" when an atheist can say "Religion and it's followers are evil and should be exercised" in various mediums, upto inciting hatred, and you don't step in and say "Whoa, he's not speaking for me!".
It seems to me you might be assuming the worst of people because of their belief.

I have already once before in this thread addressed why I think religious moderates are, in fact, to blame. I really don't want to retype it. You can find my post here.

itsthesheppy:
...The point is though, is that there doesn't seem to be much enthusiasm for that sort of thing...

Neither is there for atheists to step forward and say "I don't hate the religious". I'm not seeing a point here, other than you think religious people should be required to state their position on everything, to make it easier to divide them into groups of "You should be allowed to continue with your religion because you agree with me" and "You shouldn't be allowed to continue with your religion with you don't agree with me".

Part of the problem with replying to, say, a single line in a very long post is that if you edit out the context of the quote, I'm not sure what it is you're replying to. As you can see, I'm involved in many simultaneous debates in this thread, and it's a little hard to remember each and every line's context when quoted out of it.

itsthesheppy:
...and much in the same way that we attacked Afghanistan because they harbored terrorists, I attack the faithful for being the bulwark behind which the bigoted 'extremists' prosper, safe and protected, whether the moderates know it or not...

Quite the stretch there, from my point of view, and based on misinformation.
Afghanistan wasn't invaded because it merely "harbour" terrorists - as in, a place of safety for them. They funded, trained, supported and even encouraged the extremists in an official, Government backed capacity. They nodded to the West in public, and funded attacks against them in the dark.

However, while some members of religion actively support the extremists of their various faiths, they are in the minority. And I emphasis minority. And, at the end of this, you're simply saying to someone "Someone did something bad and they believe in the same thing as you - why didn't you stop them?" even if you think you're saying something different. I still question this type of logic: attacking someone you know to be innocent of the accusation, but doing so because those you accuse share the same religion?
That's a recipe for hate crimes.

Edit: Polarity27, sorry, I've run out of time. I'll reply to you tomorrow :)

[/quote]

Hate crimes? Calm down. It's not a perfect analogy, you're right. But moderates are responsible, whether they know it or not, according to my reasoning in the post I laid out earlier, linked above.

AgedGrunt:

Dijkstra:

Glasgow:

Back to my point, I will think of another - USA military is voluntary. Lets say that someone enlists and becomes a soldier. Through all of his service he doesn't make contact with the enemy and passes it with ease. Is he responsible for the wars the military goes through, the death its soldiers cause, the destruction and the collateral damage?

He's certainly responsible for aiding it, and volunteering to possible be a part of it. If they asked him to I assume he'd go along and do as he's told.

Well, you are assuming, and there's the fact that said soldier hasn't done anything.

Oh, so what did they pay him for again? Right, doing nothing at all to contribute to their goals. Furthermore, even signing up and volunteering is something.

While I have a bone to pick with secular activists that muscle lawsuits against cities or schools because they're offended by something, I'm certainly not going throw every Atheist down the pipe alleging they all contribute to that nonsense. Not everyone who identifies as Christian even reads a Bible or goes to a church. It's not a standing army wearing the same uniform and taking direct orders.

I don't care about what you'd do or not do, it's not an argument it's a statement of position.

Also it's generally due to some Christians being so full of themselves they can't see how they're stuffing their fairy tales down the throats of others.

Skeleon:

AgedGrunt:
If something is so untrue, then why even waste the energy?

Because it's incredibly insulting that they think we're going to be tortured forever...

Anyway, as a more direct example: I don't have to believe something to be true to be offended by it. If somebody, say, calls me a rapist, I'm going to be insulted despite fully well knowing that I never raped anybody; so I'm going to speak out. I don't just let it go.

Except hell is considered a fictional place, non-existing. Rape is a very real, violent act upon another living creature that millions of people have suffered. I'm truly offended by your using that comparison, but it's not the first time I've received the "it's like rape" argument around here.

Anyway, do you lose sleep over whether or not you're a wizard, Harry?

Skeleon:
Those lawsuits are usually about restoring constitutional order, you know.

Yes, thank the good government for restoring order. It's panic and bedlam to allow decorations in city hall and leave an alumni dedication to a school that had an offensive word on it, like God. Phew. This preserving order is serious business. I'm going out for a drink and--oh sweet potatoes it's printed all over our money, too! How are we still alive?!

Update:

Dijkstra:
I don't care about what you'd do or not do, it's not an argument it's a statement of position.

Also it's generally due to some Christians being so full of themselves they can't see how they're stuffing their fairy tales down the throats of others.

It's a statement of your position to stereotype and slander Christianity and all Christians, even the ones that don't push their religion onto others, but it's ok for you to do that to everyone with your opinions and even change public policy to make a society you want. What double-standard?

AgedGrunt:

Dijkstra:
I don't care about what you'd do or not do, it's not an argument it's a statement of position.

Also it's generally due to some Christians being so full of themselves they can't see how they're stuffing their fairy tales down the throats of others.

It's a statement of your position to stereotype and slander Christianity and all Christians, even the ones that don't push their religion onto others, but it's ok for you to do that to everyone with your opinions and even change public policy to make a society you want. What double-standard?

