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      09-23-2014, 11:59 PM   #375
Mr Tonka
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Originally Posted by m3ray View Post
The Baptist comment was silly I agree and yes there are 70+ countries where ISIS are recruting fighters. If anything their actions and calling out the POTUS just shows how irrational this group is. They are prepared to die. As a matter of fact they have a death wish. Publicly killing civilians and directly killing US and British citizens was tantamount to pissing on a bee's nest.

Strategically it makes no sense why they did what they did. But I don't think the U.S. could continue and standby with the threats to our saftey and humantarian violations going on there. Of course there is also Obama trying to rescue his political career as well.

Regarding the stats, I think we will just agree to disagree on that. I don't feel enough data/studies are out there to carefully quantify what percentages of Muslims may support or feel.

There is a bewildering amount of radical groups in that region. Each with their own agenda. Some are even mortal enemies of each other.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...rian_Civil_War

All this to demonstrates to me that there is no way to accurartely quantify what numbers of Muslims as an entire religion may truely feel or not.
Agree with their stats or not, the study is more extensive than most any other study or poll that most people take as fact. The majority of studies involve maybe 1000 participants interviewed by phone.

The project that is, Who Speaks for Islam, conducted 10s of 1000s interviews. At a minimum, that has to be 10,000 interviews. Typically, that phrase means the max would be 90,000 interviews. What ever the actual figure, these were conducted face to face in over 35 predominately muslim nations.

The authors:
Quote:
John L. Esposito, Ph.D., is a leading expert on the Muslim world. He is University Professor and a professor of religion and international affairs and of Islamic studies at Georgetown University and the founding director of Georgetown's Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding in the Walsh School of Foreign Service. He is also the past president of the Middle East Studies Association of North America and of the American Council for the Study of Islamic Societies and a consultant to governments and multinational corporations. Esposito is editor in chief of The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World and Oxford Islamic Studies Online. His more than 35 books include What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam and Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam. He currently resides in Washington, D.C., with his wife, Jeanette P. Esposito, Ph.D.

Dalia Mogahed is a senior analyst and executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies. She leads the analysis of Gallup's unprecedented study of more than 1 billion Muslims worldwide. Mogahed also directs the Muslim-West Facts Initiative (www.muslimwestfacts.com), through which Gallup, in collaboration with The Coexist Foundation, is disseminating the findings of the Gallup World Poll to key opinion leaders in the Muslim World and the West. She travels the globe engaging audiences on what Muslims around the world really think. Her analysis has appeared in a number of leading publications, including The Economist, the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy magazine, Harvard International Review, Middle East Policy, and many other academic and popular journals. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband, Mohamed, and two sons, Tariq and Jibreel.
With resumes like that it's hard to imagine their agenda being anything other than painting Islam in a positive light.
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      09-24-2014, 04:08 AM   #376
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Originally Posted by Mr Tonka View Post
Complains about the lack of tolerance while talking about how you HATE people calling the US a Christian Country.

Why can't you tolerate people who think the US was founded on Christian ideals?

Westborough is a handful of brainwashed cult members. So when the 18 people at Westborough Baptist start beheading gay people on youtube, your muslim buddy can go ahead and compare them to the 70,000,000 muslim extremist who support the ISIS' actions.
The difference is the environment in which they operate. The us is not a power vacuum, the Middle East is. Certain virus and bacteria flourish in shitty habitats, while the die off quickly in sterile ones. that does not change the core of what they are. There are plenty of people in the Middle East that don't like Isis but they can't fight back for fear of retaliation with no protection. Guess what, I guarantee the WBC would get a whole lot more extreme if they knew they could get away with it without the us govt kickin their door in, let alone civs with guns who are just waiting for them to step out of line at a soldiers funeral. It's not meant to be a comparison of the terror groups, but ratherand illustration of how the rest of the moderates view extremists. Both Christians and Muslims think the bat shit ones are crazy it's simply, the environment that allows them to get away with it.

In re to calling me a hypocrite on tolerance... no it's not about tolerating someone saying it was founded on Christian ideals. I disagree with homophobic pro life ideals and I live here, and in a democratic society my vote should count just as much as yours (political money aside). America is not a theocracy and I have a big problem with people who tell me what my moral compass should be. Not to mention the duplicity of having freedom of speech in schools and public office. Someone who imposes their view on someone else, especially when it includes proselytism, is not what this country was founded on. To that regard I find it hilarious that satanic cults can erect statues next to Christian ones. Why? Because that is a core principle that this country was founded on. It was not founded on the principle of freedom of religion... unless it isn't Christian and there is (supposedly) a clear separation of church and state. If you want to lobby for something because of your beliefs by all means but don't say that just because its Christian/Jewish/Islamic its right, use some fucking logic and not theocratic blindness. "Because its in the bible" is the same argument as "because its in the Koran" Both are fucking retarded.

