General Question

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

Why is believing in God and/or religion always such a debate?

Asked by nofurbelowsbatgirl (4661 points ) January 23rd, 2013

So I’m interested in knowing how come believing in God or a particular religion ends up becoming debatable to some certain people not just here on fluther, but I experienced it the other day with a family member.

I state, I believe in God, I do not believe in any one particular religion and it always gets challenged. I’m not out to change anyones views so why try to change mine and why can’t people just let it be?

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191 Answers

poisonedantidote's avatar

Consider this, I am an atheist, and I want to get married to the love of my life. We have been trying to get married for months now.

If I want to get married to her, I have to join the Catholic church, get baptized, do communion, and profess how much I believe in god in front of an audience before I can get married.

The reason I have to get married in the church, is because Spanish government have made it almost impossible for me to get married any other way. To get married via the government, I need to coordinate 6 different papers for 2 people, totaling 12 papers, that need to be translated and notarized, raising the total to 24 papers. These papers, have to come from England and Taiwan, and it all has to be put together within 3 months, because that is how long the papers are valid for.

When you consider it takes 6 months to get an appointment to marry, you soon see how I am basically forbidden from being married via the government, and am forced to marry under a church that 1— I don’t believe in, and 2— are responsible for helping Nazis and pedophiles.

So, there is a perfectly good reason already to be a little bit against churches and religion already.

Then consider, that while atheists outnumber back people in the USA in terms of minority, there is yet to be an atheist president, in fact, there is yet to be any kind of atheist with any political power worth mentioning, and that is with 16% of the population, more than Jews, blacks, gays and so on.

Then consider that in the USA, and many other places you have so called blue laws, that force and impose religious standards on everyone.

Then consider, that belief in god and gods, leads to religions, and that leads to people being stoned to death, hung from the neck for being gay, the bombing of abortion clinics, and a whole load of other things, and you start to see why some people could have a problem with it.

However, for me, the biggest reason to debate people on this, is because belief in god is illogical, there is no evidence for any of it, and it leads to anti-science mentality.

Science, is the fountain of knowledge. It is what allows us to live a week without getting diarrhea, and allows us to live past the age of 30. It allows you and me to talk online live, and generally allows for every single benefit of modern society.

When someone comes along, and claims to believe in a god, they are basically pulling their cock out, and threatening to piss directly in to the fountain of knowledge, the fountain that we all drink from.

Belief in god and religion are basically a kind of virus of the mind, that is accepted due to how wide spread it is. If you are not infected, it is highly annoying to see those who are infected, running round, trying to intentionally procrastinate and infect as many others as they can.

Keep in mind, atheists are not the ones knocking on doors, that is the religious ones doing that. I am yet to see an atheist stone, hang or burn someone alive for speaking ill of atheism, the same can not be said for the say the Catholic church.

Why can’t people just let you be?

Because maybe you will vote in another Bush, maybe you will lend your name to an organization that then sets up an inquisition, or stones someone, or comes banging on your door.

The best defense if a good offense.

Finally, why do you have any kind of need at all, to let others know you believe in a god of some kind? If you are getting challenged, it is because you are bringing it up. If you bring it up, you invite criticism and challenge.

I would not have said a single thing about god or religion to you, if you had not asked this question. If you have read something you did not like in my answer, remember, you asked.

The_Idler's avatar

You should take it as a compliment.
People are assuming that you have a good reason, and they are curious.

Notice that people never ask kids why they believe in santa claus, or why they have an imaginary friend. That is because the reasons are assumed to be intellectual inferiority and ignorance.

As an adult, you are assumed to have more well-developed critical-thinking faculties, as well as a more comprehensive knowledge and experience of the universe. Therefore, when you express a belief that is somewhat incongruous with others’ perceptions of reality, people are naturally curious to see if there are some significant things about the world, which they have overlooked, but which you have perceived and interpreted.

prajeet's avatar

Yes I believe in God it really present in our-self inside every body.

Blackberry's avatar

Because it causes a lot of unneeded problems and we’re trying to figure out why.

DigitalBlue's avatar

I think because these are deeply held beliefs by most of us. Whether it’s in religion or spirituality or the absence of those things, we tend to hold these viewpoints very close to our hearts, we often live by them, we aspire to do right in the world based on those beliefs. Now, when my opinion of what is “right” clashes with your opinion of what is “right,” you have a recipe for debate.
I think that it becomes particularly fiery because many religions are built to be spread, it’s often at the very core of the belief system to convert or teach others about that specific way to salvation (or whatever the case may be.) With nonbelievers, I think that many of us are bitter about having been raised where religion was aggressively pushed on us, or bitter about the way we feel we’ve been treated by religious or spiritual people, or about the way that religion can have a negative impact without many repercussions, since it typically has an almost protected status in society. So there is a drive to push back against that, just as many well intentioned believers want to share this wonderful knowledge that they feel they have.
And sometimes people are assholes.

Shippy's avatar

I haven’t read the other answers as they were quite lengthy, but will go back and read. But for the most part, I think that past experience can influence how a person reacts to religion. This only dawned on me a few days ago. I was raised in a Christian hating home for example, so for me there was no forcing or indoctrination. I reckon that there is nothing worse than something being forced upon a person and the reactions are defensive and attack mode. Or just pure hatred of the topic at hand. Lot’s of religious people are very condemning, and speak of laws and rules, whereas I focus on Gods love for me. His grace and forgiveness. For me he brings me peace.

I simply cannot turn to humans for the same support they are fallible and well, human.

Contrary to @poisonedantidote wrote Keep in mind, atheists are not the ones knocking on doors, that is the religious ones I have seen more zealous Atheists here than Christians and they are knocking on doors so to speak to change peoples thinking. Why? It’s funny really. And again Why can’t people just let you be? I feel the same about Atheists. In fact your whole post is offensive to me @poisonedantidote

tom_g's avatar

@nofurbelowsbatgirl: “I state, I believe in God, I do not believe in any one particular religion and it always gets challenged. I’m not out to change anyones views so why try to change mine and why can’t people just let it be?”

We’ve beat this to death a few times here, and there are already some good answers above. But one thing to consider is that every unjustified belief is subject to scrutiny. Imagine walking into a room and declaring, “I believe that there center of the earth is a giant ball of bubble gum.”. You’re likely to get some debate around this. But with the ubiquity of religion, the apparently non-religious declaration of a god belief carries with it the real chance that that belief will lead to actions that will produce suffering. So, sure atheists might take a declaration of such a belief and want justification – not just because we are total dicks (which we might be as well). We feel that it matters that people don’t believe things that are unjustified that will potentially lead to suffering.
Anyway, if you feel that it’s your religious belief that is unfairly being called into question when you declare it publicly, try making any other declaration of unjustified belief and see how that flies.

Seek's avatar

Everything @poisonedantidote said.

If you make a claim or statement, you need to be able to back it up.

Bear in mind, it’s not only us atheists you need to worry about. It’s also the people who believe in one of the 3,000+ other deities which are or have been worshiped by humans over the last several thousand years.

As the late, great Christopher Hitchens said: “Since it is obviously inconceivable that all religions can be right, the most reasonable conclusion is that they are all wrong.”

Adherence to a religion is a deep-seated set of beliefs that affects the choices you make on a daily basis. Those choices, in the United States of America, includes voting for electoral leaders and ballot proposals.

When one’s religion determines how they vote on things that affect everyone, by extension we have (in the case of the Abrahamic religions) a population in the year 2013 being affected by the whims, wills, and desires of desert-dwelling patriarchal farmer/warlords that thought bronze was a pretty cool new invention.

The simplest fact is that no thought is immune to criticism. Mine, yours, the Pope’s, Albert Einstein’s… every thought can be weighed and judged independently, by anyone, for their own merits. And it is the burden of the believer to provide support for their belief. Now, my belief is that Homo sapiens is a species of African ape that may or may not have interbred sporadically with Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, which developed a prefrontal cortex through natural selection. This allowed us the kind of higher thought that led to primitive populations creating religion as (among other things) the best answer at the time for explaining the universe in which they found themselves.

And if you ask me to, I can back that up with hard science. Gladly.

JLeslie's avatar

Because some religions think everyone needs to believe in God and believe their way. In America they even try to legislate it through laws. Not making laws that insist people identify as the same religion, but laws that would govern people’s actions according to that religion. Previously in history and now there were many countries where rulers and governments did dictate the population follow a specific religion or even under communism required the citizenry be atheists. People year to be free to believe and practice their religion or lack thereof without interference from governments or even family and neighbors.

In my opinion the atheists are in a reactive mode, especially in America. As the Evangelical Christians have some loud voices in their group who cast judgement and have quite a bit of control over the Republican party and Republican candidates. Not al atheists are trying to convince theists to stop believing. I don’t care at all if people believe in God, that is their personal belief, as long as they keep it personal. But, many Christians in America need to have their religion and belief in God and Jesus on everything. Huge crosses visible from interstate highways, prayer in schools, upset someone says Happy Holidays at Walmart and then they post all over facebook how awful that is.

I think you either are just being put in unfairly with the group of theists who are over the top, and athesist are either just explaining themselves to you, without really trying to change your mind, or the atheist might feel on the defense in general and overreact. It would depend what the particular conversation was really about for me to make an analysis. The religious theists on here who are liberal politically, I think most jellies here don’t care nor worry at all that they believe in God, because they are not interferring with other people’s beliefs. I completely respect their beliefs for their life and the peace and order it brings for them.

mazingerz88's avatar

People will never stop debating religion. That is the most natural consequence of people being what they are. Human beings. Imagine a caveman thousands of years ago staring at the sun and suddenly he starts raising his arms, kneeling and bowing down to it.

His caveman buddy watches him with his mouth wide open as he scratches his head. Then the worshipping caveman notices his friend doing nothing and no matter what he does to get him to do the same, the guy just would not budge. And so he starts scratching his head as well. They now try to outdo each other in a headscratching contest.

Debate has dawned upon us.

tups's avatar

I think it all comes down to the way modern society looks at existence and life. Science has had its major breakthrough and it’s the preferred method for many people when it comes to dealing with where we are from, what is and what is not. Science is logical. Modern society loves logic.
Modern society does not think religion or a god is logical, therefore they feel so much will against it.

I often ask myself why some things are considered logical and some things aren’t. I don’t think anything is logical.

burntbonez's avatar

Because most people who make statements like that can’t really explain what they mean. Often they are stating a “belief” as a reality. They are making a statement about knowledge without understanding the various methods through which we acquire knowledge and don’t even know how they came to have a belief, nor what that means, as far as knowledge is concerned. So, of course, it is a challenge to ask these questions because it usually uncovers an ignorance of knowledge creation, which then makes the statements somewhat difficult to parse.

JLeslie's avatar

@nofurbelowsbatgirl I have a question. When someone challenges your belief, I assume they are asking you why you believe. What is your answer to why?

KNOWITALL's avatar

Considering wars have been, and are being fought, because of religion, it’s an important issue.

nicole29's avatar

I think the problem lies with people who practice a religion the emphasizes conversion, or “saving” people.

Quick story to emphasize this point – When I first moved to the city, I was stopped pretty frequently by people referring to themselves as Christians. (This was before I learned to just ignore people that try to stop me to talk.) He asked if I was a Christian, and I said yes, to speed along the conversation. That wasn’t enough – he wanted to know more specifics, and I answered that I was raised Catholic. As far as I was concerned, and raised – Christians believe in Christ.. Catholics believe in Christ… Seemed logical. Long story short, this man was not pleased with that and asked me, in a completely serious tone, “What’s the difference between Mother Theresa and Hitler?” I sort of awkwardly laughed, realizing this guy was probably a bit insane… The response was, “Nothing – they’re both going to hell…” (Because she is Catholic, not Christian) He then tried to follow this up with some spiel about how I need to be saved… At that point, disgusted, I walked away.

I’ve had many similar situations with this particular group of Christians.. and it makes me sick. I don’t care what religion people are, until it starts affecting others in a negative way. Worship the devil for all I care, so long as you’re not pushing it on others or hurting anyone. It’s those people who are insecure in their own beliefs, I feel, that need to push it on others.. and those people are the ones that cause the debate.

I interact with a lot of young people (mostly grad students).. some Christian, Catholic, agnostic, atheist, etc. Religion is never a problem, even though it may be brought up in discussion – because no one pushes it.

It only becomes a problem when radicals can’t accept that not everyone believes as they do. Like the girl at work who threw a fit because I asked her to stop playing Christian music over our work speakers.. (In a secular hospital pharmacy) Overheard her talking to a fellow Christian…. “What kind of person doesn’t like Christian music? Atheist.. Probably going to hell anyway.” Yes, both a professional, and very Christian response.

(Not to say that there aren’t radicals in other religions… This is just the one I’ve encountered the most over the years)

JLeslie's avatar

@nicole29 It always amazes me when religion is in the workplace. When I first moved to the bible belt I was taken aback by how so many people had their offices decorated with crosses, and signs with a prayer or bible quote on it hanging on a wall. Once while I live in southeast FL a manager in my store started organizing prayer before work before the store opened, but during working hours, she was fired, not exactly sure why they specifically fired her. I know many large companies have meditation rooms where people can pray or relax, that is something different in my mind and not organized in any way.

