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No Atheists (Still) Need Apply
Washington Post ^ | Susan Jacoby

Posted on 12/28/2006 4:15:11 PM PST by quesney

In nearly every interview about my book, Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism,I am asked whether I am an atheist or an agnostic. The bias--a profoundly American bias--implicit in this question is that only an "unbeliever" would want to write a historical work about the secular influences on the founding and development of our nation.

[...]

What we ought to be talking about are decent human values that can be subscribed to by Americans of any faith or no faith. I could not care less whether any elected official believes in God: I care about what he or she does on earth. As an atheist, I believe precisely what the Bible says on this subject: "By their fruits ye shall know them."

(Excerpt) Read more at newsweek.washingtonpost.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: agnostics; atheism; atheists; deists; discrimination; theists
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Faith in G*d and humility before a higher power is so...quaint.
1 posted on 12/28/2006 4:15:11 PM PST by quesney
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To: quesney
I could not care less whether any elected official believes in God: I care about what he or she does on earth.

I have no problem with this sentence whatsoever.

2 posted on 12/28/2006 4:16:41 PM PST by ShadowDancer (No autopsy, no foul.)
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To: quesney
Whenever I'm handed a ballot my policy is "atheists need not apply".
3 posted on 12/28/2006 4:19:51 PM PST by Gay State Conservative ("The meaning of peace is the absence of opposition to socialism."-Karl Marx)
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To: quesney
", I am asked whether I am an atheist or an agnostic."

Why? They are unrelated.

Agnostics are not weak atheist or weak believers; they are confident in their doubt.

4 posted on 12/28/2006 4:22:01 PM PST by SteveMcKing
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To: quesney

Faith in God and humility before a higher power is an enviable state.

Some are born with faith
Some earn their faith
and others spend their lives searching......for faith is never thrust upon anyone.

The searchers are called agnostics...the humble ones.


5 posted on 12/28/2006 4:23:19 PM PST by sodpoodle (if you can't handle the truth, try satire.)
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To: quesney

bump


6 posted on 12/28/2006 4:36:16 PM PST by VOA
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To: Gay State Conservative
Whenever I'm handed a ballot my policy is "atheists need not apply".

What a coincidence - that's also Saudi Arabia's policy!

So you prefer our current government (federal, state, and local) to a hypothetical group of Constitutionally aware, freedom-minded atheists? I'm not exactly pleased with the non-atheist Kennedy and Kerry as my senators - are you?

7 posted on 12/28/2006 4:37:55 PM PST by Freedom_no_exceptions (No actual, intended, or imminent victim = no crime. No exceptions.)
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To: Freedom_no_exceptions

Kennedy and Kerry might as well be atheists, not that I have much room to criticize.


8 posted on 12/28/2006 4:39:38 PM PST by darkangel82
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To: quesney

Why would anyone want to make a point of being an atheist unless he wants to start a fight?


9 posted on 12/28/2006 4:41:29 PM PST by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
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To: Freedom_no_exceptions

re: Kennedy, Kerry, Clintonsx2 etc, don't confuse poseurs posturing as people of faith--with genuine people of faith in God.


10 posted on 12/28/2006 4:43:20 PM PST by The Spirit Of Allegiance (Public Employees: Honor Your Oaths! Defend the Constitution from Enemies--Foreign and Domestic!)
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To: Freedom_no_exceptions
What a coincidence - that's also Saudi Arabia's policy!
Really? When did they begin having free elections with universal sufferage?! I must have missed that one...
11 posted on 12/28/2006 4:47:08 PM PST by Axenolith ("pound pastrami, can kraut, six bagels bring home for Emma")
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To: Everybody

"I could not care less whether any elected official believes in God: I care about what he or she does on earth."

But, what he or she does on earth has a great deal to do with whether or not he or she believes in God.


12 posted on 12/28/2006 4:48:00 PM PST by Marie2 (I used to be disgusted. Now I try to be amused.)
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To: SteveMcKing

I have a problem with arbitrary labels generally, since they are usually defined by someone who is not effected by that particular label. In this particular instance, I usually just reply that I'm not religious. Nor am I superstitious. I don't believe in ghosts, goblins, gods and goddesses, or little green men from outer space. I am also not a hypocrite. I don't go out and make an ass of myself on Saturday nite, and make it all better by going to church on Sunday. I don't blame some diety for crap I'm responsible for, and I don't take credit for something that I had nothing to do with (I prayed, and it happened, so I'm wonderful!).

If that upsets someone so be it. They are welcome to their beliefs, so long as they don't negatively impact my life or livelihood, or those of my family.