I would recommend anyone reading this thread listen to the intelligence squared debate on "is Islam dominated by radicals" and form your own opinions.
I do not claim that radical Islam is a minority, but it is the extremist view, which has latched on and polarized followers. However, the environments in which it has taken hold have allowed it to overpower the moderates. There are imams who condemn Isis, there are even other terror organizations going... You guys are fucking crazy, those imams and their families end up dead. Keeping your mouth shut is a means to stay alive. People in Syria living under shariah law are so coerced that any polling data from areas like this are irrelevant. Watch the vice documentary about going inside Isis and the religious police and tell me if one person there really accepts what is happening besides the people that dole out the whippings and forced reeducation.
http://intelligencesquaredus.org/deb...ed-by-radicals

Last edited by Spieltag; 09-24-2014 at 04:41 AM.
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      09-24-2014, 09:08 AM   #377
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Spieltag,

I believe you are trying to equivocate Christianity and Islam as being on the same moral level - however, if anything, this point cannot be argued at all because everything that exists in the modern world is due primarily to Christian societies.
Living in the West, it is hypocrital beyond good taste to argue for the merits of Islam.. the most you could get away with is saying most muslims are not bad people, but simply born without choice into the said religion.
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      09-24-2014, 03:45 PM   #378
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You are equating the secular political rationale of the minority with the religious beliefs of the majority is what I am trying to say. Listen to the debate and you will hear what I am talking about. Religion, Christian or Islamic, when applied to politics, creates an extremely polarizing and dangerous us vs them mentality that blankets moderates and conservatives. You can say that the west was on Christian societies but if you want to play that game we owe 99% of our mathematics to islam. The United States was not founded on a church, nor is it a holy land of any significance yet there are politicians that try and dumb down secular politics by rallying people under a Christian flag. Not only is that a polarizing and dangerous path, it also does not allow for a moderate voice but rather an extremist good vs evil, which then in turn brands an entire religion as evil and not radical Islam as the problem. Radical Islam, and Islam are not the same and we should stop equating it as the same. I believe you have to be able to separate secular (ie political) motivation and leverage from religious ideology. Radical Islam is a problem, but that is not the view of the majority of Islamic believers and it is wrong to pull religion into politics. How do you think genocide occurs? first by separating them from us and religion is the largest population qualifier that exists. When religion is used to rally a political cause and it always is, it only serves to divide. There is a reason religion stays out of marketing because it polarizes people and alienates people. How do you think other religions feel, or atheists for that matter when proselytism occurs through politics.

In re to equating them being on the same moral level I say yes because again it depends on what you take to be the benchmark. I think both are equally good and equally bad. Neither preaches tolerance of another religion at least not in the radical forms that scream and shout to the masses. It is the interpretation of a few that command the attention, as well as the media that fans the flames. You don't hear about the pope visiting turkey and all of the peaceful protests, because that is not a story. You hear about the radical mosques. Radicalism and extremism exists partially because current media gives it a platform. There are a lot of right wing evangelical hatemongers on the Internet but they are not given a media outlet. I'm not here to bash any one religion or criticize your beliefs, I am here to ask people to be able to separate secular and geopolitical motivations from religious majority beliefs.

For example, suicide bombings are not a religious endorsement of the majority, however they are a valid military and political tool. They are effective for a guerrilla insurgency, as well as for the expenditure to damage inflicted ratio. Nobody said that Shinto or religion played an issue on kamikaze fighter pilots yet there effectiveness is not questioned. The difference is that Christians view it as suicide and yet we constantly use the terms I'm willing to die while defending my country. Again it is a political and secular tool not a religious one.

Lastly, saying people are born into it completely ignores the geological locations of Islam. Did you Shaquille oneile is Muslim? I don't see him spewing hate speech or converting people to wear a hijab. Again he keeps his beliefs to himself, and doesn't try and use it as a platform. If he makes decisions based on his religion it is not by enforcing his beliefs on others but using it as a guideline on how to live your own damn life not others. Religion should be about your own self guidance, not how to tell your neighbor what they should think. I think both Christianity and Islam in that regard, hell most religions that don't have a clear teaching of tolerance and acceptance, are equally flawed. If you want to have your own beliefs, whatever they are, I accept and will protect that right, but as soon as you tell me what my own morality should be then there is a problem. I might agree with the golden rule but I may refute some of your other moral truths and that is fine.

I reiterate my plea from the previous post. Listen to the i2 debate on is Islam dominated by radicals and you might actually find some interesting distinctions on how you are qualifying people.

Last edited by Spieltag; 09-24-2014 at 03:57 PM.
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      09-24-2014, 06:23 PM   #379
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^
I am not endorsing the demonizing of Islam or it's adherents, however it is factually incorrect to state that ALL religions are equal. Current history is unequivocal on which religion has "won" and I believe the future will also show this.
In case you are not quite clear on this point, Arabs invented a lot of math - but why has no Arab (or any other race/region/religion) society flowered beyond pepetual rise and ruin?
If you cannot recognize this point, there is nothing futher to discuss as why would anyone listen to someone who eats the cake but doesn't recognize the baker?
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      09-24-2014, 10:27 PM   #380
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The evidence points to the Muslim world as indeed supporting very radical views - if you leave the Muslim faith ("Apostasy"), these are the percentages of Muslims who feel you should be sentenced to death:

A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2010 found relatively widespread popular support for death penalty as a punishment for apostasy in Egypt (84% of respondents in favor of death penalty), Jordan (86% in favor), Indonesia (30% in favor), Pakistan (76% favor) and Nigeria (51% in favor). Another survey conducted by Pew Research Center in 2012 among Muslim populations found little change in attitudes towards apostasy in Islamic countries it was able to conduct a survey. Death penalty for apostasy in Islam was favored by large majorities of Muslims in Egypt (86%), Jordan (82%), Afghanistan (79%), Pakistan (76%), Malaysia (62%), Palestinian Territories (66%); and significant percentage of Muslims in Lebanon (46%), Bangladesh (44%), Iraq (42%), Tunisia (29%), Tajikistan (22%), Indonesia (18%) and Turkey (17%). Governments of six gulf countries - Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait - did not permit Pew Research to survey nationwide public opinion on apostasy in 2010 or 2012.