But, what I will say is living in the bible belt I have a better perspective of why Christians feel like not letting them express themselves feels like we are taking away their religious rights. I still think they are wrong, even hypocrites, because I don’t believ for a second the most extreme of Christians would be ok if other religions were doing the same thing.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@nicole29 As I’ve explained before, witnessing to others is a directive of the Christian faith, and almost all sects of Christianity. You say pushing, we say witnessing, just a difference in perspective, that’s all.

At some point, when you know the ‘good news’ you’re trying to impart is hitting someone wrong, or they look like they swallowed paint, it’s time to stop.

Unfortunately (for some of you) many Christians actually get excited about our Jesus/ religion, and it’s sometimes hard to understand that some people prefer to not hear anything about it, or choose a different path. It actually is rather hurtful sometimes when people blow you off or talk to you like you’re an idiot.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

Thanks for the answers I respect them all even the ones i do not agree with.

I just have to say that in my question I don’t feel I specified enough when I said “I state, I believe in God”. First and foremost I never walk into conversations just stating that I believe in God it only happens when the topic arises or the specific conversation is leading in a direction. Like this particular family member believes in aliens (which is also debatable) and that is fine by me, but you don’t see me choosing to go off on people because of their particular beliefs, I guess that is what gets me. Maybe aliens make more sense to him, but I don’t go after him with all the evidence that proves it wasn’t a UFO or it was indeed a big hoax. So I state I don’t believe in that and I choose to believe in God. I do not support people who go overboard with their religion or push it onto other people that includes any belief system.

It was really early when I posted this question and perhaps I didn’t have my full thinking cap on.

Seek's avatar

@KNOWITALL You say “abuse” I say “discipline”. It’s still beating a child. The perspective doesn’t change the bruises.

Since we didn’t sign up for “witnessing”, keep it to yourself. I don’t care what your religion “directs”. It’s still pushing. It’s the interpersonal version of spam email.

@nofurbelowsbatgirl I’d certainly call your family member on his alien-belief. While I’m of the opinion that there is more likely than not “life” of some kind in the universe, I certainly do not buy into the “The Aliens built the pyramids!” nonsense. Your family member is completely holding a heavy burden of proof on that issue. And you’d be right to call him on it.

JLeslie's avatar

@nofurbelowsbatgirl Ok, so the conversation is going on and you say, “I believe in God.” then what is said to you about it? Do people just tell you that is ridiculous? There is no proof? Do they ask you why? What are they saying that you feel on the defensive. If the conversation is about religion and beliefs, then, well, to me it is a conversation, meaning questions, answers, statements are being made. To state something during a conversation on the topic of religion when there are opposing views, I don’t understand not expecting questions about it.

The_Idler's avatar

I’m curious, when theoretical physicists come up with their ideas about the nature and structure of the universe, do you think nobody questions them?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr I think talking about it and gauging your reaction would tell me whether to continue or not.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL I understand the Chrisian’s perspective, and now have more empathy for it, but I still would argue they are hypocrites in that I can’t believe they would be ok with the majority of the people around them “witnessing” another religion. Majority, most of the people they encounter would be a different religion, but from the same reigion. 90% of them Jewish, or 90% of the Muslim or 90% of them Buddist, etc. And, always talking about their religion, using words from their religion, symbols all over town of their religion. Majority of politicians from that religion. I don’t think they could deal with it.

Seek's avatar

@KNOWITALL Which is fine in a social discussion. However, billboards, door-knocking, school prayer sessions, etc. goes far beyond the beyonds. Particularly when come Christmas time they get all defensive to the point of anger when other religions get a tiny bit of a say-so.

Several atheist groups had non-religious holiday displays vandalised and destroyed all over the country, because they dared to expect the same respect that Christians take for granted as their sole right.

Seek's avatar

Not to mention “creation science” and “teach the controversy”, as well as “abstinence education”. Ugh.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie I don’t know, I’m awfully curious about religion and spirituality and have been since my teens. Being raised here in Missouri, I’ve went to every church denomination I could find, we even knew some Wiccans and Rainbow Children, and my mom was good friends with a Muslim for awhile.

My mom and I both are very interested in other people’s belief systems, and yet it doesn’t affect our relationship with God. My mom studied to be a missionary to Russia in college actually.

@Seek_Kolinahr I don’t do any of that, but it’s not nice.
I really am into abstinence education actually, with all the STD’s, sorry.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL Don’t get me wrong, the majority of the Christians I know do not go around trying to convert people, they treat everyone with respect, etc. But, many still seem to fail to understand what it might be like to be the minority religion. Not Catholics, I am generalizing about non Catholic Christians.

Abstinence with no education about sex, our sexual organs as part of our body, and pregnancy prevention?

tom_g's avatar

@KNOWITALL: “I really am into abstinence education actually, with all the STD’s, sorry.”

Huh? Isn’t it well-established that teen pregnancy rates and STD rates are higher in red states and attempts at abstinence education?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie Jesus was persecuted and died, can we as Christians not handle a little irritation or belittling in His name? We can’t reap the benefits of being a Christian in society without a little of the negative’s too I’d think.

@tom_g I’m not sure, I would have to look at the stats, but I was speaking about me personally and what I try ti impart to my niece and nephews. That to be 100% sure you won’t get pregnant is abstinence. My 13 yr old niece was floored when her druggie mother wanted to put her on the pill at age 12, she was disgusted by it.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

@JLeslie If someone does ask me why I believe in God it usually ends up with me telling them about how I feel He is around me, and I know feelings are debatable they are an experience which are usually not very good for the evidence factor. I also explain how I can’t quite explain it but that my heart seems to lie heavy in needing to acknowledge our lord and that its a path I did not previously want to choose but as much as I tried to deny the lord He kept creeping into my life calling me and eventually saving my life. At this point it usually does end up into a debate and I understand why, at the same time I believe that is why I choose to Keep It Simple Stupid and try to not bring religion up too much I’m not religious I don’t even go to church.

But if I rely on the bible I see that its not far off.

glacial's avatar

@nofurbelowsbatgirl Posting a link to a website about biblical prophecy which claims that God is making earthquakes happen is inviting debate. Surely, you must see that.

JLeslie's avatar

@nofurbelowsbatgirl I think if you kept it simple like, “it makes me feel better so I believe,” you might get less flack, but not necessarily. Probably a lot of atheists tend to be the “questioning” type in more ways than one. Nothing you said makes me feel like you are trying to convert me, although you do seem to use words a Christian would use. Maybe they react to that? See, you are presenting it like there is proof of God, that’s where some atheists might challenge it.

@KNOWITALL I don’t know what that means. I am not being argumentative, I just want to make sure I don’t misinteroret what you are trying to say. Can you reword it for me?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie I’m just saying that if we choose to witness and are ridiculed or belittled for doing so (or even called pushy), it is nothing compared to what Jesus sacrificed for us, so it doesn’t really faze most Christians who witness on a regular basis. Except maybe tne new ones…lol

nicole29's avatar

@KNOWITALL I understand that people get excited about it. I have friends who are that way.. but they keep it to themselves. Telling me that I’m going to hell, or that figureheads of my religion are equivalent to a mass murderer – because we’ve not “accepted Jesus into my heart” is the ultimate intolerance. I just wonder how Christians would handle a Jewish or Muslim people witnessing to them, making them feel trapped – in a group of friends, on the street, etc.

I promise, it’s nothing personal against YOU when we ignore or turn away.

Paradox25's avatar

I feel that the issue should be debatable, because I actually feel that what most term as mysticism and a creator are likely natural phenomenon, so this would make these issues of science, not religion. In England both the religionists and the sceptical reductionists are allowed to publicly present their propaganda, but when it comes to the secular research of the ‘supern-atural’ the latter camp gets their views censored.

I get nailed from both sides here, since many sceptics are not fond of my linking what is termed as ‘supernatural’ phenomenon with subatomic physics and information sciences. Many religionists are not fond of the people in my camp either. When many Christians ask me if I believe in ‘God’ I tell them it depends on what your view of God is. Typically when I tell them that I don’t believe in Jesus or the concept of a Savior they’ll usually say something like ‘oh, so you’re an atheist’. Actually I’m far from being an atheist, but I guess I didn’t choose the right god or religion. I wouldn’t even want to imagine what my experience would be like in a Muslim theocracy.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL I see. So, is that why they can’t take a moment to put themseves in the other person’s shoes? Jesus was the minority and he stood firm in his beliefs and his guidance to others to be saved?

wundayatta's avatar

Why would you announce it if it wasn’t an issue. If it’s not an issue, don’t talk about it. If you announce it, it must be for political reasons, such as you want to make a statement. If you’re going to make a statement, you have to expect blowback.

It’s like if you say, “I have a dog.” You’re expecting other people to talk about their pets. We don’t make announcements for no reason.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@nicole29 I don’t like to scare anyone into listening to me. I don’t want to scare you with eternal damnation and hell-fire either. Either you want to hear it or you don’t, I’m not into forceful conversions because when I converted at age 17, nothing any preachers or my family could say would dissuade me.

@JLeslie I’m not sure I understand now. If I put myself in someone else’s shoes, someone who didn’t believe in Jesus, and you tried to witness to me, I’d simply say “I’m not interested, thank you.” and walk away.

I don’t feel it’s provocation for rudeness or anything myself, but I know a few people in my area who wouldn’t accept that as an answer, so who knows.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL What I mean is, what if 80 percent of the teachers in the public schoos were Muslim, then would Christians be fighting for prayer in school? What if 80 percent of the places of worship in their community were Muslims, would they be ok with all the symbols all around? What if 80% of the politicians were Muslims and in their ads to be elected they spoke abut Muslim family values and the pillars of Islam? That is my point in when I say they don’t put themselves in our shoes when fighting for religion in public spaces or when they want the law to protect their right to say and do and place religious symbols everywhere. if they were the religious minority, what do they want the laws to be regarding freedom of religion and mixing state and church?

But, I appreciate your explanation of how they think about things in what you have presented so far.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

@JLeslie @glacial I have always had a problem with words and expressing myself. I can see that it could start a debate which is not my intention.

I’m really just making a statement which as I stated in my answer is fully debatable but at the same time reaffirming my own beliefs while still trying to give what would be my answer to someone who asked, “Why?” I also feel it gives my answer credit, & I feel like if I can try to answer to the best of my ability maybe it is more clear why I choose the choice I do. I can see why there is or could be a debate with my answer. At the same time what else should I say?

If I do not answer to the best of my ability and always keep it simple I feel that forces me to be silenced about my choice of why I believe in God, and to be silenced is what I feel like society is trying to do, because if you believe in God and lack confidence to back up your claims you are forced into silence because you may not have the confidence. If you believe in God and lack confidence but speak up you get pummeled. So if we were back thousands of years ago I may basically be getting stoned to death.

OK, so since I do usually have such a problem with words and expressing myself, showing what I mean makes sense to me.

Seek's avatar

You don’t need confidence. You need facts.

Fact: you believe in God. Fact: Your religion cannot be proven, but you have decided to follow it anyway.

If you feel the need to further justify your choices, you should question who you are trying to convince – your conversational opponent, or yourself.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie Ah I see. I doubt it. Unless you go to Catholic school you don’t hear anyone saying the rosary in public schools or talking about saints. There are specific schools for religious-based education so I’d say if it meant that much to you, you should probably pay the extra money for that school.

http://religions.pewforum.org/reports
Based on this link, you’ll see the majority of people in the United States are Christian, which I’m sure is the problem here seperating the two.

LostInParadise's avatar

What irks me is religious doctrine. I really don’t care particularly if you believe in God. Someone who just has some vague notion of God is essentially speaking in non sequiturs and there is not much basis for conversation.

When I was in eighth grade, one day there were a few of us gathered in front of the school during lunch, who all happened to be Jewish. I don’t recall what we were talking about, but we were joined by another of our classmates, who will remain anonymous, but who had a name like John Pembroke Caldwell III. John was an okay guy, but I remember him telling us in a soft matter of fact voice that we were all going to Hell. I find that smug condescending attitude to be really annoying. I figure that if a basically decent person like John goes around believing it there must quite a number of others who feel the same way, whether they outwardly express it or not.

Shippy's avatar

It’s so different here, I wish people would bible punch me. Like everyone in my Society they are all out for themselves. They could care two hoots about what anyone believes in. That also makes me dam mad! There is also huge lack of a christian community feeling. They only bother IF you attend their Church regularly. Then you are worth it. I suppose.

Most of my lovely advice, sharing, and caring, comes from a lady who is a street seller. She sells dog blankets. Every day seeing her, reminds me he is real. For so many reasons I cannot list here. Plus, her feet are on the ground. She is not a happy clappy clot.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@LostInParadise It’s what the Bible says, so for most believers, it is fact.

@Shippy If you ever need a Bible Punch (I like that), you just PM me. I’ve been trying to chill on fluther a bit since there are so many non-Christians here. I actually don’t enjoy talking with a lot of other Christians because they’re often very judgemental, but you’re cool like that.

