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Why do Americans still dislike atheists?
Washington Post ^ | 05/01/2011 | Gregory Pauland, Phil Zuckerman

Posted on 05/01/2011 6:06:36 AM PDT by SeekAndFind

Long after blacks and Jews have made great strides, and even as homosexuals gain respect, acceptance and new rights, there is still a group that lots of Americans just don’t like much: atheists. Those who don’t believe in God are widely considered to be immoral, wicked and angry. They can’t join the Boy Scouts. Atheist soldiers are rated potentially deficient when they do not score as sufficiently “spiritual” in military psychological evaluations. Surveys find that most Americans refuse or are reluctant to marry or vote for nontheists; in other words, nonbelievers are one minority still commonly denied in practical terms the right to assume office despite the constitutional ban on religious tests.

Rarely denounced by the mainstream, this stunning anti-atheist discrimination is egged on by Christian conservatives who stridently — and uncivilly — declare that the lack of godly faith is detrimental to society, rendering nonbelievers intrinsically suspect and second-class citizens.

Is this knee-jerk dislike of atheists warranted? Not even close.

A growing body of social science research reveals that atheists, and non-religious people in general, are far from the unsavory beings many assume them to be. On basic questions of morality and human decency — issues such as governmental use of torture, the death penalty, punitive hitting of children, racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, environmental degradation or human rights — the irreligious tend to be more ethical than their religious peers, particularly compared with those who describe themselves as very religious.

Consider that at the societal level, murder rates are far lower in secularized nations such as Japan or Sweden than they are in the much more religious United States, which also has a much greater portion of its population in prison.

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


TOPICS: Current Events; Religion & Culture; Religion & Politics; Skeptics/Seekers
KEYWORDS: atheism; atheists
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To: muir_redwoods

Everyone is promoting something, and men like Hitchens, Dawkins, et. are increasingly strongly promoting - their views, or ideology much as those in formal religion, and State-sanctioned secularism effectually promotes atheism and ever morphing morality, in rejection of the “old paths.


51 posted on 05/01/2011 7:52:31 AM PDT by daniel1212 ( "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out," Acts 3:19)
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To: SeekAndFind

Even Atheists don’t like Atheists.
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/2713145/posts


52 posted on 05/01/2011 7:52:37 AM PDT by magslinger (What Would Stephen Decatur Do?)
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To: SeekAndFind
Chart is helpful, from http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/5-barna-update/66-american-faith-is-diverse-as-shown-among-five-faith-based-segments?tmpl=component&print=1&layout=default&page=
  evangelicals non-evan., born again notional Christians non-Christian faith atheist/agnostic
mostly conservative on social issues 70% 37% 25% 12% 12%
registered Republican 58% 35% 26% 11% 15%
Bible or religious teaching is the basis of their moral decision-making 68% 27% 11% 8% 3%
believe that absolute moral truth exist 58% 27% 15% 17% 10%
homosexuality is a morally unacceptable lifestyle 95% 59% 38% 27% 20%
cohabitation is morally acceptable 10% 42% 65% 82% 92%
movies with explicit sexual behavior are morally acceptable 12% 33% 54% 75% 79%
having an abortion is morally acceptable 4% 24% 38% 67% 71%
read from the Bible in past 7 days 86% 53% 24% 17% 9%
attended church service in past 7 days 80% 58% 36% 14% 9%
strongly disagree that the devil, or Satan, is not a living being but is a symbol of evil 100% 26% 15% 20% 15%
strongly disagree that when He lived on earth, Jesus Christ was human and committed sins 100% 53% 27% 20% 20%
strongly disagree that the Holy Spirit is a symbol of God's presence or power but not a living entity 86% 22% 11% 20% 13%
sample size 313 1316 1754 282 300

53 posted on 05/01/2011 7:54:37 AM PDT by daniel1212 ( "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out," Acts 3:19)
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To: Ghost of Philip Marlowe

“The fool has said in his heart, There is no God.” Psalm 14:1


54 posted on 05/01/2011 7:57:04 AM PDT by Bed_Zeppelin
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To: SeekAndFind

“Why do Americans still dislike atheists?”

