Growth in secular attitudes leaves Americans room for belief in God

Oct 31, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- The nature of the American religious experience is changing as a rising number of people report having no formal religious affiliation, even though the number of Americans who say they pray is increasing, according to a new survey from the University of Chicago.

Those twin trends suggest a growing number of people are “spiritual but not religious,” the study author said. The report, “Religious Change Around the World,” found that in addition to an increased number of people who pray, a growing number believe in the afterlife. When asked how they view God, the most common responses were the traditional images of father and judge.

Sociologists of religion say the rise in people who are spiritual but religiously uncommitted is prompting churches to repackage their services into more contemporary offerings with fresh, livelier music and less of the usual liturgies.

“Americans’ attitudes toward religion are growing more complex,” said study author Tom W. Smith, Director of the General Social Survey at the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. “While fewer people identify with a particular religion, belief in God remains high.

“When asked simply about belief in God, most people include a range of God images, from a personal God to believing in a ‘higher power’ or a ‘spirit or life force,’” he said. People who don’t believe in a personal God but in a higher power of some kind rose from 5 percent in 1964 to 9 to 10 percent in recent surveys, the study found.

The report is the latest product of the General Social Survey, the nation’s longest, most scientifically reliable source of information on American attitudes and behaviors. Supported by the National Science Foundation, the survey is widely used by social scientists for their research.

In the United States, belief in God has ebbed over time from about 99 percent in the 1950s to about 92 percent at present. Certitude about God also has diminished, but the vast majority of Americans still express a strong and close connection to God.

“People’s images of God are diverse, but they lean toward the traditional,” Smith said. The GSS has asked people for their images of God since 1984, and about half of the people have consistently referred to God as “father,” while others used terms like “master” or “judge” to describe their idea of God. The number reporting God as “mother” has stayed at about 3 percent.

Although belief in God remains strong, the survey found that 22 percent of people said they had never attended a religious service, compared with 9 percent in 1972. The trends toward reduced church attendance began in the mid-1980s, and by the mid-1990s, fewer people reported identifying with a particular religion. In the most recent survey, 16 percent of people reported “none” when asked about their religious preference, a figure that stood at 5 to 8 percent in surveys taken between 1972 and 1991.

Daily prayer rose from 52 percent in the 1989-90 survey to 59 percent in the most recent survey. Belief in the afterlife also went up modestly, from 69 percent in 1973 to 73 percent in most recent surveys.

“The number of people identifying as ‘spiritual, but not religious’ has been growing perhaps for three decades. This of course has implications for traditional religious institutions, which may feel pressure to revitalize or altogether repackage their spiritual offerings,” said Omar M. McRoberts, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago and Co-Chair of the Working Group on Spirituality, Political Engagement and Public Life at the Social Science Research Council.

“We should not assume, however, that ‘spiritual’ people are individualists who avoid participation in general,” McRoberts said. “Rather we should look carefully for new forms of spiritual sociability emerging in the religious field, and new ways of expressing spiritual values in the public realm.”

The study found religious participation to be strongest among older people. Future research will determine whether today’s younger generation becomes more religious as it ages or retains its secular orientation, Smith said.

Religious participation elsewhere in the world also represents a complex picture, an examination of worldwide surveys shows. In Muslim countries, belief in God remains strong, while in secular nations in Western Europe it has been declining.

Although Communists discouraged religious belief in Eastern Europe, belief in has rebounded in some countries in that region. That follows a pattern of resilience that researchers have found in many parts of the world.

“After decades of repression by anti-religionist, authoritarian regimes, in the face of national tragedies, and following serious self-inflicted harm from moral failures by religious leaders, religion has shown the ability to rebound,” he said.

Provided by University of Chicago (news : web)

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pcunix
3.6 / 5 (11) Oct 31, 2009
Why do you persist in referring to "God" as though there were only one specific thing that people either believe in or don't.

These people believe in A god. The rest of us don't believe in ANY gods.
sqorpo
4.3 / 5 (6) Oct 31, 2009
I have a really hard time believing any surveys about religion.
jerryd
2.6 / 5 (7) Oct 31, 2009

People are insecure and don't believe they are good so by believing in a god the have an excuse as most religions tell them they are no good and something to believe in when they have no hope.

It's a coping mechanism that other people took advantage of to control them, get power and money/goods.

The next thing is people will do or believe almost anything to be part of the group.

How else can you explain everyone that believe in Jesus pay preachers, priests, churches money when that's why Jesus died, protesting that very thing and was as he knew, would get killed for it? Yet today every church almost is a bunch of moneychangers!

Those are the major reasons people do religion. Once you understand them god makes no sense.

As Archie Bunker said, religion, faith is when you believe in things no one in their right mind would believe in. And he was right!!
Bitbull
3.7 / 5 (7) Oct 31, 2009
Our spiritual understanding expands as we grow intellectually. This causes a rift with religion, which by its nature is not supposed to change. Since spirituality, unlike religion, is an individual and an internal experience, we each reach slightly different interim conclusions. The ultimate spiritual truth is beyond any of our current enlightenments to grasp. It is my belief that we are each lead down unique spiritual paths that open our individual spiritual understanding, that is why we argue and disagree on how we package our religious "truths".
We are on the verge of a much broader revelation of spirituality. One that will focus on our love for our commonalities rather that our hatred for our apparent differences. People today, especially the young, are not satisfied with the ridge religious partitioning that divides us. More is being demanded in place of belief systems. More will be given to give substance to our individual internal faith, and we will all emerge the better for it
Schnarr
Nov 01, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
otto1923
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 01, 2009
the number of Americans who say they pray is increasing
The median age of americans is increasing- older people tend to think more about death, get more desperate for a way around it. Religions biggest promise and the one they never have to prove- eternity in paradise in return for Service and compliance. No wonder the Catholic church revels in death- a constant reminder of the thing they refuse to accept. Theyve got bits and pieces of their saints in expensive jars all over the place.
otto1923
3 / 5 (6) Nov 01, 2009
Our spiritual understanding expands as we grow intellectually.
Nonsense. Youre desperation expands as you grow older because you realize that your intellect is no protection against weakness and death. Only that growing delusion of immortality thru a nonexistant soul can offer comfort as your faculties degrade and your body decrepitates. Hope displaces reason, faith eclipses sanity. Happy Halloween!
NeilFarbstein
1.7 / 5 (6) Nov 01, 2009
an alarming increase in satanism is something that has no been talked about much. I think they have caused a lot of violence and a weakening of moral values among religious people and also among "spiritual" people and ethical humanists.They should be subjected to observation.
the whole Satanism problem should be studied.
Mauricio
2 / 5 (4) Nov 01, 2009
People are understanding what prophets have said for ages: God expects a personal relationship with us, not a relationship mediated by a priest. That what is happening, people understand now more than they can search for God as a personal quest.

Though priests from many religions are still useful in many ways.
Truth
3 / 5 (4) Nov 01, 2009
Right on, Bitbull, you speak with great wisdom. It seems we are witnessing the evolution of faith, strange as that may seem. Initially, in our primitive stage, we search for a specific entity to believe in, and endow it with supernatural powers, myths, magic, etc. But as the eons go by, we grow out of that "Santa Claus" stage and realize that the Creator is so much more than just what our human imaginations have dreamed up. In time, along with the thousands of other worlds and their thousands of religions, the population of the Universe will come to see what the Creator really is like. Right now, we are still struggling to come up out of the dim, child-like belief systems. But it's all good. We, like all the other sentient beings in the Universe, will finally arrive.
otto1923
Nov 01, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
otto1923
4 / 5 (4) Nov 01, 2009
thousands of other worlds and their thousands of religions
I like the way god was described in a scifi book I once read. The good aliens had come to earth to help humans avenge the slow destruction of their planet by bad aliens. Somebody asked them if they believed in god to which they replied 'We believe in punishment.' I think religionists will be suprised and dismayed when we finally get to ask that question for real.
marjon
5 / 5 (1) Nov 02, 2009
After reading The Demon and the Quantum, by Scully, it was interesting the number of theoretical physicists who believed in God as they were the scientists who were closest to determining the origin of the universe.
marjon
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 02, 2009
Why do atheists feel the need to ridicule those who believe?
How tolerant and rational is that?
They sound like insecure school yard bullies.
otto1923
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 02, 2009
How tolerant and rational is that?
Your beliefs do too much damage to be tolerated. You have no compunctions for instance about ridiculing evolutionists and this attitude affects what is taught in schools and what is passed into law. Religious beliefs are the epitomy of intolerance! They tolerate neither unbelievers nor other beliefs. They are the excuse for all the wars of history. Give up your dangerous addiction to fantasy. It is a threat to the world.
COCO
2 / 5 (4) Nov 02, 2009
excellent responses - except those I do not agree with - be great to see a movement which simply ridicules ALL religion - make it the joke it is - like the Easter Bunny and Kris Kringle we can bury these myths and tales and agree to be pissed off at ourselves and not some celestial clown.
defunctdiety
3 / 5 (2) Nov 02, 2009
spiritual understanding expands as we grow intellectually
...
desperation expands as you grow older... you realize that your intellect is no protection against...death

I'm with Bitbull. If one is able and willing to marry their physical education (intellect) with a metaphysical education (life=severly limited perception of reality, of EVERYTHING), one may realize death is nothing to be protected from, or afraid of.

i.e. if one considers all of physical existence is just a continuum of energy condensed into varying states along it, one realizes death is just a transition of states along that continuum. From life (physicality,perception,self) to ... what? Are self and perception obliterated with physicality? Are they liberated from physicality? Is it a rejoining with the continuum, what good is that in absence of perception? Is it just just nothing? Certainly scary to one who can't conceive of anything beyond life. But what prospects to one who knows there is so much more beyond!
marjon
1.7 / 5 (3) Nov 02, 2009
excellent responses - except those I do not agree with - be great to see a movement which simply ridicules ALL religion - make it the joke it is - like the Easter Bunny and Kris Kringle we can bury these myths and tales and agree to be pissed off at ourselves and not some celestial clown.


