Education and Rational Thought-The Only Means of Human Salvation

No one likes to be take in by a bad argument, and the best defense against this is education. It is little wonder that the more educated you are the less religious you may be and the less likely you are to be taken in by bad arguments. The answer isn’t to shy away from new ideas but to embrace them and come to an educated conclusion on the validity of these new ideas.

You see, in the example of the person doing evil in the name of religion, it doesn’t necessarily matter how “accurate’ they are in their beliefs. The fact is that a religious conviction tells them to do it. It tells them its OK because some deity or group of people is “on their side”. There is this point about “You can’t praise God and sleep at night when you’re responsible for butchering people”. So the entire Catholic church under the Inquisition, the Crusaders, Fundamentalist Muslim extremists, the Westboro Baptist Church, any Christian member of the United States Military, Japanese soldiers that ran POW camps, the NAZI party…..these are all groups that were not truly “religious” in a religious persons eyes? They are not representative of what religious fervor can make people do and still sleep at night? Keep in mind almost every single one of these groups has dictated what our modern interpretation of the bible is, especially the Catholic church. Were they not truly pious? If not, then why and how can you base your belief on anything they have shaped with their impious thoughts? See where this is going? Only by educating ourselves on what actually exists and what we want to exist can we make informed and good decisions.

Only through religious conviction can we see these evils done AND have people sleep at night; remove the religion you remove the inane behavior! This is not to say that evil will be abolished, but a lot less of it will be done. You see, its nigh impossible to drive a man to murder women and children in the name of not believing in something. Tell them a supernatural deity is on their side and they’ll do anything up to and including killing or mutilating their family. See modern fundamentalist cultures in the Middle East for references.

Furthermore, becoming educated and opening up to new ideas doesn’t necessarily mean that good things will always follow from the subject matter of the new idea.  I hear this false connection when theists talk about the “good” that is done by church communities Why must I accept positives of religion? It’s a social fact that people banding together usually make stronger communities, and religion is people banding together. That is not a property of religion, that is a property of social phenomena. This same “good” result can and does come about from non-religious groups and gatherings. The more we educate ourselves on scientific theory the less we attribute qualities to spurious conclusions. A good example is the study of old religions.  The study of historic ideas is completely different than embracing them. Take Greek mythology. Totally bad ass and to me, makes more sense than many modern religions. We can learn a lot about the Greeks and where modern traditions come from. That doesn’t mean we have to give these old myths the same weight as say the Law of Gravity or Tokenism in social situations. Those are two completely separate ideas from actually giving merit to someone that prays to Bhaal or Thor. All equally non nonsensical because they all rely on the same supernatural explanation for those events the individual cannot supply them selves.

Furthermore, only religion can be turned to be used as a tool of oppression over a mass of people. Through education we will see through this smoke and mirrors. For example, do you know how many people think that the United States was founded as a “Christian” nation, despite the multiple quotes, documents, and a CLAUSE IN THE CONSTITUTION that specifically says it is NOT. The uneducated think so, the educated KNOW it is not so. People aren’t not necessarily stupid, they are ignorant and uneducated-they are able to be taken in by bad arguments that lack support. Apply some reason, some logic, and an understanding of what constitutes evidence and we see this haze lifted from our heads.

So you ask who can people turn to. It isn’t turning to a person or persons. Its turning to science and applying our intellect to the objective facts and laws of our universe that can and does supply us with answers.

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28 comments on “Education and Rational Thought-The Only Means of Human Salvation

  1. Dan Reed says:

    “Furthermore, only religion can be turned to be used as a tool of oppression over a mass of people. Through education we will see through this smoke and mirrors.”

    There are so many things wrong with this, but you do have something right. Religion is NOT the only thing that can be turned to be used as a tool of oppression over a mass of people. For someone that sounds as smart as you are I’m surprised you don’t see that, but then again – you go through life with the blinders of intelligence on, using only your mind and not your mind AND your heart, which defines wisdom. I get what you are trying to do and trying to say here, but your entire premise is wrong – that religion is the root of all evil. More so than religion, I see fear as the main tool of oppressors. Fear is a natural human emotion. Hitler did not use religion to pull off the holocaust, it was the fear he instilled in the populace and the fear he held in himself for the jewish race that brought that about. Another example would be the laws against homosexuality. Even though it may seem like religion – it is the fear of people who are different from them, fear of accepting “sinners” that encourages the hatred and discrimination of homosexuals even in this day and age. This fear stems from their belief that being gay is wrong, that it is a sin – but it is the fear they have of accepting something contrary to their beliefs that causes this. Another example, would be the Japanese internment camps during World War 2. Religion played no part in that oppression, it was all based on fear. Fear that these United States citizens, because they were of Japanese descent – may rise up against us. Religion is not the cause of these things, it is instead a symptom of fear, which in some cases – is caused by religious beliefs. Kind of a viscious cycle, eh?