Waiting to see where I stereotyped anyone. Hint: I didn't.

Nor was there any slander at all.

Also waiting to see where I pushed a religion on anyone. At best I implied I approved of removing it from public institutions, which still lets people practice it. It just doesn't endorse it. You know, being neutral. But I guess someone like you would find neutrality an offense since it isn't worshiping your god enough.

Neutrality, btw, isn't a double standard.

AgedGrunt:
Except hell is considered a fictional place, non-existing. Rape is a very real, violent act upon another living creature that millions of people have suffered.

Except torture with branding irons, fire and spikes is/was a very real thing and the pain and punishment are supposed to be very real yet just.
Torture is a real, violent act upon another living creature that millions of people have suffered.
The fact that I won't suffer it because that particular torture dungeon doesn't exist is irrelevant for the consideration at hand, just like me not really having raped anybody is irrelevant.
It's a disgusting charge regardless.

I'm truly offended by your using that comparison, but it's not the first time I've received the "it's like rape" argument around here.

"Hell is like rape"? Well, I think some iterations of it are supposed to be, yeah, but that's not really the point. Perhaps you need to read that again: It was about fake rape allegations, not about an actual rape taking place.
Anyway, the point is that it doesn't matter whether it's real or not in regards to being insulting if the sentiment of the people in question is the issue.
Why are you so opposed to people speaking out against disgusting sentiments? Sentiments like that do affect how people treat each other, you know. They should be open to direct criticism and attack.
Freedom of speech works in both directions after all. It doesn't mean one side gets to talk shit and the other has to just be quiet about it. No, they can respond just as freely. I know that may be annoying to some who are used to be able to talk shit with no repercussions whatsoever, but that's just not how it works.

Yes, thank the good government for restoring order. It's panic and bedlam to allow decorations in city hall and leave an alumni dedication to a school that had an offensive word on it, like God. Phew. This preserving order is serious business. I'm going out for a drink and--oh sweet potatoes it's printed all over our money, too! How are we still alive?!

I don't really think you not caring about the first amendment is reason enough for others to follow your bad example. Secularists of all religious (and non-religious) persuasions don't do that and I'd rather throw in with them. *shrug*
See, you asked why anybody would "waste energy" on this. The problem is that you don't care, okay, but perhaps you can at least reproduce the situation enough to realize why people who do care would get engaged in it.

AgedGrunt:

Except hell is considered a fictional place, non-existing. Rape is a very real, violent act upon another living creature that millions of people have suffered. I'm truly offended by your using that comparison, but it's not the first time I've received the "it's like rape" argument around here.

I dont agree with the rape analogy but a previous concern ive raised with many is that people who believe in hell must harbor a VERY strong hatred of atheists. Or they must twist their world view to avoid accepting such hatred.

I think the point he is trying to make is that wishing, wanting, agreeing with or condoning putting someone into the most awful torture porn infinite hell suffering is a sick thing to feel. The amount of disdain you must feel, how inhuman you must twist them in your mind to justify such torture, to feel happy with the fact that innocent, moral, atheists are going to hell is disgusting. I do not possess the capacity to hate with a hatred so strong that i wished someones suffering was infinitely intense and infinitely long. I cant do it. And yet EVERY christian who believes in hell for atheists agrees with, or sides with the being that agrees with, this horrific punishment for people who have done nothing wrong. Can you comprehend the level of hatred someone must feel to REALLY think about Hell and someone being there and being ok with that? Like REALLY. I cant think of ANY mortal crime that is worthy of hell. No matter how much i hated a person, no matter how much i wanted to harm them eventually the punishment would stop being amusing. Or right. Or worth anything. It would become sad. And gratuitous. A QUADRILLION years of suffering seems intense for the crime of atheism, which the MOMENT i arrived in hell i would understand was false, and that quadrillion years is nothing in the face of eternity. The first microsecond.

It scares me that logical, rational and hopefully moral people can dehumanise me, or hate me, or shunt my humanity to the back of their minds enough to feel happy that I am going to hell. Its terrifying. Imagine if i decided a group of people deserved to have burning blender blades coated in acid rammed into their eyes for what they believed. All of them. Id be a scary psychotic individual. It is a little daunting to live in a world where the majority religion justifies, and is happy with your infinite suffering. Its just disturbing as fuck to look into a persons eyes and think "Hes totally ok with the 'fact' im going to be tortured, he thinks this is JUST, that it is MY fault".

Skeleon:

I don't really think you not caring about the first amendment is reason enough for others to follow your bad example.

Sometimes I come across a succinctly worded sentence that sums up a thought or concept so squarely that I seethe with jealousy for having not said it myself. The quoted statement above is one such an example. Well said.

It's interesting, how people will act like "In god we trust" isn't such a big deal. I bet if Obama suggested changing the word "god" to "allah", so out money said "In Allah We Trust", there would be a goddamn countrywide riot.

