Skip to comments.Can a good conservative be an atheist ? (vanity for intresting discussion: wife)
Posted on 04/29/2010 8:58:35 PM PDT by se_ohio_young_conservative
Let me say first of all that I am a Christian with a strong faith in God. I grew up going to church with my grandpa. I accepted Jesus Christ into my life at a young age.
My wife was raised in a strict christian home. But I think that worked against her in some ways. I think certain people in her family turned her off on religion at points along the way. She is now an atheist. She is a great mom to our 16 month old twins. She is an awesome wife. I love her so much and I will never let it destroy our marriage. So I have been very open and tolerant of her views while praying for her like crazy at the same time.
She has been mostly apolitical and I guess she has been more intrested in recent months watching Fox News with me and listening to the radio. She is very much against abortion. She knows that Obama is a disaster for this country.
It came up in another thread. We have been watching Glenn Beck. and my wife likes him at times. But he really loses her when he goes off into a deep religious discussion. Here I am trying to get her to see and understand things that are going on, and religion comes up, and she sort of tunes out and changes the subject.
That got me thinking. I know this country was founded by men of faith. I know many of us conservatives are religious. But can't a person be a conservative, pro life and atheist ? and still love their country just as much as I do ? ... How many out there are like my wife ?
I tend to think so for sure. But at the same time. I don't want to remove our religious traditions either. They are very important. Our country needs them now more than ever. But I think people like my wife are important to our cause as well. Men and women in their 20s, not religious, but conservative on many issues and they don't even label or know they are conservative. So I guess the problem is.. We can't slip into a politically correct echo chamber, but at the same time we must carefully equate our christian traditions with religious freedom for all. Our rights come from God. and that includes the right not to be religious of course.
what do you say ?
I’m an athiest, and have been for about as long as I can remember. I can state unequivocably that it’s very possible to be a conservative without being religious.
I think it’s very difficult for a person of faith to identify with nonbelievers. More difficult, I think, than identifying with people of other religions. A person of any religion has a spiritual presence that defines life’s guidelines. So a Christian can look at a Hindu and at least say, “yeah, we’re on different teams.” whereas an Athiest isn’t even playing the game.
The assumption that an athiest can have no moral guidance is flat wrong. When you really think about it, there are as many varieties of Christianity as there are Christians. Every one has their own set of beliefs that, while mostly the same, vary slightly. Every religious person, in essence, decides the rules they want to follow according to their personal tastes.
And it’s so with athiests as well. We all have a different set of values that defines right and wrong. I don’t kill because it’s wrong to take a life. I don’t steal because it’s wrong to take from others. I don’t believe in heaven or he’ll, but I’m driven every day to make this world a better place for my children and theirs. I get no reward for my efforts in life other than knowing that my work will improve their lives. Frankly, that’s enough.
While the bible does a great job at outlining the rules for creating a successful society, these rules aren’t created by god, so much as enumerated by him.
In much the same way, the Declaration of Independance enumerates a few rights by stating that ‘all men are endowed by their creator...’ the point of that statement wasn’t so much to specify God as the grantee of our rights but to imply that our rights are transcendental, beyond the grasp of Government, and that no government has the right to infringe upon them.
Conservatism is not a faith nor does it require faith. It is a political ideology based on approaching issues with reason and temperance without getting trapped by emotion and guilt... Which come to think about it, kind of defines Athiesm as well.
Very well stated, and I share the sentiments.
But someone hasn’t stolen your wallet except in your own mind.
Your freedom wasn’t granted to you by anyone or anything. It’s yours for the claiming. You don’t have to be subservient to any entity to have it or to keep it, and being subservient to an entity will not guarantee it. If its taken away by a party here on earth, acknowledging God will not give it back.
Everything belongs to you that you are good enough to get. Everything does not belong to you that you let slip away.
There are no two different meanings of existence. Existence is existence. Your existence has an end. Mysticism is the great mind-killer. It gives you a big huge excuse not to think logically, until you no longer exist. A equals A. No amount of wishing will make it not so.
But of course, your opinion is also a part of your freedom.
The reason this is important is the left exploits our reliance on mysticism to their advantage. Its the ultimate justification and excuse for every overspent unfunded social mandate ever conceived. Its the root of the problem.