Answer: Godless communists....next question....


55 posted on 05/01/2011 8:12:17 AM PDT by GenXteacher (He that hath no stomach for this fight, let him depart!)
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To: SeekAndFind

My only complaint w/ atheists is their efforts to legislate ‘God’ out of everything. What is the big deal w/ “in God We Trust”, and the 10 commandments, etc.

Fine, be an atheist, just leave my faith alone and I will leave your non-failth alone.


56 posted on 05/01/2011 8:13:04 AM PDT by Dudoight
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To: daniel1212

As well as the open contempt by atheists for religious belief.


57 posted on 05/01/2011 8:25:47 AM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Why dislike atheists?

I would observe that the majority of atheists I’ve met are angry and bitter.

Neither quality endears humans to other humans. Certainly not all atheists
are bitter and angry... just he majority I’ve met.

Atheists, by definition, assert certainty in an area they cannot prove, given
they do not have all knowledge. If they claim to know everything, they ascribe a characteristic of God - omniscience - to themselves. Look, the majority of us just don’t believe atheists are god.

That’s a start. What’s likable about someone who denies that creation had a creator, attribute it to chance by claiming to be god themselves, and then go through life bitterly and angrily attacking the faith of others...?

Not endearing to me, certainly.

But, hey, it’s a free country. No one will be an atheist in the end.


58 posted on 05/01/2011 8:29:29 AM PDT by aMorePerfectUnion
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To: SeekAndFind
WaPo’s observations about atheistic families and individuals:

* As individuals, atheists tend to score high on measures of intelligence, especially verbal ability and scientific literacy.

* They tend to raise their children to solve problems rationally, to make up their own minds when it comes to existential questions and to obey the golden rule.

* They are more likely to practice safe sex than the strongly religious are

* They are less likely to be nationalistic or ethnocentric.

* They value freedom of thought.

* Denmark, which is among the least religious countries in the history of the world, consistently rates as the happiest of nations.

* Studies of apostates — people who were religious but later rejected their religion — report feeling happier, better and liberated in their post-religious lives.

1cor 26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called.

59 posted on 05/01/2011 8:32:33 AM PDT by DungeonMaster (My dad put his arm around me like that once, to this very day he wears orthopedic shirts.)
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To: MuttTheHoople

Amen Brother!


60 posted on 05/01/2011 8:33:50 AM PDT by cameraeye (A happy kufir!)
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To: aMorePerfectUnion

RE: I would observe that the majority of atheists I’ve met are angry and bitter.


Well, what can I say? The author(s) of this Washington Post piece makes the following observation in contrast to your observation :

“Studies of apostates — people who were religious but later rejected their religion — report feeling happier, better and liberated in their post-religious lives.”

Both of you can’t be right here.


61 posted on 05/01/2011 8:50:13 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: daniel1212

I find this chart interesting in that the questions have “prescriptive” behavior in it ( e.g. Homosexuality is an unacceptable lifestyle ).

Twenty percent of atheists say it isn’t. This begs the question -— why ?

Believers can always refer to God’s laws to determine whether a lifestyle is or isn’t right.

What does the atheist refer to ? Darwinian evolution ? Or their own personal taste?


62 posted on 05/01/2011 8:53:05 AM PDT by SeekAndFind (u)
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To: SeekAndFind

What a stupid article.

C.S. Lewis was an atheist that converted to Christianity and became a much happier, joyful, creative, productive person with many deep friendships.

http://www.amazon.com/Question-God-Sigmund-Debate-Meaning/dp/074324785X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1304264218&sr=1-1

The difference is that atheists are moral relativists. There are no absolutes for these people except material gratification. Singer debated that because of that whatever they decide is “right” becomes right, which includes killing infants after birth, if the parent wills it.

Atheism only allows arbitrary laws created by the most powerful. It will be based on politics and power and will always be immoral as defined by our Constitution which is about morality in law—Just Law—which is only found in Judeo/Christian ethics.