Shippy's avatar

@KNOWITALL Great anytime you feel like it too, send me a quick bible punch. Much appreciated.

philosopher's avatar

There is No proof of God or proof that God does not exist.

basstrom188's avatar

Most religious people especially Christians love to be persecuted it makes them feel “special”.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

@basstrom188 I don’t think that’s true and I think it’s an unfair statement.

But because you answered as much as I disagree I’ll still give you lurve, cause hey we are a community of sorts and what good is a community if we aren’t giving to each other regardless of answers likes or disliked, what kind of jellies would we be. Because I’m also a believer in equality.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL Your link explains what I am saying. I am Jewish, just under 80% of the country is Christian. The part of the country I live in now probably 90%. I am surrounded by crosses 150 feet high on the interstate, replica statue of liberty with a cross in her hand rather than a torch, people saying, “have a blessed day.” Billboards saying “choose life.” People feeling attacked religiously because they can no longer have Christmas celebrations in the schools. Schools teaching the bible under the guise of literature class or the new one I heard from a friend in NC is they now call religion class ancient history, but still teavh Christianity. I say let’s all start saying Happy Chanukah instead of Merry Christmas, and Shalom instead of good bye, and put up signs that say, God requires we save the woman not the fetus. I am bombarded by Christianity. It doesn’t really bother me most of the time. The country’s majority is Christian, it is a fact, I am fine with that fact, but mostly what I care about is people’s children are left alone, that is why the school thing matters so much to me. I don’t mind at all when someone say to me Merry Christmas, what bothers me is when someone is offended by Happy Holidays.

I don’t know what you mean by separating the two? Which two?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@basstrom188 Well, Jesus was persecuted and with all you haters it’s not hard to feel persecuted because of religious beliefs. Kind of like monks wearing hair shirts, suffering brings you closer to Jesus. Jesus dying for us makes me feel special, like most Christians I’d hope.

@JLeslie Obviously where I’m at, I’m surrounded by atheists and Christians, or non-practicing Christians, but I have a few Jewish friends, and friends of other faiths, as long as we respect our differences and similarities, it doesn’t bother me. I don’t share your beliefs about abortion, as you know.
You say your bothered about peoples children being left alone, but I’m not sure what that has to do with Christianity?

*Oh, I meant the seperation of church and state.

Seek's avatar

What was it Dawkins said? Something like…

Militant Christians blow up abortion clinics
Militant Muslims suicide bomb public places
Militant atheists write blogs.

Who’s really being persecuted here?

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL It only applies to the Christians who think it is ok to speak to other people’s children about religion in a way that does not acknowledge the child’s family might have different beliefs. I include in this inviting them to church services, I see this among teens, and wanting the bible taught in school and wanting prayer in school. I realize not all Christians support this, I am generalizing.

I don’t think people hate Christians, I think they dislike Christians who seem to ignore the religious diversity in the country. What I learned living here in Memphis is for people who are not religious we tend to feel protecting religious freedom is to leave religion out for the most part and let everyone be able to practice their religion without intereference. People who want to “secularize” public places, do not want to remove religion, they want to protect it. I think it is important for Christians to understand the intention. Christians, since their schtick is to talk about God and Jesus at every opportunity, including using symbols and other displays, feel their freedom to practice is inhibited if the public areas are off limits. I don’t see how it can be resolved easily, especially in places that have historically been very religious within the bible belt. Every time a case is won to stop them from praying somewhere or handing out bibles they feel attacked. While others of us feel they have been breaking the law all along and the basis of what America is.

mattbrowne's avatar

Debates arise when religions are intolerant.

Why are there no controversial debates about Buddhism? Because it’s very hard to find an intolerant Buddhist.

Seek's avatar

While others of us feel they have been breaking the law all along and the basis of what America is.

^ This.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Militant atheists in my world talk a lot of smack and seem to me to try to question & demean other people’s belief systems. If you want to worship a tree as your Deity, feel free, but it’s not cool to demean my religion or anyone else’s. But that’s just what I see.

@JLeslie Again, we’re going back to church doctrine about witnessing and sharing the good news about Jesus, his life, his ideals, his miracles. While I personally wouldn’t talk to a child about Jesus unless they mentioned it, a lot of Christians I know wouldn’t hesistate to tell little Jimmy to “invite your little friend to church with us.” I don’t think there is any bad intentions at all but I can see how a parent may see it as over-reaching, but I reallly think that’s perception only.

Growing up, I was always asked, do you go to church? Oh where? Oh, okay then. Nobody wants to invite a Catholic to other churches, here Catholics are the ‘bad’ Christians because we don’t use a Bible in service, we believe in the Pope and venerate Saints and supposedly worship Mary instead of God (that’s what I hear all the time.) I’m trying to say, I understand generalization and how people perceive different sects of Christians, but it all comes back to tolerance. If you were to invite me to synagogue (which none of my friens have btw, most don’t even attend here), I’d go and keep an open mind, to me it’s knowledge.

So I’m getting from you and Seek that you’d prefer not to hear about any particular religion at all ever, but that we all worship in private and no witnessing correct? Doesn’t that reek of religious suppression? Doesn’t that completely smack the Pilgrims in the face, who fled to America to worship freely? I do understand your points, but remember people like Hitler can use religious suppression, too, and not for good.

Seek's avatar

We don’t worship trees. Or anything else. You’re thinking of pantheists. Emphasis on the “theist”.

Again, I feel completely justified in questioning beliefs, particularly when they have no backup.

Tell me this: Why should I be OK with you talking to my child about your imaginary god, but you are insulted when asked to provide evidence for your claims? “Well, God tells us to share the good news”. So what? What does that mean to me? It’s not perception only – it’s your irrational beliefs butting into the business of my family.

If I want to go to church, I pass 75 of them every day on my commute. I know where to find them.

It’s not suppression, because you’re still allowed to worship if you want to. No one is stopping you. Kind of like how it’s not suppressing the magazine industry if we make telemarketing illegal. And frankly, the Pilgrims were crazy. They moved here because Denmark didn’t want them anymore. So they came to this country and started killing natives and burning “witches” – who were mostly single women who didn’t want to follow their crazy-ass religion anymore.

Also, by the rules of the Internet, you just lost your case by invoking Hitler.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL To the contrary, I find religion very interesting. When my Catholic nephew asks me about my religion, I tell him what Jews believe, it is not even necessarily what I believe. He asks a question, I answer it. But, I would never just come out and say when he was very young, “you shouldn’t believe in God.” I present my answers as Jews believe this, or I believe that. Never in a tone or expectation that everyone should believe what Jews or I do, and always in a very obvious way acknowledging he is Catholic or not Jewish. Yet, a Christian (again some Christians) might feel very comfortable saying to my children, “Jesus died for our sins.” Our sins as in everyone, you too. They will freely say, “I’ll pray for your family,” in a time of crisis, or even ask if they want to pray write there on the spit, even though that language and prayer is not used in my home. They may not even know my kids are Jewish raised by atheists, they migh just simply assume everyone around them is Christian to begin with, which is very common where I live. So, they don’t have bad intentions, I understand that, but they seem to lack the awareness that not everyone is Christian, and don’t see how their language can sound very odd even put off some people.

Talking about ones religious beliefs can be interesting and informative and at the same time acknowledge they are one of many religions, or it can be that they believe their religion os the one and only right way. It depends on the delivery. When I was a kid my classmates were various religions. Mostly Catholic, but some Jews, some Muslim. Didn’t make a bit of difference. Their family did their holidays, mine did ours. Sometimes we were invited to each others holiday gatherings. We never really discussed the intricacies of our religions when we were very young, it just was. We were our parents’ children.

A good friend of mine moved to AL in 11th grade, got all born again, and the next time I saw her when she came into town to visit her dad she asked, “how can you not believe Jesus is your savior?” Said in a tone of almost disgust. The bible belt had gotten to her from where I sat. Later she evolved again, she is still a religious woman, but her fervent teenage years of finding Jesus have eased up. Just saying, if you want to tell me about your religion, putting mine down is not going to woo me or peak my interest, it makes me want to shut her down on the topic.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr I didn’t mean atheists worship trees, I mean it’s your business who and what you worship. I’m just saying that most atheists I know are militantly against Christianity and take every opportunity to Christ-bash. Like my aunt who said I couldn’t say God in her house or around her friends.
History is history, and Hitler was an important part of history that should have taught us all about religious tolerance. To not speak of the Holocaust in this discussion, would be to deny what happend and push it under a rug, when it was incredibly sad and important.

@JLeslie I find religion interesting, too, so thanks for talking about it.

There’s nothing I can do or say to change anyone you’re around, or prevent them from sharing Jesus with you, but I would say it it affects you or your child(ren) negatively, you can talk to them honestly and openly, or talk to your child(ren)and tell them that some people believe in things ‘our family’ doesn’t, etc…(which is what my mom did since we attended many different religious services from around the world as part of her missionary training.)

I’m not sure why anyone would get snotty or superior when it comes to religion. Being humble and self-sacrificing in the name of Jesus is more the style I was raised with, but I have noticed a lot of church people, the ‘perfect’ Christians, tend to be more judgemental and nasty, which is why I don’t attend church often anymore. If you met me, you’d see a polite well-kept person, and unless we were close friends or you brought it up somehow, you’d probably never know I was a Christian. :)

Seek's avatar

I mean it’s your business who and what you worship

Unless you don’t worship anything, in which case it’s my duty as a Good Christian to make sure we claim your soul/money for our cause/collection basket.

And until an atheist threatens to throw you in an oven, you don’t get to relate us to Hitler. Period.

cazzie's avatar

@poisonedantidote elope to Scotland. PM me and I will give details. I faced similar problems. Scotland solved them all.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr I didn’t relate atheists to Hitler in any way, I was speaking of religious suppression and how it can and has gone awry.

I’m not sure why religion makes you angry, Seek, but it upsets me because I’m not trying to convert you to my religion or any church, it’s just a discussion. I don’t tell everyone I’m right, but your very first post quotes Hitchens about all religions being wrong, so you’re kind of being hypocritical in my opinion.

I am fully capable of loving my God and respecting your right to worship or not as you choose. It’s a Christians job to tell you about God and show you the way to Him, but after that it’s all on you to accept or disregard. Peace.

cazzie's avatar

I don’t think belief in an Abrahamic type god should be confused with believing in a higher power. I also think that people can believe there are things yet unknown or explained and be in awe of that, without turning to some archaic belief system that forbids the eating of shellfish. Have your god or gods. I really don’t care and will not ask you to ‘back it up with facts.’ Faith doesn’t work that way, and I get that. BUT! Don’t try to make my way of life any of your business. I live in a secular society and will campaign against any religious dominion over another, or over secular laws. That isn’t personal, that’s politics. If it happens to be your personal politics, be prepared to defend that.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@cazzie It’s interesting to me that America was founded on Christian principles, but so many Americans now believe in a completely secular world.

I guess since the statistics show such a high percentage of Christians in this country, it’s bound to get tied up in our politics, which is why the Republicans seem to appeal to more Christians.

cazzie's avatar

@KNOWITALL it is a fallacy that America was founded on Christian principals. (besides, I don’t live in the US.) It also sounds like you aren’t really sure what secular society means.

Seek's avatar

Religion does not make me angry, when it keeps itself to itself. When it tries to infect the rest of society, I’m justified in being bothered.

How am I a hypocrite? All religions are equally wrong, for the same reason. Hypocrisy would be demanding mountains of evidence for one thing (say, evolution) and accepting “God did it” or “faith” as sole justification for another (say, “intelligent design” or creationism)

Hypocrisy could also be defined as demanding a public platform for one set of beliefs (say, Christianity) while attempting suppression of all other forms of belief (say, Islam/Wicca/The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster).

The secular organizations in America that actively campaign for equality in holiday decorations are actually actively hoping that laws will be passed to get rid of all demonstrations of all religions in the public square.

America was not founded on Christian principals. It was originally settled by Puritans, yes. However, the legal documents which founded America as a nation were written by secular Deists who plainly proclaimed their desire for a secular nation free from religious establishment.

KNOWITALL's avatar

The United States of America was founded by Christians as a Christian nation.

No, it was not and is not a theocracy. We do not have an official state church or an official state religion. In fact, the same Constitutional amendment which guarantees our freedom of religious expression also forbids an official state religion or church:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

But our country was undoubtedly founded by Christians. A few of the founders such as Benjamin Franklin and possibly Thomas Jefferson were not Christians, but even they were well grounded in the Bible and generally adhered to the moral and philosophical wisdom of Christianity.

From the colonial charters which almost universally cited the glory of God and the advancement of Christianity as their motivation, to the Declaration of Independence which cites “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” and our Creator as the source of our rights and appeals “to the Supreme Judge of the world” and declares “a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence,” to the U.S. Constitution which acknowledges the Christian worldview and even the Christian day of worship, our nation was founded on Christian principles so clearly that it cannot be rationally denied.

I will not take the time to convey here and now any more of the mountain of evidence that America was founded on the Christian worldview, but if you have any doubt whatsoever, I suggest you read extensively here and here. I would also suggest you read “Democracy in America,” the unabridged version. If you ever doubted America’s Christian character, you will be amazed.