    Religion was created by people to explain the world around them and the things that they feared so that they no longer needed to be feared. The problem is that some of those ideas and notions are no longer valid, no longer need to be feared, but because they are part of the religion people cling to – religion in fact instills irrational fear in people. When a population fears something they will automatically move to oppress it. Take prohibition in the 1920’s for example. Until the population learned that alcohol would not be the destruction of our country, in fact created more problems that banning it solved, it was prohibited.

    Now we converge in our ideas in that I agree with you that education is the key. However, Intellectual babble will not teach anyone anything. There are only 2 ways to fight oppression, and that is to educate, or use force. You cannot educate people while instilling hatred and fear of those that do practice religion. I suppose one could if one really wanted to, but I consider it morally wrong. Just as bad as anyone else instilling hatred or fear in the populace about anything else. It is called intolerance.

    • jastiger says:

      I would agree that fear is the main driving force between all of those events you cited. However, in two of those instances of fear-based morality they were and are motivated against a certain religious group or for religious reasons. I mean you know it, I know it, we all know it; homosexuality doesn’t “harm” me or you anymore than a husband and wife having sex in their bedroom. Only a religious ferver can force a sane person to cast aside their reason and continue to persecute these minority groups. Same with the holocaust and even anti-semites today. Look at Mel Gibson. I’m sure he has Jews that were INDESPENSIBLE for his career success and he knows this, yet he still rails against them as some great evil only due to religious intolerance.

      The Japanese Internment camps were stricly fear based, I would agree, so if you wanted to use fear as the basis, fair enough. Religion exacerbates and uses this basis as a means to enforce its ends. If we agree education is the key to dispelling this fear, which was the solution to every single problem you mentioned, then religion is the anathema to education. Religion replaces science and reason and consistent explanations with ignorance and its own brand of misinformation.

      Religion uses fear as a basis for its morality and way of life, no other system of thought or belief can make that claim that is inherent to itself. No other system can claim systemtic fear and ignorance as empowerment over the human mind as a main foundation for its existence.

      • Dan Reed says:

        First of all, I want to apologize for the length of my response. Read at your own risk, and bring a blanky!

        “I would agree that fear is the main driving force between all of those events you cited. However, in two of those instances of fear-based morality they were and are motivated against a certain religious group or for religious reasons.”

        No, they were motivated against a certain religious group in the case of the holocaust, that is correct – however it wasn’t religion that caused the holocaust. From the top on down, it was fear. The men who worked at the concentration camps were just, “following orders”. By the time they wanted to do anything to stop it, if they did – it was already too late, and I’m sure many did what they did out of fear of persecution if they did otherwise.

        ____

        “I mean you know it, I know it, we all know it; homosexuality doesn’t “harm” me or you anymore than a husband and wife having sex in their bedroom. Only a religious ferver can force a sane person to cast aside their reason and continue to persecute these minority groups.”

        Wrong again, that’s 0-2. It is not ONLY religious ferver which can force a sane person to cast aside their reason and continue to persecute minority groups. You are assuming they had reason to begin with. You are also assuming that anyone who is anti-gay doesn’t just have biggoted ideas instilled into them which may have nothing to do with religion.

        ____

        “Same with the holocaust and even anti-semites today. Look at Mel Gibson. I’m sure he has Jews that were INDESPENSIBLE for his career success and he knows this, yet he still rails against them as some great evil only due to religious intolerance.”

        This just made me laugh. Mel is a guy that is obviously messed up, and he definitely has anger issues. Many people do or say things when they are angry that they regret which has absolutely nothing to do with true religious intolerance even though some remarks may include racial assaults.

        ____

        The Japanese Internment camps were stricly fear based, I would agree, so if you wanted to use fear as the basis, fair enough. Religion exacerbates and uses this basis as a means to enforce its ends.”

        True, this is restating what I said originally, in that religion grew out of fear. However, you talk about religion “enforc[ing] its ends” as if religion was a living breathing individual to be feared… I have the feeling that the root of your philosophical commentary on this site is based on fear. I will touch on this at the end.

        ____

        “If we agree education is the key to dispelling this fear, which was the solution to every single problem you mentioned, then religion is the anathema to education. Religion replaces science and reason and consistent explanations with ignorance and its own brand of misinformation.”

        True, I agree – except that education is not the only solution, as I stated before, the two solutions possible are education or force. What we don’t want to see, well…at least what I don’t want to see is someday a persecution of the religious…through force. I have family that are devout christians, and I truly fear what may happen to them someday. Your strongly worded anti-religion rhetoric is just more fuel for the fire of force as much as it is education.

        ____

        “Religion uses fear as a basis for its morality and way of life, no other system of thought or belief can make that claim that is inherent to itself. No other system can claim systemtic fear and ignorance as empowerment over the human mind as a main foundation for its existence.”

        While true, there are many systems of thought and beliefs out there, and it is possible to outright invent those systems(ie. Scientology.) If you’ve ever read, “Stranger in a Strange Land” by Robert Heinlein you have read an example of just such a system being created many times over. While fiction I feel it is a valid portrayal of how people can use religion to hoodwink the “Marks” if you got my double entendre then you definitely read the book.

