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  1. #321  
    Quote Originally Posted by cardio
    If it is not acceptable to recite the pledge with under God because it proclaims a God exists why is it acceptable for a child to be taught which greek god controls the wind, the sun, the rain, etc in a federally funded public school. In a childs mind if a teacher says it is then it must be, so instead of the child being indoctrinated that there is a God they are indoctrinated that there are lots of gods.
    I was taught, not to say studied, the classics. There was never the slightest message that one was to believe in or pray to the Greek or Roman pantheons.
  2. #322  
    Quote Originally Posted by cardio
    If it is not acceptable to recite the pledge with under God because it proclaims a God exists why is it acceptable for a child to be taught which greek god controls the wind, the sun, the rain, etc in a federally funded public school. In a childs mind if a teacher says it is then it must be, so instead of the child being indoctrinated that there is a God they are indoctrinated that there are lots of gods.
    Because that isnt happening. You dont have teachers telling their students that there is a god of the wind, the sun, the rain, etc. That doesnt happen. A teacher may teach his/her class that in Greek mythology there was a god of the wind, the sun, the rain, etc. Is that a problem for you? As i said, not wanting your children exposed to different belief systems is another problem all together. Now if a teacher was telling their students that the only true gods were those of the Greeks then yes, that would be a problem.

    What is taught from a historical perspective is one thing, its totally different when the federal government sanctions religious speech in school.

    Quote Originally Posted by whmurray
    Apparently we do not all know. However, we cannot teach it to the uninitiated because it would promote promiscuity, i.e., sex without the sanction of the church.
    Ummm, different debate
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    #323  
    Quote Originally Posted by whmurray
    Slippery slope to where? Chaos, political correctness, pluralism, authoritarianism. violence? Where is it that you fear to go? How does allowing professional autonomy to teachers get you there?

    [Most of the religious right pretends to fear (progressive) political correctness. Their schools are no less politically correct than others; it is simply that what is "correct" is different. I fear political correctness but not much. As I see it on most campuses (I teach on several a year and visit others) it is a preference for civil discourse and a rejection of appeals to base motives (e.g., rascism, anti-semitism, (religious) zealotry, xenophobia, homophobia, even nationalism), a respect for the autonomy of others. I do not see much to fear here but then I am not a theocrat. It is not my authority that is diminished.]

    Consider the alternative to teacher autonomy. The alternative is to have an authority to tell them what to teach. Remember that we tried the latter for nearly a thousand years, an epoch identified in history as the Dark Ages. I prefer the collective judgement, of a lot of teachers, across students and time, to any central authority. (Attempts by text book publishers to pass the censors of the Texas Text Book Selection Commission have turned all texts books into pap.)



    I have made the argument several times; you ignore it. The difference is in both the uniformity of the message and its content. Yes, I did see my teachers as authority figures and I rarely found myself at odds with them as much as I saw them at odds with one another. In a system of tenure and professional authonomy I did not receive a uniform message crafted by the state to serve its purposes. I was not made to recite it everyday. It was not cant. While it may have warped my little psyche, it was not crafted to serve either the state or the church.



    I would agree that both sides seem equally agitated but not equally motivated. I think that the Christian Right is on a Holy Crusade. I think that they believe their cause to be so righteous that all means are justified in its name. They prefer indoctrination of the young because it is easier and more persistent than the persuasion of adults. They appear jealous of the authority of the state and wish to use it to further their cause. (Pat Robertson even wants to make foreign policy.) They do not seem to have appropriate fear of the state; they do not see that to the extent that they permit abuse of power by the state in furtherance of their cause, that it may be turned against them.

    I argue for separation of church and state because I believe it to be the safer course. I have a reasonable fear of both bureaucrats and theocrats but I am frightened near to apoplexy by their unholy alliance.
    The statement A slippery slope was in response to "a teacher assign anything they think is academically appropriate", remember this discussion was about young children. A slippery slope to where would depend on what the teacher based their values on. Could it be to violence, yes, if the teacher was a militant and taught that the establishment is out to get them and used literature to support a "jihad" against the establishment such as police officers and judges. A slippery slope to continued decreased exit exams, yes, if the teachers decided they did not believe in holding individuals accountable for their work, this list could be almost limitless.