In the US, most would view "radical Islam" as those who would kill you for unbelief. Apparently there are vast numbers of Muslims who would be classified as "radical."

As far as Spieltag thinking that the country was not founded on Christian ideals, that's simply wrong. In fact, the idea of freedom of faith is a Christian ideal. Who is so persecuting you these days, trying to impose their moral code? When was the last time a public figure reasoned "because that's what the bible says?"
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      09-25-2014, 06:01 AM   #381
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Gentlemen
We seem to be forgetting the basics here. There is no comparison between Christianity and islam. Superficially all belief systems have some basic common denominators...treat people the way you would be treated yourself, basic morality etc. the Quran certainly does talk about peace, but it also has over 200 references to jihad and defeating the infidel when allah calls. Like all other religions/teachings other than Christianity, they are all fundamentally different, each teaching exclusivity. They are all based on "works" or good deeds, presuming that their god might let them in to heaven if they perform enough, hence these radicals are in fact being radical to greatly enhance their chance of allahs promise of 10000 virgins in paradise. Jehovah witnesses are trying to increase their chances by knocking on doors etc etc.
Christianity says that we are born out of synch with this holy and perfect God, and that's me gents, I don't have to go to selfishness school, it comes very naturally thanks very much. But this God loves me so much He took the punishment for me, so that whoever accepts his free gift can know they are going to heaven...this is grace my friends, amazing grace.
I'm an Aussie, and we love you guys over there in the U.S, but I can't help but think God is withdrawing His blessings because the nation as a whole is rejecting the truth of who God really is. People are obsessed with tolerance, they have lost all rational thinking for the truth. The truth by definition is exclusive, so when Jesus says "I am the way, the truth, and the life", He was making a very realistic statement.
Your whole constitution is based on Christianity gents,

Christianity is in the Constitution

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Those who insist that America was not intended to be a “Christian nation” point to the obvious absence of specific directives regarding Christianity in the federal Constitution. The popular propaganda since the 1960s has been that “the irreligious Framers did not want the nation to retain any attachment to the Christian religion.” Such an assertion is a monstrous perversion of historical fact. The truth of the matter is that they were fearful of the potential interference by the federal government in its ability to place restrictions on the free exercise of the Christian religion. Consequently, they desired that the specifics of religion be left up to the discretion of the several states.

Nevertheless, we must not think for a moment that the federal Framers did not sanction the nation’s intimate affiliation with Christianity, or that they attempted to keep religion out of the Constitution. On the contrary, the Christian religion is inherently assumed and implicitly present in the Constitution. In fact, the United States Constitution contains a direct reference to Jesus Christ! Consider three proofs for these contentions (See Constitution of the United..., 1789).

First, consider the meaning of the First Amendment to the Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof....” We have been told that, by “establishment of religion,” the Framers meant for the government to maintain complete religious neutrality and that pluralism ought to prevail, i.e., that all religions (whether Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, or Hinduism), though equally tolerated, must not be given any acknowledgement in the public sector. But such an outlandish claim is absolutely false. All one has to do is to go directly to the delegate discussions pertaining to the wording of the First Amendment in order to ascertain the context and original intent of the final wording (Annals of Congress, 1789, pp. 440ff.). The facts of the matter are that by their use of the term “religion,” the Framers had in mind the several Protestant denominations. Their concern was to prevent any single Christian denomination from being elevated above the others and made the State religion—a circumstance that the Founders had endured under British rule when the Anglican Church was the state religion of the thirteen colonies. They further sought to leave the individual States free to make their own determinations with regard to religious (i.e., Christian) matters (cf. Story, 1833, 3.1873:730-731). The “Father of the Bill of Rights,” George Mason, actually proposed the following wording for the First Amendment, which demonstrates the context of their wording:

[A]ll men have an equal, natural and unalienable right to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that no particular sect or society of Christians ought to be favored or established by law in preference to others (as quoted in Rowland, 1892, 1:244, emp. added).

By “prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” the Framers intended to convey that the federal government was not to interfere with the free and public practice of the Christian religion—the very thing that the courts have been doing since the 1960s.

Second, consider the wording of a sentence from Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution: “If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it....” “Sundays excepted”? The government shuts down and does not transact business on Sunday? Why? If this provision had been made in respect of Jews, the Constitution would have read “Saturdays excepted.” If provision had been made for Muslims, the Constitution would have read “Fridays excepted.” If the Founders had intended to encourage a day of inactivity for the government without regard to any one religion, they could have chosen Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Instead, the federal Constitution reads “Sundays excepted”—proving conclusively that America was Christian in its orientation and that the Framers themselves shared the Christian worldview and gave political recognition to and accommodation of that fact.

