Seperation of Church and State

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    Seperation of Church and State


    Here is an excellent article that i thought could kick off the discussion:

    Separation of Church and State

    NOT SEPARATION OF GOD FROM STATE


    by Fr. Bill McCarthy, MSA

    Our Founding Fathers


    Our Founding Fathers set this great nation of ours upon the twin towers of religion and morality. Our first president, George Washington, said that anyone who would attack these twin towers could not possibly consider themselves to be a loyal American. Not only did they set us up as a nation under God, but a nation founded upon the Judaic-Christian principles summarized in the words, "The laws of nature and the laws of nature’s God," words that we find in the Declaration of Independence.


    Never Intended to Separate State from God or from Religion or from Prayer

    The First Amendment never intended to separate Christian principles from government. yet today we so often heart the First Amendment couples with the phrase "separation of church and state." The First Amendment simply states:


    "Congress shall make no law respecting and establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."


    Obviously, the words "separation," "church," or "state" are not found in the First Amendment; furthermore, that phrase appears in no founding document.


    While most recognize the phrase "separation of church and state," few know its source; but it is important to understand the origins of that phrase. What is the history of the First Amendment?


    The process of drafting the First Amendment made the intent of the Founders abundantly clear; for before they approved the final wording, the First Amendment went through nearly a dozen different iterations and extensive discussions.


    Those discussions—recorded in the Congressional Records from June 7 through September 25 of 1789—make clear their intent for the First Amendment. By it, the Founders were saying: "We do not want in America what we had in Great Britain: we don’t want one denomination running the nation. We will not all be Catholics, or Anglicans, or any other single denomination. We do want God’s principles, but we don’t want one denomination running the nation."


    This intent was well understood, as evidenced by court rulings after the First Amendment. For example, a 1799 court declared:


    "By our form of government, the Christian religion is the established religion; and all sects and denominations of Christians are placed on the same equal footing."


    Again, note the emphasis: "We do want Christian principles—we do want God’s principles—but we don’t want one denomination to run the nation."


    In 1801, the Danbury Baptist Association of Danbury, Connecticut, heard a rumor that the Congregationalist denomination was about to be made the national denomination. That rumor distressed the Danbury Baptists, as it should have. Consequently, the fired off a litter to President Thomas Jefferson voicing their concern. On January 1, 1802, Jefferson wrote the Danbury Baptists, assuring them that "the First Amendment has erected a wall of separation between church and state."


    His letter explained that they need not fear the establishment of a national denomination—and that while the wall of the First Amendment would protect the church from government control—there always would be open and free religious expression of all orthodox religious practices, for true religious expression of all orthodox religious practices, for true religious duties would never threaten the purpose of government. The government would interfere with a religious activity was a direct menace to the government or to the overall peace and good order of society. (Later Supreme Court identified potential "religious" activities in which the government might interfere: things like human sacrifice, bigamy or polygamy, the advocation of immorality or licentiousness, etc. If any of these activities were to occur in the name of "religion," then the government would interfere, for these were activities which threaten public peace and safety; but with orthodox religious practices, the government would not interfere).


    Today, all that is heard of Jefferson’s letter is the phrase, "a wall of separation between church and state," without either the context, or the explanation given in the letter, or its application by earlier courts. The clear understanding of the First Amendment for a century-and-a-half was that it prohibited the establishment of a single national denomination. National policies and rulings in that century-and-a-half always reflected that interpretation.


    For example, in 1853, a group petitioned Congress to separate Christian principles from government. They desired a so-called "separation of church and state" with chaplains being turned out of the congress, the military, etc. Their petition was referred to the House and the Senate Judiciary Committees, which investigated for almost a year to see if it would be possible to separate Christian principles from government.


    Both the House and the Senate Judiciary Committees returned with their reports. The following are excerpts from the House report delivered on Mary 27, 1854 (the Senate report was very similar):


    "Had the people [the Founding Fathers], during the Revolution, had a suspicion of any attempt to war against Christianity, that Revolution would have been strangled in its cradle. At the time of the adoption of the Constitution and the amendments, the universal sentiment was that Christianity should be encouraged, but not any one sect [denomination]…. In this age, there is no substitute for Christianity…. That was the religion of the founders of the republic, and they expected it to remain the religion of their descendants."


    Two months later, the Judiciary Committee made this strong declaration:


    "The great, vital, and conservative element in our system [the thing that holds our system together] is the believe of our people in the pure doctrines and divine truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ."


    The Committees explained that they would not separate these principles, for it was these principles and activities which had made us so successful—they had been our foundation, our basis.


    During the 1870s, 1880s, and 1890s, yet another group which challenged specific Christian principles in government arrived before the Supreme Court. Jefferson’s letter had remained unused for years, for as time had progressed after its use in 1802—and after no national denomination had been established—his letter had fallen into obscurity. But now—75 years later—in the case Reynolds v. United States, the plaintiffs resurrected Jefferson’s letter, hope to use it to their advantage.


    In that case, the Court printed an lengthy segment of Jefferson’s letter and then used his letter on "separation of church and state" to again prove that it was permissible to maintain Christian values, principles, and practices in official policy. For the next 15 years during that legal controversy, the Supreme Court utilized Jefferson’s letter to ensure that Christian principles remained a part of government.


    Following this controversy, Jefferson’s letter again fell into disuse. It then remained silent for the next 70 years until 1947, when, in Everson v. Board of Education, the Court, for the first time, did not cite Jefferson’s entire letter, but selected only eight words from it. The Court now announced:


    "The First Amendment has erected ‘a wall of separation between church and state.’ That wall must be kept high and impregnable."


    This was a new philosophy for the Court. Why would the Court take Jefferson’s letter completely out of context and cite only eight of its words? Dr. William James, the Father of modern Psychology—and a strong opponent of religious principles in government and education—perhaps explained the Court’s new strategy when he stated:


    "There is nothing so absurd but if you repeat it often enough people will believe it."


    This statement precisely describes the tact utilized by the Court in the years following its 1947 announcement. The Court began regularly to speak of a "separation of church and state," broadly explaining that, "This is what the Founders wanted—separation of church and state. This is their great intent." The Court failed to quote the Founders; it just generically asserted that this is what the Founders wanted.


    The courts continued on this track so steadily that, in 1958, in a case called Baer v. Kolmorgen, one of the judges was tired of hearing the phrase and wrote a dissent warning that if the court did not stop talking about the "separation of church and state," people were going to start thinking it was part of the Constitution. That warning was in 1958!


    Nevertheless, the Court continued to talk about separation until June 25th, 1962, when, in the case Engle v. Vitale, the Court delivered the first ever ruling which completely separated Christian principles from education.