@Seek_Kolinahr It just seems that whenever someone asks a question about religion and God, you always end up arguing with me or whomever talks about Christianity. There’s nothing to argue about, I believe, you do not. It doesn’t have to be Atheist versus Christian every single time.

I just feel like when I try to answer for communication sakes, you go into attack mode. I drink wine, I go dancing, I’m not a two-headed monster for believing in God and Jesus, I just wish you could use verbage that didn’t always seem like an attack on my beliefs, because I certainly don’t do that to you.

cazzie's avatar

@KNOWITALL I don’t think the laws in the US ever called for stoning of people or the chopping off of hands of thieves, although they did burn witches, if I recall. (I believe the witch burning may have been before all that Christian founding and writing God in official documents and such.) If you cherry pick, so will I.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@cazzie I have no idea what stoning and chopping off hands proves to you about Christianity in the US. Because we don’t use the same punishment methods as the Bible does, is that what you mean?

People were persecuted for being witches during the time of the Puritans in Salem and other areas, it was a very interesting period in time, but if you’ve ever watched “The Scarlet Letter” or any tv programs about the period, very scary. It showed what can happen when more importance is placed on religion than on people themselves.

Seek's avatar

@KNOWITALL I argue with Muslims on other sites. There don’t seem to be many around here. The only Jewish folk on Fluther are secular Jews as far as I can tell. You, however, are Catholic, so I’m tailoring my argument to fit you.

Also, as far as politics in the United States is concerned, it’s Christianity that has the most direct effect on my life. Christians in Oklahoma are currently trying to pass two laws that will instill creationist doctrine in public schools. That is something I will actively fight against.

If you take offense at my arguments, that is your own personal affair. I have made no personal attack toward you – merely comments on the religion as it stands. If you don’t want to defend it anymore, ignore me and pray the Word:

Psalm 74:22 – “Arise, O God! Plead thine own cause!”

cazzie's avatar

“So I’m getting from you and Seek that you’d prefer not to hear about any particular religion at all ever, but that we all worship in private and no witnessing correct? Doesn’t that reek of religious suppression? Doesn’t that completely smack the Pilgrims in the face, who fled to America to worship freely? I do understand your points, but remember people like Hitler can use religious suppression, too, and not for good.”

Freedom of religious choices includes freedom FROM religion. How does telling people constantly that they are going to be damned for all eternity if they don’t accept a particular view and saviour as the true path NOT smack of persecution of another belief system? I don’t knock on Christian’s doors at 10am on Saturday and tell them how mislead by their god they are and that they had better read what I give them so they can be better parents and people. I also don’t use a tax-free pulpit to preach to followers as to how they have better vote in the election, else they their souls and the souls of unborn babies will forever burden their conscience.

KNOWITALL's avatar

So what I get from your posts, cazzie and seek, is that you aren’t necessarily mad at me, you just don’t like Christians infringing on your rights to be in a religion-free environment.

That has nothing to do with me really, I’m a live and let live kind of person, I’m not knocking on doors and I’m not taking anyone’s money, or telling my girlfriends they can’t have abortions. That’s not me, we’re not all alike—and I’m certainly not perfect and never claimed to be.

Seek's avatar

So what I get from your posts, cazzie and seek, is that you aren’t necessarily mad at me, you just don’t like Christians infringing on your rights to be in a religion-free environment.

Yes. That is exactly it.

Ladies and gentlemen, I think we’ve had a breakthrough.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Lordy ladies, next time just say so, we could have saved hours!!! :)

In all seriousness though, I am not the person you need to convince, I’m not a pusher.

cazzie's avatar

Hitler didn’t use religious suppression, Stalin did. Hitler LOVED the catholic church because they helped him ferret out Jews.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL I feel like you are taking this too personally. I completely understand you are explaining why Christians might do some of these behaviors that bother us, but I do not think you are a Christian who would preach to me if I met you. I have tried in most of my answers to say things like not all and I am generalizing to demonstrate I am in no way lumping all Christians into one pot. Many of my friends in Memphis are Christians and they never make me feel uncomfortable, I never feel they are antisemetic in any way, I have one friend who has invited me to her church a couple times, just one who seems to not get I am not interested in a church service, although I did go to a church event with one friend as a social thing. I do pretty much hide I am an atheist though living here. A few people know. Religion does not come up that often actually in my circles. Every so often someone asks me something about Judaism.

The biggest problem is when Christians want to make laws that limit the freedoms of others, that is the real sticking point. If a person I know babbles too much religious stuff to me to feel comfortable, I can just not be around them much, but a law will mean I have to live under that doctrine. Imagine if the Jews starting making all their laws and holidays federal laws for all of us to live by? Doesn’t sound good to me. No more pizza with pepperoni? Imagine it.

Seek's avatar

@JLeslie No more cheeseburgers. Ah!

JLeslie's avatar

Also to add, secular government does not mean a secular or atheist society. I think that is part of what @cazzie was pointing out also. In communist Russia the government insisted on atheism and drove religion underground if it was still happening. I see this as just as bad as a theocracy. I don’t want to live where a government promotes a specific religion nor promotes or demands the lack thereof.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie I do take my religion personally, just as I assume you take your non-religion personally.

I have a horrible temper (natural redhead who hoped going blond would make me nicer ha!), and when I quit arguing, you can take to the bank that I’m simply pissed and done.

I think God must have led me to fluther because I’ve never talked about my religion so much in my entire life, it’s rather odd to me. I certainly never expected or wanted to be the defender of Christian values in America…lol

Also, try to understand I work a very demanding job, so sometimes I get impatient when I don’t have time to write four paragraphs with links to prove a point. Peace

Seek's avatar

Funny thing:

When I first left the church, I “felt led” to seek fellowship with other Christians on Myspace. Entered the Myspace Christianity chat room and began defending God against the atheists who had sort of claimed the room (there was no “atheism” room). Those hours-long discussions were instrumental in my eventual realization of my own deconversion.

Arise, O God, plead thine own cause. Because if you’re the omnipotent one, I shouldn’t have to do so much damn work to defend you.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL I am the first to criticize the orthodox Jews for having some ridiculous rules. The sabbath elevator in the NY Jewish hospitals, the guy who won’t carry his tennis racket to the courts on Saturday, but will play. First, I don’t do any of those things, but second, even if I did, my response would be I am not insisting anyone else do them. Well, the elevator does cause an inconvenience, but it is only one elevator out of many. A criticism of my religion I do not take personally. Hatred towards people of my religion I do.

JLeslie's avatar

@nofurbelowsbatgirl Were you raised a Christian? Or, some other religion?

KNOWITALL's avatar

I went through several stages in my life in regards to religion, so I try hard not to criticize anyone for their choices or beliefs, I guess that’s why I don’t have as much patience with people who criticize mine. I find intolerance intolerable…lol, but again, I was raised by Jesus-loving hippie Christians, so hatred or intolerance is not really part of my nature, thankfully.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL Do you see our dislike of Christians “witnessing” as though we are criticizing their religious choice or beliefs?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie At times I have. I get PM’s from other Christians on fluther all the time, thanking me for expressing myself and my beliefs. Some aren’t able to, and that’s okay. It sort of makes all this worth it, I think they and God are proud of me, but I feel completely inadequate to the task.

It’s hard for me to argue point by point and hear God spoken of like he’s a make believe character, it actually chokes me up a little bit and makes me sad. I have been trying really hard to be cool about all this but I have really never been talked to like this by anyone in my entire life, even atheists I know fairly well show me respect.

The “perfect” Christians are the ones who are mean to me in my life, saying I’m not perfect, even a member my own family the SUPER CHRISTIAN. So forgive me for being faintly amused and a little dismayed by the irony of my defending them, when I can’t stand them…lol

Seek's avatar

@KNOWITALL I know I’ve mentioned this to you before:

I think you read emotions into (at least my) posts that is not there.

I do not tend to write from an emotional state. If I do, I’ll usually say so plainly. At no point during this entire thread did I type from a state of anger, rage, hatred, disdain, or anything else. I state things matter-of-factly.

If it seems like I am personally attacking you, that is not my intent. Again, if I had chosen to do so, I would leave no doubt.

It is not my intent to show disrespect. Emphasis (anything in italics) should be read as stressing the words, not yelling.

I want to stress that I used to be Christian, and I know how it feels to be on the defensive. However, it is important to recognize the difference between debate and argument. Debate is simply presenting the case for mutual review. At no point do we engage in ad hominem attacks, anger, or shouting.

I should hope that we could calmly continue to discuss the differences in our opinions without the result becoming little more than hurt feelings. We should both come away thinking, not crying.

If there is any way I can help this goal to come to pass, or anything I can do differently, please let me know.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL I also think when people say God is make believe that it is very rude and disrespectful.

I have a problem with other Christians not being able to have a voice here. I see it on Q’s all the time. Christians getting GA’s for their answers and no one else chiming in to back them up or help them out. Some GA’s might be from people with the opposing view, because they appreciate the dialogue, but a lot of the GA’s are Christians who can’t take the heat or passively sit by and watch.

See, culturally Jewish people are raised arguing, analyzing. Debate is seen as good, questioning good. Questions mean that person is paying attention to you, silence can mean anything. Do they agree? Disagree? Are they even listening? Christians generally seems to be taught to be obedient, don’t speak until spoken to, and don’t question. This is a huge generalization of course, there are just here on fluther many Christians or people raised Christian who love a good debate. Still, I think there are some cultural difference to be observed out in the general population. Fluther is a select group.

I really think a big problem with trying to communicate (not with you, I mean in general) opinions on the topics of religion, politics, and everything that is intertwined with those, is both sides, if we are going to call them sides, don’t usually understand tye other sides intention.

Seek's avatar

^ Personally, I got sick of shutting up and doing what I’m told a long time ago. I enjoy the discussion, and the challenge of a well-honed debater’s skill.

When I do get door knockers, if I have even a little time, I invite them to sit for coffee and try to win me over. I get few takers. Sadly, the vast majority of door-knocking religious people are not at all used to having to defend their position, and have no good answers. Once, I was incredibly impressed when a young man said plainly, “I do not have any answers for you, but I find your questions interesting. Would you be willing to sit with me and my pastor to continue this discussion?”

Unfortunately, the pastor declined the meeting. I guess he had something better to do.

JLeslie's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr What exactly do these door knockers expect? People to just listen and come along?

I remember once a couple Christians (I have no idea what sect) came into our store, completely against store policy, and started doing their spiel. I asked them if they would want people constantly telling them or their child there is no God, or teaching them Jesus is not the messiah in schools. The one doing most of the talking kind of ran over what I asked and the other one at the same time had a pensive look on his face and said, “no I wouldn’t want that.” I had the distinct impression the one who saw some logic in what I said was either a newbie, or getting ready to rethink all that had been drilled into him. I had to ask them to leave, so I couldn’t really get into it with them.

I don’t think of that as questioning their faith, I think of it as questioning their lack of respect for other people’s faith. I don’t mind at all if they are Christians.

Seek's avatar

Oh man, lost opportunity. Good on you, though. Plant those seeds of doubt!

JLeslie's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr It isn’t even doubt that I thought I was trying for, it was for them to stop that one specific behavior.

Were you on the Q where I wrote about a wedding I went to and the minister said the bride and groom were picking the politically incorrect path of being Christians?” I was so upset that their church basically helps along the feeling of the whole country is against them. Pissed me off.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr & @Jleslie Let me explain myself a bit.

Growing up, I was raised Fundamental Baptist, which is hardcore Christian values, women in dresses (I had to wear shorts under my dresses until I was 12 or so), then when I was with my mom we went to all kinds of churches, but mostly Southern Baptist. Our city is where they have the Southern Baptist Conventions, which I have attended many times.

So after my mom started drinking heavily, I moved out at 17 and I went in search of a religion that I could relate to instead of the Hellfire and Brimstone, judgemental, religion of my childhood. I finally found that at the Catholic Church, then my family freaked out completely, a Catholic in the family, why that’s worse than being a Democrat.

I fought hard to find my personal happiness, and I lost quite a bit of family over my choice, my uncle and I still aren’t talking for a few reasons. So I really do take it personally and seriously.

Like the door knockers who are witnessing to you guys. They do it to be nice, and to share with you their love for Christ. I would never treat anyone poorly who had good intentions, even to prove a point as @JLesie wrote above. It’s taking out your past experiences with other Christians on any Christian you come into contact with, at least that’s how I perceive it.

In our local forums like fluther, there are a lot of liberals and the atheists are mostly quiet like the Christians are in this forum, it makes me uncomfortable for ANYONE to feel like they can’t express themselves freely and without judgement. I would treat you the same if you were Buddhist or Southern Baptist, and I wish it was the same here, that’s all.

Seek's avatar

They may think they’re being nice, but O how up in arms they would be if I had knocked on their door, to pass out copies of the recently captured photograph of DNA, and wish them a happy Darwin Day, and let them know that they don’t have to waste their Sundays in church, giving 10% of their money to a guy who dropped out of school at 13 to marry his pregnant girlfriend, because God isn’t real anyway!