        I see the use of systematic fear and ignorance of religion here in your blog to instill fear and hatred of religion. While not instilling fear and hatred of a people, you are instilling fear and hatred of an set of beliefs which people do still cling to, right or wrong.

        To put it in mathematical terms for the scientifically minded people here.

        If A equals C, and B equals C, then A equals B.

        Instilling fear and hatred of something = Westboro Baptist Church and their ideas.

        And

        Instilling fear and hatred of something = Atheist and Agnostic Society Blog

        Then,

        Atheist and Agnostic Society Blog = Westboro Baptist Church and their ideas.

        (Yes, I know – the equation is no longer valid when applied to these two as they are obviously not equal)

        That’s going a little far, however I wanted to paint a picture of the hipocracy. There is a huge difference between educating and fearmongering. You do however have a right to be intolerant of religion, and I respect that. It doesn’t mean that I agree with it or endorse it.

        • jastiger says:

          To the first point, I think we are equivocating on the use of the word religion here when we speak of fear. When I speak of religion being the motivation behidn say, the holocaust, it is a religious belief that something is inherently evil and wrong (jews) and that we are justified in doing what we are doing (holocaust) because of our religiously-based fear of a religious group. Fear caused neighbor to turn on neighbor and brother on brother,a nd this fear was only made possible by the hatred of a religious group and a religious appeal to the state as supreme and just. That is a religious view of which blind patriotism is the subset. The way this fits into the article is that by a blind religious zeal for doing “what was right” reason was thrown aside.

          I have yet to see a non religious argument against homosexuals. In theory what you say could be true, but I’ve yet to see bigotry and hatred towards same sex couples that stems from a non-religious basis.

          The Mel Gibson was meant to be an abstract example. Of course he’s messed up! The point is people have an irrational fear of things based on religious persecuations. Look at those who paint Obama as a Muslim and automatically discount his evidence of Christianity (aside from whatever the reality may be) or that paint all atheists as immoral. Its an irrational fear borne of religious indoctrination.

          As to your two points of education and force, I discount the use of force. You say these two are the two sides of the same coin but I don’t see why I would accept that as the only answer. If we are interested in science and reason being the salvation of humanity then force by definition is ruled out as a means to that end. Now, if you want to claim force CAN be used as a means, then by all means yes. But that is not what I’m advocating. What I’m saying is, if you are going to align yourself with the end goals of science, reason, and logic, then you cannot rely on the use of force to meet those ends and be consistent.

          I love Stranger in a Strange Land, I do not grok the comparison though. They invented a RELIGION in this and many other of his books. Scientology is a RELIGION, again proving the point that only a religion can bat away reason and instill its own values in a person.

          As far as the claim that I am fear-mongering, I am not entirely sure that this is accurate. I point out the short comings that I see in religion and attempt to generate discussion about them. I don’t think what I do is quite on par with religious people claiming I am going to burn FOREVER in a pit of fire, or that people should be stoned or killed. I’ve never once advocated that kind of thing. I’m also not telling people to be AFRAID of religion, but rather to learn about it, examine it, and make their own rational conclusions.

          I really do fail to see how that is fearmongering.

          • Dan Reed says:

            “I’m also not telling people to be AFRAID of religion, but rather to learn about it, examine it, and make their own rational conclusions.

            I really do fail to see how that is fearmongering.”

            You are leaving one major thing out of your equations. People who can’t think themselves out of a box. Religion does not hoodwink everyone in the same way. A person would need to be relatively unstable or have the right set of beliefs to push them to a point where they are considered “extreme”. I think we can agree that not all people who are religious are zealots, which are a very small subset of those that are religious. People with no real thinking skills for themselves who read what you put here could very well be the next “extreme” subset of the anti-religious who would think it ok to use force to persecute those that still practice “Religion”. Replace “Religion” with “Witchcraft” in the previous sentence and you’ll see what I mean. Even though they are downright stupid and hoodwinked, they are the equivalent of the fringes of the religious, which is what you are consistently and constantly complaining of.

            If what you were putting here on this site was about learning about religion, examining it with a fair eye, and drawing rational conclusions you might be right. That is not the case here. In fact, the majority of the time, you are making broad sweeping accusational opinions, and you are calling those with any religious beliefs stupid – in many more eloquent words, with no room for debate.

            Also, you are correct in that I was not condoning the use of force, but simply stating, for the third time mind you – that the only means of overcoming religious dogmas are through education, OR through force. I’m glad to see you are not condoning force, but that does not mean that words with a high psychological index would not affect people in a way that might help lead them to be militantly anti-religion.

