Unbelief As A Belief System: Core Tenet For Christians' Fight For Religious Rights

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 15, 2015 2:17 AM GMT
    Finally, something from NPR on the subject. This should have been talked about during the GW Bush presidency years but America was too distracted (no doubt on purpose) by the right wing nuts who, some believe, were behind 9/11 and its conspiracy to bring back the crusades icon_twisted.gif



    http://www.npr.org/2015/12/14/458969716/unbelief-as-a-belief-system-core-tenet-for-christians-fight-for-religious-rights


    Christian conservatives who are battling for the right to promote their faith in public or official settings see themselves locked in an epic contest with a rival religion. But that rival isn't Islam. It's secularism.

    That view of secularism as a religion has since become a key part of the conservative argument against a strict separation of church and state. It suggests that when government authorities ban prayers or Bible readings or Nativity scenes on public property or in official settings, it isn't avoiding the appearance of state support for religion, it's unfairly favoring one faith tradition over another.

    In 1984, President Ronald Reagan cited Stewart's dissent in arguing for a constitutional amendment authorizing school prayer.

    A secular viewpoint is normally understood as one that excludes religious references, so Stewart's claim is controversial, even among some people of faith.

    "Secularism is a way you look at the relation between government and religion," says Barry Lynn, a Christian minister who also directs Americans United for Separation of Church and State. "If you say religion should keep its hands off government and government should keep its hands off religion, that to me is what a secularist is. You can have any or no theological beliefs backing that up."

    Such cultural conflicts are what lead some conservatives to allege the spread of "anti-Christian bigotry" in America. Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said in a recent speech that "secular progressives" are among those in America "trying to push God out of our lives."

    But Zuckerman, the author of Living the Secular Life: New Answers to Old Questions, vigorously disputes such generalizations.

    "I can tell you from my research that in certain parts of this country, nonbelievers are certainly not the ones dominating the cultural landscape," he says. "If someone is not churchgoing, people are suspicious of them. Prayers are said at the Little League games. I've interviewed so many [secular] parents in the Bible Belt whose children are teased on the schoolyard and taunted that they're going to go to hell."

    Zuckerman has data to back up his assertion that secularists are not a favored group. In a 2014 Pew survey where people were asked to rate 23 possible presidential traits, "atheist" came in dead last. The share of respondents who said they were "less likely" to support an atheist for president had declined by 8 points since 2007, but it remained the least attractive trait a candidate could have, ranking far below using marijuana, having had an extramarital affair or being homosexual.
  • musclmed

    Posts: 3271

    Dec 15, 2015 4:49 AM GMT
    You know in Santa Monica kids are teased for eating meat and getting vaccines.

    So whats your point?

    Some who claim they live the secular life and are ultra tolerant are no more tolerant than the example in the article.

    Its simply the particular persons point of reference and what they are into. They may have interaction with some of the media culture and can try to enact there ways as "normal".

    There are people who have no faith and are practicing secularist. And those that for many reasons "fill in the blanks" despise religion or a particular religion. Mainly because of how it hurt them when they were children.

    Logic seems to break down for these "secularist" because for some reason. The crucifix, Santa Clause and nativity scenes seem to upset them. However modern art, giant sized marilyn monroe statues and humongous dildos seem to pleasure them.

    Forget about Islam there is an epidemic of Vampires in the secularist.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 15, 2015 6:02 AM GMT
    musclmed saidYou know in Santa Monica kids are teased for eating meat and getting vaccines.

    So whats your point?

    Some who claim they live the secular life and are ultra tolerant are no more tolerant than the example in the article.

    Its simply the particular persons point of reference and what they are into. They may have interaction with some of the media culture and can try to enact there ways as "normal".

    There are people who have no faith and are practicing secularist. And those that for many reasons "fill in the blanks" despise religion or a particular religion. Mainly because of how it hurt them when they were children.

    Logic seems to break down for these "secularist" because for some reason. The crucifix, Santa Clause and nativity scenes seem to upset them. However modern art, giant sized marilyn monroe statues and humongous dildos seem to pleasure them.

    Forget about Islam there is an epidemic of Vampires in the secularist.



    You can take these opinions of others, most agree that secularism is not and has not been the problem. The consensus however is that religion, especially that of Christianity are the violent vampires who suck the life blood from people and other religions that don't agree with them. They have been doing this for centuries and its about time they be put in their place, the back seat.

    Their form of religion has stunted American growth because they have involved themselves where they really don't belong. Why? Well, for control and power, what else is there? They profess themselves to be the morality police. Sure we have laws, we are a nation of laws. There is a fine line between secular law and religious law (ask any Muslim about Sharia). Religions are ancient with no evolution. Secularism and its laws are mutable, they change with the times. We constantly change, evolve as a species, but religion never does. THIS conflict between evolving and stagnation, I believe is what some people manifest as violence. Why? they don't like change, so they lash out?