Seek's avatar

I totally need to print DNA and Hubble photographs on a business card, and hand them out to people who try to give me tracts. Ooh! I’ll give one to Street Preacher Guy, who stands under my office window, yelling through a bullhorn at people getting on and off the cruise ships!

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr No one is stopping you and you may learn a valuable lesson from doing it.

And you know, my mom is on disability, volunteers and works part time at the local Alliance for the Mentally Ill, and man’s a suicide line, talks at colleges and invites homeless to her house to take showers and eat. She also is a stickler about giving the church it’s tithe.

Some churches, preachers and people who attend, truly are nice and kind, not everyone is out to hurt you or get what they can. I hope someday you learn how hurtful words can be.

Seek's avatar

@KNOWITALL That’s a horrible thing to say. Particularly to someone who has been incredibly open to you about how hurt they have been by words in the past.

I still can’t believe that you aren’t seeing the relation between the “nice kind witnessing” done by religious door knockers, and my example in the post above. They are exactly the same.

Volunteering isn’t the bailiwick of the religious, you know. I’m a member of the Tampa Humanist Association. Every member volunteers somewhere, most of them at several places. Usually such unimportant things as teaching inner-city kids how to read, or some such nonsense.

Seek's avatar

^ Refresh for edit. I just realised I put a sentence in the wrong place. It’s fixed now.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr At first I was going to ask you why you would even use religious doctrine and tell @KNOWITALL to pray.

“If you don’t want to defend it anymore, ignore me and pray the Word:
Psalm 74:22 – “Arise, O God! Plead thine own cause!”

But then it all made sense,
“Arise, O God, plead thine own cause. Because if you’re the omnipotent one, I shouldn’t have to do so much damn work to defend you.”

I understand now that it seems to me like you have a chip on your shoulder, God wasn’t giving you what you wanted after all the time you had invested in Him you did not see results, so you abandoned Him because maybe that’s what you believe He did to you, I’m not sure but it’s just a guess and just a feeling I’m getting from reading in between the lines. And really your entitled to do what you please.

@JLeslie I was actually brought up in the Anglican church but when I turned of age to make my own decision I abandoned all church going and haven’t went so I do not practice the Anglican religion nor do I practice any other religion so I would say I’m no longer religious.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr But you keep hurting with your words and seem unable to stop yourself.

Your post earlier was nice and I thought, okay, let’s try this again, then you bash titheing and preachers like that, what’s going on?! Pick one, nice or rude. If you have been hurt by words in the past, why aren’t you more careful with yours?

My mother sacrifices so she can tithe and help others. Her little church is amazing and full of love, these people are not dupes that give their last $10 to the preacher to go molest some little kid, these are truly Christian people helping others.

Seek's avatar

@nofurbelowsbatgirl My own religious story is long, involved, and this is really not the venue. But the short version is that one day I got tired of defending God from logic. Either god exists or he doesn’t. Either the world was created by god or it wasn’t. If god exists, something had to create god, etc. Frankly, I realised something wasn’t adding up. It’s not an emotional reaction to an unanswered prayer, or a personal disappointment because I didn’t like being in trouble. It was a logical response to questions that demanded answers.

@KNOWITALL It disgusts me that the church gets to take money from people who can’t afford it, who for one reason or another don’t know better, and then doesn’t have to pay taxes on that income. It sickens me to see mega-churches with gagillionaire preachers who have done nothing to earn that lifestyle. So I will not apologise for those words. Not even a little.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL I realize it is with good intentions that they knock on my door. Well, I have friends who hated doing it as an obligation to their church, bit they are searate topic. I realize it is with good intentiones people want to show me the way to save my soul. I don’t doubt their intentions at all. I think the leaders of the church might have different intentions or supplemental intentions, but that is also a separate discussion.

I still don’t see why you take it so personally. I am not meaning to question your beliefs at all. I probably am more accepting of your catholocism than your family. I married a man who was Catholic, although he converted during our engagement, I never thought he would do such a thing, never would ask him to. I record the rosary for my MiL when she stays with us. I bought one of my dearest girlfriends a family bible when her second child was born. I like the saints and all that jazz. I don’t believe in it, but I like the concept. Although, I should add I have never encountered a Catholic who tried to convert me, or say their religion is the right one. I think Catholics have been persecuted enough also in America that most of them get that separation of church and state is pretty important. I would be willing to bet that when prayer or religion is mandated or in a school, they are not using a Catholic bible.

I believe many people are better people because of their faith. They tell me that, and I don’t question it.

See, I care about behaviors (very Jewish) while Christians seem to focus on accepting Jesus as their savior and declaring themselves Christians. I don’t mean all Christians are fake amd lying and just saying they believe Christ to be their Lord and Savior, I believe most Christians take it very seriously, and believe it to their core. Anyway, so I am talking about behavior, how we interact with each other within our society, respecting each others choices and beliefs. Imagine if Christians converted all Jews to Christianity. Who would rebuild the Temple for everyone’s salvation? ~ Maybe that is why now in history the Christians tend to leave the Jewish people alone.

JLeslie's avatar

@nofurbelowsbatgirl Are you in America?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr I think we’re taking it to the unproductive level. Rest assured, I won’t forget what we’ve discussed but I’m going to pray for you because for some reason, even though you’re done with God, I don’t feel like God is done with you. (insert scary music here- lol)

@JLeslie I have nothing against the Jewish people. My mom is part of Jews for Jesus, and i would love to see the Temple built. I just read Epicenter by Joel Rosenberg, which was fantabulous.

I’m done arguing, I’m tired.

Seek's avatar

@KNOWITALL As my t-shirt says: “You pray for me, I’ll think for you”.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL I have. Feeling you don’t have anything against any people based on religious affiliation. I am not even sure why you feel you need to reassure me.

I get the feeling @Seek_Kolinahr and I are very misunderstood here. I feel badly anything I have said might have upset you or make you feel on the defensive, to me I just feel like we are having a cnversation to learn about each other and the topics we each know about.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr I understand and I respect that. You aren’t the only person to have a long religious story. My story is also long. Unlike you I myself do not really have the questions that you do or did.

I have faith that there is a God and that in my times of trials and tribulations He was always constant. I do not see a cross as symbol to hate or to keep secret but a symbol that God is around. I teach my daughter about God and I do not scorn her for whatever religious road she chooses.

Of course I would love all my loved ones to be up in heaven but it is not my choice. And if God didn’t exist I have done no harm by following his word in fact by following his word it has made me a more peaceful, honest and caring person on earth so I believe it has helped rather than hindered.

@JLeslie you are not misunderstood. I once was not a believer in God. Only within the past 6+yrs have I realized otherwise.

Seek's avatar

@nofurbelowsbatgirl Do you allow your belief in god to determine how you vote on national and local policies?
Do you vote for anti-abortion laws? anti-gay marriage laws? anti-science laws? religious indoctrination in schools laws?

If so, I’m sorry, but you are doing harm. You may not be actively burning witches, but you are contributing to the establishment of a state religion.

JLeslie's avatar

@nofurbelowsbatgirl See, the heaven talk and that maybe some of your relatives won’t get there sounds very Christian, not just a belief in God, or a simple spiritualness.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr I do not and it does not. TBH I don’t vote, politics is a whole different story for which I have my reasons I guess you could say I have questions and maybe to some extent I believe it’s all a conspiracy. I mean, listen we all have the things we believe in and my choices may be different than yours, but I just don’t feel I need to defend it but then again we are a pretty defensive society, aren’t we?

Seek's avatar

((On my way home. Happy to continue in the AM))

KNOWITALL's avatar

Why would you ask those questions? Does your being an atheist have anything to do with the way you vote or live your life?

Understand if you answer yes, then you have no right to say we’re doing harm, because that is your opinion only.

If I choose to vote down Roe vs Wade because of my religious convictions, who are you to say I’m wrong if God says I’m right? I’m not saying I would, but believe me, I don’t support abortion, I support my sisters rights to make their own choices.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@nofurbelowsbatgirl Thanks for your comments. Someday we’re going to have to discuss your political issues my friend. Peace out all, I may get on later, but maybe not.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

@JLeslie I don’t think it sounds “Christian” but it sounds spiritual. People get defensive when I say what you pointed out about going to heaven. Like they think I’m trying to scare them, but honestly if you don’t believe it then there is nothing to be scared of. Heaven and hell as far as I knew that’s the general consensus you one place or the other that’s all I’ve ever learned and I’ve never stepped foot into a Christian church, I don’t even know anything about religions and all the different kinds, I know Anglican and I hated it.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

yes I’m scrambling getting ready to make supper and take the daughter out, continue later x

JLeslie's avatar

@nofurbelowsbatgirl Not scared. It’s just a judging God is usually tied to a religion.

I am not calling you Christian, I fully acceot however you identify yourself, which seems to be theist not associated with a religion, but what I am trying to point out to you is how you word it and what you believe sounds like you are a Christian. I assume you use those words or came to some of the conclusions you have because of your Christian upbringing. It’s not a cticism, I am trying to explain why possibly people might react to what you say.

mattbrowne's avatar

When reading the last 60 posts or so, I was reminded of my situation almost 4 years ago when I joined Fluther. I’m a Christian like you @KNOWITALL, and we were exchanging very similar arguments. I’m a German Protestant married to a German Catholic. I share most of @KNOWITALL‘s views and have wondered time and again, why there are so many super-heated debates. Well, when you meet new people expressing certain beliefs or world views, there are two things that can happen: you trust and respect them until proven otherwise – or you don’t trust them until they have earned your trust and respect.

It seems to me that very often when a new Jelly identifies him- or herself as a Christian, a significant number of atheists go into ‘alert mode’, often for good reason, because they have been hurt by Christians in the past. Of course the atheists know that not all Christians are alike, but until this newcomer Christian hasn’t proven that he or she doesn’t support anything that hurts people, the ‘alert mode’ doesn’t get switched off. It’s a little bit like for some people in Europe or Asia how they see Americans. They accept Americans once they’ve shown that they are not bad Americans.

This isn’t my approach. I’m a trust-people-kind-of-person until proven otherwise. I don’t tolerate intolerant Christians. I don’t tolerate intolerant Jews, Muslims or followers of whatever religion. I don’t tolerate intolerant people whatever their world view may be. I don’t tolerate people who hurt other people. People who have been hurt by Christians have every right to be angry.

I promote freedom of religion, which includes the freedom not to believe in a higher power or religious framework. I know the difference between a belief and a fact. I insist that we distinguish between spiritual truths (and there are many competing ones) and logical truths or scientific truths.

I vehemently object to altering the science curriculum, because of certain religious beliefs. This is dangerous and wrong. I know that there is zero scientific evidence for the existence of God. And I also know that there is zero scientific evidence that an explanation of the universe can also explain itself. We don’t know how to explain the explanation of our universe. When it comes to theorizing about an ultimate explanation we have two options: the ultimate meta-scientific explanation is self-referential or the ultimate meta-scientific explanation is not self-referential and cannot explain itself. These two views should peacefully coexist. We humans should accept that there are limitations to our knowledge.

Of course many principles that America was founded on come from the Judeo-Christian tradition. The Age of Enlightenment and modern science was inpired by the wish to understand God’s natural laws. There are numerous Christians and Jews who were and are outstanding scientists. It was Catholic priests who first proposed hereditary rules and the Big Bang. In fact, atheism, humanism and the secular state are the brainchildren of the Judeo-Christian tradition. Quakers were among the first whites to denounce slavery in the American colonies and Europe. Martin Luther King was inspired by his Christian faith to end segregation through peaceful means. He never, ever hurt a single atheist. Many Americans are unaware that the Protestant Church in East Germany was a key player in bringing down the Wall. Christians and atheists in East Germany worked hand in hand to end the totalitarian regime. They respected each other and organized demonstrations.

It also sickens me to see mega-churches with greedy preachers who mainly care about getting rich. I fail to see the connection to Jesus.

I also got many PMs from other Christians thanking me for expressing myself and my beliefs. I have many online friends who are Jews, Muslims, agnostics or atheists. I consider @Seek_Kolinahr and @JLeslie to be online friends.

I’m also active on Islamic website witnessing the battle inside Islam between modern Muslims who want reform and non-militant Islamists who are against change and who think of Christians as unbelievers. Religious debates on Fluther can get very heated. Because of my views of the totalitarian forms of Islam, I was once called a bigot and an idiot and an intellectual dwarf. I was so fed up with Fluther that I decided to stay away from it for a while. But one special Fluther friend convinced me to come back. I’m still against all forms of oppressive religions and I will not repress my viewpoints. I will continue to criticize intolerant and dangerous versions of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and others. In my personal life I have never experienced German Protestantism as oppressive or intolerant. Our teachers of religion encouraged us to fully express our doubts. They taught us how to distinguish between historical accounts and symbolic meanings like that of “talking snakes” or “walking on water”. They also introduced us to biblical hermeneutics and to methods of higher criticism that investigates the origins of ancient text in order to understand the world behind the text. We studied Feuerbach, Marx, Russell, Nietzsche, Sartre, Camus and others. We explored the differences between the various Christian denominations as well as other religions. In Germany, there isn’t a single Protestant or Catholic who knocks on people’s doors. The only ones doing that are the Jehova Witnesses. My first real experience with the dark side of Christianity was in 1988 in Kansas, where I studied as a graduate student – not at the university itself, but on television. I was so shocked by what some of the preachers were saying, I couldn’t really believe it at first. It was impossible to watch the program for more than five minutes. Some of the homophobic hate speech would actually be illegal in Germany, so I learned that freedom of speech in America has almost no boundaries.

