Letter to the Editor

Misinformed

Friday, December 30, 2011

Dear Editor,

I hope most of you read [Tuesday's] letters to the editor, because if you have, you have been misinformed. Particularly the one letter in response to my own. I would like to talk to both the author of that letter, and all readers.

I'm sorry, I did not realize that you did not live in America. For you said that you lived in a Christian nation, which most certainly does not describe the USA.

The United States Constitution makes precisely one reference to any sort of deity: the date. Nowhere else in there does it say ANYTHING about God, Jesus, Christianity, or anything like that.

The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights states "Congress shall make NO law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof .... "

While it may be interpreted in different ways, Thomas Jefferson made the interpretation of the First Amendment as a "wall of separation between church and State."

The Treaty of Tripoli, made in the 18th century as an agreement between America and the Muslim pirates of the African coasts, is another example of an American document that denies America being a Christian nation. In fact, Article 11 outright contradicts that idea. "As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion...." That seems pretty clear to me.

Personally, I'm glad America is not a Christian nation. It would be a terrible place if it were. Christianity is a religion of ignorance, intolerance, and most of all hatred.

And for those of you who say "America is a Christian nation, if you don't like it leave," you would be sad if they took you up on your advice. America would lose over 10 percent of all its inhabitants, but not even 0.25 percent of its prisoners. The majority of scientists, professors, and Nobel Prize winners would also leave. America would be coupled with other countries with no atheism, such as Somalia, Tanzania, Yemen, Western Sahara, the Philippines, Romania, Pakistan, and Iran. Does that truly sound better to you?

I'm not saying that you shouldn't believe in something. I understand why you would want to. The idea that someone made all of this ... just for us ... it makes one feel special. But you should not use your belief to justify making other people unhappy and shoving things down other people's throats.

Also, as an experiment, watch the Rick Perry ad entitled "Faith." If it makes you sick, you'll see what's wrong with Christianity in government. If you agree with it, I'll see what's wrong with you.

Have a wonderful day!

Andy Hutchins

via e-mail

Comments
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  • I would just like to point out as much as 3/4 of the population claim themselves to be Christians.

    So while we are not governed by some religious doctrine, you could still indentify the US as a christian nation.

    Just my thoughts though.

    Have a good one Andy.

    -- Posted by bberry on Fri, Dec 30, 2011, at 1:36 PM
  • Just because people say they are Christian don't mean they really are Christians. If this country was a Christian Nation there wouldn't be homeless people at all, everyone would be rich. So NO I will not or do not have to indentify the US as a christian nation because it isn't one. And Andy said it all. If people say they know what it says in the United States Constitution then why argue that this country is a christian nation.

    I think some people need to reread the Constitution and The Bill of rights. And realizie that this country is a country for everyone in all different religion, not just one.

    -- Posted by AmberLea on Fri, Dec 30, 2011, at 4:04 PM
  • *

    Here's a video that shows a bunch of Christian references on our public buildings in Washington DC.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGkEHF-zXP4&feature=related

    People just need to walk about and read the walls to see that we began and still are a Christian nation.

    -- Posted by Boomer62 on Fri, Dec 30, 2011, at 4:07 PM
  • *

    "Personally, I'm glad America is not a Christian nation. It would be a terrible place if it were. Christianity is a religion of ignorance, intolerance, and most of all hatred."

    Of all the religions of the world, Christianity is the religion of enlightenment, tolerance and love. Apparently, you have not read the Holy Bible.

    There are always those who commit un-Christian acts, claiming Christianity as the basis for doing so. But they are not true Christians. Hitler was one of these. So were the participants in the Crusades. And Fred Phelps does not follow Christ, no matter what he says.

    Check out Matthew 22:34-40 for Christ's answer when asked what is the most important

    commandment. You might be surprised at His answer.

    Above all, Christianity is about love. No other religion has this as its foundation.

    Christians are not exhorted to chop off the heads of people who will not convert to Christianity like the people of the Islamic faith are told to do.

    We are taught to love our neighbor as ourselves. Not just our Christian neighbors, all of them. That is what we are to do. Pretty simple really.

    All Christians are imperfect, as well. We are not saved by doing everything perfectly, but by the Grace of Him in whom we believe.

    -- Posted by Boomer62 on Fri, Dec 30, 2011, at 4:30 PM
  • Amber,

    I don't know about you, but I'm not going to double check 230 million people to see if they really are Christians or not.

    You could also make your or Andy's argument for just about any religion I'd imagine. However, I am uninterested in debating anyones religous hypocrisy.

    But it wasn't really the point. The way we are governed doesn't necessarily define our indentity.

    No one said you had to identify the U.S. as anything, I'm just saying you could.

    We are all entitled to our opinions, whether you believe someone elses to be true or not.

    I find it interesting people would insult others beliefs because they feel it necessary to defend their own or lack thereof.