Third, if these two allusions to Christianity are not enough, consider yet another. Immediately after Article VII, the Constitution closes with the following words:

Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth....

Did you catch it? Their work was done “in the Year of our Lord.” The Christian world dates all of human history in terms of the birth of Christ. “B.C.” means “before Christ,” and “A.D.” is the abbreviation for the Latin words “anno Domini,” meaning “year of our Lord.” If the Framers were interested in being pluralistic, multi-cultural, and politically correct, they would have refrained from using the B.C./A.D. designation. Or they would have used the religionless designations “C.E.,” Common Era, and “B.C.E.,” Before the Common Era (see “Common Era,” 2008). In so doing, they would have avoided offending Jews, atheists, agnostics, and humanists. Or they could have used “A.H.” (anno hegirae—which means “in the year of the Hijrah” and refers to Muhammad’s flight from Mecca in A.D. 622), the date used by Muslims as the commencement date for the Islamic calendar. Instead, the Framers chose to utilize the dating method that indicated the worldview they shared. What’s more, their reference to “our Lord” does not refer to a generic deity, nor does it refer even to God the Father. It refers to God the Son—an explicit reference to Jesus Christ. Make no mistake: the Constitution of the United States contains an explicit reference to Jesus Christ—not Allah, Buddha, Muhammad, nor the gods of Hindus or Native Americans!

Let’s get this straight: The Declaration of Independence contains four allusions to the God of the Bible. The U.S. Constitution contains allusions to the freedom to practice the Christian religion unimpeded, the significance and priority of Sunday worship, as well as the place of Jesus Christ in history. So, according to the thinking of the ACLU and a host of liberal educators, politicians, and judges, the Constitution is—unconstitutional! Go figure.
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      10-03-2014, 04:50 AM   #382
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Originally Posted by pfitz911 View Post
First, consider the meaning of the First Amendment to the Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof....” We have been told that, by “establishment of religion,” the Framers meant for the government to maintain complete religious neutrality and that pluralism ought to prevail, i.e., that all religions (whether Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, or Hinduism), though equally tolerated, must not be given any acknowledgement in the public sector. But such an outlandish claim is absolutely false.
So you think we fought off the oppression of government backed religion, not because it's wrong but because we just wanted a different flavor?

The majority of your post reads like a conspiracy theory. Read the wiki page on Separation of Church and State. It's in the constitution to ensure our freedoms. Not to create a vacuum to be filled with a different type of tyranny.
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      10-09-2014, 02:38 PM   #383
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Originally Posted by Devious21 View Post
So you think we fought off the oppression of government backed religion, not because it's wrong but because we just wanted a different flavor?

The majority of your post reads like a conspiracy theory. Read the wiki page on Separation of Church and State. It's in the constitution to ensure our freedoms. Not to create a vacuum to be filled with a different type of tyranny.
^ +1. People on both sides "religion in America" debate too often throw out vague or inaccurate claims about the Found Fathers' intent with regards to religion. You @Devious21, hit the nail on the head however.

This country was founded by a mostly Christian population (yes there were some atheists or agnostics) and it's laws were heavily influenced by Judeo-Christian philosophy and traditions, but the intent of the Founding Fathers (via the Constitution) was clear...that government would remain separated from religious institutions and activities.

If you read back on European History pre-dating the Revolutionary War you will have a very clear understanding of why they did that:
-French Catholics persecuting Protestant Huegonots
-English Anglicans persecuting Irish, Scottish and English Catholics
-German Protestants and Catholic states fighting each during the 30years war (one of most destructive ones that pre-dated WWI and WWII) and other conflicts
-Wide scale persecution of Pagan (non Christian) Slav's in Eastern Europe during the Crusades
-And rampant anti-semitism all the way through the 21st century

The intent was clear: US citizens would be free to chose their own religious affiliation (or lack thereof) without any fear of institutional repression or persecution. And that's why there has been a lack of religious strife in this country (at least relative to what has happened in other countries).
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      11-03-2014, 02:16 PM   #384
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalko43 View Post
^ +1. People on both sides "religion in America" debate too often throw out vague or inaccurate claims about the Found Fathers' intent with regards to religion. You @Devious21, hit the nail on the head however.

This country was founded by a mostly Christian population (yes there were some atheists or agnostics) and it's laws were heavily influenced by Judeo-Christian philosophy and traditions, but the intent of the Founding Fathers (via the Constitution) was clear...that government would remain separated from religious institutions and activities.

If you read back on European History pre-dating the Revolutionary War you will have a very clear understanding of why they did that:
-French Catholics persecuting Protestant Huegonots
-English Anglicans persecuting Irish, Scottish and English Catholics
-German Protestants and Catholic states fighting each during the 30years war (one of most destructive ones that pre-dated WWI and WWII) and other conflicts
-Wide scale persecution of Pagan (non Christian) Slav's in Eastern Europe during the Crusades
-And rampant anti-semitism all the way through the 21st century

The intent was clear: US citizens would be free to chose their own religious affiliation (or lack thereof) without any fear of institutional repression or persecution. And that's why there has been a lack of religious strife in this country (at least relative to what has happened in other countries).
Pretty much agree with all of this, with two additions.