Like society in general, open-minded religions continue to evolve. Here’s a more recent example from Germany:

“Gay and lesbian Lutheran ministers in the conservative German state of Bavaria may live with their partners in parish parsonages, but only if they enter into a state-sanctioned civil union. Officials conceded that the new policy could cause dissent among some of the church’s more conservative members. Over the course of time, society has become ever more liberal and open on this question, indeed much more liberal than church circles. In the meantime, I expect homosexual ministers to make their first focus on harmony in their community and church, putting it before considerations of their lifestyle.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/17/german-church-allows-gay-_n_784518.html

Maybe the quality of the debates between believers and atheists can evolve as well.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@mattbrowne Thanks Matt, I appreciate your post. These argumentative Q’s get frustrating and weigh on my heart.

JLeslie's avatar

@mattbrowne GA Matt. I think you are correct that many atheists and many jellies on fluther hear Christian and we kind of default to the person probably is right wing, prolife, etc until they prove otherwise. But, how do we get to know where the person stands without asking them questions? Asking the question is being willing to not sit with an assumption, but give the other person a chance to speak for themselves. I wish people would not feel a question means we are making an assumption. Also, if we know the jelly is indeed liberal on most issues, and we generalize about other Christians, I wish they would not feel offended. I don’t think Judi or Filmfann get offended, they also are annoyed with Christian, conservative, closed minded, follow the leader, judging people.

What should I do differently? Never use the term Evangelical Christian as a generalization or stereotype of people who are socially conservative? I try to remember to add the Evangelical, and I try to always say I don’t think all Christians are the same. I guess maybe I can say the people are right wing, or add a longer sentence of the specific views and actions: people who walk around saying God bless, and I’ll pray for you, and where do you go to church within 2 minutes of meeting you, rather than saying Christians. Oh, I have done that. Do I need to be that specific every time? Isn’t it understood within a conversation after I have specified what I mean? Having to be very careful with words can really retard a conversation. I think it is important to be polite and respectful, but at the same time being on eggshells means sometimes some things never get discussed. When someone generalizes about Jews, I might break it into religious Jews or Orthodox Jews vs reformed Jews etc. That is what I do by using Christians, vs. Right wing Christians or Evangelical Christians. Still within the groups there are individuals with their own minds of course.

Plus, being in the bible belt is just so different. I know you lived there, I don’t know if you spent much time in other cities outside of the bible belt in America? The difference is pretty vast in what is nornal to say and do in public when it comes to religion being injected into conversation.

PS: I’m glad you decided to come back :).

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie I personally don’t mind sharing my views on my religious and political leanings with anyone for an informative dialogue, and I love hearing other people’s views.

For myself, when I state I am Pro-Life, it starts getting nasty. Then I have to follow-up with another posts, saying I’m Pro-Life for me personally, but I respect my sisters choice for their own bodies.

In that particular case, which has came up often, I feel like I have to defend my beliefs and explain, then explain again, then it goes into another question. It gets tiresome.

Does it matter if I’m a good Christian or a bad Christian?
Does it matter if I’m a liberal Republican or a conservative Republican?
Does it matter to you if I am one of the Christians who think God loves gays and lesbians or if I’m one that believes it goes against everything the Bible says?

No one should have to prove they are worthy to be on fluther, to anyone of any religion or location. Even Christian conservatives who are Pro-Life, anti-SSM and follow the leader judgemental types are allowed to state their opinions on fluther.

So many Christians just don’t post back answers on Q’s, and knowing that, I would think everyone would try to be a little more polite/ neutral. Part of communication is listening to other people’s viewpoints, so if you are simply repeating your beliefs over and over, it really isn’t true communication.

I respect your right to post Q’s and answer as you see fit even if they bash my God and my religion, and when I post about how God has changed my life or worked miracles that to me are undeniable, I would appreciate being treated respectfully as well.

snowberry's avatar

I’ve been a member here for a while. It tiresome being called a “hater” or (insert whatever negative) because I believe something that doesn’t suit someone else. And just because I happen to be pro-life or don’t like who’s our president isn’t an affront to you (even if you choose to see it that way).

There are a lot of “haters” here. It’s why I rarely weigh in on questions about Christianity, and why I stopped posting at all for a while (sticking my neck out here). It’s also why so many Christians leave before very long. Let’s see how long it takes before I get hammered again.

Regardless whether I post or not, I stick around to support the few Christians who come here looking for actual help on something.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@snowberry Exactly, if we were all the same, how boring would that be?! Peace!

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL The problem is you are pro-choice with how the terms pro-life and pro-choice are defined for political reasons. You are pro-choice, but would never get an abortion yourself, and possibly you do actually feel it is a murder of a human life.

If you prefer to call yourself pro-life, which I fully support, don’t get me wrong, I describe a very close friend of mine as pro-life, but she votes pro-choice, because she is just like you, but I/you have to say the complete sentence, or for sure you will be misunderstood.

I see that you are interested in other religious views and open to hear everything,but I think where the problem is, not problem, I wish I had a better word, is you feel you need to defend the Christians who are not like you. You don’t. We are listening to your answers, getting to know you. Once you state your position, we don’tstilltry to put you back into the stereotypes or assumtptions we might have.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I do feel the need to defend my fellow Christians, this may sound kooky, but sometimes the closer you get to attaining a state of religious Nirvana, the Devil attacks and tried to bring you down. I think some Christians forget that and allow themselves to be diverted from the primary objective and they end up turning people off of God instead of leading them to God.

There’s a church in our area who welcomes gay people, but when I expressed my surprise and pleasure at hearing it, I was told they re-educate them to be hetero’s and they were very proud many are married now in hetero relationships. I was utterly disgusted and terrified at what they’re doing in God’s name. But ultimately, they will be judged just as I will be.

Yesterday was a turning point for me as well. Something in me felt broken down by you and Seek’s tag team, and especially Seek’s apology then immediately back into demeaning. I like you both, it has nothing to do with personality traits, it’s a respect issue. I can’t give it if I don’t receive it. I prayed last night for clarity and it came to me that if you all can have Q’s, then so can we. I do feel ours is much more pleasant and positive though, sometimes the Q’s for atheists are so incredibly sad to me, nothing to believe in, depression, snarkiness.

I am Pro-Life. Most people here know that my dad wanted me killed, and my mother wouldn’t allow it. I won’t tell a 10 yr old she has to have her daddy’s baby though, so for me, I have to be Pro-Choice to support my sisters.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL So, you feel we were disrespectful? I apologize if it came across that way. I am just stating my opinions, how things feel to me. How Christians make me feel when they say we live in a Christian Nation or want prayer in school. It is more about my feelings than attacking them. I wrote about them trying to put themselves in the other person’s place, because of how it makes me feel as the religious minority. I think if we spoke in person you would hear it in my tone maybe, which can be lost on the internet. If you saw me with my Christian friends you would see how much I support their faith. My husband believes in God, I never have and I predict I never will do anything to try and change that.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I did yesterday, yes, I even talked to my husband about it when I got home I was so upset, I logged back on at home and read him some of you and Seek’s posts.
I understand that politics is a strange animal, and that we have cranks and kooks all over the place, people conning people out of money in the name of God, people molesting children in the name of God, and it breaks my heart. Wisdom comes from knowing the difference, but in any case, God isnt to blame for anyone using his name in vain.

Moving foward I will make it a point to be clear and concise. You can always PM me too, it may be easier.

mattbrowne's avatar

Thank you for your positive response, @JLeslie.

Of course we need to get to know where people stand by asking them questions and that doesn’t mean that someone is making assumptions.

Most of the time I don’t get offended, but sometimes I do and we have to blame it on our human brain, because this is what we often remember most vividly months or years later. I joined the online Q&A world more than 6 years ago and was part of the wis.dm community which emigrated to Fluther when it was closed down. Maybe I was lucky, but most of the time people only attacked my arguments, but not me as a person. But when this happened too, the subject was religion. This is why I keep wondering how we can change that.

Being as specific as possible sometimes helps, but not always. There are even Evangelical Christians who differ from mainstream Evangelical Christians. But in general, choice of words matters. It’s my impression that some atheists enjoy adding fuel to the fire and they choose strong language on purpose. A good example in this thread is this:

“Belief in god is illogical, there is no evidence for any of it, and it leads to anti-science mentality.”

Let’s say from A follows B and I say from this I conclude that from B follows A, now that illogical. A statement like “belief in god is illogical” is an opinion, not a fact, and certainly not the result of logic. The statement like “belief in god leads to anti-science mentality” is definitely wrong. The statement like “belief in god can lead to anti-science mentality” is true.

Next example:

“When someone comes along, and claims to believe in a god, they are basically pulling their cock out, and threatening to piss directly in to the fountain of knowledge (science), the fountain that we all drink from.”

That’s just disgusting and one of the key reasons why debates can get very heated and nasty. And the claim cannot be backed up by data, by the way. George Lemaitre first proposed the Big Bang and he believed in God. He increased scientific knowledge. He did not piss on it. He did the very opposite of what is being claimed here.

“Belief in god and religion are basically a kind of virus of the mind.”

That’s equally hurtful. It depicts believers as people spreading HIV, the Bird flu or Ebola. Did Dietrich Bonhoeffer fight Nazism because he was spreading a virus? A better word than virus would be meme.

One last thing: The university town of Lawrence, Kansas is an island in the bible belt. It’s very liberal.

Plus, being in the bible belt is just so different. I know you lived there, I don’t know if you spent much time in other cities outside of the bible belt in America? The difference is pretty vast in what is nornal to say and do in public when it comes to religion being injected into conversation.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@mattbrowne Great answer as usual. I am in the bible belt, but I rarely talk about God to anyone outside my family, and have travelled on many occasions.

Actually several members of my family are agnostics and atheists, and they have trouble not being critical of Christians, too. It makes family relations difficult, just like it does fluther relationships,and I never start the arguments just so you know.

I’ve shared many issues on fluther about other subjects, but when you offer a response promoting the good parts of Catholicism or Christianity, we do get ugly responses, so we just stop usually.

It’s tiresome to keep backing down, and taking the high road, sometimes someone has to take a stand for what they believe. I’d like to think things may get better and we’ve all learned from these discussions about how to treat each other better.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

@mattbrowne GA! :) I appreciate it.

JLeslie's avatar

@mattbrowne Usually my goal is to understand, not to change minds. Learn about a religion, or how an individual believes, not change their mind. I think religion and faith are very personal things. So, then if I give my point of view, what is logical to me in terms of my belief system, it is just me explaining myself. I guess sometimes Christians don’t want to hear that, I need to gauge that better. Also, let’s say a current event topic like abortion or gay marriage come up. If I argue hard in favor of those, I think some Christians see it as an attack on their religion, which it is not really at all from where I sit, unless they are pairing the too together. I don’t care what their religion is, I care about the civil rights issue.

The examples you gave are of course horrible. All I cam think is maybe those people “protest too much.” Maybe they left God and religion because it treated them horribly in the past. Possibly they had horrible people in their lives that used religion as a tool to control and abuse. Or, maybe they just are uncivilized in general. But, there are also people on futher who will argue hard questioning God’s existence and want priif who are not rude, they are I think asking for themselves why? Why do you believe? It just doesn’t make sense in their brain. But, it can feel like an attack.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

@JLeslie Yes there are people who argue and want hard proof that God exists, but honestly all the proof in the world is not always enough for those people and even people who see things with their own eyes sometimes still don’t believe it. So the argument or debate is pretty much going to go nowhere and then the question might as well be about why the earth was formed, which no one can answer truthfully. So it becomes a debate just for the sake of a debate, and frankly I am sorry but I find that annoying. :/

JLeslie's avatar

The debate is to understand. If you don’t want to debate you have the right not to. For me it usually is not debate, just questions.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

I understand @JLeslie, by no means was I meaning to put you in that category. :)

mattbrowne's avatar

@JLeslie – Your level and standard of debate is exemplary! If some Christians don’t want to hear your point of view, that’s their problem, not yours. I always enjoy discussions with you.

Sorry about the very last part of my previous reply. I sometimes copy parts of texts that I want to reply to individually to avoid scrolling up and down. I this case I forget to remove the original “Plus, being in the bible belt”.

mattbrowne's avatar

@nofurbelowsbatgirl – The people who always insist on having proof for the existence of God usually don’t realize that science and math cannot know everything. We can even prove that science and math have inherent limitations. Yet, they keep on dreaming that some time in the future science can explain everything, as if it were just a matter of time. Every new scientific answer usually creates two new scientific questions or more. And the knowledge about the ultimate explanation is unreachable.

A spiritual truth is something very personal. It feels true for one person (“the Lord is my shepherd”), but feels not true for another person. Christians think of Jesus as the son of God. Muslims think of Muhammad as God’s last messenger. So we have two spiritual truths here and they both seem to be true from an individual point of view. As long as no one makes claims of absolute truths, atheists, Christians, Muslims and so forth can get along just fine.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie I enjoy talking to you, too, normally. It got weird the other day because I felt tag-teamed by you and Seek and some of things posted were a little far out, it just didn’t feel like an information exchange to me.