If not for religion of the Jews and Christians for the past 4000 years, please provide any sound speculative rationale as to where society would be today.
Would pagen Greek or Roman civilizations have ended slavery and encouraged unalienable individual rights?
COCO
1 / 5 (2) Nov 02, 2009
You go ahead man -and tell us of your experince - I doubt Bitbull will want to accompany you.
marjon
3 / 5 (2) Nov 02, 2009
How tolerant and rational is that?
Your beliefs do too much damage to be tolerated. You have no compunctions for instance about ridiculing evolutionists and this attitude affects what is taught in schools and what is passed into law. Religious beliefs are the epitomy of intolerance! They tolerate neither unbelievers nor other beliefs. They are the excuse for all the wars of history. Give up your dangerous addiction to fantasy. It is a threat to the world.


What damage? We have supposedly educated scientists asserting humans are causing 'global climate change'. Talk about the damage they want to do to our economy!
A few parents who are forced to send their children to government schools and are challenging a theory is a huge threat to you? How insecure you must be!
COCO
Nov 02, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
defunctdiety
5 / 5 (2) Nov 02, 2009
You go ahead man -and tell us of your experince- I doubt Bitbull will want to accompany you.

Not fearing is not the same thing as welcoming, or seeking out. But if death is something one is afraid of... well, fearing the inevitable isn't very healthy.
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Nov 02, 2009
Who is Marion?
If you are talking to me, take a good look at history and tell me what the world be like now if without the Jews, Christians and Muslims?
And don't play the moral relativism crap. Take a real serious look at the good AND bad of the pagan systems as well as the good and bad of the Judeo-Christian systems.
As a start, Rome collapsed because of socialism. The Holy Roman Empire replaced it. What else would have replaced Rome? China, barbarians, some Indian or Persian empire?
What other culture promoted the Golden Rule at a grass roots level?
COCO
Nov 02, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Bitbull
3 / 5 (2) Nov 02, 2009
Anger and mistrust, driven by fundamentalist overzealotry on the one side, and closed minds pretending to be scientifically motivated on the other. But, the walls are coming down! Clearly, no one has any provable absolutes on either side, so lets clear the air with what we have always been able to observe that makes sense, and forms a basis of agreement.
The sciences demand measurable tests for our observations. While that is reasonable for the physical universe, much of our existence has its meaning and value in the unmeasurable part, i.e. beauty, love and life itself. Clearly life moves forward, evolves if you will. But the path is not a string of “happy accidents!” The amazing biochemistry that moves life forward, does not leave thumbs sticking out of our foreheads, but instead gives us eyes made with crystal clear lenses, stereoscopic vision, and the ability to see colors. Who is so bold as to claim the organismic originated these wonder into their DNA?
otto1923
1 / 5 (1) Nov 02, 2009
be great to see a movement which simply ridicules ALL religion - make it the joke it is
Yeah. The Easter bunny doesn't blow hisself up at the mall. Read about the thirty years war which killed a third of all Germans at the time- catholic against Protestant, which itself was less than 50 years old. No joke- the time of religion is past. Religion IS a pagan belief system. We've grown up- don't need the Easter bunny any more.
otto1923
1 / 5 (2) Nov 02, 2009
Death is unnatural- we can feel that. We die but if we are lucky our genes live on. So why can't we? Only science has a hope of delivering on what it promises- which is a life of indeterminate length and room enough for all to live it.
otto1923
1 / 5 (1) Nov 02, 2009
And obviously bullpit is a religionist. I can picture the stars in his eyes as he struggles with his poetry. Underneath lies a genuine fear of people who know important things he doesn't and a selfish desire to trump them with his beautiful god. Your epiphany is over. Time to sober up. Accept that you can't be an authority on evolution just because you wanna be. Evolution is real and true and you will never understand why.
marjon
5 / 5 (1) Nov 02, 2009
Marion remains an overweight born-again whose grasp of history relies totally on FAUX News - that who Marion is!


Can't answer the question? That's what happens when the PC left eradicates the history of western civilization from government schools.
It's OK to totally ignore the contributions made by Christianity for the past 2000 years, like ending slavery, but if a few of those Christians question evolution, they must be crushed. How tolerant!
And it is no surprise such 'tolerant' people can only fling insults instead of answers.
marjon
5 / 5 (1) Nov 02, 2009
be great to see a movement which simply ridicules ALL religion - make it the joke it is
Yeah. The Easter bunny doesn't blow hisself up at the mall. Read about the thirty years war which killed a third of all Germans at the time- catholic against Protestant, which itself was less than 50 years old. No joke- the time of religion is past. Religion IS a pagan belief system. We've grown up- don't need the Easter bunny any more.


Dr. Mengele contributed much to science, no? Science can advance much faster if we didn't have to worry about morality or ethics.
Bitbull
5 / 5 (1) Nov 02, 2009
And obviously bullpit is a religionist. I can picture the stars in his eyes as he struggles with his poetry. "Underneath lies a genuine fear of people who know important things he doesn't and a selfish desire to trump them with his beautiful god"

Sorry, no fear here, but with a lifetime as an electrical engineer, my "selfish disire to trump" is pretty low. There IS beauty and love, and it does act as the underlying force that makes it all make sense! No religionist I! Just a 70 year old student of life.

"Accept that you can't be an authority on evolution just because you wanna be. Evolution is real and true and you will never understand why"
Evolution is simply the tool by which the Universe is shaped and unfolded. We are but a bit of virus on a speck of space dust, somewhere out near the edge of a galaxy that like uncountable others, is exploding through uncharted space! One needs to check their egos when it is all seen in context, don't you think?
marjon
Nov 02, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
otto1923
1 / 5 (1) Nov 03, 2009
More poetry. I'm almost as old as you and fed up with poetry. You should be struggling at this point to accept what is REAL rather than succumbing to your fears. Spirituality implies a spirit which is not needed to explain anything in this world except the desire to live beyond death. It is exploited by institutions who are happy feed this desire with the promise that it is true. You a member perhaps?
otto1923
1 / 5 (1) Nov 03, 2009
Ego- what is more egotistical than the human delusion that we are special enough to escape what every other creature succumbs to and the laws of physics demand? Death. The end of animation. Fight it but accept it. They do. Put your faith in the idea that it will eventually be cured.
marjon
3 / 5 (2) Nov 03, 2009
Ego- what is more egotistical than the human delusion that we are special enough to escape what every other creature succumbs to and the laws of physics demand? Death. The end of animation. Fight it but accept it. They do. Put your faith in the idea that it will eventually be cured.


How do you know it hasn't been cured? A multi-dimensional universe is not science fiction anymore and there may well be a place where one's 'soul' can go. We are still too dumb and blind to see it.
Bitbull
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 03, 2009
When one is blinded by anger, objectivity is nearly impossible. The Universe is awash in beauty and order. It is a reflection of its Creator. Blind raging can cause us to miss the obvious. Using bellicose self importance of some religionist as a rational against anything beyond the physical, is myopic. Ultimately we are each responsible to find what is true, and continue to enlarge that truth as we grow in our individual ability to reach just beyond our present grasp.
otto1923
3 / 5 (2) Nov 03, 2009
When one is blinded by anger, objectivity is nearly impossible. The Universe is awash in beauty and order.
Snore. The Creator is a fantasy. You need an intervention I think.
Bitbull
3 / 5 (2) Nov 03, 2009
I'm not the one filled with anger, and accusing others of being filled with fear...
otto1923
3 / 5 (2) Nov 03, 2009
We are all afraid and angry my friend. We feel trapped by that dark door at the end of the hall. Its not fair is it? Your beliefs are only the drug you take to forget that its there. The demands that religionists put on others, to reinforce that addiction, that LIE, for them, is the cause of much misery and strife. Its not real, it must end.
otto1923
1 / 5 (2) Nov 03, 2009
one's 'soul' can go. We are still too dumb and blind to see it.
Some essence which doesnt exist and a firm but fair Creator over there who wants some of it back after we're done with it. Naw, makes no sense. If anything god would make perfect, simple, blinding SENSE. His mom would insist on it. And the Trinity- an obvious political expedient to entice the pagans and confuse the doubters.
COCO
1 / 5 (2) Nov 03, 2009
excellent - I see a consensus growing - the rationale on the side of NOGOD or agnostic and the child-like sophistry of the wounded and mentally challenged on the other ( the Dark side) - we need to help all to hold their myths up to a lite - Power to the Correct People!!
otto1923
1 / 5 (1) Nov 03, 2009
COCO-
Detached cynicism belies the attitude that youre above it all, that you view both sides with equal disdain. You must be God then- but then you would have some control which you dont, without interaction. But i am addressing you, so maybe you are a demigod at least or an angel or jinn perhaps? Nephelim? Balaams ass??
otto1923
1 / 5 (1) Nov 03, 2009
Dr. Mengele contributed much to science, no? Science can advance much faster if we didn't have to worry about morality or ethics.
The Grand Inquisitor and Jim Jones contributed much to peace and quiet too didnt they? Not to mention Joshua and Gideon et al. More atrocity committed for religion, and nothing to show for it. Souls saved? Prove it.
defunctdiety
3 / 5 (2) Nov 03, 2009
We are all afraid and angry my friend. We feel trapped by that dark door at the end of the hall. Its not fair is it?