            • Jastiger says:

              You’re absolutely right on that account. Someone could read what I put here, NOT go out and apply the rational thinking I advocate and come to a conclusion that all religion is evil for the sake of being religious. However, that is completely counter to the kind of thing I’m discussing here. Harmful extremism isn’t borne out of rational thinking and scientific inquiry the same way you could attribute extremism to the religious aspect of things. Laying things out and saying “religion is bad because of X, Y, and Z and here is more points supporting those points” is a lot different than saying “religion is bad because I say its bad” which isn’t what I’m saying at all.

              So if someone read this site and came to the conclusion that they should close their ears to any and all religious inquiry then they have walked away with the exact wrong message.

              • Dan Reed says:

                “Laying things out and saying “religion is bad because of X, Y, and Z and here is more points supporting those points” is a lot different than saying “religion is bad because I say its bad” which isn’t what I’m saying at all.”

                This would be a great place to end the discussion, except that it IS what you are saying. Read back through some of your posts, I see a whole hell of a lot of criticism with very little supportive evidence. There is much more opinion than than there is “rational thought” and “scientific inquiry”. Backing up opinions with more opinions. You are very good at it, but that’s all I see.

                Let’s break this down as an example:

                “There is this point about “You can’t praise God and sleep at night when you’re responsible for butchering people”.(What point? Source?) So the entire Catholic church under the Inquisition, the Crusaders, Fundamentalist Muslim extremists, the Westboro Baptist Church, any Christian member of the United States Military(Just the Christian members of the US military?, really?), Japanese soldiers that ran POW camps, the NAZI party…..these are all groups that were not truly “religious” in a religious persons eyes?(The NAZI party “religious”? Godwin’s Law wins again – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law) They are not representative of what religious fervor can make people do and still sleep at night?(Religious fervor makes Christian members of the United States Military do what exactly that won’t let them sleep at night – and regret – that any other member of the military might do?) Keep in mind almost every single one of these groups has dictated what our modern interpretation of the bible is, especially the Catholic church.”(Almost every single one, eh? Except Fundamentalist Muslim extremists, the Westboro Baptist church, Christian Members of the United States Military, oh yeah – and Japanese soldiers that ran POW camps, and of course the Nazi Party.)

                Just sayin…

                • jastiger says:

                  The point was in response to the assertion that only religion allows us to do things that are moral and that irreligion means that we have no way to sleep at night because of all the horrors we obviuosly commit by being atheist. No where did I say that Christian members of the US Military did more things that make them “sleep less at night”. The point was that people who feel themselves religious are able to do whatever they want in the name of their religion based solely on their own religious conviction. I don’t have actual sources for this other than the obvious examples of the crusades, inquisition, etc. for this, and I don’t really see any way you could argue that these things did NOT happen due to religious fervor. As to the US Military point, the claim was that these soldiers feel themselves Christians and they do their job, the same as any other presumably, and for Mike to claim that they weren’t “truly religious” and should therefor be held accountable for every act they do as immoral is ridiculous.

                  Furthermore, every time the bible is interpreted in any kind of public manner, whether it be the Catholic Church meeting or a public prayer in the US Military, then yes, these groups do shape the way people interpret the bible.

                  So I guess at the end….what is your point, you really don’t seem to have one?

                  • Dan Reed says:

                    The point was in response to the assertion that only religion allows us to do things that are moral and that irreligion means that we have no way to sleep at night because of all the horrors we obviuosly commit by being atheist.(Nowhere did you say this) No where did I say that Christian members of the US Military did more things that make them “sleep less at night”.(No, but you did lump them in with the Catholic church during the inquisition and the NAZI party) The point was that people who feel themselves religious are able to do whatever they want in the name of their religion based solely on their own religious conviction.(opinion) I don’t have actual sources for this other than the obvious examples of the crusades, inquisition, etc.(just those two apply as valid examples as I pointed out) for this, and I don’t really see any way you could argue that these things did NOT happen due to religious fervor.(That is because I’m not) As to the US Military point, the claim was that these soldiers feel themselves Christians and they do their job, the same as any other presumably, and for Mike to claim that they weren’t “truly religious” and should therefore be held accountable for every act they do as immoral is ridiculous.(Don’t lump me in with Mike, I have no idea what you are referring to here)

                    Furthermore, every time the bible is interpreted in any kind of public manner, whether it be the Catholic Church meeting or a public prayer in the US Military, then yes, these groups do shape the way people interpret the bible.(Again, opinion – and what does this have to do with Fundamentalist Muslim extremists, Japanese soldiers that ran POW camps, and the Nazi Party.)

                    So I guess at the end….what is your point, you really don’t seem to have one?(My point is your arguments are occasionally a pile of bullshit and opinion that you like to spin as fact. I don’t know how much more clear I can be.)

                    • jastiger says:

                      Mike said it, I was refuting it. As to the last point, I DID lump them in because they are agroup that feels themselves sufficiently religious are they not? I’m not attacking them as being on par with Nazi’s or exremist groups, I’m pointing out the fact that Christian members of the US Military feel themselves sufficiently Christian to call themselves Christian members of the US Military…what is the point of this attack here? They share this quality with the Catholic church, the Inquisition and any other religious group-they consider themselves religious. That is all it amounts to.