Religion does not make one a "moral" person, or even a good or reasonable person.

That said, I have been to Churches, Synagogues, Buddhist and Hindu Temples, even Voodoo rituals. I've never been in a Mosque. I have studied the worlds great religions, ( including Animism and Zoroaster ) their roots going back as far as archeology and anthropology will permit, and their influence on life, their connections with politics and social evolution, and have a fairly decent understanding of them, and why they came into being. Enough to carry on a intelligent conversation. I don't pretend to be an expert in any of them. None of them ever impressed me enough to sign on.

I also don't have a problem wishing someone a "Merry Christmas", or enjoying cheer and good fellowship associated with this particular Christian ritual. Ditto Hanukah, and other things like it.

So if anyone wants to "label" me, have at it. I "garuntee" you will be wrong.


13 posted on 12/28/2006 4:48:24 PM PST by Gunny Gene
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To: Freedom_no_exceptions
I'm not exactly pleased with the non-atheist Kennedy and Kerry as my senators - are you?

Nope,I'm not.But the simple fact of the matter is that despite their claims to be Catholics,their lives and voting records irrefutably prove them to be Unitarian/Universalists...a "denomination" made up of atheists who need something to do on Sunday mornings.

14 posted on 12/28/2006 4:57:16 PM PST by Gay State Conservative ("The meaning of peace is the absence of opposition to socialism."-Karl Marx)
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To: Gunny Gene
Religion does not make one a "moral" person, or even a good or reasonable person.

This is exactly right. Personal ethics, decency and compassion for others aren't dependent on religion nor are they formed solely by religion, any more than the negative qualities shared by believers and non-believers are.

If their religious beliefs happen to lead them to the policy views that I endorse, I'll vote for them. If not, I won't.
15 posted on 12/28/2006 4:59:25 PM PST by AnotherUnixGeek
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To: Axenolith
Really? When did they begin having free elections with universal sufferage?! I must have missed that one...

Actually, Saudi Arabia started having local elections recently (male-only, of course) for low-level positions - from which atheists are as excluded as they are from ALL public life over there. I didn't mean to compare their Islamic theocracy to our constitutional republic, but having a belief in the supernatural as a primary condition for elected office is not a step in the right direction.

16 posted on 12/28/2006 5:01:24 PM PST by Freedom_no_exceptions (No actual, intended, or imminent victim = no crime. No exceptions.)
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To: Hank Kerchief

Taking the liberty of pinging you ...


17 posted on 12/28/2006 5:10:29 PM PST by Mad Dawg (Now we are all Massoud)
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To: Gay State Conservative
Unitarian/Universalists...a "denomination" made up of atheists who need something to do on Sunday mornings.

In that case, my election-day policy is "atheists only." Know what I do on Sunday mornings? Catch up on badly-needed sleep. I don't entrust my freedoms to sleep-deprived caffeine zombies whether they believe in the supernatural, or not.

18 posted on 12/28/2006 5:10:37 PM PST by Freedom_no_exceptions (No actual, intended, or imminent victim = no crime. No exceptions.)
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To: Old Professer
Why would anyone want to make a point of being an atheist unless he wants to start a fight?

Yup...that's the ticket. Shut up everyone who doesn't agree with you....

...oh, wait...we've got an amendment....

19 posted on 12/28/2006 5:14:26 PM PST by paulat
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To: Freedom_no_exceptions
Yes, and the recipient of your prior post made no mention of it either, just that that was the way they voted, not how they wanted it...
20 posted on 12/28/2006 5:19:07 PM PST by Axenolith ("pound pastrami, can kraut, six bagels bring home for Emma")
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To: Freedom_no_exceptions
In that case, my election-day policy is "atheists only."

OK...fair enough.At least we each know where the other stands.

21 posted on 12/28/2006 5:19:46 PM PST by Gay State Conservative ("The meaning of peace is the absence of opposition to socialism."-Karl Marx)
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To: quesney
speaking openly about atheism works to dispel the notion that atheists have horns.

Oh yeah, we tried atheism in the French, Russian, and Chinese Communist revolutions, and you remember how well that worked out.

I trust an atheist in public office to have deep issues with his earthly father, perverting his ability to understand his heavenly Father.

An atheist is someone who seeks to replace God with . . . himself. I think that shows a poor understanding of the qualifications demanded by the job.

22 posted on 12/28/2006 5:20:21 PM PST by SamuraiScot
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To: Gunny Gene
Good policy. Silence is my first choice, then if I am nagged for an opinion, I politely explain that it's not their personal business what I believe or don't believe. I even did this in high school, and some teachers took it as arrogance -- to have an opinion and keep it to yourself. (Oh my!)