    Secular Humanism

    With that case, a whole new trend was established and secular humanism became the religion of America. In 1992 the Supreme Court stated the unthinkable. "At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. In 1997, 40 prominent Catholic and Protestant scholars wrote a position paper entitled, "We Hold These Truths," in which they stated, "This is the very antithesis of the ordered liberty affirmed by the Founders. Liberty in this debased sense is utterly disengaged from the concept of responsibility and community and is pitted against the ‘laws of nature and the laws of nature’s God. Such liberty degenerates into license and throws into question the very possibility of the rule of law itself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by goldylight
    Obviously, the words "separation," "church," or "state" are not found in the First Amendment; furthermore, that phrase appears in no founding document.
    but look at a document where these words CAN be found:

    The Constitution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
    (The Former Soviet Union)
    Adopted October 7, 1977

    Article 52 [Religion]
    (1) Citizens of the USSR are guaranteed freedom of conscience, that is, the right to profess or not to profess any religion, and to conduct religious worship or atheistic propaganda. Incitement of hostility or hatred on religious grounds is prohibited.
    (2) In the USSR, the church is separated from the state, and the school from the church.
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    either way; you cant have freedom of religion when you have a 'church' as part of the state; those beliefs WILL be handed down in law... you cant deny man's imperfection

    frankly i get a bad taste in my mouth from religion; christianity and islam in particular; "warring" or "going to war" over religious differences is one of the stupidest things i've ever heard of... 'jihad' this and 'jihad' that... its all bull****; and not just islam... the spanish 'cleansing' of the americas in the 16th and 17th centuries is even worse than the holocaust
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    But the church isn't part of the state today. No one today is really persecuted for their religious beliefs.(unless your a white Christian or catholic.)
    "Congress shall make no law respecting and establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
    It can't get much clearer than that they don't want government infringing on religions.
    those beliefs WILL be handed down in law... you cant deny man's imperfection
    well that's basically what laws are aren't they? Laws are what is morally acceptable in society. If you break the moral norms then you get punished.However, no one in the US is put in jail because of their religious beliefs for the most part.If you were correct that wouldn't be the case.
    In the USSR, the church is separated from the state, and the school from the church.
    This is because the communist/ socialist/ democrats don't believe or want anyone to believe in anything other than government. In their eyes government is god.
  5. Pat Tillman, American HERO
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    Very thought out pieces, goldy & vanilla; thought there were only lik 5-10 people that knew this info (www.wallbuilders.com is where I learned about this -- very informative historical research)
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    Certain aspects that exist in the USA today show a movement towards socialism.
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    Quote Originally Posted by size
    Certain aspects that exist in the USA today show a movement towards socialism.
    Michael Moore followers and the like
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    Not a fan of Michael Moore or gun control for that matter. But some of those militia guys( in the movie Bowling for Columbine) scared me.
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    Hey Goldy-beat me to it. I will post some of my thoughts hopefullt today when I get a chance, but you hit on nearly eveything.
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    Quote Originally Posted by labrad
    Not a fan of Michael Moore or gun control for that matter. But some of those militia guys( in the movie Bowling for Columbine) scared me.
    Not a fan of gun control? Go figure...

    Perhaps if the topic is ever addressed, I'd love to know your thoughts on the main question asked int he film - why do Americans kill more people with guns than any other country?

    We'll save this for another topic as to not hijack this thread

    A
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    Quote Originally Posted by size
    Certain aspects that exist in the USA today show a movement towards socialism.
    You could say that again and agian and again
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    Note: this is going to ramble quote a bit as I have been writing it in the middle if servicing clients (insurance) and trying to tune out a gossipy coworker that will not shut up.

    Why have I chosen to voice my views about the separation of church and state? Because I believe that this topic has become one of the most twisted, misused, and misunderstood “actions” in this country’s history.

    As a person of faith, I am distraught over the repercussions of this issue.

    • The high school I graduated from in 1997 has been pushing the FCA (fellowship of Christian athletes) out of the school, while instituting fully sponsored and endorsed gay and lesbian support groups.
    • Students in public schools who pray openly before meals are asked to leave the cafeteria or stop praying.
    • A young girl’s art project was destroyed and she was sent home in tears because she was making a clay replica of Noah’s Ark.
    • The word “Christmas” has virtually been outlawed in public schools, as have most Christmas songs such as “Silent Night” that have even a hint of Christian lyrics.
    • The “Golden Rule” can no longer be displayed, nor virtually anything referencing a Judeo-Christian God.

    All of this and much, much more has been done all stemming from the separation of church and state. Judges have taken it and ran. The liberal media has ran even further. The question is, is this what was intended by our founding fathers? Certainly it must be. Is not the separation of church and state explically stated in the first admendment? Let’s take a look and see.

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    Obviusly, anyone with a sixth-grade education can plainly see that our founding fathers did not have, or want the speration of church and state as it is, and is enforced as today. What our forefathers did not want was a denomination set up and ran by the government. Consider what Thomas Jefferson, who many believe wanted the form of separation we have today, had to say on the subject: [T]he clause of the Constitution which, while it secured the freedom of the press, covered also the freedom of religion, had given to the clergy a very favorite hope of obtaining an establishment of a particular form of Christianity through the United States; and as every sect believes its own form the true one, every one perhaps hoped for his own, but especially the Episcopalians and Congregationalists. The returning good sense of our country threatens abortion to their hopes and they believe that any portion of power confided to me will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly.

    So wait, you are telling me that Thomas Jefferson, the so-called father of speration of Chruch and state did not want what we have today? NO!! He did not. What he did want, what all of the founding fathers wanted, what this country was built on, is freedom of religion. The ability for man to practice his faith when he wants, where he wants without any government (read state) institution prohibiting him to do so. I consider the government of the United States as interdicted [prohibited] by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions . . . or exercises.
    How have we strayed so far? How has something that was set up to protect the religious liberty of man turned against him as a tool limiting and stifling this religious freedom?

    Time and time again I have heard that our founding fathers set up a secular country. Nothing could be further from the truth! The vast majority of the men who signed the constitution, the bill of rights, and the decleration of Independence held degrees in divinity or ministry studies. More still held fast to strong Judeo-Christian beliefs and morals. To say that our country was founded on anything else that Christain values is to deny our heritage. During Thanksgiving, who do you think the Pilgrims were giving thanks to? Not Mother Earth, that’s for sure. Now, along with Christmas, we must deny the historical facts that our second largest holiday is also based on religion, all because of separation of church and state.

    How can secular men write something like this?

    WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness –

    Seperation of Church and State? How we have strayed so far.

    Do we know what the first official act of Congress was? It was the printing of some 4,000 Bibles for distribution among Native Americans. Does that sound like what we have now?

    We have turned this country into a country founded by godly, faith driven men on the principle of freedom of religion into a country where its citizens are shoving God out of every public place conceivable. All in the name of separation of church and state. Is it any wonder that our morals as a country and our society woes has dropped so far?

    We drove God out of our schools, out of our courts, out of everything. Yet we still have the audacity to ask “Where was God? Why did He let this happen?” when 9-11 hit. How can America expect to be blessed by God when we have told him to get out? All in the name of separation of church and state. All in error in what our forefathers really intended. All in error of what our country was founded on.
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    Quote Originally Posted by custom
    Note: this is going to ramble quote a bit as I have been writing it in the middle if servicing clients (insurance) and trying to tune out a gossipy coworker that will not shut up.

    Why have I chosen to voice my views about the separation of church and state? Because I believe that this topic has become one of the most twisted, misused, and misunderstood “actions” in this country’s history.

    As a person of faith, I am distraught over the repercussions of this issue.

    • The high school I graduated from in 1997 has been pushing the FCA (fellowship of Christian athletes) out of the school, while instituting fully sponsored and endorsed gay and lesbian support groups.
    • Students in public schools who pray openly before meals are asked to leave the cafeteria or stop praying.
    • A young girl’s art project was destroyed and she was sent home in tears because she was making a clay replica of Noah’s Ark.
    • The word “Christmas” has virtually been outlawed in public schools, as have most Christmas songs such as “Silent Night” that have even a hint of Christian lyrics.
    • The “Golden Rule” can no longer be displayed, nor virtually anything referencing a Judeo-Christian God.

    All of this and much, much more has been done all stemming from the separation of church and state. Judges have taken it and ran. The liberal media has ran even further. The question is, is this what was intended by our founding fathers? Certainly it must be. Is not the separation of church and state explically stated in the first admendment? Let’s take a look and see.

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    Obviusly, anyone with a sixth-grade education can plainly see that our founding fathers did not have, or want the speration of church and state as it is, and is enforced as today. What our forefathers did not want was a denomination set up and ran by the government. Consider what Thomas Jefferson, who many believe wanted the form of separation we have today, had to say on the subject: [T]he clause of the Constitution which, while it secured the freedom of the press, covered also the freedom of religion, had given to the clergy a very favorite hope of obtaining an establishment of a particular form of Christianity through the United States; and as every sect believes its own form the true one, every one perhaps hoped for his own, but especially the Episcopalians and Congregationalists. The returning good sense of our country threatens abortion to their hopes and they believe that any portion of power confided to me will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly.

