Skip to comments.Atheists Complain of "Spirituality" in Army's Mental Health Program
Posted on 01/01/2011 2:50:50 PM PST by wmfights
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"Most traumatic events have an element of soul wounding," said the Rev. Dr. Chrys Parker, an Army chaplain, in a statement about the training.
Yeah, because we all know belief in nothing promotes a hopeful attitude. /s
No mention of Islam or the other religions.
Oh, good freaking grief.
“Atheist organization Freedom from Religion Foundation demanded the Army halt a spiritual fitness program designed to combat stress because its diagnostic tool allegedly promotes religion.”
Communist agitators complaining again.....
No mention of Islam or the other religions.
Where do I complain about Atheist’s complaining?
Are these whiners EVER happy? As long as servicemembers are not forced into one religion or another, who cares?
This is destroying the freedom of religion in the military, along with the concept that homosexuality is ‘good” and “normal”. Agitprop of the worst kind—that which denies the freedom of conscious. Zero is making our military despicable in his own homosexual, atheist/muslim paradigm. Puke.
They are forcing the atheist belief by denying this Christian one—and the Founding principle of our country.
This is a nation which gets their rights from the Creator! If we kill that paradigm, we kill the country—it will no longer be a Chistian one which is the ideology we and our laws were founded on.
Kick God out—then, we no longer have a Constitution that has the original intent—that our rights come from God, not man.
Marxists want no God—they should be banned from this country like they were originally. They can not take any oath of office or give meaningful testimony in a court of law. They are the antithesis of America and freedom.
Perhaps they could replace this program with one of therapeutic anal rape. (That would be consistent with the current policies endorsed by the CJCS)
As one opinion in Stars and Stripes stated:
It (Don't ask don't tell) should have applied to Christians way before it ever applied to homosexuals. Christians are far more offensive and flagrant than homosexuals ever will be, even under the new law.
Put them in a foxhole, problem solved. Thanks wmfights.
Your friendly VA has had a program of ‘spiritual assessment’, back in 2008! Now, with the Pagan success of suing the VA in 2007, along comes me, with emergency surgery for my colostomy shutting down. I am a licensed Pagan priest, and the VA had no one to send me, but a Baptist chaplain. I have a copy of my ‘spiritual assessment’, as detailed, by this chaplain. They haven’t got a clue, what to do with anyone OUTSIDE of ‘the Abrahamic faiths’. The U.S. Army DID HAVE, in 1990, a section in their Chaplain’s Manual, how to officiate Pagan sabbats and the Eight Days of the Wheel of the Year.
Now? After how many years of Atheists being around, they are just noticing them in the military??? Military folks do not sign away their First Amendment rights, if I remember correctly. With this “goy” as “President”, who knows!
“or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The forgotten clause.
Even today, your First Amendment rights, are the same as mine, under the Constitution. If somebody else says they are not, I would join you in your “corrective information seminar”, ok? I fought for YOUR rights, and now I’m making I have MINE. Same Constitution, Same ‘We, the People’. Same “Bill of Rights”, for everybody, period. Folks died for that. I’m beholding to that. You may have a difference of religious beliefs, from me, but we are both Americans, and yes, I would be in the foxhole. There are Pagans who see battle, as a holy thing. Ya’s never know!
“No mention of Islam or the other religions.”
Make no mistake about it. It is.....and always has been..... a primary attack on CHRISTianity! Period.
As an atheist and a former military member, that would be pretty irritating.
I'm afraid you might be right. Everything seems to be upside down.
Nobody made them join the army.
Religion provides a competitive advantage during combat, and should be supported even if you're not religious yourself. It's a fighting advantage we have over the Chinese and Russians. Most human specific traits can be traced to their competitive advantage during tribal warfare. Large brains, religion, speech, walking upright to carry weapons, having well-lubricated armpits that respond to stress, all were selected for on the battlefield. Based on archaeological evidence of religious items, the first tribe that discovered religion wiped out all the other competition. If atheist soldiers want to survive combat and be on the winning side, they should just suck it up and go along with the program as best they can.
Actually, that's simply not true. "A"theists might not believe as they state above, but a "non"theist isn't necessarily an "a"theist.
That aside, their complaints are silly since the issue of the "esprit de corps" has been around a lot longer than the American Atheists.