While I may get a little anti-theist at times, believe whatever you want to believe. The only issue I have with religion is when they try to spread it to everyone with the idea that if we don't do exactly what they say, we suffer for eternity or that we are terrible people because of who we choose to love or what we choose to believe in. When you preach that the answers to everything can be found in scripture and all empirical, scientific evidence that says otherwise is wrong, then I have an issue. But to outright mock someone because of their religion? No, I think that's wrong. If you find solace, community or help through religion, by all means, continue following that faith. What I don't want you to do is tell everyone that the only way to find that is through religion.

It infuriates me that many rational, intelligent people turn to religion for everything. For example, one of my friends is a devout catholic. I like hanging around her and she's a very smart person. I don't like hanging around her when she calls Slayer or Anthrax "devil music". I really wish I was kidding. I also recently found out that many of my other friends are also quite religious (for modern standards); they go to church every week, they go to religious gatherings, etc. Again, no issue with it, but if they try to bring me there, I doubt we'll remain friends for much longer.

I've got to end this before I write an entire paper on why religion is bad but has its merits.

To quote Steven Fry, "I have no quarrel or no argument and I wish to express no contempt for individual devout and pious member's of [the Catholic] church. They're welcome to their sacraments and to their reliquaries and to their blessed Virgin Mary and to their faith... to the importance they place in it and to the comfort and the joy they receive from it. All of that is absolutely fine by me. It would be impertinent and wrong of me to express any antagonism towards any individual who wishes to find salvation in whatever form they wish to express it." (Intelligence Squared debate; 2009).

Dijkstra:
Waiting to see where I stereotyped anyone. Hint: I didn't. Nor was there any slander at all.

I don't care about what you'd do or not do, it's not an argument it's a statement of position.

Also it's generally due to some Christians being so full of themselves they can't see how they're stuffing their fairy tales down the throats of others.

Hey, I know you, we disagree a lot. Alright.

Hint: The last part was actually quoted in your denial post. You're right, you don't care. Your free speech to say a bunch of nasty stuff is evidently retribution for the nasty things those Christians over there say and believe about you. We get it. Maybe you could take a lesson and turn the other cheek? These "fairy tales" shouldn't be enough to get under the skin of grown adults.

Be the better person you believe you are.

Dijkstra:
Also waiting to see where I pushed a religion on anyone. At best I implied I approved of removing it from public institutions, which still lets people practice it. It just doesn't endorse it. You know, being neutral. But I guess someone like you would find neutrality an offense since it isn't worshiping your god enough.

Neutrality, btw, isn't a double standard.

Didn't say you were pushing religion, and you didn't imply such. All said, you have a very bizarre interpretation of stereotypes and slander, much less what true neutrality is from the way you talk.

Skeleon:
It's a disgusting charge regardless.

It was about fake rape allegations, not about an actual rape taking place.

Why are you so opposed to people speaking out against disgusting sentiments?

It's an empty charge, fake rape allegations are disgusting and I'm not opposed to speaking out about such sentiments, I've been pointing out a lot in this thread. Two wrongs don't make a right.

Skeleon:

Yes, thank the good government for restoring order. It's panic and bedlam to allow decorations in city hall and leave an alumni dedication to a school that had an offensive word on it, like God. Phew. This preserving order is serious business. I'm going out for a drink and--oh sweet potatoes it's printed all over our money, too! How are we still alive?!

I don't really think you not caring about the first amendment is reason enough for others to follow your bad example. Secularists of all religious (and non-religious) persuasions don't do that and I'd rather throw in with them. *shrug*
See, you asked why anybody would "waste energy" on this. The problem is that you don't care, okay, but perhaps you can at least reproduce the situation enough to realize why people who do care would get engaged in it.

Litigation against schools and cities (i.e. the public), alleging personal damages because people came into contact with religion is decidedly anti-first amendment, which is the opposite of what you predicated this entire paragraph on. No idea how you got all of that from what I said; it's conjured.

BiscuitTrouser:
I think the point he is trying to make is that wishing, wanting, agreeing with or condoning putting someone into the most awful torture porn infinite hell suffering is a sick thing to feel.

They could make a point and articulate it, but grab for the throat and stab with their points. Through all of this has been to say that there is such a thing as a bad use of free speech.

AgedGrunt:

Skeleon:

Yes, thank the good government for restoring order. It's panic and bedlam to allow decorations in city hall and leave an alumni dedication to a school that had an offensive word on it, like God. Phew. This preserving order is serious business. I'm going out for a drink and--oh sweet potatoes it's printed all over our money, too! How are we still alive?!

I don't really think you not caring about the first amendment is reason enough for others to follow your bad example. Secularists of all religious (and non-religious) persuasions don't do that and I'd rather throw in with them. *shrug*
See, you asked why anybody would "waste energy" on this. The problem is that you don't care, okay, but perhaps you can at least reproduce the situation enough to realize why people who do care would get engaged in it.

Litigation against schools and cities (i.e. the public), alleging personal damages because people came into contact with religion is decidedly anti-first amendment, which is the opposite of what you predicated this entire paragraph on. No idea how you got all of that from what I said; it's conjured.