In addition to agnostics and atheists (mostly unadmitted, it simply wasn't socially or politically acceptable at the time to deny or even doubt the existence of God), there were a number of Revolutionary leaders with different religious views than many contemporary Christians.

They revered Christian principles and Jesus Christ. However, they did not accept the supernatural features of Christ, which are at the heart of modern Christianity. Son of God, virgin birth, resurrection. They were strongly influenced by the Enlightenment, which emphasized logic over simple belief.

Some, like John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin (for most of his life) were avowed Unitarians, believers in a unitary God. Others, like George Washington, were Deists, a now obsolete religion that did not care to define God precisely, although Deists believed in a Higher Power. Thomas Jefferson was his own man, although his Jefferson Bible carefully removes all references to Christ as a supernatural being.

A corollary was that they believed the Bible was a valuable and revered resource, but would not go so far as to say it was the divinely written word of God, precise in every word.

These facts, that most early Americans believed strongly in Christian principles, and revered both the ideas of Jesus Christ and the Bible, but that some important leaders did not accept supernatural beliefs about him, at some times in their lives, are at the root of the longstanding arguments about whether the US is a "Christian" nation.

And the Founding Fathers embraced not merely in religious tolerance, but religious pluralism, the concept that there is no one true faith. The principle is clearest in some Asian religions, which refer to "many paths up one mountain". James Madison, although a believer himself, even expanded the idea to embrace the acceptance of nonbelief, a very radical idea at the time. He was, not surprisingly, pretty low key about that.

Like much of what they did, religious pluralism was brilliant. If you remove the idea that there are "right" religious beliefs, and "wrong" religious beliefs, any justification for a religiously inspired war, for anyone, simply disappears.

Last edited by 128Convertibleguy; 11-03-2014 at 02:34 PM.
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      11-03-2014, 05:52 PM   #385
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Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
They revered Christian principles and Jesus Christ. However, they did not accept the supernatural features of Christ, which are at the heart of modern Christianity. Son of God, virgin birth, resurrection. They were strongly influenced by the Enlightenment, which emphasized logic over simple belief.

Some, like John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin (for most of his life) were avowed Unitarians, believers in a unitary God. Others, like George Washington, were Deists, a now obsolete religion that did not care to define God precisely, although Deists believed in a Higher Power. Thomas Jefferson was his own man, although his Jefferson Bible carefully removes all references to Christ as a supernatural being.

A corollary was that they believed the Bible was a valuable and revered resource, but would not go so far as to say it was the divinely written word of God, precise in every word.

These facts, that most early Americans believed strongly in Christian principles, and revered both the ideas of Jesus Christ and the Bible, but that some important leaders did not accept supernatural beliefs about him, at some times in their lives, are at the root of the longstanding arguments about whether the US is a "Christian" nation.

And the Founding Fathers embraced not merely in religious tolerance, but religious pluralism, the concept that there is no one true faith. The principle is clearest in some Asian religions, which refer to "many paths up one mountain". James Madison, although a believer himself, even expanded the idea to embrace the acceptance of nonbelief, a very radical idea at the time. He was, not surprisingly, pretty low key about that.

Like much of what they did, religious pluralism was brilliant. If you remove the idea that there are "right" religious beliefs, and "wrong" religious beliefs, any justification for a religiously inspired war, for anyone, simply disappears.
We've discussed this at length in a number of previous threads (e.g. "Israel Bombings - Possible War Crimes" post 65 forward). I would wholeheartedly disagree that the FF's were not Christian - a couple had some different ideas, but Geo. Washington was certainly not a Deist. But, anyone can research this themselves, and then decide.

The Constitution is dated "In the year of our Lord" - if they did not believe that Jesus was God, they would not have used his birth as the marker of the document, much less about a million other references to God/Jesus/Holy Spirit being divine and supreme beings, and references to the new Christian nation.
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      11-03-2014, 07:39 PM   #386
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Originally Posted by bbbbmw View Post

The Constitution is dated "In the year of our Lord" - if they did not believe that Jesus was God, they would not have used his birth as the marker of the document, much less about a million other references to God/Jesus/Holy Spirit being divine and supreme beings, and references to the new Christian nation.
At least two facts are unquestioned. John Adams (along with some other Founding Fathers) was a declared Unitarian, a religion whose distinguishing characteristic was a belief in a unitary God, not the trinity. Thomas Jefferson wrote a "Jefferson Bible" which systematically removed all supernatural beliefs about Christ.

Washington was more cagy about his personal beliefs (as a religious pluralist, he worried about unduly influencing people's beliefs) but most historians consider him a Deist. Benjamin Franklin shifted his beliefs over time, but at the time of the revolution was also a declared Unitarian.

I'm curious what you're arguing. Do you deny the existence of Unitarians and Deists? Or that John Adams was Unitarian? Or are you arguing Unitarians and Deists believed in Christ as the divine Son of God, born to a virgin, and resurrected? Do you disagree that the Jefferson Bible removed the supernatural aspects of the story of Christ?