While we're getting all poetical...

Only the weak let the fear and anger define them however. Fear and anger are manifestations of your own negative energy, these drain you because you let them. And you are clearly drained. Hope and love are the other side of the coin (really it's just hope and fear, +/-, i'd say), of course, which we are all capable of, but it's much harder to draw the positive in, than it is to just let out with the negative. That's entropy for you, I guess.

And for the record I am anti-organized religion, I don't believe in any god/creator or the soul, I wouldn't even consider myself spiritual, though I could see how one might construe me as such.
Bitbull
1 / 5 (1) Nov 03, 2009
We are all afraid and angry my friend. We feel trapped by that dark door at the end of the hall.


No, not "all" of us feel this way. Just those who have limited their allowable inputs to the physical realm.
Its not fair is it? Your beliefs are only the drug you take to forget that its there.


Well no, not that narrow view! But it does make one begin to search a little deeper. What you find when you search, is not some "drug" though. It is a nearly infinite expansion of possibilities! And, yes, it can leave one a bit euphoric I suppose.

The demands that religionists put on others, to reinforce that addiction, that LIE, for them, is the cause of much misery and strife. Its not real, it must end.
Bitbull
not rated yet Nov 03, 2009
The demands that religionists put on others, to reinforce that addiction, that LIE, for them, is the cause of much misery and strife. Its not real, it must end.


Sorry, I missed answering this comment. Here we are a bit more in agreement. Demands of religionists really put me off some 50 years ago, and continues to this day. Truth has always been available to each of us. But, we are incapable in taking a very big "bite" of it, and are unable to digest most of it. So, What is offered is always tailored to the individual seeker. You simply cannot prepackage truth with any real depth. Only the desire to know more is universal. But is is never thrust upon us. It must be sought by each of us. When the honest desire to know is strong enough, then real growth begins.
marjon
5 / 5 (1) Nov 03, 2009
Dr. Mengele contributed much to science, no? Science can advance much faster if we didn't have to worry about morality or ethics.
The Grand Inquisitor and Jim Jones contributed much to peace and quiet too didnt they? Not to mention Joshua and Gideon et al. More atrocity committed for religion, and nothing to show for it. Souls saved? Prove it.


Stalin, Mao, Pot, Hitler, Ill...atheists all have murdered millions. That is easy to prove.
marjon
5 / 5 (1) Nov 03, 2009
one's 'soul' can go. We are still too dumb and blind to see it.
Some essence which doesnt exist and a firm but fair Creator over there who wants some of it back after we're done with it. Naw, makes no sense. If anything god would make perfect, simple, blinding SENSE. His mom would insist on it. And the Trinity- an obvious political expedient to entice the pagans and confuse the doubters.


I see once again you choose to miss the point that science is beginning develop real theories that a 'heaven', a place for a human spirit to go, is possible.
otto1923
not rated yet Nov 03, 2009
No it's not. More smoke from pseudo science and meta physics. Einstein would muse in his spare time but quickly got back to business. Doesn't mean he didn't consider 'god' the sum total of the physical laws which 'govern' us, as hawking muses. Aw you're just baiting for attention. I get it. God loves you my friend huk huk
otto1923
not rated yet Nov 03, 2009
No, not "all" of us feel this way.
I'm afraid we do whether we know it or not- that's the way narcotics work. If our senses and our memories are working we know what's in store. Another inescapable aspect of the tragic human condition. "Know thyself".

What else could religion be for, or faith or 'spirituality' if you will, than relief from this terrible reality? Don't mean that pap is true however.
Just those who have limited their allowable inputs to the physical realm.
You and Casper.
otto1923
not rated yet Nov 03, 2009
One more thing marjoe, your atheist list is a losing game. More people have died and murdered throughout the course of history over the cause of religion than any other. Only one-eyes like yourself could fail to acknowledge that and I'm sure you've heard it before. Yes?
Bitbull
not rated yet Nov 03, 2009
Anger, bitterness and cynicism, yeah, I can see why you cling to your lonely loveless view of the Universe. You obviously have the key to what everyone else is searching for.

Good job...
otto1923
1 / 5 (1) Nov 04, 2009
So- people without god in their hearts are lonely, sad, bitter, etc? I say only people who fall for that crap need it because they are lonely, sad, bitter, etc. If reality doesn't do it, if you can't be accepted by the majority who are rational and reasonable, if the world makes no sense to you because you're intellectually or cognitively challenged, you're epiphanized and the pain goes away. Let go and let god. You're the one who cannot tolerate the truth sir. People love people, they don't need god for that. Usually.
marjon
not rated yet Nov 04, 2009
So- people without god in their hearts are lonely, sad, bitter, etc? I say only people who fall for that crap need it because they are lonely, sad, bitter, etc. If reality doesn't do it, if you can't be accepted by the majority who are rational and reasonable, if the world makes no sense to you because you're intellectually or cognitively challenged, you're epiphanized and the pain goes away. Let go and let god. You're the one who cannot tolerate the truth sir. People love people, they don't need god for that. Usually.


A majority elected Obama. Are they rational and reasonable?
marjon
not rated yet Nov 04, 2009
One more thing marjoe, your atheist list is a losing game. More people have died and murdered throughout the course of history over the cause of religion than any other. Only one-eyes like yourself could fail to acknowledge that and I'm sure you've heard it before. Yes?


Prove it. You claim to be rational and reasonable. The evidence is clear regarding the numbers for atheist murders. Or, are you including those the atheists murdered for their religion into the mix?
marjon
not rated yet Nov 04, 2009
One more thing marjoe, your atheist list is a losing game. More people have died and murdered throughout the course of history over the cause of religion than any other. Only one-eyes like yourself could fail to acknowledge that and I'm sure you've heard it before. Yes?


Democide, murder by government:

http://www.hawaii...RDER.HTM
Bitbull
1 / 5 (1) Nov 04, 2009
So- people without god in their hearts are lonely, sad, bitter, etc?


While that a bit of an over statement, yes. Having the balance of spirituality gives "the peace that surpasses understanding". And, until it is experienced, it is simply "God candy" to folks like you.

I say only people who fall for that crap need it because they are lonely, sad, bitter, etc.


That often is the launch point. Pain is the great course corrector and primary teacher.

If reality doesn't do it, if you can't be accepted by the majority who are rational and reasonable, if the world makes no sense to you because you're intellectually or cognitively challenged, you're epiphanized and the pain goes away. Let go and let god.


You assume that my reality is in some way inferior to your reality. Denigrating my mental acuity is childish nonsense. My years of study have given me a continuity of understanding that cover pre-time/space to so far beyond it would make you head spin!
otto1923
Nov 04, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Bitbull
Nov 04, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
marjon
Nov 04, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
marjon
Nov 04, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
otto1923
Nov 04, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
marjon
Nov 04, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
otto1923
Nov 04, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Bitbull
Nov 04, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
otto1923
Nov 04, 2009
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Simonsez
not rated yet Nov 04, 2009
What amazes me about this typical fight (it is hardly a discussion or exchange of ideas when both sides ridicule and demean the other for their beliefs), is that the hard-science, anti-spiritual crowd like otto and marjon, refuse to believe that anyone can be both of a scientific mind and spiritual. Why is it hard to accept that there are evolved minds out there who understand the need for a cosmic truth as well as for advancement of science?

Have we all forgotten that classical scientists (and indeed, many of today) had as a goal to reconcile God with empirical science?

I am hardly one to say I have all or even any of the answers; however, I am intelligent enough to know that I have no way to prove or disprove God's existence, in the same manner I have no way to prove or disprove the universe just popped into existence for no reason or just always existed.

Give it a rest; neither side is willing to give ground to the other. Science will advance, as will spirituality.
Simonsez
5 / 5 (1) Nov 04, 2009
To quote Albert Camus:

"I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn't, than to live my life as if there isn't and die to find out there is."

Personally, I have never understood how believing in one thing or another, in God or not in God, should in ANY way affect how one performs science. Science is a process, not a belief system.

