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Ear to the Ground

Atheists Know More About Religion Than the Pious

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Posted on Sep 28, 2010
James Jacques Joseph Tissot

Well, this is awkward. The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life undertook a study in which nonbelievers correctly answered more religious knowledge questions than the devout. Mormons and Jews also scored well and, like atheists, know more about Christianity than Christians.

Here are some of Pew’s surprising findings:

More than four-in-ten Catholics in the United States (45%) do not know that their church teaches that the bread and wine used in Communion do not merely symbolize but actually become the body and blood of Christ. About half of Protestants (53%) cannot correctly identify Martin Luther as the person whose writings and actions inspired the Protestant Reformation, which made their religion a separate branch of Christianity. Roughly four-in-ten Jews (43%) do not recognize that Maimonides, one of the most venerated rabbis in history, was Jewish.

In addition, fewer than half of Americans (47%) know that the Dalai Lama is Buddhist. Fewer than four-in-ten (38%) correctly associate Vishnu and Shiva with Hinduism. And only about a quarter of all Americans (27%) correctly answer that most people in Indonesia—the country with the world’s largest Muslim population—are Muslims.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 12, 2010 at 5:14 pm Link to this comment

Throwing ones toys must be the only point the Pious can conjure up? Facts must have freedom from opinion, something the Pious seem not capable.

Calling Harris names and making grandiose statements about how one can win a debate with Harris, seems an extension of the multitude of delusions already entrenched in Pious closed minds.

If indeed the majority of our nation is religious and actually believe the 3000 year old myths and fables indoctrinated to them, I can only say this country is doomed to a fate it most probably deserves!  Ostracizing people for not attending church is not unheard of! It seems Atheists and others may be added to the plight of the gay community!

One sided intolerance of Religion seems most bigoted, hypocritical and of course insane to the nonbeliever! The Myths are stories not any more real than Harry Potter, though the Pious believe otherwise…... Such is madness of the insanely Pious!

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By Joan, October 12, 2010 at 5:11 pm Link to this comment

Harris was deeply offended and concerned after the 9/11 attacks, rightfully so. He felt called to action and attempted to address the issue of religious fanaticism by evaluating religion but his books are not as much about religion as they are about what we think we know is true about the world.

His thesis is roughly that it is silly and dangerous to believe in religion because its content is not provable, empirically verifiable, or highly probable. 

He works on the tacit assumption that in the grand scheme of things that every thing we can know about man and his world is empirically verifiable or minimally stated in the context of a probable outcome. The glitch in his argument is that this tacit assumption, that all knowledge lends itself to proof or probability is that it is conjecture, unproven and there is now way to date to know if it is even probably true or even remotely true. It is poor argumentation to build your positions on unproven claims. The argument becomes a house of cards.

On a different note, say I am being magnanimous and going along with Harris and agree that all we can know lends itself to verifiability or probability. And I further stipulate, after throwing back a few well built Guinnesses, that our emotional or psychological experiences are a result of lighting up the old brain board and the chemicals flowing around there hither and yon.  So I describe this scenario to Harris for him to chew over.

Picture this: There’s a new mother in cold, cold January. She is all toasty and warm in her bed when darling little Johnny, cute as a button he is, wails away at 2AM, needing a new diaper and mother’s milk. Mom’s brain circuitry is now a thousand points of light, some telling her to rollover and go back to bed others, to go take care of the baby. My question to Harris is how those thousand points of light are converted to the energy to execute either choice. From whence comes the energy commanded by those thousand points of light, the energy manifested physically by changing that diaper and feeding baby. Is it stored up? I never have heard a surgeon say…I’m always extra careful when I do spinal surgery because that’s where our energy is stored etc. How do those thousand points in the brain transpose into spontaneous energy/kinetic energy, if you will? 

To me it seems we are energy if we are nothing else. When the energy vanishes, we are dead. So how does that energy come to be from those thousand points of light? How is it conjured up by those lights?

I tell Harris even if we are responding to brain chemistry like victims of vampiric hypnosis, how does he locate and identify that energy that is manifest through movement? If you can’t see it directly, how can you say it’s there? If you can’t observe it directly, how can you make a science about it beyond knowing that one minute the energy is there and the next it is not…pretty thin science of what makes man tick. Are you reduced to accepting the presence of the life energy by inference alone and not direct perception of it? If so, there are those arguments of God’s existence based on inference.     

I commend Harris for fighting the good fight after 9/11. Who didn’t want to put an end to that aberrant behavior? He has about as much chance of eliminating God as a strategy to end religious terrorism as Senator John East in the’80’s had in pinpointing when life began to end the abortion controversy.

I think Harris’ time would have been better spent had he approached the problem of religious fanaticism from a moral point of view rather than an epistemological one. All he has to do is argue that killing innocent people in God’s name is a moral offense of the highest order. There are any number of appealing arguments to back his position and he would have had the support of the faith based instead of alienating them. He’d be like Jefferson. It doesn’t matter what he personally believes; he just needs the backing.

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By elisalouisa, October 12, 2010 at 4:27 pm Link to this comment

Against quoting from David Bentley Hart’s Atheist Delusions p. 220.

“Sam Harris shrieking and holding his breath and flinging his toys about in the expectation that the adults in the room will be cowed.”

Perhaps he brought his pacifier with him or his security blanket?

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 12, 2010 at 3:22 pm Link to this comment

Well petulant assertions seem nothing more than shrill petulant assertions? Maybe a specific not so petulant assertion on from the accusations end of opinion would be nice, well for clarities sake? I see,..... attack the message as not being a great philosophical or historical sophistication, now I understand the blatant pomposity displayed with constant narcissist unrestrained gusto by the Pious, they feel threatened? Using unreason or trite comments to support fables is most becoming, especially if one has a favorite myth to protect.

So according to the Pious on Harris’s book;

“It is a book that in itself should not detain anyone for very long. It is little more than a concentration of shrill, petulant assertions, a few of which are true, but none of which betrays any great degree of philosophical or historical sophistication.”

Yes, I can see the philosophical sophistication oozing from the Pious, it is most ugly to watch, I will cover me eyes to protect myself from the feces not sticking to the wall!

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By elisalouisa, October 12, 2010 at 3:07 pm Link to this comment

As David Bentley Hart in Atheist Delusions tells us concerning Sam Harris’s The End of Faith “It is a book that in itself should not detain anyone for very long. It is little more than a concentration of shrill, petulant assertions, a few of which are true, but none of which betrays any great degree of philosophical or historical sophistication.”
Yes Maani, it would be “no contest” were you to debate Sam Harris. No wonder he refused to accept. Joan would be a great addition as a commentator.

ITW You chose to be picayunish about a minor point, ignoring the meat of my post.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 12, 2010 at 2:21 pm Link to this comment

Maani – “Me thinks you give Harris a tad more mental power than
he deserves.”
 

If it is only a tad, Maani, I certainly won’t worry about it.  Like your
cohorts, you push whatever anyone says who doesn’t agree with you
to some absurdity.

” Or are you suggesting that he is the be-all and end-all of
knowledge or “mental ability” when it comes to reason vs. faith?”
 

I am not suggesting anything of the sort.  I am suggesting he has an
excellent grasp of the language as well as logical structure, he is a Ph.D.
in the sciences so has keen knowledge of his field and his premises are
ones I agree with.  I don’t pray at all, maani.  I find no need to.  Whatever
I get out of this life will be from my own self-reliance and others who are
compassionate on my behalf.  There have been many who love me for what
I am not what they think I ought to be.  Both religious and non-religious
friends and relatives.  I couldn’t ask for a better set nor ask for anything
more from them.

I don’t know manni, maybe Sam Harris is afraid of you?  But you could
send Harris an email with your challenges.  He answers what comes to his
website.  Check it out:  email:
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  and
web: http://www.samharris.org/ 
I’d be interested in what you might challenge him with.  Also at his website
there is a forum on which you can voice your reservations, questions, or
disputes in public and a open-air challenge is something he could hardly
ignore.  Of course you would have to put together something coherent!  You
could even take your argument with him to Leefeller and myself to answer
best we could, both of us have a high opinion of Sam Harris’s ability to think
and evaluate the religious situation.  Well, Maani, we all know how
unintentionally comical Joan, and elisalouisa can be.  She and EL could be
your cheering peanut gallery!  I would not take sides, I swear.  I would be an
objective bystander.  I cannot speak for Leefeller.  Give it some thought!

The following TED video is a typical lucid Harris lecture.
http://www.ted.com/talks/sam_harris_science_can_show_what_s_right.html
Sam Harris: Science can answer moral questions

His bio says he attended Stanford University as an English major, but
dropped out of school.  He also studied with “several meditation masters”
in the Buddhist traditions.  After eleven years he returned to Stanford and
completed a B.A. degree in philosophy.  Then in 2009 he obtained a Ph.D.
degree in neuroscience at University of California, Los Angeles, using
functional magnetic resonance imaging to conduct research into the neural
basis of belief, disbelief, and uncertainty.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 12, 2010 at 1:56 pm Link to this comment

If by chance any person I happen to know, flattered themselves as much as Manny constantly portrays to himself here on this thread, I would bring out my old pig training split bamboo stick and slap them aside their pompous head so they would give it up!

FYI: A split bamboo stick makes a loud slapping noise which gets the attention of pigs, porcupines and imbeciles and it always hurts me more than it does them, it has something to do with the slapping noise!

I can see a Harris debate with Parsing Manny, it would be a Maany grammar parsing fest. destroying the context of anything Harris stated Maany parsing ad nasturtium, into tiny little itty bitty peaces down to the Manny level of nonsense, unfortunately Manny nonsense is incoherent to just about anyone with the capability of deductive reason or even a few people with an extra hole in their head!

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By Maani, October 12, 2010 at 1:15 pm Link to this comment

She:

“Let there be no mistake that no one here has shown they have the mental ability to put Sam Harris in his place. To think so, or worse, to say so, is not only imprudent, it is moronic.”

Methinks you give Harris a tad more mental power than he deserves.  Or are you suggesting that he is the be-all and end-all of knowledge or “mental ability” when it comes to reason vs. faith?

Leefeller all but “worships” him (“Sam Harris is a Hero in my book and a person whose work I find so very enlightening, I hang on his every word.”)

Do you also pray at the altar of Harris?

As I noted, I have formally challenged Harris to debate three times, and he has refused to accept.  And if I am an “imprudent moron” for even THINKING of debating him, why on earth would he be so reticent to debate me?

At the risk of immodesty, not only do I believe I could give him a run for his money (I already did it with Victor Stenger), but I daresay Joan would have the audience all but laughing at some of Harris’ positions and comments.

Peace.

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By Inherit The Wind, October 12, 2010 at 12:34 pm Link to this comment

Frankly, ITW, I don’t get the impression that you have much regard for Christians, especially Catholics, or for that matter followers of any religious organization.
************************

Not true.  I have no less regard for Christians or Catholics, than I do for Muslims, Jains or Hindus, Buddhists or Wiccans.  It is merely that Christians have, by proximity, had a far greater effect on my life than the others, with the possible exception of the religion I was nominally born into, Judaism.

If you had written it…“Frankly, ITW, I don’t get the impression that you have much regard for… any religious organization.” I would agree with you.  To which I would add…“Well, DUH!!!! I’m Agnostic!  I don’t accept ‘faith’ as a valid form of knowledge.”

I’ve already said that.  Repeatedly.

You seem to have trouble getting this.  I’m reminded of the roof-top scene in “The Odd Couple” where Oscar keeps telling Felix to leave and Felix keeps saying “I’ve half a mind to leave”.  Oscar finally says “Why can’t he hear me. I know I’m speaking. I recognize my voice.”

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By elisalouisa, October 12, 2010 at 11:11 am Link to this comment

People involved in the formation of the States and beliefs of those people as to what our country stood for would matter to our Founding Fathers. Isn’t that what this country is about? The Preamble to the Constitution, WE THE PEOPLE, Yes, I realize that is not part of the Constitution.  My point is that the founding fathers took into consideration the beliefs and wants of the people involved in the founding of this country. They did not consider themselves dictators.  If the majority of people are Christian that does have bearing. I read on one of the sites I visited a few days ago that Jefferson did at times allow some religious gatherings in government buildings. Churches were the social center for towns throughout America as well as religious meeting places. Catholics did not have much standing; I was taught as a child that Maryland, named after Mary the mother of Jesus, was a Catholic colony set up by Lord Baltimore,a Catholic.  History is rewritten according to the views that the historian wishes to put forth. There is now a clamor for the atheist/agnostic point of view in history and life in general which as time goes on shall gather momentum.

Frankly, ITW, I don’t get the impression that you have much regard for Christians, especially Catholics, or for that matter followers of any religious organization.

There is no doubt that religions such as Judaism and Christianity are on the decline. As David Bentley Hart tells us in Atheist Delusions “the future that beckons us will be one that will make considerable room, in all its deliberations regarding the value of human life, for a fairly unsentimental calculus of utility.” Brotherly love shall become a thing of the past. Then again, perhaps not.

So my joke fell flat ITW, failed humor is more than a daily occurrence on these threads.

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By Inherit The Wind, October 12, 2010 at 10:18 am Link to this comment

“Since my brother Clyde once dated a Jewish girl, I can safely say with the certainty of the Sanctimonious,  that I am an expert on the subject of the Jewish religion, maybe even with the same self righteous certainty,the Pious portray themselves,..... as self proclaimed experts are on Atheism?”
**************

Which brother Clyde. Was that your brother Clyde or your other brother Clyde?

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 12, 2010 at 9:14 am Link to this comment

“Thanks Joan for putting Sam Harris in his place. Also to Maani and his facts concerning the founding of our country.”

Did I miss something?  Did Joan gather and place some firewood under Sam Harris tied to a stake? 

Yeh Manni, thanks for founding our country, I was concerned facts would get in the way!

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By Inherit The Wind, October 12, 2010 at 9:03 am Link to this comment

As to religions affiliations of our Founding Fathers, check this out. When you get to the site scroll down a bit.

http://www.adherents.com/gov/Founding_Fathers_Religion.html
*************

And your point would be???
1) This is clearly a pro-relgionist site, and it’s claims to have no opinion on the subject are as believable as Fox’s claim to be fair and unbiased.
2) Legally, the only document that matters is the Constitution.  The DOI is an extraordinary document but has no legal standing.
3) Your site’s view on the DOI is that it DOES promote the idea of God, but that simply confirms the site’s fundamental bias.
4) The only surprises were that any Catholics were allowed to sign and that Quakers are listed as both Anglicans and Lutherans—I thought they were Quakers.
5) If any one of these men were an avowed Atheist, I doubt they would broadcast it.
6) The site offers NO insight into their thinking as to religion vis-a-vis the Constitution.  It merely lists their nominal affiliation.

So…Again I ask, what’s the point?

(I don’t have multiple opinions, just because I’m a Jew or otherwise. I know how to argue but that doesn’t differ me from Shenonymous, who isn’t a Jew…or should I say “Jewess”?  My respect for you, EL, is rapidly sinking with cracks like that.)

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 12, 2010 at 1:21 am Link to this comment

Misapprehension is defined as an idiosyncratic belief or impression
that is mulishly kept in spite of being contradicted by what is
normally accepted as reality or by the conclusion from rational
argument.  It is typically a symptom of mental disorder.  Commonly
it is also called delusion.  Let there be no mistake that no one here
has shown they have the mental ability to put Sam Harris in his place. 
To think so, or worse, to say so, is not only imprudent, it is moronic.

Making distinctions is a clear sign of a developed mind.  Truth and
knowledge are not the same thing.  Knowledge is defined as justified
true belief and a belief is true if and only if it corresponds to a fact.  Put
more formally, a belief is true if there exists an appropriate entity—a
fact—to which it can be compared. If there is no such entity, then any
belief that arises is necessarily false.  In other words, when considering
truth, comparison to reality is involved.  Knowledge, on the other hand,
is a psychological state that results from the perception of truth about
the world or universe, or one’s existence.  Truth applies immediately in
relation to reality, while knowledge, if it is knowledge, is what it is
eternally true, justified, and believed.  Truth, then, elementally qualifies
knowledge, and if it is an elemental qualifier, it is not the same thing as
knowledge. 