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Originally Posted by bbbbmw View Post
But, anyone can research this themselves, and then decide.
On that we agree. I suggest the above questions as a good starting point.

Last edited by 128Convertibleguy; 11-03-2014 at 08:57 PM.
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      11-03-2014, 10:41 PM   #387
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Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
At least two facts are unquestioned. John Adams (along with some other Founding Fathers) was a declared Unitarian, a religion whose distinguishing characteristic was a belief in a unitary God, not the trinity. Thomas Jefferson wrote a "Jefferson Bible" which systematically removed all supernatural beliefs about Christ.

Washington was more cagy about his personal beliefs (as a religious pluralist, he worried about unduly influencing people's beliefs) but most historians consider him a Deist. Benjamin Franklin shifted his beliefs over time, but at the time of the revolution was also a declared Unitarian.

I'm curious what you're arguing. Do you deny the existence of Unitarians and Deists? Or that John Adams was Unitarian? Or are you arguing Unitarians and Deists believed in Christ as the divine Son of God, born to a virgin, and resurrected? Do you disagree that the Jefferson Bible removed the supernatural aspects of the story of Christ?

On that we agree. I suggest the above questions as a good starting point.
Adams was a Unitarian, although Unitarians at that time were quite different from today's Unitarian Universalist.

Jefferson's Bible (as I discussed in the previous thread) was indeed an edit of Jefferson's, but the reason he did it and if/how he expected to use it is very unclear, and has been debated for many years.

As I understand Deism, it does not believe that God intervenes in the world, does not believe in the Trinity, does not believe in Christ, nor His miracles.

Therefore, I don't understand how one can read Washington's writings (and the majority of the FF's), and conclude that they were anything other than Christian.
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      11-03-2014, 11:16 PM   #388
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbbbmw View Post
The Constitution is dated "In the year of our Lord" - if they did not believe that Jesus was God, they would not have used his birth as the marker of the document, much less about a million other references to God/Jesus/Holy Spirit being divine and supreme beings, and references to the new Christian nation.
You make the claim that using the term "In the year of our Lord" automatically means you believe in Christ AND because our Founders were Christians, their goal was to create a "Christian Nation". I'll address these both.

Claim: Using the term "In the year of our Lord" explicitly means the person using it believes in Jesus Christ.

Response: "In the year of our Lord" is the translation of Anno Domini or simply "AD". It means they are dating according to the widely accepted Gregorian calendar. We use the same calendar when discussing dinosaurs. Using the term "BC" meaning "Before Christ" doesn't mean the person talking about dinosaurs believes in Jesus Christ.
In summary: It doesn't logically follow that using the widely accepted term AD is making a statement on the belief of Christ. But even IF it did, it's irrelevant because...


Claim: The founding fathers were all Christians and therefore advocated that America was to be a "Christian Nation"

Response: Which founding fathers were and were not Christians is debatable. There are very strong arguments that many of them were not Christians and in some cases explicitly disliked Christianity. Regardless of what their personal beliefs were, their beliefs when it came to the Government's role was clear. There is to be a Separation of Church and State. Individuals have the Freedom of Religion. The government does not.
In summary: The founding father's religious beliefs and their political beliefs are not the same thing. This means that while our country may have been founded by many people who were Christians, because they believed strongly in Freedom of Religion and the principle of Separation of Church and State, we are not a "Christian Nation" in the sense that the Government is or should be allied or synonymous with Christianity.
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      11-04-2014, 10:05 AM   #389
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbbbmw View Post
Adams was a Unitarian, although Unitarians at that time were quite different from today's Unitarian Universalist.

Jefferson's Bible (as I discussed in the previous thread) was indeed an edit of Jefferson's, but the reason he did it and if/how he expected to use it is very unclear, and has been debated for many years.
Yes, colonial Unitarianism was similar to Christianity except it unambiguously defined God as unitary, not a trinity, and Christ as simply a very good man. In Ireland at the time, Unitarians were called "nonconforming Presbyterians".

Today's Unitarian Universalism is indeed a far more liberal religion, one which is based on religious pluralism to a great degree, and celebrating the glorification of intellectual logic of the Enlightenment. It allows congregants to choose what wisdom they accept from all religions. Colonial Unitarians would likely have considered it a step too far, although both colonial and modern followers of Unitarianism would agree on the characterization of Christ as simply a very good man.

So, with colonial Unitarianism so defined, do you consider colonial Unitarians, such as John Adams, to be Christians? If so, that explains a lot about our disagreement. And marks you as a person who accepts religious pluralism to some extent, since many modern Christians consider belief in the divinity of Christ as essential.

The purpose of the "Jefferson Bible" is indeed unclear. He had a seriously bad relationship with some Christian leaders at the time, some of who proclaimed that his religious views made him unfit to be President. But what is inarguable is that the Jefferson Bible's main thrust was to remove all supernatural statements about Jesus, including virgin birth, Son of God, resurrection, walking on water, etc. Assuming that is true, do you consider Jefferson to be a Christian? Once again that would reduce the gap between us to one largely of semantics.