To quote Albert Einstein:

"Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind."
marjon
Nov 04, 2009
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otto1923
1 / 5 (1) Nov 04, 2009
can be both of a scientific mind and spiritual. Why is it hard to accept that there are evolved minds out there who understand the need for a cosmic truth as well as for advancement of science?
I look at the spiritual as a kind of intellectual end run, an impatience with not knowing now and accepting a fantasy as an answer. It just feels good at the end of the day to kick off your shoes and relax in the fantasy- the 'mystery of the cosmos' stuff. If you want polemic- and it looks a lot worse from their side than from ours- read 'The God Delusion'. Dawkins convincingly explains why there should be no tolerance for accepting anything less than WHAT IS.
Have we all forgotten that classical scientists (and indeed, many of today) had as a goal to reconcile God with empirical science?
Well, most really had no choice did they? It was either include god in their scheme of things or be labeled a heretic. Probably didnt give it much thought. Even Albert politiced as needed-
otto1923
not rated yet Nov 04, 2009
"Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind."
I wonder exactly which one he was talking about? I think if he were alive today he would be uttering equally clever lines for the press which were more Dawkins-oriented
marjon
not rated yet Nov 04, 2009
"Planck regarded the unity and order of religion as similar to that of science. Hence he regarded these as compatible inasmuch as they are logically separated; they both have the same goal, i.e., "recognition of an omnipotent intellect ruling the universe." They agree that there is a rational world independent of man, and that the character of this world can not be known directly, but only indirectly recognized or suspected. On the other hand, they do differ; in the case of religion one deals with a personal God, given directly and immediately, whereas in the case of science one has only sense impressions. Thus science enables man to learn; religion requires him to act. Science operates primarily with the intellect, religion with sentiment. Science is objective in thatit is concerned with truth or falsity in the material world; religion is subjective in so far as it deals with values,"

"Planck saw the scientist as a man with imagination and faith,"

Planck had a choice.
Simonsez
5 / 5 (1) Nov 04, 2009
Dawkins convincingly explains why there should be no tolerance for accepting anything less than WHAT IS.


To accept WHAT IS would be to kill the advancement of science for all time. If we knew WHAT IS, why would we bother trying to discover anything? The fact that we haven't the slightest freaking clue WHAT IS (in the grand cosmic scheme of things, anyway), much less WHY IT IS; however, I will not argue your right or choice to contend faith-based belief systems against science-based. You are free to believe or disbelieve anything without affecting me, despite your tenuous belief that my and others' belief systems "do too much damage to be tolerated," and "are a threat to the world."

Intolerance is the only threat to the world I've seen in this thread. Additionally, speculating on what Dead Al might or might not have said/meant in a time in which he does not exist, is as fruitless as this debate.

Also to marjon, my apologies for misconstruing your intent/agreement.
otto1923
1 / 5 (1) Nov 04, 2009
Whaaa??? We dont know all of WHAT IS. Science is seeking to find out how things really are. Thats science- discovering what is real and discarding what is not. What needs to be discovered is already there. The more we learn about the history of this world and its past, the more ridiculous the 'realities' of religious dogma become. Maybe you misunderstood. Yeah, that must be it.

You holdouts are a diminishing subset of a much larger group which has gradually succumbed to reason. Time to quit. Cold turkey. Exercise helps a great deal- I am serious about this. You cant be comfortable with yourself if your temple's in disarray.
marjon
not rated yet Nov 04, 2009
Whaaa??? We dont know all of WHAT IS. Science is seeking to find out how things really are. Thats science- discovering what is real and discarding what is not. What needs to be discovered is already there. The more we learn about the history of this world and its past, the more ridiculous the 'realities' of religious dogma become. Maybe you misunderstood. Yeah, that must be it.

You holdouts are a diminishing subset of a much larger group which has gradually succumbed to reason. Time to quit. Cold turkey. Exercise helps a great deal- I am serious about this. You cant be comfortable with yourself if your temple's in disarray.

I guess you haven't studied quantum mechanics.
'What' is what we want it to be. The act of observation changes the 'what'.
Bitbull
3 / 5 (2) Nov 04, 2009
Intellect is finite, and all we "know" relative. We have no provable absolutes. You give me a "fact", and if I ask "why?" enough times, the answer eventually is "I don't know". If we are ultimately limited to the electrical inputs from our 5 senses, then our chances of unraveling it all seem vanishingly unlikely. Unless, of course, those things which the sense miss, like the life force, and the binding/driving force of Love are taken into consideration. Mankind's limitation has always been where we decide to set the barriers of what is possible and what is not. Lowering these barriers is a little scary, but it is the only way we grow. It is time for the scientists to lower the barriers to those areas we call spiritual. Having come to grips with Quantum Physics, spirituality seems pretty straight forward! IMHO
otto1923
Nov 04, 2009
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Bitbull
Nov 04, 2009
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marjon
5 / 5 (1) Nov 04, 2009
Please post something I can respond to. Anybody?? You guys aint scientists and all I'm doing here is getting my shoes dirty. Ich warte-


You have yet to challenge or respond to my references to Planck and to defend your assertion regarding religious violence.
All you can do is insult, which suggests you have no response.
Also, your dogmatic belief in science sounds very much like the radical religionists you attack and insult.
otto1923
not rated yet Nov 04, 2009
Since you begged:
Max Planck april 23 1858- oct 4 1947 : his greatgrandfather and grandfather were both theology professors in gottingen. He grew up in a religious family during a religion-dominated era. With most characters you may wish to quote from the past, they have to be understood within their context, which includes where their paycheck is coming from. Quote modern people and I will quote you many more who think more like dawkins. And the list keeps growing.
otto1923
not rated yet Nov 04, 2009
Govts which proceed with the official religion which gives them authority to protect them quite a system eh? Is communism a religion? Was hitler a little more than human to his followers, any more than Augustus or Alexander? The oracles declared them divine. Rome was Xian when it fellto invading barbarians who were themselves Xian. Anything else?? Oh yeah- slavery is condoned in the bible.
marjon
not rated yet Nov 04, 2009
Govts which proceed with the official religion which gives them authority to protect them quite a system eh? Is communism a religion? Was hitler a little more than human to his followers, any more than Augustus or Alexander? The oracles declared them divine. Rome was Xian when it fellto invading barbarians who were themselves Xian. Anything else?? Oh yeah- slavery is condoned in the bible.


So you are equating 'religion' to any belief system, including the belief there is no God. Which means atheism is a religion as well as the scientific method. After all, scientists have faith that the method will provide the solutions they seek.

Christians ended slavery in England and prohibited slavery in New England.
marjon
not rated yet Nov 04, 2009
Govts which proceed with the official religion which gives them authority to protect them quite a system eh? Is communism a religion? Was hitler a little more than human to his followers, any more than Augustus or Alexander? The oracles declared them divine. Rome was Xian when it fellto invading barbarians who were themselves Xian. Anything else?? Oh yeah- slavery is condoned in the bible.


I would submit socialism is a negative religion as its supporters use it to control people to their detriment and to the benefit of the government priests like Obama.
marjon
not rated yet Nov 04, 2009
Since you begged:
Max Planck april 23 1858- oct 4 1947 : his greatgrandfather and grandfather were both theology professors in gottingen. He grew up in a religious family during a religion-dominated era. With most characters you may wish to quote from the past, they have to be understood within their context, which includes where their paycheck is coming from. Quote modern people and I will quote you many more who think more like dawkins. And the list keeps growing.


What is truly great about science is that consensus does not matter. Science is about what can be proven. One individual can prove the earth orbits the sun and it matters not the consensus.
marjon
not rated yet Nov 04, 2009
Since you begged:
Max Planck april 23 1858- oct 4 1947 : his greatgrandfather and grandfather were both theology professors in gottingen. He grew up in a religious family during a religion-dominated era. With most characters you may wish to quote from the past, they have to be understood within their context, which includes where their paycheck is coming from. Quote modern people and I will quote you many more who think more like dawkins. And the list keeps growing.

It's amazing what a background in theology can do for a physicist.
Maybe Dawkins should study quantum mechanics.
otto1923
Nov 04, 2009
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marjon
Nov 04, 2009
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otto1923
Nov 04, 2009
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Ethelred
not rated yet Nov 05, 2009
Why do atheists feel the need to ridicule those who believe?

Not all Atheists do that.

Then again some of us are Agnostics because we aren't into religious beliefs, not even Atheism.
If not for religion of the Jews and Christians for the past 4000 years, please provide any sound speculative rationale as to where society would be today.

Can't be done, that is it would be purely speculative and not very sound. However it is reasonable to assume that there more people alive. A LOT of people have died in religious wars.
Would pagen Greek or Roman civilizations have ended slavery and encouraged unalienable individual rights?

Why not? The Roman Empire was Christian for a long time. That didn't end the blood sports. They even got worse. The Bible gives clear support for people that want to us it to justify slavery. Heck Islamic countries, which wouldn't exist without Judaism and Christianity, were the last to make chattel slavery illegal.

Ethelred
marjon
not rated yet Nov 05, 2009
"Can't be done, that is it would be purely speculative and not very sound. However it is reasonable to assume that there more people alive. A LOT of people have died in religious wars."

How many compared to wars of empire and politics? Do you condemn politics and nationalism as well for such reasons?

There would be a LOT more people alive if a-religious tyrants like Stalin and Mao had not murdered them.

Christians are not perfect, just forgiven. But they did end slavery in the British Empire.
marjon
Nov 05, 2009
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otto1923
Nov 05, 2009
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otto1923
Nov 05, 2009
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marjon
not rated yet Nov 05, 2009
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_communism


And the point?

I would say the that the only successful communist communities are religious based. Monasteries are one example. They are successful because the members are all volunteers.