    As far as the rest, I do not pretend to know what others think is in the constitution.

    -- Posted by bberry on Fri, Dec 30, 2011, at 5:29 PM
  • *

    Never argue with an idiot; He will drag you down to his level and win on experience.

    -- Posted by ksfarmer on Fri, Dec 30, 2011, at 11:38 PM
  • I'm sure that no other religion can say they are a religion of love. Especially not Islam, I'm assuming you're arguing. Considering Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are all Abrahamic religions, they all follow the old testament. Christians then also follow Jesus, Islams follow Muhammad, and Hebrews simply stop at the old testament if I'm not misinformed.

    Let's put the shoe on the other foot. Let's say you lived in America, but 75% of the occupants were Muslim. You are still christian. Do you think you would want separation of church and state, or would you prefer the government go with the majority.

    -- Posted by McCookSax on Fri, Dec 30, 2011, at 11:53 PM
  • Andy,

    Neither has anyone advocated against seperation of church and state, nor has the government gone with the majority. So I am unsure how the shoe is on the other foot?

    Though I do understand the want for recognition.

    However it is early, I probably have just missed your point.

    -- Posted by bberry on Sat, Dec 31, 2011, at 7:24 AM
  • Christianity seems to be losing its members. It used to be that 95% of the USA was Christian, but now it's more like 70%. My guess is that it is losing members because people just dont like the Christian religion as much as they use to. As time goes on we can expect more loss. My guess is that it will begin to lose 1% per year until it reaches a 30% figure. That is still higher than the 15% to 20% of Christians who actually try to follow the Christian teachings. If the Christian churches got rid of all the goofball Christians, it would account for only about 15% of the population. It may ultimately get down to that 15%.

    -- Posted by bob s on Sat, Dec 31, 2011, at 12:29 PM
  • bob, perhaps you could list a source? I just googled "people in the U.S.A. who consider themselves Christian". An ABC poll in July listed the percentage at 83. Granted, 83 is smaller than 95, but it is also quite a bit larger than 70.

    -- Posted by doodle bug on Sat, Dec 31, 2011, at 1:05 PM
  • it's about 70% now and goes down every year. there are lots of other religions + the atheist and agnostics who do not participate in religious activities.

    -- Posted by bob s on Sat, Dec 31, 2011, at 3:03 PM
  • So if Christianity is going down, why do people argue that this is a Christian nation. Perhaps we should just keep the Christians that believe every single word of the bible, like Westboro Baptist.

    To quote Penn Jillette, my favorite magician and self proclaimed atheist, "If god (however you perceive him/her/it) told you to kill your child - would you do it? If your answer is no, in my booklet you're an atheist. There is doubt in your mind. Love and morality are more important to you than your faith. If you answer is yes, please reconsider."

    I can't think of a better way to put it than that. Think about it.

    -- Posted by McCookSax on Sat, Dec 31, 2011, at 3:53 PM
  • *

    So your favorite magician posed that question...that sounds about right. It's a trick question that has no appropriate yes or no answer.

    Like having a guy on the witness stand and asking, "Do you still beat your wife?" No means you once did. Yes means you still do.

    My God would never ask me to kill my child is the correct answer to your phony, trick question.

    Magicians and professed mind readers use such questions on a regular basis to trick us into thinking they can tell things about us without ever having met us. Tricks are what they do.

    -- Posted by Boomer62 on Sat, Dec 31, 2011, at 8:30 PM
  • hello my fellow americans

    I would like to refer you to a book about our founding fathers....

    It is VERY enlighting about the REAL beleifs of our constitution authors!!!!!!!

    It is ..MORAL MINORITY ...by Brook Allen.

    It will educate you about the TRUTH about the beleifs of the authors of our constitution as taken from their own corrispondance and speaches to the public.

    This is a nation that is founded in tolerance for others and there beleifs. Something that is not observed today by FANATIC CHRISTIANS.

    SO get over your selves christians ...you arent the end all ..be all of this world.

    We have a say too!!!

    Peace

    Karen

    -- Posted by kaygee on Sat, Dec 31, 2011, at 10:03 PM
  • A far more accurate glimpse of our Founding Fathers;

    http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=78

    Those views tranlated into this, The Declaration of Independence;

    http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=25685

    To that came the United States Constitution;

    http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=36438

    And the Bill of Rights;

    http://www.ratical.org/co-globalize/BillOfRights.html

    -- Posted by Dudley Dawson on Sun, Jan 1, 2012, at 12:51 AM
  • CPB

    "A far more accurate glimpse of our Founding Fathers;"

    Just because they believed in their god does not prove they wanted a christian nation. As well it does not disprove the seperation of church and state.

    "Those views tranlated into this, The Declaration of Independence;"

    Couple interesting things here;

    "equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitles" Hmmm natures God not christian God

    "that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights" Hmmm says their Creator which leads me to believe that they are referring to what any particular person believes as their creator.