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      11-04-2014, 11:27 AM   #390
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Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
Yes, colonial Unitarianism was similar to Christianity except it unambiguously defined God as unitary, not a trinity, and Christ as simply a very good man. In Ireland at the time, Unitarians were called "nonconforming Presbyterians".

Today's Unitarian Universalism is indeed a far more liberal religion, one which is based on religious pluralism to a great degree, and celebrating the glorification of intellectual logic of the Enlightenment. It allows congregants to choose what wisdom they accept from all religions. Colonial Unitarians would likely have considered it a step too far, although both colonial and modern followers of Unitarianism would agree on the characterization of Christ as simply a very good man.

So, with colonial Unitarianism so defined, do you consider colonial Unitarians, such as John Adams, to be Christians? If so, that explains a lot about our disagreement. And marks you as a person who accepts religious pluralism to some extent, since many modern Christians consider belief in the divinity of Christ as essential.

The purpose of the "Jefferson Bible" is indeed unclear. He had a seriously bad relationship with some Christian leaders at the time, some of who proclaimed that his religious views made him unfit to be President. But what is inarguable is that the Jefferson Bible's main thrust was to remove all supernatural statements about Jesus, including virgin birth, Son of God, resurrection, walking on water, etc. Assuming that is true, do you consider Jefferson to be a Christian? Once again that would reduce the gap between us to one largely of semantics.
Any religion that defines Christ as a "very good man" cannot in any way align itself with Christianity - any more than Islam or Buddhism, which both define Christ as a prophet or "very good man." That's not my opinion - it's what is written in Christian scripture.

It's not up to me to decide if Adams (or anyone else) is a Christian - if he claimed the tenets of the Christian faith, then he would be a Christian. Along that line, here are some of his quotes, which would appear that he embraced the Trinity, and Christ:

"The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God."

"Without religion, this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company: I mean hell."

"The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity."

"Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only law book and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited. . . . What a Eutopia – what a Paradise would this region be!"

"I have examined all religions, and the result is that the Bible is the best book in the world."

Whether Colonialists or current day, I'm not sure how people who do not believe the teachings of Christ and His statements (as stated in the Bible), claim to be Christians. But it's up to them - not up to me.

I do believe that modern historians (let's say in the last 60 years or so) have sought to fulfill their own agendas by interpreting the writings of the FF's in a manner that supports the conclusions they seek to draw.
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      11-04-2014, 12:00 PM   #391
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Originally Posted by Devious21 View Post
You make the claim that using the term "In the year of our Lord" automatically means you believe in Christ AND because our Founders were Christians, their goal was to create a "Christian Nation". I'll address these both.

Claim: Using the term "In the year of our Lord" explicitly means the person using it believes in Jesus Christ.

Response: "In the year of our Lord" is the translation of Anno Domini or simply "AD". It means they are dating according to the widely accepted Gregorian calendar. We use the same calendar when discussing dinosaurs. Using the term "BC" meaning "Before Christ" doesn't mean the person talking about dinosaurs believes in Jesus Christ.
In summary: It doesn't logically follow that using the widely accepted term AD is making a statement on the belief of Christ. But even IF it did, it's irrelevant because...


Claim: The founding fathers were all Christians and therefore advocated that America was to be a "Christian Nation"

Response: Which founding fathers were and were not Christians is debatable. There are very strong arguments that many of them were not Christians and in some cases explicitly disliked Christianity. Regardless of what their personal beliefs were, their beliefs when it came to the Government's role was clear. There is to be a Separation of Church and State. Individuals have the Freedom of Religion. The government does not.
In summary: The founding father's religious beliefs and their political beliefs are not the same thing. This means that while our country may have been founded by many people who were Christians, because they believed strongly in Freedom of Religion and the principle of Separation of Church and State, we are not a "Christian Nation" in the sense that the Government is or should be allied or synonymous with Christianity.
I disagree - I believe the FF's did not want a State Church - like what was in Europe in their day, and still exists today - where all citizens pay a tax to support the church, and often the Monarchs. If you read the vast majority of the writings of the FF's, they:

1. Were strongly, overwhelmingly Christian,
2. Never thought that the country would be anything but a majority Christian,
3. Adhered to the Biblical tenets (Judeo-Christian) of treating the foreigner in your land with respect (although they were still foreigners),
4. Established our government in the same way the ancient Israelites were governed by God.

They didn't have to spell out "In the year of our Lord," but they did. If they really wanted to separate church and state, they could have used a simple Gregorian date, or cross-referenced the date with the Asian, Jewish, or any other number of calendars that did not reference God.

EDIT: Which of the FF's do you think were not Christians, and disliked Christianity?
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      11-04-2014, 02:02 PM   #392
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbbbmw View Post
Which of the FF's do you think were not Christians, and disliked Christianity?
John Adams is the clearest example of a non-Christian. You suggested people should do their own research and I agree. Adams was a staunch Unitarian, that is undisputed.

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Originally Posted by bbbbmw View Post
2. Never thought that the country would be anything but a majority Christian.
Jefferson disagrees with you, in a written document, also undisputed. Letter to Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse Monticello, June 26, 1822

" I rejoice that in this blessed country of free inquiry and belief, which has surrendered its creed and conscience to neither kings nor priests, the genuine doctrine of one only God is reviving, and I trust that there is not a young man now living in the United States who will not die an Unitarian."