And, Christians in Britain agitated for the end of slavery in the Empire and succeeded.

http://www.christ...?start=2
http://www.aaregi...?id=1498
otto1923
Nov 05, 2009
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otto1923
Nov 05, 2009
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Bitbull
not rated yet Nov 05, 2009
Religiosity is not religion. That humans twist and distort whatever is available to justify whatever end, is damning evidence against those humans, not any religion or philosophy.
Again, true religion is the internal spiritual interface, not an external dogmatic doctrinaire driven organization.
otto1923
Nov 05, 2009
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otto1923
Nov 05, 2009
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Bitbull
not rated yet Nov 05, 2009
You could not be more wrong! I was raised Lutheran, but became an agnostic with atheist leanings. Long story, but discovering God to be present in my very own being was truly an unfolding, and not delivered by any organization. Just for the record, I belong to no church organization, period. No money grabbing intermediary, just a very personal spiritual connection and a Friend who never fails me.
marjon
not rated yet Nov 05, 2009
You could not be more wrong! I was raised Lutheran, but became an agnostic with atheist leanings. Long story, but discovering God to be present in my very own being was truly an unfolding, and not delivered by any organization. Just for the record, I belong to no church organization, period. No money grabbing intermediary, just a very personal spiritual connection and a Friend who never fails me.

I believe that is way it was meant to be.
God warned what a government would do in 1 Samuel 8:11-20. And the first government of the Jews was a theocracy.
After reviewing the Bible a bit I submit the whole point is an attempt to train people to have faith.
Even scientists must have faith in their methodology and faith that their methodology will lead somewhere. People who have no faith have little hope and resort to insults and extreme negativity and I think there is evidence they live shorter, more miserable lives.
marjon
not rated yet Nov 05, 2009
"The human spirit is referred to in the third tenet and several of the assumptions of Logotherapy, but it should be noted that the use of the term spirit is not “spiritual” or “religious.” In Frankl’s view, the spirit is the will of the human being. Frankl espoused that the “spirit” or “will” of a person affects the person’s health, capacity for love, imagination, and, yes, religious faith. "
"Frankl also noted the barriers to humanity’s quest for meaning in life. He warns against “…affluence, hedonism, [and] materialism…” in the search for meaning. "
http://www.viktor...ets.html
I see few inconsistencies with Frankl and much of Christianity.
Ethelred
not rated yet Nov 05, 2009
How many compared to wars of empire and politics?

You asked a question. I tried to point things out.
However the most deadly Civil War ever was the Chinese Civil War. Twenty million dead and due to religious insanity. Insane individual claimed to be Jesus. Several of them. Without Christianity they wouldn't have had the levers to get so many killed.
Do you condemn politics and nationalism as well for such reasons?

The condemnation was yours. I just pointed out the facts.
There would be a LOT more people alive if a-religious tyrants like Stalin and Mao had not murdered them.

Yes. So what? That wasn't your question. They would exist with or without Christianity. Hitler would not have. He was Christian. Stalin was most likely raised Christian. Both were products of a Christian nation.
Christians are not perfect, just forgiven.

Only if their god is real. And I don't care if Hitler, or the people responsible for the Thirty War are forgiven.

Ethelred
otto1923
not rated yet Nov 05, 2009
discovering God to be present in my very own being
Peter otoole in 'The Ruling Class' played a young rich guy with delusions. Somebody asked him how he knew he was god. "One day I was praying," he replied "and I realized I was talking to myself." Delusion. I have a family member who was at ft hood today but is alright luckily. Don't tell me to thank god, he's what caused that mess.
otto1923
Nov 05, 2009
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otto1923
Nov 05, 2009
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marjon
not rated yet Nov 05, 2009
"In other words, atheists looking for a quick cheap-shot may claim Hitler was a Christian; similarly, Christians looking for a quick shot may claim he was an atheist. Know what? Hitler was a vegetarian! Oooh, those evil vegetarians! He also recommended that parents give their children milk to drink instead of beer and started the first anti-smoking campaign."
"Just because somebody may hold a particular worldview (along with other views) doesn't make him a spokesman for that view, or even remotely representative of others who hold that view. No matter how his madness is painted, he was still evil incarnate."

http://www.straig...hristian

marjon
not rated yet Nov 05, 2009
"Christianity is a name bandied about by quite a few people, many of whom are totally clueless regarding what it is. Regardless of anyone calling themselves the younger brother of Jesus (and they all died before the first century was out!), what he said or did has zero, nada, nothing to do with following Jesus, or being a real Christian. "

http://askville.a...=7221090
otto1923
not rated yet Nov 05, 2009
The Marx reference was in the spirit of your Frankl reference- neither of which have anything to do with the topic of the article. I believe you just googled 'spirit' and found an interesting reference to something you knew nothing about, but you discussed it to add credence to your faux intellect. In contrast, I and most people use wiki to confirm things they already know, when quoting it in comments. Spirit was also the name of a 70s rock band- did you know that?
otto1923
not rated yet Nov 05, 2009
@bitbull
according to Rick Warren, fellowship- communing and sharing with like-minded people-
is an integral part of a spiritual existance. You may want to consider it. I stopped reading at the chapter on service- hell with that.
Bitbull
not rated yet Nov 05, 2009
@bitbull
according to Rick Warren, fellowship- communing and sharing with like-minded people-
is an integral part of a spiritual existance. You may want to consider it. I stopped reading at the chapter on service- hell with that.

Okay,I'm confused. Would you like to explain who Rick Warren is? And what exactly was it you stopped reading?
Bitbull
not rated yet Nov 05, 2009
Ah, now I remember. He had the best seller book on the purpose of like. Well, different strokes... It took me a lot of searching before I found the book that resonates with me.
marjon
not rated yet Nov 06, 2009
Every time I get into a on-line exchange with those who blame religion for all man's ill, they nearly all must resort to ridiculing believers as dopes and rubes who must be controlled by those rational non-believers. If only those rational non-believers were in charge, the world would be a much better place. Many of theses same people also advocate for socialism, a system of government that has demonstrably failed around the world.
I wonder how many of you 'rational' non-believers voted for BHO. How many support Al Gore's intentions to control the world's economy, for our own good, of course.
marjon
not rated yet Nov 06, 2009
The Marx reference was in the spirit of your Frankl reference- neither of which have anything to do with the topic of the article. I believe you just googled 'spirit' and found an interesting reference to something you knew nothing about, but you discussed it to add credence to your faux intellect. In contrast, I and most people use wiki to confirm things they already know, when quoting it in comments. Spirit was also the name of a 70s rock band- did you know that?

I have read Frankl's book.

Claiming religious doctrine results in wars is not the same a claiming those who twist religious doctrine to their own political ends.
Charismatic leaders can twist any philosophy to get their followers to do their bidding. How many 'rational' non-believers' voted for Obama's 'hope and change'?
Ethelred
not rated yet Nov 06, 2009
In other words, atheists looking for a quick cheap-shot may claim Hitler was a Christian

It wasn't a cheap shot. You were the one that asked. I answered. YOU brought up Stalin and Mao which had NOTHING to do with the question you asked. So I mentioned Hitler. Just to point out that two could play that game.

And I am NOT an atheist and I already said that. However it is NOT a dirty word.
No matter how his madness is painted, he was still evil incarnate

Yes. And he was still Christian. If you don't want him mentioned don't go off on tangents that had nothing to do with your original question.

Dictators exist with or without Christianity. You asked what the world be like without it. It could be better place without Judaism and Christianity and therefor Islam as well. But we cannot know that. We CAN know that a LOT of people have been killed in wars due to those three religions.

Ethered
Ethelred
not rated yet Nov 06, 2009
Christianity is a name bandied about by quite a few people, many of whom are totally clueless regarding what it is

You seem to be one of them.
Regardless of anyone calling themselves the younger brother of Jesus

The Bible does as well. Josephus also refers to "James the brother of Jesus". I don't think either mentioned him being younger. Or older.

By the way who mentioned James? You seem to brought that up out of thin air. I thought that post was aimed at me but I can't tell for sure, because I sure didn't bring up James. But it came right after the one that clearly was a reply to me and it didn't appear to be a reply to Otto.

I have this sneaking suspicion that it was aimed at me except that it had nothing to do with what I wrote. Except for the proximity issue I wouldn't have a clue who it was in reply to.

Ethelred
Ethelred
not rated yet Nov 06, 2009
Every time I get into a on-line exchange with those who blame religion for all man's ill

Actually it wasn't here till AFTER you started accusing people.
they nearly all must resort to ridiculing believers as dopes and rubes

Perhaps if you were more polite and didn't launch preemptive strikes.
If only those rational non-believers were in charge, the world would be a much better place

Its a possibility but people, believers or not, are humans and SOME humans are willing to kill to get what they want. Being Christian doesn't stop it. Nor does not being Christian. But it WOULD stop religious wars.
Many of theses same people also advocate for socialism, a system of government that has demonstrably failed around the world

Almost ALL of Europe is a failure? Socialism does NOT equal Communism.
I wonder how many of you 'rational' non-believers voted for BHO

A lot I hope. Lots more Christians voted for him.

No, you don't know what Christianity is.

