Religious Bigotry

Discussion in 'Religion & Philosophy' started by usfan, Oct 5, 2017.

  1. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    It has always been with us for as long as man has pondered the unknown, & likely always will. Religious Freedom is a rare thing, in the history of mankind.

    The roots of religious freedom go further back than the reformation, but i'll pick it up from there. The central tenets of the reformation were these:
    1. Sola Scriptura. This is the elevation of the written word, or the Law, over the decrees & whims of man. The scriptures have the final authority, in matters of faith, not the edicts of the ruling elite.
    2. 'We must obey God, rather than man.' AKA, 'freedom of conscience'.
    3. Human equality, & the Priesthood of believers. This is in sharp contrast to the Statist/Papist doctrine of divine authority of the ruling elite. The Divine right of Kings, Popes, & priests. They believed (or at least taught), that they have a special dispensation of wisdom & knowledge in their decisions, & the common man should submit to the state's authority as to God.
    There were a few more things, but these were the central, foundational principles, that went on into the Enlightenment, & eventually culminated in the American Experiment. Point #2 became the basis for 'freedom of Religion', in the American Constitution.

    In the American experiment of collective governance, the principles of Freedom were central to everything else. There were no elite Kings.. no Priests... no Popes. There were no mandated rules for conformity, that everyone was forced to comply with. Govt was forbidden to 'establish' any religious views, & Freedom was the Rule.. freedom to believe however you wish, & live by your conscience.

    But Statist/Papist/Controllers are always there.. trying to impose THEIR belief systems on everyone else. It has been a constant struggle, to keep the air of liberty fresh, unfouled by the stench of mandated beliefs & religious dogmatism. It is my observation that we are going backwards in this area, & are returning to a Dark Ages style of mandated conformity. The official State Religion has become dominant, & they are censoring any alternatives to their belief system.

    Some foundational points & definitions:
    1. A 'religious' view, or opinion, or belief is a worldview about the nature of the universe.. a philosophical belief, that is not compelled by empirical facts or science.
    2. EVERYONE has a 'religious' belief. Even atheism or agnosticism is a statement of faith.. a belief about the nature of the universe. You can relabel it, but the basic concept is a belief or opinion about unknown mysteries of life.
    3. Origins, Meaning, Morality, Destiny, are the basic mysteries, that religious opinions try to answer.
    4. There are 2 basic views about these basic mysteries: Naturalism, & Supernaturalism. Everything happened naturally, by chance, with no intelligent guidance, or everything happened by the designs of a Higher Power. Both are beliefs, opinions, or 'religious views' as the term is used in this thread.
    5. Science deals in empiricism.. facts, observable reality. It has little to say about the religious views of people, regarding origins & the supernatural. Science is a neutral observer, in the debate over religious opinions. It is a method of discovery, not a religion itself. Naturalism is the 'religion', science is a tool.
    6. A particular Belief system might hijack 'science!', or pretend that they alone have the right to define everything, but that is semantics & word juggling.

    It has been my observation, that the 'religion' of Atheistic Naturalism has taken over as the Official State Religious Belief. That belief system has become the dominant & exclusive belief in the State's education systems, the media, entertainment, National Parks, children's shows, the courts, & every institution of man. They have banned any competition from alternate religious views, & have mandated conformity of belief in their naturalistic opinions. These are not empirical 'scientific facts!', but are merely religious opinions, about the nature of man & the universe.

    The consequence of this trend is increasing religious bigotry, toward any minority opinions. They have used the power of the State to mandate conformity of belief, and the resultant indoctrinees of this 'religion' show increasing hostility & prejudice toward more traditional views, or other religious opinions.

    Religious Freedom is perhaps the single most important freedom listed in the bill of rights. It is in the 1st amendment, & is central to all the others. If this freedom is not jealously guarded, defended, & elevated as a pinnacle of all other freedoms, then none of the others matter. What use is 'freedom of speech', if your religious beliefs are censored or banned by the State, or the majority opinion of the enabling elite? What good is 'freedom of assembly', if you cannot express alternate opinions about the supernatural in a public setting?