                      As to the point about bible interpretation that is not opinion. It holds true for everything. Take the idea of taxes. We frame the idea of taxes as a “burden” as somethign to be paid to “Uncle Sam” and generally something we do not want to do. Now, you and I both know that the idea behind taxes is to pay for certain thigs that we enjoy, roads, schools, etc. However we FRAME it in such a way that shapes the way we view it and how others view it. Same with religion and the interpretation of the bible, every time its interpreted in a public manner, it shapes the way its interpreted. That isn’t some mumbo jumbo, thats fact. When those extremist groups that you mention interpret the bible, it shows a certain extreme interpretation and shapes the way others view the bible whether for or for worse (we hope for better, right?)

                      Lastly, I never claimed in any of my writings that my opinion is fact. Ever. This is a blog to generate discussion about religion and is intended to be on a certain level biting to encourage response. I intentionally do not cite and will not cite my opinions because they are just that-opinions. If you see holes in my arguments, then by all means, go at them, but don’t try to paint them as something they are not so that you can better attack them. That is dishonest.

                    • Dan Reed says:

                      Here we go again…

                      “Mike said it, I was refuting it. As to the last point, I DID lump them in because they are agroup that feels themselves sufficiently religious are they not?(They are…the point was that some of the rest of the list was NOT sufficiently religious but thrown in I believe – for effect) I’m not attacking them as being on par with Nazi’s or exremist groups, I’m pointing out the fact that Christian members of the US Military feel themselves sufficiently Christian to call themselves Christian members of the US Military…what is the point of this attack here?(The point is lost on you when you consistently argue the wrong point. I didn’t say that you were attacking them as being on par with Nazi’s or extremist groups – If you read what I wrote you would’ve seen that you were lumping them in as a religious group along with Japanese soldiers during WWII, and the NAZI’s who are both obviously not religious groups. If anyone should be confused about a comparison here it is the reader of the op.) They share this quality with the Catholic church, the Inquisition and any other religious group-they consider themselves religious. That is all it amounts to.(If by “this” you mean being an opinion that you attempted to sneak in as fact, you are correct.)

                      As to the point about bible interpretation that is not opinion. It holds true for everything. Take the idea of taxes. We frame the idea of taxes as a “burden” as somethign to be paid to “Uncle Sam” and generally something we do not want to do. Now, you and I both know that the idea behind taxes is to pay for certain thigs that we enjoy, roads, schools, etc. However we FRAME it in such a way that shapes the way we view it and how others view it. Same with religion and the interpretation of the bible, every time its interpreted in a public manner, it shapes the way its interpreted. That isn’t some mumbo jumbo, thats fact.(Again with an opinion that you claim to be fact. I don’t quite understand how you claim taxes can be interpreted in different ways like a religious book can, complaining about taxes is fun – though we all know it is for the common good….or bad if we are paying political salaries with no results. I also don’t see how “almost every single one of these groups” as you put it could’ve dictated the interpretation. This is purely speculation and opinion on your part.) When those extremist groups that you mention interpret the bible, it shows a certain extreme interpretation and shapes the way others view the bible whether for (better)or for worse(Opinion, and wrong again – it may affect how THEY view the bible, “others” is too generic a term and could apply to the entire population.) (we hope for better, right?)(Right)

                      Lastly, I never claimed in any of my writings that my opinion is fact. Ever. This is a blog to generate discussion about religion and is intended to be on a certain level biting to encourage response. I intentionally do not cite and will not cite my opinions because they are just that-opinions. If you see holes in my arguments, then by all means, go at them, but don’t try to paint them as something they are not so that you can better attack them. That is dishonest.”(The only dishonesty I see here is you claiming to state your opinion as fact. You are in denial in my opinion. As you can see I don’t have the same fear of giving my two cents…)

  2. Mike says:

    Jason,

    I understand your frustration with Religion, it is clear by every post that you write. I would ask however, not to lump every denomination (Catholic, Baptist, et al) into what true Christianity is about. Theirs is mans brand of religion – not God’s. Everytime man gets involved and thinks he knows better, he screws it up, and causes people like yourself to point fingers.
    But the same can be said about ANY belief system. There will ALWAYS be those who work to deface the image of all and any societal communities.
    I tip my hat to Dan and his insightful critique of your article. It is apparent that your heart is your driving force and not your mind. Because I have yet to see one rational argument.
    I do however, disagree with Dan that “fear” is what promps the religious. At least not those who know and understand true religion. Fear has nothing to do with homosexuality – at least not with me – I understand that there are those out there who are – but wrongly so. Fear has nothing to do with murderers, thieves, liars, adulterers, gambling, alcohol, abuse, etc., etc. And it should be pointed out that it is NOT the person who involves themselves in such activities who are the objects of hatred – it is the ‘sin’ or ‘sins’ they have made the choice to take part in. Sin is to be hated, not the person, although I understand that this is not usually the case – but it is not the case because men have defaced Christianity and they are not true Christians.
    I hold no anamousity towards those who have chosen the homosexual lifestyle anymore than I do for someone who has chosen to be an adulterer, or thief, or liar. I am saddened that they have chosen that course and hope that I may have a chance to help them get out of it. But it comes down to their choice. All I can do is try to show them a better way – but they choose to continue in whatever sin, then I can’t force them to get out of it.
    I would like to ask you and Dan – or more particularly Dan, since he is the one who promotes the idea of fear. Is it fear that we have laws against abuse, murder, stealing, pedophilia, etc.? We already understand that it is fear as to why there are laws against alcohol and drugs, but I was just wondering about these other things.

