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Is there a place for a Christian in Project Reason?

 
Pattertwig
 
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Pattertwig
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25 February 2015 01:20
 

hERE is the line that drew me heto this site: :

“Project Reason is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation devoted to spreading scientific knowledge and secular values in society”

I thought that secular values meant separating church and state, with government and human rights being promoted in the light of reason rather than under superstitious traditions.

Was I wrong? Does “secular values” mean complaining about religion?  Why would someone with “secular values” care if Mormon women administrate in all religious rituals?  That’s not a secular issue.

ISIS OTOH is pushing Islam (or its version of Islam) as he sole replacement for government and science.  The right, b wing is screaming that it’s only about Islam.  Obama on the other hand is mincing around pretending that what ISIS is doing has nothing to do with religion.

Rather than using this to bash religion generally, or Islam specifically, why not target the actual problem that ISIS exemplifies, i.e. the failure to separate church from state?

This is an issue that promotes secular values, and yet doesn’t exclude religious people.  Most Jews and Christians and a growing number of Muslims (like the flogged blogger) are devout in their religious beliefs and yet secular in our politics.

In the light of what ISIS is doing, a greater number of Christians might make common cause with you, say, over the Pledge of allegiance issue.

Here’s a short essay that I"ve written, and I’d like to know if it fits in with the ideal of secular values as envisioned by this site:

Fox News doesn’t get it:

Judging by what is being said by the atheists who are suing, you probably imagine that students in New Jersey are obligated to say the Pledge, even if they don’t want to. But that’s not true. In New Jersey, as in every other state, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is entirely optional. No one has to participate. In fact, if a student declines to participate, he or she is even allowed to remain seated—students don’t have to stand up, salute the flag, or say anything.

But it’s a Pledge of Allegiance!

Here’s the original phrase:


“One Nation Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All”

In the 1950s during the Red Scare, Congress divided the words Nation from Indivisible, with a phrase calculated to divide atheists from believers. The insertion turns the “indivisible” word into hypocrisy.

As a Christian, I’m troubled that we would use the name of God to question the American loyalty of Atheists and Agnostics. It seems unChristian to cause an atheist or agnostic to feel that they are less American than me.

As a Christian, I’m troubled that turn the name of God into an empty ritual. What Christ called a “vain repetition.” It seems unChristian to use patriotism and the need to belong to pressure someone into a false declaration of belief.

I was raised by Christians but I was not convinced of that belief until I came to college. I thank God that my own parents and church did not pressure me into a statement of belief before I gained faith.

Finally, when I look to Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran, I see people doing things in the name of a “god” that any person of conscience must reject.  It turns my stomach that the Fort Hood Shooter was, in a twisted way, following the Pledge of Allegiance when he subordinated his nation to his so called god and opened fire on his brothers and sisters in arms.

Faith comes from listening to the word of God. Not from being pressured to recite the word “God.” Take God out of the pledge of allegiance, that we might be one nation indivisible and free.

Peter

[ Edited: 25 February 2015 01:30 by Pattertwig]
 
 
Twissel
 
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Twissel
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25 February 2015 02:08
 

I can tell you only my view of the matter:

Secularism is the goal, i.e. we want a society in which religion does not influence public life, but which also does not tell people whether or not to believe in a God of their choosing. Basically, as long as a religions sticks to the rules of a secular authority, its internal workings are off-limits.

The question is: how much does Religion influence public life by influencing its followers? Examples:

- a Religion that bans its women from participating in public life violates equal rights laws
- telling children that religious beliefs are as valid as scientific facts violates a child’s right to education (I know that the US has not ratified the treaty, but it has signed it).
- any sort of physical or mental punishment a religion inflicts on its followers might be subject to criminal investigations
- if a religion requires cruelty to animals, this is a violating of Animal Protection Laws (see Kosher/Halal slaughter)
- if a religion mutilates its children (i.e. persons who can not give consent) without any medical reason it is committing a crime (see circumcision and other genital mutilations)

etc.

Secularism means that if there is a contradiction between human and celestial authority, human authority has precedent; only in those areas the public is not concerned about can religious rules supplement earthly rules.

As you can see from the examples, we do not currently live in a really secular society.