As far as "disliking" Christianity, that's a statement beyond proof, and it implies an animus which was foreign to the religious pluralism of the Founding Fathers. But this, from that same letter, is quite clear, as far as rejecting the tenets of the Trinity in the most unambiguous fashion.

" The doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend all to the happiness of man.

That there is one only God, and he all perfect.
That there is a future state of rewards and punishments.
That to love God with all thy heart and thy neighbor as thyself, is the sum of religion.

These are the great points on which he endeavored to reform the religion of the Jews. But compare with these the demoralizing dogmas of Calvin.

That there are three Gods.
That good works, or the love of our neighbor, are nothing.
That faith is every thing, and the more incomprehensible the proposition, the more merit in its faith.
That reason in religion is of unlawful use. "

There is no doubt that the large majority of Founding Fathers both admired and revered Jesus. Hence the ready availability of quotes praising him and his philosophy in lavish terms. To go from those quotes to claiming them as Christians flies in the face of well established historical fact.

There is equally no doubt that several of the most important Founding Fathers were either Unitarians or Deists. And others, like Jefferson, are not easily pigeonholed, but clearly did not accept the supernatural Christ, Son of God, virgin birth, resurrection, etc. Another good example is Thomas Paine "The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion". Claiming Adams, Jefferson, and Paine as Christians in today's terms is historically absurd.

As anyone who does their own research on Adams, Jefferson, and Paine can plainly see.

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Originally Posted by bbbbmw View Post
if he claimed the tenets of the Christian faith, then he would be a Christian
The defining attribute of a Christian is one who believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

Would you consider forgiveness a tenet of Christianity? What about the idea that murder is wrong? If I agree with these values (which existed well before Christ) does that make me a Christian? Does Christianity have a stranglehold on the exclusivity of these as values?
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      11-04-2014, 03:40 PM   #394
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The idea that the Founders wanted and always expected the nation or the government to somehow be Christian is simply a case of seeing what you want to be true. The goal was to have government designed to be secular to allow it's people Religious FREEDOM. You can't have freedom if the Government recognizes or endorses any religion and they understood that. If they wanted or expected the nation to be Christian, then this wouldn't have been necessary. They could have simply made the Government a "Christian" government and recognized tolerance for "foreigners", as you put it. Of course, they didn't do this because that was NOT the goal.

Religious freedom is freedom FROM religion. The freedom to think and believe whatever you want, without the Government or the religious majority having any say whatsoever. This ensures that no matter what the religion of the majority (and the government is secular as ensured by our constitution), religious freedom will always exist.

Jefferson:
The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury to my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.

Adams:
As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

Paine:
I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, by the Roman Church, by the Greek Church, by the Turkish Church, by the Protestant Church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.


Now if you are making the point that the Founders who WERE Christian, would have liked it if America was always a Christian majority, than that's another discussion and mostly irrelevant. Just as saying all the more liberal founding fathers had hoped that the nation would have always been more liberal. It's speculation at best and doesn't really matter.
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      11-04-2014, 06:36 PM   #395
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Devious21 View Post
The idea that the Founders wanted and always expected the nation or the government to somehow be Christian is simply a case of seeing what you want to be true. The goal was to have government designed to be secular to allow it's people Religious FREEDOM. You can't have freedom if the Government recognizes or endorses any religion and they understood that. If they wanted or expected the nation to be Christian, then this wouldn't have been necessary. They could have simply made the Government a "Christian" government and recognized tolerance for "foreigners", as you put it. Of course, they didn't do this because that was NOT the goal.

Religious freedom is freedom FROM religion. The freedom to think and believe whatever you want, without the Government or the religious majority having any say whatsoever. This ensures that no matter what the religion of the majority (and the government is secular as ensured by our constitution), religious freedom will always exist.

Jefferson:
The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury to my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.

Adams:
As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

Paine:
I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, by the Roman Church, by the Greek Church, by the Turkish Church, by the Protestant Church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.


Now if you are making the point that the Founders who WERE Christian, would have liked it if America was always a Christian majority, than that's another discussion and mostly irrelevant. Just as saying all the more liberal founding fathers had hoped that the nation would have always been more liberal. It's speculation at best and doesn't really matter.
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      11-05-2014, 12:49 PM   #396
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+1
As I understand it, Deists believe that God kicked things off, but doesn't get involved any longer - He's just watching the movie play out.

Here are some quotes from George Washington:

"You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do every thing they can to assist you in this wise intention; and to tie the knot of friendship and union so fast, that nothing shall ever be able to loose it."

"The Honorable Congress having thought proper to recommend to The United States of America to set apart Wednesday the 22nd. instant to be observed as a day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer, that at one time and with one voice the righteous dispensations of Providence may be acknowledged and His Goodness and Mercy toward us and our Arms supplicated and implored; The General directs that this day also shall be religiously observed in the Army, that no work be done thereon and that the Chaplains prepare discourses suitable to the Occasion."

"Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connexions with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.It is substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who, that is a sincere friend to it, can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?"
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