Consider the second commandment, “Thou shalt not erect any Graven
Images.”  Is this really the second most important thing upon which to
admonish all future generations of human beings?  Is this as good as it
gets ethically and spiritually?  It must be remembered the Muslims who
rioted by the hundreds of thousands over cartoons?  What got them so
riled up? This is it, the second commandment.  Now was that pious
mayhem, the burning of Embassies, the killing of nuns, was all of that
some kind of great flowering of spiritual and ethical intelligence, or was
it egregious medieval stupidity?  Well come to think of it, it was
egregious medieval stupidity. – Sam Harris

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By elisalouisa, October 11, 2010 at 8:55 pm Link to this comment

Thanks Joan for putting Sam Harris in his place. Also to Maani and his facts concerning the founding of our country.

ITW, what is the old saying, “two Jews discussing something will have three different opinions.” Bearing this thought in mind perhaps all religions can be discussed with an open mind.

As to religions affiliations of our Founding Fathers, check this out. When you get to the site scroll down a bit.

http://www.adherents.com/gov/Founding_Fathers_Religion.html

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 11, 2010 at 8:17 pm Link to this comment

Since my brother Clyde once dated a Jewish girl, I can safely say with the certainty of the Sanctimonious,  that I am an expert on the subject of the Jewish religion, maybe even with the same self righteous certainty,the Pious portray themselves,..... as self proclaimed experts are on Atheism?

If the Pious can make an accusation other posters are full of hate and anger, I am impressed. For the Pious must be able to read minds which is something I would not attempt, even after several Tequilas with a lampshade on my head.

I must hand it to the Pious, they seem to know things most ludicrous or they just make shit up and tell it like they actually know it to be fact,...... all this with a straight face.

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By Inherit The Wind, October 11, 2010 at 6:03 pm Link to this comment

Joan, the only thing you said I respect is that you are mystified.

” simply cited the correct origin of the custom of men bearing their heads during the POA…it is not a Christian ritual (as you complained) but a secular one that shares one commonality with it. Hat doffing is a sign of respect.

Why? Where did it come from? The answer was given by YOU in one of your posts.  A religious ritual devolved into a supposedly secular one.

Your understanding of the Founding Fathers is based on…well, I know what it’s based on and it’s false.  The use of “Creator” was a conscious, deliberate selection to AVOID using the word “God”, which is specific to Abrahamic religions and substitute a word that is far more universal.  It may be very comfortable to you to believe that it was merely a late 18th century convention for the Christian “God” but that is simply false. 

You weep and moan that “Atheists” are trying to FORCE you to believe in their (lack of) religion, when you have no idea, none, what it’s like to grow up in a society that at every turn casually and with no consideration tramples on your religion and blithely ASSUMES that conventions of the majority religion are true of all and are “the way things should be.”  You have no idea.

I’ve said it before but I guess you weren’t paying attention: Your right to swing your religious fist ends before it hits my nose.

My problems with Christians only begins when my nose begins bleeding because of it—and I mean that both figuratively and literally.

As you re-write history to try to explain that Christian values wrote our Constitution (they didn’t) that Christian rituals should be accepted by everyone, and that I ought to be humble and grateful to Christians for founding our great nation.  I’m not. 

I am, however, profoundly grateful to, and humbled by our founding fathers who pledged their lives, property and honor for our freedom, who wrote our brilliant Constitution, and who intended that we would have a nation full of freedoms, where you could practice your religion without interference from the state, and I could practice mine, the same way.

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By Joan, October 11, 2010 at 5:25 pm Link to this comment

ITW,

I am mystified. Re: POA… I simply cited the correct origin of the custom of men bearing their heads during the POA…it is not a Christian ritual (as you complained) but a secular one that shares one commonality with it. Hat doffing is a sign of respect. With respect to the rest of that post,  I guess you are competing with Leefeller as the thread kibitzer.

Re: Jefferson, the Founders, and the Creator who is often referred to as just that by Christians,  I know you don’t have a clue about what I am talking about in those posts because you don’t have a clue about the evolution of political thought in Western culture which is why Justice O’Connor safeguards the Constitution from ruination by hecklers (her word) like you.

You also probably have no clue about what I am talking about in my critique of Harris and his inadequate defense of aspects of his own thesis, post October 10, 4:34 PM. If you can’t refute my objections, you don’t have enough background to read Harris critically or understand if he comprehends the topic he has tackled sufficiently to draw the conclusions he does. 

Your hatred towards Christians is disturbing.

Maani…October 11, 1:43 post. What an outstanding rendition of my thesis on Jeff’s use of the Creator. Bravissimo!!! Why is it that so many atheists cannot grasp it? Is it a certain thick headedness that makes it impossible to make a dent in their erroneously indoctrinated brains?

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By elisalouisa, October 11, 2010 at 5:11 pm Link to this comment

                        Amazing Grace
                                    How Sweet It Is

Maani, October 11 at 3:44 p.m. post.  So true. “. . . non-believers can certainly understand the words and phrases used by believers to explain their faith.  But they cannot understand how it RELATES to that faith because it is being used in ways that are (at the risk of sounding snarky…LOL) incomprehensible to atheists, and thus they misinterpret what is being said.  .  .atheists will NEVER understand
faith, or how believers describe it.”
elisa:  I would say that some souls might have such anger, automatically rejecting Grace; or perhaps lack the capacity to receive Grace. Amazing Grace How Sweet it is.  Thus for the atheist/agnostic there is nothing.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 11, 2010 at 3:32 pm Link to this comment

My most humble apologies ITW.  I thought you might have been
a proud enough Jew to have studied your heritage and would know
better than most about its beliefs that haunt these blog halls.  Too
bad.  The Jews have an incredible intellectual history as well as
achieving the heights in all of the arts, which takes a high degree of
intelligence in their unparalleled tenacity and audacity to survive in the
face of the worst assaults.  But that is most likely only due to their
persecution from ancient times until this very day.  Sustained survival in
the face of horror does tend to build strong minds and impervious will. 
While being Jewish does not necessarily mean strictly adhering to the
religious associations or practice of the religion, it might mean because
one is interested he/she could study their own ethnic history.  No one
can argue the Jews don’t have a long history as a coherent group of
people.  Nevertheless, in your limited Jewishness do you see anyone
else on this forum who better understands Judaism?

Most men are not born blind.  Men can be born deaf, also lacking the
apparatus to smell, and could have such sensitive skin that they would
have to live in a bubble.  If the blind man can understand the frequency
associated with sound, they can be taught how color frquency and
fitted with prosthesis.  I am not saying there is a one-to-one ratio
between color and sound, but both are describable using trigonometry,
you know sine, cosine functions.  Color is not completely an obscure
phenomenon.  The color spectrum from infrared to ultraviolet is
describable mathematically.  I’m sure most are aware of this but
perhaps it has slipped out of consciousness.  Science now is involved
inventing means to activate the brain where optics are becoming
possible.
1. http://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2009-09/retinal-implant-
helps-blind-see
2. http://computer.howstuffworks.com/brain-computer-
interface.htm/printable
3. http://tinyurl.com/24lzr9o

It always amazes me how uninformed truthdippers are yet the babble
dabblers trudge on and on and on…ad nauseam. 

And Maani, “you don’t read so good,” you don’t write so well and your
power to convince, when you say someone “is probably correct”, you
obviously don’t have much faith that it is correct. It is the same
distinction Bill Clinton made about the word ‘is.”  LOL Making such a
comment though can be mitigated with some evidence or example of
correctness.

It does look like a discussion of faith and belief is on the table.  Since I
just got home from work, I will give it some thought and save remarks
for later.  Have a good evening all.

‘Simply BEING Jewish makes him an authority? I think not.”  Yes, you
are correct there.  One could have been born ethnically Jewish, but
raised as a Christian, or worse as an atheist.  Sheesh what was I
thinking?

“We know that the relationship between “Mind” - our various mental
faculties - and the physical brain is rather direct. That is to say, if you
damage certain parts of your brain you will lose certain mental faculties.
You will loose the ability to understand English, for instance. And so
there is the idea that a totally damaged brain at death is something
that a human soul kind of lifts off from and floats away into some other
circumstance, some mystical realm, continuing to retain its mental
abilities. So, you can float off your damaged brain and you will still
speak English, still recognize human faces, you know, recognize your
grandmother in that tunnel of light. That seems rather naive.” - Sam
Harris, Interview on CBC

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By Inherit The Wind, October 11, 2010 at 12:57 pm Link to this comment

First, what, exactly, makes ITW “the only real Jewish authority” on this thread? Indeed, what makes him an “authority” at all? Simply BEING Jewish makes him an authority? I think not.
*********

I would agree with that 100%.  To think of ME as a Jewish authority is either an hilarious or terrifying concept.

Joan, you just don’t get it. You’re quoting rules and regs without understanding.

WHY is removing one’s hat, (whether religious or non-religious) a mark of respect? Why?

(I know the answer but clearly you don’t)

I don’t need YOU to quote the POA to me. I had to say it everyday for 13 years and everyday I skipped the 1950’s addition that destroys the context “under God”.

Say the phrases aloud. The original: “One nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”  Smooth, melodious, with the poet clearly at the peak of poetic power.

Now the Congressionally mandated one with the addition to differ us from “Godless Communism”:
“One nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”  The symmetry and lyrical quality of the original 1892 version is lost by the 1950’s addition.  It’s now herky-jerky, like someone popping a paper bag during a concert.

IT IS NOT ORIGINAL! IT WAS ADDED BY COMMIE-HUNTING PINHEADS IN THE ‘50’S!

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, October 11, 2010 at 12:27 pm Link to this comment

Excellent point and illustration.

How can one show a blind person a view… without their ability to see in the first place…

And to follow your inferences…. all are born ‘spiritually’ blind.

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By Maani, October 11, 2010 at 11:44 am Link to this comment

I want to try to take a completely different tack here in trying to explain why it is so difficult for atheists to accept the idea of “faith” and “God.” It came to me while watching Bill Maher the other night, and hearing his oft-repeated (sarcastic) comment about believers “getting a radio station that nobody else does.”  I realized that there is some truth in that.  But I have a different comparison to offer.

A man is born blind.  As he grows up, he can be taught all sorts of things that he cannot verify by sight, but can accept empirically.  For example, he can be taught shapes (since he can feel the differences between them), he can be taught solid, semi-solid, liquid, even gas (because he can feel them), etc.  But the one thing he cannot be taught - no matter how hard one tries - is…color.

How do you “explain” red vs. blue?  How do you tell him what “yellow” is?  These questions are, of course, rhetorical.  There is ZERO possibility that he can learn colors if he has never seen them.  He must take it “on faith” that what you are telling him is so - that colors “exist” at all - or he can reject the entire idea as nonsense.

The same is true with faith.  It is impossible for those who have it, feel it, know it to explain it in any terms that a non-believer will EVER understand or accept.  The non-believer either has to take it “on faith,” or reject it as nonsense.  Most do the latter.

Let me add another thought to this.  There are branches of science in which the “lingo” is so obscure, so specified, that even the best scientists in other areas cannot understand it.  It is known and understood only by those who understand that particular branch of science.  Other scientists - and even laymen - might understand some of the individual words that are used, or even sentence fragments.  But they cannot understand how those words and sentence fragments relate to the science being discussed.

Similarly, non-believers can certainly understand the words and phrases used by believers to explain their faith.  But they cannot understand how it RELATES to that faith because it is being used in ways that are (at the risk of sounding snarky…LOL) incomprehensible to atheists, and thus they misinterpret what is being said.

I believe that these two examples go a long way to explaining why atheists will NEVER understand faith, or how believers describe it.

Peace.

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By Maani, October 11, 2010 at 11:19 am Link to this comment

She:

“Heaving a sigh because the thick headedness the religionists’ refuse to believe what is written in the Torah. It seems impossible to make a dent in indoctrinated brains and it leads me to wonder if some shrunkenness has occurred?!!  So well, ITW, the only real Jewish authority on this forum, has spoken and has verified that Jews indeed believe in an afterlife. They just don’t make a big f’n deal about it like Christians and Muslims.  Then we get the nutty logic that some Jewish friends don’t believe in it, which in no way attests that heaven or life after death does not appear in the Jewish holybook! If you don’t want to accept what is printed go ahead and stay in your delusion.  Then elisalouisa, becoming famous for her blunderous comments: ‘One could almost come to the conclusion that a good percentage of Jewish people are Agnostic or Atheist.’  She forgot to add, ‘one could almost, if one was a cretin.’

First, what, exactly, makes ITW “the only real Jewish authority” on this thread? Indeed, what makes him an “authority” at all? Simply BEING Jewish makes him an authority? I think not.

Second, as I have said before: you don’t read so good.  Read EL’s post on 10/10 at 6:48.  She brings up the Jewish belief in the afterlife.  My guess is that her (admittedly incorrect) use of the terms “atheist” and “agnostic” were meant solely with regard to an afterlife, not to a belief in God per se.  If so, her comment is probably correct.

Peace.

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By Leefeller, October 11, 2010 at 8:58 am Link to this comment

Justice O’Connor’s opinions actually support the hypocritical leanings of the Pious quite clearly, the concept of forcing one to follow the illusions of dogmas against their own will could be only part of the problem.  The people of this nation are most lucky, it is not mandatory to send their children for mind washing and indoctrinations of ignorance if they do not want. O’Connor stipulates the references to the illusions, delusions, myths and fables of Christianity as acceptable in his opinion.

Minimal trampling of peoples rights of their unbeliefs is most unconscionable for the ludicrousness by believers is what it is. So through the blind eyes of the trampling pious,  is a mission which must be made blind as ignorant as it is.

Harris comments on the moderate religious as being a bigger part of the problem then the Pious, this seems in part what ITW is referring to here!

I suspect if I was in Iran, I would feel the same discomfort towards demands of accepting their religious dogmas also, possibly more so!

Fanatic conscription requires dogma and individual thought is never allowed,  for the religious cause requires blind support, which is labeled faith!  Wisping spirits and holy toast rolling in the dogmas delight!

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By Joan, October 11, 2010 at 7:11 am Link to this comment

ITW,

Justice O’Connor’s opinion (cont’d)

“…The Court has permitted government, in some instances, to refer to or commemorate religion in public life. See, e.g., Pinette, supra; Allegheny, supra; Lynch, supra; Marsh v. Chambers, 463 U.S. 783 (1983). While the Court’s explicit rationales have varied, my own has been consistent; I believe that although these references speak in the language of religious belief, they are more properly understood as employing the idiom for essentially secular purposes. One such purpose is to commemorate the role of religion in our history…It is unsurprising that a Nation founded by religious refugees and dedicated to religious freedom should find references to divinity in its symbols, songs, mottoes, and oaths.* Eradicating such references would sever ties to a history that sustains this Nation even today. See Allegheny, supra, at 623 (declining to draw lines that would “sweep away all government recognition and acknowledgment of the role of religion in the lives of our citizens”)…..

There are no de minimis violations of the Constitution– no constitutional harms so slight that the courts are obliged to ignore them. Given the values that the Establishment Clause was meant to serve, however, I believe that government can, in a discrete category of cases, acknowledge or refer to the divine without offending the Constitution. This category of “ceremonial deism” most clearly encompasses such things as the national motto (“In God We Trust”), religious references in traditional patriotic songs such as the Star-Spangled Banner, and the words with which the Marshal of this Court opens each of its sessions (“God save the United States and this honorable Court”). See Allegheny, 492 U.S., at 630 (opinion of O’Connor, J.). These references are not minor trespasses upon the Establishment Clause to which I turn a blind eye. Instead, their history, character, and context prevent them from being constitutional violations at all.