    So wait, you are telling me that Thomas Jefferson, the so-called father of speration of Chruch and state did not want what we have today? NO!! He did not. What he did want, what all of the founding fathers wanted, what this country was built on, is freedom of religion. The ability for man to practice his faith when he wants, where he wants without any government (read state) institution prohibiting him to do so. I consider the government of the United States as interdicted [prohibited] by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions . . . or exercises.
    How have we strayed so far? How has something that was set up to protect the religious liberty of man turned against him as a tool limiting and stifling this religious freedom?

    Time and time again I have heard that our founding fathers set up a secular country. Nothing could be further from the truth! The vast majority of the men who signed the constitution, the bill of rights, and the decleration of Independence held degrees in divinity or ministry studies. More still held fast to strong Judeo-Christian beliefs and morals. To say that our country was founded on anything else that Christain values is to deny our heritage. During Thanksgiving, who do you think the Pilgrims were giving thanks to? Not Mother Earth, that’s for sure. Now, along with Christmas, we must deny the historical facts that our second largest holiday is also based on religion, all because of separation of church and state.

    How can secular men write something like this?

    WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness –

    Seperation of Church and State? How we have strayed so far.

    Do we know what the first official act of Congress was? It was the printing of some 4,000 Bibles for distribution among Native Americans. Does that sound like what we have now?

    We have turned this country into a country founded by godly, faith driven men on the principle of freedom of religion into a country where its citizens are shoving God out of every public place conceivable. All in the name of separation of church and state. Is it any wonder that our morals as a country and our society woes has dropped so far?

    We drove God out of our schools, out of our courts, out of everything. Yet we still have the audacity to ask “Where was God? Why did He let this happen?” when 9-11 hit. How can America expect to be blessed by God when we have told him to get out? All in the name of separation of church and state. All in error in what our forefathers really intended. All in error of what our country was founded on.
    I'll only say one thing to this...

    Long gone are the days of one group preaching their beliefs, thoughts, rights and views of morality onto society as a whole.

    I do not believe in God. I know no religion but that of my own (self made heh) and I refuse to acknowledge another person, group or government telling ME how I should conduct my life and what I should believe in. I beleive the Church does this.

    I have a head and I have the ability to decide on my own what I believe in and how I will act.

    That's all. I respect you for having "found" God, I hope you do not disrespect me because I choose not to acknowedlge God's existance and what I believe.

    Peace.

    A
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    Quote Originally Posted by size
    Certain aspects that exist in the USA today show a movement towards socialism.
    I agree... socialism is where liberals and/or most liberal democrats are leading this country to.
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    Quote Originally Posted by houseman
    I'll only say one thing to this...


    I do not believe in God. I know no religion but that of my own (self made heh) and I refuse to acknowledge another person, group or government telling ME how I should conduct my life and what I should believe in. I beleive the Church does this.


    A
    I do not disrespect you, but you are kind of missing the point. The point is, our judicial system has taken something (the first admendment) and turned it into something it was never supposed to have been (seperation of church and state as it is now).

    The country as it was founded did what you wish; letting you do whatever spiritual beleifs you have. Now, one cannot exercise those let alone express or demonstrate them in a "state" setting. Quite different from what the plan was.
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    Quote Originally Posted by custom
    I do not disrespect you, but you are kind of missing the point. The point is, our judicial system has taken something (the first admendment) and turned it into something it was never supposed to have been (seperation of church and state as it is now).

    The country as it was founded did what you wish; letting you do whatever spiritual beleifs you have. Now, one cannot exercise those let alone express or demonstrate them in a "state" setting. Quite different from what the plan was.
    nahh.. I understand you

    What I was getting at is when I was growing up and going to school I was forced to recite the lord's prayer each morning and listen to passages from the bible. I did not go to a Christian school. Regular old public school for me.

    At the time, I knew no better but as I grew up, I quickly determined that I was being force fed the beliefs of my government (belief in the Chruch) by trying to agument what my own thoughts might actually end up being.

    I am so anti-establishment anymore it's not funny and I hold my contempt squarely on the Government for allowing such acts to take place. If I was not force fed something.. maybe me views would not be as harsh as they seem to be today.

    LET people make a choice to accept God and the Chruch. Don't force it down the throats of people. That's all I am saying.

    You want to celebrate God and your religion? Awesome! Do it in your own home. Don't subject me to being forced to learn/accept the beliefs of another.

    Peace.

    A
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    Quote Originally Posted by houseman
    I'll only say one thing to this...

    Long gone are the days of one group preaching their beliefs, thoughts, rights and views of morality onto society as a whole.

    I do not believe in God. I know no religion but that of my own (self made heh) and I refuse to acknowledge another person, group or government telling ME how I should conduct my life and what I should believe in. I beleive the Church does this.

    I have a head and I have the ability to decide on my own what I believe in and how I will act.

    That's all. I respect you for having "found" God, I hope you do not disrespect me because I choose not to acknowedlge God's existance and what I believe.

    Peace.

    A
    I respect you very much, especially for having the courage to say it; but life is about "rules" and laws. You cannot violate the laws of physics & chemistry without having consequences. There are rules for this board; if we get out of line, there are people to set us straight (I know about this one); There are laws in this country, and they are a result of somebody's morality finding credence in the form of a law. You are forced to do what you would not normally do, either because the consequences of such are undesireable, or you were "indoctrinated' from an early age to follow the path of least resistance. Either way, you were trained to do what you say you will not do.

    Atheism is recognized as a form of religion in this country, according to the Supreme court. That is cool and acceptable, but it is also a form of belief system. There have always been people who manipulate others to do their will, not God's will; one of the best ways to do it is to convince people who do not get their facts straight that something obviously unethical is actually "Biblical" (I.E. "God's will"). Hitler was an athiest, and a socialist, as well as a racist, but he recognized the value of religion to motivate the masses (like Saddam did). Most people consider themselves to be religious, but it is politically correct to say so; in reality, a great majority of Americans are lazy, self-gratifying morons that want to look better than what they are, because it takes less effort. These are the type of people who are easily swayed by emotion, because it is easier to go along with an emotional arguement than base it on fact.

    Just keep in mind that as an athiest, with your own belief systems, even if your beliefs are cut and dried (well thought out, as I'm sure they are), I can take your philosophy if I'm smart enough, and using the Hitler philosophy (If you tell something loud, long, and often enough, the people will believe it; the more absurd it is, the more likely it is to be believed) I can manipulate at LEAST a majority of your "believers" to do whatever my philosophy dictates (especially if it's controversial or borders on unethical).

    The fact is, that while in this age we all may need some form of your independence (we call it pride), thinking of yourself as being above all others militates against a properly run society. Your philosophy has just as much a tendency as religion to cause actual destruction to society (as it has countless times in history), because it is tailor-made for a "ends justifies means" philosophy that can rationalize any kind of atrocity.

    So lest you think that the easy way out is to not believe in a higher power (for whatever reason you have), your philosophy, while acceptable, is no less likely to engender peace and harmony than the "religion" you have so much trouble with. No, I don't think anyone on this board will berate you for your beliefs; I just believe there are a few misconceptions about how things work in this world (psychology, etc.) and take the easy, emotional way out, choosing to blame religion for some of life's most hidious atrocities, instead of maybe looking a bit deeper, and realizing pride, power, and greed in religion (or anything) is the basis for the wrong-doing in the first place. The value in religion lies in the "Golden" rule: Love your God w/ all your heart, soul, mind and strength (pride -- I am my own god -- can be a very destructive force; this is to counteract pride & power), and to love our neighbor as ourselves ( this solves alot of society's ilk, if we only did it -- it is, however, a continuing process, something we must fight all the time).

