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A Modern Secular Religion

 
 
georgeob1
 
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Reply Sun 13 Jul, 2003 06:56 pm
Tartarin,

The only need I have is to form a world viewpoint from which to orient my own thinking and my spiritual life - like you I must make that choice during my life, armed with what information and understanding I have. I agree that it is possible to get on with life without doing this, however, that in itself is a choice.
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Ethel2
 
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Reply Sun 13 Jul, 2003 07:11 pm
I agree too, but all in all, I don't feel inclined to believe some anthropomorphic story about a God or a creator or whatever. If we want to call the basic physical constants God, well, that would be fine with me, as long as we adopt an attitude of questioning and doubt, looking for new problems with old theories and trying to find new explanations which will themselves be subjected to the same diligent scrutiny. I just don't believe in this being called god. I find it highly unlikely, and that is simply my belief, I can't imagine it and it doesn't seem logical to me. But my belief is based on attention to science rather than some artificial leap of faith which forecloses investigation.

george, I want to ask you a question. Have you ever met or tried to talk to a real fundamentalist Christian? If you haven't you should go immediately to the nearest non denominational evangelical church and sit in the congregation, mingling and talking to the folks there. Spend several weeks, and you'll come running to work against GW and friends. Personal religious beliefs are fine with me, but really, these are not just personal beliefs, these are people trying to impose their mental illness on the entire world.

And that's what this comes down to for me. Not whether there's a god or not, but rather does anyone, secular humanist or fundamentalist have a right to impose their beliefs on me and my children? Or on you and yours. If you're worried about the secular humanists, take a look at the fundys.......it's a horrible sight to behold. Our public institutions should be as close to objective in the question of religion as we can manage. I don't think this is too much to ask. But if we are to achieve it, we must uproot tyrants like the dangerous, coercive people now in control of our country.
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georgeob1
 
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Reply Sun 13 Jul, 2003 08:17 pm
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blatham
 
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Reply Sun 13 Jul, 2003 08:28 pm
george

We are in battle. It would hardly be appropriate for me to say a kind word. This would be anti-bernieism, or giving aid and comfort...etc. The Irish grump ogre is Setanta! A monstrous fellow who engages in carnal cavalier dalliances with exotic northern women (possibly singular) and who probably spits angrily on his screen as he types. His is a withered and gnarled spirit, and he has a kisser on him which in itself is prove of the absence of any merciful god.
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dyslexia
 
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Reply Sun 13 Jul, 2003 08:40 pm
well yeah
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georgeob1
 
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Reply Sun 13 Jul, 2003 08:41 pm
Blatham.

I guessed it was Setanta, but was not sure. I find it very easy to get pissed at him, but equally difficult to stay angry. The boy has possibilities! Great description!

Battle 'tho it is, this thread has become interesting to me, and I hope to others. No solicitation of anti bernieisms intended.

By the way - Mennonite ! I am truly impressed.
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Ethel2
 
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Reply Sun 13 Jul, 2003 09:29 pm
no anti-Bernieisms allowed on this or any other thread. Excuse me if i say Bernieisms are classic and yet one of a kind.
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Tartarin
 
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Reply Mon 14 Jul, 2003 07:04 am
George -- You've just stated the problem, the problem that the religious have created for themselves. You live your life within a construct which goes on in your own head. We all do. In order to maintain comity in this modern world where we value freedom, we ask that people keep their constructs to themselves, not attempt to impose them on the lives of others. The lives of all are protected by agreed-upon secular laws -- a secular construct, if you wish, or The Social Contract which protects you no less than it protects others.

As long as you understand that your construct IS a construct and that, born an American citizen (I assume), you agree to lead your public life within the agreed social contract, there isn't a problem. The problem comes when the religious want to tinker with the social contract, add their own constructs. Nope. Not allowed. To the extent that it has been allowed to creep in.... "one nation under god" and "to god and my country" etc.... it has created controversy and disturbed the comity. When you pick up on anger, it's not because those people have invaded your territory but because you have proclaimed a right to walk into their house and move their furniture around to suit your tastes.
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blatham
 
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Reply Mon 14 Jul, 2003 10:00 am
Leave my damned end table where it was!

George (a charming fellow with a good mind, if befuddled, and a dextrous stylo) labors under the misapprehension that it is we who are moving HIS end table about, imposing our 'liberal values' upon him. This is a mental gymnastic which would be the envy of any circ d'soleil performer, and it's the same one that Scalia makes in insisting that HIS LIBERTY IS AFFECTED by allowing naughty things to go on in other peoples' bedrooms over there in Florida or Ohio.
That is, of course, backwards.

What IS affected in george's and Scalia's lives isn't their personal liberties at all, but rather the general moral agreements of the cultural group within which they live.