This case requires us to determine whether the appearance of the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance constitutes an instance of such ceremonial deism. Although it is a close question, I conclude that it does, based on my evaluation of the following four factors.” Justice O’Connor

http://www.classbrain.com/artteenst/publish/printer_pledge_of_allegiance_supreme_court.shtml


ITW…I don’t see that you have a case here regarding violations of the Constitution with the presence of a C. tree in the public square. As I said…interpreting the Constitution is not a black and white matter. There are many nuances.

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By elisalouisa, October 11, 2010 at 7:11 am Link to this comment

  ITW: We saw in Israel yesterday what it means when a vast majority believes it is entitled to force its religious beliefs on a minority that doesn’t share them. Do you want that here Because the right wing fanatics led by that crooked Russian bouncer, Avigdor Lieberman, have just passed such a law for new non-Jewish citizens.
*******

Orthodox Jews have a big influence in Israel and some say they want Israel as a Jews only country, keeping a minority of Arabs in. Can a similar law be passed here? Quite possible. New Atheists might insist and work toward such a law making worship of a higher power by whatever name a crime against the state, perhaps the first step being a law that makes it a crime to teach children about God. Have not communist countries made this a goal? Whatever way one defines God or country, those in control will seek more control using fear as one method to accomplish that end. It shall be a power struggle to the end; there shall be no winners.

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By Joan, October 11, 2010 at 7:02 am Link to this comment

ITW,

Males removing their hats during the POA is mandated by the Us flag code.

Ҥ4. Pledge of allegiance to the flag; manner of delivery

The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag: “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”, should be rendered by standing at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. When not in uniform men should remove any non-religious headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should remain silent, face the flag, and render the military salute. “[See Congressional Notes re use of “under God.”]

§5. Display and use of flag by civilians
http://www.ushistory.org/betsy/flagcode.htm

Nothing to do with any Christian ritual about men bearing their heads during a prayer service.

____________________________________________

RE: the constitutionality of “Under God” in the POA and the slogan “In God We Trust”

As Per Justice O’Connor writing in concurrence for the SC in dismissing Newdow’s POA suit.

“As I have said before, the Establishment Clause “cannot easily be reduced to a single test. There are different categories of Establishment Clause cases, which may call for different approaches…..

In that context, I repeatedly have applied the endorsement test, ….

Endorsement, I have explained, “sends a message to nonadherents that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community, and an accompanying message to adherents that they are insiders, favored members of the political community.” Ibid. In order to decide whether endorsement has occurred, a reviewing court must keep in mind two crucial and related principles.

First, because the endorsement test seeks “to identify those situations in which government makes adherence to a religion relevant … to a person’s standing in the political community,” it assumes the viewpoint of a reasonable observer. Pinette, supra, at 772 (internal quotation marks omitted). Given the dizzying religious heterogeneity of our Nation, adopting a subjective approach would reduce the test to an absurdity. ****Nearly any government action could be overturned as a violation of the Establishment Clause if a “heckler’s veto” sufficed to show that its message was one of endorsement. See Pinette, 515 U.S. at 780 (“There is always someone who, with a particular quantum of knowledge, reasonably might perceive a particular action as an endorsement of religion”). Second, because the “reasonable observer” must embody a community ideal of social judgment, as well as rational judgment, the test does not evaluate a practice in isolation from its origins and context. Instead, the reasonable observer must be deemed aware of the history of the conduct in question, and must understand its place in our Nation’s cultural landscape. See id., at. ” ****emphasis mine…

(cont’d)

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By Inherit The Wind, October 11, 2010 at 4:10 am Link to this comment

” but we WERE founded on Judeo-Christian principles and ethics: almost all of our laws are derived from them. “
******

And how do you figure that comes from a church system that for 1400 years (aprox 400 to 1800) did everything possible to create and maintain a system of tyranny and ignorance?  The Enlightenment was in REACTION to “Judeo-Christian Values”.

Jefferson’s use of “Creator” doesn’t mean God exclusively as you religionists assume.  It means the opposite: whatever it was that created us—and that doesn’t have to be “God”.

We saw in Israel yesterday what it means when a vast majority believes it is entitled to force its religious beliefs on a minority that doesn’t share them.  Do you want that here?  Do you want every non-Christian American to have to sign a loyalty oath to the United States as a Christian Republic?  Because the right wing fanatics led by that crooked Russian bouncer, Avigdor Lieberman, have just passed such a law for new non-Jewish citizens.

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By Shenonymous, October 10, 2010 at 11:01 pm Link to this comment

Heaving a sigh because the thick headedness the religionists’
refuse to believe what is written in the Torah. It seems impossible
to make a dent in indoctrinated brains and it leads me to wonder
if some shrunkenness has occurred?!!  So well, ITW, the only real
Jewish authority on this forum, has spoken and has verified that
Jews indeed believe in an afterlife. They just don’t make a big f’n
deal about it like Christians and Muslims.  Then we get the nutty
logic that some Jewish friends don’t believe in it, which in no way
attests that heaven or life after death does not appear in the Jewish
holybook! If you don’t want to accept what is printed go ahead and
stay in your delusion.  Then elisalouisa, becoming famous for her
blunderous comments: “One could almost come to the conclusion
that a good percentage of Jewish people are Agnostic or Atheist.” 
She forgot to add, “one could almost, if one was a cretin.”

The next world is called Olam Ha-Bet - “the World of to Come”.  Logic:
If there is a next world, then there is an afterlife. Say duh… Daniel 12:2
is blatant about it, “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the
earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and
everlasting contempt.”

Rabbi Shraga Simmons: “For anyone who believes in a just and caring
God, the existence of an afterlife makes logical sense. Could it be this
world is just a playground without consequences? Did Hitler get away
with killing 6,000,000 Jews? No. There is obviously a place where good
people receive reward and bad people get punished.” (see Maimonides’
13 Principles of Faith)

The Midrash Tanhuma taught that the words “the place which I have
prepared” is indicated in Exodus 23:20, (ahem, Exodus is in the Torah,
aka Bible for the amnesiac Christians who forget they took their OT
from the Torah) that the Temple in Jerusalem is directly opposite the
Temple in Heaven.  Therefore Jews clearly have a concept of heaven. 

To add just a ‘wee’ measure more…about my theory of final conflict  
and the belief in heaven and an afterlife in Judaism is further supported
by the concept of religious exclusivism, the doctrine that only one
particular religion is true.  Also called religious chauvinism, in general,
it is the belief in one’s own religion and non-belief in religions other
than one’s own. This belief is connected with a doctrine of salvation. 
Religious exclusivism teaches that only the members of one religion or
sect will reach Heaven, while others will be doomed to eternal
damnation. BTW: The opposite of religious exclusivism is inclusivism,
the teaching that all religions are true.

Exclusivism is most common in the three Abrahamic religions. In Jewish
tradition, it manifests in certain interpretations of the concept of the
“chosen people”, in which anyone who does not accept the teachings of
Jewish monotheism is excluded from the messianic “world to come.”
Historically, religious exclusivism has and can give justification of
religious wars, forced conversions of those outside the faith, bans
against inter-religious fellowship and marriage, and the persecution of
religious minorities. Ref: William J. Wainwright, The Oxford Handbook of
the Philosophy of Religion.

“Our fear of provoking religious hatred has rendered us unwilling to
criticize ideas that are increasingly maladaptive and patently ridiculous.
It has also obliged us to lie to ourselves—repeatedly and at the highest
level of discourse—about the compatibility between religious faith and
scientific rationality. Our competing religious certainties are impeding
the emergence of a viable, global civilization. Religious faith—faith that
there is a God who cares what name He is called, faith that Jesus is
coming back to earth, faith that Muslim martyrs go straight to
Paradise—is on the wrong side of an escalating war of ideas.”
Sam Harris - Letter to a Christian Nation

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By Maani, October 10, 2010 at 9:43 pm Link to this comment

ITW:

“This is one of the most arrogant and xenocentric pieces of CRAP I have ever read!  It’s also flat-out nonsense.  Christianity had nothing to do with the founding of our nation. If it had, we’d be living under 17th Century Puritanism.  I’m not grateful one tiny bit to Christianity, which in its graciousness and with its Inquisitions burned Jews at the stake as heretics.”

Your personal anger is blinding you to the point, which you are still missing.  We may not have been founded as a “Christian nation,” but we WERE founded on Judeo-Christian principles and ethics: almost all of our laws are derived from them.  And as Joan points out, the only way that Jefferson et al - who BOTH of us have admitted over and over were deists and theists, not Christians - could “sell” the idea behind this nation was to appeal to the “Creator” (i.e., the Judeo-Christian God) that the vast majority of its inhabitants believed in, by ascribing their “unalienable rights” to that Creator.  As Joan points out, this was a brilliant marketing strategy.  But as has been pointed out ad nauseam (and AGAIN something that Joan and I have BOTH agreed with from the get-go), once that was done (as you yourself note), the founders made sure (in the Constitution) that religion could not play a role - in EITHER direction (i.e., by religion taking over the state, OR the state taking over religion) - by leaving God out of that document.

All that said, although most of the founders were not Christians, most of the population was.  Thus, when Joan notes that this country was “founded” by Christians, and that you should be grateful that it was, she is noting that while the founding fathers established the polity, it was (primarily) Christians as a whole who created the “country” and its overall structure and workings.

“Oh, and BTW, many Jews helped fund the Revolution.  Both Benj. Franklin and Geo. Washington actively and publicly supported the EQUAL rights of Jews in America.  Franklin actually gave 5 pounds to a synagogue in Philadelphia.  At the time, the Pound Sterling had the buying power of over $600 today—so that’s like he gave $3000.  Deists like Jefferson and Madison would have denied they were founding a “Christian” nation.  Even ultra-Religious John Adams was able to respect non-Anglicans, both Christian and non.”

None of this is mutually exclusive.  Of course it all happened together.  But, again, the overwhelming majority of the population was Christian, so once Jefferson et al appealed to the Christian God so that the polity would accept the political structure, and once they made sure that religion would not be a danger in either direction (by leaving God out of the Constitution), the work of “creating” the United States was primarily done by Christians.  This is simply a matter of historical demographics.

Again, this doesn’t mean that Christians have a right to impose their religion, morals, rituals et al on others, either by legislation or otherwise.  But your personal anger has blinded you to the history to which you owe your ability to live with freedom, liberty, etc.

Peace.

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By Leefeller, October 10, 2010 at 9:24 pm Link to this comment

Cuddles elisalouisa scathing comment, slashing out Leefellers heart, tormenting his holy soles and making him grab for the spirits.

“A toast to Little Weefeller and his sit down failed comedy. Perhaps the Wee One could be Sam Harris’s opening act, setting the stage for Harris’s comical coments. Pass me a Guinness Joan. Better yet, let’s go to a Pub in Dublin where the Guinness is really great. There we can discuss the New Atheists and the similarity to their followers here on TD. Namely, insisting that they are correct when facts prove otherwise. That is the real laugh. What a hoot.!”

When using a word such as the word “fact” elisalouisa, it would be helpful to know what the word actually means! Calling something a fact does not make it one, Illusions are not facts, well…...let me change my opinion after pondering more reflections off some empty Tequila bottles;.......of course!...... illusions must seem facts to the deluded?

elisalouisa such anger!  Anger so prominent, I hope you are not going to move into potty mouth mode, if so….... I will have to cover my ears!

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By Leefeller, October 10, 2010 at 8:55 pm Link to this comment

You must have faith! To the Pious, this is the normal response to reason. Most especially when religion is painted into a corner with absolutely no leg to stand on.  So the Pious seem to love evoking the catch all faith button, which when the room is full of the unenlightened, bandying faith around works effectively for them. Harris explains the differences between reason and faith clearly and I believe he is being most polite!  Eloweezia can count the “we’s”; and Maani can nit pick (parse as he calls it?) Harris to death out of context if it makes him feel better.  Harris refers to the Iron age folks; .... I call them the dark ages mentality of the holy soles.

My continuing presentation of Harris’s most enlightening comments below;

“The incompatibility of reason and faith has been a self-evident feature of human cognition and public discourse for centuries. Either a person has good reasons for what he strongly believes or he does not. People of all creeds naturally recognize the primacy of reasons and resort to reasoning and evidence wherever they possibly can. When rational inquiry supports the creed it is always championed; when it poses a threat, it is derided; sometimes in the same sentence. Only when the evidence for a religious doctrine is thin or nonexistent, or there is compelling evidence against it, do its adherents invoke “faith.” Otherwise, they simply cite the reasons for their beliefs (e.g. “the New Testament confirms Old Testament prophecy,” “I saw the face of Jesus in a window,” “We prayed, and our daughter’s cancer went into remission”). Such reasons are generally inadequate, but they are better than no reasons at all. Faith is nothing more than the license religious people give themselves to keep believing when reasons fail. In a world that has been shattered by mutually incompatible religious beliefs, in a nation that is growing increasingly beholden to Iron Age conceptions of God, the end of history and the immortality of the soul, this lazy partitioning of our discourse into matters of reason and matters of faith is now unconscionable.”

It seems to me the constant lack of reason is the most offensive glaring character of the Pious, and I agree with Harris,.......it is most unconscionable!

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By Inherit The Wind, October 10, 2010 at 8:26 pm Link to this comment

I am struck by your inability to see more than what is black and white on a given topic or your tender feelings about mythical oppression by the people whose ideology really set you free and gave you a status as a citizen never before enjoyed by the common masses. I’m grateful. I think you ought to be grateful for Christianity’s monumental achievement for mankind as well in the US… for the magnitude of human rights derived from Christian ideology, never before previously experienced by the common man. You live well as an American. In return you criticize. 
*****************

This is one of the most arrogant and xenocentric pieces of CRAP I have ever read!  It’s also flat-out nonsense.  Christianity had nothing to do with the founding of our nation. If it had, we’d be living under 17th Century Puritanism.  I’m not grateful one tiny bit to Christianity, which in its graciousness and with its Inquisitions burned Jews at the stake as heretics.

I AM grateful to those brave men and women who saw Christian domination of government as an evil and a pitfall to be avoided when they fought for our liberty and when they wrote our Constitution. (Oh, and BTW, many Jews helped fund the Revolution)  Both Benj. Franklin and Geo. Washington actively and publicly supported the EQUAL rights of Jews in America.  Franklin actually gave 5 pounds to a synagogue in Philadelphia.  At the time, the Pound Sterling had the buying power of over $600 today—so that’s like he gave $3000.  Deists like Jefferson and Madison would have denied they were founding a “Christian” nation.  Even ultra-Religious John Adams was able to respect non-Anglicans, both Christian and non.

You open the door for the Teaparty and their Taliban-like desire to control every aspect of our lives.

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By elisalouisa, October 10, 2010 at 7:45 pm Link to this comment

From going to Temple on High Holiday and in dialogue as to the Jewish faith, afterlife is not discussed or stressed, the Torah is the center. It would not be difficult to say as Joan said, “It was my understanding that the Jewish people do not believe in an afterlife.” As to my relating anything to Joan about Judaism’s belief in the hereafter ITW, I also do not recall any such exchange.
One could almost come to the conclusion that a good percentage of Jewish people are Agnostic or Atheist.

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By Maani, October 10, 2010 at 6:17 pm Link to this comment

She:

You quote Harris: “There is a circle here that links us to one another: we each want to be happy; the social feeling of love is one of our greatest sources of happiness; and love entails that we be concerned for the happiness of others. We discover that we can be selfish together.”

I’m not sure how he gets from being “concerned for the hapiness of others” to being “selfish together.”  John said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”  Thus, Christian love (when actually practiced…) is not “selfish,” but exactly the opposite.