    I see the alternative as teachers being held accountable for what they teach and within that accountability they have set standards to uphold. A teacher should not determine to teach muslim tenants of faith for an entire semester of history and ignore the civil war. There must be guidelines they follow and be allowed to operate within those parameters.

    I still do not think the uniformity of the message nor the content to be a bad thing. However I realize some do, what I am saying is that just as those feel that is a bad thing, there are those who feel exposing children to other religions in a school is a bad thing. It seems like some only want to do away with any mention of a christian god, but feel it is appropriate to speak about other religions in the name of education. These are the ones who I see are causing the turmoil. And, of course you will have individuals go to the very extreme on both sides.
  4. #324  
    Quote Originally Posted by clulup
    Sorry shopharim, this is is not convincing in the least. I doubt you yourself are convinced about your approach. The sentences from the bible have little or nothing to do with what the constitution says, as one can see when adding the content of the parts you quoted. All that led you to them is that the contain some common words such as "truth" or "free" etc. Funny that you add a quote where the bible says "honour the king"... doesn't quite fit, does it?

    For sure, none of the parts you quoted show a link between Christian principles and the principles your country was founded on.
    I hesitated to answer at all, because we don't share a frame of reference.

    It reminds me of criminal trials in our justice system in the US. The prosecutor presents facts and artifacts that are collected relating to the incident in question. The prosecutor then tells a story about how those facts and artifacts fit together, attempting to convince the judge and/or jury that the defendant has broken the law and deserves punishment according to said law.

    Following that, the defense attorney refers to the same facts and artifacts, yet paints a different story, attempting to convince the judge and/or jury that the defendant has not broken the law and ought be released from custody.

    Then, the jury takes those same facts and artifacts and decides for themselves whether it was reasonably proven that defendant indeed broke the law.

    One set of facts and artifacts. Three different stories.

    I feel like that's what we're faced with here.

    I am convinced there is a God
    I am convinced that the Bible is the most comprehensive (though not exhaustive) text available to assist us in knowing God

    As I understand it, you do not believe in God (or at least find no evidence of such an existence, or involvement in the continuance of life on Earth).
    As I understand it, you believe that the Bible is an "old book" which has some potentially helpful information but which is not authorative.

    These are diametrically opposed views. And, given that God is a non-entity in your view, the Bible and christianity (and other religions for that matter) lack any logical standing. As a result, it appears to me that you only look to semantical reasoning (of which, admittedly, you demonstrate a level of skill that I admire).

    Now, I am happy to join you in that logical discussion. But, I must invite you to set aside the atheistic view for a moment to consider this line of reasoning for itself, not for its implicatons.

    I don't want to lose sight of your question regarding the influence of "christian principles" on the charter documents. But let's at least see if we can agree on some basics. Then we can get to the implications, of which your question is one.

    So here goes:

    1. The Declaration of Independence expresses the sentiment of its authors and the population they represented (as demonstrated by its ratification and the subsequent war effort to enforce it)

    2. The sentiments of the founders included a list of things they found to be self-evident, namely:
    a) all men are created equal,
    b) they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness

    3. The founders further asserted that the purpose for government was "to secure these rights"

    Is this a proper characterization thus far?
    Last edited by shopharim; 09/20/2005 at 04:32 PM.
  5. #325  
    Quote Originally Posted by shopharim
    I hesitated to answer at all, because we don't share a frame of reference.

    It reminds me of criminal trials in our justice system in the US. The prosecutor presents facts and artifacts that are collected relating to the incident in question. The prosecutor then tells a story about how those facts and artifacts fit together, attempting to convince the judge and/or jury that the defendant has broken the law and deserves punishment according to said law.

    Following that, the defense attorney refers to the same facts and artifacts, yet paints a different story, attempting to convince the judge and/or jury that the defendant has not broken the law and ought be released from custody.

    Then, the jury takes those same facts and artifacts and decides for themselves whether it was reasonably proven that defendant indeed broke the law.