    Be careful with your philosophy, as I try to be as well; for as religion taken to its malevalent ends can be destructive, atheism and agnosticism are considered by many to be philosophies that are the corrupting influence behind the distorting and dangerous malady of religion gone bad (NOT the belief of no God, the belief that we are God). Religion does have a value in society, and I fear eliminating it would not be a good thing; you might look to acknowledge that, whether you believe it or not. Not saying it's wrong or trying to berate ya, just challenge ya. Sorry for the rant
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    Quote Originally Posted by GIJoe
    I respect you very much, especially for having the courage to say it; but life is about "rules" and laws. You cannot violate the laws of physics & chemistry without having consequences. There are rules for this board; if we get out of line, there are people to set us straight (I know about this one); There are laws in this country, and they are a result of somebody's morality finding credence in the form of a law. You are forced to do what you would not normally do, either because the consequences of such are undesireable, or you were "indoctrinated' from an early age to follow the path of least resistance. Either way, you were trained to do what you say you will not do.

    Atheism is recognized as a form of religion in this country, according to the Supreme court. That is cool and acceptable, but it is also a form of belief system. There have always been people who manipulate others to do their will, not God's will; one of the best ways to do it is to convince people who do not get their facts straight that something obviously unethical is actually "Biblical" (I.E. "God's will"). Hitler was an athiest, and a socialist, as well as a racist, but he recognized the value of religion to motivate the masses (like Saddam did). Most people consider themselves to be religious, but it is politically correct to say so; in reality, a great majority of Americans are lazy, self-gratifying morons that want to look better than what they are, because it takes less effort. These are the type of people who are easily swayed by emotion, because it is easier to go along with an emotional arguement than base it on fact.

    Just keep in mind that as an athiest, with your own belief systems, even if your beliefs are cut and dried (well thought out, as I'm sure they are), I can take your philosophy if I'm smart enough, and using the Hitler philosophy (If you tell something loud, long, and often enough, the people will believe it; the more absurd it is, the more likely it is to be believed) I can manipulate at LEAST a majority of your "believers" to do whatever my philosophy dictates (especially if it's controversial or borders on unethical).

    The fact is, that while in this age we all may need some form of your independence (we call it pride), thinking of yourself as being above all others militates against a properly run society. Your philosophy has just as much a tendency as religion to cause actual destruction to society (as it has countless times in history), because it is tailor-made for a "ends justifies means" philosophy that can rationalize any kind of atrocity.

    So lest you think that the easy way out is to not believe in a higher power (for whatever reason you have), your philosophy, while acceptable, is no less likely to engender peace and harmony than the "religion" you have so much trouble with. No, I don't think anyone on this board will berate you for your beliefs; I just believe there are a few misconceptions about how things work in this world (psychology, etc.) and take the easy, emotional way out, choosing to blame religion for some of life's most hidious atrocities, instead of maybe looking a bit deeper, and realizing pride, power, and greed in religion (or anything) is the basis for the wrong-doing in the first place. The value in religion lies in the "Golden" rule: Love your God w/ all your heart, soul, mind and strength (pride -- I am my own god -- can be a very destructive force; this is to counteract pride & power), and to love our neighbor as ourselves ( this solves alot of society's ilk, if we only did it -- it is, however, a continuing process, something we must fight all the time).

    Be careful with teaching your philosophy w/o thinking it out completely, as I try to do as well; for as religion taken to its malevalent ends can be destructive, atheism and agnosticism are considered by many to be philosophies that are the corrupting influence behind the distorting and dangerous malady of religion gone bad (NOT the belief of no God, the belief that we are God). Religion does have a value in society, and I fear eliminating it would not be a good thing; you might look to acknowledge that, whether you believe it or not. Not saying it's wrong or trying to berate ya, just challenge ya. Sorry for the rant
    hey hey! Excellent reply.

    I won't go into a long winder affair to retort back but I will make light of something as why I don't follow a religion other than my own and what *I* believe to be right, wrong, good and decent.

    I have seen all too many people take the bible as the word of God. They take it literally and as an absolute. This is foolish. The Chruch teaches that the words of the bible as pure and devine.

    my problem isn't necassarily with religion, although I am a realist as well and find the "book" hard to beleive, however, my problem DOES lie with those people (there are many) who take the bible as absolute and fail to think fro themselves. They fail to use their own head and reasoning to evaluate what the bible (and God) is attempting say.. some actually beleive that the arc actually held two of each animal.

    This is very scary to me as we're not teaching individuality, we're not preaching thoughts of your own accord. We're teaching to follow. Jonestown anyone? Dividian <sp?> Ranch anyone?

    What also boggles my brain is that some of the most hanus, destructive and evil atrocities committed in this world we're done so in the name of religion. Seems crazy to me.

    A
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    Quote Originally Posted by houseman
    What also boggles my brain is that some of the most hanus, destructive and evil atrocities committed in this world we're done so in the name of religion. Seems crazy to me.

    A
    Faith, in many, holds a greater importance than anything else. Therefore, when ones faith is attacked or threatened, individuals react in such a manner to protect their faith at any cost. When something is more important to you than anything else, one acts in strange ways to protect even though it may cost an individual his own life. Is this right? Too difficult for me to answer.
    Last edited by size; 02-19-2004 at 05:04 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by houseman
    hey hey! Excellent reply.

    I won't go into a long winder affair to retort back but I will make light of something as why I don't follow a religion other than my own and what *I* believe to be right, wrong, good and decent.

    I have seen all too many people take the bible as the word of God. They take it literally and as an absolute. This is foolish. The Chruch teaches that the words of the bible as pure and devine.

    my problem isn't necassarily with religion, although I am a realist as well and find the "book" hard to beleive, however, my problem DOES lie with those people (there are many) who take the bible as absolute and fail to think fro themselves. They fail to use their own head and reasoning to evaluate what the bible (and God) is attempting say.. some actually beleive that the arc actually held two of each animal.

    This is very scary to me as we're not teaching individuality, we're not preaching thoughts of your own accord. We're teaching to follow. Jonestown anyone? Dividian <sp?> Ranch anyone?

    What also boggles my brain is that some of the most hanus, destructive and evil atrocities committed in this world we're done so in the name of religion. Seems crazy to me.

    A
    You make excellent points that are valid; this is a concern with true religious people as well, as it should be; but politics and pride in everything corrupts. I would argue that its not religion itself that caused these historical atrocities, but people with their own agendas doing their own thing in the name of "religion". The true basis of most religions is free will, and the ability to make your own decisions; it just comes down to what I base my decisions on, and not force my beliefs on others. Some people cannot believe something, however, without forcing it on someone else (I mean, right is right, right?). This is not a flaw in religion, but natural tendencies; it happens with everyone regardless of background. It is part of our psychological make-up. You are right, though, it is downright offensive at times.
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    BTW, houseman, I would vote for you w/o 2nd thought, if you were honorable, responsible, and had a reputation for doing the right thing even when inconvenient (since you are anti-establishment, I would say you qualify), regardless of your philosophical leanings... as long as I knew you would consider my concerns based on their merits, and not disregard them either because I was "religious", or because they have a possible Christian basis.

    Vote for you in a second, bro
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    Quote Originally Posted by GIJoe
    BTW, houseman, I would vote for you w/o 2nd thought, if you were honorable, responsible, and had a reputation for doing the right thing even when inconvenient (since you are anti-establishment, I would say you qualify), regardless of your philosophical leanings... as long as I knew you would consider my concerns based on their merits, and not disregard them either because I was "religious", or because they have a possible Christian basis.