Napoleon:

The following is beautifully put, and thus bears repeating:

“I see atheism or the reluctance to acknowledge ‘God’ or the existence of something unseen yet ‘possibly’ existing…as simply being a rebellious and obstinate response, quite natural and likened to the shock or disbelief when folks respond to news of someone’s passing, or some calamitous event or some great news event…A natural response from the human being, being unable to fully understand God or his essence and presence…thus deciding to deny, or ignore any further opportunity to seek out if in fact God exists…nd then relegating the notion to one dissected by the ‘scientific method’ - and we know science to be ever evolving, changing and theories which have been ‘believed’ in for long times being…replaced with the ‘now correct belief’ or theory…showing science to also have faults like someone’s faith shows fault to the unbeliever.”

This also seems in accord with Joan’s comments on Harris.

Joan: Excellent post 10/10 at 4:34.

She: Equally excellent posts 10/10 at 5:24-5:27

ITW:

“As Maani asks ‘What’s wrong with having the 10 Commandments in the courtroom as well as “In God We Trust”,’ you all continue to be totally oblivious and insensitive to what this means.  As an aside, Theodore Roosevelt had ‘In God We Trust’ REMOVED from the money, not because he was an Atheist, but because he saw it as sacrilegious that money, which is used for so much evil and inspires so much evil, would have an expression of God on it.”

Again, you miss my point.  I am not suggesting that I personally support the Ten Commandments (any version) in the courtroom, or In God We Trust in the courtroom or on money, or (unmentioned yet) “under God” in the POA (a later addition to the POA to “separate” ourselves from the “godless” communists).  In fact, I have always found the “In God We Trust in the courts and on money to be obnoxious, and support the removal of “under God” from the POA.  (And I am one of only a handful of clergy who have signed the American Atheist petition for the complete separation of church and state.)

I was simply noting that from an “establishment clause” standpoint, none of these things should really be considered an “establishment” of religion.

Peace.

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By Joan, October 10, 2010 at 6:00 pm Link to this comment

ITW…

I was ready to sign off but your last post is …amazing… not in the complimentary sense of the word either.

RE: Jews and the after life…it was my understanding that Jews did not believe in the afterlife. That’s what I’ve heard, leastways.

“Which is, of course, totally incorrect. Amazing that I know far more about your religion than you know about mine, which I barely follow and only from the cultural tradition.  Both She and EL corrected you on this.”

First off, I said it was my understanding…that’s all…I am not presenting myself as some authority on Judaism. Stand down, already. The Jew my sister has been dating for years told her that he lives well here because there was no after-life which is what our local rabbi also said at a funeral for a congregant recently…The Jewish perceptions on after- life are neither here nor there for me. I have not read the last few posts but I don’t recall discussing this with anyone but if She or EL had more accurate info on this, so what?

“You continue to confuse your right to practice your religion with your right to use public facilities and even public tax dollars to help you practice it.”

I know these positions. They’re not exactly rocket science. There is more to this than dreamt of in your philosophies… I am struck by your inability to see more than what is black and white on a given topic or your tender feelings about mythical oppression by the people whose ideology really set you free and gave you a status as a citizen never before enjoyed by the common masses. I’m grateful. I think you ought to be grateful for Christianity’s monumental achievement for mankind as well in the US… for the magnitude of human rights derived from Christian ideology, never before previously experienced by the common man. You live well as an American. In return you criticize. 
 
“As Maani asks “What’s wrong with having the 10 Commandments in the courtroom as well as ‘In God We Trust’”, you all continue to be totally oblivious and insensitive to what this means.  As an aside, Theodore Roosevelt had “In God We Trust” REMOVED from the money, not because he was an Atheist, but because he saw it as sacrilegious that money, which is used for so much evil and inspires so much evil, would have an expression of God on it.

Quite frankly In God I do NOT Trust, not at all, and I resent “In God We Trust” being forced on us as YET another violation of the Establishment Clause.”

Nobody gives a damn if you like the slogan “In God We Trust” It’s not all about you. That’s the deadlock here. It’s always all about you and what you don’t like. I never hear you say…Gee, I see what you‘re saying. Open up your mind. 

“Plus Maani ignored my serious question: WHICH 10 Commandments? Even a casual study will show that they are different in the Torah, the Vulgate Catholic Bible, and your King James Bible. “Thou shalt not kill” (KJB) and “You will not murder” (Torah) have seriously different meanings. Not only are you forcing Christian beliefs on non-Christians, you are forcing Anglican beliefs on Catholics and other Christians who don’t use your KJB.”

That’s ridiculous. That’s like saying seeing porn in Times Square forces me to be a hooker. 

“It’s so easy for the majority to break their own rules and then try to justify it on grounds that “the majority does it” and “it’s tradition.”

That’s not what I am saying…I am telling you to respect the people in this country, the majority of whom are Christians because of the benefits you enjoy as a result of their ideology and their daily labors here.

“Either you follow the Constitution or you violate it.”

History shows that the Constitution is not as black and white as you seem to think it is. You have yet to explain how a C. Tree anywhere establishes a religion.

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By Leefeller, October 10, 2010 at 5:55 pm Link to this comment

Napoleon,

Sort of proof, seems sort of obscure? Sort of truth and sort of not truth?  I sort of have the money to pay the money I owe my bookie! So he may sort of break my knee cap? Go for it Napoleon, I am sort of interested and I will not make any funnies, even though I sort of have my toes crossed!

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, October 10, 2010 at 4:07 pm Link to this comment

Joan, what are your thoughts of the obelisks found in those sovereign districts ( Vatican, D.C., City of London )?

Coincidence, perhaps?

I’m not so sure.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, October 10, 2010 at 4:05 pm Link to this comment

Thanks for your words She… appreciate the time you took to respond in kind.

When you mentioned:

“Jews definitely believe in an afterlife, as the Torah (the Bible’s OT) testifies.  Do read the Bible for verification at the books and verses I provided.”

I believe you err in that statement… for YES the old testament teaches about a place of torment and a place of peace…. yet it takes one to BELIEVE what it says to be true, doesn’t it?

Yes the Torah testifies about the afterlife, but again, one need to actually believe that.

Just because it says so, doesn’t mean people believe it… for if your statement was true, then all whomever had ever read the bible would need no further assistance… for they would automatically believe and thus… no argument whether God exists or a place called heaven… we’d be instead discussing what to have for dinner.

The Sadducee did not particularly believe in heaven, as their definition and particular dogma show… while the Pharisee did.

I have Jewish friends who don’t believe in God, nor believe in heaven… yet still uphold their traditions and such.. which doesn’t make a lick of sense to me.

But, I do have a story to share if anyone would be interested… a story of a sort of proof regarding these things.

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By Inherit The Wind, October 10, 2010 at 3:34 pm Link to this comment

RE: Jews and the after life…it was my understanding that Jews did not believe in the afterlife. That’s what I’ve heard, leastways.
***********

Which is, of course, totally incorrect. Amazing that I know far more about your religion than you know about mine, which I barely follow and only from the cultural tradition.  Both She and EL corrected you on this.

You continue to confuse your right to practice your religion with your right to use public facilities and even public tax dollars to help you practice it.

As Maani asks “What’s wrong with having the 10 Commandments in the courtroom as well as ‘In God We Trust’”, you all continue to be totally oblivious and insensitive to what this means.  As an aside, Theodore Roosevelt had “In God We Trust” REMOVED from the money, not because he was an Atheist, but because he saw it as sacrilegious that money, which is used for so much evil and inspires so much evil, would have an expression of God on it.

Quite frankly In God I do NOT Trust, not at all, and I resent “In God We Trust” being forced on us as YET another violation of the Establishment Clause.

Plus Maani ignored my serious question: WHICH 10 Commandments? Even a casual study will show that they are different in the Torah, the Vulgate Catholic Bible, and your King James Bible. “Thou shalt not kill” (KJB) and “You will not murder” (Torah) have seriously different meanings. Not only are you forcing Christian beliefs on non-Christians, you are forcing Anglican beliefs on Catholics and other Christians who don’t use your KJB.

It’s so easy for the majority to break their own rules and then try to justify it on grounds that “the majority does it” and “it’s tradition.” 

Either you follow the Constitution or you violate it.

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By Joan, October 10, 2010 at 3:30 pm Link to this comment

Napolean 2,

Checked your videos.

I pretty much don’t see ornaments to some liberty goddess or Roman architecture as secret occult interventions in our society. Some symbolism is just fun and artistic. 

What can I say? Hitchens is Hitchens… I hope things go well for him either way…

The DC 3 star conspiracy one is nutty…did Leefeller write this???

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By Inherit The Wind, October 10, 2010 at 3:21 pm Link to this comment

Joan, October 10 at 3:03 pm Link to this comment

ITW,

Let me be perfectly clear here because I think you have drawn some erroneous conclusions from my posts. I do NOT advocate that anyone impose any religion on anyone inappropriately and likewise I do not want atheists imposing their religion on me or my kids in schools etc.  I suspect that you are imputing these things to me rather than finding that I my own words. But if so, let me expand on my position.
**

I hope so.  But I don’t think so.  The assumptions you make continue to amaze me.

**
We are a melting pot and hence rub elbows with people with different beliefs. I believe we cannot force those differences out of the public square, which is the impression I have of your beliefs and criticisms. Bottom-line, a Christmas tree in the town square no more establishes a religion than a Christmas tree on a church lawn next to the square. So why can’t you live with that?
**

If you don’t understand the difference then you don’t understand separation of state and religion.

**
That you were alienated in a classroom during the Christmas season is unfortunate but we, in America embrace differences and that means minimally we must teach our young’uns to allow for the expression of what we ourselves for not believe. That is tolerance. If we continue to divide this country with this growing intolerance, like biblical wisdom predicts, this house divided will not continue to stand.
**

That would be well and good if that’s what had happened. It was not.  It was not a multi-cultural celebration of all our differences of that season, but an imposition of one on all the rest.

**
In our school district we had C. trees and menorahs, with parents who explained both traditions, same in our town square, the Christmas tree and a menorah. I had Asian students and Muslim ones who gave me Christmas cards…in college…their choice….
*****

This is all very nice, and I have no problem with it. I LOVE cultural sharing and helping friends celebrate their traditions, such as Christmas and the Chinese New Year. (need to cut some of your post.  Sorry.)

**
Over the years I saw this celebration as an opportunity for others with different backgrounds to transcend their differences and just have a good time with Christians during this season of Christian celebration. Now people are so frickin’ intimidated they are afraid to say “Merry Christmas”.

Do you understand how offensive I find that in a nation that guarantees freedom of speech and religious expression? 
**

You continue to misunderstand me. I have no problem with that.  I only have a problem when it is DEMANDED of me that I celebrate your religion.  You don’t even realize how it happens. 

**
America was birthed from a Greco-Roman civic culture and a Judeo-Christian spiritual one. Its descendants should not be marginalized or disrespected. Despite that both histories, Rome and Greece, Christianity and Judaism, have bloody pasts, America, their issue, is man’s greatest hope.
**

Thomas Jefferson considered one of his 3 lifetime achievements that he got the Church out of the government of Virginia.  The founding fathers consisted of many Deists, who specifically and deliberately intended to separate their new nation from ANY religion, particularly the dominant one, Protestant Christianity.  To say otherwise is to twist history.

**
And I disagree with you and Maani. Atheists and agnostics play a key in bringing to our SC these lawsuits to restrict freedom of religious expression…..
**

Easy to destroy this argument: If they weren’t correct in their interpretation of the Constitution and the founding fathers intent the SC would have ruled against them. It’s as simple as that.  Challenging any and every law written in the United States for its Constitutionality is as much a right as freedom of expression.

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By elisalouisa, October 10, 2010 at 2:48 pm Link to this comment

                  ‘Better one hour in repentance
                                and good deeds in this world
                                      than all the life in the world
                                        to come.

From Religions Facts:
Jewish Beliefs on the Afterlife

Jewish sacred texts and literature have little to say about what happens after death. This may seem surprising to non-Jews, since the sacred texts of Christianity and Islam (both of which have their foundations in Judaism) elaborate rather fully about the afterlife.

But Judaism is much more focused on actions than beliefs, so it is actually to be expected that its prophets and sages have not spent as much time on speculations about the world to come as elaborations on the mitzvot to be performed in this life.The Torah and Talmud alike focus on the purpose of earthly life, which is to fulfill one’s duties to God and one’s fellow man. Succeeding at this brings reward, failing at it brings punishment. Whether rewards and punishments continue after death, or whether anything at all happens after death, is not as
important.Despite the subject’s general exclusion from the Jewish sacred texts, however, Judaism does incorporate views on the afterlife. Yet unlike the other monotheistic religions, no one view has ever been officially agreed upon, and there is much room for speculation.This section will begin with a look at biblical texts addressing the afterlife, then explore various Jewish views on subjects such as the resurrection of the dead,
judgment, heaven and hell, and the messianic age.The Hebrew word Olam Ha-Ba (“the world to come”) is used for both the
messianic age and the afterlife. The world to come is important and something to look forward to. A Mishnah passage says, “This world is like a lobby before the Olam Ha-Ba. Prepare yourself in the lobby so that you may enter the banquet hall.” The tractate Moed Katan teaches, “This world is only like a hotel. The world to come is like a home.“Yet it is also emphasized that this world provides the ability and privilege of doing good works and performing the mitzvot: “Rabbi Yaakov also used to say, ‘Better one hour in repentance and good deeds in this world than all the life in the world to come.
*********
A toast to Little Weefeller and his sit down failed comedy. Perhaps the Wee One could be Sam Harris’s opening act, setting the stage for Harris’s comical coments. Pass me a Guinness Joan. Better yet, let’s go to a Pub in Dublin where the Guinness is really great. There we can discuss the New Atheists and the similarity to their followers here on TD. Namely, insisting that they are correct when facts prove otherwise. That is the real laugh. What a hoot.!

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By Shenonymous, October 10, 2010 at 1:27 pm Link to this comment

1. To Napolean DoesNotDare

One of the greatest challenges facing civilization in the 21st century
is for human beings to learn to speak about their deepest personal
concerns—about ethics, spiritual experience, and the inevitability of
human suffering—in ways that are not flagrantly irrational. We
desperately need a public discourse that encourages critical thinking
and intellectual honesty. Nothing stands in the way of this project
more that the respect we accord religious faith. – Sam Harris - Letter
to a Christian Nation

I’ve started out my post to you with this Harris quote because I think to
some degree it dovetails into what you are trying to get us to realize,
Napolean DoneHisPart.  Harris does not wind up with the same
conclusion you do but nevertheless the social sentiments are similar.

I have not responded to some of your posts because although you
seem to disavow a bias, I see you are not exactly objective about
belief in God.  You state the atheist position incorrectly and take a
preconditioned position that God exists when you say, “if in fact God
exists.”  This is not a point of view I can right off address since
although I cannot prove the non-existence of a god, just as much as I
cannot prove the universe is either a closed or open system or whether
or not there are 11 dimensions to reality or only the four I experience,
I do not have a belief that a god exists.  Having that belief however
does not deny the existence of a God.  Atheism is not, within my
definition, a reluctance to acknowledge “God” or anything similarly
unseen thereabouts.  It is my, and consistently has been my, view,
and often so stated, that I have found no justification either from my
own investigation or the argument of others to believe there is a
supernatural being that control and/or interacts with or influences
living beings on Earth.  Agnostically I do not know if there is any
justifiable reason to believe there is such interaction elsewhere in the
universe.  It is this lack of justification that lies at the bottom of my
conclusion there is no such being, nor a plurality of such beings as
would a pantheism supply.  I am open to anyone presenting some
justification for belief with the exception of using faith as the justifi-
cation. Disbelief in is not denial.  While some atheist might deny the
existence of God or gods, I believe it is not a simple denial.  It isn’t a
denial based on a fact that essentially is not provable.  Just as much,
an affirmation is also not provable!