    One set of facts and artifacts. Three different stories.

    I feel like that's what we're faced with here.

    I am convinced there is a God
    I am convinced that the Bible is the most comprehensive (though not exhaustive) text available to assist us in knowing God

    As I understand it, you do not believe in God (or at least find no evidence of such an existence, or involvement in the continuance of life on Earth).
    As I understand it, you believe that the Bible is an "old book" which has some potentially helpful information but which is not authorative.

    These are diametrically opposed views. And, given that God is a non-entity in your view, the Bible and christianity (and other religions for that matter) lack any logical standing. As a result, it appears to me that you only look to semantical reasoning (of which, admittedly, you demonstrate a level of skill that I admire).

    Now, I am happy to join you in that logical discussion. But, I must invite you to set aside the atheistic view for a moment to consider this line of reasoning for itself, not for its implicatons.
    There was no semantical reasoning in my post. You and others have repeatedly stated that the constitution of your country is based on Christian principles. I have asked you (and others) to tell me which Christian principles were instrumental for your constitution, what the overlap between the priciples of a democracy and the principles of Christianity is. The answer to this question has nothing to do with whether I or anybody else believes in a god or not, it is a simple comparison between the principles of the bible and those of the constitution.
    I don't want to lose sight of your question regarding the influence of "christian principles" on the charter documents. But let's at least see if we can agree on some basics. Then we can get to the implications, of which your question is one.

    So here goes:

    1. The Declaration of Independence expresses the sentiment of its authors and the population they represented (as demonstrated by its ratification and the subsequent war effort to enforce it)
    Yes.
    2. The sentiments of the founders included a list of things they found to be self-evident, namely:
    a) all men are created equal,
    b) they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness
    Those points are not really self-evident, they were quite revolutionay at the time. They claimed that their creator (nature, god?) had endowed unalienable rights such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. However, things like liberty and the pursuit of happiness are not main principles of the bible. Equality is also not of major concern in the Bible, it only states that basically everybody can become "one in Christ".
    3. The founders further asserted that the purpose for government was "to secure these rights"

    Is this a proper characterization thus far?
    Yes - but you still did not tell me anything about which Christian principles the US are based on. Maybe you struggling to find specific examples indicates that the constitution of the US is not really based on principles from the Bible?
    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” (Philip K. ****)
  6. #326  
    Quote Originally Posted by cardio
    How do you feel about a teacher requiring memorization and recital of historical documents, novels, teaching of greek mythology, or literature that recognize a diety? If I believe in one true God, and I do not want my children exposed to greek gods because it goes against my belief that there is only one God why would my rights be different than those who do not want under God in the pledge?

    This argument can go on forever if the mention of a god or gods is an endorsement of religion.
    As long as it is placed in context.
    i.e. this was written by ancient greeks who believed this.
    instead of: this is the truth memorize it.

    See the difference, the pledge falls in category b while reading greek mythology should fall in cat. a. (pretty sure most schools teach it that way).

    Why are you afraid your kids will learn about other religions? Do you fear they leave yours?
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  7. #327  
    clulup,

    It appears we have common ground. We agree that the Declaration of Independence expresses the sentiments of the founders. We also agree that the founders perceived the purpose of government being to secure rights.

    However, as it relates what rights the founders claimed, it seems you offered an assessment of the claim rather than stating whether you agreed that the founders made the claim. So I ask again, do you agree that the founders' sentiments included the assertion that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, namely life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

    While I have delayed directly addressing your primary queston yet again, I reaffirm my intention to respond directly, and I appreciate your indulgence in this attempt to understand our shared understanding.
  8. #328  
    Quote Originally Posted by shopharim
    clulup,

    It appears we have common ground. We agree that the Declaration of Independence expresses the sentiments of the founders. We also agree that the founders perceived the purpose of government being to secure rights.
    It hardly comes as a surprise that the declaration of independence expresses the sentiments of those who wrote and/or signed it, does it?
    However, as it relates what rights the founders claimed, it seems you offered an assessment of the claim rather than stating whether you agreed that the founders made the claim. So I ask again, do you agree that the founders' sentiments included the assertion that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, namely life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?
    What's this got to do with it anyway?

