A group blog to promote discussion, debate and insight into the history, particularly religious, of America's founding. Any observations, questions, or comments relating to the blog's theme are welcomed.
.So, I was eight years old when I first saw that cartoon..There was a surge of patriotism going on. I remember learning the Pledge of Allegiance and how it was recited every morning in the classrooms where I attended school..I wonder. Is that Pledge still given by children in their classrooms today?.
Pinky,I have a 7 and 8 year old and they say it every morning at school. They don't really know what it means based on our conversations, and I'm not entirely sure they would at that age, nevermind my own skepticism at indoctrinating children with a pledge of allegiance to a symbol of a free country. But they still say it here in Utah.
You can read a Nov. 30, 2008 Washington Post article Rev. George Docherty; Urged 'Under God' in Pledge" to see how the pledge went under.Click here to read Docherty's Sunday, Feb. 7, 1954 sermon. And this is what Docherty had to say about the secular "new type of man":Philosophically speaking, an atheistic American is a contradiction in terms. Now don’t misunderstand me. This age has thrown up a new type of man – call him secular; he does not believe in God; not because he is a wicked man, but because he is dialectically honest, and would rather walk with the unbelievers than sit hypocritically with people of the faith. These men, and many have I known, are fine in character; and in the obligations as citizens and good neighbors, quite excellent."But they really are spiritual parasites. And I mean no term of abuse in this. I’m simply classifying them. A parasite is an organism that lives upon the life force of another organism without contributing to the life of the other. These excellent ethical seculars are living upon the accumulated spiritual capital of Judeo-Christian civilization, and at the same time, deny the God who revealed the divine principles upon which the ethics of this country grow. The dilemma of the secular is quite simple.He cannot deny the Christian revelation and logically live the Christian ethic.An if he denies the Christian ethic, he falls short of the American ideal of life.
.Of all the b.s. I've ever read, the Rev. George Docherty's quotation is at the top of the list..I'm no Atheist; but, come on--his comment is stupid...
My 6-yr-old also says it every morning.
2011 vs. 1939.http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/early-lead/post/nbc-apologizes-for-cutting-under-god-from-pledge-of-allegiance-before-us-open/2011/06/19/AG8MgtbH_blog.html;-PBastards.__________________Mr. Soller, I do urge you to google "Richard Rorty" and "freeloading atheists." Docherty:"These excellent ethical seculars are living upon the accumulated spiritual capital of Judeo-Christian civilization, and at the same time, deny the God who revealed the divine principles upon which the ethics of this country grow. The dilemma of the secular is quite simple."The late Richard Rorty, a philosopher of some note, honest man that he was, rather stipulated Docherty's contention.In fact, Peter Singer has recently come around to something similar.None of is predicated on the question of God's actual existence, mind you.Now I could spell all this out for you and the gentle reader, but I've found if they are genuinely curious, they'll follow the clues. If they're indifferent or unmovable, doing all the work for them and tying it all up with a little bow is not only a waste of time, but scorned.[And you know what I'm talkin' 'bout, Phil. I've learned more from you than you have from me. That's a goddam shame but it's because you don't give the slightest damn about any of this either.]
Hey, Tom..Not only you; but, most of those who post articles here provide me with information beyond what I thought was availavble. It's too bad that my responses have caused some to react negatively. But, that's life.Maybe you'll want to visit this link?;<)http://americansociety-today.blogspot.com/...
I just came across a new argument against the inclusion of "under God".In 2004, linguist Geoffrey Nunberg criticized the addition of "under God" for a different reason. The original supporters of the addition thought that they were simply quoting Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. However, Nunberg said that to Lincoln and his contemporaries, "under God" meant "God willing" and they would have found its use in the Pledge of Allegiance grammatically incorrect.