I think what I learned is that if you and I want to talk about religion, and someone else is chiming in to the point it’s no longer constructive or comfortable, I will ask you if we can PM. Peace.

LostInParadise's avatar

Truth matters only if it can be turned into action. Otherwise you are talking gibberish. I have asked people here how their religious beliefs affect what they do and have yet to receive an answer.

The problem is that certain religious beliefs can be turned into unthinking actions. For example, the Bible condemns homosexuaity so it is wrong. End of discussion. There is no room for compromise or consensus.

The Bible says that the Universe was created by God in seven days 5000 years ago. Any science that contradicts this prima facie wrong. Evolution should not be taught.

The problem is not belief in God, which in and of itself is inconsequential. The problem is the religious documents and interpretations that have been drawn up in the name of God.

mattbrowne's avatar

The Bible features a talking snake. Myth or historical account?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@LostInParadise That is the easiest answer for me to give. What God wants us to do is always subjective. Some people take the Bible literally, some allow thousands of years of evolution and science to override the book that was written so long ago by people interpreting Jesus and God, some people think God is real and the Bible is just a book.

How my religious beliefs affect my life is that I am a kinder, gentler person to people I meet. I look through a “third lense of scripture” when I deal with life in general, especially in the tough times. I practice random acts of kindness when I see it’s needed. I try to respect people’s personal rights, which to me is SSM, because I feel God is love, loves all His children, and we humans are not to judge each other.

Being exposed to many cultures, religions and people give me a more well-rounded view of my religion as well. I don’t cloister myself around other Christians, because even though the Bible says we need to fellowship with other Christians, which I do while NOT attending church, I also feel we need to fellowship more with non-Christians, because God specifically tells us they are the ones who need to know God, he came for the sinners, not the saved. Does that make sense, I haven’t had my coffee yet..lol

LostInParadise's avatar

If religion works to make you a better person then I am certainly not going to raise any objections. For my own part, I try to be a good person without the aid of religion. I would not have my name submitted for canonization, but I think I do an okay job of it. I do not see how I would behave any differently if I believed in God.

Seek's avatar

@mattbrowne I consider you a dear friend as well. Thank you.

@KNOWITALL If you feel your faith makes you a better person, more power to you – again, until that religion causes you to do something that hurts someone else (not saying you do. You know I have no problem with your political standpoint as I understand it). My beef is with people who assume that I must, by extension, be a bad person because I do not have religion. It also worries me that so many people actually believe that without their religion, they would be free to cause all kinds of societal harm, solely because the threat of hellfire was not hanging over their head. Like, ”* whew * I was totally going to burn down that guy’s house. Good thing Jesus wants me to love my neighbor.” Those people scare the shit out of me.

snowberry's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Wow. Those kind of people would worry me too! I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone like that.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL I thought when @Seek_Kolinahr wrote _I should hope that we could calmly continue to discuss the differences in our opinions without the result becoming little more than hurt feelings. We should both come away thinking, not crying.
If there is any way I can help this goal to come to pass, or anything I can do differently, please let me know._ It was written so beautifully. I just wanted to copy it here to remind you of our goal. Meaning @Seek_Kolinahr and I.

As I thought about this Q more, and I discussed it with someone else off this Q, I can’t help thinking that many Christians don’t want to have their faith and ideas questioned. They don’t mind hearing other points of view about other faiths and religions, but I think it is very troubling for them to hear what they believe themselves is not true or wrong. I don’t mean the person saying it is right, I only mean, Christians have trouble hearing the words God does not exist or we don’t need God in the public sector or science proves why a particular thing does not make semse in the bible. Especially, specifically, belief in God, because not believing in God would mean not being accepted by God I guess? A risk of not getting into heaven, not having God’s protection and love. Like I have people around me who believe it is important not to remove God from our lives because Ameruca is a special cou try that God watches over and when we don’t do as Jesus would want is, we risk America falling apart. These people when they hear talk of removing crosses out of public areas, and not allowing prayer, they worry about God’s wrath. I think it terrifies them. I have sympathy for thier fear. Am I way off in my thinking?

I believe if there is God, He would not punish someone for not believing. We are His children, he wants us to be well, happy, full of love. Like any parent His love for us would be pure and selfless. Demanding worship is not sefless. I believe He would care how we treat each other and ourselves most of all. Human being were created with a physical and pschological need for contact with each other. I think how we behave in our communities, whether the community be our families, friends, neighborhoods, towns, countries, or the world is what matters most.

JLeslie's avatar

@snowberry I once saw on TV a woman who is a conservative talking head on some show, I can’t remember, she comes on as a guest at times. Anyway, she was on The View I think, and she spoke of when she was about to have her 4th or 5th abortion (I honestly don’t remember the details well) the couple she was working for at the time asked her over na dover to go to church with them and not to abort. She did eventually go to church with them and decided not to abort. Now she is devout and extremely conservative. She said, “every day I choose to do the roght thing.” That sentence always makes me uneasy. I don’t fele that way at all. It might be semantics, but daily I do not feel like I have to choose to do the right thing. It is in me to do it. I am compelled to do it. I don’t struggle with it. It makes me glad that religion can do this for someone, someone who might otherwise make a lot of bad choices, and at the same time it troubles me there are people out there whose normal state seems to be to be bad. I don’t think all Christians who use that line literally have the devil on their shoulder all day. I realize it is also an expression in a way, but for some it appears they truly became much better people after accepting Christ, and in a way it troubles me. It means there is something wrong there, either in society, or something.

glacial's avatar

I really wish Fluther had an autosave feature!! This is my second try.

@snowberry I know that the most religious people (I’m talking about the serious evangelists) I have known do believe that atheists have no sense of morality. Questions like these on Fluther reinforce this idea:

http://www.fluther.com/83880/do-atheists-have-less-constraints-on-their-morality-than-theists-do/

http://www.fluther.com/87264/can-you-trust-an-atheist-to-watch-your-house-for-the/

http://www.fluther.com/122683/why-should-one-be-moral-without-a-god-or-religion/

Now, do I actually believe that a theist would burn his neighbour’s house down if not for god? No, of course not. I think everyone has some kind of moral code of their own. But when a theist denies that such a moral code can exist without god, then he makes himself look rather brutish. The implication is that he would run amok if not constrained by god’s rules.

All of which is to say… no, you probably don’t know anyone like that. But I wonder if perhaps you might know a few who, by insisting that atheists are not moral, sound a little dangerous to an atheist’s ear. You know?

KNOWITALL's avatar

I am firmly convinced I’m a better person because of God, my religion.

Frankly, here on fluther, it gets a little tiring explaining to various people of differing opinions. I’ve tried to be patient, I’ve tried explaining, it gets to the point that questioning turns into rude interrogation in my humble opinion, that’s when I get upset. In future, I hope we can discourse as well. I would think after hearing so many people this weekend say they feel the same as I do, or similar, that would prove I’m not alone in my feelings.

Also, I don’t believe God is necessary for people to be good or do good things. I know many good people who aren’t Christians. Peace.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL My point was some Christians do seem to need God to be good. I never thought you thought all people need God to be good.

I was wondering if you could explain how exactly it makes you feel when you hear others feel as you do? As an atheist, I like knowing others feelmas I do, I feel not alone, I get that. But, I wondered is it anything more for you? I find the Q interesting when people spoke about why they believe. There seemed to be a sort of rejoicing of the like mindedness.

mattbrowne's avatar

@LostInParadise – I totally agree that religion is not a requirement for being a good person. It’s a good option for some people and it’s not a good option for other people.

Since you aspire to be a good person, I have to point out that part of your comment above was unfair and hurtful. I am referring to this part

“The Bible says that the Universe was created by God in seven days 5000 years ago. Any science that contradicts this prima facie wrong. Evolution should not be taught.”

You imply that the only way to read and understand the Bible is that of a small child or narrow-minded adult who believes in talking snakes and people walking on water. Just because some people can’t grasp the notion of myths and parables, you can’t conclude that the Bible is to be interpreted that way. Of course evolution can be taught. The official understanding of the 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide is that the Earth is 4.5 and the universe is 13.7 billion years old. The formation of the Earth took millions of years, not seven days. A day in Genesis doesn’t stand for 24 hours, and the talking snake isn’t meant to be a real talking snake. It has a deeper symbolic meaning.

I mentioned this before: myths are about the human struggle to deal with the great passages of time and life—birth, death, marriage, the transitions from childhood to adulthood to old age. They meet a need in the psychological or spiritual nature of humans that has absolutely nothing to do with the recollection of historical events.

So please, if you truly want to be a good person, don’t make all religious believers look like fools. The people of the bible belt in the US are a tiny minority out of the 2 billion Christians worldwide. In Europe creationists are almost non-existent. Europe has a population of 740 million people, the majority Christians. The world is more than the United States.

Seek's avatar

@mattbrowne Unfortunately, there are many atheists, myself included, whose lives are directly affected by those Southern US Bible Belt fanatics. Those who read the Bible for the wisdom it contains (even I’ll admit there is some), and discard the nonsense, I’m perfectly fine with.

However, if you (the hypothetical “you”, of course) are going to profess that the Bible is the Word of God, and as such is complete and perfect, yes, I will take issue. Because at that point you either believe the Bible is literally true and have closed your eyes to reason, or you have a liberal amount of White-Out on those onion-skin pages.

Not only do we have to deal with the tiny minority, but the moderate majority supports them, votes for them, and argues on their behalf. The nonreligious in my country at least are a large, but unorganized, minority. We have no one to speak for us, no dog in the fight. We have religious fundamentalists writing laws stating that our kids can’t graduate high school without pledging allegiance to God and Country, and on top of all that, we’re being accused of being “mean and hurtful” when we speak out against it.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie It’s getting more rare for people to talk about religion, especially after Obama’s re-election last year. Let me explain.

As you know religion has been and remains an issue you don’t really discuss in public or sometimes even with friends. So many of us, especially the large percentage of Christans who no longer believe in established churches, have no one except close friends or family to share with about our religion.

So in a forum like this, where many have felt unable to openly express their joy or even state their religion, it is a joyful thing for us to be able to talk and share, and like everyone else, it’s nice to have like-minded people around you. And there is obvious proof in forums that it is never twenty Christians needling an atheist or a Muslim. Not that I’ve ever seen anyway.

Due to the political scene, many Christians who vote Republican are put in this little box which is hating gays, being anti-abortion, along with other generalizations which simply aren’t true, so talking about it can get rather negative and frustrating. As I’ve tried to explain before, sometimes it’s very tough, because I have to pick the party that MOST represents my feelings about the world stage, national stage, plus is closest to my religious beliefs.

I hope that helps explain a little better.

@mattbrowne Just a small note that the city closest to my suburban haven has over 100 churches of all denominations and religions, including a mosque, so not all in the ‘bible belt’ are Christians.

Seek's avatar

@KNOWITALL Do you understand that, even if they may not openly agree with the “hating gays and anti-abortion” stuff, they are by default supporting those viewpoints by voting for people who campaign on those viewpoints.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr I do, yes, but in a democracy that is part of the voting process. I weigh many factors, it’s not just about abortion or just about our country’s foreign policy.

I wish I could help you understand, that this big melting pot called America encourages us to vote based on our perceptions of issues, and how they’ll affect the lives of our people.

You simply can’t force people to study issues or candidates, or past voting records, or to even think before they vote. I personally didn’t vote for Obama based on my beliefs, but I certainly didn’t vote Republican simply because of religious leanings, I can promise you that.

Seek's avatar

And you cannot expect me to be happy with the fact that a person’s laziness, ignorance, or self-centeredness is driving them to make decisions that remove other people’s Constitutional rights and cause negative effects on their lives.

You’ll note that Republican laws never seem to cause any discomfort to “good” Christians. Ever. As long as you’re rich, white and Christian – and in most cases, any two of the above will be enough – Republicans bend over backwards to make you happy.

I am certainly never going to sit back and accept discrimination as an expression of “religious tolerance”. I hope I’m never so tolerant that I tolerate intolerance.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL It troubles me that Obama is seen as the turning point. I don’t evem understand that to be honest. When I lived in NC back in 1999–2000 Christians still talked to me about feeling oppressed and hated. I feel it is in their head more than other people’s heads. It has more to do with politics. The religious right wants to limit the rights of gay people and women. I know there are varying perceptions on either side about whether it is right or not or unfair or not. Still, it is the religious part of the Republican party that drives these issues. When NY passed gay marriage I remember reading a quote by one of the republicans who voted in favor of gay marriage saying basically he can’t vote anymore just to please his right wing constituents. I’m paraphrasing. It meant to me probably a whole bunch of republican politicans don’t agree with the reigious right, but still cater to them. The very right wing Jews are the same, it is not just Christians, it is why I say religious right, not Chritian right. I think there are a lot of Christians who don’t agree with the religious right on poltical issues, but are too afraid to say it out loud, the more people who would say it, the more people will say it. People feel safety in numbers, but someone has to start.