    In a healthy American public narrative, any attempts to marginalize, ridicule, or belittle other people's religious beliefs would be nipped in the bud.. taken out & exposed as the religious bigotry it is.

    I welcome rational discussion & rebuttal to any of my points.
     
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  2. Swensson

    Swensson Devil's advocate

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    This seems odd to me. Agnosticism is not a statement or belief about the universe (I could argue something similar for atheism, but agnosticism makes it a lot easier to keep track of). Agnosticism is a statement about the knowledge we have in our heads, it says nothing about what the world is actually like.
     
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  3. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    If you don't like the connotations of the term, 'religious!', then pick another. I don't like it, either.

    It is a world view.. belief... philosophy of life, or any other descriptor that indicates the basic beliefs/opinions about the nature of the universe. Even pure agnosticism is a statement of belief.. an 'i don't know' statement. It reflects the opinions & worldview of the person.

    My central point is that EVERYONE has some kind of belief/opinion or worldview, regarding the basic mysteries of life.

    I have seen very few pure agnostics.. most of them add the qualifier..

    'I don't know.'

    ...'and nobody else does, either!'


    This becomes a dogmatic statement of belief.. that knowledge about the mysteries in the universe is somehow unknowable. But that is a statement of superior knowledge or awareness.. how can anyone 'know' such a thing?
     
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  4. Swensson

    Swensson Devil's advocate

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    I mean, I have seen no dogs that aren't also part of some subset, like great dane or chihuahua, that doesn't mean I'm unable to talk about the concept of dogs in a way that doesn't assume a specific breed. Obviously, everyone has other beliefs as well, like "I believe the sun will rise in the morning". If you consider agnosticism to be "I don't know", then that's what the word means, regardless of whether most agnostics will also say that nobody else knows.

    Anyway. The interesting point here is that agnostics, and arguably atheists, do not base their ideas when it comes to for instance law on their religion per se. People who say "there is no god" will not say "murder is wrong because there is no god", they will base their law (and many other aspects) on ideas outwith religious concerns.

    Secularism is the idea that religion shouldn't have an impact on public affairs (more or less), that's not agnosticism or atheism per se. What you're seeing in law, entertainment and so on is not so much atheistic materialism as it is secularism. Now, the ideas that come out of secularism and atheistic naturalism are quite similar, this mostly because if you have no information coming from God, you rely on the same principles as secularism.
     
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  5. Dirty Rotten Imbecile

    Dirty Rotten Imbecile Active Member

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    Well, I don’t entirely disagree with you but a difference to consider is that agnostic atheists haven’t really drawn a conclusion about the nature of reality whereas people who claim that god exists/doesn’t exist have made a specific conclusion.

    The identifying feature of "naturalism" (quoted because the term is yours, not mine- our definitions may differ), is that there is an openness that our understanding of the nature of reality, and specific features of reality, are open to alteration based on new info.

    I find that religion tends to have a dogmatic nature, especially about things that can’t truly be known. Is god offended by people using the word "****"? Is god upset when people work on the sabbath? No one can know that. If Moses was a real person, only he "knows".

    Science has theories that are accepted as truth but are open to new data. We are concerned with what can be known with the greatest probability of certainty

    The ‘naturalist" position also is quite new relative to religion. Science definitely has lots of opportunities to let us down and definitely has in the past. Only time will tell where we end up.
     
  6. Jonsa

    Jonsa Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Seems to me everyone is free to practice their religion and their beliefs until such time that it abrogates the equal rights of other citizens. There is are a few definite line that define the limits of the right to freedom of religion, just like every other constitutional right.

    And there isn't any restriction about expressing alternate opinions about the supernatural in a public setting any more than there are restrictions about expressing mainstream opinions about the supernatural in public. Neither of which makes either the speaker or the content immune from opposing expressions.
     
