One of my purposes in this thread is to point out that contemporary secular political thought is increasingly held, particularly by some liberals, with a zeal that would rival the most intolerant of the religious practitioners they so often characterize as the religious right. Moreover this same secular orthodoxy is increasingly extending its proscriptions into areas once left open to religion by government, and thereby displacing and diminishing religion in a way that none of the notables quoted by Setanta foresaw.
Just as you see danger in what is happening to contain religion and religious influences in our culture presently -- I see danger in not containing it.
I suspect I do not see religion in the same light as you.
I know many, many very decent, wonderful, delightful, intelligent, productive, kind, non-intrusive, non-threatening religious people.
Truly I do.
I suspect they would be very decent, wonderful, delightful, intelligent, productive, kind, non-intrusive, non-threatening people even if they were not religious -- and in fact, often consider them to be very decent, wonderful, delightful, intelligent, productive, kind, non-intrusive, non-threatening people DESPITE THE FACT THAT THEY ARE RELIGIOUS.
For many, being any of those things is extremely difficult if religion is playing a major role in their lives.
ASIDE: I have known some decidedly non-religious people who are every bit as decent, wonderful, delightful, intelligent, productive, kind, non-intrusive, and non-threatening as those religous people -- and I have known people who are devotely religious (and some who are non-religious) who have almost none of those admirable traits.)
Religion is, in my estimation, a net negative for society.
I am for almost anything and everything currently being used or advocated to contain it.
I want the government out of the religion business -- AND I AM NOT ONE OF THOSE LIBERALS you mentioned.
I want to mention something Blatham commented on -- something I must have missed.
First off, I think it WOULD be quite appropriate to suggest that Christianity has been hostile to science. You are one of the first voices I've ever heard suggesting otherwise.
I missed the part where you said otherwise -- but if you did, I must disagree with you and agree wholeheartedly with Blatham.
Over in Abuzz, I inititated a thread that was inspired by something a religious person said to me. He said "Remember what happened to Rome -- why it fell!"
My thesis in the thread I initiated was: Did Rome fall because of its irreverance and debauchery -- as some would assert?
And I came to the conclusion that when Rome was at its grossest -- when it was knee deep in debauchery -- it was also at its strongest.
Rome prospered and dominated its world completely for over 500 years -- and then, between 50 to 75 years after Christianity became a serious force in the empire, it fell to pieces.
Was it the fault of Christianity?
I certainly would not want to make that case.
But it is interesting that not only did Rome fall almost immediately after Christianity gained prominance -- the entire of the western world went into scientific decline of almost epic proportions.
In fact, the first 700 years of Christianity's dominance of the western world are referred to by historians as the Dark Ages.
And Christianity continued for centuries after to thwart any real scientific progress.
I think a strong case could be made that we are damn near 1500 years behind where we should be scientifically -- a situation that fall right at the feet of Christianity.
Let's discuss this if you have serious disagreements with the tenor of what I am asserting here.