Ethelred
otto1923
not rated yet Nov 06, 2009
A good 12 step program lika NA or overeaters anonymous will contain spiritual elements, including prayer, I think as an expedient to letting go of the baggage which fuels resentment. But it will first insist that people become honest with themselves about their motivations and their powerlessness over their compulsions. Those who can become honest with themselves are the only ones who have a hope of long-term recovery. We turn our problems and our resentment over to a higher power and admit we are powerless. Spirituality and honesty-2 sides, 1 coin.
otto1923
not rated yet Nov 06, 2009
As I recall the Josephus reference to Jesus is the only one in ancient literature and is highly suspect as it is out of style and context. Like many passages throughout the bible itself. Religion by committee. Ossuaries a fake, shrouds a fake, padre pio is a fake, no evidence AT ALL for Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Jesus et al until 100s of years after the fact. Sad, tragic, criminal.
marjon
not rated yet Nov 06, 2009
"We CAN know that a LOT of people have been killed in wars due to those three religions."

We can also now that millions MORE than a LOT have been killed in wars that had NOTHING to do with religion.
Using war as an excuse to attack religion is weak especially since the religious doctrines of Judaism and Christianity promote peace.
And communism and fascism ARE socialism, state control of private property.

How is that hope and change working out for you? 10+% unemployment is working out quite well for BHO, no?
Ethelred
not rated yet Nov 06, 2009
Otto:

No. There are TWO reference to Jesus in Josephus. One is exactly as I quoted if my memory serves me. The other, that may only be in SOME copies, is clearly bogus. If Josephus had written that one he would have been a Christian.

Allegedly the bogus versions came via Eusebius' copies, a man that advocated lying to support his religion. The other versions came from another source.

I just don't feel like checking up at the moment.

OK it was easy, a lot easier than when I first went looking for this stuff. Wikipedia makes this a lot easier than it used to be.

http://en.wikiped...on_Jesus

That reference in Josephus is the EARLIEST reference to Jesus in any non-Biblical writing. And Josephus was born after Jesus was supposed to have died. There is no record from the time of Jesus. However there was no record of Pontius Pilate either till sometime in the 1990s when a building dedication was found that mentioned him.

Ethelred
Ethelred
not rated yet Nov 06, 2009
We can also now that millions MORE than a LOT have been killed in wars that had NOTHING to do with religion.
Which AGAIN is not relevant to the question you asked.

You seem to have great difficulty in understanding YOUR OWN questions.
Using war as an excuse to attack religion is weak
I didn't attack. I ONLY posted a fact. Again, the alleged attack is only in your mind.

You asked. I answered with facts. Not my fault that you consider facts an attack.
religious doctrines of Judaism and Christianity promote peace.
So why all the killing in the Bible at the behest of Jehovah? Oh and this from Jesus.

Matthew 10:34
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword
Yes ever so peaceful.

You might want to try learning a bit more about your religion.

Ethelred
Ethelred
not rated yet Nov 06, 2009
And communism and fascism ARE socialism, state control of private property
So is Sweden. Socialism covers a wide range of governments. There is no requirement that they be psychotic. There simply are things that private enterprise cannot do.

Hoover Dam for instance.

I notice that you ignored the success of Socialism in Europe.

By the way I am NOT a Socialist. I am simply pointing out your ignorance on this matter.
How is that hope and change working out for you?
Far better than things were going with Dumbass.
10+% unemployment is working out quite well for BHO, no?
Pretty much what was expected after Bush wrecked the economy.

You are aware that this has nothing to do with your question don't you? Its a sign that someone is loosing an argument when they bring in random off topic things in an attempt to divert attention.

Ethelred
marjon
not rated yet Nov 06, 2009
The essence of the issue: religion is bad because people fight each other over religion.
The same argument can be made that nation-states and any type of coercive government is bad because people fight each other over nationalism or territory. And MORE people have died from these wars or from their own tyrannical leaders (Stalin, Mao, etc.) than all 'religious' wars combined.
And many who attack religion on this basis are very supportive of a coercive state.
So, how is Europe successful? Lower taxes? More liberty? Higher economic growth?
otto1923
not rated yet Nov 06, 2009
Religious war deaths- 800 million. still less than the 1 BILLION abortions since the 1950s. I've had the megadeath link imbedded in this one for some time. I didn't examine the info in depth.
http://bookrate.w...eligous/
A war can be considered if religiously inspired or condoned by the state religion (it's what they're for) IMO as in Protestant England vs catholic Spain. Would they have happened otherwise? Of course- war is inevitable. Religions make them easier to instigate to ensure they happen when where how and why. In my liberated opinion.
marjon
Nov 06, 2009
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otto1923
not rated yet Nov 06, 2009
People tend to pray more in war which is a spiritual thing (on topic). Wars-religious or not? Some are hard to classify. Hitler invoked Gott a lot as justification for things like Lebensraum and the holocaust. Das Heer belt buckles still said 'Gott mit Uns' in ww2. Both sides usually believe god is on their side and this makes it that much easier to suspend moral restraint when slaughtering and pillaging. That's why the OT has all that in there. A time for war and a time for peace, a time to love and a time to hate. A testament for each. 
otto1923
not rated yet Nov 06, 2009
As Ethelred pointed out there is a lot of room in the NT for violence. As conflict is so endemic in the human condition, it's really more like a time for war and conquest, a time for revolution and pogrom. Each testament has detailed instructions on how these things are best conducted. Jesus was the ultimate revolutionary. All revolutions require martyrs and he showed the world exactly how it was done. Jesus enabled the killing of millions in war and revolt.
marjon
not rated yet Nov 06, 2009
Otto,
The only reason England and Spain went to war was for religion? It had noting to do with all the gold the Spanish had taken from the Americas or all the land they had conquered?
Napoleon tried to conquer Russia to convert them to Catholicism?
marjon
not rated yet Nov 06, 2009
As Ethelred pointed out there is a lot of room in the NT for violence. As conflict is so endemic in the human condition, it's really more like a time for war and conquest, a time for revolution and pogrom. Each testament has detailed instructions on how these things are best conducted. Jesus was the ultimate revolutionary. All revolutions require martyrs and he showed the world exactly how it was done. Jesus enabled the killing of millions in war and revolt.


You prefer that people submit to their emperors, their 'betters' and be good slaves and serfs?
Ethelred
not rated yet Nov 06, 2009
The essence of the issue: religion is bad because people fight each other over religion.
If you want to reach that conclusion based on the facts I posted go ahead. I didn't say it not matter how many times you try to put it in my mouth.
And many who attack religion on this basis are very supportive of a coercive state.
Then perhaps you should stop attacking religion.

You clearly don't understand that I only responded, WITH FACTS and no opinions, to your question. Don't ask the question if you can't handle the answer.
So, how is Europe successful? Lower taxes? More liberty? Higher economic growth?
Sometimes, sometimes, YES at present.

Which is relevant to the discussion about religion in what way? Still trying diversions I see.

Ethelred
Ethelred
Nov 06, 2009
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Ethelred
not rated yet Nov 06, 2009
Otto,
The only reason England and Spain went to war was for religion?


Yes. It was Spain that decided to go to war. The reasons stated by the King were religious.

However I personally wouldn't call it a religious war even if I can make a good presentation that it was. For Queen Elizabeth it was about money as much as it was about religion. But it was about religion to a large extent.

Napoleon tried to conquer Russia to convert them to Catholicism?


Seemed more like political suicide to me. Otto does tend to go over the top. He usually is going on about power conspiracies.

Ethelred
otto1923
not rated yet Nov 07, 2009
According to macchiavelli and others, after a time professional soldiers cannot be reintroduced into peaceful society. They will begin to prey upon the populace. Napoleon led his troops straight into the Russ winter to dispose of them. Same reason Alexander led his back thru the Arabian desert. My theories are unique, you must admit and disturbing because they make sense. The enemy of the ruler tribe is always the people. The rulers make war on them because they have no choice. Anyway prayer is good if it makes you feel better. A spiritual outlook probably originates in certain portions of the brain that are functioning better in some than others. But is it defect which causes this attraction to lyrical unreality? That's my guess-
Ethelred
not rated yet Nov 07, 2009
According to macchiavelli and others, after a time professional soldiers


Italian mercenaries seem to have been particularly nasty. Keep in mind that is what he was talking about, mercenaries.
Napoleon led his troops straight into the Russ winter to dispose of them.
That is as harsh as Russia's weather. I don't think that was the reason. He actually thought he was going to win.
Same reason Alexander led his back thru the Arabian desert.
Maybe. He was clearly torqued off. He was also even more arrogant than Napoleon. A very bad drunk as well. He was one of many men that the world would have been better off without. Like Napoleon or Julius Caesar.
My theories are unique, you must admit and disturbing because they make sense.
I don't see them as unique. I see them as seeing more planning than is there. Which is a popular way of thinking.
Anyway prayer is good if it makes you feel better.


Perhaps. Sometimes anyway. So does self-hypnosis.