The reasoning runs like this:
“You are not worthy, so the collective (substitute church or state) will help you redeem yourself. How do you redeem yourself? You need to sacrifice yourself. How do you sacrifice yourself? You need to give your life. Don’t want to give your life? Ok then you need to give your time. Can’t give your time? Ok then you need to give your money. Can’t give your money? Ok then well of course you will allow taxes to be higher, because after all, you are not worthy to begin with, and you need to be redeemed. How can you say government should be small and we should let people do whatever they want? That’s not responsible! After all, not only are you not worthy, neither is anyone else. You not going to allow yourself to be sacrificed and not ask everyone else to be sacrifice would you? That wouldn’t be fair to you would it?” [end of example]
And it all starts with the insidious concept smuggled into religion that 1.) you are basically not worthy, you are in need of “redemption.” 2.) you need to surrender your mind and your ability to reason to some higher “feeling” -based altruistic “good.” (substitute church or God or state, it doesn’t matter the effect is the same.) Notice this both provides you the justification not to think and a reason to feel good about your decision not to think, and an excuse for the left to institutionalize theft by the government from individuals.
And conservatives and the Right fall for it every time, because of deep guilt and failure to acknowledge their own sovereignty over their own mind, not owing to anyone or anything. There are countless examples, too numerous for this format. The Left is not anti-religion, like many conservatives think. The Left loves religion. Its their claim to your life and your mind.
Emotion and reason are present in both.
The question is what part do they play. If you use emotion to form your view of how the universe is put together, its seems that’s very shaky ground.
If you walk out to your car, and you have a long trip planned, and the tank is empty, all the praying and wishing in the world won’t fill the tank. You need to put gas in that car to take the trip. Only reason will tell you what’s needed to make the car go, not emotionalism.
In the same way, when you think about the universe, you can think it would be great that someone was in charge, you can wish it, you can want it, but the level of your wishing and wanting does not determine the structure of atoms, the nature of gravity, etc. That stuff is found out by using reason to figure things out.
The only way to square this problem and still believe in God is, apply one set of rules to the universe, and another set of rules to your emotional and spiritual thinking about the universe. Its a way of perpetuating two different sets of rules in order to change the part of the universe where you don’t like what you observe, the emotional and spiritual realm, to something more in line with your emotions, the philosophical equivalent of wishing for gas to make your care move.
When she has her glasses on she also has just a touch of a young Sarah Palin in there too...
I don’t ‘believe’ myself to be an atheist - but Ditto
Yes but what does the first amendment say about religion? Here is a quote “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. “
“shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”
Gee they seem to want to prohibit it when ever they can. For instance, in high schools, or if the 10 Commandments (which our laws derive from) displayed at a court house. Moreover, they also violate our rights by saying in order to protest we have to get a permit. Total B.S.! Ditto any gun laws too.
I apologize, I’m fairly new to FreeRepublic’s reply system. I should have replied to the original poster, but must’ve clicked the wrong link. I also wrote my last post late at night on my iphone...
I’d like to extend my thoughts on the subject a bit.
When we discuss the Conservative platform regarding “moral” issues, Conservative Atheists such as myself often maintain the same values but for different reasons.
I’m Pro-Life, not because I believe that everyone is born with a soul, but because I believe that it demeans society. When we allow abortion, we’re telling people that adult actions don’t have consequences. That responsibility can be ignored in favor of fulfilling your personal goals. It promotes selfishness and imprudence.
Further, I don’t believe that, in many cases, it’s really the woman’s decision. I believe that plenty of abortions occur because the would-be father convinces the mother into it either by persuasion or abandonment. I refuse to let men off the hook for their actions.
Finally, I don’t believe it’s necessary. Yes, I understand that there are medical reasons, cases of rape or what have-you that may make it necessary. But to me, the frequency of those cases are so rare that it doesn’t constitute full legalization.
The Death Penalty:
I believe killing is wrong, in any sense. Just as I refuse to support abortion, I can’t in good conscious support the death penalty.
When we speak of the right and wrong of killing, what we’re really talking about is justification. If someone breaks into my house and I shoot them, while my actions are justifiable, they are still wrong. Justification does not change the morality of an action. As a human being, I have to be willing to admit that I’m capable of committing evil just as much as good.