    Vote for you in a second, bro
    LOL. Aww shucks *chuckles*

    As I've ALWAYS said... doing the right thing isn't always the popular thing. Courage of your convictions and knowing you're doing the right things for all and not select groups or individuals is key for me I guess.

    It's a good thing, perhaps, I live in Canada where we're a bit more tolerable, it seems, of those without a religious following. In other words.. I couldn't tell you if any of my politicians are religious people - they all equally suck

    A
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    any reasonable man with a triple digit IQ should not have to be told why religion has no place in Government.

    even my children understand this basic concept.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Milo Hobgoblin
    any reasonable man with a triple digit IQ should not have to be told why religion has no place in Government.

    even my children understand this basic concept.
    Are you offering a statement of fact or an opinion?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Milo Hobgoblin
    any reasonable man with a triple digit IQ should not have to be told why religion has no place in Government.

    even my children understand this basic concept.
    Your children believe that likely because they were taught that; My girl was tested at 172 IQ, and she disagrees with you; back it with fact and it makes me more inclined to agree with you, if it makes sense. That statement resorts to name-calling, instead of addressing the issue; besides as I've already illustrated, 172 IQ qualifies as a moderately intelligent individual who says "no basis to your opinion" -- can you expound a bit?
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    again... if it has to be explained... you simply do not understand the basic principles of government.


    but if it will make you happy.



    Government is an entity designed to deal with the absolutes in relation to the social and business interactions of men. How to regulate those interactions and how to deal with the repercussions when those interactions break down. Religion is not an absolute and by its DEFINITION relies upon FAITH. How do you design laws based upon a faith? upon a NON absolute.

    Religion has its own set of punishments to deal with failure... and with the SAME faith that you believe in your religion you MUST be bound to believe that those punishments will be handed out through the diety of that particular religion... if you DO NOT believe that then you arewnt exactly faithful, now are you?

    How do I tell you that your belief in the afterlife is wrong then attempt to write a law to that effect. How do I do that without infinging on someone elses belief ?

    Its a simple fact that no man or group of men could attempt such a task without guaranteed failure, It has ALWAYS failed and ALWAYS will.

    Let Government rule men... let religion rule their afterlife. This way works the best.

    Secular governments will ALWAYS provide the most freedom in terms of religion becuase IDEALLY they do not involve themselevs in such affairs.

    Because government is run by MEN... fallible men... NOT Dieties..

    Do you want MEN telling YOU how to be faithful.. how to practice your beliefs??

    Of course you dont.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Milo Hobgoblin
    again... if it has to be explained... you simply do not understand the basic principles of government.


    but if it will make you happy.



    Government is an entity designed to deal with the absolutes in relation to the social and business interactions of men. How to regulate those interactions and how to deal with the repercussions when those interactions break down. Religion is not an absolute and by its DEFINITION relies upon FAITH. How do you design laws based upon a faith? upon a NON absolute.

    Religion has its own set of punishments to deal with failure... and with the SAME faith that you believe in your religion you MUST be bound to believe that those punishments will be handed out through the diety of that particular religion... if you DO NOT believe that then you arewnt exactly faithful, now are you?

    How do I tell you that your belief in the afterlife is wrong then attempt to write a law to that effect. How do I do that without infinging on someone elses belief ?

    Its a simple fact that no man or group of men could attempt such a task without guaranteed failure, It has ALWAYS failed and ALWAYS will.

    Let Government rule men... let religion rule their afterlife. This way works the best.

    Secular governments will ALWAYS provide the most freedom in terms of religion becuase IDEALLY they do not involve themselevs in such affairs.

    Because government is run by MEN... fallible men... NOT Dieties..

    Do you want MEN telling YOU how to be faithful.. how to practice your beliefs??

    Of course you dont.
    Unfortunately, it is government that got its absolutes from religion ("You shall not kill, you shall not covet, ,etc.), and you are good at understanding religion from your perspective, your viewpoint; but all you're proving is why there is hatred, animosity, and warring in this world, and it is ignorance to obvious facts. You base your whole thesis on fallacies and misunderstanding, instead of pulling yourself away from your philosophy, and studying the basis of laws, and how they relate to a person's moral and/or philosophical beliefs. Someone's filled your mind with mush, and you have to pull away and think for yourself.

    You are missing the entire point of this thread. Separation of church and state is to keep govornment out of religion, and to prevent any one religion from influencing the government as well. Read this entire thread again, this time pay attention to religion being more than just an archaic belief about things that happen after we are dead. Your own prejudice prevents you from comprehending, and there is nothing that can be said to you to convince you otherwise. You can call names if you want, but why don't you post your IQ, and I'll let you go at it with my girl... she's nice, but someone else's hostility and name-calling brings out the brilliant girl I know all too well.

    I'm sorry you base so much of your thesis on philosophy and your own personal experiences and prejudice -- you seem to think so hard that you're missing the simple points; this is a fantastic example of why we cannot get along in this country; think about people other than yourself.
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    Did you read the first article in the thread???


    Not everyoine believes in God. Those people must also be governed by the same government that YOU do?

    Or do they not count? I AM thinking of EVERYONE including myself...

    its you who are failing to see the obvious.

    You cannot rule godless people with a government whom, at its core is baed upon religious principles and morales.

    It MUST be secular to be fair.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Milo Hobgoblin
    Did you read the first article in the thread???


    Not everyoine believes in God. Those people must also be governed by the same government that YOU do?

    Or do they not count? I AM thinking of EVERYONE including myself...

    its you who are failing to see the obvious.

    You cannot rule godless people with a government whom, at its core is baed upon religious principles and morales.

    It MUST be secular to be fair.
    And all YOU have to do is just read the post you just wrote, and replace "God" with "law", and you just made my point. You're too caught up in yourself and your hatred and discrimination against religion and its advocates to even realize what you are saying... you have got a great number of us grinning from ear to ear.

    I still respect your opinion, but I don't see that you respect others with what has been stated in this thread. Law brings order to the lawless. You are too caught up in proving you are different and therefore better (by implying that you and your kids are the smart ones on this) to see value in religion in making laws (where do you think laws come from?). If all you can see is bad in everything except with people who agree with you, can you see how harmful that thought process is? That's what we're trying to get away from in this country.
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    you are looking way to far into my post.

    ALL im saying is that religion has NO place in government.


    How can a godless man feel equal in a courtroom where is is asked to swear on a bible... where the ten comandments are printed in stone on the wall... where "in god we trust" is on every bit of currency?

    How can that man not feel that he will be considered lesser when his basic morale character is questioned by the same men whogovern him because they are "men of god"?

    FREEDOM of RELIGION must ALSO INCLUDE FREEDOM *FROM* RELIGION. Yet you deny people that freedom when god has a place in government.


    this has NOTHING to do with hate and everything to do with equality.

    But if there were true eqaulity the religions like Christianity would lose their power to control men and their thoughts and actions.

    Men would TRULY be free.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Milo Hobgoblin
    you are looking way to far into my post.

    ALL im saying is that religion has NO place in government.


    How can a godless man feel equal in a courtroom where is is asked to swear on a bible... where the ten comandments are printed in stone on the wall... where "in god we trust" is on every bit of currency?

    How can that man not feel that he will be considered lesser when his basic morale character is questioned by the same men whogovern him because they are "men of god"?

    FREEDOM of RELIGION must ALSO INCLUDE FREEDOM *FROM* RELIGION. Yet you deny people that freedom when god has a place in government.


    this has NOTHING to do with hate and everything to do with equality.

    But if there were true eqaulity the religions like Christianity would lose their power to control men and their thoughts and actions.

    Men would TRULY be free.
    Sir:

    I think you are mising the forest for the trees. At best, your views of religion as some mind control for society and a way of keeping the man in check is sorely misguided.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Milo Hobgoblin
    you are looking way to far into my post.