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By Shenonymous, October 10, 2010 at 1:24 pm Link to this comment

2. To Napolean DoesNotDare and others
Since clarity of the vocabulary is one of the keys to fruitful
communication, a criteria for which Socrates always demanded
before engaging in a dialogue, it might be useful to clarify what
belief is, to make sure we are speaking the same language.  Oddly,
the atheist is accused of having beliefs.  Of course, atheists have
beliefs.  They first of all believe they are alive!  Then they believe they
need material nourishment in order to survive, and they believe there
is an internal sense of being as well as an external world. 

The fact of beliefs applies both to theists and atheists.  Using the online
encyclopedias so that checking it out is made convenient, simply said, a
belief is a mental state or attitude that some proposition is true?  To
clarify even farther, a proposition is a conception, a thesis, an argu-
ment, or some statement that convinces it coheres with some truth.
Beliefs may be strong or weak, can be based on evidence or not, and
can be reasonable or irrational.  Beliefs are a mental representation of
the world both internally (subjectively) or about the external world
(objectively) and is the conception that world is structured in some way
rather than another.

Turning to faith, which atheists also have to some qualified degree. 
Faith can be defined in religious contexts as a type of belief or as trust.
Faith as belief is belief without evidence or knowledge.  Where atheists
rely on faith it is not the same as theists, or religionists do.  The kind of
faith atheists have is subjective trust that their beliefs are based on the
objective principles of probability: knowing that they cannot have
absolute knowledge, as Socrates often used to say, the only thing he
knew was that he didn’t know.  It is this kind of trust that atheists
provisionally take as truth.  Theists or religionists have absolute faith
that the precepts of their religion are unassailable, are unequivocally
true. 

Does this satisfy you that someone is taking your comments seriously. 
I will watch your few videos later this evening as time permits.

Leefeller, that was the funniest post I’ve seen in a long time!  Mirth
from you is never missing!

Jews definitely believe in an afterlife, as the Torah (the Bible’s OT)
testifies.  Do read the Bible for verification at the books and verses I
provided.

Say what you want about Sam Harris, he is more cogent and coherent
than any non-arguments (baseless opinions) offered here. Denial is
easy, evidence difficult.  Thank you Senõr Wences.

“Nothing guarantees that reasonable people will agree about everything,
of course, but the unreasonable are certain to be divided by their
dogmas. It is time we recognized that this spirit of mutual inquiry,
which is the foundation of all real science, is the very antithesis of
religious faith.” - Sam Harris “The Politics of Ignorance.”

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By Joan, October 10, 2010 at 12:37 pm Link to this comment

Elisalouisa,

Thanks for your concern…

If I am off line, it is only due to time constraints…glad you are following my posts.

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By Joan, October 10, 2010 at 12:34 pm Link to this comment

She,

You offer a very poetic soliloquy on truth and knowledge, and empirical verification and probability.

My post was in the context of the Western philosophy’s use of those terms and I assure you from having read Harris, he, likewise is using them in the same context. 

In Western philosophy truth is never a matter of degree. Truth and knowledge are one and the same. There is no knowledge that is not true. 

In Western Philosophy to empirically verify something you must demonstrate it, either mathematically or physically. For instance, we can demonstrate that H2O boils at 100 degrees C.

Over time as science progressed scientists found out they could make very few empirically verified statements, ie the Big Bang is not empirically verified, may not even be empirically verifiable, in fact. Therefore, science reverted to a status that is less certain, to probability, in order to free it to investigate what scientists think may be true but they are unable to unequivocally verify by demonstration. 

Both empirical verification and probability operate simultaneously in scientific inquiry.

Harris initially bashes religion for its lack of empirical verification but I think catches hell from his peers because in the grand scheme of things very little is empirically verified.  He lowers his standard to probability. 

Well, so what?  Right off that bat Harris, remembering his days in the ashram or wherever he was, admits there are transcendent experiences that man undergoes; somehow man experiences what seems beyond the senses.  This admission is his first mistake because Dominicans like Thomas Crean are going to say ….well now, Sammy,  if men experience the transcendent, what’s to say that there are no miracles, like virgin births. These are merely acts we do not experience in nature. The probability is zilch but in the Christian faith we see this as not a natural event in the first place. It’s a miracle, if you will. So if, you, Sammy, believe in the transcendent ability of man’s mind, how can you rule out miracles that are acts that transcend nature too?  After all, Christians never make the claim that virgin births are natural occurrences. Probability is not applicable.

Harris argues poorly. First, by acknowledging that man can transcend, to be logically consistent Harris opens the door to accepting miracles. Second, Christians say, we agree virgin births are not verifiable or probabilistic. They are miracles. Last, if science cannot meet the empirically verified standard to be called truth, why should religion? (I am sure Harris’ cohorts nailed him to the wall for that mistake).  Finally, Christians, like Crean say, so what if a virgin birth is improbable…we already said it’s a miracle.

On the flip side, Harris could have denied that man was transcendent but he knew from personal experience that that was not true, as do most of us. I give him credit for his honesty even if he did not realize it would work against him. So off he trots to become a neuroscientist to empirically verify that mystical experience is brain chemistry based…lots of luck with that. If provable, I don’t think we’ll see it in our lifetime.

The issue here is that man is not determined which is a necessary condition for scientific inquiry. I mean by this that any two people with the same backgrounds etc. can undergo the same experience and have entirely different reactions that are well within the range of the human norm or wildly out of range. For science, we need a thing to react the same under the same conditions over an over.  In science the parameters for a given reaction are very narrow; for man they seem much more broad almost limitlessly broad. It’s hard to spin out science under those conditions. Hence, the separate magesteria has its appeal.

RE: Jews and the after life…it was my understanding that Jews did not believe in the afterlife. That’s what I’ve heard, leastways.

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By Leefeller, October 10, 2010 at 12:32 pm Link to this comment

With the certitude of even the most fanatic Christian, I
can safely say I believe in soles and spirits.  One has
soles on their shoes and spirits in the liquor cabinet.
With todays economic blues, one finds the soles of of ones
shoes may be holy and the the sprits in the cabinet
most empty!

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, October 10, 2010 at 11:21 am Link to this comment

Joan, I agree from the perception of the populous, that the US was based spiritually on Judaism and Christianity collectively ( the bible ).

Yet from the proletariat perspective, it is more religions of ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome… more secret and obscure beliefs than open and inviting sects like Christianity, Islam and Judaism… as history has shown and can be seen when one steps into state capitals, and D.C… they symbols are everywhere… but are discounted as mere ‘decoration’ or ‘adornment’ and not something deeper.

Please look at the videos I posted earlier today herein.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, October 10, 2010 at 11:15 am Link to this comment

He said he doesn’t believe souls or bodies can be changed by incantations…

How can he believe in a soul… and not a spirit?

Isn’t that a fallacy?

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, October 10, 2010 at 11:10 am Link to this comment

THIS IS THAT INTERVIEW I DID SEE…. VERY TELLING about the human condition.  Sad actually.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, October 10, 2010 at 11:08 am Link to this comment

She, Leefeller, ITW, et all,

I’ve stated in a prior post ( which was ignored ), that I see atheism or the reluctance to acknowledge “God” or the existence of something unseen yet ‘possibly’ existing ( I say this to help in the discussion rather than assuming, out of consideration )... as simply being a rebellious and obstinate response, quite natural and likened to the shock or disbelief when folks respond to news of someone’s passing, or some calamitous event or some great news even…

A natural response from the human being, being unable to fully understand God or his essence and presence… thus deciding to deny, or ignore any further opportunity to seek out if in fact God exists… and then relegating the notion to one dissected by the ‘scientific method’ and we know science to be ever evolving, changing and theories which have been ‘believed’ in for long times being quickly removed and replaced with the ‘now correct belief’ or theory… showing science to also have faults like someone’s faith shows fault to the unbeliever.

No one responded when I stated that…

Yet I read everyone’s responses to learn something, whether it be words to add to my vocabulary ( which I also posted thanking you folks for enriching my vocabulary… and that was also ignored ) or factual points of things I have yet to know, understand or yet discover.

I also stated that I’ve learned a great lesson in love this summer from, of all people, an atheist! 

Now to your quote She:

“There is a circle here that links us to one another: we each want to be happy; the social feeling of love is one of our greatest sources of happiness; and love entails that we be concerned for the happiness of others. We discover that we can be selfish together.” 

- Sam Harris, The End of Faith

In response, I’ll simply point to this video with a favorite of many atheists…. Mr. Hitchens.

I read / heard somewhere where he stated something like “if I start to be belligerent and start to rant about God or faith, please ignore those words… for that will be not being coherent nor rational.

I’d say, that statement ( which I couldn’t find online, perhaps it was in a video interview I saw ) is the my example of human rebelliousness.

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/08/05/atheist-christopher-hitchens-responds-to-those-praying-for-him/

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By Joan, October 10, 2010 at 11:03 am Link to this comment

ITW,

Let me be perfectly clear here because I think you have drawn some erroneous conclusions from my posts. I do NOT advocate that anyone impose any religion on anyone inappropriately and likewise I do not want atheists imposing their religion on me or my kids in schools etc.  I suspect that you are imputing these things to me rather than finding that I my own words. But if so, let me expand on my position.

We are a melting pot and hence rub elbows with people with different beliefs. I believe we cannot force those differences out of the public square, which is the impression I have of your beliefs and criticisms. Bottom-line, a Christmas tree in the town square no more establishes a religion than a Christmas tree on a church lawn next to the square. So why can’t you live with that? 

That you were alienated in a classroom during the Christmas season is unfortunate but we, in America embrace differences and that means minimally we must teach our young’uns to allow for the expression of what we ourselves for not believe. That is tolerance. If we continue to divide this country with this growing intolerance, like biblical wisdom predicts, this house divided will not continue to stand.

In our school district we had C. trees and menorahs, with parents who explained both traditions, same in our town square, the Christmas tree and a menorah. I had Asian students and Muslim ones who gave me Christmas cards…in college…their choice. It was a sign of affection, not forced conversion. We all felt close to each other as people who were fond of each other.  My daughters’ gymnastics coach, a Jew, out of pocket, threw the wildest Christmas parties in his gym, I have ever seen. He loved doing it.  He got Christmas gifts and he gave them out too. So there you have it, a very different set of reactions from yours.

Over the years I saw this celebration as an opportunity for others with different backgrounds to transcend their differences and just have a good time with Christians during this season of Christian celebration. Now people are so frickin’ intimidated they are afraid to say “Merry Christmas”.  Do you understand how offensive I find that in a nation that guarantees freedom of speech and religious expression?   

America was birthed from a Greco-Roman civic culture and a Judeo-Christian spiritual one. Its descendants should not be marginalized or disrespected. Despite that both histories, Rome and Greece, Christianity and Judaism, have bloody pasts, America, their issue, is man’s greatest hope.

And I disagree with you and Maani. Atheists and agnostics play a key in bringing to our SC these lawsuits to restrict freedom of religious expression.  Do you think Newdow and O’Hare are Christians? I suspect that the SC spurning Newdow’s latest attempt to remove the words ’ under God’ from the POA is a message that it will go no further in pandering to the requests of a few extremist atheists.  We’ll see.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, October 10, 2010 at 10:40 am Link to this comment

Thanks Leefeller, for your honest responses… I appreciate them.

I don’t giver much intro, for the very reason you stated that you glaze over my words because you are avoiding text which you’d rather not read….

That is the reason I don’t ‘tease’ like how we’re conditioned to accept information….

Trying not to go about the chattel like the slave drivers do.. but guess what?

Can one break the conditioning we are so accustomed to?

I am pointing out that we have something bigger that the silly banter and bickering about our specific beliefs and what have you…

We have an elite establishment over the state and people, yet these realities and obvious examples found on PUBLIC property isn’t mentioned, omitted. 

And numskulls argue about what they THINK they see and understand rather than learn and discover what they have yet to find out…. but that takes thinking and learning, which many on here have already decided for themselves that ‘they know it all’ or ‘I’ve made my choices’ and other such phrases which stifle thinking and further strengthen the ignorant indifference I keep reading.

I know these things, others should too… but we are conditioned to be divided…. and it has worked.

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By Shenonymous, October 10, 2010 at 10:23 am Link to this comment

Again you miss the point, ITW, possibly because of an overactive
defensive reaction.  By nitpicking I mean you narrowly focus only
on one point among many.  But it appears to escape your ability to
self-criticize.  That is okay, it is a common affliction of Truthdippers. 
I agree that I often take to task others when there is the egregious
action of painting with gray to conceal their lack of empirical evidence
and not provide any references whatsoever for opinions without
admitting they are merely unsupported opinions. It is the habit of
Fuzzy Logicians.

You strikingly make my point when you said, ”in every religion there
are those who feel every non-believer is sub-human and only THEY
have the True Path To God and Heaven.”
 

It is this very irrationally emotional motive that I suggest will lead to
armageddons after armageddons until the strongest god wins.  It will
not matter if anyone is right, righteous, or downright wrong, it will be
the strongest who will prevail.  That is the effort of the jockeying going
on in our era. 

Also you reiterate what I said just previously, You: ” But it is not the
focus of the religion to concentrate on what non-Jews do, or whether or
not they are heaven bound.  The focus is on what Jews do, here on
earth.”

Me:  ”Also it is well known that Judaism is ?not terribly focused on the
question of how to get into heaven, such as ?are the Christians and
Islamists.  Judaism is more focused on life and ?how to live it.”
  As
you can see you did not take note of my earlier statement of the same
observation, and I did give a reference but you do not.  Again,
http://www.jewfaq.org/olamhaba.htm  Or were you just offering your
own opinion like the others do? 

Here, Napolean DoneHisPart is a Sam Harris quote just for you (well I
certainly would not discourage anyone else who wants to appreciate it!
LOL)  Course I do not know if Nappie will appreciate it!

“There is a circle here that links us to one another: we each want to be
happy; the social feeling of love is one of our greatest sources of
happiness; and love entails that we be concerned for the happiness of
others. We discover that we can be selfish together.”  Sam Harris - The
End of Faith

Why Napolean, baloney is what TDers do best!  And I am not exempt!

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By Leefeller, October 10, 2010 at 10:14 am Link to this comment

Napoleon for what it is worth, I must admit skipping over most of your
posts because a habit, as they seem to meander and I have a
comprehension meandering problem, but my stereotype of
Napoleon posts had become where I expect to see quotes from the bible and when this happens, I
reach for the empty Tequila bottle and throw it at the
computer monitor.  After awhile this can be very annoying when I run out of empty bottles.

I will read your post when I have time and maybe check out the links, but why do you not introduce the links a bit more completely, so one can decided if they want to check them out, you know a teaser like the News clowns use?

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, October 10, 2010 at 9:38 am Link to this comment

Can you three or five drop the baloney about who’s right on this?  You see how words and more words only convoluted the issue?

Anyone have anything to say about what I posted?

The videos?

Anyone?

Bueller?

This is worse than 2nd grade!

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By Maani, October 10, 2010 at 9:37 am Link to this comment

Some stuff for all.

Nick Kristof offers his own quiz on religion:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/10/opinion/10kristof.html?ref=opinion&pagewanted=print

An interesting new book:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/10/books/review/Wright-t.html?sq=grace&st=cse&scp=1&pagewanted=print

And an atheist I think we can all dislike (LOL):

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/10/nyregion/10geller.html?ref=nyregion

Peace.

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By Inherit The Wind, October 10, 2010 at 9:30 am Link to this comment

She,

I don’t know what to say.  You nit-pick all the time, so do I. That’s the way it is.  You’ve done some amazing research, and I applaud that.

In every religion there are those who feel every non-believer is sub-human and only THEY have the True Path To God and Heaven.  But those same also nit-pick and criticize their own members for not being good enough and, in extreme cases, ostracize or kill them.  Judaism is not exempt from those evil bastards.