  7. Kokomojojo

    Kokomojojo Well-Known Member

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    Which rights are those? Their right to force you to serve the atheist religion?
     
  8. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    I have some trouble following your initial remarks about dogs.. unless you were just being dogmatic.. :D My central point is that ANY beliefs about the Basic Mysteries of life are only that: Beliefs. I put them all as the same, & don't put different labels on them, depending on whether i agree or disagree with the beliefs.

    If you follow the legislation & court cases on evolution, you can see evidence of the points in the OP. Start with the 'scopes monkey trial', & follow the cases to the present. The ToE is EXACTLY the 'naturalistic' belief of origins. It is not 'settled science' as some try to present, but merely a belief about origins.. which is not the ONLY belief that is allowed in public schools. I have no problem with secularism. IMO, govt & public policy SHOULD be secular. But there is too much correlation between 'secular' and 'naturalism', and they are almost used synonymously.
     
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  9. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    I don't see that. Of course when someone says, 'there is no god, & the universe is an accident of nature, without a Cause, meaning, or purpose.', they are 'drawing a conclusion about the nature of reality'. How is that 'conclusion' any less conclusive than someone who says, 'there is a God who Caused life & the Universe.'? Both are beliefs or opinions about the nature of the universe.

    I see 'naturalism' as a statement of belief, about the nature of the universe. If someone says, 'the universe & life exist from only natural processes, without an Intelligent Agent,', they are declaring their beliefs about the nature of reality. How is that any more 'open' than a statement of belief in a Supreme Being?

    'Naturalism' has been around as long as any religion. It has been promoted, studied, & analyzed since before Socrates. It is, in fact, just another 'religion' or philosophy of life.. a belief about the nature of the universe. It is not synonymous with 'science'. It is a belief that ONLY natural processes are the source of all things. No supernatural being or creative power is needed.

    This is not a scientific debate about origins. I find those impossible to engage in, anymore. ..Too much dogmatism & True Believer assertions. This is about the PHILOSOPHY of naturalism, as a belief system.

    I see just as much dogmatism from the naturalists as any other religious belief. Humans are pretty much the same, & they defend & promote their beliefs with religious zeal.
     
  10. yardmeat

    yardmeat Well-Known Member

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    The Reformers didn't allow religious freedom and they still preached the Divine Right of Kings -- plus the denial of religious freedom and the Divine Right of Kings are well-founded in the Bible.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017
  11. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    Source? Quotes? Evidence?

    There is plenty of evidence for the claims in the OP.

    [​IMG]

    The Quakers? Palatinate? Scottish reformers? I see the constant theme of 'freedom of conscience' to be there, in all of them. Nowhere do you see the mandated subservience of the papists or the ruling elite.

    No, it is very clear that the reformation was the root of both the Enlightenment principles of freedom.. conscience, natural law, opposing elitism. THAT is the source of the American Ideals of freedom.. of conscience, speech, assembly, religious expression, & against any govt sponsored oppression of individual liberty.

    Why should any man have power over any other man's faith, seeing Christ Himself is the author of it? ~George Fox

    "Is it faith to understand nothing, and merely submit your convictions implicitly to the Church?"- John Calvin
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017
  12. yardmeat

    yardmeat Well-Known Member

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    The Divine Right of Kings is explicitly taught in Romans 13, and both Martin Luther and John Calvin supported it. Likewise, their movements sought freedom for themselves, not others. Calvin had Servetus burned at the stake and Luther supported the oppression of Anabaptists.

    The Enlightenment was the source of our ideals of freedom, yes, but the Reformers did not preach Enlightenment values.