    "To that came the United States Constitution;"

    Could find no mention of God here. Of course it is early and I may have missed it.

    "And the Bill of Rights;"

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"

    Think that pretty much sums it all up.

    In conclusion I believe most if not all the founding fathers had respect for their God and more then likely it was a Christian God. But, they also understood that you can't mix gov't and religion and also claim to be a free state.

    -- Posted by carlsonl on Sun, Jan 1, 2012, at 7:19 AM
  • *

    Great post, carlsonl! As it is, and should be.

    -- Posted by Boomer62 on Sun, Jan 1, 2012, at 5:57 PM
  • I cannot believe the anybody who professes Jesus Christ to be the role model of their life, as 95% of the founding fathers claim, would not want this to be a nation modeled after the life of Christ.

    I have noticed here on Andy's post that those who seem to profess a true hatred of those who follow Jesus' example, must lie to get their points across. In Andy's example of the Westboro Baptist Church, anyone who has read the Bible would know this is the opposite of what the life Jesus Christ put forth. A lie none the less in hopes to further his agenda.

    -- Posted by Dudley Dawson on Sun, Jan 1, 2012, at 11:42 PM
  • Chunky

    Have you forgotten that this great country was already inhabited prior to Christianity being introduced?

    Why don't you explain to us how a form of government if founded on Christian values allowed the genocide of our indigenous people to take place? Would Jesus have done this?

    -- Posted by Geezer on Mon, Jan 2, 2012, at 8:11 AM
  • Would Jesus have allow this? Absolutely not. Would true Christian men and women have allowed this? Absolutely not. Remember Geezer, it was not the original Pilgrims who created the wars between the indigenous and the Europeans.

    Where exactly does your post fit into this discussion?

    -- Posted by Dudley Dawson on Mon, Jan 2, 2012, at 8:48 AM
  • CPB, I am usually somewhat along your line of thought. I believe geezer's post fits exactly into this thread. Aren't we discussing Christianity, pros and cons? (I am along the pro side). Bad things have been done in the name of Christianity (and most other religions); it does NOT mean Christianity is a bad thing. We are all STILL men and women with our human failings.

    I have a question for the atheists and agnostics. Can you name a society, ancient or modern, that does not have a belief in higher power/authority? Multiple gods do not count; they are still a higher authority.

    -- Posted by doodle bug on Mon, Jan 2, 2012, at 10:05 AM
  • I am a non believer but I still can recognize higher powers/authorities in my everyday life. I would say that from my village council on up to my president have a little to a lot more authority then me. I would say law enforcement does as well. There are millions, billions, maybe even trillions and higher of things that are more powerful then me in this universe. Just because I don't understand or know all the answers doesn't mean I need to take the simple way out and say well god designed it or god made it or it is gods way etc.

    I will say this. People living their lives with the goodness in their heart for their fellow man that the bible teaches is a great way to live your life. I just don't think you can mix a lot of it with government. For an example: you have candidates that are pro life because they believe that abortion is against god. But when this fetus is born and grows up and has some bad luck and can't afford things like health care, food, and other basic necessities they think we should turn our backs. Wasn't it at a Florida convention or debate that their was actual cheers because a guy died because he didn't get treatment because he didn't have health coverage. :S Don't think I wanna be part of that.

    From my years of being around religion and studying it I have found that basically it leads to major hypocrisy and hate. But, it can also lead to love and compassion. The problem is they tend to coexist.

    In the end I just happen to believe that my body will be converted back to dirt and other energies that will help the next cycle of life begin. This does not make me a bad person. It just makes me one that cares about others and wants to learn about life without taking the easy way out.

    -- Posted by carlsonl on Mon, Jan 2, 2012, at 11:14 AM
  • CPB you forget the point of coming to America. People came here for a better life. They were hoping to escape poverty, ruling bodies, and religious persecution. They wanted to go to a place where they could decide for themselves what they wanted to believe or not believe in. They wanted to be free to live their lives the way they wanted without fear. Why should that idea change now. Why do we have to try and push a christian ideal down the throats of millions. Although it isn't to the extreme (yet) that it is in part of the middle east, it is the same idea.

    -- Posted by carlsonl on Mon, Jan 2, 2012, at 11:19 AM
  • Maybe I should clarify my point. When I write of a higher power/authority, I mean something that is not seen, but considered to be, or should be, an influence in our lives.

    -- Posted by doodle bug on Mon, Jan 2, 2012, at 1:36 PM
  • carlsonl,

    yes, I am fully aware why the Puritans came to America, there is really no need to rehash that argument again. I don't know of anyone trying to push the life of Christ down anybodies throat. I do see many followers out there being available to answer question some may have. It is quite the opposite of what is going on in the Middle East. Christian conversion works best when people are allowed to come to it, and having the right people at the right place to teach,

    The nutrients in your body, as well as mine, will enter the nutrient cycles to be used again. I do not see how my faith somehow is taking the easy way out, if anything it is taking the hard road. I will spend my life swimming against the current of short term human trends, which always leads to no where.