As for what people think of us, take a lesson from my dear old English teacher:

"When you are young, you worry what others think of you. When you are older, you don't. When you are really old, you realize that nobody is thinking of you."
I suppose I just proved him wrong in a way, the old dingbat....
23 posted on 12/28/2006 5:20:45 PM PST by SteveMcKing
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To: Old Professer
Why would anyone want to make a point of being an atheist unless he wants to start a fight?

QED.

24 posted on 12/28/2006 5:20:56 PM PST by Wormwood (I'm with you in Rockland)
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To: Freedom_no_exceptions

Can Buddhists or Jews vote in these elections or run as candidates? Is there a prohibition just against atheism? I would have guessed you would have had to be a Muslim, but I'm wrong a lot.


25 posted on 12/28/2006 5:25:39 PM PST by Mad Dawg (Now we are all Massoud)
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To: Old Professer

Well, couldn't an atheist who believed in personal integrity and who thought being reasonable was important or even a duty AND who thought it was reasonable to be an atheist -- couldn't such a person not only be one but be willing to say s/he was one?


26 posted on 12/28/2006 5:28:26 PM PST by Mad Dawg (Now we are all Massoud)
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To: Gay State Conservative

This thread kills me. You fools would vote for someone of 'religion' over someone who has proven themselves. The bible thumping is annoying at best.


27 posted on 12/28/2006 5:29:34 PM PST by ShadowDancer (No autopsy, no foul.)
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To: Freedom_no_exceptions

(I catch up on sleep at work, like all decent people ...)


28 posted on 12/28/2006 5:30:16 PM PST by Mad Dawg (Now we are all Massoud)
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To: Mad Dawg

Of course, I assume these elections are limited only to Muslim males. Jews (and atheists) are officially banned from Saudi Arabia, and Buddhists may be as well (at best, grudgingly tolerated). My original point was to use an extreme example to show that religious tests for public office are not a good idea.


29 posted on 12/28/2006 5:31:43 PM PST by Freedom_no_exceptions (No actual, intended, or imminent victim = no crime. No exceptions.)
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To: SteveMcKing

Your English teacher apparently had some wisdom. Good to know that it was passed on to at least one of his/her? students.

Have a good , and interesting, life.


30 posted on 12/28/2006 5:32:42 PM PST by Gunny Gene
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To: ShadowDancer
This thread kills me.

This thread (and the myriad just like it) makes me wonder why I bothered giving the GOP my money and support for so long.

31 posted on 12/28/2006 5:32:56 PM PST by Wormwood (I'm with you in Rockland)
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To: Freedom_no_exceptions

10-4


32 posted on 12/28/2006 5:33:52 PM PST by Mad Dawg (Now we are all Massoud)
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To: Mad Dawg
(I catch up on sleep at work, like all decent people ...)

Then YOU'RE the one I want in public office! Better to sleep all day than rob us of our freedoms and loot our paychecks : )

33 posted on 12/28/2006 5:35:14 PM PST by Freedom_no_exceptions (No actual, intended, or imminent victim = no crime. No exceptions.)
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To: Wormwood

Yep, that's why I don't.


34 posted on 12/28/2006 5:36:05 PM PST by ShadowDancer (No autopsy, no foul.)
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To: Freedom_no_exceptions
My original point was to use an extreme example to show that religious tests for public office are not a good idea.

You needn't bother---the Founding Fathers understood that religious tests were complete crap over 200 years ago.

If someone still fails to understand that such a practice is an odious affront to our Republic, then they are probably immune to reason.

35 posted on 12/28/2006 5:36:18 PM PST by Wormwood (I'm with you in Rockland)
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To: sodpoodle; metmom; Dr. Eckleburg
agnostics... Just today I read that the word was invented by Aldous Huxley. He and others gave financial support to Charles Darwin with the express purpose of creating a new humanist religion.
36 posted on 12/28/2006 5:36:36 PM PST by 1000 silverlings (stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the Cross)
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To: 1000 silverlings

Seriously, why do you care?


37 posted on 12/28/2006 5:37:56 PM PST by ShadowDancer (No autopsy, no foul.)
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To: ShadowDancer
This thread kills me. You fools would vote for someone of 'religion' over someone who has proven themselves. The bible thumping is annoying at best.

I'm no "bible thumper",my friend.A belief in some power or being greater than him/herself...or the willingness to acknowledge the possibility that such a power/being exists..is but one of many requirements that I have before I give a candidate my vote.

IMO,atheism....the absolute conviction that there's no God...indicates a breathtaking,and disturbing,lack of humility.