You appear to have no grasp of the legal issues. The First Amendment is the basis for these cases (and why judges often rule in the favor of the plaintiffs.) "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion".

The cases you refer to are Establishment Clause cases. They occur because the government is endorsing a religion. Not because someone "came into contact" with religion. They do not happen because of "offensive words". They happen because the government is acting outside the bounds of its authority as limited by the Constitution of the United States.

Seanchaidh:
You appear to have no grasp of the legal issues. The First Amendment is the basis for these cases (and why judges often rule in the favor of the plaintiffs.) "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion".

The cases you refer to are Establishment Clause cases. They occur because the government is endorsing a religion. Not because someone "came into contact" with religion. They do not happen because of "offensive words". They happen because the government is acting outside the bounds of its authority as limited by the Constitution of the United States.

Except the government hasn't created any laws by putting up some decorations, and no government policymaker had anything to do with a school's first alumni that drafted a project in the 1960s and dedicated it to hang in a library.

Please tell us where Congress has come into these matters, and then why you omitted the free exercise clause.

And you should read that case about a girl who sued her school, because it absolutely was not brought on by separation of church and state malarkey.

AgedGrunt:

Seanchaidh:
You appear to have no grasp of the legal issues. The First Amendment is the basis for these cases (and why judges often rule in the favor of the plaintiffs.) "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion".

The cases you refer to are Establishment Clause cases. They occur because the government is endorsing a religion. Not because someone "came into contact" with religion. They do not happen because of "offensive words". They happen because the government is acting outside the bounds of its authority as limited by the Constitution of the United States.

Except the government hasn't created any laws by putting up some decorations, and no government policymaker had anything to do with a school's first alumni that drafted a project in the 1960s and dedicated it to hang in a library.

Please tell us where Congress has come into these matters, and then why you omitted the free exercise clause.

And you should read that case about a girl who sued her school, because it absolutely was not brought on by separation of church and state malarkey.

The faculty of the school are government employees, if the school is a public one. They are extensions of the government. A police station can't put a manger on the front lawn, because the station is funded by tax dollars and staffed by government employees.

It's not about passing laws. It's about endorsement (as the guy your quoted said, very clearly). The government can't endorse any particular religion. "But in god we trust is on our money!" Yes, and that's not very constitutional. It would be career and political suicide to campaign against it, however, so that's why it stays. If you're going to circle the wagons around the "government shall pass no law" phraseology, I have some bad news for you: everyone owning a gun who isn't in a state-backed militia needs to turn those guns in. Whoops.

AgedGrunt:

Seanchaidh:
You appear to have no grasp of the legal issues. The First Amendment is the basis for these cases (and why judges often rule in the favor of the plaintiffs.) "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion".

The cases you refer to are Establishment Clause cases. They occur because the government is endorsing a religion. Not because someone "came into contact" with religion. They do not happen because of "offensive words". They happen because the government is acting outside the bounds of its authority as limited by the Constitution of the United States.

Except the government hasn't created any laws by putting up some decorations,

Ah, so the free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press can be curtailed by the government as long as the policy isn't being explicitly drafted into law? Or is it only the Establishment Clause for which this workaround is acceptable?

and no government policymaker had anything to do with a school's first alumni that drafted a project in the 1960s and dedicated it to hang in a library.

Public school librarians are empowered by rules laid down by administrators who are themselves empowered by the law (there are often a few more tiers in this hierarchy, but this is essentially what occurs.) This being the case, public school librarians are subject to Constitutional requirements when choosing with what to decorate their libraries.

Please tell us where Congress has come into these matters,

The incorporation of the bill of rights via the 14th Amendment applies the bill of rights to state governments and their associated institutions.

and then why you omitted the free exercise clause.

For the same reason I omitted the free speech, free press, petition and assembly clauses. None of them are relevant aside from the Establishment Clause. There is no religion that requires government endorsement to be exercised freely. And in any case where one would claim to require such, Establishment Clause concerns would obviously take priority.

And you should read that case about a girl who sued her school, because it absolutely was not brought on by separation of church and state malarkey.

You'll have to be more specific.

itsthesheppy:
The faculty of the school are government employees, if the school is a public one. They are extensions of the government. A police station can't put a manger on the front lawn, because the station is funded by tax dollars and staffed by government employees.

It's not about passing laws. It's about endorsement (as the guy your quoted said, very clearly). The government can't endorse any particular religion.

They're not federal employees, at least I've never been to a federal public school. And it is about laws, those are the first words in the amendment, which explicitly says Congress, by the way, not government employees.

It's a "hands-off" approach. If the local/state/etc. school faculties decide to put some figures out, there's nothing in that amendment forbidding it. If Congress makes a law against it, that would be Unconstitutional.

Let's be real: Don't like what's on a website? Close the tab. Religious people don't like seeing same-sex couples? They can look away. Don't like religious symbols? You can look away.

itsthesheppy:
"But in god we trust is on our money!" Yes, and that's not very constitutional. It would be career and political suicide to campaign against it, however, so that's why it stays...

...everyone owning a gun who isn't in a state-backed militia needs to turn those guns in.