    Hypocrisy and hatred cannot exist with a life with Christ. They are the polar opposite of what He taught us. I would say you associated with those weak in faith or you brought in your own narrow-minded agenda.

    If I recall, the event in Florida you mentioned, the cheering was brought on by a quick response to the question asked. Again, your narrow-minded agenda at play.

    There is no place anywhere in the Bible that encourages us to turn our back on the poor. In fact, our very existence should be to help the poor with our own resources. A politician who demands the things of your narrow-minded viewpoint of what a "christian politician" would, is in fact not a Christian politician at all. Those who agree with them are in fact not Christians either.

    In fact, I have yet to hear anyone challenge how the teachings of Jesus would be harmful to our country other than "don't shove it down my throat!!!".

    Following Christ is not merely taking the easy way out. It is understanding how to lead MY life in this dynamic world. It is all about getting out into the world at full speed, all the while listening to God as He says, "Go There".

    -- Posted by Dudley Dawson on Mon, Jan 2, 2012, at 1:44 PM
  • First I have no agenda. I am simply giving examples of why the founding fathers didn't want to mix government with religion. Yes my examples are on the extreme end of things, but that is exactly why you can't mix the two. Extremes are what causes problems in every aspect of life. That is why our government is doing so awful at the moment. Both sides have shifted to the far right or far left with a few remaining in the middle trying to bring everyone back in.

    To bring religion ideals into government doings can be turning your back on a large population of different or no religious ideals. But keeping religious ideals out of government helps ensure that you aren't turning your back to any groups religion or lack of.

    I also have a understanding of how to lead my life. I choose to call it my brain. I see it as my brain coming up with the most logical choice not some mythical being putting the thought in my head.

    I respect you belief in a God and anyone else's beliefs. Just don't try to put it in my Gov't.

    -- Posted by carlsonl on Mon, Jan 2, 2012, at 3:24 PM
  • doodle bug. Gravity isn't seen but its effects can be viewed. Much like when people say you can't see god but you can see him in all the things around you.

    Just one example. Don't want this to turn into a science lesson.

    -- Posted by carlsonl on Mon, Jan 2, 2012, at 3:26 PM
  • carlsonl, I respect your right not to believe. Faith is also a choice, and not to be forced on anyone. I believe our government is founded on and guided by, not Christianity as a faith, but Christian principles. That is why everyone of every faith, or lack thereof, is included in our society. And lest anyone take me to task for some of the things our government has done, yes, mistakes have been made. Most people grow from their mistakes and I hope we are doing so now.

    -- Posted by doodle bug on Mon, Jan 2, 2012, at 4:57 PM
  • As doodle bug says, this country was formed on the 'principles' of Christianity, and it was something like the 'Church of England,' they wanted to prevent (a specific, existing, or new denomination, of Christianity, or any Religion).

    carlsonl, I am afraid you have it backwards, when you say 'Just don't try to put it in my Gov't.' 'It,' (Christianity), has been 'in' it from the forming of the government. Today, the emphasis is on removing that influence/principle, and our laws are becoming more and more restrictive, to a point that we are actually losing our Rights.

    Please go to the Wallbuilder site, and view some of the programs, not to become a Christian, but only to see what this country you love is founded upon.

    Christianity is not supposed to force membership, or belief on a single soul, like the one that is trying to subjugate the world, at this moment. We, Christians, are directed to present the Truth of Christianity, to the world, and allow the individual to make a choice, as they are moved. IMO, should that person see the Truth, they Repent, and if they don't, we need be available for when the opportunity arises to present additional Truth.

    Ashes to ashes, Dust to dust, is only for our mortal body. We believe that God makes every person with an immortal soul, at conception, and that person need only repent the 'Sin' in their history, life, and future, to God, through Jesus, the Christ/Emmanuel, to be saved. Hell was only designed for Satan, thusly, it is a very bad place, but those who refuse to Repent of Sin, need go somewhere, and Satan's punishment place, the 'Lake of Fire,' is the only eternal, 'Other Place,' outside of Heaven (so to speak, without great elaboration). Choose as you will. Please, though, allow me one argument: If you are right, about God's existence, and we die, you, nor I have a thing to worry about, as we cease to exist. If, on the other hand, I am right, about God's existence, and the need to Repent, I have nothing to worry about, because I know where I will be going, Heaven/Paradise, but you will have a very big problem, because, as I understand the Bible, the "Choice" must be made prior to death/graduation. Eternity is a very long time to suffer Torment, as dictated for the likes of Satan.

    Long winded, huh?? Have a Happy New Year, but please consider, my studies indicate we do not have very much time left, before the whole world must 'Choose,' before Great Tribulation, followed by Jesus' Millennial Kingdom Rule.