That bothers me...a lot.It doesn't seem to bother you.C'est la guerre.

38 posted on 12/28/2006 5:38:52 PM PST by Gay State Conservative ("The meaning of peace is the absence of opposition to socialism."-Karl Marx)
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To: ShadowDancer

Thought people would be interested where and how the term originated. No need to get your panties in a tight


39 posted on 12/28/2006 5:39:13 PM PST by 1000 silverlings (stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the Cross)
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To: All

Thomas Jefferson:

“Our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, more than on our opinions in physics and geometry....The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”
 


40 posted on 12/28/2006 5:42:04 PM PST by EdJay (A)
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To: SamuraiScot
An atheist is someone who seeks to replace God with . . . himself. I think that shows a poor understanding of the qualifications demanded by the job.

I agree fully. Most people, religious or not, like to speak of the ethics or morality of Jesus as an ideal. Often though, I don't think they mean it--as they try to divide ethics from religion. Jesus however said all morality flows from the two great commandments:

Love of God (with heart, mind, soul, and strength)

Love of neighbor as yourself.

Atheists (or agnostics...the lazy atheists) definitely fail on the 1st--and so can't help but be weak on the 2nd; what atheist political regimes have indisputably proven.

41 posted on 12/28/2006 5:42:11 PM PST by AnalogReigns
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To: Gay State Conservative

Why do you give a damn what others believe about the after life as long as they're decent and moral here? Frankly, that's none of your business.


42 posted on 12/28/2006 5:42:42 PM PST by ShadowDancer (No autopsy, no foul.)
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To: ShadowDancer
If someone wants my vote,they had better make it my business.

I'm done here.Have a nice day!

43 posted on 12/28/2006 5:45:14 PM PST by Gay State Conservative ("The meaning of peace is the absence of opposition to socialism."-Karl Marx)
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To: 1000 silverlings

If Huxley coined the word, he borrowed it from the Greeks
Main Entry: 1ag·nos·tic
Pronunciation: ag-'näs-tik, &g-
Function: noun
Etymology: Greek agnOstos unknown, unknowable, from a- + gnOstos known, from gignOskein to know -- more at KNOW
1 : a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable; broadly : one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god- Merriam Webster

No-one has a monopoly on the use of a noun or verb.

Keep searching your Wikipedia.


44 posted on 12/28/2006 5:47:35 PM PST by sodpoodle (if you can't handle the truth, try satire.)
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To: sodpoodle

Agnosticism
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Certainty series
Nihilism
Agnosticism
Uncertainty
Probability
Estimation
Belief
Justified true belief
Certainty
Determinism

This box: view • talk • edit
Agnosticism (from the Greek a, meaning "without" and gnosis, "knowledge", translating to unknowable) is the philosophical view that the truth value of certain claims — particularly theological claims regarding metaphysics, afterlife or the existence of God, god(s), or deities — is unknown or (possibly) inherently unknowable. Some agnostics take a stronger view that the concept of a deity is incoherent, thus meaningless and irrelevant to life. "Agnostic" was introduced by Thomas Henry Huxley in 1869 to describe his philosophy


45 posted on 12/28/2006 5:50:47 PM PST by 1000 silverlings (stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the Cross)
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To: quesney

There is a lot of interest in my "religion" lately. I like it. Being ignored sucks.


46 posted on 12/28/2006 5:52:58 PM PST by Torie
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To: 1000 silverlings

"Some agnostics take a stronger view that the concept of a deity is incoherent, thus meaningless and irrelevant to life." Wikipedia

Some agnostics take a more humble view that the creator's universal intelligent design is beyond human comprehension. - sodpoodle


47 posted on 12/28/2006 5:58:52 PM PST by sodpoodle (if you can't handle the truth, try satire.)
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To: Gay State Conservative
If someone wants my vote,they had better make it my business.

Little narcissistic, are you? Not to mention the fact that you didn't answer my question.

48 posted on 12/28/2006 6:02:00 PM PST by ShadowDancer (No autopsy, no foul.)
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To: Marie2
But, what he or she does on earth has a great deal to do with whether or not he or she believes in God.

Seriously? Bullshit.

49 posted on 12/28/2006 6:03:37 PM PST by ShadowDancer (No autopsy, no foul.)
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To: AnalogReigns

There's a plethora of that neighbor lovin' thingee goin' on here.

I, for one - feel the love.

Have not saved any lives or souls today - must work on that tomorrow.


50 posted on 12/28/2006 6:05:30 PM PST by sodpoodle (if you can't handle the truth, try satire.)
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