Ah here we are again, it's those two vast, powerful lobbies holding government hostage to its dogma. Good grief. Has that print hurt anyone? How does it affect you? It's an interesting way to look at it because it's the same way we look at homosexuality. Nobody is walking up to you and asking you to play for their team.

You also have an inaccurate understanding of the second amendment, which doesn't come as a surprise as we have enough trouble with the first.

Seanchaidh:
so the free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press can be curtailed by the government as long as the policy isn't being explicitly drafted into law? Or is it only the Establishment Clause for which this workaround is acceptable?

Public school librarians are empowered by rules laid down by administrators who are themselves empowered by the law (there are often a few more tiers in this hierarchy, but this is essentially what occurs.) This being the case, public school librarians are subject to Constitutional requirements when choosing with what to decorate their libraries.

Putting up decorations doesn't curtail first amendment rights of any person. Think this is taken too seriously when we're considering a single, elder librarian with cats could threaten order.

Concerning decorations, symbols or presence of religion, Jane from IRS accounting could bring in boxes of Christmas stuff from her leaky basement and people would still call it a government endorsement of religion.

Seanchaidh:

And you should read that case about a girl who sued her school, because it absolutely was not brought on by separation of church and state malarkey.

You'll have to be more specific.

Unfortunately the link I had no longer works. You can believe it or not. In 1963 a prayer, which was written by a member of student council, was gifted to a school's first alumni (I'll correct the placement as being in an auditorium). This was a school that once said the Lord's Prayer during morning assembly.

Fast forward to 2011, and suddenly this historic item violated a girl's rights just by being there, and in the suit she wanted compensatory damages, with interest, for injuries and all related costs.

I recall another account where a school concert was canceled from public pressure because fundraising was done by a church.

AgedGrunt:

itsthesheppy:
The faculty of the school are government employees, if the school is a public one. They are extensions of the government. A police station can't put a manger on the front lawn, because the station is funded by tax dollars and staffed by government employees.

It's not about passing laws. It's about endorsement (as the guy your quoted said, very clearly). The government can't endorse any particular religion.

They're not federal employees, at least I've never been to a federal public school. And it is about laws, those are the first words in the amendment, which explicitly says Congress, by the way, not government employees.

It's a "hands-off" approach. If the local/state/etc. school faculties decide to put some figures out, there's nothing in that amendment forbidding it. If Congress makes a law against it, that would be Unconstitutional.

The incorporation of the bill of rights via the 14th Amendment says otherwise. Everson v. Board of Education. 1947. Ancient history.

AgedGrunt:
Let's be real: Don't like what's on a website? Close the tab. Religious people don't like seeing same-sex couples? They can look away. Don't like religious symbols? You can look away.

Which is why it is perfectly fine for churches to advertise themselves in any way that does not imply an endorsement by or the approval of state institutions, for people to proselytize door to door, and also why this is not about being 'offended', but state endorsement. In the United States, people have a Constitutional Right that their government refrain from endorsing, supporting, or in any way elsewise establishing a religion. I suppose that makes us a disestablishmentarian country. I don't think we need to see a rise of antidisestablishmentarianism.

"Those who would renegotiate the boundaries between church and state must therefore answer a difficult question: Why would we trade a system that has served us so well for one that has served others so poorly?"

-Justice Sandra Day O'Connor

AgedGrunt:

itsthesheppy:
"But in god we trust is on our money!" Yes, and that's not very constitutional. It would be career and political suicide to campaign against it, however, so that's why it stays...

Good grief. Has that print hurt anyone? How does it affect you? It's an interesting way to look at it because it's the same way we look at homosexuality. Nobody is walking up to you and asking you to play for their team.

The ceremonial deism of our coinage has contributed to the misconception that this is a Christian rather than a secular nation. Inasmuch as people can look away, the government can also refrain from endorsing a religious viewpoint. If you want to advertise a religious viewpoint, do it with your own time or on your own property. Do not have government institutions do it for you.

AgedGrunt:

Seanchaidh:
so the free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press can be curtailed by the government as long as the policy isn't being explicitly drafted into law? Or is it only the Establishment Clause for which this workaround is acceptable?

Public school librarians are empowered by rules laid down by administrators who are themselves empowered by the law (there are often a few more tiers in this hierarchy, but this is essentially what occurs.) This being the case, public school librarians are subject to Constitutional requirements when choosing with what to decorate their libraries.

Putting up decorations doesn't curtail first amendment rights of any person. Think this is taken too seriously when we're considering a single, elder librarian with cats could threaten order.

Yes, we get it. You don't care about the First Amendment. Well, not the clause that theocrats don't like anyway. Putting up religious decorations in a government-funded institution is against the supreme law of the land. That you think it isn't threatening order-- that ignoring the supreme law of the land is fine as long as a sufficiently elderly cat-lover is doing so-- means the practice has already not just threatened but damaged the public order.

AgedGrunt:
Concerning decorations, symbols or presence of religion, Jane from IRS accounting could bring in boxes of Christmas stuff from her leaky basement and people would still call it a government endorsement of religion.

Depending on the particulars of the case, it very well might be.