    Jason you said, “For example, do you know how many people think that the United States was founded as a “Christian” nation, despite the multiple quotes, documents, and a CLAUSE IN THE CONSTITUTION that specifically says it is NOT. The uneducated think so, the educated KNOW it is not so.”

    I ask you to please enlighten us uneducated people as to where it says specifically in the Constitution, or any other document that Christianity was not part of our founding.

    You also stated that “People aren’t not necessarily stupid, they are ignorant and uneducated-they are able to be taken in by bad arguments that lack support. Apply some reason, some logic, and an understanding of what constitutes evidence and we see this haze lifted from our heads.”

    Despite your educated double negative – I have been waiting for months for you to rationally help me understand what constitutes evidence. I’m ready and willing to hear it – if there is any such thing – but no one seems to be able or willing to help me understand. All I hear are irrational subjective pleas of non-tolerance.

    • jastiger says:

      What do you want for evidence? I do not understand. I’ve seen other readers direct you to websites, museums, philosophical arguments, direct contradictions in your speaking and you still claim lack of evidence. I am bewildered by this. What is your definition of evidence?

      Please show me the passage in the Constitution that mentions the United States being founded as a specifically CHRISTIAN nation.

      Your question about fear being the driving force behind laws about some things. In some instances yes, its fear, in others its pure reasoning.

      For example, we lock up pedophiles and child abusers for eyears and years, and when they get out they are forced to register their residence and are restricted on where they can go. These laws on the PUNISHMENT of these individualsare based almost solely on fear. The law against child abuse is based on reason on the other hand because we know it to be wrong and harmful.

      • Mike says:

        It is all over the Declaration of Independence as will in the writings of the Founding Fathers – that this nation was built upon Christian principles. Not Jewish, Not muslim, not new-age – Christian.

        • Mark says:

          Where are your sources?

          “…the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion…”
          The Barbary Treaties 1786-1816
          Ratified by the US senate
          You can’t get any more clear than that.
          http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/bar1796t.asp

          Oh and the Declaration of Independence says “Creator” and “Supreme Judge”, not the god of the Bible. While many of the founders were undoubtedly Christians it shows their consideration of other religions that they did not say “God” or “the Bible” anywhere.
          http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/index.htm

          You continue to make claims that are revealed as blatant lies when the evidence is examined.

          As for evidence I and others have posted numerous links and you have posted zero. If I am wrong please show me where.

      • Mike says:

        You are beginning to feel my pain – in how every piece of evidence I provide is totally ignored.

        • jastiger says:

          All I ask is that you Google the Constitution, copy the parts where any form of Christianity is applied and past it to the comments section of this blog.

          • Dan Reed says:

            In all fairness Jason, he didn’t mention the Constitution.

            However, from the declaration of Independance:

            “the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them”

            “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.”

            “We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions”

            “And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”

            In the Constitution this is the only mention to any kind of religous phrase whatsoever:

            “the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord”

            I have many arguments against each of these, but I’m just putting these out there as facts, these are all of the specific mentions or reference to any kind of deity or christian principle in the Declaration of Independence.

            • Jastiger says:

              You’re right in his LAST post he said Declaration, in all previous ones it was Constitution.

              And that was my point. There are references to a deity but in no way to a theist deity. Also, that is the Declaration, not the Constitution. We do not make law by referring to the Declaration, but the Constitution. Thanks Dan.

    • Dan Reed says:

      “Fear has nothing to do with murderers, thieves, liars, adulterers, gambling, alcohol, abuse, etc., etc.”

      Wanna bet? I’d be willing to bet that one of the leading root causes of murder is fear. Fear that someone is going to leave them in the case of a jealous spouse, fear that they would have to face their own reality and raise their children alone may have driven the women you may have seen in the news to kill their own children. Why do people lie? From an early age children learn that one good way to get out of trouble is to lie, fear is the root cause of many lies. Adultery is not a bad thing unless you are religious so does not count here. Alcohol is not a bad thing either, in moderation. Many alcoholics take up drinking to escape from the problems they fear, rather than face their problems without alcohol.

      “I hold no anamousity towards those who have chosen the homosexual lifestyle anymore than I do for someone who has chosen to be an adulterer, or thief, or liar. I am saddened that they have chosen that course and hope that I may have a chance to help them get out of it.”