But it is not the focus of the religion to concentrate on what non-Jews do, or whether or not they are heaven bound.  The focus is on what Jews do, here on earth.  Yeah, there are mentions of an afterlife, but nothing like the heavy focus on it that Christians and Muslims have.

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By Maani, October 10, 2010 at 9:27 am Link to this comment

ITW:

“It is not Atheists who have prohibited you from using public property and public funds from pushing your religion on me and my kids.  It is the decisions of the United States Supreme Court.  As far as I know, there has never been an admitted Atheist or Agnostic on the Court.  All of the members have either been Christian or Jewish, since it was established.”

I agree.  I was simply pointing out that the First Amendment itself only speaks to the “establishment” of religion, not its expression, even in the “public square.”

“And the deliberate attempt to intimidate the children of non-Christians and especially the children of Atheists and Agnostics in public schools is a continual flood trying to break down the dam.”

I am not sure I agree with your use of the word “intimidation” - at least in the borad sense.  If there is “local” intimidation going on, report it to the DOE.

“You and Joan, and even EL do not have any IDEA how offensive it is that your assumption that because you comprise the majority religion, you are empowered to force it on the rest of us, to force us to pay for it, and, worst of all, to force it on our children in the public schools, as it was forced on me from Kindergarten through my HS graduation, and even today.”

First, I have made it clear that I do NOT agree with the legislation of “mandatory” morality or ritual.  Second, what exactly are you paying for?  Third, re school, again I reiterate that I am OPPOSED to this.  And my guess is that both Joan and EL agree with me on all three of these.

“I see Southern judges wanting The Ten Commandments in their courtroom. Is it the Jewish 10 from the Torah? No. Is it the Catholic 10 from the Vulgate Bible? No. Is it the 10 from one of the new translations like the New World Bible? No. It’s the 10 solely from Anglican King James Bible. Protestant Christianity shoved down EVERYONE’S throats, even those Christians who follow a different scripture.”

How is having the Ten Commandments outside, or even in, a courtroom “shoving” anything down your throat?  It is simply a static display.  And after all, above every judge’s head right now are the words “In God We Trust.”  Again, it does not necessarily mean that I support any of this, I am just wondering why you are so freaked out by it.

“And then Christians have the unmitigated GALL to claim they are “persecuted” in America! Hah! You have NO idea what persecution is like.  And I hope you never do.”

This sounds a tad hyperbolic: do you really feel “persecuted” by American Christianity?  REALLY?!  Is that the word you would actually use to describe your feeling?  If so, and with all due respect, I think you need to find the issue in yourself, not the issue “outside.”  AGAIN, I may agree with all of your points.  But to use a word like “persecuted” here is insensitive to true persecution around the world.

Peace.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, October 10, 2010 at 9:03 am Link to this comment

ITW is right folks!  No religious anything should be allowed on public / state property..

Can we stop further dividing ourselves and see what is really going on?  We’ve been seeing certain symbols relating to particular religions and such… right under our noses.

“Hidden in plain view” some say.

I know, the video’s author can be biased and a bit overly passionate… but can’t deny what is there and what he’s pointing out.

Watch these before you dismiss their authors or dismiss this information if it doesn’t fit your paradigm or mental context….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNO_PnqBLZQ

http://www.mojvideo.com/video-occult-symbols-in-western-government-part-5/db8fe0febd88157cff95

http://www.mojvideo.com/video-occult-symbols-in-u-s-government-part-2/0763f04a3980ffc71cf0

Also, consider the three obelisks found in the three sovereign states within a state ( Vatican City, City of London and our good ole District of Columbia ).

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By Shenonymous, October 10, 2010 at 7:51 am Link to this comment

Since you are a Jew, ITW, I would assume you knew this belief.  It
is not my belief since I am not a Jew, nor a religionist of any stripe,
Agnosticism notwithstanding, I presume nothing, I am an atheist
showing a point about religions.  My source for your criticism is
http://www.jewfaq.org/olamhaba.htm and appears in the second
or third paragraph to my best recollection.

I am sure I made a few leaps but I am not here to give the entire
history of the Jews and their entire belief system.  Interested parties are
not helpless to do their own investigations.  If some of the statements
do not follow, then you need to be sure they don’t, and need to show
where they are inconsistent.  I am happy to make any correction you
can provide (also with the kind of references you demand).  Whether or
not non-Jews are celebrated for their good deeds while on this earthly
existence is not pertinent to whether or not they are considered
righteous by heavenly standards.  If righteousness is determined,
however, by the people, then God has no say in whether or not people
in fact are by his measure.  Humans have the flaw of sentimentality in
their judgments at times and are not the best judge of righteousness.

It is awfully odd how you nitpick on rather minor points, instead of
applauding the extensive work that went into my comments.  I don ‘t
mind being corrected if it is done in a non-confrontational manner.  I
do not pretend to know everything.  At least I provide lots of referenced
background for Judaism, which you are not doing. And again, if I miss a
reference, I am only too happy to quickly provide it if requested.
Perhaps you do not want to appear too Jewish? 

You also seem awfully proud to be an agnostic, well since agnosticism
has mainly to do with the knowledge of the divinity, that does not
preclude agnostic Jews who believe and practice their religion, nor does
it preclude atheist agnostics.  They both freely admit they do not
“know” whether or not a god exists.  There are agnostic theists as well
who admit their beliefs are completely reliant on faith.  Perhaps a clear
definition of agnosticism is required. 

Agnosticism is a form of skepticism that holds that the existence of
God cannot be logically proved or disproved.  It is the doctrine that
one cannot know the existence of anything beyond the phenomena of
experience and is often compared with religious skepticism.  Actually
it was a term coined by T. H. Huxley, to indicate those who denied
traditional Judeo-Christian theism, but who were not doctrinaire
atheists. Richard Dawkins says he is an agnostic atheist.  Agnosticism
may amount to no more than the suspension of judgment on ultimate
questions because of the lack of absolute knowledge since absolute
knowledge is an impossibility.  Bertrand Russell’s What is an Agnostic at
http://scepsis.ru/eng/articles/id_5.php  could help make the
distinction, as well as his book Why I Am Not a Christian, and most
definitely his essay,  Am I An Atheist Or An Agnostic? found at
http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/russell8.htm
Russell, of course, is not the only source, so others may do their own
research.

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By Inherit The Wind, October 10, 2010 at 6:29 am Link to this comment

Leefeller:

You mistake me completely. I am not against Christmas trees at all.  I find them rather delightful and festive.  I enjoy seeing in my friends’ PRIVATE homes, on their PRIVATE lawns, outside their PRIVATE churches and on their PRIVATE buildings even if commercial.

I am not even anti-Christmas, although, to an outsider like me, the commercialization of it is as mind-boggling as it is offensive for many Christians.

I am NOT against the practice of Christianity any more or less than I am against the practices of any religion.  But the freedom to swing your Christian fist STOPS before it hits my Agnostic nose—and that’s what Maani, EL and especially Joan don’t get.

She, 

You presume that there can be no “righteous” outside the Jewish religion (according to Jewish Law).  You make a number of leaps, but I’m not sure they follow.  There has been and is, to this day, in Israel, celebration of “The Righteous”, meaning specifically non-Jews, such as Oscar Schindler.

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By Shenonymous, October 9, 2010 at 11:36 pm Link to this comment

You don’t often give references usually leaving them out all together,
elisalouisa. Here are my exact words of Oct 7 at 3:10am regarding
my conclusion that Jews also have a belief of a heaven and that
although never overtly stated, a goy would have to convert to get
into the Hebrew heaven.  It is a nobrainer.

“Regarding Judaism and the conversion of the world.  Well, let’s do
a little inductive logic.  Jews believe they are the chosen people of
God. If all non-Jews want to get to Heaven, then somehow they must
become Jews, and the only way to do that is by conversion. So, it is
well-known that the Christians want to get to heaven.  Hence, by
Judaistic standards, they will have to be converted.  It is not far to
come to the conclusion that while unstated, at the heart of Judaism is
for anyone who wants to get to heaven they must convert to Judaism.”

Now it is obvious that I am referring to Jews who believe in their
religion and its literary heritage. Also it is well known that Judaism is
not terribly focused on the question of how to get into heaven, such as
are the Christians and Islamists.  Judaism is more focused on life and
how to live it. Even so, there is clear evidence in the Torah of belief in
existence after death and speaks of the World to Come (also called the
messianic age). See Dan. 12:2, Neh. 9:5, indicating that the righteous
will be reunited with their loved ones after death, while the wicked will
be excluded from this reunion.

The most common view within Judaism is that the righteous can come
from anywhere and may have a share in the Olam Ha-Ba (a spiritual life
after death, that is, the World to Come).  Statements to the contrary
were not based on the notion that membership in Judaism was required
to get into Olam Ha-Ba, but are grounded in the observation that non-
Jews, the goyim, were not righteous people. The idea that the Jews are
the chosen people of God is mentioned in 2nd Chronicles 6:5-6 ‘Since
the day that I brought My people from the land of Egypt, I did not
choose a city out of all the tribes of Israel in which to build a house
that My name might be there, nor did I choose any man for a leader
over My people Israel; but I have chosen Jerusalem that My name might
be there, and I have chosen David to be over My people Israel.’  And
again at Deuteronomy 7:6 “For you are a people holy to the LORD your
God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his own
possession, out of all the peoples that are on the face of the earth.”

In Judaism, there is a Heaven and it is sometimes described as a place
where God debates Talmudic law with the angels, and where Jews spend
eternity studying the Written and Oral Torah.  It does not include goyim
in that description.

The fact of the matter is that God chose to reveal himself to the Jews
and the rub is God doesn’t talk to goyim. The goyim are all non-Jews. 
Modern Jews don’t look for converts because it is God’s decision, not
man’s.  However, according to historian, H.H. Ben-Sasson in his A
History of the Jewish People, “Explicit evidence of a systematic attempt
to propagate the Jewish faith in the city of Rome is seen as early as 139
BCE. With the increase of the Jewish population of Rome, the Jews
intensified their efforts to make converts among the Romans.  In
retrospect, that seemed like a good political move.

So perhaps the Jews were not that adamant about conversions but if
God does not talk to goyim, then goyim would, logically, have to
convert to Judaism.  I mean who would want to get into heaven and not
be able to talk with God?

“When considering the truth of a proposition, one is either engaged in
an honest appraisal of the evidence and logical arguments, or one isn’t.
Religion is one area of our lives where people imagine that some other
standard of intellectual integrity applies.” — Sam Harris (Letter to a
Christian Nation)

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, October 9, 2010 at 10:35 pm Link to this comment

Are we still arguing about taking off one’s hat?

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By Leefeller, October 9, 2010 at 9:57 pm Link to this comment

After bouncing their heads off the pew a few
times,.... one would think the Pious would learn not
to leave those rosary beads laying about!

Many who dwell here are heretics, infidels, Atheists, Agnostics and Leefeller who make those sanctimonious folks
feel unwelcome here ....... then there is ITW!  .....ITW…. will you behave yourself and
take your damn hat off!

By the way ITW, ....last Christmas many of the Xmas
tree sales lots around here got stuck with most of
their trees unsold, so the bad economy seems to be
supporting ITW’s Xmas tree ban? Me suspects, this
year one may be hard pressed to even find an Xmas tree lot?

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By Inherit The Wind, October 9, 2010 at 9:49 pm Link to this comment

EL: OK. I thought it was you.

Maani. You are incorrect, blatantly. It is not Atheists who have prohibited you from using public property and public funds from pushing your religion on me and my kids.  It is the decisions of the United States Supreme Court.  As far as I know, there has never been an admitted Atheist or Agnostic on the Court.  All of the members have either been Christian or Jewish, since it was established.

The “establishment clause” has been interpreted just as I’ve said.  And the deliberate attempt to intimidate the children of non-Christians and especially the children of Atheists and Agnostics in public schools is a continual flood trying to break down the dam.

You and Joan, and even EL do not have any IDEA how offensive it is that your assumption that because you comprise the majority religion, you are empowered to force it on the rest of us, to force us to pay for it, and, worst of all, to force it on our children in the public schools, as it was forced on me from Kindergarten through my HS graduation, and even today.

If I sound bitter it’s because I lived through it.  Christmas trees in the classrooms, “Secret Santas”, teachers spouting Christian theology as absolute fact, choir directors whose “Holiday Concert” was 100% Christian music (not even a “Jingle Bells” or “Let it Snow” or “The Dreydel Song”—nothing)—and the inevitable townies who wanted a creche on the HS lawn, even though there was one on lawn of the church to the right, of the church to the left, and of the monster church in front of the school.

I see Southern judges wanting “The Ten Commandments” in their courtroom. 
Is it the Jewish 10 from the Torah? No. 
Is it the Catholic 10 from the Vulgate Bible? No.
Is it the 10 from one of the new translations like the New World Bible? No.

It’s the 10 solely from Anglican King James Bible.  Protestant Christianity shoved down EVERYONE’S throats, even those Christians who follow a different scripture.

It’s not “historical” when it’s the KJB version.  It’s religion, in the courtroom.

And then Christians have the unmitigated GALL to claim they are “persecuted” in America!

Hah! You have NO idea what persecution is like.  And I hope you never do.

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By elisalouisa, October 9, 2010 at 6:08 pm Link to this comment

Hey Joan, nice to see you back.  As I have mentioned before, many who dwell here are Atheists or Agnostics and cover each other’s you know what. Thus Believers have a tendency to feel unwelcome. Pay no heed. Truthdig is open to all.

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By elisalouisa, October 9, 2010 at 5:52 pm Link to this comment

She gives the first sentence of Sam Harris’s famous quote. Last sentence of that same paragraph:
“The days of our religious identities are clearly numbered. Whether the days of civilization itself are numbered would seem to depend, rather to much, on how soon we realize this.”

******
Who does Sam mean by “we?” Does he include himself? I know writers can use the word “we” rather than “I” but that is not accepted on this Forum as Chris Hedges has been criticized many times for using the word “we.“So what are Believers supposed to do? Wisen up go along with the New Atheists to save civilization? By the comments on this forum chances of that happening are nil.  The New Atheists are aggressive, no one is going to win this battle. In that sense Sam Harris is correct.

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By elisalouisa, October 9, 2010 at 5:29 pm Link to this comment

ITW:The discussion of who can and will get into heaven is a Christian concept, fairly alien to Judaism.  I’m not a scholar but heaven is barely discussed as is the afterlife.  The vast majority of religious discussion is how we live in THIS life.

elisa:Why are you telling me this ITW. You should be telling She.  Kindly reread her post that I refer to and see who said what.  Having attended High Holiday services for a few years, I have never heard the word heaven. The Torah is the center. I also realize that Judaism does not encourage conversion. Again, I did not bring up that word, She did. Thus She’s comment that “at the heart of Judaism is for anyone who wants to get to heaven they must convert Judaism.” is more than idiotic. So kindly address you comments to Shepotamus.

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By Shenonymous, October 9, 2010 at 2:18 pm Link to this comment

Empirical verification lies in probability not on any absoute truth. 
To think any theory is absolute truth would be oxymoronic as every
scientist worth his/her salt well understands.  Measuring the 9/11
phenomenon could wind up in probability inasmuch as there are
several eye witnesses who declare things did not happen the way it
is reported.  I don’t believe them since there are videos and many
more eyewitnesses that independently corroborate the actions of
the planes that crashed into the buildings. So I would go with the
probability based on the best evidence.  Oh well…conspiracy theories
abound and will always be a part of human perceptions of life.

No confusion about Gould on my part, but anyone following this forum
could have been.  Since lecturing is my profession it is natural for it to
follow me in my participation on blogs. 

Yeah, water seeks its own level and truth is even harder to determine
than knowledge.  Knowledge to be knowledge has the element of
eternity thown into the recipe and since no one lasts an eternity it can
never be checked out.  Such is the tentative nature of knowledge and
why science allows revisions of its theories as new information is
discovered.  Whereas religious dogma cannot withstand changes to its
basic tenets.  Therein lies the difference between scientific truths based
on continuing experimentation, and religious truth that is based on
faith, unsubstantiated beliefs. 