AgedGrunt:

Seanchaidh:

And you should read that case about a girl who sued her school, because it absolutely was not brought on by separation of church and state malarkey.

You'll have to be more specific.

Unfortunately the link I had no longer works. You can believe it or not. In 1963 a prayer, which was written by a member of student council, was gifted to a school's first alumni (I'll correct the placement as being in an auditorium). This was a school that once said the Lord's Prayer during morning assembly.

Leading students in the Lord's Prayer during morning assembly isn't Constitutional in a public school either. That this school was in the wrong before does not justify it being in the wrong now.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Fe_Independent_School_Dist._v._Doe
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_v._Weisman

AgedGrunt:
Fast forward to 2011, and suddenly this historic item violated a girl's rights just by being there, and in the suit she wanted compensatory damages, with interest, for injuries and all related costs.

It's a violation of the Establishment Clause. Compensatory damages aren't necessarily called for, but I'd have to know the particulars of the case to have an opinion on whether they were in that case.

AgedGrunt:
I recall another account where a school concert was canceled from public pressure because fundraising was done by a church.

And why do you think this is problematic?

We're laying down a legal gauntlet to scuttle figurines and solemn words. Yes, I do believe this is where the discussion needs to end.

Sadly, reverting to the previous topic, in which I'd hope people could agree to at least respect those they disagree with, seems rather pointless as well. Through years of reading different opinions I believe that those who invest so deeply in Constitutional and legal research and exhume, exhaust and extrapolate every shred of evidence they can find that abates religion from public squares, show no fundamental respect for it or its people as much as it is thinly veiled bigotry.

You're staking the battle for the first amendment, nay societal order itself on painted plastic objects that were probably on sale at a Hobby Lobby. Whatever. Fight the power.

AgedGrunt:
We're laying down a legal gauntlet to scuttle figurines and solemn words. Yes, I do believe this is where the discussion needs to end.

Sadly, reverting to the previous topic, in which I'd hope people could agree to at least respect those they disagree with, seems rather pointless as well. Through years of reading different opinions I believe that those who invest so deeply in Constitutional and legal research and exhume, exhaust and extrapolate every shred of evidence they can find that abates religion from public squares, show no fundamental respect for it or its people as much as it is thinly veiled bigotry.

You're staking the battle for the first amendment, nay societal order itself on painted plastic objects that were probably on sale at a Hobby Lobby. Whatever. Fight the power.

Why would a nation with so many Christians in it elect politicians who would appoint and affirm such "thinly veiled bigots" to the Supreme Court of the United States for so many years running? Why would the practice of law be so dominated by antireligious bigots? These precedents are not arcane. They are not legally irrelevant. They are not hard to find. They are not especially controversial (though practically any Supreme Court decision has had some controversy.) How does your accusation make any sense whatsoever?

RJ 17:
Seems the general consensus of responses that I've been getting is that it's perfectly fine to make fun of these people because they chose their religion where as things such as sexuality and race are things that aren't chosen. This means that it's apparently ok to make fun of people who are different, so long as they're different for reasons they choose themselves. And evidently I'm the only one that sees that as hypocritical.

Thank you, my fellow escapists, for this little social survey. The results have been most enlightening. I didn't realize that the way someone differs from you is the key point to consider when determining whether or not it's alright to openly mock someone. Different by sexuality, race, etc: off limits. Different by beliefs: lol they're fucking morons lol!

The way I see things, we're born into this world not knowing anything, and having only instinct. Afterwards, we are indoctrinated by our parents, teachers, media, and environment into having certain belief's and structures of opinion. Over the course of our lives, we often change beliefs and gain certain opinions when new information is presented. Although, this is where cognitive dissonance comes into play, as well as existentialism.

Personally, having had experiences with existential crisis, and cognitive dissonance; I do not believe it is our place to judge anyone. We are not omniscient, we are not omnipotent, we are not omnipresent. To say the least, it simply isn't our place to differentiate between right and wrong, good and evil, love and fear. We simply do not know enough collectively as a species, or as individuals, to dictate such things.

In the context of making fun of someone's personal beliefs on the purpose of life, meaning, etc., I find it quite shallow and simply immature to put them down. Think of it like this, an agnostic doesn't know whether or not they believe because they have no evidence to show them that they should or should not. A believer, however, has been presented evidence that they should believe, and possibly hasn't been presented any which would disrupt these beliefs. An atheist has sufficient evidence and knowledge of belief systems and axioms of opinion that they have reached the conclusion that no creator/god exists.

Simply; it is immature, shallow, and a waste of time to bother putting someone down for their personal beliefs. You believe that your life is a fluke and that you're here by chance, cool! MATH! They believe that a loving all powerful God created them to help their soul ascend into eternity, cool! Mythology!

Altefforr:
Simply; it is immature, shallow, and a waste of time to bother putting someone down for their personal beliefs. You believe that your life is a fluke and that you're here by chance, cool! MATH! They believe that a loving all powerful God created them to help their soul ascend into eternity, cool! Mythology!

First off: congraturations on getting an Escapist account!