Christians will point to the Bible and say, “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” meaning that the punishment shall not exceed the crime, therefore killing a killer is fair game. But it doesn’t make it right, it only defines a justifiable response.
Gay Marriage: Ok, so I’m to the left (apparently) on this one. I have no problem with gay marriage. If two consenting adults want to spend their lives together, it’s none of my business. I’ve never actually heard a solid argument against Gay Marriage that didn’t use religion as its core.
Ok, maybe I rambled a bit too much there, but I hope I was able to illustrate that an Atheist’s moral compass doesn’t differ too far from those of you with religious beliefs.
And for the record, I despise Carl Sagan and his ilk about as much as I do Pat Robertson.
Have her read “Witness” by Whittaker Chambers.
Then they are subject to either anarchy or majority rule.
>>> Everything belongs to you that you are good enough to get. Everything does not belong to you that you let slip away.
Wow... so stealing something makes it yours? and if someone steals your wallet, it no longer belongs to you, but rather to the thief?
>>> The Left is not anti-religion, like many conservatives think. The Left loves religion. Its their claim to your life and your mind.
Yeah... and Up is down... right is left... east is west...
Anyone who advocates what you say here has either lost touch with reality, or is actively engaged in subversive deceit.
Tell me... what is it that makes you conservative?
How do you define conservatism?
Hukster is a good example of a “Christian” politician with a weak grip on ethics. Who would you name in comtemporary politics who is a strong atheist conservative leader? I can’t name one.
The problem with atheism is that it is a religion of opposites or antis. Why respect human life if it is not materially valuable? My respect of human life is based in the value of the human soul or spirit which comes from my belief structure. I don’t care if that life is economically and socailly valuable to society or to me. It belongs to God. It is valuable because God created it.
The same with the bill of rights. I don’t think the State has the ethical authority to give and take away individual rights as it serves their power or a group or the collective. These are freedoms assigned to the human spirit and may not be curtailed by humans unless they want a weak, warped and oppressed human population and society.
>>> I should have replied to the original poster
You did respond to the original poster... but that doesn’t really matter. Responding to a reply is fine too. It’s like lots of conversations all happening at once, most of which get started by replies to a comment such as yours. No need to apologize... welcome to FR!
>>> When we discuss the Conservative platform regarding moral issues, Conservative Atheists such as myself often maintain the same values but for different reasons.
The “reasons” you mention are all good points, and DO illustrate why it is possible for atheists and Christians to share moral values and/or principles. However, Christianity does not limit itself to the here and now... it deals with the eternity of the human soul. Morality apart from God necessitates nothing more than order in society.
The question that separates us is “Why does a moral compass exist in us to begin with?” Some would say it is because of our upbringing, or how we are taught. Others might say it is purely logical, and that the origin of our “moral compass” is ourselves. Such explanations are understandable and logical for those who have dismissed completely the existence of a creator... but for the Christian, our morality has it’s origins IN our creation.
Every aspect of our being including how our bodies work, how our mind thinks, and how or why emotions exist stems from design and the Creator’s control.
A common misconception among atheists about a creationist’s perspective on morality is that we are moral to avoid damnation... or that we practice good deeds and worship God to gain the promised reward of heaven in the hereafter.
The truth of the matter is that God installed morality and a basic knowledge of Him into our design. We are inherently moral with the free will to war against that morality and knowledge of God within us.
This is why I personally believe there is no such thing as a true atheist. In other words, deep down, we all KNOW there is a God, and that atheism originates from the individual convincing him/herself that He doesn’t exist... because acknowledging Him requires humility which is too painful for some.
Give her this book: I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist by Geisler/Turek. Also check out Tough questions section of www.faithfacts.org.
You’ve decided to make a jump to interject stealing and deceit into the conversation, instead of specifically speaking to the merits of the case I’ve outlined.
If you read through the progression of steps that I explained to arrive at the conclusions I’ve drawn, and you truly don’t understand how I arrived there, perhaps you’d like to explain where along my chain of reasoning you start to disagree, instead of taking the dialog to the level of stating I’ve lost touch with reality or am trying to deceive you.
I’m not going launch into a defense of my conservatism when you are not speaking to the merits of what I’ve taken the time to write thus far.
Your choice, you can tell me how what I’ve written is wrong if you choose. As far as I’m concerned it stands on its own merits until you specifically refute it.