    ALL im saying is that religion has NO place in government.


    How can a godless man feel equal in a courtroom where he is asked to swear on a bible... where the ten comandments are printed in stone on the wall... where "in god we trust" is on every bit of currency?

    How can that man not feel that he will be considered lesser when his basic morale character is questioned by the same men whogovern him because they are "men of god"?

    FREEDOM of RELIGION must ALSO INCLUDE FREEDOM *FROM* RELIGION. Yet you deny people that freedom when god has a place in government.


    this has NOTHING to do with hate and everything to do with equality.

    But if there were true eqaulity the religions like Christianity would lose their power to control men and their thoughts and actions.

    Men would TRULY be free.
    First off, our definitions may be off from one another. If religion is "moral judgments that others must believe before we feel secure with our environment", then I will probably agree with you.

    Secondly, swearing on the Bible is not a requirement, unless you throw it in the judge's face (I do not swear on the Bible, because the Bible commands me not to swear; so it looks like I have the same "dilemma" you do). The ten commandments are on the wall to serve as reminders of ethical structure for society; if you choose not to agree with this or are in some way offended by this, then view it as art. As for the "in God we trust", no one is requiring you to read that out loud if you do not agree with it; just ignore it. The statement was added after much debate and discussion -- it does not mean in any way that we are a religious society; just that we as a nation acknowledge God. You can acknowledge a Diety without believing in God... it's respectful.

    You must take movies like "The Crucible", and "The Scarlet Letter" too seriously, and you are feeling sorry for yourself. There are people like that in this world, that may look down on you, But I know quite a few more than you likely do, and my friends are not like that; you seem to use a movie stereotype to describe so-called Christian people.

    I understand your concerns, but every law dictates someone's morality. You're on a very slippery slope, and the direction you're heading has no answer for how to determine right from wrong. You seem to feel as society evolves, our sense of right and wrong will evolve with it. I can justify all sorts of hideous things with that mindset... pedimony (marriage of children; after all, if they love each other, why can't they marry?); multiple sexual partners, including children and animals; etc. you can never be truly free, because eventually your liberty will infringe on others (I.E. if one chooses to beat someone because they feel like it, etc.). You want recognition and respect of atheism, of your beliefs; that's fine and dandy. But to say religion has no place in government... once again, no law is passed that doesn't have a moral basis; you may need to understand the basis behind religion -- love of your brother, instead of self-worship.

    I dislike established religion, but I was raised to respect people for their good tendencies. I appreciate what you are saying, but we are on different pages. Religion isn't supposed to control the minds of men; God is. People take things out of context; it happens in religion, and it happens in everything. This country is based on many of the absolute, irrefutable laws of the Old and New Testament, among other things, and you can say over and over that it is not possible, or did not happen, but fortunately one can access more than enough evidence to back that up. The founding fathers were prolific writers; read the Federalist papers, and see that not only are laws and religion intertwined, but that religion was instrumental to help these great men write our Constitution.

    Atheism is a recognized religion, Milo, according to the Supreme Court (the belief of yourself as God); while I understand your premise, it does seem to create flaws in your argument
    Last edited by GIJoe; 02-19-2004 at 08:17 PM.
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    Let Government rule men... let religion rule their afterlife
    This country was not founded on the principals of "let government rule men". It was founded on the principles OF LET MEN RULE THE GOVERNMENT.
    But if there were true eqaulity the religions like Christianity would lose their power to control men and their thoughts and actions.Men would TRULY be free.
    I don't and most people don't equate religion with being controlled. If you read what most of the great religious leaders advocated it was self control. Most people also use them as a set of principles to live by. Take love thy neighbor.........loving humanity and the people around you is a good thing.
    Men would TRULY be free
    Free to do what? Freedom from right and wrong? Freedom to hate thy neighbor?That's called anarchy.
    What you seem to be saying is that government is god and if that is what you're saying this country was not founded on that principles. If fact most countries that do have that principle keep their people locked up and keep them in the country with machine guns.
    FREEDOM of RELIGION must ALSO INCLUDE FREEDOM *FROM* RELIGION
    What you are saying here is to have freedom of religion you have to get rid of it (in public any way), but by doing that you are going against what the first amendment says[QUOTE]"Congress shall make no law respecting and establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."[QUOTE] I think what you are advocating is against "the free exercise thereof" You are also volition freedom of speech and freedom of expression. I think you are missing the point that custom made quite well in his post
    What our forefathers did not want was a denomination set up and ran by the government.
    We don't really have that at all. You have the right to believe what you want and follow or not follow any religion you want. This would be including the religion of government called socialism and atheism.
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    Some how you two think Im attacking spirituality. Im not... I am simply attacing the idea that ANY dogma of organized religion INCLUDING Christianity has NO place in government.

    The reference to a god... simply infringes upon the rights of people who are godless. PERIOD.

    Its seems so simple to you...to simply discount or "ignore" those philosophies.... but that would be like asking some devout Christian to walk into a courtroom with goats heads on the walls and Satanic scripture carved on the floor.

    Gee... do you think he might feel uncomfortable or that he wasnt being given a fair shot??

    Both of you have wrapped yourself up in so much religious rhetoric... that you simply CANNOT see the obvious.
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    Im in total agreement with Milo. It seems that most people are missing his point. How can you place religion in government without imposing on someone else's rights. If you say the ten commandments must be worshipped and held as law Im sure there would be some Muslims who would disagree along with many other religions.
    I dont believe in the Christian God or Allah or anything else, I do believe in a higher power but since I refuse to commit myself to any religion I am considered an Atheist.
    Also, I dont need a religion or a law to tell me that killing or violating someone else physically or mentally is wrong. I have a set of standards which I hold myself to, a set of standards that were built after years and years of watching many injustices in the world and saying that is wrong I will never do things such as that.
    Furthermore, I thought the Christians would be in support of taking prayer out of school because it means that there are no religions allowed to pray, this means that your children and thier faiths cant be challenged there. For instance if someone brings in the Satanic Bible and starts reading from it they would be asked to put it away as well as someone reading from the Christian Bible or the Koran.

    One more thing, an IQ of 172. I tested at 133 and Im considered in the "gifted category". 172 is phenomenal and studies have shown that most people over 150 cannot relate very well to people who arent in the same range. Also, people with that intelligence level tend to stear away from religion as it cant be supported by science.

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    The Real Murderers: Atheism or Christianity?

    Gregory Koukl

    Is it legitimate to condemn religion for historical atrocities? First we had better examine the facts.


    I got a call from a gentleman from San Francisco who was exercised about Christian missionaries going into foreign lands. Then he started talking about not only the destruction of indigenous beliefs, but also the destruction of missionaries. That's what he wanted to see happen. He also said that Christians and religious groups are responsible for the greatest massacres of history. It turns out he was quite supportive of Wicca and indigenous religions which worship the Mother Earth force, Gaia. This is essentially the basic foundation for witchcraft.

    The assertion is that religion has caused most of the killing and bloodshed in the world. There are people who make accusations and assertions that are empirically false. This is one of them.



    But a couple of the things that he said were a challenge to me. Not only did he assert that historically missionaries have destroyed cultures and indigenous religions at the point of a gun, but also Christians and religion were responsible for most of the bloodshed in the world, or the great majority of it. I've heard this claim before. I wanted to respond with more detail because I'm sure you've heard these things as well.
    I have a tactic that I employ in situations like this that is called "Just the Facts, Ma'am." In other words, there are times when you're faced with objections to Christianity or your point of view that really fail with an accurate assessment of the facts. There are people who make accusations and assertions that are empirically false. This is one of them.

    The assertion is that religion has caused most of the killing and bloodshed in the world. The greatest atrocities committed against man were done in the name of God.