And to suggest that the individual is not possessed of a "spirit" is to deny that death renders the flesh different than it was prior to death. Something has "left" or "leaked out" or "changed" or whatever term one wishes to use.
To define "life force" or "core of the person" as a spirit is acceptable to me with reservations withheld for my own theological take on those explanations.
I hope all of our God-fearing Freepers notice this essential element of the program.
It is not now, nor has it ever been legal to compel another person to believe in any god and it's certainly not Christian.
"Ain't no atheists in foxholes."
Of course it's spiritual. Those soldiers put their lives on the line for us every day!
Prayers for the troops!
You and I had the same thought.
As an effective alternative to the current religion-based Army training, the atheists are proposing.... what exactly?
They mainly turn to substance abuse, mind altering pharmaceuticals, illegal drugs, etc. The atheist Russian soldiers favor cheap vodka. It's always easier to fight against atheist soldiers than soldiers with a superior religious culture. If someone hates America's military, they'd work to ban religion.
I have a question. I know that atheists deny the reality of God. Do they also deny the reality of the human soul?
Another question: What is it about God that gets atheists so upset?
Still another question: Are atheists generally unaware that the DoI and the Constitution which instantiates its values speaks of "Nature's God," the Creator? That the entire American idea of liberty is predicated on the understanding that God gives human beings their natural rights, not governments; and that such rights are unalienable because they are divine endowments?
That's certainly true, dear xzins! Buddhism and Hinduism are examples of "non"theistic belief systems.
To me, the term "American Atheist" is an oxymoron.... There were zero atheists among the ranks of the Founders/Framers.
And to suggest that the individual is not possessed of a "spirit" is to deny that death renders the flesh different than it was prior to death. Something has "left" or "leaked out" or "changed" or whatever term one wishes to use.Indeed. We can't directly "see" what has "left" or "leaked out" or "changed" at death; but we can directly observe the result of its having left.
Thank you so very much for your insightful essay/post!
You bet I will, wmfights! Truly, I would love to "see the thinking," too! I'll be very disappointed if I don't get an answer to my questions, from A_perfect_lady, or from any other qualified atheist, for that matter.
I know from your posting history you are not looking to just take some "cheap shots" and a real opportunity exists for an interesting discussion.
I can’t speak for other atheists, but I don’t think we have souls, no. That’s just something we came up with because we can’t comprehend death. As for the Constitution, what he really does is give us the courage to say “we have these rights because we SAY we do, and no one is going to argue us out of it.”
Lost in this discussion is the core issue, doing what is best for our troops. Healing a traumatized mind is in the interest of the mission. If this program helps, it should be continued.
Constitutional rights baloney from atheists is irrelevant and should be discarded.
Thank you kindly for your reply, A_perfect_lady!
I'm going to try to address your points on an empirical rather than a theological basis. You'll recall that the empirical approach depends on observation, evidence, experience (including historical experience), and reason. Since you already do not believe in God, I imagine the theological approach wouldn't cut it with you anyway. So I'll try to spare you all of that!
RE: whether we humans do or do not have souls: You say, in effect, that "souls" are merely constructs of the human mind in response to a certain "existential anxiety." That is, since we cannot "comprehend" death, we proliferate "fairy stories" that are purely fictitious to assuage our angst. But then you have to answer the question: Why is this particular fairy story i.e., of the existence of the soul so ubiquitous, even universal, in all of human history going back as far as the human records go, back at least to the fifth millennium B.C.?
Were all these countless generations of mankind from all over the planet necessarily self-deluded? Alternatively, maybe they simply knew something about human being and existence that the modern-day, post-Enlightenment materialist denies in principle. Was all of mankind in error until Descartes and Newton came along to set the record straight?
