Monday, August 25, 2008

"Our Nation Was Founded on Judeo/Christian Principles"

John McCain's Take on America's Founding
at the Saddleback Faith Forum



And in fairness, here is Obama's take:



Really John? Our nation was founding on Judeo/Christian values? What would Jefferson, Franklin, Madison, etc. think of a forum like this? Your thoughts...

36 comments:

Pinky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pinky said...

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I immediately thought of this blog when I heard that out of McCain's mouth.
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He continues to identify himself with Neo-Jacobian politics. He has a very black and white idea of the world. You are either a good guy or you deserve extinction. Does that qualify as reductionism to the absurd?

Pinky said...

A typo in the first post.
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Sorry about that.
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Lindsey Shuman said...

Yeah, that's a good summation of McCain. All-or-nothing.

Tom Van Dyke said...

That's a rather all-or-nothing view of McCain, Lindsey. Just sayin'.

Nor do I think it's self-evident that saying that America is founded on Judeo-Christian values is false. Please see Richard Rorty's "free-loading atheists" quote in a recent comments section, or maybe I need to start promoting stuff like that immediately to the front page.

bpabbott said...

Hey, did Obama get bush-wacked by Rick Warren? .. pun intended ;-)

It sounds like McCain's last question was Obama's 1st (as you might infer, I didn't watch).

bpabbott said...

Tom: >>Please see Richard Rorty's "free-loading atheists" quote in a recent comments section, or maybe I need to start promoting stuff like that immediately to the front page.<<

That's a rather all-or-nothing view isn't it Tom ... Just sayin'. ;-)

bpabbott said...

Pinky,

"Jacobian" ? ? ?

What did/do you do to earn a living?

Pinky said...

Abbott asks what I did to earn a living.
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I put a's where they weren't supposed to be?
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I did it to keep other people on their toes.
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Pinky said...

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Sorry about that.
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Tom Van Dyke said...

Uh-oh. Pinky's been reading Claes Ryn, who's fond of calling the neo-cons "Jacobins."

Of course, "Jacobin" more faithfully describes the militantly secular collectivist left, vis a vis the French Revolution. But as previously noted, history isn't Ryn's strong point.

[Note my clever use of French there.]

For those who enjoy chronicling the sins and massacres of "religion," I ran across this report to the Committee on Public Safety by a General Westermann:

"The Vendee is no more, my republican comrades! With her women and children she died under our sabers. I have just buried them in the swamps and forests. As you ordered, the children were trampled to death by our horses, the women butchered so that they no longer can give birth to little brigands. The streets are littered with corpses which sometimes are stacked in pyramids. Mass shootings are taking place in Savenay because there brigands keep turning up to surrender. We do not take any prisoners because they would have to be fed the bread of freedom, but pity is incompatible with the spirit of revolution."

Hmmm. It's true that "religion" killed a lot of people in medieval history, but once we entered the modern age and the "Enlightenment" got its chance, well, as Leo Strauss says, man's perennial problems are perennial.

As for Richard Rorty, Ben, I call him not as an unimpeachable authority so much as a credible witness, as a philosopher, a learned man, and a self-confessed "free-loading atheist" himself. I do not claim he's right [well, actually, I do], but he deserves an ear from those who seek truth and are not bound to their preconceptions.

As for McCain, Lindsey, it occurs to me that even if your charge is accurate, that he sees everything in terms of right and wrong, I don't know if his opponent is the preferable alternative, as he doesn't seem to be able to tell the difference.

bpabbott said...

Tom, thanks for the quick lesson on Jacobin.

Pinky, any chance "Jacobian" was a Freudian slip? ;-)

jimmiraybob said...

...I don't know if his opponent is the preferable alternative, as he doesn't seem to be able to tell the difference.[between right and wrong]

I say this as a fairly regular lurker - as someone that lurks for the excellent and diverse commentary - I say this with good will in my heart and a wish for world peace - yikes!

Do you really want to get into that quagmire? Really? With McCain's long and not always so distinguished/honorable record?

It seems a far easier task to once and for all discover the absolute definitive and irrefutable answer to GW's religion than to start comparing the perceived "sins" of two contemporary politicians. Just sayin'.

As long as I'm here, I think that it's clear that America was founded on Babylonian legal codes, Sumerian myths, and the general Mesopotamian agricultural model.

Jonathan Rowe said...