    You claimed that the US are based on Christian (hence biblical) principles. I asked you which ones in particular. A plain and simple question. Still waiting for an answer...
    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” (Philip K. ****)
  9. #329  
    Quote Originally Posted by clulup
    What's this got to do with it anyway?
    If I provide instructions to a destination, but we do not start from the same point of origination, we will most certainly not reach the same destination. We may not reach the same destination anyway, but at least by taking this step-by-step approach, we can easily determine where we have gotten separated.

    So, in route to addressing your primary question, I ask a third time, do you agree that the founders' sentiments include an assertion that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights?
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    #330  
    Quote Originally Posted by ToolkiT
    As long as it is placed in context.
    i.e. this was written by ancient greeks who believed this.
    instead of: this is the truth memorize it.

    See the difference, the pledge falls in category b while reading greek mythology should fall in cat. a. (pretty sure most schools teach it that way).

    Why are you afraid your kids will learn about other religions? Do you fear they leave yours?
    But your reasoning now goes against the reasoning that the mere mention of the statement under God endorses a religion. Some are drawing imaginary lines in the name of education (who determines what religous beliefs are to be used as educational and which are not) and historical documents (at what age does a document become historical?), if the mention of a god in the pledge endorses a religion then you should use the same logic in all references. Really stretching now by trying to say that children are being told the pledge is the truth (implying all others are lies) by rote memorization.

    I used a hypothetical situation and you exposed the fear of those who have said the mere mention of a god in the pledge to our flag endorses a religion. That is the group who seems afraid that if a child hears there is a god they may be converted. However, as I said, if someones religious beliefs prevented them from teaching of other religions (as do some extreme forms of Islamac faiths) then therein lies an issue.
  11. #331  
    Quote Originally Posted by shopharim
    So, in route to addressing your primary question, I ask a third time, do you agree that the founders' sentiments include an assertion that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights?
    What is written there is "We hold these truths to be self-evident..." So yes, they claim these things, but they don't derive those ideas from the Bible or from Christian principles. They basically conjure up the idea out of thin air by saying that they think those ideas are self-evident - there is no link to the Bible.

    In case you believe equality, pursuit of happiness, liberty and life are Christian ideas, you are facing disappointment. All of those ideas are children of the Renaissance and the age of enlightenment: "This movement advocated rationality as a means to establish an authoritative system of ethics, aesthetics, and knowledge. The intellectual leaders of this movement regarded themselves as courageous and elite, and regarded their purpose as leading the world toward progress and out of a long period of doubtful tradition, full of irrationality, superstition, and tyranny (which they believed began during a historical period they called the "Dark Ages"). This movement also provided a framework for the American and French Revolutions...". Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson are two well-known proponents of the philosophies of the age of enlightenment. The bible has nothing to do with that, sorry.

    So will you now, please, tell us which Christian principles are reflected in the constitution of the US of A, preferrably with a quote from the bible which actually refers to that principle, and not just mentions words like "truth" or "free"?
    Last edited by clulup; 09/21/2005 at 11:21 AM.
    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” (Philip K. ****)
  12. #332  
    Quote Originally Posted by clulup
    What is written there is "We hold these truths to be self-evident..." So yes, they claim these things
    Thank you. So we agree on the first three assumptions. If you'll indulge me a bit further, I'll ignore the fact that the age of Enlightenment is predated by Christianity by approx 1700+ years and by biblical texts by several milennium, and continue with building consensus.

    Having agreed on the first three principles, especially item 3, do you agree that the U.S. constitution represents the practical implementation of the government the founders recognized was nneded to secure the rights?
  13. #333  
    Quote Originally Posted by shopharim
    Thank you. So we agree on the first three assumptions. If you'll indulge me a bit further, I'll ignore the fact that the age of Enlightenment is predated by Christianity by approx 1700+ years and by biblical texts by several milennium, and continue with building consensus.
    And your point is? drinking beer predates the age of Enlightenment too, that doesnt mean that the founding fathers used that as a base for the constitution...
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  14. #334  
    Quote Originally Posted by ToolkiT
    And your point is? drinking beer predates the age of Enlightenment too, that doesnt mean that the founding fathers used that as a base for the constitution...
    Despite the presence of rebuttal, I have not made the point yet. I'm still establishing common ground.