    Luther condemning rebellion and preaching obedience to government authorities: http://www.historyguide.org/earlymod/peasants1525.html
    Luther advocating the death penalty for Anabaptists: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/davearmstrong/2016/02/luther-favored-death-penalty-for-anabaptists.html
    Calvin preaching Romans 13: http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/calvin/cc38/cc38016.htm
    John Calvin's murders: http://www.reenactingtheway.com/blo...led-and-bad-bible-interpretation-justified-it
     
  13. Swensson

    Swensson Devil's advocate

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    The point I was trying to make (although maybe badly) is that saying "I don't know" is what agnosticism *is*. The fact that it may overlap with people saying "nobody can know" is, while arguably true, not a statement about the position of agnosticism as such, it is just a statement about the agnostics who happen to be living in the world.
    I agree that it shouldn't matter what labels we put on them. The clash between religion and atheism is not going to come down to whether or not atheism on some technicality be called a religion or not.

    Most practical ideas put forward by agnostics and atheists do not in practice rely on the statements about nature, they rely primarily on our knowledge about our knowledge of reality. An agnostic who says "nobody can know" is not trying to say that there doesn't exist a link between the supernatural and the natural, they're saying given the amount of people who claim to have command over such a link is so large that a state or other impartial organisation can't be justified in choosing one over another. Basically, it might be that some people can know, but those are indistinguishable from people who are just mistaken, and as such, we can't choose any particular statement to follow. Notice that this is not a statement about reality, but a statement about our knowledge about reality.

    The natural, we can at least agree on (or at least many parts thereof). If religious people came together and tried to figure out things that didn't step on anyone's toes, they'd likely be similar to those that the agnostic might supply on their own. A Hindu might reject a Christian-centered government and a Christian might reject a Hindu-centered one, and having a government without influence from either might be the only possible middle ground for the two to agree on, and that'd be the same as the agnostic would suggest on his own. Of course, there are many simplifications in this example, but the point stands that the agnostic opinion best simulates a solution which can be accepted by many, and that is why secularism and agnosticism produce similar solutions. Such a solution would see mainly to the natural.
     
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  14. Jonsa

    Jonsa Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    No the right to not serve any religion or serve which ever one you want. The issue is in serving that religion you don't step on others who don't share you particular belief.

    I think you believe that god's law is supreme. I believe that man's law is supreme. The twain may meet often, but secular law is the only law for all of the people.
     
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  15. Dirty Rotten Imbecile

    Dirty Rotten Imbecile Active Member

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    Ultimately it just comes down to agnostic atheists saying, "I’m only going to draw a conclusion about things for which there is enough evidence to draw a reasonable conclusion." That conclusion is not typically a hard conclusion but is something more like "based on evidence, x is likely true..." As a result there’s a lot of stuff I can’t draw a conclusion about.

    A gnostic atheist says that we can know there is no god because x, y, z. That definitely has potential to be dogmatic.

    Religion at its best (imo) says we can’t know the truth about the nature of reality but I have faith that x is true and I have decided not to entertain other possibilities. At its worst (again, imo) it says we can know there is a god because x, y, z.
     
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  16. WillReadmore

    WillReadmore Well-Known Member

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    No, various beliefs may be taught and discussed in public high school. The only limitation is that there can not be one that is taught as true at the expense of others.

    Remember that you classified science as a tool. And, there ARE classes that teach people what that tool is and how it works. But, that is not the only class in high school.

    And, failing to teach that tool to every US citizen is obviously a major, major mistake. Unfortunately, US education fails on that point.
     
  17. WillReadmore

    WillReadmore Well-Known Member

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    In Genesis we have what appears to be a clear description of the fatal flaw in human beings as that of considering one's own "logic" above the promulgated word. Adam believed he had knowledge sufficient to operate outside god's will. (We certainly haven't lost that!) But, no, he clearly did not have that right.

    It really doesn't appear likely to me that the god of genesis was hoping for literally of millions of interpretations of god's will, with the beliefs of the early church being seen as no more than a base for personal extrapolation.