    Before I get to the particular facts, there is more than just a factual problem here. There is a theoretical problem as well and I tried to make the point that we must distinguish between what an individual or group of people do and what the code that they allegedly follow actually asserts. The fact is that there are people who do things consistently that are inconsistent with the code that they allegedly follow. But often times when that happens, especially where religion is concerned, the finger is pointed not at the individual who is choosing to do something barbaric, but at the code he claims to represent. The only time it's legitimate to point to the code as the source of barbarism is if the code is, in fact, the source of barbarism. People object to a religion that used barbaric means to spread the faith. But one can only use that as an objection against the religion if it's the religion itself that asserts that one must do it this way, as opposed to people who try to promote the spread of the religion in a forceful fashion in contradiction to what the religion actually teaches.

    It's my understanding that much of Islam has been spread by the edge of the sword. That isn't because Muslim advocates were particularly violent. It's because their religion actually advocates this kind of thing. The difference between that and Christianity is that when Christianity was spread by the edge of the sword it was done so in contradistinction to the actually teachings of Christianity. This is when individual people who claim to be Christians actually did things that were inconsistent with their faith.

    I've had some people that have told me when I've brought this up, "That's not a fair defense. You can't simply say that those people who committed the Crusades or the Inquisition or the witch burnings weren't real Christians. That's illegitimate." My response is, why? We know what a real Christian is. A real Christian is someone who believes particular things and lives a particular kind of lifestyle. John makes it clear that those who consistently live unrighteously are ipso facto by definition not part of the faith. So why is it illegitimate for me to look at people who claim to be Christians, yet live unrighteous lives, and promote genocide to say that these people aren't living consistently with the text, therefore you can't really call them Christians. I think that's legitimate.


    It's not fair or reasonable to fault the Bible when the person who's waving the sword is doing things that are contradictory to what the Bible teaches.



    For example, no one would fault the Hippocratic Oath, which is a very rigid standard of conduct for physicians, just because there are doctors who don't keep it. We wouldn't say there's something wrong with the oath, the code that they allegedly follow. We'd say there was something wrong with the individuals who don't live up to the ideals of that code. That is the case frequently where people waving the Bible in one hand are also waving a bloody sword in the other. The two are inconsistent. So it's not fair or reasonable to fault the Bible when the person who's waving the sword is doing things that are contradictory to what the Bible teaches ought to be done.
    So that's the first important thing to remember when you face an objection like this. Distinguish between what a person does and what the code they claim to follow actually asserts. Christianity is one thing, and if we're going to fault Christianity we must fault its teachings and not fault it because there are people who say they are Christians but then live a life that is totally morally divergent from what Christianity actually teaches.

    As I said earlier, this kind of objection falls when you employ a tactic I call "Just the Facts, Ma'am," and I'd like to give you some of those facts. My assertion as I responded to the gentleman who called last week was simply this: it is true that there are Christians who do evil things. Even take people's lives. This is an indication that these people aren't truly Christians, but it may be true also that people with the right heart, but the wrong head do things that are inappropriate, like I think might have been the case in the Salem Witch Trials.

    My basic case is that religion doesn't promote this kind of thing; it's the exception to the rule. The rule actually is that when we remove God from the equation, when we act and live as if we have no one to answer to but ourselves, and if there is no God, then the rule of law is social Darwinism-- the strong rule the weak. We'll find that, quite to the contrary, it is not Christianity and the belief in the God of the Bible that results in carnage and genocide. But it's when people reject the God of the Bible that we are most vulnerable to those kinds of things that we see in history that are the radical and gross destruction of human lives.

    Now for the facts.

    Let's take the Salem Witchcraft Trials. Apparently, between June and September of 1692 five men and fourteen women were eventually convicted and hanged because English law called for the death penalty for witchcraft (which, incidentally, was the same as the Old Testament). During this time there were over 150 others that were imprisoned. Things finally ended in September 1692 when Governor William Phipps dissolved the court because his wife had been accused. He said enough of this insanity. It was the colony's leading minister, by the way, who finally ended the witch hunt in 1693 and those that remained in prison were released. The judge that was presiding over the trials publicly confessed his guilt in 1697. By the way , it's interesting to note that this particular judge was very concerned about the plight of the American Indian and was opposed to slavery. These are views that don't sit well with the common caricature of the radical Puritans in the witch hunt. In 1711 the colony's legislatures made reparation to the heirs of the victims. They annulled the convictions.

    I guess the point is that there was a witch hunt. It was based on theological reasons, but it wasn't to the extent that is usually claimed. I think last week the caller said it was millions and millions that were burned at the stake as witches. That certainly wasn't the case in this country. It seemed that the witch hunt was a result of theological misapplication and the people who were involved were penitent. The whole witch hunt lasted only a year. Sixteen people were hanged in New England for witchcraft prior to 1692. In the 1692 witch hunt nineteen were executed. So you've got thirty-five people. One hundred fifty imprisoned. This is not at all to diminish or minimize the impact of the American witch hunts which resulted in thirty-five deaths. But thirty-five is not millions. It is not hundreds of thousands. It's not even hundreds. It's thirty-five. This was not genocide.

    Now in Europe it was a little different. Joan of Arc was burned at the stake for practicing witchcraft in 1431. Over a period of 300 years, from 1484 to 1782, the Christian church put to death 300,000 women accused of witchcraft, about 1000 per year. Again, I don't want to minimize the impact of 1000 lives lost a year, but here we're talking about a much, much smaller number over a long period of time than what has been claimed in the past.

    In America we're talking thirty-five people. In Europe over 300 years, we're talking about 300,000. Not millions. The sources here are World Book Encyclopedia and Encyclopedia Americana . You can also read in Newsweek , August 31, 1992. I was accused of being a liar last week. I'm trying to give you the facts from reputable sources that show that the accusations from last week aren't accurate.

    There were two Inquisitions. One of them began right around the end of the first millennium in 1017. It began as an attempt to root out heretics and occurred chiefly in France, Germany, Italy and Spain. The Spanish Inquisition followed in the fourteenth century and was much bloodier. It began as a feudal aristocracy which forced religious values on society. Jews were caught in the middle of this and many of them were killed. About 2000 executions took place. The Inquisition that took place at the turn of the millennium, less than that. So we're talking about thousands of people, not millions.

    There were actually seven different Crusades and tens of thousands died in them. Most of them were a misdirected attempt to free the Holy Land. Some weren't quite like that. There were some positive aspects to them, but they were basically an atrocity over a couple hundred years. The worst was the Children's Crusade. All of the children who went to fight died along the way. Some were shipwrecked and the rest were taken into slavery in Egypt.


    The statistics that are the result of irreligious genocide stagger the imagination.



    A blight on Christianity? Certainty. Something wrong? Dismally wrong. A tragedy? Of course. Millions and millions of people killed? No. The numbers are tragic, but pale in comparison to the statistics of what non-religion criminals have committed.
    My point is not that Christians or religious people aren't vulnerable to committing terrible crimes. Certainly they are. But it is not religion that produces these things; it is the denial of Biblical religion that generally leads to these kinds of things. The statistics that are the result of irreligious genocide stagger the imagination.

    My source is The Guinness Book of World Records . Look up the category "Judicial" and under the subject of "Crimes: Mass Killings," the greatest massacre ever imputed by the government of one sovereign against the government of another is 26.3 million Chinese during the regime of Mao Tse Tung between the years of 1949 and May 1965. The Walker Report published by the U.S. Senate Committee of the Judiciary in July 1971 placed the parameters of the total death toll in China since 1949 between 32 and 61.7 million people. An estimate of 63.7 million was published by Figaro magazine on November 5, 1978.