>>> Youve decided to make a jump to interject stealing and deceit into the conversation, instead of specifically speaking to the merits of the case Ive outlined.
The fact that your freedom can be stolen by those with more power than you is a valid point which counters your notion that our freedom is completely within our own individual control.
>>> perhaps youd like to explain where along my chain of reasoning you start to disagree, instead of taking the dialog to the level of stating Ive lost touch with reality or am trying to deceive you.
You cannot make such blatantly false statements like “the left is not anti-religion”, and expect me to follow your reasoning beyond that point. If you really believe that socialistic/communist forms of government are not anti-religion, you should spend a little time in China to find out just how blessed you truly are here where God is openly acknowledged as our source of freedom. Ignorance of truth makes your reasoning moot.
>>> Im not going launch into a defense of my conservatism when you are not speaking to the merits of what Ive taken the time to write thus far.
At this point, I seriously doubt you know what it is, or understand it, or believe in it for that matter. There appears to be no common ground from which a relevant discussion can occur if you refuse to define your base.
Your smelling like a troll to me now.
>>> Im not going launch into a defense of my conservatism when you are not speaking to the merits of what Ive taken the time to write thus far.
I didn’t ask you to defend your conservatism.
I asked you to define it.
I’m looking for common ground here.
I am neither atheist or (L)ibertarian.
I am (l)ibertarian and much closer to agnostic/deist.
As for the concept of government helping those who cannot help themselves and who have nobody close enough or able to help them...yes, I believe the govt, via taxation, must do so.
That said, I prefer any government help that occurs on that front occur at no higher level than State Govt.
I am an UNYIELDING STRICT CONSTRUCTIONIST on the Constitution.
I don't, and cannot, accept your premise that our laws are based on the Decalogue: they simply aren't. Our legal system is based on the English Common Law, which was based in Saxon Law, which was based in Roman Law. Roman Law -- and before it, Greek Law and ethos -- were not influenced in the least by an obscure and insignificant tribe of Jews in the backwaters of the civilized world. Israel was not an important part of ancient history, in law, ethics, language, philosophy, science, or engineering.
Jesus' ethical system has had far more influence on the West than the Ten Commandments, certainly more than the Torah.
But even much of that is honored more in the breach than in actuality: no judge would tell you to give a man your shirt if he's won your cloak, and no criminal system in the West has ever subscribed to the notion that assault should be passively accepted or encouraged -- as in say, turning the other cheek.
I'm happy that faith is important in your life. But that doesn't mean it's had the same importance in the life of the Nation. It hasn't. Revisionist history cannot change the actual words and intentions of the Founders, and cherry picking occasional religious references doesn't prove that they intended to establish a generic theocracy. They wanted religious passions OUT of politics. That message is clear, and it has been so since the beginning.
Check your demographics on churchgoers in this country. I think you might be surprised how the democrat and republican distribution breaks down. I know I was.
You misquoted me. I didn’t say the left is not anti-religion. I said the left loves religion. And it does. Check the numbers. It also loves religion as a way to get its agenda across, and as a way to make conservatives and those on the right feel guilty. Just look at what happening in the dialog right now, just go to drudge and you can see it. Look at the arguments being made for those items the left wants. The left is not saying do it because its good for communism. They are saying do it because you need to not be such a hater, and “isn’t that what Christianity teaches?”, etc.
I’m not talking about communist forms of government, I’m talking about socialism in the midst of our mixed economy.
Again, with the “smelling like a troll” comment, you debase your own argument. I’m under no obligation to prove my conservative credentials. I’ll just stick to arguing in the realm of ideas. If you want to make personal attacks, that’s your affair.
Ok. I hope you find common ground with the ideas I’ve expressed. What I’ve explained is happening and its a weakness that the Right should address.
African Americans are the most religious (churchgoing) demographic in the nation. If you look at white Americans on their own, you will see that they are not as “religious” as many think, and that religious devotion is a highly regional, rather than national, phenomenon.
Yea she was on Hannity with her New Book defending Christianity and she told Hannity she was an Atheist!!! I really like SE Cupp!!!!!
I think she is smart and attractive!!!! Like Sarah Palin!
“The only way to square this problem and still believe in God is, apply one set of rules to the universe, and another set of rules to your emotional and spiritual thinking about the universe.”