What Newton effected was a system a tremendously useful one, I grant you that in effect reduced all of the natural world to a machine-like entity. It made Nature itself in the words of Alfred North Whitehead "a dull affair, soundless, scentless, colorless; merely the hurrying of material, endlessly, meaninglessly." Here Whitehead is saying what the Newtonian reduction leaves out of picture: any and all "subjective" experiences of mankind which arguably include the most important concerns of mankind:
Experience of "things" ["matter in its motions"] is modeled on the subject-object dichotomy of perception in which the consciousness intends the object of cognition [i.e., roughly the scientific method]. But such a model of experience and knowing is ultimately insufficient to explain the reality men approach in moral, aesthetic, and religious experiences. [And "religious experience" is universal, though the forms it can take are many. Atheism itself is a "belief system," though IMHO an extraordinarily impoverished one.] Inasmuch as such nonsensory experiences are constitutive of what is distinctive about human existence itself and of what is most precious to mankind [e.g., experiences of the good, beautiful, and just, of love, friendship, and truth, of all human virtue and vice, and of divine reality] a purported science of man unable to take account of them is egregiously defective. Ellis SandozFrom Whitehead's point of view, the Newtonian reduction of the natural world to directly observable material phenomena involves a prime example of what he calls the fallacy of misplaced concreteness:
In the first place, we must note its astounding efficiency as a system of concepts for the organisation of scientific research. In this respect, it is fully worthy of the genius of the century which produced it. It has held its own as the guiding principle of scientific studies ever since. It is still reigning. Every university in the world organises itself in accordance with it. No alternative system of organising the pursuit of scientific truth has been suggested. It is not only reigning, it is without a rival.Or as Wolfgang Smith puts it, "Thus one begins by abstracting from concrete existence, and ends by attributing concrete existence to the abstraction. Or equivalently, one first cuts asunder what in truth is one, and then attributes an independent reality to one of the resultant fragments. But of course the error [i.e., the fallacy of misplaced concreteness] does not affect the reality: it only creates blindness."
And yet it is quite unbelievable. This conception of the universe is surely framed in terms of high abstractions, and the paradox only arises because we have mistaken our abstraction for concrete realities.
Or as my friend the astrophysicist has put it, "While scientific laws are tools of our mind, laws of Nature act in Nature. They are not to be confused. The difference is that of map and reality."
IF one "confuses" them, then one is in the grip of the fallacy of misplaced concreteness. And I think atheists in general suffer from this condition.
We could put it another way: What is it that the human body "has" that prevents it from immediately succumbing to the inexorable pull of thermodynamic equilibrium? THAT is what constitutes its death. Which is tantamount to asking: What keeps the human body alive, for however long it lives?
The Laws of Nature are not the product of a "random" natural development. Rather they precede and structure the resultant natural development. They cannot be felt, or seen, or smelled, or tasted, or heard. Neither can the soul be so detected. But do we then say the natural laws do not exist, because they are not directly accessible to sense perception? If we cannot say this about the natural laws, then how can we be so sure that the soul is a fiction which also cannot be detected by direct sense perception?
At least as far back as classical Greece, the soul psyche was understood as the form i.e., the lawful specification of the body. It wasn't the case that bodies "had" souls; rather it was understood that the body manifests a pre-existent soul. In other words, the soul was regarded as a sort of "blueprint" for bodily manifestation.
Think of it: Each of us human beings is constituted by a vast pile of chemical compounds. Science can detect the chemicals. But science cannot detect, directly, the source of order that organizes these chemicals into a fully-formed, specific, functioning, living being a human person.
The "specs" for the person do not originate on the same plane as the person they describe. In short, the physical is ultimately ordered, structured, by something which is non-physical. And this is so, not only on the personal level, but also with respect to the entire natural order. Just because science cannot directly detect, via its own methods, this non-physical thing does not mean that the non-physical thing does not exist. That was what Whitehead was trying to indicate, with his fallacy of misplaced concreteness....
Well, that's the backgrounder for a more practical discussion relating to matters of crucial importance for our society and culture.
It is undeniable that the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitutional order it premised, invoked the Creator God as the Source of unalienable human rights. If an atheist denies God, then can he/she please explain to me what other secure foundation for human rights there could be?
I find persuasive Balint Vazsonyi's observation that there are only two basic political philosophies. The two are the Anglo-American, and the Franco-German schools of political thought.
The Anglo-American view posits the liberty of human individuals under just and equal laws. It sees human liberty as a gift of God, as is evident from these lines from Cato's Letters, by Trenchard & Gordon, a series of essays published in London largely inspired by Lockean political philosophy that was avidly read in the American colonies in the run-up to the Revolutionary War:
All men are born free; Liberty is a Gift which they receive from God; nor can they alienate the same by Consent, though possibly they may forfeit it by crimes....I find it rather amusing that this is perhaps the best description of libertarian philosophy I've ever come across, while at the same time recognizing that so many present-day libertarians declared themselves to be atheists. Few people nowadays seem to realize how very much they rest on the foundations laid by our ancestors. Yet they persist in resting on them, seemingly unconsciously, while at the same time heaping opprobrium on them.... This has got to be an indication of "insanity!" Or at least a loss of reason itself....