    In the U.S.S.R. the Nobel Prize winner, Alexander Solzhenitsyn estimates the loss of life from state repression and terrorism from October 1917 to December 1959 under Lenin and Stalin and Khrushchev at 66.7 million.

    Finally, in Cambodia (and this was close to me because I lived in Thailand in 1982 working with the broken pieces of the Cambodian holocaust from 1975 to 1979) "as a percentage of a nation's total population, the worst genocide appears to be that in Cambodia, formerly Kampuchea. According to the Khmer Rouge foreign minister, more than one third of the eight million Khmer were killed between April 17, 1975 and January 1979. One third of the entire country was put to death under the rule of Pol Pot, the founder of the Communist Party of Kampuchea. During that time towns, money and property were abolished. Economic execution by bayonet and club was introduced for such offenses as falling asleep during the day, asking too many questions, playing non-communist music, being old and feeble, being the offspring of an undesirable, or being too well educated. In fact, deaths in the Tuol Sleng interrogation center in Phnom Penh, which is the capitol of Kampuchea, reached 582 in a day."

    Then in Chinese history of the thirteenth to seventeenth centuries there were three periods of wholesale massacre. The numbers of victims attributed to these events are assertions rather than reliable estimates. The figures put on the Mongolian invasion of northern China form 1210 to 1219 and from 1311 to 1340 are both on the order of 35 million people. While the number of victims of bandit leader Chang Hsien-Chung, known as the Yellow Tiger, from 1643 to 1647 in the Szechwan province has been put at 40 million people.

    China under Mao Tse Tung, 26.3 million Chinese. According the Walker Report, 63.7 million over the whole period of time of the Communist revolution in China. Solzhenitsyn says the Soviet Union put to death 66.7 million people. Kampuchea destroyed one third of their entire population of eight million Cambodians. The Chinese at two different times in medieval history, somewhere in the vicinity of 35 million and 40 million people. Ladies and gentlemen, make note that these deaths were the result of organizations or points of view or ideologies that had left God out of the equation. None of these involve religion. And all but the very last actually assert atheism.


    Religion, and Biblical religion in particular, is a mitigator of evil in the world.



    It seems to me that my colleague Dennis Prager's illustration cannot be improved upon to show the self-evident capability of Biblical religion to restrain evil. He asks this in this illustration. If you were walking down a dark street at night in the center of Los Angeles and you saw ten young men walking towards you, would you feel more comfortable if you knew that they had just come from a Bible class? Of course, the answer is certainly you would. That demonstrates that religion, and Biblical religion in particular, is a mitigator of evil in the world.
    It is true that it's possible that religion can produce evil, and generally when we look closer at the detail it produces evil because the individual people are actually living in a rejection of the tenets of Christianity and a rejection of the God that they are supposed to be following. So it can produce it, but the historical fact is that outright rejection of God and institutionalizing of atheism actually does produce evil on incredible levels. We're talking about tens of millions of people as a result of the rejection of God.
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    Nice read, thanks.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ironviking
    Im in total agreement with Milo. It seems that most people are missing his point. How can you place religion in government without imposing on someone else's rights. If you say the ten commandments must be worshipped and held as law Im sure there would be some Muslims who would disagree along with many other religions.
    I dont believe in the Christian God or Allah or anything else, I do believe in a higher power but since I refuse to commit myself to any religion I am considered an Atheist.
    Also, I dont need a religion or a law to tell me that killing or violating someone else physically or mentally is wrong. I have a set of standards which I hold myself to, a set of standards that were built after years and years of watching many injustices in the world and saying that is wrong I will never do things such as that.
    Furthermore, I thought the Christians would be in support of taking prayer out of school because it means that there are no religions allowed to pray, this means that your children and thier faiths cant be challenged there. For instance if someone brings in the Satanic Bible and starts reading from it they would be asked to put it away as well as someone reading from the Christian Bible or the Koran.

    One more thing, an IQ of 172. I tested at 133 and Im considered in the "gifted category". 172 is phenomenal and studies have shown that most people over 150 cannot relate very well to people who arent in the same range. Also, people with that intelligence level tend to stear away from religion as it cant be supported by science.

    http://members.ams.chello.nl/p.cooij...y/iqrange.html
    I've already addressed most of what you said... read again.

    You are not considered an athiest, by ANY definition... and so what if you were?

    To address your personal morals, and how they seem decent enough, people are often victims of their circumstances (I.E. like father, like son...); you assume that most people separate of God will automatically have a decent moral base. Once again, because you both miss the premise of my previous posts, true religion is based on the Golden rule "love your God with everything you have, and love your neighbor as you do yourself". You are running scared with your misconceptions and stereotypes of religious people; you try to group people into your definition, and then automatically think yourself better than them. There is plenty of info out there if you would like to educate yourself. Religion teaches love of person regardless of their sins, not discriminate against someone because you disagree or are scared of them.

    I am not saying that 133 is low compared to my girl's; Milo brought up IQ (she was tested twice: 1st time 170; professor had her tested again, she scored 172), but you seem to be misinformed about there being no scientific proof supporting religion. On the contrary, there is more evidence in support of religion and related philosophies than what you are believing... you've just been indoctrinated throughout your school days, I learned to think for myself and support religion BASED on the facts. I'll start out with one website for you: www.drdino.com offers a $250,000.00 reward for any empirical evidence supporting non-religious "science" so people like yourself will actually try to study and understand the basis behind religion, and realize you've been duped all your life, or just chose to believe what you do based on your own philisophy. This guy will take your call if you want to talk to him, and will debate anyone at your college or university that you think has a good grasp of your philosophical values. He has never lost a debate, and he has debated some of the country's foremost authorities specializing in areas you show concern over. I think YOU will be surprised about how LITTLE science you have backing your belief system.

    I do not feel that you are wrong, I just think you are missing ALOT of info; I'm just not sure you are open-minded enough to change your mind if the facts dictate otherwise.
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    Some how you two think Im attacking spirituality. Im not... I am simply attacing the idea that ANY dogma of organized religion INCLUDING Christianity has NO place in government.
    When God is used in government it is used as a generic term. If they used Jesus that you would have an argument. They are not telling you what to believe. Most religions believe in God.With the exception of Satanism and atheists. I don't see how atheist can get up set because to them it's like Santa clause or the Easter bunny. Satanism is just scary but they have the right to believe what they want but they don't have the right to sacrifice people.
    You were attacking spirituality when you said
    But if there were true equality the religions like Christianity would lose their power to control men and their thoughts and actions.Men would TRULY be free.
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    GIJOE where did I say that I think I am better than anyone. I never stated that nor implied it.
    I am an athiest in the respect that I claim no God.
    Also where did I state that people who seperate themselves from God will automatically have a decent moral base? My point was that even people with no God can have a decent moral base.
    How am I running scared with my misconceptions and stereo types of religious people? I really don't know where you got that idea, I know many religious people and I like quite a few of them. Plus I don't believe in stereotypes.
    The seperation of state and government is to protect the rights of all religions not just christianity, isnt that one of the reasons the pilgrims sailed out here. It was to be able to practice whatever religion they wanted without persecution.
    How am I not opened minded, it is usually the christians that judge people for being homosexual or different. I dont care what you are, as long as you are not hurting other people with the way you live, rock on.
    And 133 is by no means low, I was just stating that your girl's IQ is EXTREMELY HIGH and that most people in that range tend to seperate themselves from religion.

    It is you that keeps missing the point about these posts.

    It is the seperation of church and state that protects religions, not just one religion but all of them. I am not here to challenge religion or God I am stating my reasons in believing why that seperation of church and state is necessary.

    And why do you think I am not educated? I have studied many religions and many different cultures, there is no scientific proof that God exists. All data on the subject has been disputed and neither side, religion(any religion) or science, has declared defeat or victory. But AGAIN that isnt what this thread is about.
  

  
 

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