The trouble with this viewpoint--while I do respect it--is that what we think has an impact on the world. In societies where power is concentrated in the hands of a relatively small group, what those people think and why they think it becomes vitally important. In addition, there are numerous beliefs that have very negative consequences; the easy example is in education, but it filters through in all kinds of ways. If a person for example believes that this world is a place to experience sorrow as a learning tool for the afterlife then improving this world is not only impossible: it becomes undesirable because this world would then not serve its (preordained) function.

I do agree that putting down someone is never a desirable thing, nor necessary: changing your stance should ideally never be a consequence of sheer social pressure.

TheMatsjo:
The trouble with this viewpoint--while I do respect it--is that what we think has an impact on the world.

This is true. Our beliefs, values, opinions, and axioms of said properties of character can and will affect others in our lives. With power, comes responsibility. For the foreseeable future, there will be those who will abuse this power; and force their beliefs onto others, or whom their beliefs will conflict with others.

While I don't agree with, let's say the Hitler regime and the SS; I'm not going to deny their right to believe whatever they want. I will however deny the validity of the claim that they have the right to enforce their beliefs upon others, or act upon them.

Possibly, a good way to look at this would be the eye-for-an-eye concept in a democratic society. If someone murders your brother, and is convicted of said crime; but your belief system dictates that you must kill him in rebuttal - do you have the right to force that belief upon him?

We shouldn't judge, but that doesn't mean ignore what a belief system is teaching or acting upon. If for example, collectively and democratically; Iraq or Iran decides that women have the right to vote and education, then it is the woman's right to seek that education or participation in the government. There will however, because they are allowed to have such beliefs; be people that will not want this and will want to perpetuate the female to male slave to master thingy-do. Consequently, there needs to be a line of discernment here; we can't be jailing innocent people who've done nothing to harm anyone, simply because they believe women belong in the kitchen. But, if you went so far as to bomb a school or murder a woman for voting - then yes, you should be stopped and jailed because obviously you don't have enough respect for your fellow humans rights, so why should we care about yours?

AgedGrunt:
We're laying down a legal gauntlet to scuttle figurines and solemn words. Yes, I do believe this is where the discussion needs to end.

Sadly, reverting to the previous topic, in which I'd hope people could agree to at least respect those they disagree with, seems rather pointless as well. Through years of reading different opinions I believe that those who invest so deeply in Constitutional and legal research and exhume, exhaust and extrapolate every shred of evidence they can find that abates religion from public squares, show no fundamental respect for it or its people as much as it is thinly veiled bigotry.

You're staking the battle for the first amendment, nay societal order itself on painted plastic objects that were probably on sale at a Hobby Lobby. Whatever. Fight the power.

If they're just "painted plastic objects that were probably on sale at a Hobby Lobby", then why do you care so much about their removal? If they're just some shitty figurines, why care so much? You hurt your own argument by trying to belittle your opponent.

wintercoat:
If they're just "painted plastic objects that were probably on sale at a Hobby Lobby", then why do you care so much about their removal? If they're just some shitty figurines, why care so much? You hurt your own argument by trying to belittle your opponent.

Why care to stand up for something I believe is an unalienable right? We are a united people; to deny from one means all are diminished. Could be a veteran yesterday, a minority today or myself tomorrow.

I would hope when my rights are being denied that others have my back, because freedom can't just sit on paper and look pretty. Lethargy and smug nationalism, a teenage invincibility toward liberty has led to damaging interpretations and policy that works like water does a solvent.

AgedGrunt:

wintercoat:
If they're just "painted plastic objects that were probably on sale at a Hobby Lobby", then why do you care so much about their removal? If they're just some shitty figurines, why care so much? You hurt your own argument by trying to belittle your opponent.

Why care to stand up for something I believe is an unalienable right? We are a united people; to deny from one means all are diminished. Could be a veteran yesterday, a minority today or myself tomorrow.

I would hope when my rights are being denied that others have my back, because freedom can't just sit on paper and look pretty. Lethargy and smug nationalism, a teenage invincibility toward liberty has led to damaging interpretations and policy that works like water does a solvent.

Except you've never had that right, so don't try and imply that it's a weakening of our culture for you to lose it.

The issue with religion getting involved in government is that there is no stopping point, especially with Christianity which has a huge emphasis on evangelism. The decorations aren't really the point, it's the idea behind them, that religion should have an overt hand in government and ultimately the forming of policy. But we see all over the world and all throughout history that such a system does not work and leads towards discrimination and violence. So yes, you have to put Christmas decorations on private property.

Altefforr:

TheMatsjo:
The trouble with this viewpoint--while I do respect it--is that what we think has an impact on the world.

This is true. Our beliefs, values, opinions, and axioms of said properties of character can and will affect others in our lives. With power, comes responsibility. For the foreseeable future, there will be those who will abuse this power; and force their beliefs onto others, or whom their beliefs will conflict with others.

While I don't agree with, let's say the Hitler regime and the SS; I'm not going to deny their right to believe whatever they want. I will however deny the validity of the claim that they have the right to enforce their beliefs upon others, or act upon them.