The compromise offered by Gould is not the one he offered in terms of
belief in a supernatural being.  It had to do with how evolution
proceeds, either Darwinian slowly and continuously or in his idea of
leaps or as jerks as some paleontologist have described his Non
Overlapping Magisteria (NOMA).  If interested here is a PDF (meaing
downloadable for free)
http://www.godslasteraar.org/.../Gould’s_Separate_’Magisteria’_ Two_Views_
book_reviews_sec.pdf
another cut/paste into browser web address that could be entertaining.

“Man is manifestly not the measure of all things. This universe is shot
through with mystery. The very fact of its being, and of our own, is a
mystery absolute, and the only miracle worthy of the name.”
— Sam Harris (The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of
Reason)

Naw, no need for me to give up or take a rest whilst the religionists
won’t give it (whatever ‘it’ is) a rest.  I’m having too much fun posting
my quotes from great atheists the world has known.  I’ve been looking
for an excuse for sometime.  I have hundreds of them.

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By Joan, October 9, 2010 at 1:50 pm Link to this comment

Napolean,


In the spirit of your immense patience, I am going for it. I am going to try to pour that Guinness and take my old sweet time about it. Practice makes perfect, right? 

Leefeller,

Are you doing stand up anywhere one the East coast ??? 

Shenonymous,

Most of this nation is Christian. So they do most of the work…give it a rest, why don’t you? Aren’t you the Dr. Pepper girl…that one’s for you, so to speak.

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By Joan, October 9, 2010 at 1:35 pm Link to this comment

She,

Gould, right, thanks… sorry for any confusion my error may have caused…

You’re like “Lectures R Us” so calling me a babbling dabbler…that’s just too funny. 

RE:  When Harris is being most truthful…let the babbling dabbler enlighten you. Truth like pregnancy is not a matter of degree. Something is the case or it is not the case.

Switching to probability from empirical verification, a standard some empiricists knew was too rigid to meet to make an assertion, waters down the test for what can be asserted as true and opens the door to a wide range of statements that heretofore would have been excluded, like statements about morality. EX: Most Christians think it’s wrong to fly planes into buildings to spread the faith. True, probably.

Some philosophers, not wanting to live in world in which anything goes, no morality in other words, appreciated the compromise offered by Gould. Spiritual knowledge and physical knowledge were essentially different (in the Aristotelian use of the word ‘essential’) and Gould encouraged using different methods to evaluate claims made in science and religion or spiritual matters. 

I recall in “Letters ...” that Harris made much ado about verifying statements, doable in science, not so in religion; he hammers away. I am sure he caught hell for that because philosophers and scientists had moved well beyond that all too limiting epistemological requirement to make any assertion at all, shifting to the more favored probability test, all things being equal.

But here’s the rub. Probability is not unequivocal truth, real truth…more truth, as you might say, She.  Here science lost the elegance and prominence of unquestioned CERTAINTY. Science could doubt and would doubt what it brought forward as knowledge. Its issue was no longer in the elevated realm of indubitable knowledge, more similar to ethics now.

So in “End of Faith” enlightened now about the nature of knowledge in general, Harris still argues that religion cannot be verified. Well, if he accepts science as a work in progress, far from having revealed all we can know, why not religion too? Who is to say we ultimately will not be able to verify or somehow validate religious statements? Who is to say that eventually we may not be able to throw off Gould’s separate magesteria, a matter of epistemological convenience, a gimmick, utilized to keep us from eliminating ethics and preventing mankind’s descent into the world gone mad,  ethics free living?… A nightmarish twist that would probably usher in a short life span for most and martial arts expertise for the survivors. 

Why do I think Christianity is the right path? I believe it is. Is that statement verifiable or probabilistically accurate? I have said it before. I think it is. Under Christian dominance, as man understood this ideology more and more clearly over the centuries, similar to scientific progress, Christian cultures flourished and man lives better. The proof is in the pudding, so to speak, not Harris’ distorted conclusions. 

Christianity is not a failure because some of its followers are.

Regarding science and religion, we’ve a long way to go before we have mastered either.

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By Leefeller, October 9, 2010 at 1:35 pm Link to this comment

My doctor said I can drink two beers a day, but like parsing

Maani I asked her what if I sipped them instead of
drinking them because that is not the same as drinking? ,....then could I increase that number to 3 beers a day?  For some reason she ignored me,...... but then I asked her if I can drink two beers a day,
could I instead drink fourteen beers on Saturday instead, of course preferably before taking my Christian neighbors garbage to the dump?

I am beginning to see the lite, when one utilizes fantasies to explain the causes and effects on everything which has happened, is happening and will happen… with absolute disregard for facts or truth, instead in traditional Christian form,one is to assume deluded opinion as truth and people in polite society are not expected to question absolutists opinions?

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, October 9, 2010 at 12:48 pm Link to this comment

Folks, whomever would like a Guinness, poured with patience… let me know!  I’ll sit there the 2 minutes it takes to pour that baby out without the foam and fuss… 

I can only have one though, for my palate can handle only so much of that syrup-like flavor…

I must say, that I appreciate the EVERYONE on here.

I really like looking up the definitions of words… I look up maybe 3-5 everyday and add to my understanding.. thanks guys!

Just remember to unify when the time comes… for remember, we are in a class-warfare with money, religion and pedigree being used to distinguish and make us different and obscure from one another…. yet we have so much in common and so much to lose through disunity and quibbling over things which are difficult to understand and comprehend…

But we can all understand and comprehend that SOMETHING IS WRONG in America today… and she’s been resembling “Amerika” for some time now.

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By Shenonymous, October 9, 2010 at 12:35 pm Link to this comment

Nothing more to add to the Guiness pouring.  Except to say that I
miss the stuff.  All this talking about it gave me a thirst however
long it takes to pour it perfectly.  Oh well…such is life.  Guess I’ll
keep a bottle of cranberry juice chilling as well as the non-alcoholic
beers.  Sigh.

But are you saying Joan that in America, it is in the name of Christianity
that Christians do most of the garbage collecting, nursing, teaching,
firefighting, sales work, building, road repair and fighting, etc, etc.? 
Given that 76% of Americans are Christian, I would not find it too
surprising that garbage collectors, nurses, teachers, firefighters,
salesmen/women, construction workers, road workers, etc. (not sure
what is meant by fighting) are Christian.  But it is quite the stretch to
say it is ‘becaus’e they are Christian that they are garbage collectors,
nurses, teachers, firefighters, salesmen/women, construction workers,
road workers, etc.  But wouldn’t that also mean that 24.5% of garbage
collectors, nurses, teachers, firefighters, salesmen/women, construction
workers, road workers, etc., are not Christians? Furthermore, 14.1%
Americans are surveyed to be atheists so I guess 14.1% of garbage
collectors, nurses, teachers, firefighters, salesmen/women, construction
workers, road workers, etc., are atheists.  Now in Canada the
percentage of atheists rises to from 19% - 30% atheists and I would
suppose, logically, that then 19% - 30% of Canadian garbage collectors,
nurses, teachers, firefighters, salesmen/women, construction workers,
road workers, etc., are atheists.  But then, that is Canada, a bit more
advanced on the evolution scale than Americans.

Oh Maani, shall we transmute this thread to a discussion of the Big
Bang theory?  It is one of my pet topics and I love to discuss it.

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By Maani, October 9, 2010 at 12:14 pm Link to this comment

She:

“[Gould] complained that the central tenets of creationism “cannot be tested, and its peripheral claims, which can be tested, have been proven false.”

Following on Joan’s comment, the same could be said of the “central tenets” of the Big Bang theory: they cannot be tested.  And it does not have any peripheral claims that can be tested either.

Peace.

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By Joan, October 9, 2010 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment

She,

The point of continuing discussion on hat removal is not about hat removal per se. It is about posters making indefensible statements. Griping that hat removal at sports events is some form of Christian oppression in America is ridiculous, especially in the face of irrefutable evidence to the contrary. There is no Christian mandate for that behavior.

So what lies beneath the accusations?  Just misinformation? Well, OK, that happens. Or, is the recalcitrance based on overall animosity towards Christians? I think that’s part of it.
I find that hard to swallow. 

In America, Christians do most of the garbage collecting, nursing, teaching, firefighting, sales work, building, road repair and fighting, etc, etc.

If you do have a different view, fine, but it’s hypocritical to accept the benefits of the country Christians build and keep humming and mock them…or hammer at them for Christmas trees in town squares for a few weeks out of some 52, exaggerating that this constitutes the establishment of a state religion you are force to practice. And this is tolerance!!???  I don’t think so. It strikes me as resentment, dislike and/or prejudice.

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By Shenonymous, October 9, 2010 at 11:16 am Link to this comment

When one refers to some authority it is a good idea to use their right
name: {i]“Goulding is on the right track to propose the separate
magesteria. A background in religion offers no skill in critiquing
science and vice versa.”  That is pathetic. 

It is Gould, Stephen J. Gould.  How funny, the babbling dabbler
as a critic of atheists. 

Also, “A background in religion offers no skill in critiquing science
and vice versa.“
  does not reflect in the least what Harris so skillfully
does.  Obviously the sentiment expressed is a seriously truncated
understanding of Harris, and Gould as well.  Harris is most truthful in
saying science is based on probability, and likely probability for which
there is no similar likelihood of proof by religionists.

“I know of no society in human history that ever suffered because its
people became too desirous of evidence in support of their core
beliefs.”
— Sam Harris (Letter to a Christian Nation) If you know of such a
society please list it for us. 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letter_to_a_Christian_Nation

http://www.samharris.org/site/book_letter_to_christian_nation/
I can’t sign my name to this blurb. As a New York Times best selling
author of books about business, my career will evaporate if I endorse a
book that challenges the deeply held superstitions and bigotry of the
masses. That’s exactly why you should (no, you must) read this angry
and honest book right away. As long as science and rational thought
are under attack by the misguided yet pious majority, our nation is in
jeopardy. I’m scared. You should be too. Please buy two, one for you
and one for a friend you care about.
—Unsigned, New York Times best selling author

While Gould did have a disagreement with the gradualism of Darwinism,
in 1972, Gould, along with his colleague Niles Eldredge, propounded a
theory (which actually was not new) called “punctuated equilibrium.”
This concept, which had been argued by Richard Goldschmidt of the
University of California, forty years earlier, was intended to explain the
“gaps” in the fossil record, which Darwin had described as “the most
obvious and serious objection” against the theory of evolution (The
Origin of Species, 6th London Edition, p. 313). Gould charged that
paleontologists had kept this troubling reality “a trade secret,” and
there ought to be an explanation for it.

Rejecting, of course, the doctrine of divine creation, which affirms
supernatural “beginnings” after distinct “kind” patterns, together
with the subsequent fossil assortment effected by the biblical Flood,
Gould/Eldredge proffered the re-cycled concept of “jump-start”
evolution.  For more information on Stephen J. Gould, just google
search and more than 178,000 results will be supplied.  All that
notwithstanding, Gould’s nonoverlapping magesteria was challenged
by many scientists, anthropologists and paleontologists included.  He
also believed creationism is “nonscientific” and thus has no place in a
science classroom.  Those who wish to import creationism into the
biology classroom are, in Gould’s view, “zealots…trying to impose their
will and nonsense.”  He complained that the central tenets of
creationism “cannot be tested, and its peripheral claims, which can be
tested, have been proven false.” 
http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/gouldsj.html

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By Joan, October 9, 2010 at 11:09 am Link to this comment

She…

Regarding Guinness pint building and times…see, there you have it, different times, different sources but you get my drift.

My problem may be patience and not having a tap coming out of a finely polished mahogany bar…

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By Joan, October 9, 2010 at 10:43 am Link to this comment

Elisalouisa is right to point out that those needed to support the colonists’ rebellion against England had to ascribe to the principles the Founders conjured up to have a sustainable war. Wars typically have to be sold to the rank and file expected to fight them. How to do that…

Colonial America was basically populated by God-fearing Christians. Jefferson appealed to basic Christian values of equality as well as to the many who overcame a lot of danger and came here to escape religious persecution by invoking that famous line in the Declaration. It was really genius on Jeff’s part.  Do you think B Franklin or whoever raised the Continental Army could have raised it by going around spouting off Sam Harris’ anti-religion views to a population looking for freedom to practice their faith? Do you think these courageous people would have died for the atheist nation Harris envisions?  The America you enjoy today was birthed by Christian ideology and sacrifice.

With respect to Harris in general: In “Letter to A Christian Nation” I found Sam Harris’ analytic skills to be more a raving stream of consciousness; he should be able to do better with a BA in philosophy. I would love to see him next to a good Jesuit…a mediocre Jesuit for that matter.

Harris to me is like me to Kaku, Brian Greene, Hawking or the lovable Richard Feynman. I rant to these physicists… negative particles going backward in time (Feynman), string theory, 11 parallel universes…you’re all mad men talking nonsense…prove it, I demand. They respond by inquiring as to just how much background I have in math and physics. I say it does not matter. I read their nutty books and heard these bozos talk. They sound ridiculous…11 parallel universes, math with imaginary numbers and faux formulas to make the conclusions you want to conjure up…really now.

And believing in that stuff while believing in God is stupid!!!??? That logical inconsistency is one for the books.

I read Harris’ sincere letter and thought ...geesz…you don’t have much of a clue about much of what you say.  I realized how little books are vetted nowadays. I plowed on to the end because Harris said he had an answer to the world’s ailment sans an appeal to religion. I’m curious. He’s says it’s love. Come again, I think. Love thy brother is the basis of Christianity and many other of the world’s spiritualities. The man is clueless…he cannot tell the forest from the trees.

Several years ago I blogged on TD on Harris’ first submission after ”Letters…”was published.  If I can find some of my more definitive critiques, I will post them. 

To you who think God will materialize next to you on barstool after performing the miracle of building a Guinness, I say it is as unlikely as the 11 parallel universes entering your line of sight. To those willing to walk the walk, God will reveal Himself to you, as the Bible informs. If you don’t put in the time and effort, you have no more right to disavow Him than I to disavow Feynman, as I am not informed enough to challenge this great scientist on his turf without making an utter fool of myself. 

Goulding is on the right track to propose the separate magesteria. A background in religion offers no skill in critiquing science and vice versa. 

The one necessary mark of science vs religion is that scientific claims must be verified. Then there’s Dawkins who disses religion in the most foul manner as unverifiable while inventing unverifiable meme- ology, the non empirically supported ‘science’ of what anthropologists once studied and documented as cultural mores…all in order to attack religion and claim it infects mankind like some disease. And I am supposed to take this man’s comments on religion seriously.  He corrupts the scientific method for his own personal agenda.

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By Shenonymous, October 9, 2010 at 10:42 am Link to this comment

So then by your reasoning, Maani, since such symbols do not indicate
an establishment, even an endorsement, of a religious perspective,
there is no objection from the Christian community to placing a
Menorah at the base of the Lincoln Memorial, or placing a Cross of
David on the Capital Building?  You have invented the idea that
atheists get caught up in the distinction between establishment,
endorsement, or an expression of a culture.  As an atheist, I don’t
castigate religionists especially those who cannot state their views
“strongly enough.” LOL

It is a theatrical comedy the continuing trifling argument over wearing
headcoverings at either religious worshiping or public events.

And as regarding watching the pouring of Guiness for 111 seconds,
which is really less than 2 minutes, could happen when using an Irish
beer glass…
http://www.irishtimesphilly.com/irish-times-draft-beer-selection/

Actually it takes 8.5 seconds longer than 111 to pour a perfect glass.
And perfection has to do with aesthetics as much as the sense of taste. 
While I cannot drink real beer (health reasons-diabetes) I do drink near
or light beers.  And used to have a great appreciation for the beverage
when it was allowed.