Stalin was an atheist.....and Hitler was a pagan occultist. When you dump moral absolutes (which come from the Bible) you can never be a moral person and give dignity and worth to all humans.


63 posted on 05/01/2011 8:55:35 AM PDT by savagesusie
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To: SeekAndFind

The evolution of mammals is entirely heterosexual...

Most “atheists” are really religious faggots to think otherwise...


64 posted on 05/01/2011 8:57:43 AM PDT by Sir Francis Dashwood (Arjuna, why have you have dropped your bow???)
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To: FatherofFive

The morally sick democrats are despicable. Love the Boy Scouts.


65 posted on 05/01/2011 8:57:59 AM PDT by savagesusie
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To: SeekAndFind

Because some of the more notable and vocal ones can be miserable people to deal with, at least on that subject.


66 posted on 05/01/2011 9:00:58 AM PDT by RichInOC (Palin 2012: The Perfect Storm.)
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To: Sir Francis Dashwood
The evolution of mammals is entirely heterosexual... Most “atheists” are really religious faggots to think otherwise...

And you wonder why atheists think that Christians are hypocritical bigots.

67 posted on 05/01/2011 9:12:55 AM PDT by mike-zed
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To: mike-zed

I’m an atheist...

Religious faggots who think they can evolve with anal birth are insane...


68 posted on 05/01/2011 9:15:23 AM PDT by Sir Francis Dashwood (Arjuna, why have you have dropped your bow???)
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To: SeekAndFind

I don’t dislike atheists. I just know they are wrong, I pity them.

I dislike atheists who try to suppress my freedom to worship God.


69 posted on 05/01/2011 10:02:36 AM PDT by Gamecock (I didn't reach the top of the food chain just to become a vegetarian.)
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To: SeekAndFind

I don’t believe in atheists. People will always have a “god” that they worship....be it power, money, social status, vanity, sports teams, celebrities, etc.


70 posted on 05/01/2011 10:26:52 AM PDT by toothfairy86
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To: mountainlion
I would lump atheists and muslems together.

Since neither believes in God, you would be right. I've known a few fine people who consider themselves to be Atheists... but I've always considered the good ones to be Agnostic, whether they admit it or not.

71 posted on 05/01/2011 10:30:38 AM PDT by MarineBrat (Better dead than red!)
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To: SeekAndFind; aMorePerfectUnion
Both of you can’t be right here.

Considering this is the Washington Post, I'll put my faith in the original poster first. :)

72 posted on 05/01/2011 10:33:48 AM PDT by pnh102 (Regarding liberalism, always attribute to malice what you think can be explained by stupidity. - Me)
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To: SeekAndFind

““Studies of apostates — people who were religious but later rejected their religion — report feeling happier, better and liberated in their post-religious lives.””

I suppose that would depend entirely on what religion it was they believed and later rejected ...

The issue isn’t religion or a specific religion, but belief in God versus belief in yourself as god (atheism).

I made a personal observation. My observation remains true. YMMV.

ampu


73 posted on 05/01/2011 10:37:33 AM PDT by aMorePerfectUnion
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To: SeekAndFind

One can only speculate, but my opinion is they are perceived as often lacking “love”, and even a good understanding of it. While sometimes smart, they are almost bionic. These traits lead to them appearing as untrustworthy, and very unpredictable, which lead to uncomfortable impressions. I still pray for them, so that they may one day see the light, and personally experience Holy miracles of their own.


74 posted on 05/01/2011 10:47:37 AM PDT by Golden Eagle
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Please Donate



75 posted on 05/01/2011 11:05:53 AM PDT by TheOldLady
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To: SeekAndFind

Everytime I see these polls on religion, I wish that they would always break out the results by race. On the occasions when they do, it is usually black Americans who are the most devout as churchgoers and most hostile to atheists.