    In His Service, I keep the watch.

    -- Posted by Navyblue on Mon, Jan 2, 2012, at 6:52 PM
  • Arley

    Your quote:

    Christianity is not supposed to force membership, or belief on a single soul, like the one that is trying to subjugate the world, at this moment.

    Could you be a little more specific on who you are talking about?

    -- Posted by Geezer on Mon, Jan 2, 2012, at 7:40 PM
  • We have the right to believe or not believe. I choose not to believe because no physical proof is there. An invisible being is being worshipped. not my cup of tea. As youngsters, the majority of us were told we had to believe in a god. Also, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy etc. All fiction. Dilussions. When there is proof, physical proof, scientific proof, then maybe.

    -- Posted by LATINQUEEN on Tue, Jan 3, 2012, at 12:42 PM
  • You will never see physical proof for two reasons. 1. They will tell you it is about faith. It is about having faith he/she is there. If there was a god that loved us so much don't you think he would show himself to the ones he loved. Rather then relying on us to come to him via a book.

    2. Something has to exist for there ever to be physical proof.

    I will say no more about this because it is somewhat off topic. The topic is about religion and county.

    -- Posted by carlsonl on Tue, Jan 3, 2012, at 1:55 PM
  • Then church and states be separated. they are two different species. Laws are made by real people for

    real people and to adhere to so we may be safe. Religion is a belief not a law for us to follow.

    -- Posted by LATINQUEEN on Tue, Jan 3, 2012, at 4:30 PM
  • bob s, I will believe that Christianity is on a down turn, I can also certainly see a correlation between the lack of God fearing people and the down turn of this Great Country. I'm no historian, but I would venture a guess that our forefathers that created such a great and diverse nation were NOT muslims, perhaps some Jewish. But it certainly wasn't the religion of "Unaccountably & disrespect", based on the belief of: do what you wish, live it up today and don't worry about what anyone thinks.

    Ask any disrespectful kid on the street what God they believe in and I assure you 90% will respond that they don't believe in a God.

    Coincidence or correlation? Its no wonder this Great Nation has turned from "Ask not what your Country can do for you, but what you can do for your Country." To "What's in it for me, (insert your choice of derogatory slur).

    Lack of work ethic, self control, morals, and general respect.... Up from 10 years ago, God fearing people down from 10 years ago.....

    Coincidence or correlation?

    -- Posted by Nick Mercy on Tue, Jan 3, 2012, at 8:59 PM
  • According to the Washington Post,a poll by Gallup shows 78% identify themselves as Christian. 82% of them have a religious identity, or a denomination. Gallup shows 92% believe in God. This is a 2011 poll conducted from January to November. 327,244 people polled. The polls do show that fewer believer have a religious identity, a denomination.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/poll-nearly-80-percent-of-americ...

    More are going non-denominational, which is a good thing. These churches tend to teach straight out of the Bible with no denominational filters.

    Yes Nick Mercy, there IS a correlation!

    -- Posted by Dudley Dawson on Tue, Jan 3, 2012, at 10:41 PM
  • Letter from George Washington to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, R.I. August 18, 1790

    The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for giving to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support. ...

    May the children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants, while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig-tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid.

    May the Father of all mercies scatter light and not darkness in our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in his own due time and way everlastingly happy.

    It seems that some Christian denominations are intent on making sure there remains neutrality in religious beliefs and a clear division between state and church. This may help to explain why Christianity is coming under scrutiny -- there seems to be a clear divide among Christians. Some fear that government will project religious values onto the people, and some fear the government will take away our religious values.

    http://www.bjcpa.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4770&Itemid=134

    -- Posted by Geezer on Wed, Jan 4, 2012, at 8:02 AM
  • George Washington was a believer in God. Unequivocally. He may not have been a Christian per-se, but he he believed in God.

    carlsonl, your last post is rather thin. I don't believe Transformers exist, but I saw them in a movie for reals.

    -- Posted by speak-e-z on Wed, Jan 4, 2012, at 11:24 AM
  • *

    Some pollsters report around 85% of the US population consider themselves Christians. Or that they believe in God.

    To me that is not very meaningful; even Satan believes in God, he just doesn't worship God. Some people seem to be confused about what it means to be a Christian. To be a Christian is to be a follower of Christ, to be saved by Grace through Him.

    I have read that only about 26% of people attend church regularly, that is, most weeks they attend church, and worship God.

    Some think you can be a Christian and not attend church. That's like saying you can be human,not eat regularly, and still do well. Your soul needs spiritual food on a regular basis, too.

    It seems to me that a lot of folks want cheap Grace; the kind that costs them nothing in time, effort or money. That's sad because they are missing the big deal in life.

    It's up to you where you want to spend eternity. God gives us free choice in that matter.