Ethelred
Ethelred
Nov 07, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
otto1923
not rated yet Nov 07, 2009
If prayer and spirituality originate in damaged portions of the brain then indulging might actually help to reconstitute them. I find it helps to include some harmless ontopic content while maundering. As once said 'you've got to understand how the world is then rise above it.' Moderators have an unfortunate but essential job to do because a site without control would degenerate. They have a good idea how things should work so they work anonymously, from above, having complete power to act as they see fit, and accountable to no one but themselves. After all it's their site, they created it. See where I'm going with this? Degeneration is inevitable. That's the way fizzork and the world both work. Anyway if prayer works for you WTF. Otto the Seer
otto1923
not rated yet Nov 07, 2009
The thing to keep in mind, and what separates my ideas from the status quo, is that our Moderators are BENEVOLENT. They do what they have to do because it is their job and it is for the Greater Good, and if we are to suffer for it then so be it. I believe Their spiritual basis for acting is the acceptance of the Inevitable as an immutable force, and of our unique abilities as humans to moderate it. Do They worship it? Maybe. I think that accepting it and acting with it in mind must give Them a great inner peace. And a fair paycheck for a job well done.
Ethelred
not rated yet Nov 07, 2009
Otto those two posts were so unlike you. Was it pure sarcasm?

This is the first site I have run across that moderates this way.

nyway if prayer works for you WTF.


It doesn't. I know that you are aware that I am without religion of any sort. You have made similar claims.

And this site had nearly zero moderation till recently. It seemed to work extremely well.

Yes, I do know that is their site. They can wreck it way they want. And I can complain. They can delete the complaints. If they want they can ban me. It won't bother me much since banning me would be a sign that this site is not fit to post on.

Now when Ming threatened to ban me on Apolyton I apologized. And asked what the heck I did since I hadn't broken any rules. He said that no I hadn't but stop doing it anyway. Turned out that the guy I was arguing with had problems. I respect Ming. This I don't since there is literally no one to respect as long as they behave this way.

Ethelred
marjon
Nov 07, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
marjon
not rated yet Nov 07, 2009
"You clearly don't understand that I only responded, WITH FACTS and no opinions, to your question. Don't ask the question if you can't handle the answer.

So, how is Europe successful? Lower taxes? More liberty? Higher economic growth?

Sometimes, sometimes, YES at present.

Which is relevant to the discussion about religion in what way? Still trying diversions I see." (Ethelred)

So what are your facts in defense of socialism? (By a self-proclaimed non-socialist, no less.)

It is pertinent in that many people who attack religious coercion support state coercion, socialism. Even Ayn Rand supports a strong state.
otto1923
Nov 07, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
otto1923
Nov 07, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Ethelred
Nov 07, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Ethelred
not rated yet Nov 07, 2009
the 3 legions in Juterbog forest


So why do we know about it?

Quintilius Varus where are my Eagles?

It doesn't sound to me like Augustus was covering up anything. Not there anyway. Varus screwed up and got 15,000 men killed.

JFK was shot by Oswald. Oswald MIGHT have had help.

If you want to discuss it:
http://www.physor...721.html

Otto, while I think you have a point, I also KNOW you get carried away. Most people in power have more ambition than brains.

Ethelred
Ethelred
not rated yet Nov 07, 2009
So what are your facts in defense of socialism? (By a self-proclaimed non-socialist, no less.)
Successful nations. Like most of Europe as I pointed out.
Which is relevant to the discussion about religion in what way? Still trying diversions I see." (Ethelred)

Why did you quote that. You made no comment on it. YOU brought socialism into to the discussion so it was you that appeared to be trying to derail it.

Bringing up controversial irrelevancies is SOP for some. It is very popular on religion threads.
It is pertinent in that many people who attack religious coercion support state coercion, socialism.
That is both a generalization and still irrelevant to this discussion. Socialism is not the same as state coercion no matter how many times you repeat it.

Want me to start posting irrelevant comment about the Religious Right trying coerce schools into pushing their religious belief? I only bring it up as an example of what you are doing.

Ethelred
otto1923
not rated yet Nov 08, 2009
Most people in power have more ambition than brains.
Why do you think they were put there? Ambition can be more dependable than sense of duty. 'Never trust an honest politician' -Heinlein. Then too, some people can be extremely skillful at playing their part- perhaps the most valuable talent in choosing those to preside in the public eye. I thought Blair was uniformly vilified- how is it he's up for EU pres?

I am anti-religion myself but realize I would not be if I had been born a few gens ago. We are all given the parts we play. Anti is more fun anyway. Pro/anti, 2 sides/1 coin. Both sides serve. The light needs the dark to define it. Humans are hopelessly aesthetic which is often mistaken for spirituality. People are often religious not for any other reason than the 'feeling' it gives them, the recall of the initial epiphany. Hard to reason your way around that.

marjon
not rated yet Nov 08, 2009
"Successful nations. Like most of Europe as I pointed out." Ethelred

DPRK (North Korea) is a nation. Is it successful? It exists, it persists and survives. Same for Myanmar, Cuba, Haiti,....

If you care to look at some facts, check out Heritage Foundation's ranking of economic freedom. Europe as a whole doesn't fare well.

The relevance of socialism to those to are attacking religion is those who attack religion coercion support state coercion. Why? Do they resent the competition? USSR tried to destroy the churches.
Socialism IS state coercion, control of private property just as any government IS force (coercion). I use Socialism, by Mises as the definition of socialism as he had a front row seat.
Ethelred
not rated yet Nov 08, 2009
Ambition can be more dependable than sense of duty. 'Never trust an honest politician' -Heinlein.


Never trust Heinlein when makes idiotic remarks about politics. -Ethelred

I thought Blair was uniformly vilified- how is it he's up for EU pres?


Why not? He wasn't UNIFORMLY vilified and the present British admin is on its way out as well. Let me know if he WINS.

Ethelred

Ethelred
not rated yet Nov 08, 2009
DPRK (North Korea) is a nation. Is it successful?

Is it European?

Diversions seem to be your only tactic. Therefor it is clear that you DO UNDERSTAND that the European DEMOCRATIC partially Socialist states are successful.

Thank you for this clear, though not explicit, admission of that.
The relevance of socialism to those to are attacking religion is those who attack religion coercion support state coercion
Which remains totally irrelevant to what I posted. Your continuing efforts to paint me as a fanatic so you can ignore the facts is pathetic. Especially since I did not attack.

So since all you can do is divert it is clear that YOU also think more people would be alive today if Christianity did not exist. Socialism exists in Christian countries. Indeed Christian Democrats are often Socialists. So you are deliberately bringing in nations that are neither Socialist or Democratic since their principle property is that they are DICTATORSHIPS.

Ethelred
marjon
not rated yet Nov 08, 2009
"Diversions seem to be your only tactic. Therefor it is clear that you DO UNDERSTAND that the European DEMOCRATIC partially Socialist states are successful."

WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF A SUCCESSFUL NATION?

It doesn't matter if a dictator controls the property of a state or if it a 'democratic' mob, individuals do not have control of private property, the state does.

"So since all you can do is divert it is clear that YOU also think more people would be alive today if Christianity did not exist"

I have said the exact opposite. You are not paying attention. This is the SECOND time I have pointed out this error to you.
otto1923
not rated yet Nov 08, 2009
:-) Heinlein was pointing out both the inherent corruptability of democratic govts. and the fallibility of personal judgment in doing what is 'right' vs what is necessary. 'Democracy is one step above despotism'- plato?- and without Surreptitious control will usually end up there. In complex matters honesty can change it's mind a lot. Blair demonstrates the level of skill to which Roleplayers can attain. I always liked the guy. By design.
Ethelred
1 / 5 (1) Nov 08, 2009
WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF A SUCCESSFUL NATION?
That would depend on your point of view. Are you going to pretend that the Democratic states in Europe are unsuccessful?
dictator controls the property of a state or if it a 'democratic' mob, individuals do not have control of private property, the state does
If the state controls it is because the State owns it. In which case it isn't private. Even the US has always had a lot of public property. Always.

And that is still just more of your diversion
I have said the exact opposite
No you didn't. Where did you SHOW that no one died in Religious Wars? You have only said there are other kinds of wars which I don't deny I simply note that does not make the millions of death from Religious Wars go away.
This is the SECOND time I have pointed out this error to you.
I didn't make an error. I pointed out that it wasn't relevant to the FACT that people died in Religious Wars.

It is just another diversion.

Ethelred
Ethelred
1 / 5 (1) Nov 08, 2009
:-) Heinlein was pointing out both the inherent corruptability of democratic govts.
Heinlein also truly thought that the US would break up. Before now. Kind of like the many times various Christians have claimed that the Second Coming was imminent.

I like his books but his opinions on politics should be taken with a grain of salt. Or perhaps a salt mine.

'Democracy is one step above despotism'- plato?-


Is that like One Small Step For (a) Man One Giant Leap For Mankind?

Ethelred
austux
not rated yet Nov 09, 2009
@pcunix: an Atheist believes in 0 gods. Definitely 0.

A Christian believes in 1 God (or 3, depending on who you ask, except Unitarians are definitely 1).

An agnostic may or may not. "I used to be undecided, but now? I'm not so sure..."

What a Latter Day Saint believes is open to question.

Many of the Eastern religious styles believe in an abundant plenitude of gods.

It generally looks like a battle of numbers. (-:
austux
not rated yet Nov 09, 2009
@Ethelred: WRT the Second Coming, read the pope's June encyclical, then tell me he wasn't trained by Historicist interpreters of prophecy. Oculus tauri!

This despite Futuristic & Preteristic interpretations being invented by the pope's organisation.

Yes, we do live in a strange world, & it ain't gettin' any less strange.
marjon
not rated yet Nov 09, 2009
"That would depend on your point of view. Are you going to pretend that the Democratic states in Europe are unsuccessful?"

