Thread: Religion
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      10-26-2009, 03:59 PM   #80
nostrum09
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DougLikesBMW View Post
What is wrong/ironic about wanting to see religious bearing on decisions affecting the public removed? It only makes sense. Look at the ridiculous things that faith-heads beleive and the decisions they make based off of those things. Their ignorant decisions end up affecting others negatively.

"The men responsible for building the foundation of the United States had little use for Christianity, and many were strongly opposed to it. They were men of The Enlightenment, not men of Christianity. They were Deists who did not believe the bible was true." - http://freethought.mbdojo.com/foundingfathers.html
I found a slight bit of irony (not a knee-slappingly huge amount of irony, mind you) in what appeared to me to be his desire to 'push' atheism on the public by having them set aside their religion in places where he doesn't feel it to be appropriate. That in and of itself is something that atheists often critique about the religious.

Now that said, I certainly cannot argue that decisions haven't been made by people who have cited their faith as the sole reason for doing so. For example, an oft-cited reason for supporting a Federal Marriage Amendment is that God intended for marriage to be between only a man and a woman. I too would reject that sort of defense as being unsuitable in the course of true debate, since it is inherently a position that can't be argued against, unless God himself were to come to my house and tell me. The same applies to people who, when asked, "Why is (such and such a thing) illegal," respond, "Because the law says it's illegal." People serious about debate don't take those 'arguments' seriously.

However, for a person who uses their faith not as the de facto reason for supporting a position, but for establishing their position and then rationally thinking of why that position is correct, how is that line of thought any different than an atheist's? The atheist arrived at point A by rationalizing in their own frame of reference, and the religious person arrived at point B by rationalizing in their own frame of reference. The only difference between the frames of reference is spirituality/religion. It is this type of thinking that I believe we see more of today than the absolutist position of "God said this, so that's why I believe." And I would argue that coming to a decision that was faith inspired, but vetted by rational thought, is not in violation of separation of church and state.

As for the quote about the Founding Fathers, some were less (or even potentially not at all) religious than others, but even as Deists they still believed in a supreme being. So while I may have been incorrect in asserting that they were religious, they were not atheists either, and still likely used their core Deist beliefs to help establish their positions on certain topics, even if later justifying those positions on purely rational thought.
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