76 posted on 05/01/2011 11:09:32 AM PDT by Clemenza (Remember our Korean War Veterans)
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To: tbw2

Yep, and blacks have the highest rate of churchgoing in the country. You are better off living amongst secular Japanese and French then you are amongst certain devoutly Christian groups.


77 posted on 05/01/2011 11:12:46 AM PDT by Clemenza (Remember our Korean War Veterans)
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To: daniel1212

I dont believe in any religion or any scripture and I never discuss it with anyone. You might be drawing general conclusions about non-believers based on a relatively small sample who feel the need to burden others with their beliefs. The model can be seen among believers too.


78 posted on 05/01/2011 11:20:16 AM PDT by muir_redwoods (Obama. Chauncey Gardiner without the homburg.)
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To: SeekAndFind
Rarely denounced by the mainstream, this stunning anti-atheist discrimination is egged on by Christian conservatives who stridently — and uncivilly — declare that the lack of godly faith is detrimental to society, rendering nonbelievers intrinsically suspect and second-class citizens.

Uhhh... WaPo, I think you've got this exactly 180 degrees backward.

79 posted on 05/01/2011 11:22:40 AM PDT by mtg
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To: MuttTheHoople

Because they’re arrogant and condescending. Which is logical ... if you really believe in a Supreme Being, you tend to be somewhat humble.


80 posted on 05/01/2011 11:25:01 AM PDT by Let's Roll (Save the world's best healthcare - REPEAL, DEFUND Obamacare!)
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To: savagesusie

Good answer to post 62. The devil seeks to change what God said Islam. Mormonism, even Catholicism and others to a degree, ) and then to deny it altogether.


81 posted on 05/01/2011 12:50:58 PM PDT by daniel1212 ( "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out," Acts 3:19)
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To: muir_redwoods

Certainly it can, and i am not saying it is wrong in principle to seek to persuade others of what one believes is true and best, but pointed out that it occurs on both sides.


82 posted on 05/01/2011 1:54:43 PM PDT by daniel1212 ( "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out," Acts 3:19)
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To: tbw2; wintertime
“Religious believers tend to have 40% more children than atheists”

True...see the documentary “Demographic Winter”. And then most of the “religious believers” that have these children will send them off to public school to learn from an institution dedicated to teaching the tenets of atheism. This leads to a very confused younger generation...mom and dad talk about God but send me to school to learn that there is no God...and then we wonder why...”. Murder is overwhelmingly committed by 15-30 year olds.”

83 posted on 05/01/2011 4:10:43 PM PDT by WorldviewDad (following God instead of culture)
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To: SeekAndFind
What does the atheist refer to ? Darwinian evolution ?

The evolution of mammals is only possible with HETEROSEXUAL relationships...

The teaching that matrimony is a sacrament gives to a religious clergy the power to judge the lawfulness of marriages and power of ecclesiastical censure for divorce.

The government of men's external actions by religion, pretending the change of nature in their consecrations cannot be esteemed a work extraordinary, it is no other than a conjuration or incantation, whereby they would have men to believe an alteration of nature that is contrary to the testimony of sight and of all the rest of the senses.

The idea "thou shalt marry and be given in marriage" is corrupt and degenerate, which is an impossible immortality of a kind, but not of the persons of men.

Ecclesiastics would have men believe they are not worthy to be counted amongst them that shall obtain the next world, or absolute resurrection from the dead, as inmates of the world; and to the end only to receive condign punishment for their contumacy of monogamy as opposed to the freedom of the polygamy found in nature.

Most so-called "atheists" ignore the greater premise and scientific fact that mammals can only evolve heterosexually. They are religious faggots (a term I invented exclusively for them and their ilk).

And whether any of the philosophical combatants like it or not, this idea is supported by the book of Genesis.

84 posted on 05/01/2011 5:02:35 PM PDT by Sir Francis Dashwood (Arjuna, why have you have dropped your bow???)
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To: aMorePerfectUnion
I would also think that it would depend on the definition of “feeling happier, better and liberated”. I could see how a person that was just going through the motions of being religious without actually believing in God would feel “happier” after walking away.