Atheists on this forum (me included) often get very worked-up when divine justification is given for acts that cause harm - if you can some up with a rational justification (which happens to coincide with a religious one) we can at least argue about it. But as far as Secularism goes, Religion is not an end in itself.

[ Edited: 25 February 2015 02:10 by Twissel]
 
 
GAD
 
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GAD
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25 February 2015 02:47
 

“Project Reason is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation devoted to spreading scientific knowledge and secular values in society”

There is an unwritten law here that when someone quotes this line it’s because no one is buying the bullshit that they trying to sell as a polished turd of reason.

 
 
Smote
 
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Smote
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25 February 2015 03:23
 

GAD: Making fun of yourself on purpose or accidentally ? wink

 
Pattertwig
 
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Pattertwig
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25 February 2015 04:18
 

GAD’s recursive curse aside, I’m unclear whether it was my opposition to the “under God” part of the PoA or my support for a separation between church and state that he found offensive and dubious.

Thank you, Twissel.  You raised the question of animal cruelty and kosher/halal on another thread, and I haven’t responded there since I’m not educated on the subject.  Plan to get back to you on that thread once I check a few sources.  I can say on a similar topic that in Manchester, Halal butchering has created a serious biohazard which could result in an epidemiological threat.  BBC had something on this..

I agree with so much of what you’ve said, have only one clear disagreement, but then there are a few ambiguous areas….

For example, when you say

we want a society in which religion does not influence public life, but which also does not tell people whether or not to believe in a God of their choosing. Basically, as long as a religions sticks to the rules of a secular authority, its internal workings are off-limits.

Do I understand that the second sentence moderates the first?

In other words, can I read the first clause narrowly, i.e. we want a society in which religion does not influence public life?

If I read it broadly, then that would mean that you’d feel uncomfortable with my religious argument that the God clause of the PoA, since I’m inserting religion into a public argument, even for a good cause.

On the other hand, if I read you through the lens of this sentence:

if you can some up with a rational justification (which happens to coincide with a religious one) we can at least argue about it.

Does that mean that you’d be OK with a religious justification which coincided with a rational justification for some action in the public sphere?  I’ve just seen Selma a couple weeks ago, and I happen to think that the religious advocacy of Martin Luther King was extremely positive.

Where religious and secular principles coincide, should it not be good to discuss them both in the public sphere?

Thank you.

 
 
Twissel
 
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Twissel
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25 February 2015 08:26
 
Pattertwig - 25 February 2015 03:18 AM

Does that mean that you’d be OK with a religious justification which coincided with a rational justification for some action in the public sphere?  I’ve just seen Selma a couple weeks ago, and I happen to think that the religious advocacy of Martin Luther King was extremely positive.

I’m kind of a consequentialist - how you got the the right answer/action is, for me, much less important than the fact that you got there.

Pattertwig - 25 February 2015 03:18 AM

Where religious and secular principles coincide, should it not be good to discuss them both in the public sphere?

Nope - secularism means you stick to secular rules, and don’t let them be eroded by compromise.
But a secular society, which is also a democracy, might chose to adopt moral principles in line with religious ones via majority decision. The justification of this rule, however, would always be the will of the people, though, never of a divine commandment.

 
 
SkepticX
 
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SkepticX
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25 February 2015 11:07
 

Is there a place for a Christian in Project Reason?


Yes. Not a problem.

We have a collection already involved here. A couple of our more reasonable regular posters are Christians, as well as a couple of lab subjects some like to poke at now and then for some reason (apparently they’re entertained by the subjects’ histrionic responses). And of course there may be Christian lurkers as well.

But this is just a forum related to Project Reason, not really part of the project itself. There’s been speculation that we’re a social experiment Sam’s running, and there have been a few reports over the years of Sam Harris sightings (he apparently drops in occasionally, or used to, or just has a few times ... dunno).

You’re more than welcome here. Atheism/non-theism not required.

Don’t worry about GAD, he’s just mad at God for not making him cool.

 
 
GAD
 
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GAD
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25 February 2015 13:47
 
Pattertwig - 25 February 2015 03:18 AM

GAD’s recursive curse aside, I’m unclear whether it was my opposition to the “under God” part of the PoA or my support for a separation between church and state that he found offensive and dubious.