    -- Posted by Boomer62 on Wed, Jan 4, 2012, at 2:11 PM
  • speak-e-z I think I am getting what you are trying to say or make a point of but it is apples and oranges. I have seen people portray God, Zeus, ect. But, that is film. Has nothing to do with my point. But nice try.

    Nick way to generalize.

    -- Posted by carlsonl on Wed, Jan 4, 2012, at 7:44 PM
  • carlsonl, I think I'll just refer you to Navyblue's post regarding taking your chances. If you are right and I am wrong, we are just worm food. If the believers are right and you are wrong, you better wear shorts and flip-flops because it will be hot where you are going. That said, I don't wish that on you. You call yourself a higher thinker, but it seems like rebellion against establishment.

    So will you tell me that "love" does not exist as well? There is no physical proof of it, rather it is a chemical reaction in the brain. You cannot see it, hear it, taste it, or smell it. I believe in it because I've assimilated my understanding of it into my schemata through experience and research. Yet, people may say there is no such thing.

    Me saying that I don't believe in Transformers even though I've seen them on film is not apples and oranges, really. I insist they are not real, even though you insist there has to be physical proof of something to be real. There is physical proof of transformers.

    -- Posted by speak-e-z on Thu, Jan 5, 2012, at 3:01 PM
  • No loving God would allow the bad things that take place in this world to happen. You will tell me it is all in God's plan and that we can't possibly understand his plan. At the same time you will tell me it is a personal choice to follow/believe in god. So which is it he has a plan that dictates the everyday events in our life or does he let us wonder around and make our own decisions? This is one question I have never received a straight forward answer to. All I ever get is God is bigger then you and you can't understand it. To me it is pretty simple does he or doesn't he if he exists.

    Okay speak I will go there with you. Yes there are transformer CHARACTERS. They do exist as a character in comics, cartoons, and now a movie series. So in a way they do exist. As of right now your god only exists as a character in a book. So I guess God and Tranformers are comparible.

    As far as love you actually make my arguement for me. It is a chemical reaction that stimulates the sense of feeling. What actually causes this stimulation I can not claim to know. I do know that whatever is the cause of this stimulation does exist in my life. The feeling people have for God and the resulting emotions from it probably come from some form of chemical process as well. This being said the only proof of God exists in the chemical reaction people have of the idea that a God exists.

    I hope I am not coming off as trying to mock you for your belief. If I am I am sorry, that was not my intention. I respect your belief and I hope you respect my lack of belief. In the end that doesn't mean we can't continue this conversation. This tends to be a debate many people shy away from and I rarely get the chance at it staying civilized.

    -- Posted by carlsonl on Thu, Jan 5, 2012, at 3:22 PM
  • *

    carlsonl, I can tell you why God allows bad things to happen. He gives us all free choice in choosing to be good or evil. If He prevented bad things from happening, that would take away the free choice of others. If He prevented natural things from happening according to the laws of the universe that He set up, we would have only confusion. If you jumped off a tall building sometimes He saved you, and sometimes He did not, for example. Uh oh, nobody knows when gravity will work and when it will not. Crazy, and my God is not crazy.

    I would argue that most of us do not learn anything from the good times in our lives. We learn mostly from the bad times. We learn sympathy and empathy for others in bad times. We learn better ways of living through the bad things that happen when we drink too much, or spend too much, or other mistakes we make.

    Through prayer and conversations with God we are able to accomplish change in ourselves, and as a result, changes in our circumstances.

    I have personally received answers to my prayers. I can give testimony to God being real in my life experience.

    I am saddened that you think of Him as a cartoon character.

    As for love, it is not a chemical reaction. Love is a decision. For example, you are dating somebody and you decide this person is the ONE for you. It's a decision. It may be basted over with emotion, attraction and all that, but the bottom line is, it's a decision.

    You can love (a decision) without liking a person. I read once about the mother of a girl who was killed. She was able to follow God's command that we love everyone, and she visited the killer in prison, and led him to Christ. That is the power of God, to turn a terrible tragedy into good.

    You seem to confuse love with feelings of attraction.

    -- Posted by Boomer62 on Thu, Jan 5, 2012, at 8:14 PM
  • Boomer my thoughts about the chemical reaction that is caused by what people would call love was in response to speak calling it a chemical reaction. The thought that the feeling of love is a chemical reaction is a pretty reasonable explanation due to the fact that all emotions are due to this. Its just a matter of what chemicals in what part of the brain are released which determines the emotion. This is at least as far as we as humans have learned when it comes to emotion.

    As far as the feeling of love I would have to disagree with you a bit. What you stated as it being an attraction is only 1/3 of what is believed to be the process of love when it comes to a mate. The problem with you summing it up as a DECISION of a attraction seems a bit narrow. The hard thing about figuring out the feeling of love is the fact there are many types of love. From my experience I would say I have a different love for my wife then I do of my children. Also I would say I have a different love for other family members. There is probably a different love associated with pets depending on the person. Then you can throw in the kind of love you have for friends. Also for the religious folk you could throw in the love they have for god.