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Romans 1:21-22 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

Psalm 14:1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seemeth tight unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

85 posted on 05/01/2011 5:13:40 PM PDT by WorldviewDad (following God instead of culture)
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To: freekitty
"They miss the mark when they say God doesn’t exist because they can’t see God."

Ask them if they believe in the existence of black holes. Ask them if they've ever seen one.

86 posted on 05/01/2011 5:18:00 PM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: SeekAndFind

they are mixing apples and oranges.

Upper class and wealthy refined atheists are being compared to the rest of us uneducated bitter types who cling to our guns and religion.


87 posted on 05/01/2011 6:29:04 PM PDT by LadyDoc (liberals only love politically correct poor people)
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To: aMorePerfectUnion
Well met. I´ve never encountered an atheist with a good understanding of science either. Not to say there aren´t any. But science is a
good place to start in discussions of God.
88 posted on 05/01/2011 6:50:14 PM PDT by onedoug (If)
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To: WorldviewDad
I could see how a person that was just going through the motions of being religious without actually believing in God would feel “happier” after walking away. You are so right. I'd feel exactly that.
89 posted on 05/01/2011 7:53:50 PM PDT by aMorePerfectUnion
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To: onedoug

onedoug,
thanks. I agree with your comments about science.
best,
ampu


90 posted on 05/01/2011 7:55:34 PM PDT by aMorePerfectUnion
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To: onedoug

(The US Constitution is based on God and moral absolutes that have been ripped apart by the atheists and pagan and occultists. Schools are brainwashing children into Darwinism and atheism and Marxism.)

“Antony Flew, the 81-year-old British philosophy professor who taught at Oxford and other leading universities, became an atheist at age 15. Throughout his long career he argued—including in debates with an atheist-turned-Christian named C. S. Lewis—that there was a “presumption of atheism,” that is, the existence of a creator could not be proved.

But he’s now been forced to face the evidence. It comes from the Intelligent Design movement, led by Dr. Phillip Johnson and particularly the work of Michael Behe, the Lehigh biochemist who has proven the “irreducible complexity” of the human cell structure. Though eighty-one years old, Flew has not let his thinking fossilize, but has faithfully followed his own dictum to “go where the evidence leads.”

Christian philosophy professor Gary Habermas of Liberty University conducted an interview with Flew that will be published in the winter issue of Philosophia Christi, the journal of the Evangelical Philosophical Society and Biola University. Flew told Habermas that a pivotal point in his thinking was when he realized two major flaws in the various theories of how nature might have created itself. First, he recognized that evolutionary theory has no reasonable explanation for “the first emergence of living from non-living matter”—that is, the origin of life. Second, even if a living cell or primitive animal had somehow assembled itself from non-living chemicals, he reasoned it would have no ability to reproduce.”

From: http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2005/01/antony-flews-co-1.html


91 posted on 05/01/2011 9:16:27 PM PDT by savagesusie
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To: savagesusie
Also prominent in Flew´s later thinking are Gerald Schroeder and Roy Abraham Varghese
92 posted on 05/01/2011 9:47:27 PM PDT by onedoug (If)
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To: onedoug

Yes.

I find it remarkable that when the most influential Atheist for decades, Flew, acknowledged that there is a God, it wasn’t splashed on the front pages for months. If any famous Christian renounced Christianity and became an Atheist, it would have been broadcast 24/7 for half a year.

Media is just brainwashing bullsh*t.


93 posted on 05/01/2011 10:10:12 PM PDT by savagesusie
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To: SeekAndFind

Placemark.


94 posted on 05/01/2011 10:55:35 PM PDT by little jeremiah (Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point. CSLewis)
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To: savagesusie
It's not that large a jump to go from not believing in a creator to believing in a creator. Some of the design arguments are well thought out and I can see how they may be convincing.

It's a much, much bigger jump to go from believing in a creator to believing in a God (or Gods) who rewards and punishes humans on a one-by-one basis, and even a bigger jump to the paradox and schism packed belief system that is Christianity.