If one wishes to argue for the maintenance of a certain set of moral notions, then one must either make the case as compelliingly as possible and hope others are convinced (the way we would do it in a free or democratic system), or one can make the claim that those moral notions are grounded in something permanent and unchangeable, and that this grounding justifies trumping other moral views. Appeals to a religious authority or appeals to tradition are the usual means. And this is the dangerous one.
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georgeob1
 
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Reply Mon 14 Jul, 2003 10:11 am
Tartarin,

Would you also apply the same proscriptions with respect to changing the social contract to other, non-religious, groups that are also attempting to do so (and with increasing success) - often on the same issues that engage religion? Examples are the NEA, GLAAD, PETA, Greenpeace, Earthfirst, NAMBLA, etc.
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georgeob1
 
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Reply Mon 14 Jul, 2003 10:18 am
Blatham, in spite of his many deficiencies and persistent wrongheadedness, does have the ability to often get right to the heart of the matter. He has done it here. I would add also my own modest contribution in the response to Tartarin above.
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dyslexia
 
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Reply Mon 14 Jul, 2003 10:23 am
I have written and deleted about 10 posts to this topic, the non sequitor of the title leads me to the conviction that the case is closed prior to debate.
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georgeob1
 
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Reply Mon 14 Jul, 2003 10:26 am
Dyslexia,

I can understand how you could interpret it as a non-sequitor. However one could, as easily, consider it a paradox - one to be explored and examined. Perhaps the label is flawed, but there IS a question here that (to some at least) merits examination. Moreover we are getting closer to it. I would have liked very much the opportunity to have read one of your vanished postws.
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Tartarin
 
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Reply Mon 14 Jul, 2003 10:46 am
George -- I agree with Dys though haven't made a complaint. I tried in my post to address that issue, trying to make you understand how and why we have a secular sphere (not religion). You only have to look at a world in which religion is constantly at war to understand why we, following in our ancestors steps, must put the law of the land above what you and many others believe to be "god's law." The constitution and the laws we make through our legislatures ARE the higher law in this nation, not the "laws" of any one religion.

The beauty of it is that your desire to abide also by the laws dictated by your religion is protected by the higher law of the land. But don't be one of those folks about which it is said, Give 'im an inch an' he'll take a mile. Don't assume that it's okay for your religion to impinge or impose itself on spheres protected by the law of the land.
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dyslexia
 
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Reply Mon 14 Jul, 2003 10:56 am
the term "secular" as I understand it means relating to the non-spiritual world ie non-religious, but my understanding is that in this topic the word is used as "anti-spiritual or anti-religious." I see a built-in contradiction not easily bridged by rational discourse, or as you put it George, paradoxical. One can indeed make a case for example of the interconnectiveness of masonry with or without mortar and the theory of sub-atomic cohesion but it hardly relates to the study of social dynamics in post industrial civilizations. If, as I assume, you are speculating that an interplay between social regulation and theological "faith" requires a moral basis rooted in religious doctrine, i would, using your own reference to Count Leo Tolstoy as the facade personality that dressed in the garb of the peasant during the day so that he could feel the nature of the common man and then coming home to his estate in the evening to be waited on by his servants, fed his venison and wine. There is a distinct dis-connect to his words and his actions, although i am quite sure he believed his charade much the same as i see current popular christianity embracing a humanistic caring for the world they live in and at the same time consistenly advocating adherence to a "christian ethic" which demands such foolishness as requiring "in god we trust" placards to be placed in every public school class room. So once again i am seeing a non sequitor of reason.
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Ethel2
 
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Reply Mon 14 Jul, 2003 11:58 am
And Dys has it here. Secular means non-religion or without religion, and george is using the word to indicate anti-religion. If, george you are taking the value of a non-religious government to be a religion, then........well, talk about infinite regression.
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Scrat
 
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Reply Mon 14 Jul, 2003 12:08 pm
Lola wrote:
Federal funding for religious schools is an attack on the public school system and is discriminatory in and of itself.

The courts disagree with you.
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Ethel2
 
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Reply Mon 14 Jul, 2003 12:12 pm
Scrat,

So?
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snood
 
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Reply Mon 14 Jul, 2003 12:14 pm
Razz
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Scrat
 
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Reply Mon 14 Jul, 2003 12:17 pm
Blatham - Nice of you to single me out for your personal insults once again. Not that you care the least for what I actually mean, but, since you are putting words in my mouth let me help you get them straight.

1) I would not like to see a cross on the American flag. Nor do I think our money or coins should bear the name of God.

2) The government can't "make a wall" because it doesn't NEED a wall--at least not the wall you think it needs. All the federal government needs to do is not espouse a specific religion, and avoid grey areas where it might appear that they are doing so. Should you have to swear on a bible in a federal court? No. Should "In God We Trust" be on our money? No. Should ALL comers be allowed to compete for federal aid dollars whether secular or faith-based, so long as all faiths are permitted equal access? Yes.

Get it? Or is that too idiotic a notion for you to comprehend?
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