YOU made up the definition. Define it. By your definition, North Korea is a successful nation.

"If the state controls it is because the State owns it. In which case it isn't private. Even the US has always had a lot of public property. Always."

Talk about evading. All the government rules and regulations which control you and your property is not socialistic? If you are in business the government forces you to pay a minimum wage and pay many other taxes. Who really owns the business? GM CEO was fired by BHO.

Those who attack religion do so with a claim religion has caused so many deaths. To put that in perspective, MILLIONS more people have been murdered in wars and pogroms by those who are not religious. So when such individuals begin to condemn the tyranny of nation-states as well, their motivation for religious condemnation is not about saving human lives
marjon
not rated yet Nov 09, 2009
I don't know how Heinlein got into the discussion, but I like this quote:
"“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.”"
Ethelred
1 / 5 (1) Nov 09, 2009
Dealing With Evasions
YOU made up the definition. Define it. By your definition, North Korea is a successful nation.
I said no such thing. I simply pointed out that the European Democracies are successful.
Talk about evading.
You are the one that brought this stuff up. I just point out that it is evading the original question. Something you are still refusing to deal with.

I am going to leave out quoting the evasions because of space limitations.

Rules and regulations have been around for millenia. Are you demanding pure anarchy?

There have always been taxes in the US. Always. Even under the failed Articles of Confederation.

WE the people now own GM. Why shouldn't we fire the idiot. Because he asked for help? Which you seem to want avoid thinking about.

All the above were replies to your continuous evasion.

Are you ever planning deal with your original question in any other way.

Ethelred
Ethelred
1 / 5 (1) Nov 09, 2009
Dealing With Semi Relevant Material
Those who attack religion do so with a claim religion has caused so many deaths
If you consider the truth to be an attack that is your problem. You sure don't appear to be willing to deal with it.
To put that in perspective, MILLIONS more people have been murdered in wars and pogroms by those who are not religious
I notice that you still haven't said how that brings the millions dead in Religious Wars back to life.
So when such individuals begin to condemn the tyranny of nation-states as well, their motivation for religious condemnation is not about saving human lives
You might want to read that again. Unless you intended to attack yourself.

You just refuse to get it.

You are the one that is doing all the condemning. I only posted a fact.

So perhaps you should look at just what got you mad at me for mentioning what religions did. Which is what you actually asked for.

Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.

Ethelred
Ethelred
1 / 5 (1) Nov 09, 2009
I don't know how Heinlein got into the discussion,


Otto brought it up. He seems to think that Heinlein had great insight into government. I think Heinlein never noticed that humans behave similarly in business as they do in government.

And yes that is a nice quote. The question is did even he match that. If so then he picked them out because he did. Few need to program a computer. Less need to conn a ship. I don't need to pitch manure. I suppose I am capable of it. But I am also capable of finding a better way.

I think problem solving covers most of that. The rest is to look clever. Which is part of being a writer. Especially when you write for geeks like RAH did.

Who me a geek? Yeah.

Ethelred
marjon
not rated yet Nov 09, 2009
"With my reevaluation of Mao’s democide, I now put the total at 212,000,000, of which communist regimes murdered about 148,000,000. Also, compare this to combat dead. Communists overall have murdered four times those killed in combat, while globally the democide toll was over six times that number."
http://democratic...3000000/

Communists are still promoting their 'faith'. Where is the condemnation from the anti-religious?
marjon
not rated yet Nov 09, 2009
"I simply pointed out that the European Democracies are successful."

What does 'successful; mean? For someone claiming to only promote facts, 'successful' is a subjective term. Why won't you define the term?

This from OTTO:
"One more thing marjoe, your atheist list is a losing game. More people have died and murdered throughout the course of history over the cause of religion than any other. Only one-eyes like yourself could fail to acknowledge that and I'm sure you've heard it before. Yes?"

I am challenging that assertion and are you, Ethelred, defending it?
otto1923
not rated yet Nov 09, 2009
Plus my RAH quote had something to do with the discussion while Marions did not. Theres also effective treatment for ADHD. Also maybe the actual need for attention rather than dialectic? Perhaps attention rather than derision would come by answering questions and admitting errors?
@Austux-
trained by Historicist interpreters of prophecy.
You mean secular training? I skimmed your reference- what are you referring to? Preterism- are they saying the 2nd coming came and went? (my feeling)
otto1923
not rated yet Nov 09, 2009
@Marjoe
Religious war deaths- 800 million. still less than the 1 BILLION abortions since the 1950s. I've had the megadeath link imbedded in this one for some time. I didn't examine the info in depth.
http://bookrate.w...eligous/
First you gotta address the specifics of this link. Youre not doing that. Forget or just need more attention?
otto1923
not rated yet Nov 09, 2009
Here it is again, working:
http://bookrate.w...eligous/
otto1923
not rated yet Nov 09, 2009
As to whether Hitler was an athiest for instance:
http://atheism.ab...hGod.htm
-He was anti-Xian but invoked Gott, like I say, to justify the need to fight and purge. Whether sincere or opportunist matters not; mein kampf was studied and used to enthuse the people. Troops carried it in their rucksacks. God was their ultimate enabler and deliverer, not der Fuhrer. God was an integral part of the ideology.
marjon
not rated yet Nov 09, 2009
Here it is again, working:
http://bookrate.w...eligous/

Hey Toto, I looked at it.

Did you miss this:

""How reliable are ancient and medieval atrocity statistics?"

The short answer is, "We don't know."

The longer answer is that these are the numbers we've been given, so we pretty much have to take them or leave them at face value. We can't easily check behind them."
http://users.erol....htm#n.2
marjon
not rated yet Nov 09, 2009
As to whether Hitler was an athiest for instance:
http://atheism.ab...hGod.htm
-He was anti-Xian but invoked Gott, like I say, to justify the need to fight and purge. Whether sincere or opportunist matters not; mein kampf was studied and used to enthuse the people. Troops carried it in their rucksacks. God was their ultimate enabler and deliverer, not der Fuhrer. God was an integral part of the ideology.


"Audacity of Hope" was used in the same way.

I think I mentioned it earlier, the reason leaders adopted a religion was it was already successful with the people. Unscrupulous leaders used religion to advance their power. Henry VIII among many other kings chafed at being controlled by Rome. Why did they feel the need to acknowledge Rome at all? To keep the people supporting them. German princes protect Luther to escape Rome's power.
For all these reasons, this is why the US first amendment disallows a state religion.
otto1923
not rated yet Nov 09, 2009
And I say again state religions are commandeered, adapted, or created for just that purpose. 'In God We Trust' 'One Nation Under God'. The typical GI has always fought believing god is on his side. Henry made hisself head of the new Church of England. You know these things. Discussing with you is like arguing with a bowl of jello. You have again lost my attention.
Ethelred
not rated yet Nov 10, 2009
Communists are still promoting their 'faith'. Where is the condemnation from the anti-religious?


I don't see anyone like that left on the thread.

OK Otto is still here.

Are you ever going to admit that you can't bring those killed in religious wars back to life by pointing out that other people have killed people as well?

What does 'successful; mean?


People living out their lives with out fear of starvation or government brutality or religious persecution with a reasonable chance to better themselves. I did ask you why you think they AREN'T successful. I note that you won't answer that.

Still evading.

am challenging that assertion and are you, Ethelred, defending it?


Can't you read what I write? I never defended it. Why do you even ask? Oh yes you think I attacked religion by stating clear facts.

Ethelred
Ethelred
not rated yet Nov 10, 2009
For all these reasons, this is why the US first amendment disallows a state religion.


Oddly enough it doesn't. It stops a FEDERAL religion. At least one Supreme Court Justice thinks states can, under the US Constitution form a State Religion.

Had to look up his name. I can never remember it

Clarence Thomas

Ethelred
marjon
not rated yet Nov 10, 2009
The Pope promoting SETI. Who would have thunk.

""The questions of life's origins and of whether life exists elsewhere in the universe are very suitable and deserve serious consideration," said the Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes, an astronomer and director of the Vatican Observatory."
http://www.google...9BSTO1G1
marjon
not rated yet Nov 10, 2009
"But recent work of legal historians, including my own, has shown that the religion clause’s real purpose was likely to protect the state establishments of religion that still existed in 1791 in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Virginia, and probably also the religious restrictions for voting or for holding public office that 11 states had on the books at the time. Endorsing this view, Thomas—alone on the Court—wrote in his concurrence in Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow (2004) that “the text and history of the Establishment Clause strongly suggest that it is a federalism provision intended to prevent Congress from interfering with state establishments.” As he bluntly put it, “the Constitution left religion to the States.”"
http://www.city-journal.org
/html/17_2_clarence_thomas.html

I can agree with this.
Ethelred
not rated yet Nov 11, 2009
The Pope promoting SETI. Who would have thunk.


Times change. Sometimes even Popes think about reality. Then again that is NOT the Pope speaking. That would be like saying that what Taillard de Chardin said was the same as the Pope speaking.

I can agree with this.


Of course you do. But your wrong. Eight members of the Supreme Court disagree as do most Constitutional scholars. The key is that the Thomas not only thinks it was that way, he thinks it still is that way, despite the the 14th Amendment which ALL other members of the Supreme Court found to apply.

Ethelred

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