“An atheist doesn`t have to be someone who thinks he has a proof that
there can`t be a god. He only has to be someone who believes that the
evidence on the God question is at a similar level to the evidence on the
werewolf question.” - John McCarthy –  FYI:  John McCarthy was the
American computer scientist and cognitive scientist who received the
Turing Award in 1971 for his major contributions to the field of
Artificial Intelligence (AI). He is the one responsible for the coining the
term “Artificial Intelligence.”

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By Maani, October 9, 2010 at 10:11 am Link to this comment

In response to ITW, Joan provided the language of the First Amendment (“Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”) and added:

“The word ‘endorsement’ (your term) is never used. There is vast difference between establishment and endorsement. How does having a Christmas tree, a menorah or what ever, on public land, that I also own, compel you to practice a religion? The presence of a religious symbol is not sufficient to claim establishment of a state religion. Under the circumstances, a Christmas trees is merely the expression of our culture and forcing their removal comes very close to violating the second half of the mandate, “...prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

This cannot be stated strongly enough.  And this is where many atheists get caught up, and become as “extremist” as many of the believers they castigate.

The First Amendment addresses only the “establishment” of what we would call a “state” religion - NOTHING ELSE.  In this regard, it is not just Christmas trees, menorahs, etc.  Because taken on its face, the First Amendment does NOT exclude such things as school prayer, prayers at sports events, the display of the Ten Commandements at a courthouse, or many other things that HAVE been deemed violations - and they have been deemed so by the “atheist extremists” to whom I refer.  NONE of these things “establishes” any religion over any other, much less a “state” religion.

As long as these things (school prayer, sports event prayer, etc.) are not MANDATED and REQUIRED, but voluntary, NONE of them violates the First Amendment proscription against “establishment” of a religion.

Peace.

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By Joan, October 9, 2010 at 9:22 am Link to this comment

Napolean,

You’re right on the money that building a Guinness has to do with pouring so slowly to inject it with nitrogen(?) keeping the beer frothy. But how does one take some 111 seconds to fill an Irish beer glass? That’s what I cannot figure out…

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By Joan, October 9, 2010 at 9:14 am Link to this comment

ITW …

You resent having to remove your hat at sports events because you contend that you are being coerced by some Christian ritual.

I countered that by quoting the scriptural passage that requires men to bare their heads during worship, period. There is nothing in that passage that requires men to remove their hats during NFL pre game rituals.  If doffing the hat evolved as a show of respect,  that was by choice, not religious/Christian mandate. Your position has no merit. It’s like saying a well dressed woman is required to wear a hat to a formal dinner because the Bible says so as opposed to evolving fashions standards that have nothing to do with biblical exhortations to with respect to head coverings.

With respect to the First Amendment…

“Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The word ‘endorsement’ ( your term) is never used. There is vast difference between establishment and endorsement. 

How does having a Christmas tree, a menorah or what ever, on public land, that I also own, compel you to practice a religion? The presence of a religious symbol is not sufficient to claim establishment of a state religion. Under the circumstances, a Christmas trees is merely the expression of our culture and forcing their removal comes very close to violating the second half of the mandate, “…prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, October 9, 2010 at 8:09 am Link to this comment

Here is that article just in case folks are prejudice to the information I share and disseminate:

Balfour Letter to Rothschild Sowed Dragon’s Teeth: Lewis Lapham

Oct. 9 (Bloomberg)—About 300,000 Jews lived in Great Britain just before the outbreak of World War I. Most were recent refugees from the pogroms of Eastern Europe and Russia and worked in sweatshops and mills. Only 8,000 belonged to Zionist organizations.

Rich established Jews, or the “Cousinhood” consisting of a few interlinked families, among them the Rothschilds, Montefiores, Mocattas, Cohens, Goldsmids, Samuels and Montagus, were even less likely to yearn for a Middle Eastern homeland.

They identified themselves as Jewish Britons, not British Jews, and strongly disagreed with Zionists who argued that Jews constituted a separate people or nation.

When his father died in 1915, Walter Rothschild became the head of the family and the de facto leader of British Jewry. Ardent Zionist Chaim Weizmann won him over, as well as many others, including government officials.

On Nov. 2, 1917 Lord Rothschild received a letter from British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour expressing formal support for a national home in Palestine for the Jewish people.

Since then, there has been nearly a century of conflict between Arabs and Jews in the Middle East.

I spoke with Jonathan Schneer, author of “The Balfour Declaration: The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict,” on the following topics:

1. Letter to Lord Rothschild

2. British Promises to Arabs

3. British Promises to Jews

4. Anti-Zionist Jews

5. Sowing the Dragon’s Teeth

To listen to the podcast, click here. To buy this book in North America, click here.

(Lewis Lapham is the founder of Lapham’s Quarterly and the former editor of Harper’s magazine. He hosts “The World in Time” interview series for Bloomberg News.)

To contact the writer on the story: Lewis Lapham in New York at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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By Inherit The Wind, October 9, 2010 at 8:06 am Link to this comment

EL:

The discussion of who can and will get into heaven is a Christian concept, fairly alien to Judaism.  I’m not a scholar but heaven is barely discussed as is the afterlife.  The vast majority of religious discussion is how we live in THIS life.

Since Judaism, unlike its offshoots, Christianity and Islam, does not promote conversion and even works hard to convince would-be converts not to, it seems that the idea that you have to be a Jew to get to heaven would be unconsidered.

The Jewish prayers for Sabbath, and for holidays never discuss going to heaven or hell when we die. I don’t ever remember hearing about an afterlife. I’ve been to many Christian services (such as for weddings and funerals) and they ALWAYS discuss the afterlife as even more real than this life.

Despite all the picayune concerns in Jewish law for how you tie your shoelaces and which kind of locust is kosher, and whether women should be taught to read or not, there doesn’t seem to be much discussion of an afterlife, although there is a heaven “Ganeden” and a hell “Gahenna”.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, October 9, 2010 at 7:32 am Link to this comment

Here is something reasonable WE can ALL sink our minds into…

Please read:

http://noir.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aPywqP6a1CXE

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By elisalouisa, October 8, 2010 at 9:45 pm Link to this comment

She: October 8 at 8:20 pm
This is about as nonsensical and farcical a post from a religionist as ever made.  I leave the door open for anyone else if they can show another equal or more laughable one.

Elisa: Your comment in your Oct. 7 at 3:10 a.m. post “while unstated, at the heart of Judaism is for anyone who wants to get to heaven they must convert Judaism.” That’s as nonsensical as you can get. Of course, you say this belief is unstated and unwritten!

At the heart of Judaism is the Torah.

Elisa’s response: October 7 at 10:35 a.m.
Who is a Jew? What is conversion into the Judaic faith? There is Ultra-Orthodox Judaism, Reconstructionist Judaism, Orthodox Judaism, Humanistic Judaism, Conservative Judaism, Flexidox Judaism and Reform Judaism. So which branch(es) of Judaism feel that in order to get to heaven one must convert to Judaism?  Is there a loopholi such as the Catholic faith has which exempts those who have not “known” the true faith?

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By Leefeller, October 8, 2010 at 8:54 pm Link to this comment

ITW, in all seriousness, not something I usually do here, I appriciate your comment with respect and agree a persons belief or nonbelief should be ones own!

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By Inherit The Wind, October 8, 2010 at 8:15 pm Link to this comment

I think so.  I do not suffer a crisis of “Do I believe? Do I not believe?”

Most Atheists believe there is no god.  The Marxist states taught this as axiomatic. For them, God’s non-existence is a matter of faith.

Others don’t believe in belief.  I see them as myself, Agnostic, rather than Atheist.  I don’t accept on faith that there’s no God, any more than I accept on faith that there is.  I see no evidence of God, and as such, am not obligated to prove a negative.

I do not see religious faith as a good thing.  Good people may use it to help them be good, but bad people use it equally to help them be evil, which starts with telling OTHER people how to live.

Because faith is the opposite of proof, you can’t “prove” to me I should have faith.  And, if you can prove God exists, I don’t need faith—I’ll have proof instead.

I’ve long suspected that saying you “must” have faith was a HUGE cop-out and justification for not having any sort of proof.

I don’t believe in miracles.  If I believe in anything, it’s that the universe has inviolate natural laws that we only partially are beginning to understand.  What appears to be a miracle, is, in fact, merely evidence that our understanding of the applicable natural laws is incomplete—or, flatly misunderstood.  The UFO believers fall into that category.

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By Shenonymous, October 8, 2010 at 4:10 pm Link to this comment

”A random survey taken on another blog concerning this thread
shows that 55.6 percent agreed that Believers were more persuasive
in their justifications as to their faith, Atheists/Agnostics fell far short
in their reasoning much of the time, quoting the ramblings Sam Harris
as a last resort.”

This is about as nonsensical and farcical a post from a religionist as
ever made.  I leave the door open for anyone else if they can show
another equal or more laughable one. Random survey? What does
that mean?
  We are not told even the name of the blog site.  Was
it taken of folks leaving the bathrooms at gas stations?  Was it taking
the answers of every 5th person filling out a questionairre?  Or bingo
balls with numbers on them assigned to certain people’s written or
oral opinions selected at random?  Or letting someone’s dog pick
random answers written on slips of paper and but in a doggie dish? 
How many of those doggie selected answers were actually used?  Then
on some mysterious (unnamed) blog?  With some confabulated statistic
percentage?  Well can anyone wonder why atheists/agnostics would “fall
far short?”  Like how far?  And if it is a blog, how objective could any
survey be?  No references but several declarative sentences.  Amazing
that elisalousia would think that anyone with a brain would take this
post seriously. 

What would be more interesting is to see what persuasive justification
was given by religionists about their faith?

Now if this Sam Harris rambling is untrue, someone ought to convince
us:

“Without death, the influence of faith-based religion would be
unthinkable. Clearly, the fact of death is intolerable to us, and faith is
little more than the shadow cast by our hope for a better life beyond
the grave.”

The fact is that Sam Harris is about as articulate, and convincing, a
speaker and writer as there comes.  It is sour grapes that calls him
rambling.  This applies to all except those Jews and Christians that
Maani says do not particularly CARE whether they get to heaven

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By Leefeller, October 8, 2010 at 3:41 pm Link to this comment

Atheist do not believe in the existence of god God. ITW writes, “I see no evidence of God. There I do not believe in God.  I do not believe that God does not exist.  I do not accept belief as a valid source of knowledge. If one does not believe in the existence of god, and one does not believe that God does not exist, but one says they do not believe in God but he exists?

Confoundedly confusing, I thought agnostics where not sure in the existence of God as in doubting the existence of God. At least in the past when I had my doubts as to the validity of God, it seemed to fit nicely to the agnostic category of doubt, but feeling alone and threatened by peer pressure I did not want to cross the line to Atheist for the intimidation and all the baggage of religion was still weighing on my back at the time.

The Vikings used to do their happy summer viking vacations and party hardy, they sometimes captured a monk or two and would take them back home with them. It seems the Vikings would listen to the faithful monks about the one and only Christian God of the Monks and seemed feasible enough, and as good a story as compared to the War Gods of the Vikings. This new God sounded very important, so after much pondering the Vikings decided to add the Christian God to their stable of Gods, as a way of hedging their bets.  I felt the same way when I was agnostic, and used the above Viking story to argue my agnostic stance, fear and hedging guided my doubt to either side.

Am I wrong on my descriptions of Atheist and Agnostic, or am I missing something?

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By elisalouisa, October 8, 2010 at 11:37 am Link to this comment

Thank you for your post ITW.  You have stated such more than once and I respect you for it. Your posts reflect a respect for all life and a concern for justice.
Basically, that’s all that matters, whether believer or non-believer.

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By Inherit The Wind, October 8, 2010 at 11:24 am Link to this comment

Sorry EL.  I just figured you knew I don’t usually care for your posts.  One poster, however, did not add anything other than venom.

Let me put my agnosticism simply.  I see no evidence of God. There I do not believe in God.  I do not believe that God does not exist.  I do not accept belief as a valid source of knowledge.

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By Leefeller, October 8, 2010 at 10:19 am Link to this comment

By elisalouisa, October 8 at 12:00 pm Link to this comment

“A random survey taken on another blog concerning this thread shows that 55.6 percent agreed that Believers were more persuasive in their justifications as to their faith, Atheists/Agnostics fell far short in their reasoning much of the time, quoting the ramblings Sam Harris as a last resort.”

elisalouisa how random was the survey and I suppose the other blog is a closed blog for fantasy fiction believers only?..... Mine is better than yours! Na…Nan…anana!

Ramblings of Sam Harris you say! ............ Yes I suppose they seem rambling to the deeply indoctrinated and frustrated, steeped in their fantasy of ancient myths and fables, where hypocrisy is accepted as normal practice in their daily lives.

Of course I would libel Sam Harris comments and opinions as ramblings, if I were wearing clown shoes and possessed the fanatics jaundice view towards reality and truth.  Demanding fiction to be fact must be an easy job for the sanctimonious or even the non hypocritical Pious (for parsing Maani). For it could be said with certainty, the fanatic believer uses faith as an illusion with the ease of a politician and dost not seem to require any high degree of smarts,..... one just needs to turn on their faith button and presto,....exclude anything which may have an inkling of something the Pious do not want to use or seem to posses ........ facts!

Sam Harris is a Hero in my book and a person whose work I find so very enlightening, I hang on his every word, similar to the Gospel of the Pious. Except after 3000 years of illusions and delusions, the Pious hanging on to their 3000 year old Goat Headers Manual with nothing to support any of it, I even blame the same thoughtless process on how we ended up with hanging chads!

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, October 8, 2010 at 9:12 am Link to this comment

I love non-believers.

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By elisalouisa, October 8, 2010 at 8:00 am Link to this comment

A random survey taken on another blog concerning this thread shows that 55.6 percent agreed that Believers were more persuasive in their justifications as to their faith, Atheists/Agnostics fell far short in their reasoning much of the time, quoting the ramblings Sam Harris as a last resort.

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By Shenonymous, October 8, 2010 at 4:34 am Link to this comment

Way….ellll,
Leefeller, I took what you last wrote to heart and pursued (ran down)
the article rummaging all over the London School of Economics and
Political Science website (which is itself impressive for anyone wanting
to go to college), it led me to the Huffington Post, March 23, 2010,
article.  And that article gives all the poop.  Hahaha
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shelley-emling/atheism-conversion-
and-cl_b_510404.html
Very long website address might not be directly linkable from TD here. 
Copy/paste into web browser.

But scanning that article I noticed another article, dated Oct. 8, 2010,
that I am here posting the link that is a bonmot for the religionists.  So
they ought not to say that this atheist didn’t give them something.  (I
didn’t have to you know)  This article shows that 51.5% of academic
professors (my colleagues mind you!) even though having doubts,
believe in a deity!  All kinds of statistics are provided that the TD
religion crew can use against us atheists!  Hahahaha So here you go…
Havana nice day, I have to be off to see my more devotional associates,
hmmmmm. 
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amarnath-amarasingam/how-
religious-are-america_b_749630.html
(Now this is another long website address that might have to be
copied/pasted into a web browser to access)

(Now the stats are a little less than satisfying in that the 48.5% were not
identified as believers, and after taking the 23.9% said to be atheists or
agnostics, the rest don’t seem to be described.  That is 24.6%
unaccounted for who neither believer nor not believe?????  The study
does go into the second tier statistics of the 51.5% believers and further
describe the more specific believers, but I do wonder about those that
seem to have fallen into some black hole of belief.  This seems to
require more investigation, which I think I will do this weekend.) 
Sheesh!  Ha! And here, never really making a survey of my own as the
subject has never come up where I work,  I just assumed like everybody
else that academia was a safe haven for the non-believers.  Course like
your suspicions, maybe this study is specious as well.  I want to know
on what exactly that study was done!

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