Right now Republicans are limited in who they cam choose from, because everyone is playing to the religious right. Romney went from being pro-choice, because a young female reative in the female died years ago from a botched abortion, to pro-life when he had to play to the national scene. I figure 50% of the republican party is very religious and votes based on their religion.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Well, I’m not ignorant or lazy, and I still voted Republican. I can’t change the democratic process and wouldn’t want to even though Obama was re-elected.

Some of us, Republicans, are liberal some are conservative. Some are liberal about abortion but are more concerned with foreign policy (which also ties into religion btw), and others about the fiscal state of the nation, or the global environment. The parties vary on each issue, not just one.

Rich, white and Christian didn’t win this last election either. The party has to change and I think they know it, whether they will remains to be seen, but they are pushing the envelope for a lot of us.

I really don’t want to see abortion rights revoked because I feel like more people will be in mortal danger, but it’s always an issue, and if the candidate is Pro-Life they automatically gain support just by declaring it. Of course the community normally will not back them unless they are endorsed by Right To Life, which researches past votes and existing records on file.

Hopefully you both, as women, can understand that for me as a Christian woman, to pronounce to everyone that Liberals are correct and should be allowed to abort as many babies as they want due to their lack of personal responsiblity, what a hypocrit I would be, even to myself. I don’t want babies aborted and I think it’s wrong.

Saying something is okay with me personally in some circumstances (like rape or incest) is much different than saying I will endorse abortion, endorse Planned Parenthood getting federal funding, and go completely against one of God’s commandments that he specifically gave to Christians. That is the plain truth ladies, like it or not, religion affects politics and unless you accept it, you can never change it.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

@mattbrowne I think what you are referring to is etiology. I have already left this comment on another question but what you are referring to reminds me of the story of Lot’s wife turning into a pillar of salt. I believe this is an etiological story meant to explain the existence of the salt pillars which ironically look like human formations it also provides a moral lesson. And yes I copied that from my other answer :/ lol

There are many terms in the Bible that do not hold the same literal meaning as what we use them for. I think people can find that somewhat disconcerting and confusing. So I get what you are saying.

@JLeslie I live in Ontario and I’m proud to say we just received a new Premiere into office and am proud that she is our first ever lesbian Premiere and has a supportive wife.

Seek's avatar

That doesn’t even make sense.

No, I will not accept it.
Yes, I will fight to change it.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr If it doesn’t make sense then tell me which part of it didn’t and I can help you understand even if you don’t agree. I won’t even try to change your mind. :)

Seek's avatar

unless you accept it, you can never change it.

When intolerance is accepted, it becomes the status quo, and thus becomes harder to change.

Just this past election, I had to vote against the “Religious Freedom” amendment.

What did this amendment mean? Don’t let the title fool you. It was intended to allow taxpayer funding for religious schools. So instead of the paltry sum Florida public schools actually get, that pie will be sliced even thinner with the other money going to such institutions as Berean Academy, which doesn’t even offer science classes, forces religious indoctrination classes, and requires teachers to have a pastor “sponsor” their employment.

Thank the gods (ha ha) enough of us Liberals voted that crap down.

Unfortunately, we weren’t so lucky with the “Defense of Marriage Act” or the “Marriage Protection Amendment”. And since we have such a high number of primarily non-English Speaking citizens in this state, the Red Team kind of relies on vague or downright misleading titles in order to get unfavorable amendments passed.

KNOWITALL's avatar

That people’s religion or lack thereof affects their votes is a fact to me.

So let me ask you this, if the Religious Freedom amendment passed, would you be as upset as we were when PP got it’s federal funding? Isn’t this tit for tat immature? It drives me crazy that we play these stupid games with our country/ people.

Again, if people like us can’t find a middle ground, how can Congress with all the money they play with at stake?

Seek's avatar

Planned Parenthood provides necessary medical care to millions of women every year who could not otherwise afford medical care. It is an instrumental asset to a country in which healthcare is a for-profit business. Abortion consists of less than 3% of its total business. 35% is for contraception (which I mention because you’re Catholic. I simply consider contraception to be basic health care). The rest – that being the majority of its business goes to HIV screening, reproductive cancer screening for men and women, treatments for STDs and menopause, and counseling. 75% of Planned Parenthood customers are at 150% or less of the poverty level.

NOT funding this service would be a crime against humanity.

Funding religious private schools is a crime against education and a violation of church/state separation.

I see no “tit for tat” as the two are fundamentally unrelated.

KNOWITALL's avatar

For someone who is balking about seperation of church and state, asking me to pay part of the bill for even one abortion is not cool. Praying in school isn’t terminating a life.

I was young and needed low cost annuals and went to our local OACAC office which does everything above except abortions or abortion referrals. There are more options than PP.

Seek's avatar

I have no idea what OACAC is, so I cannot comment.

Praying in school is not illegal. Pray all you want. I used to.

Instituting a prayer requirement is, and should be. Forcing atheist students to take a religious oath in order to get their high school diploma is a violation on many levels, not the least of which is teaching them that an oath is meaningless, and telling a blatant lie to get what you want out of life is not only essential, but expected.

These laws are pointless. They do not enhance education. They take away class time, they reduce funding intended for education, and they single out students for discrimination.

No one is writing a law stating children cannot pray if they so desire and if it does not disrupt class time. No one is writing a law demanding that all students put their hand on Of the Origin of Species and proclaim an oath against Creationism.

It’s a school. School is for learning the practical and social sciences and gaining functional literacy. It is not for prayer, evangelism, preaching, sermonizing, or even meditation.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr I have to admit, that doesn’t sound cool.

The Prayer Requirement is allowing meditation due to school violence though right, so it’s not forced prayer, just reflection or meditation, or am I misreading?

I can’t open that second one, but later I’ll see what I can google.

Seek's avatar

Here’s the the proposition on the books:

I, _______, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge these duties; So help me God.

“Nothing says ‘I take this obligation freely’ quite like a state law that withholds your diploma unless you swear an oath.”

There is currently no excusal provision. Though even if there were, I would still take issue with the fact that students who are either non-religious or of a religion that does not allow oath-taking, or even non-American citizens were being singled-out as “different” – that swearing an oath of fealty to God and Country is the default position.

cazzie's avatar

Can anyone else see that these ‘proposals for legislation’ are nothing more than vote grabs? I think they do a disservice to both the office from which it sprouts from and the section of the voter public it is trying to pander to. Both should feel a sense of disappointment.

cazzie's avatar

(and I love my heritage and what my forebears experienced thanks to the USA, but I will never put my hand on my heart and pledge allegiance to ‘One Nation, Under God’. It was put in as a vote grab during the ‘Duke Nuke-em’ and ‘better-dead-than-red’ anti-communist propaganda crap that went on during the Eisenhower/McCarthy 1950’s.

KNOWITALL's avatar

What I try to imagine, as I say things are fair or unfair, is how would I feel if I had to pledge allegiance to ‘One Nation, Under Satan’, and I believe you have every right not to say it @cazzie.

cazzie's avatar

@KNOWITALL the test shouldn’t be ‘under satan’.... it should simply be without it…. it loses nothing it didn’t have before and it is more true to the original intent. In chemistry terms, we use litmus tests and they are generally compared to the neutral, not the opposite. The opposite often has little or no meaning to the standard that is being tested.

Seek's avatar

For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t take the oath if the word “god” never appeared. It’s still pledging an oath under duress. It’s the educational equivalent of holding a gun to a person’s head.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@cazzie I was thinking of it from the religious pov, trying to see how I would feel if I didn’t believe in the Deity’s power. At least I agree with you on something- lol

@Seek_Kohlinar True. And there’s not liberty for all either. We’re hopelessly divided as well.

cazzie's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr The weird thing is that the US government is a bit like that. Need I remind you what the original salute was to the flag, during the pledge? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bellamy_salute
It dropped from favour sometime during the early 1940’s, I think…. wonder why?

cazzie's avatar

@KNOWITALL Not believing in the deity’s power is not the same as believing in ‘satan’.

Seek's avatar

Yeah, think of something slightly less Judeo-Christian.

“so help me Quetzalcoatl”,
“so help me Kahless”,
“so help me Viracocha”,
“so help me Tony Soprano”...

cazzie's avatar

hahha, @Seek_Kolinahr I don’t think those comparisons are very nice or respectful, but I see what you are getting at. She is looking for comparison that she can relate to with regard to the fairness of how she regards the oath. Obviously, god, to her… is a capital G. That’s fine. So, I will use that too. It is her God. He is held in the highest regard. That is amazing. Nothing higher to regard than God, for her. So, ‘One nation, under God’ means that the entire nation is under God’s watch and protection. He’s the man at the door who sees all and to whom all must abide, even The Dude. What I’m saying is that rather than using the complete opposite, ‘One nation under Satan’... because really, who wants that? He’s the bad guy. He never wins. He’s been cast out and is simply evil. He probably kicks puppies. I don’t want a nation under someone who kicks puppies. Nobody wants that. So, how about we try, ‘I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.’ Which was the original wording. Only problem is, it was accompanied by a crazed fervour for nationalism and it was the equivalent of a marketing promotion for a children’s magazine. What might be more appropriate to substitute is the Mickey Mouse Club salute and see how that suits.

Seek's avatar

Now it’s time to say goodbye
To all our company
M-I-C
See you real soon!
K-E-Y
Why? because we love you.
M-O-U-S-E.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@cazzie “Was” accompanied? You know statistically military forces are made of a majority of Republicans. God, country, family. Patriotism. Flags. Guns. Used to be that patriotism was not a dirty word or politically incorrect.

cazzie's avatar

@KNOWITALL you lost me… which ‘was’ are you referring to?

cazzie's avatar

OH…. WAS accompanied by a crazed fervour…..

cazzie's avatar

Yes, I am talking about a particular set of circumstances that gave rise to a sudden, nationalistic fervour.

KNOWITALL's avatar

All I am trying to say, is it’s not always a bad thing to love God and Country, people have been doing it a long time now. Just seems like trying to make everyone happy via political correctness has gotten a little out of control, that’s all.

Back in my school days we pledged allegiance to the flag and it was no big deal. Then some parents didn’t like it and said so, now it’s like everything has to have the entire Nation’s approval or it’s a huge ordeal. Like lawsuits opening the door, so did this issue to me.

cazzie's avatar

It is absolutely not bad to love your country or your god. My only point is that, often, when allegience is pledged, we forget the ideals and tend to follow the megalomaniacs who have whipped up the fervour and who want a hypnotised and/or scared public. You want to bring up Hitler? Now is the time. Hitler LOVED pledges of allegience.

cazzie's avatar

Military forces, good on them, may have their political leanings, but as a citizen, I surely would not want the armed forces to display their preference for one political party over another in any way other than what is afforded any other citizen. Anything else, I believe, is called a ‘military coup’ and tends to be looked down upon by democracy standards. I also resent the fact that because I may speak against some voices of the government, that I am not a patriot or somehow lack love for my country. I do not subscribe to the axiom, ‘My country, even when wrong must be right, because she is my country.’ I will poke, I will write, I will speak and I may even shout when I feel there is something wrong. The voice of dissent is important and will NOT be belittled by name calling or bullying.

JLeslie's avatar

Under God was officially added in 1952, but had been added by various groups on their own in the 40’s. Under God separated us from the Godless Russian Communists, and President Eisenhower was all in favor of adding God basically stating belief in God helps us in Peace and war. Something like that. I read about it a long time ago. Most American children learb and say the pledge, not just soldiers. It is still recited in the majority of our schools every day.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

I’m still not sure what the big deal is about politics and God.

JLeslie's avatar

@nofurbelowsbatgirl Do you live in America?

LostInParadise's avatar

@mattbrowne , I did not mean to paint all Christians with one brush. My point is that beleif in God in itself makes no difference. The problem is with religious interpretation. I used some admittedly extreme examples to make my point. The people who hold such beliefs may be in the minority but their numbers are not insignificant. There is, for example, a Creation Museum in Kentucky. A Federal court overturned a school district’s decision to teach intelligent design. There is a large number of people here who do not believe in evolution

Seek's avatar

@KNOWITALL Pledging allegiance to God and Country is not at all bad, unless you have no option to choose otherwise.

Again, an oath taken under duress is not valid. And I would argue that an oath taken without knowledge of the implications is not valid either.

Does a five year old reciting the pledge know what he is promising? Is he capable of making the decision to do so? or are we simply using the industrial educational institution to to indoctrinate our children into unquestioning patriotism?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr I agree with that completely.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

@JLeslie No I live in Ontario Canada where I am happy to say we just received a new Premiere into office and am proud that she is our first ever lesbian Premiere and has a supportive wife.

JLeslie's avatar

@nofurbelowsbatgirl Well, in America religion and politics is all entangled, because we basically have a two party system, and one of the parties, the Republican, talk about Christian values constantly and are guided by their church for who to vote for and what to vote for. Literally, shockingly to me, where I live in the bible belt the politicans run ads talking about religion and family and that is why you should vote for them.

JLeslie's avatar

Too late to edit. Not the entire Republican party, but that part is considered the base of the party and they are catered to.

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