I’ll disagree there, because I don’t believe matter is eternal. I believe God is eternal. So, Jesus is Lord of atoms, and the universe, and every blade of grass. He has set everything up, and has systems in place, such as the water cycle and gravity and DNA and every other thing we can think of. These are His ordinary means.
Any thing that occurs outside the regular systems God has in place is called a “miracle.” “Miracles” include such things as raising the dead, creating the universe out of nothing, or ascending into heaven on a chariot of fire.
If gas suddenly appeared in my empty tank, that would be a “miracle.” If I prayed for help and God sent along the CHP, or I was strengthened enough to walk to the nearest pay phone and got ahold of a friend, or a taxi came by and I flagged it down, that would be God using ordinary means.
I don’t believe getting emotional will ever fill my tank, and I don’t think any orthodox Christian would say so, either. Nor does the Bible teach that we should rely upon our emotions - actually it warns us to rely on God alone, not upon ourselves. Emotionalism is not promoted or prescribed.
But emotionalism is the only way to account for believing in miracles, because there is no rational explanation.
“But emotionalism is the only way to account for believing in miracles, because there is no rational explanation.”
It depends on what you mean by “rational explanation.”
If they means “I couldn’t do it,” well, right.
But the point is, miracles are supernatural events. Not lab experiments. Not repeatable by us. We can’t do them.
Witness creation. Where did it come from? Whatever building blocks you believe started things off, where did they come from?
If you think matter is eternal, is that rational? If not, where did it come from? If you go back far enough, something irrational happened. . .
>>> Im under no obligation to prove my conservative credentials.
Again, I didn’t ask you to prove anything.
My original point was that the term “conservative” is extremely vague in comparison to “atheist”.
My definition of conservatism is no doubt quite different than yours for obvious reasons. I’m sure it would be difficult to find perfectly consistent definitions among Christians who attend the same church. I honestly don’t know what atheists generally consider conservatism to be... Why are you so afraid to divulge your views on what conservative means??? All you seem to be focused on is the dangers of believing in God, and you refuse to address the other side of the argument which is relevant to this thread topic. If you are not willing to express what conservatism means to you, then my troll charge stands. If you prefer the term RINO or CINO, then so be it. To me, a troll is someone claiming to be something they are not to gain access to forums such as this one. That’s not a personal attack. It’s a judgment of your behavior.
You are free to make whatever claims you choose.
I’m not afraid, I’m just not interested.
Thanks for a thought-provoking post.
Since you have been so candid with us, would you mind sharing what religious plans (if any) you and your wife have for the twins as they get older?
That's some ways off but I'd surmise that this matter has been discussed.
No. Fallacy of the false dichotomy. There is literally a whole universe out there that does not have to be explained by either "God did it" or "man did it."
Fundamental rights are simply a necessary condition of being human. How rights, or any other philosophical construct, can exist a priori without resorting to a God who created them is a fairly complicated area of philosophy I won't delve into; suffice it to say that the simplest explanation, "God did it," is not the only coherent and logically consistent one. Mathematics flows from a few basic postulates, without regard to whether those came from an omnipotent creator or not.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident" -- not revealed by scripture. "their Creator" and, elsewhere in the Declaration, "the laws of nature and of nature's God." These are references to natural law, not to a particular religious tradition or a particular conception of the Divine.
God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He will never change and he will never take back the Rights he gives us.
"to preserve these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. ...[W]henever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness."
This construction holds true whether the laws of nature exist as a synthetic a priori or as the gift of a benevolent God. If they are laws of an impersonal Nature, there is no universal assent to what those rights are, and the task falls to the people to determine what they are and how best to preserve them. If they are ordained by God, there is no universal assent, and the end result is the same.
If you are trying to live a moral code based on objective standards set by God, you only have to live up to whatever you decide those standards are.
Thought provoking post. Very well written.
I am actually somewhat impressed with the restraint of other posters, I expected it to happen sooner.
could have happened at any time, they’d still be wrong. Jeses Christ, the Son of God came to earth as a man. While here He founded one religion, on His diciples. That was the Catholic religionb......you don’t have to believe it but that doesn’t make it less true. I you can read, and do read the bible, it becomes very plain. Other than Catholics there were no other “christians” for 1500 years.
Why? What did you see when you did that?
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.