Well, as a fellow atheist, let me come to Vnutz’ defense.
First, your notion that American superiority stems from its Christian beliefs is simply unsupported by history. Of the first twenty presidents, fewer than five could seriously be called both religious and Christian. Most were Deist or Unitarian. In fact, in 1831, Episcopal minister Bird Wilson of Albany, NY, complained in a sermon that was reported in the newspapers: "… Among all our presidents from Washington downward, not one was a professor of religion, at least not of more than Unitarian." ("Professor" here is used to mean "one who professes", not the modern meaning of "teacher".)
Here’s a paper where scholars were asked to rank the past presidents. They clearly put Washington, Lincoln, and FDR in a class by themselves as the best. With Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt as the next obvious group.
Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln were Deist and explicitly not Christians. Washington didn’t talk openly about it, but his close friends all were aware that he didn’t participate in the church. When Martha went for communion, he waited for her outside. On his deathbed, hea asked for no ritual, uttered no prayers, and expressed no wish to be attended by clergy.
Jefferson in particular had little but scorn for Christianity, saying, "The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter." And "Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear."
Lincoln gave us great sound bites like, "The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession", and "I am not a Christian".
The two Roosevelts – both much later in our history, after the US was already a "great nation" – were clearly Christian. Teddy demanded that "In God We Trust" be removed from American money – but not because he didn’t believe in God, but because he thought it was blasphemous to put in on something so crass as money.
The other great men who founded the nation were also widely Deists. Ben Franklin’s autobiography makes the claim several times. John Adams and his son John Q were both thorough Deists. Thomas Paine, Ethan Allen, James Madison… not a Christian among them.
BTW, your equating one radical Muslim with Christianity only reinforces my belief that you and most atheists: 1. have no respect for any kind of believer, 2. consider yourself intellectually and morally superior, 3. make no distinction between al Queda and, for example, the Catholic Church (both believe in God and are thus equally ignorant/unenlightened).
Well, Vnutz may not entirely agree with me (at least out loud), but let’s see…
What would "respect" for someone who believes complete nonsense actually entail? Are you suggesting I should allow you to persist in your false beliefs? Surely not – if you believed it was safe to cross the street, but I saw a car coming, it wouldn’t be respecting you to let you walk out into traffic.
If an adult confidently spoke about Santa Claus, fully expecting him to bring presents at Christmas, would you really "respect" that belief?
Morally and intellectually superior? Why should we not? You believe things we know to be false – that, in itself, is intellectual inferiority. Morally? I don’t consider it "moral" to behave well when you think you’ll be punished for behaving badly and rewarded for behaving well.
As for the distinction between al Qaeda and the Catholic Church, so far, the Church is way ahead on body count. A hundred thousand or so in the Inquisition, another million or so in the Crusades. But they’ve been around longer. I’ll grant that they’ve been fairly tame for the last century or so, and Al Qaeda is certainly trying hard to catch up.
Christianity has had more than its share of hard-line, radical assholes preaching easy entry to heaven through violence.
In short, you have done nothing to win my vote.
Then again, he wasn’t running. Merely voicing his opinion in response to a patently absurd claim you made: "this nation was built, and made great, on a belief in God. I would not entrust its leadership to someone who doesn’t believe that." Ergo, in your opinion, any theist is a better choice than any atheist.
Morally and intellectually superior? Why should we not? You believe things we know to be false – that, in itself, is intellectual inferiority
And there you have it. You are, in fact, no different than anybody else who states with absolute certainty that their beliefs are 100% correct. You, in your absolute certainty, are as potentially "dangerous" as the scary religious "fundamentalists" like idsuddeth, and your words:
>Are you suggesting I should allow you to persist in your false beliefs? Surely not – if you believed it was safe to cross the street, but I saw a car coming, it wouldn’t be respecting you to let you walk out into traffic.
I can only imagine similar sentiments were expressed by Torquemada, or Pope Urban, or Mohammad, or Pol Pot. How long before those of your ilk (the "Freedom From Religion" folks come to mind) begin to believe the only way to save humanity from the scourge of theism is to take up arms (or car bombs) against the evil believers? Congrats, you are in splendid company.
I have been reading up on the founding fathers of late, and frankly I will give you Washington, Jefferson, and Ben Franklin; they weren’t Christians as defined—those who believe in the redemptive powers of Christ.
However Washington did believe (as did many of the founding fathers) that:
Washington also wrote: no man’s sentiment are more opposed to any kind of restraint upon religious principles than mine are.
I would no more step on your right/desire (and vnut and a myriad of others) to NOT believe, as I would expect you—acting under the auspicies of the Constitution—would respect MY right to believe. I will discuss my belief with you; but I will also respect your right not to hear the Gospel, and we can talk about football, fishing, or any other topic you desire. Yes, I will intersect my belief in talking with you from time to time; because I ferverently believe that non-believers are committing suicide—suicide of the soul. I’m as concerned for your soul as I am for YOU as the person.
But on the subject of the Founding Fathers, let’s look at a few more, shall we?
What about your respect for someone who believes that David Copperfield is a sorcerer who can really do the ‘tricks’ he performs, despite evidence to the contrary? Or, someone who believes in ‘Bigfoot’, ‘Yeti’, ‘Loch Ness Monster’, ‘Fox TV’s Alien Autopsy?
However, your car analogy leads me to this conclusion: I am, at least, your moral superior. My morality would forbid me from allowing a person to walk in front of the car, therefore I would have to attempt to prevent them from doing so, even at the expense of my own life. Your morality stops you from doing more than saying ‘hey there’s a car coming’. Intellectual superiority is a moot point, truthfully. I don’t judge intellecutal superiority because it may well be that one superior in some areas, but inferior in others.
>As for the distinction between al Qaeda and the Catholic Church, so far, the Church is way ahead on body count. A hundred thousand or so in the Inquisition, another million or so in the Crusades. But they’ve been around longer. I’ll grant that they’ve been fairly tame for the last century or so, and Al Qaeda is certainly trying hard to catch up.
Yet, Atheists have arguably surpassed the religious in terms of numbers of dead—just in the 20th century. Have you forgotten your history? Did you miss out on Hitler or Stalin??
I did choose that I could not vote for an atheist, but that’s not because I don’t believe they will govern well; but rather because I fear that if there were NO believers in power, then the constitution might be changed and I would no longer be allowed to believe. Should that ever happen, I would continue to practice my faith and accept whatever consequences might be handed to me.
>[all the BS that scottb wrote]
Thanks for proving my point about "arrogance." I was hoping you’d rear your smug head and trot out all that baloney about Deism and how it’s the same as atheism.
I ain’t voting for you, either!
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