    There are so many types of love I find it impossible to say it is just a decision based on an attraction.

    As far as god I wouldn't say I think of him as a cartoon character. I would say I look at him as a book character. A book that in the most part teaches us a good way to live our lives. I have never stated that I don't believe in or follow all the concepts in the bible. I just don't simply believe in a god. Although I will say of all the characters in all books, the god or gods of any religious text has steered more lives then all the others put together and even then it isn't even close.

    I see the decline in religion you see more and more as the years go by, as a type of evolution. I believe as a species that we are becoming smarter and can easily explain things that we couldn't 500 years ago. Heck there are things that we know today as common knowledge that even 20 years ago we were still scratching our heads about. This process is only getting faster as technology and understanding of our planet and universe increases. I believe it is simply a shift of needing a divine being to explain what we don't understand to actually knowing the answers.

    -- Posted by carlsonl on Thu, Jan 5, 2012, at 10:42 PM
  • carlson, first, how old are you? 29? 30?.... Let me tell you young thinker, typically speaking, you haven't even emerged from the "It's all about me" stage of life by that age, so I'm sure you're right, and when you're wrong, you will simply find a way to justify your opinion so that you may be right. I was that age, I understand. My parents knew more than I thought, and what do ya know, I'm not impervious to harm. Do you have any children? .... I found that those which only have themselves to worry about are much more passive on the faith issue. From what I have ascertained, from your posts, here and there, is that you are still cloaked by immortality, don't have many obligations beyond your own wishes, and still perceives your OWN enjoyment to be of paramount importance. How close am I?

    I AM going someplace with this.....

    You have leaned toward the fact that I am somewhat unworldly in some of your past posts, yet I DO have quite an array of experience in some things, and when you say that "No loving God would allow the bad things that take place in this world to happen." this tells me that you aren't a parent.... an attentive parent will allow their children to bump their nose as they learn to crawl, skin a knee as they learn to ride a bike, and when their children become independent.... they watch them drive off in their 1st car, and hope and pray that they return unscathed.

    God isn't a puppet master. He teaches us lessons as we go through life, sometime tragedy occurs, even death and the result of that death may not be as tragic as you might perceive it to be at face value.... perhaps the person that died was in good grace with God and moved on to a better place and in the process brought 2 other people closer together through the bonds that are formed through tragedy.

    I see it happen all the time.... the "10 foot tall and bulletproof" young adult has a life changing experience, marriage, birth of a child, a near death experience.... and their life changes, and the window of faith opens for them.

    If I'm wrong..... I'll never know it..... If YOU'RE wrong, you'll have eternity to ponder it over.

    Sorry carlson, I was probably being ignorant, inexperienced and.... oh yes, generalizing.

    -- Posted by Nick Mercy on Thu, Jan 5, 2012, at 11:19 PM
  • Well actually if you would like the background on me here you go.

    Was very much a christian up until around the age of 23-24. I would say it was a somewhat slow process maybe 3-4 years from 20-24 that I realized that in my eyes god simply could not exist.

    You were pretty close on my age just turned 28 on the 1st. I would say though that I am an old 28. Probably have the life experience of someone in their mid 30's. I have 5 kids the first of which was born when I was 18. So yes I have seen my fair share of skinned knees, cracked heads, bruised foreheads, but haven't made it to that driving down the road part yet. My wife and I will hit the 10 year mark come this june. I have been up and down financially in my life more then a couple times.

    I guess my point is that I had to grow up a few years sooner then many people my age, probably on average 4-8 years sooner. Heck many of my classmates have yet to even get married let alone have a kid. To be honest I moved past the feeling of bulletproof about 10 years ago. Life kicks you in the gut a few times tends to take care of that.

    In the end my conclusion about god comes from my own studies, thoughts, and experiences. My wife is a christian and often has trouble with the fact I am a known believer because of what she fears may happen to me. She over time has backed away because she realizes now that I don't push the idea on our kids. I am letting them find their own way about faith.

    So Nick in the end I would say I have more experience then you give me credit for, but I also realize I have a lot more to come.

    -- Posted by carlsonl on Fri, Jan 6, 2012, at 7:57 AM
  • carlsonl, I don't want to gang up on you, and I appreciate your willingness to attempt to remain in a civil debate. You will not offend me with anything you say...nor should you offend anyone, only make their faith stronger. I have endured many faith questioning experiences from liberal arts college to blogs to my God that "would allow the bad things that take place in this world to happen." Its funny how perspective works: you say my statement about "love" only serves to make your point, yet I felt that your paragraph in response served my purpose. You say there must be physical proof for something to exist and admit that the chemical reaction in the brain may be God, in a sense. If the chemical reaction is God acting, then God must be real?! Maybe I took that wrong, but its all about perspective.