Possibly, a good way to look at this would be the eye-for-an-eye concept in a democratic society. If someone murders your brother, and is convicted of said crime; but your belief system dictates that you must kill him in rebuttal - do you have the right to force that belief upon him?

We shouldn't judge, but that doesn't mean ignore what a belief system is teaching or acting upon. If for example, collectively and democratically; Iraq or Iran decides that women have the right to vote and education, then it is the woman's right to seek that education or participation in the government. There will however, because they are allowed to have such beliefs; be people that will not want this and will want to perpetuate the female to male slave to master thingy-do. Consequently, there needs to be a line of discernment here; we can't be jailing innocent people who've done nothing to harm anyone, simply because they believe women belong in the kitchen. But, if you went so far as to bomb a school or murder a woman for voting - then yes, you should be stopped and jailed because obviously you don't have enough respect for your fellow humans rights, so why should we care about yours?

I think a good example is Hinduism and some of the societal problems that plague India. Since Hinduism has a belief in reincarnation that means that your circumstances that you are born into are something deserved from past lives, which means that there is very little cultural incentive to try to solve economic inequality.

And I have a problem with your starting thought, that we cannot know what is good and evil. Maybe this is true on an absolute level, but we must make decisions as to what is good and what is evil otherwise it will be simply chaos. So to that point we MUST make decisions about that on both an individual level and a societal level and then we have an obligation to fight for what is "good" and against what is "evil."

AgedGrunt:
We're laying down a legal gauntlet to scuttle figurines and solemn words. Yes, I do believe this is where the discussion needs to end.

You're staking the battle for the first amendment, nay societal order itself on painted plastic objects that were probably on sale at a Hobby Lobby. Whatever. Fight the power.

Surprisingly i actually agree with you here. As an agnostic atheist i dont understand why people got mad about the ten commandments in a school or a manger in a police station. Because for me the key difference is this.

"The folks down at the police station wanted to celebrate their Christmas and put up a manger" - No issues. When its MY turn i wanna put any personal decoration i want up because they deserve the same rights.

"The folks in the court say we should all have mangers in every station and everyone should attend a mass there" - Large issues. When its MY turn they will refuse to attend my event which deserves the same rights.

And again for the schools using the same examples. If the PUBLIC wish to put up a monument for their purposes and leave me alone im fine since i suppose i can put my own one up too. The moment they HAVE to put one up and i HAVE to interact with it in a meaningful way im done.

However i was opposed, pretty weakly though, to the cross at ground zero. It seemed like an unnecessarily exclusionary thing to do "Lets ALL stand together with jesus to remember the event" pretty much rules out anyone who doesnt believe in jesus. That event was serious. The public and main remembrance shouldnt be primarily christian focused because christians didnt suffer. Everyone did. Personal crosses ALL over the neutral monument? Fine as hell. But dont errect a giant symbol for your own religion in an event where LOADS of people from different religions and faiths were killed. It seems a little insensitive. I dont mind enough to want it taken DOWN i just think its not the best thing you could have put there.

I just wanted to add that Gods condemnation of homosexuals is that they are not allowed to be part of his congregation.
Theres no allowance in scripture for christians to persecute anyone. rather they are directly commanded to "be peaceable with all men" - differing faith or lifestyle is irrelevant.

Also, they are under to command to obey the laws of the countrys / rulers they find themselves living under (as far as Gods own laws allow) - but they dont have any obligation from God to try & enact His laws onto said countrys / rulers.

Jesus said his followers were not of this world, & that this world has been allowed time by God to rule over itself (man ruling over man) & to live however it sees fit.

itsthesheppy:
[quote="SimpleThunda'" post="528.400475.16461390"]

It's not okay to mock and marginalize people for having a different color of skin, for being a certain height, for being a certain gender, for having a certain sexual affiliation or so forth, because those things are not choices. Religious beliefs are, in fact, a choice. Most of us don't have a choice to be indoctrinated in them as children, but it's very possible to grow up into a studious, thoughtful individual who can cast off nonsense and superstition.

Ridiculous beliefs warrant ridicule. If you are a grown adult and you tell me with conviction that you believe that alien abductions are real, that you saw bigfoot, that Elvis is still alive, and that a completely arbitrary arrangement of numbers holds magical power, I'm going to ridicule you.

Also, it really stretches things to feel bad for someone who belongs to such a sweeping majority as the jesus cult. It's always cringe-inducing when people cry out "Won't someone please think about the poor, oppressed 80% majority?!" Spare me.

You've pretty much summed up how I feel there.

The other issue is while fundamentalists of any religion are generally fundamentally stupid, it's not always true that people who are silly in one area of their life (such as being religious) display the same lack of logical thought in other areas of their lives.

The fact that there are other people who belong to the same religion as that man (the bulk of them) who wouldn't quit their job over something that utterly trivial/insignificant means that we are ridiculing him less because he is religious and more because he is completely retarded.

That of course brings up the question of whether we should be laughing at someone who is mentally handicapped.

Well, I'm not going to discriminate on the basis of mental capacity. I don't care if your IQ is 50, 100 or 200. If you do something silly, prepare to be mocked...

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