JRB,

Let me say that I for one appreciate your lurking and commenting and wish more of you would at least briefly chime in and tell your thoughts.

As Bill O'Reilly would put it, if you don't feel like writing too much, just "keep it pithy."

Tom Van Dyke said...

Since the original post was a bit of a slam on McCain, and asserted that America was not founded on Judeo-Christian values, and since thoughts were solicited, I gave mine, sir, and had a bit of wry fun in the process.

I'm for world peace too, BTW. I hope you're not claiming any moral high ground here.

I hope you'll check out the Rorty quote. I linked directly to a free preview of his book. It's quite relevant to the discussions on this blog.

bpabbott said...

Tom: >> Since the original post was a bit of a slam on McCain, and asserted that America was not founded on Judeo-Christian values,<<

Not to speak for Lindsey, but I had inferred that she was implying that our Nation was not founded exclusively on Judeo/Christian values and that the Judeo/Christian values which did play a part were more those Jon describes as nominal.

If our nation's founding was uniquely Christian, then it would have included uniquely Christian content in its founding. Not only is there no uniquely Christian content in the Constitution, there is *no* doctrinal religious content at all.

We should also keep in mind that it is likely that McCain is referring to the Judeo/Christian values of today not those of 200 years hence. Certainly if the central Christian values of 200 years ago were enumerated they would not include the anit-gay position of the Republican part , nor would abortion be mentioned either. In fact, I haven't encountered any evidence of uniquely Christian values either.

I open to correction, is there any value that significantly influenced the founding that is Christian in origin and whose value is not evident to a reasoned and moral mind?

Pinky said...

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Yup, I'm reading Ryn.
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I dunno about Freudian Slips; so it must be my naivete. None of us is born smart.
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BTW, Tom, so what is Ryn's strong point if he doesn't do so well with history? He certainly seems to have great respect for history.
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Tom Van Dyke said...

One can draw the wrong conclusions from history, like the sense of "human progress" that Ryn espouses. We should not be so sure that with a proper catastrophe [like Katrina], that mankind is immune to a "Lord of the Flies"-type reversion to the Heart of Darkness [to cite two very unnerving books].

Ben, I think the use of the word "values" gets around the doctrine-dogma question, as does prepending "Judeo-" to "Christian." As for what those values are, please see my citation of Richard Rorty. Imago Dei points toward a respect for the other fellow's inherent human dignity, whereas reason, say Peter Singer's, can point almost anywhere.

As for the GOP being "anti-gay," such language begs the question so thoroughly that engagement is impossible. As for abortion in history, it's a complicated subject.

Pinky said...

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Tom writes, "One can draw the wrong conclusions from history, like the sense of 'human progress' that Ryn espouses.".
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I'm sure; but, one can draw the wrong conclusions from almost anything--even things specific.
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I haven't learned anything about Ryn's ideas on human progress; but, if it's what it sounds like, I guess I have to go along with the idea that human beings have continued to improve society on a fairly steady basis. Don't you agree? It seems we continue to improve in almost every aspect as a species. But,t here are some real jerks in every society as far as I have been able to notice.
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I'm still waiting for Ryn's common ground book.
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Jonathan Rowe said...

So Tom, I guess you see Gilligan's Island as too utopian. I haven't seen too many episodes of "Lost" though I understand it's a good show. I tell my students that it's a variation on the GI theme (for those of them who are unfamiliar with that classic sitcom).

Tom Van Dyke said...

I'm not really coming down for or against Ryn, but I am withholding judgment. After the barbarism of the 20th century---Nazis, Commies, 100 million dead---I'm not ready to assert human progress.

As Chou En-Lai supposedly said about the French Revolution, it's too soon to tell. That's my view of human history. It's only 5000 years old. We're young yet.

Pinky said...

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TVD reminds us of "...the barbarism of the 20th century---Nazis, Commies, 100 million dead and sez he's "... not ready to assert human progress.

Like I said, you can draw the wrong conclusions from a lot of things.
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Detailing history has a lot to say about the entire history of civilization let along the twentieth century. And, like Ryn seems to say, events don't just pop into existence. They evolve.
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But, this blog is putting me into a whole new area of learning; so, I can't draw too many conclusions one way or t'other. At least none of any certitude.

Pinky said...

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I'll consider myself lucky just to draw you bloggers out.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Y'know, they could have got off that island dozens of times if they'd just have killed Gilligan.

bpabbott said...