      You spew your titles – adulterer, thief, and liar around as if they are all bad things. Everyone lies. There are many people in this world that enjoy non-monogamous relationships when they are not tied down by a false morality. Many a thief has taken something and forgotten to return it on accident, does this mean they go to hell? The fact is, you have no reason to fear these people and thus you do not hold any animosity toward them. Some would even argue that homosexuality is not a “choice” as you so blatantly put it.

      “Despite your educated double negative – I have been waiting for months for you to rationally help me understand what constitutes evidence. I’m ready and willing to hear it – if there is any such thing – but no one seems to be able or willing to help me understand. All I hear are irrational subjective pleas of non-tolerance.”

      I’m sorry, but I just have to take a pause to laugh here…

      ___

      Ok, I’m better.

      ___

      There is little in the way of evidence here on this site, it is all debate using rational thought and critical thinking. As much as Jason speaks of scientific thought, I have seen no true data, statistics, or anything that would indicate scientific aspirations of proof of anything – then again I can’t say that I have read everything here. This is a site where him and/or his school group is able to express their philosophy concerning Atheism. If you don’t like it, I suggest you go elsewhere. It’ll just give you headaches.

      “I understand your frustration with Religion, it is clear by every post that you write. I would ask however, not to lump every denomination (Catholic, Baptist, et al) into what true Christianity is about. Theirs is mans brand of religion – not God’s. Everytime man gets involved and thinks he knows better, he screws it up, and causes people like yourself to point fingers.”

      So you’re saying you hold the keys to what true Christianity is about? He is only lumping your christianity which is Not man’s christianity, oh no, but rather God’s Christianity in with the rest of religion. You ask for evidence from the author, yet are unable to provide evidence of your own. I want to give you some friendly advice from an Agnostic and recovering Christian to a another Christian(of Gods Christianity). There is no argument here you can win, it may be time to open your mind to some new ideas if you do decide to stick around. None of the topics here may be completely resolved one way or the other in our lifetime – it is all a matter of reasoning, critical thinking, and personal opinion.

      In fact, I would venture to say that one of the reasons you may come here is because you are having doubts about your own beliefs, and you feel that if you can win any debate here that you are in fact right, and justified in your beliefs. If you don’t want to admit it, that’s fine…been there done that.

  3. jastiger says:

    For some reason i cant’ reply directly to your last post. Meh whatever.

    Japanese POW soldiers and NAZI’s weren’t specifically religion in the sense that say, an extremist Muslim may be. They had a religious belief in the state and in teh idea that what they were doing was right. Emperor was god and what he ordained was correct; the Americans deserved the torture. Same with the NAZI’s, the Fatherland was in trouble, the Jews were the source, and the ends justified the means. They threw aside their reason in favor of statist dogma-a property of a RELIGIOUS view.

    When you talk about my analogy of the taxes and the religious interpretation, I’m a bit befuddled. What part of external reality is not shaped by the interpretation of that reality? You laid out two great examples of how the same fact about taxes can be viewed in two different ways. If all we hear is about how taxes are BAD then we’ll always be hesitant to embrace them, vice versa, if all we hear about are how GOOD taxes are, we’d be hesitant to stop paying them, right? Its the way the lens is colored that dictates how we interprate these ideas. The idea that I advocate is to dismiss any lense color by embracing logic and sound reasoning so it doesn’t matter what it looks like coming in-it matters what you do with it once its in your head and how you dismantle the facts in the idea presented. I would claim that by using logic and reason we will by default arrive to the best possible examination, that is my opinion. The fact remains that external interpretations shape the way we interpret things and we should always be aware of this. I don’t know why you’re fighting this, “others” refers to the “others”..people looking at a situation from the outside.

    • Dan Reed says:

      “For some reason i cant’ reply directly to your last post. Meh whatever.(I had the same issue, so I replied to my previous post to your last reply)

      Japanese POW soldiers and NAZI’s weren’t specifically religion in the sense that say, an extremist Muslim may be. They had a religious belief in the state and in teh idea that what they were doing was right. Emperor was god and what he ordained was correct; the Americans deserved the torture. Same with the NAZI’s, the Fatherland was in trouble, the Jews were the source, and the ends justified the means. They threw aside their reason in favor of statist dogma-a property of a RELIGIOUS view.(Yet…not religious or pertaining to religion, only in your opinion, the shade of your view on the subject.)