Regarding Docherty's philosophical position that secularists don't appreciate the importance of our society's past and present belief in a God, it looks to me as if his comments are predicated his opinion on actual existence.My thought is little more that a quibble, as I'm free to look at his believe and those of others as having had a good (dare I say a "Providential?) effect on our society. In that sense, I agree that it is the existence of belief on the part of society that is important, not the actual existence of God.
Well, since we're at it, I would say that today's secularist is more like dung beetles - living off the intellectual and spiritual products of preceding generations (what some see as waste others see as nourishment).But then so are all the not-secularists. It's just that some, like the good Rev Docherty, like to keep to their own special dung heaps that have been purified and sanctified by a particular producing beast roaming pastures and nibbling only certain fuels and blending them with its own special gastric juices. The good Rev Docherty then proclaims his dung pile, and those of similar composition made only by the special beasts, superior and the only proper dung that fertilizes the pasture.Eventually becoming blind to all other contributions to the fertilization of the field, the good Rev Docherty then proclaims his dung pile not just superior and proper but the Only Way and the Only Truth and that all other dung beetles not eating of his special dung survive only due to the holy emanations from his special-brand heap and, thus, he holds all other beetles not like him and all other not-special dung in contempt. And he preaches contempt.He preaches that to be a proper dung beetle one must become blind and ignorant and ignore or castigate everything outside of the piles of the special dung made by the special beasts sanctified by their magical juices. That is what makes all things good. And with that, he and his special beetles, eating only the special dung, band together to eradicate all other dung and eliminate or subjugate all other beetles, some of which he calls secularists and some atheists and some pagans and some heathens and some heretics who live in piles incorporating too much of the wrong ingredients. And, of course, some he calls the Jew beetle. Voila, the dung wars.Story by jimmiraybobMusic by jimmiraybob
.Copyright by jimmiraybob?.I'm outta here--got things to do..
Tom Van Dyke "None of is predicated on the question of God's actual existence, mind you."On the contrary, all of the alleged effects associated with having a belief are predicated on actually having that belief. God's existence is a factual statement that can either be true or false. All such statements which assert something to be true are properly evaluated on the overall weight of the evidence. We should not be choosing our beliefs, only the evidence should be choosing our beliefs, and we don't determine the evidence, the evidence just is. If the evidence prefers a particular belief then we are compelled to that belief, we can't choose any conflicting belief. The effect a belief would allegedly have on us if we held that belief is not evidence for that belief, so that is irrelevant to whether or not we should hold the belief. Conversely, the effect a belief would allegedly have on us if we held that belief will not happen when we don't have that belief, and since the evidence comes first in this sequence, that allegedly associated effect is just some alternative world fiction when we don't have that belief.
I disagree, Mr. Athiest.
EA,While it is my personal view that only the natural exists, and that the supernatural is non-existant, I'm convinced that a society that accepts any and all *beliefs* is preferable to one that pics and chooses.Essentially, I think the great diversity in individuals requires a diversity in beliefs to maximize happiness.
Here is a quotation from the notes in the book accompanying a lecture given by Darren Staloff, Ph.D,, Assistant Professor of History, City College of New York. The title of the lecture is A. J. Ayer and Logical Positivism. "A.J. Ayer was one of the leading logical positivists. In Language, Truth and Logic, Ayer argued that philosophy should abandon the study of metaphysics and take up a detailed analysis of language. He argues that assertions that cannot be verified in empirical experience are "nonsense." Ayer believed that all our talk of the world is a logical construct of our phenomenal and sensual experience. Philosophy was to be the handmaiden of science, and the job of the philosopher would be to explain the meaning of scientific terms and logic.....Ayer begins his text with a chapter entitled 'The Elimination of Metaphysics.' He achieves this goal by analyzing the forms of metaphysical sentences and demonstrating that they violate the criteria for literal significance and are, thus, nonsensical.".Some might find that interesting. I know that I do...