95 posted on 05/02/2011 11:56:48 AM PDT by Notary Sojac (Populism is antithetical to conservatism.)
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To: SeekAndFind

save


96 posted on 05/02/2011 12:02:17 PM PDT by Texas Songwriter ( ma)
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To: daniel1212; tbw2; SeekAndFind; yefragetuwrabrumuy; only1percent; Sacajaweau; Quix; RnMomof7; ...
Thanks for writing, daniel. Here's an interesting quote from Hilaire Belloc's The Five Heresies:

If one were to catalogue heresies marking the whole long story of Christendom the list would seem almost endless. They divide and subdivide, they are on every scale, they vary from the local to the general. Their lives extend from less than a generation to centuries. The best way of understanding the subject is to select a few prominent examples, and by the study of these to understand of what vast import heresy may be.

Such a study is the easier from the fact that our fathers recognized heresy for what it was, gave it in each case a particular name, subjected it to a definition and therefore to limits, and made its analysis the easier by such definition. Unfortunately, in the modern world the habit of such a definition has been lost; the word "heresy" having come to connote something odd and old-fashioned, is no longer applied to cases which are clearly cases of heresy and ought to be treated as such.

For instance, there is abroad today a denial of what theologians call "dominion"-that is the right to own property. It is widely affirmed that laws permitting the private ownership of land and capital are immoral; that the soil of all goods which are productive should be communal and that any system leaving their control to individuals or families is wrong and therefore to be attacked and destroyed.

That doctrine, already very strong among us and increasing in strength and the number of its adherents [*COUGH* DEMOCRATS *COUGH*], we do not call a heresy. We think of it only as a political or economic system, and when we speak of Communism our vocabulary does not suggest anything theological. But this is only because we have forgotten what the word theological means. Communism is as much a heresy as Manichaeism. It is the taking away from the moral scheme by which we have lived of a particular part, the denial of that part and the attempt to replace it by an innovation. The Communist retains much of the Christian scheme- human equality, the right to live, and so forth-he denies a part of it only.

Link

Cheers!

97 posted on 05/02/2011 7:39:36 PM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: grey_whiskers

THX for the ping.


98 posted on 05/02/2011 8:34:04 PM PDT by Quix (Times are a changin' INSURE you have believed in your heart & confessed Jesus as Lord Come NtheFlesh)
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To: Notary Sojac

True....but societies with great numbers have never ever been capable of great freedom, creativity and productiveness and fairness under any paradigm but the Christian one. No other gives dignity and worth to every single human being.

That being said.....why destroy the Christian ethic when no other ideology gives such freedom and fairness? None. Atheism ends in totalitarianism and destruction of freedom and morality. Evil always gets rewarded and goodness gets punished and taxed (and eliminated).

Objective Truth is necessary for Just Law. You can never have it in a moral relativist society (one with no Revelation and Objective Truth) which are all cultures and religions not based on Natural Law Theory (like Christianity) and the basis of the US Constitution. The Christian paradigm dominated America and was the reason underlying the success of the Capitalistic country. Morality has to be a part of Capitalism.

Socialism destroys freedom and responsibility and T. Dalrymple explains the destruction of cultures which destroys the family and Christianity. Welfare state always destroys the family and faith.


99 posted on 05/02/2011 8:59:45 PM PDT by savagesusie
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To: savagesusie
but societies with great numbers have never ever been capable of great freedom, creativity and productiveness and fairness under any paradigm but the Christian one. No other gives dignity and worth to every single human being.

1 - how about the Jewish "paradigm"?

2 - I do agree with you that societies with Christian underpinnings do well by human freedom and dignity. But only for the last three hundred years. It took a good sized side order of Enlightenment philosophy added into the mix to activate that "freedom, creativity and fairness".

3 - Your rationale for Christianity is a pragmatic one. "It produces a better society". I can accept that premise and agree with it while still having no personal acceptance of the supernatural in any way.

100 posted on 05/03/2011 7:06:40 AM PDT by Notary Sojac (Populism is antithetical to conservatism.)
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