    The Satanist religion for example, they are free to practice but they understand their boundaries. Meaning they don't go around telling other people or other faiths that they need to convert to Satanism in order for them to prosper or because they are morally superior to others. Christianity has never understood its boundaries. In fact, those in control of it, feel they have no boundary, its pushy and can do and get away with whatever it wants including its own hypocritical immorality. They have lost the entire concept of "christ like".


    Has secularism made America a more violent nation?
    http://www.debate.org/opinions/has-secularism-made-america-a-more-violent-nation

    Secularism does not make a nation more or less violent. One only has to study history to see the huge amounts of violence done in the name of religion. The Salem witch trials, The Crusades, and the Spanish Inquisition come to mind quickly. If someone is violent, being religions will not change that about them. It may change the reason given for the violence, but it won't stop the actual violence.



  • jeepguySD

    Posts: 651

    Dec 15, 2015 4:23 PM GMT
    To paraphrase Bill Maher, Secularism is a religion like abstinence is a sex position.

    Christians in the US, and I think primarily evangelicals, perceive themselves and portray themselves as victims. When moderate Christians, and those who tend toward secular preferences, disagree with evangelicals in their Old Testament-based bigotry and intolerance, the evangelicals cry foul and invoke an imaginary war on Christianity within the US.

    The OP raises a good point: society changes, moves forward. Many changes are good and healthy for society at large and for individuals (e.g. today's teenagers and young adults, on average, are less bigoted and more accepting than any previous generation), some changes might not be so good, but many fundamental Christians oppose all change and want society to return to an Old Testament version of the world.
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    Dec 15, 2015 5:35 PM GMT
    Just think what a return to the Old Testament could bring. Ann Coulter barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, bitch slapped when she speaks back to her husband, and unable to charge $50,000 for an appearance to speak her opinion.

    But I digress.

    Since Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all branches from a common start, perhaps another topic to investigate is not the literal interpretation of the biblical sayings (paraphrasing here) "I came to pit father against son, to tear the family apart". Perhaps here 'father' and 'son' and 'family' are the 3 religions and Christ came to pit the religions against each other. Though I don't think they really needed any urging to do so. But, if, as a religion, you can base your argument in your founder's own words, it brings a new legitimacy to your intolerance and violence against those who are not like you.

    Another fun part of Christianity is its uneasy reliance on having its founder as a peaceful and loving lamb, but his father (God) is the god of war from the previous polytheistic belief systems. Given any form of government (religious or secular0 is ultimately about controlling a population, is it any surprise religions would choose a warrior god as their leader, and then choose a peaceful lamb as their saviour? Looks like they are trying to redeem themselves for the first bad choice - and unwilling/not motivated to get rid of the first choice.
  • tazzari

    Posts: 2923

    Dec 15, 2015 7:31 PM GMT
    Guess I'll weigh in as a Christian...

    To me, and I believe to many more moderate or liberal Christians, religion is a matrix for encountering the transcendent. It is also a strong challenge to live better and to help, nurture and accept; in other words, almost an "aggressive" tolerance, what I'd call real love.

    I find in my church (Trinity Episcopal, Seattle) a community or mutual respect and support We are a growing congregation, with an influx of 30-somethings with small children, who want their kids to grow up in an accepting, tolerant environment where there is focus on something beyond just "me," and yet with an experience of tradition. I find it a very rewarding environment.
  • FRE0

    Posts: 4862

    Dec 16, 2015 12:28 AM GMT
    Our Founding Fathers, some of whom were Christians, clearly wanted the U.S. to be a secular state. The idea that some radical Christians (not conservative Christians) assert that the U.S. was founded as a Christian country is demonstrably wrong as indicated by early documents, at least one treaty, and correspondence. The Founding Fathers were well aware of the damage done by religious conflicts in Europe and pre-U.S. colonies and correctly saw that the only way to prevent such conflicts was to keep religion and government completely separate.

    When church and state are too closely allied, they tend to have a corrupting effect on each other, a fact which is well known by those of us who have studied history. And, by studying history, I do not mean reading the distorted and slanted version of history espoused by some radical fundamentalists.

    Whether the majority of Christians in the U.S. fully understand the importance of separation of church and state I don't know. However, many Christians are well aware of the importance. The executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State is an ordained Christian minister and many of the members are Christians.

    Considering that the U.S. was founded as a secular state, the conservative position is to maintain the U.S. as a secular state since one of the attributes of conservatism is to maintain the status quo. Thus the belief that the U.S. should be a Christian state is NOT a conservative position! Clearly it is exactly the opposite of a conservative position.