      When you talk about my analogy of the taxes and the religious interpretation, I’m a bit befuddled. What part of external reality is not shaped by the interpretation of that reality? You laid out two great examples of how the same fact about taxes can be viewed in two different ways. If all we hear is about how taxes are BAD then we’ll always be hesitant to embrace them, vice versa, if all we hear about are how GOOD taxes are, we’d be hesitant to stop paying them, right? Its the way the lens is colored that dictates how we interprate these ideas. The idea that I advocate is to dismiss any lense color by embracing logic and sound reasoning so it doesn’t matter what it looks like coming in-it matters what you do with it once its in your head and how you dismantle the facts(aka opinions…which I have shown to be opinions, and not facts which you continue to ignore. You believe logic and sound reasoning remove any lense color, but the fact is, you are viewing issues with only one lense – your lense of logic and “sound” -in your definition- reasoning.) in the idea presented. I would claim that by using logic and reason we will by default arrive to the best possible examination, that is my opinion.(Ding ding ding! We have a winner! Finally an honest opinion!)The fact remains that external interpretations shape the way we interpret things and we should always be aware of this. I don’t know why you’re fighting this, “others” refers to the “others”..people looking at a situation from the outside.”(I’m done, this horse is more dead then the proverbial doornail)

      ____

      You encourage this site “to be on a certain level biting to encourage response”, yet when that response does not agree with your opinion you have the same desire to prove yourself right that most anyone would, some of us more than others(…of course not me…) I have enjoyed the discussion, I meant no disrespect on any point.

      We both agree that education is the key to removing the fog of religious influence from the eyes of the populace.

  4. Jastiger says:

    I have a desire to debate a point on which I think I have been unfairly attacked. I like to see the weaknesses in my arguments and build upon them. I just don’t see why you are attacking not my writing but my writing as fact.

    Certain things are social facts and we cannot change that. These social facts change the way we view the world, and the fact is, when it comes to religion, is that the way religion is portrayed and presented to the uncritical thinker is designed to be seen as fact as in itself. There is no room for questioning if it involves questioning the basic tenants of theism. The opinion piece comes after the fact-the weighing of different aspects of an idea, or the pursuit of a certain line of reasoning. But the idea that facts outside of our selves can determine how we approach new ideas, that is a fact regardless of whether you agree with me or not. We are treading on sociological grounds here, specifically the idea of an external social reality, but that is really what my main post was driving at. Certain groups when it comes/came to Christianity shaped what it means for others that came after them to be Christian. There is no escaping that fact, and this applies to anything. The crux is that only religious belief (appeal to a deity, blind devotion to an ideal, acceptance of certain facts without evidence) professes to be the only external reality, the only True Way of looking at the world, leaving no room for question. No other idea can claim this property without being described or defined as religious.

    • Dan Reed says:

      Labeling something a fact does not always make it so. A “social fact” can be debated and is an opinion – albeit based on personal observations and critical thinking – there is no definite “proof” that people such as Mark keep asking for. There is what one side “knows” to be true, and what the other side “believes” to be true. One side thinks, the other feels. This is partly why I believe debates on topics such as this are a neverending cycle, as anyone on the religious side has only unprovable claims and emotional experience, while those who stand against religion think only with their mind, knowing nothing else.

      I don’t feel it was unfair, it was based on my perception given the text of your opinion piece and what I took away from it – that all religion is bad and can only be “fixed” through education. I did not set out to disprove that religion is not always bad as the only proof are my personal feelings and personal experience with family I have that are Christians. I know these people are not “bad”, they may be misguided, but they are not “bad”. As an agnostic, I don’t feel that religion is always a bad thing, even though I am fully aware that it CAN be the source of great evil as well. There are many other ideals and feelings that can be a source of evil. I also know that it is not the only way of viewing things. You are obviously an intelligent individual, and you use your mind and critical thinking skills and reasoning to post opinion pieces here that people are bound to disagree with. It just so happened in this case I vehemently disagreed.

      ____

      “The crux is that only religious belief (appeal to a deity, blind devotion to an ideal, acceptance of certain facts without evidence) professes to be the only external reality, the only True Way of looking at the world, leaving no room for question. No other idea can claim this property without being described or defined as religious.”

      This last comment of yours I am in complete agreement with.

      • jastiger says:

        I think we’re getting somewhere with the social fact thing. That’s exactly it, the content of the facts can always be debated and construed differently, but the fact that they exist- an external reality that shapes who we are and how we perceive things- is in itself nigh indisputable.

  5. Homme says:

    The First Amendment to the United States Constitution reads: “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.” The United States Supreme Court has clarified that “government should not prefer one religion to another, or religion to irreligion.”

    That being said, the opinions of the founders of the United States and the laws of the United States are quite irrelevant. If you believe something solely because you believe a founding father did, you are only indulging in another form of dogmatism. Anything worthwhile that the founding fathers believed has merit that stands on its own.

    Also, Mike, it seems you’ve left me hanging in our other discussion.

    • Mike says:

      It was my understanding that you were finished. I didn’t leave you hanging intentionally, I just thought the discussion was finished, so I haven’t returned to it.

  6. interesting debate…
    I would like to add my viewpoint… I do not think any of the school is delivering the humanity…. how it is affecting, hope these two blog postings would make my friends get what I mean….
    …….
    http://shabd-rachit-duniya.blogspot.com/2010/09/principal-of-words.html
    …………….
    http://shabd-rachit-duniya.blogspot.com/2010/09/and-we-all-are-a.html

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