    I would argue that our morality continues to improve. Since the bible, we do better against slavery, we don't slaughter the entire populations over whom we have military victory, our understanding of women has improved markedly, we at least have some small awareness that torture is wrong, etc, etc.

    But, it's hard to see the ginning up of large numbers of conflicting religious varients across mankind, including your cites, as consistent with something any god might have hoped for.
     
  18. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    I tend to see the 'definitions' as being important & critical to any 'debate'. IF a 'position' can smear or discredit an opposing position by definition, then it has a superior position.. at least in a propaganda sort of way.. in the public discourse. IN actual reality, no, fuzzy definitions are meaningless, & have no effect on reality. But when the goal is to promote a belief as Truth, any alternate views must be discredited. So caricatures are created by the opposition, which further the desired narrative.

    I would say that ALL of the beliefs & conclusions about the universe from the naturalistic worldview is based on 'statements about nature'. They are NOT based on 'knowledge of reality', just assumptions & beliefs. They merely hijack 'science!' as a hostage, to promote a narrative of atheism. It is 'science!', while theism is 'superstition!' For the state to promote the atheistic beliefs, & censor the theistic ones, is just state sponsored religious bigotry.. something that has been in the human experience for millennia.

    And you are right. We are being held hostage by those who take their 'beliefs' about reality, & declaring them to be Absolute Truth, when they are only their philosophical beliefs. Hijacking the terms 'science!' provides some cover for their religious bigotry, but an objective, empirically minded person can see through them.



    I would be most happy with a purely secular, unbiased, non-establishing govt, that did not prefer one belief system over another. But it is merely religious chicanery, done by definition, to label the atheistic view as 'science!', & the theistic view as 'religion!' Our current system is dominated by the naturalistic religious belief, & uses the full force of govt to ban, censor, & remove any competition for their naturalistic beliefs.

    My argument is NOT for a theocracy.. that is a false caricature, again promoted by atheistic naturalists, to smear those who oppose THEIR 'religious' domination of society. I do not seek a christian based govt, but a secular one, devoid of favoritism, as the original founders presented it. But that is not what i see today. I see a biased, preferential promotion of atheistic naturalism, under the guise of 'science!' , when it is just a religious opinion about the nature of the universe, with no more 'science!' behind it than any other belief system.
     
  19. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    You only have assertions, here. I don't debate links, & you have no arguments or evidence for me to rebut. If your link has something pertinent to say about the subject, by all means, quote it. But a link is a lazy way to 'debate'. I will not sift through your link looking for a way to apply it to your arguments, especially when you have made no argument, just assertions.

    Your claims are revisionist history. I have provided quotes & history that show the ideological lineage of the enlightenment, with clear roots in the reformation. You merely object to this, without evidence. Even the enlightenment philosophers gave credit to the reformers, so i am baffled as to how you can dispute this.
     
  20. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    ..kind of long, here.. but this is a treatise from Martin Luther, about secular law & govt. He is promoting an enlightenment view of govt, a SECULAR GOVT, not a christian theocracy, as some have falsely accused.

    The roots of freedom go beyond the reformation.. i had just started from there, for a degree of brevity. But the complicity & thread of freedom can easily be seen in the reformation.. what was it, other than breaking the shackles of ideological bondage?
     
  21. rahl

    rahl Well-Known Member

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    Atheism isn’t a religion, so this isn’t a really silly statement.
     
  22. rahl

    rahl Well-Known Member

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    Oh wow, you completely hand waived away his evidence and said “nuh uh”. Seems to be the only way you can have a ‘discussion’.
     
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  23. Kokomojojo

    Kokomojojo Well-Known Member

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    atheism has believes and dogma so it most certainly is a religion prove its not a religion
     
  24. Kokomojojo

    Kokomojojo Well-Known Member

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    this is not evidence

    [​IMG]
     
  25. rahl

    rahl Well-Known Member

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    Atheism by definition, is not a religion. Just like not playing baseball isn’t s sport.
     
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