Liberty is the power which every man has over his own Actions, and the Right to enjoy the Fruit of his Labor, Art, and Industry, as far as by it he hurts not the Society, or any Member of it, by taking from any Member, or by hindering him from enjoying what he himself enjoys.
The fruits of a Man's honest industry are the just rewards of it, ascertained to him by natural and eternal Equity, as is his Title to use them in a manner which he thinks fit: And thus, with the above Limitations, every Man is sole Lord and Arbiter of his own Actions and Property....
Oh, the other political philosophy is the Franco-German model. Its heart lies in Marx, an atheist, and in the atheist French philosophe's idea of "egalitarianism." As we have seen from the French Revolution (so different than our own American one), egalitarianism is just another name for social leveling, having nothing whatsoever to do with individual rights.
The point is the Franco-German political model starts by abolishing God and religion, not to mention "souls." The Anglo-American model assiduously retains both from the foundation of our nation, and to the present day.
The current breakdown of American order stems from the seeming ascendancy of Franco-Germanic political principles at the expense of the founding principles of our nation, which are indisputably Judeo-Christian and classical in origin.
If you are truly an atheist, you have to be on the side of the Franco-German model. For it is the model that rejects, as a matter of principle, God and man himself, as an individual (i.e., as an "ensouled" being of incalculable worth and dignity in himself, for he is made "in the image of God"). The Franco-German model does not care about individuals, only about "groups."
Well, I've run on long. Sorry! But I hope something here might make sense to you, A_perfect_lady. Thank you so very much for your kind reply!
Oh, I meant to ping you to this.
Just use Christ then.
On a practical level, it seems that what FFRF seeks is exclusiveness in the recognition of their religion, and the banishment of any other religion (particularly the Christian religion) in the psychological assessment of the fitness of military personnel, despite the knowledge that religion plays a critical role in the mental health of many. FFRF apparently believes it cannot stand the presence of a competing religion, nor that it should have to. Ironically, this is precisely the sort of intolerance for which the Judeo-Christian tradition is so often severely condemned.
And, A_perfect_lady, your observation that [the human soul is] just something we came up with because we cant comprehend death, intrigues me. What do you find difficult about comprehending death? And, related to that, if the scientific mechanistic view of life (including the human brain) is that of an array of unguided chemical reactions and random neuron discharges, then what sort of positive knowledge can be claimed, and by what rule of logic can such a life-sense declare that it is anything but helpless to believe other than what it does, in fact, believe?
Thanks, betty, for your always illuminating thoughts, and thanks too, A_perfect_lady, for your contributions.
Either the third human on this planet came from the first two..
-OR- you must make up a bodacious Yarn..
There are many options for storys.. or you can resort to Occams Razor..
Atheists should only care about the ends, not the means. This method works and the science supports it.
Why not simply set up an alternative method based on atheism and let soldiers choose? That way we could compare outcomes.
I think most people just can’t stomach the idea that they will vanish one day, and exist no more. No, surely we humans are too wonderful for that, right? But yes I’m pretty sure that when it’s over, it’s over. The afterlife is pretty much like the beforelife.
The spiritual statements include: I am a spiritual person; My life has lasting meaning; and I believe there is a purpose for my life.
I don't think the last two are necessarily spiritual in nature, although they can be construed that way. You can answer no to the first one and yes to the next two and not be in any contradiction.
One could also say yes to the first and no to the next two and be placed on suicide watch. I'd like more information on how effective this "test" has been in protecting and helping soldiers deal with combat stress. Does it have scientific validity and if it does is it effective across all belief systems?
That’s curious and reasonable, but then evolution has endowed us with a need for God and religion in some form. Do you think we’ll eventually reach some level of scientific or technological superiority that we can eventually overcome the “god gene”?
It seems that history is rife with knowledge lost and in our modern world we seem more ignorant than ever, e.g. Global Warming.
“the map is not the territory” - Alfred Korzybski