    However, recognizing your interest, I will also pose the question to you: do you agree with me and clulup on thsee first three observations?

    1. Declaration of independence expresses the sentiments of the founders
    2. Founders' sentiments include assertion that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, including life, liberty and pursuit of happiness
    3. Founders' defined purpose of government as being to secure those rights

    If so, do you also agree with my 4th statement, that the U.S Constitution represents the practical implementation of such government?
  15. #335  
    Quote Originally Posted by shopharim
    Despite the presence of rebuttal, I have not made the point yet. I'm still establishing common ground.

    However, recognizing your interest, I will also pose the question to you: do you agree with me and clulup on thsee first three observations?

    1. Declaration of independence expresses the sentiments of the founders
    2. Founders' sentiments include assertion that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, including life, liberty and pursuit of happiness
    3. Founders' defined purpose of government as being to secure those rights

    If so, do you also agree with my 4th statement, that the U.S Constitution represents the practical implementation of such government?
    Yeah, why not, if only for the sake of you finally starting to answer the simple question of which Christian principles were instrumental in the founding of the USA...

    However, note that under point 2, it is only the "founder's sentiment" that some creator endowed unalienable rights including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Those are not Christian principles from the Bible. If they were, somebody would have noticed in the millennia preceding the US declaration of independence, don't you think?

    Granted, in Switzerland we started the same stuff at 1291 already, but they didn't claim they got the idea through devine inspiration or from the Bible either.

    Make your point if you have one....
    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” (Philip K. ****)
  16. #336  
    Quote Originally Posted by clulup
    However, note that under point 2, it is only the "founder's sentiment" that some creator endowed unalienable rights including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
    Good point.

    So for clarificaion, do you agree that in ratifying the Declaration of Independence, and subsquently the Consitution that the general population expressed its agreement with the sentiments of the founders?
  17. #337  
    Quote Originally Posted by shopharim
    Good point.

    So for clarificaion, do you agree that in ratifying the Declaration of Independence, and subsquently the Consitution that the general population expressed its agreement with the sentiments of the founders?
    I agree that the general population agreed that ideas like equality, liberty from oppression and the pursuit of happiness are good ideas. That doesn't make those ideas Christian principles.

    So are you now willing to tell us which Christian principles the constitution of the USA is based on, or finally admit that the US are not based on Christian principles?
    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” (Philip K. ****)
  18. #338  
    Quote Originally Posted by clulup
    I agree that the general population agreed that ideas like equality, liberty from oppression and the pursuit of happiness are good ideas. ...
    That's fine. However, do you agree that the general population agreed with the founders that these ideas are not only "good ideas" but in fact unalienable rights endowed by the Creator?
  19. #339  
    Quote Originally Posted by cardio
    But your reasoning now goes against the reasoning that the mere mention of the statement under God endorses a religion.
    In schools Greek gods may be mentioned in classes, and it is possible that some students will start to believe in Greek Mythology. Is that wrong? No, not really. You dont have teachers saying its right or wrong.

    The difference between that or the Pledge is that the Pledge is sanctioned by the federal government, it is asked of all public school students that they stand and recite the Pledge, and it claims that our nation is "under god." How is it not clear that that statement implies that there is a god?!
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    #340  
    Quote Originally Posted by AnteL0pe
    In schools Greek gods may be mentioned in classes, and it is possible that some students will start to believe in Greek Mythology. Is that wrong? No, not really. You dont have teachers saying its right or wrong.

    The difference between that or the Pledge is that the Pledge is sanctioned by the federal government, it is asked of all public school students that they stand and recite the Pledge, and it claims that our nation is "under god." How is it not clear that that statement implies that there is a god?!
    There is no question on your stance. Anything remotely related to christian beliefs must be purged, all other religous belief systems are OK to be in the public school. ANd people accuse christians of being hypocritical

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