Pinky,

Regarding "Jacobian", I thought you might have taken some rather serious math in the past, and were being shy about be a math-geek ;-)

bpabbott said...

OT

Jon: >>[...] I haven't seen too many episodes of "Lost" though I understand it's a good show. I tell my students that it's a variation on the GI theme (for those of them who are unfamiliar with that classic sitcom).<<

Jon,

I have to admit to being a "Lost" fan. There are some parallels to GI, but I see more with "Lord of the Flies".

As much as we'd like to pretend we've matured into reasoned and responsible adults with fewer vices ... adults are much closer to children than to what most of use imagine of ourselves ... well except they do have fewer vices, but the ones they hold onto are ;-)

In any event, I recommend you start watching. We bought all the seasons via iTunes and averaged 3+ episodes a day until there where none left :-(

The one area where "Lost" is different from the other sitcoms mentioned, is that it revolves around a providential purposes for each character ... in the event one's purpose extinguishes, bad things lie ahead ;-)

Pinky said...

Actually, Abbott, it was a class I took in architecture.
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Philip Johnson?

bpabbott said...

Pinky,

I envy architects like Philip Johnson. They do all the math to build a structure with a specific purpose in mind and manage to sneak in profound beauty as well :-)

So may I assume you have practical experience with the use of Jacobians! ... I'll keep that in mind for future reference ;-)

Pinky said...

My first inkling about Jacobian had to do with Shakespeare and plays.
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Then I heard a little about "Jacobin" in Western Civilization classes; but, I think I mistook it for Jacobian. So, I have to plead not too well edikatud about it. But, I did read a little about it in some of Ryn's wrotomgs I downloaded off the 'Net. (Recommended by the late Barbara)
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My mistaken spellign was totally an example of ignorance on my part.
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So, you got me.
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Like I said, I hope to draw you guys out; because you have already been down this road that is so new to me.
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Pinky said...

wrotomgs??

Uh, that would be writings.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Pinky, I assure you this is a joint inquiry in all respects. Any true inquiry cannot be just an exchange of immutable [and therefore ineducable] positions: that is debate, and I gave it up awhile back. Anyone's previous knowledge of stuff is only useful to know where to go to begin the next step.

What's amazing about our "American Creation" is that after 200+ years, there's no one book or scholar who can claim the definitive truth about it. [Much as some try.]

Jonathan Rowe and I have had a running colloquy on it, a public discussion, for several years now here & there on the internet [much of it turns up on Google], which led to me being invited to blog here. We've learned from and taught each other. In fact---and this is Jon in particular---this fresh approach has shed new light on things "scholars" erroneously have taken as "settled."

The best thing about a colloquy is that there are witnesses [and you and Ben seem to be the witnesses of record around here]. This makes a fella double-check what he thinks he knows before he spews it, because the only real embarrassment is pretending to know something you don't. And I can't tell you how many times I found myself in error or even worse, a half-truth.

Let me add that I've noticed that you google up the little hints and side points of interest I drop in. As I write pretty carefully, it's heartbreaking to be read carelessly, and you and Ben don't. I think I can speak for all the bloggers here that to see a comments section empty [or full of sophistry] makes you want to bag the whole thing.

Cheers.

Pinky said...

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Maybe I like Philip Johnson's work because he has my name?

I have been an electrician, worked as a circus promoter, was a yellow pages account manager, a janitor, was a sales manager for an industrial equipment sales and service company, drove cab, went to college, did country music promotion work, and ran a community relations agency as my main career. My wife and I raised four children.
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About a dozen years ago, I discovered my maternal ancestors have been on this continent since the early eighteenth century, I got interested in American history.
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So here I am.
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Pinky said...

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I forgot to mention, I was in the U.S.Marine Corps.
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Life is a journey of discovery.

jimmiraybob said...

I'm hoping that someone might still come by to make sure the door's locked and the lights are off.

I'm for world peace too, BTW. I hope you're not claiming any moral high ground here.

I was just trying to figure out a graceful way to butt in. Actually, I don't know the proper emoticon for tongue in cheek yet - maybe I should have used a smiley face....shudder.

So, no comment on "...America was founded on Babylonian legal codes, Sumerian myths, and the general Mesopotamian agricultural model." I guess I win (insert smiley face here).

bpabbott said...

Jimmy Ray Bog,

I caught the comment and had assumed it was offered with a degree of sarcasm ... which is how I like my humor ;-)

Tom Van Dyke said...

Ditto.