Ayer may be overstating things a bit, I have not read him, although I have certainly heard of him and of logical positivism. I agree that empiricism is the essential foundation for rational justification of belief. Otherwise our beliefs are simply not properly grounded. The focus then becomes identifying and evaluating the evidences and their connections to conclusions that therefore are our beliefs. Reasonable people will disagree about the weights and directions of the overall evidences, but this is the starting point for rational discussion. When people start with an alleged effect of a belief, all the more so when that alleged effect is itself not empirically evidenced and thus not well justified, and then claim on that basis we should profess (or not profess) the belief, regardless of whether or not we are justified in thinking the belief to be true, they are putting the cart before the horse. People who don't start with the evidence tend to be promiscuous in adopting beliefs, they tend to think of beliefs as a method for defining themselves, they tend to be ideological and inflexible. When we recognize beliefs as that which we acquire from our collecting, experiencing, learning, sharing, and evaluating the overall evidence then we are free to change our beliefs as we acquire new evidences or re-evaluate the evidences without artificial, a-priori,self-limiting, constraints.
.When we recognize beliefs as that which we acquire from our collecting, experiencing, learning, sharing, and evaluating the overall evidence then we are free to change our beliefs as we acquire new evidences or re-evaluate the evidences without artificial, a-priori,self-limiting, constraints. .It is refreshing to read common sense..
AE, nice comment.Regarding what is and is not rational, I think it necessary to understand an individuals goal / intention in order to judge whether or not an action is rational.If an individual's goal is to study the geological formation of the earth, he'd be irrational to believe in YEC. However, if his goal is confort and happiness of the mind, and YEC makes him more comfortable, then I think embracing the belief is rational ... for this individual.Personally, I'm excited about following the evidence, and find nothing troubling or disturbing about having to change my opinion / expectations /beliefs when I encounter new evidence. Thus, your comment suits me. But I'm not convinced it is rationally suitable for everyone.
One the one hand, people will adopt whatever beliefs they are most comfortable with. On the other hand, not all beliefs are equal. So what we end up with is accepting pluralism without endorsing relativism, we agree to disagree. Everyone has an ethical and civic obligation to try to have beliefs which are well justified. No one has any ethical, civic, or other type of obligation to agree with others, or with a majority. It is therefore up to each of us to work out our beliefs. It is overreaching and somewhat arrogant for government to assume a role of instructing or directing us what our beliefs should be via laws. The government role is limited to trying to ensure that we are well versed in the currently available evidences regardless of what those evidences suggest. Governments' that go beyond that and adopt laws that declare our beliefs are thereby acting outside of the limitations on government that are consistent with the democratic norm that the people rule and decide freely without government interference. A current majority should not be engraving into the laws their own favored belief as the government endorsed and preferred belief for everyone as they did when they revised the Pledge of Allegiance and the national motto in the 1950's.
.I'm no Atheist; but, I think Explicit Atheist is making a good point which I see as support for my thoughts that our society has fallen into an imbalance as a result of religious influence on our government and, as a result, on our society. It is dividing us one from another. But, that is the agenda of many Religionists, is it not?.
"I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy."— Richard P. Feynman
Pinky said..."It is dividing us one from another. But, that is the agenda of many Religionists, is it not?"A history of religious divisions appears to have been a motivating factor for including the two religion clauses in the 1st amendment. As for the agenda of many religionists today, its probably more about trying to keep people in the pews by keeping them away from exposure to non-theistic beliefs. There is an economic incentive on the part of those who make careers out of religion to try to inoculate their paying audience from independent habits of thinking that may lead them to question the wisdom and merit of the religious beliefs and the clergy.
Tom Van Dyke said..."I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy."— Richard P. FeynmanRichard P. Feynman was an self-avowed atheist.
Feyman's quotes often appear to fall somewhere between contrarian and demotivating, but my impression is that they are indicative of his style of humor. Consider those below.“If you thought that science was certain - well, that is just an error on your part.”“Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts”“It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong”“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.”“Science... never solves a problem without creating ten more.”
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