Because you are really just an apologist with a secular name tag. Your version of the separation between church and state equates to everyone should be allowed to believe and promote anything they can pull from their ass as long as they call it religion, and that they must be protected until they have gained the strength to tip the vote or take over by force.

 
 
Nhoj Morley
 
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Nhoj Morley
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25 February 2015 14:46
 

If this is a question about forum policy the answer is in the forum guidelines thread.

Everyone of any spiritual or religious bent or lack thereof is welcome to post. That can help give everyone a better idea of what others really look like. If they’re looking. Us mods attend to how the forum is treated by its patrons. And, of course, everyone is routinely tested for sentience.

 
 
Twissel
 
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25 February 2015 15:20
 

concerning the Pledge:

PR links to the Secular Coalition for America, which has a clear position on the subject:

https://secular.org/issues/pledge

 
 
bigredfutbol
 
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bigredfutbol
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25 February 2015 15:24
 

[never mind]

 
 
Skipshot
 
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Skipshot
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25 February 2015 17:07
 

Post to your heart’s content, Pattertwig, just don’t expect it to be an easy ride.  We have all been beat up by each other and taken many swings at others, too.  Religion is an easy target for us, so it takes a lot hits, but there are lots of other places in the forum where religion is irrelevant and you may find interesting conversations there.

What is most beneficial to the forum is how to learn the hard way which of your beliefs can take the punishment, which ones need to be modified, and which ones to abandon.  You’ll be asked to support assertions with sound evidence and logic and called out on logical fallacies, and the best you can hope for when making a post is not to have it dog piled from all sides.  We just call “Bullshit!” when we see it.  Wear your athletic cup, don’t be afraid to admit defeat, and don’t gloat over a victory.

 
Jefe
 
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Jefe
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25 February 2015 20:51
 

Anyone is free to post here (within limits).
If you expect your posts or ideas to go unchallenged, then that’s a different story.

There have been several outspoken christians among the posters on this site.  And there have been outspoken folks from other traditions as well.
If you’re up for discussion, go nuts.  If you’re not ready to have your ideas challenged, then this is probably the wrong place.

If you’re looking to sermonize or proselytize, then best to just quietly back away - or prepare to be largely ignored.

 
 
glacier
 
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glacier
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25 February 2015 22:22
 

Is there a place for a Christian in Project Reason?

If your goal is to spread unscientific knowledge and spread religious values, then you should start your own forum called Project Treason.

 
Gregoryhhh
 
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Gregoryhhh
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25 February 2015 23:51
 

As a former fundamentalist Christian evangelical, we not only never acknowledged Mormons as Christian, we taught that they were all going to hell. Hell, was where the Catholics were going too. Hell, Mormons never claimed to be Christians.

Some anti-Christian teachings from the Mormons:

“I wish to declare I have always and in all congregations when I have preached on the subject of the Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods” – Mormon Founder Joseph Smith, History of the Church, vol. 6, page 474.

Salvation is found nowhere else but through the Mormon Church organization(16). The creeds of all other churches are an abomination(17). People who go to these other churches “highly offend” God who considers their pastors and ministers the “most corrupt of all people”(18). Christians are all damned(19).

16“:if it had not been for Joseph Smith and the restoration, there would be no salvation. There is no salvation outside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” – Mormon Apostle Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd edition, page 603.

17“My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right – and which I should join. I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong, and the personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in His sight: that those professors were all corrupt:” Joseph Smith, History of the Church, vol. 1, pages 5-6..

18“All other churches are entirely destitute of all authority from God: and any person who receives Baptism, or the Lord’s Supper from their hands will highly offend God, for he looks upon them as the most corrupt of all people.” – Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt, The Seer, page 255.

19“Believers in the doctrines of modern Christendom will reap damnation to their souls” – Mormon Apostle Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, page 177.
gregory

 
 
hannahtoo
 
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hannahtoo
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25 February 2015 23:58
 

Yes, Christians can certainly participate in the forum.  But if a Christian justifies a stance by claiming that it’s in the Bible or God’s Word, the person will be challenged on that.

There is faith, and there is reason.  These are pretty different ways of looking at the world.  Yes there is common ground in practical outcomes.  Thank God…I mean Phew!

 
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