    I don't ever want to tell another person WHAT to believe. I will not even tell my children what to believe, but hopefully I can show them by example what I have found over and over to be truth. Hopefully I can educate them and they can come to the conclusion on their own.

    I find its easy to question faith and religions when you are surrounded by a group of self-titled "free thinkers" who provide persuasive arguments for the lack of God's existence. Its easy to question when we live in this world of scientists and technology that are constantly informing us of more and more "fact", indisputable fact. How can we live on an earth some 4 billion years old, mankind some 65 million years old, yet follow a religion only 6,000 years old? Why don't we still stone people as it says in the Old Testament. How can God let bad things happen? These are all difficult questions that make it easy to discount the existence of a "higher power". Funny thing is, I've found acceptable answers to all of those questions and still believe.

    -- Posted by speak-e-z on Fri, Jan 6, 2012, at 8:15 AM
  • Carlson, thank your for answering so openly, I appreciate that and for that I applaud you. It would sound as though you have had to mature ahead of your time and have not shirked your responsibilities. I hope that I didn't offend you in any way through my assumptions.

    Let me tell you though, of all the little tests and trials that you afford your children, the driving is the worst. I recently had "That" phone call and I hope never to again.

    Keep parenting well.

    Nick

    -- Posted by Nick Mercy on Fri, Jan 6, 2012, at 11:24 AM
  • carlsonl,

    Just a quick analysis of what I have read. You say you left Christianity about 4 to 5 years ago. Most people in that age range respond to what they see others doing. Can we assume you saw a range of hypocrisy among "fellow believers"? Many children and teenager's sit through Sunday School and listen to a teacher tell us to "do this", "don't do this", "do that", don't do that", etc. We are never taught that the Bible is speaking directly to us, and not at everyone in the room. Instead, they learned to judge. It's what kept me out for years.

    Can I also assume the teaching you endured in your younger years have carried on to today. Be honest, would your own sense of morality be where is is today, if you were not exposed to the ways cf Christ earlier in life? Does the beliefs of your Christian wife have an influence in your approach to thinking and logic? Again, be honest.

    My mission in the blog post has never been to force my beliefs onto anyone. It has been to show how the Christian thought and logic of our founding fathers can be seen in our founding documents.

    As far as to why God allows bad things to happen to His creation, He did give us free will. Remember back in Genesis, we were told not to eat the fruit from the tree of good and evil, we ate from it. We were given a choice of living a pain-free life in paradise, or to live a life of struggles and pain, we chose pain. It can be seen in everything bad that has ever happened to mankind. Who we select as our leaders, where we choose to live, what we choose to put in our bodies, who we choose to live with, how we choose to raise our children. It is our choices.

    -- Posted by Dudley Dawson on Fri, Jan 6, 2012, at 11:26 AM
  • Well 4 to 5 years ago my family and I were on the road due to my job. We were moving every 6-8 months to build a new ethanol plant. Needless to say we rarely became friends with our neighbors, nothing more then the friendly wave or hello when you happened to see them outside. My main influence was the people I worked around. Religion typically doesn't come up much on the job sites. But, 90% of the people I worked around were from the southeast so I think it is fair to assume that most had some form of religious belief. So to think that my decision was based or influenced by the in crowd of people my age doesn't work in my circumstance.

    You have to remember as a young parent like I was, that chose to take on the responsibility rather then walk away I gave up the life that most have from the age of 18-24. I actually was rarely around that age group. Most of the people my wife and I were around before we moved back were usually in the 35-50 range with a few in their 60's due to the fact that we usually went out to dinner with my coworkers. So if anything my influence from them would have been maturity and christian beliefs.

    I will not argue that my moral beliefs didn't develop from my christian upbringing(my grandmother being a pastor and my father occasionally filling in and a mother who has spoken to her god more then any person I know). It would be an outright lie to try and claim it didn't.

    I have never said that I don't believe in the teachings of the bible as it pertains to how we should live our lives. I guess the best way to put it is I don't believe in the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I do believe that if more people in this world followed the moral teachings of the bible it would be a better place.

    -- Posted by carlsonl on Fri, Jan 6, 2012, at 4:36 PM
  • Now this is what I call "Separation of Church and State".

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jan/11/court-ruling-landmark-for-religi...

    -- Posted by Dudley Dawson on Thu, Jan 12, 2012, at 6:23 PM
  • Now if they would follow that logic in reverse.

    -- Posted by carlsonl on Fri, Jan 13, 2012, at 5:15 PM
  • 1st Amendment

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

    Says nothing about reverse circumstance. Therefore, no logic.

    -- Posted by Dudley Dawson on Fri, Jan 13, 2012, at 11:20 PM
  • That one totally flew over your head. I will wait for it to come back around and slap you right in the forehead.

    -- Posted by carlsonl on Sat, Jan 14, 2012, at 6:52 AM
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