Arguing against religion - Government without God
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23-06-2012, 07:38 AM
Arguing against religion - Government without God
Every Saturday my regional newspaper prints a column or essay on the topic of religion. I usually skip past it because typically it doesn't offer anything of interest to me, and more often makes me angry. Occasionally I skim it, roll my eyes, and toss it aside to keep from infecting my Saturday morning with anger over things I can't control. Today I went back and decided to attempt something of a counter-argument. I'd like to hear what you folks have to say about it.

The entire essay is here (http://www.mcall.com/features/religion/m...8631.story ), though I'm only tackling the opening few paragraphs here.


“Can you have government without God?”

"When someone doesn't like certain government restrictions, the call comes out to 'remove religion from government'. Let's look at some consequences and see if unrestricted freedom makes life better."

The opening sentence sets the stage: the writer states the argument is based on a desire to skirt restrictions in the current government. The need to remove religion from government has nothing to do with evading government restrictions. It has everything to do with having a government that relies on common sense and morality (which can arise without any interference from religion) and not on fantasy.

The writer goes on to choose Christianity as the religion to remove, arguing it's the most popular target. I'll agree with that. However, he chooses the Ten Commandments as his 'test case' and proceeds to argue that if they were removed life would be less than satisfactory.

First he argues that removing "You shall have no other gods before me" will reduce the nation to anarchy. He writes: "The bottom line: When one desires to remove 'religion' from the marketplace, he means 'God', the author of the moral code." No god wrote the moral code. Christianity's commandments took most of its content from an established moral baseline, in effect reprinting what people already knew were things they ought not to do, and declaring a fantasy creature had made them his will for people on earth. Removing god from government will not result in anarchy because people already know how to behave. Granted, not all of them do so, but whether you ask a religious person or a secular one, they will pretty much agree that things like murder and lying and stealing are bad and should be avoided.

I think that's enough for now. I wrote a little more but I'm unhappy with it at this point. Being a detail-oriented perfectionist is a pain sometimes. Smile I'm trying to maintain a more-or-less professional/serious tone, but I get worked up over the subject matter, which is why I don't generally debate over a topic like this. When I get worked up my brain shuts off and I wind up going, 'Grr! Argh!' and that's just not helpful when trying to present a rational, reasonable argument.

"The amazing thing is that every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. ... So, forget Jesus. The stars died so that you could be here today." -- Lawrence Krauss
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23-06-2012, 09:38 AM
RE: Arguing against religion - Government without God
Quote: "You shall not commit adultery." Adultery is sex outside of heterosexual
marriage. All extramarital relationships would be fair game. We can't
say we'd act like animals, because most of them are monogamous and
heterosexual. STDs would not be a stigma and would flourish. Bestiality,
prostitution and bigamy could be taught in high school (and lower)
health class. Rape and pornography would be defensible. Women and
children first!
Why of all paragraphs I had I read, I read this one?

I love how he goes out of his way to express "heterosexual marriage", a clear attack at gay marriage, but whatever, cunts will always be cunts.

You should write in to the newspaper to inform him of how much of a cunt he is.

Here, allow me to write the letter for you so you don't have to, just print and post.
Actually, I might email this guy, I like how he is a cunt and happy to express his opinion of how much of a cunt he is, I respect that.


Dear Mr Allegra

I believe you are portraying things as facts that you have absolute no proof of except speculation.
I am off course talking about your recent article the The Morning Call that talks about if God was removed from government.
In said article you conclude that if it was not for the 10 commandments then there would be anarchy, people would be killing everyone, stealing everyone's stuff etc... However you have failed to back your findings with any proof but rather plenty of speculation and hypothesizing.
This is why I write (email) you today just to ask that you stop portraying things as facts least people get the wrong idea that what you are saying is indeed fact, when it's not.

Because I know you are a theist I understand that thinking outside of the bible box may come at a challenge to you so I will also include in this plea letter a serious of counter hypothesis of my own if religion was removed from government.

Firstly I would like to bring up the constitution. The constitution was set up by the people to offer people the power of governance which insured that this government would effectively watch over and protect the people of the nation. Now, correct me if I am wrong (though remember this is my hypothesis, just like you've already had yours) but is not part of looking after and protecting the people things like ensuring people can walk down the street without being killed, or that their stuff wont be stolen, basically human rights??
So even without religion, the government has a legal obligation to enforce such things and have such things such as a legal and justice system. Without them they would be in breach of the constitution and hence forth have no authority to govern (which ensures they do actually fulfill the obligation to protect society).

Secondly now that I have theorized why the government still must serve and protect its citizens like it does today, I would like to add that if religion was removed from the governments thought process then certain things would improve. For starters gay marriage would be legal. Getting married can be considered a basic right and hence forth it should not matter if it is between a male and male or male and female. The only thing stopping basics rights being handed out to everyone is religion much in the same way when black folk had masters and picked cotton.

I suggest you look at your faith, it appears to be clouding your ability to see beyond the bible box. And if you could stop portraying things as fact especially when you have zero proof, then I would deeply appreciate it. I'm sure God would appreciate you not lying as well.
God bless you.

Yours sincerely
Earmuffs

I don't talk gay, I don't walk gay, it's like people don't even know I'm gay unless I'm blowing them.
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23-06-2012, 09:53 AM
RE: Arguing against religion - Government without God
Wow Earmuffs Smile Nice response. I was bracing for you to unleash the (fully justified in this case) fury Tongue
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23-06-2012, 09:55 AM
RE: Arguing against religion - Government without God
Blech. Clicked over to the article. How people can write such drivel and be taken seriously is beyond me.
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23-06-2012, 10:01 AM
RE: Arguing against religion - Government without God
This is the same old, lame old, stupid stuff they always preach.
- No god, no morals.
- If we remove god we have no morals.
It's all bullshit...
Morality is nothing more than the opinion of the majority.
In America, that's the Religious Majority.

The old gods are dead, let's invent some new ones before something really bad happens.
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23-06-2012, 10:24 AM (This post was last modified: 23-06-2012 11:40 AM by Ghost.)
RE: Arguing against religion - Government without God
Sup, Ocean?

Quote:The need to remove religion from government has nothing to do with
evading government restrictions. It has everything to do with having a
government that relies on common sense and morality (which can arise
without any interference from religion) and not on fantasy.

That's actually revisionist. It's projecting the arguments of today onto the arguments of the past. Common sense (which doesn't actually mean "self-evidently true" it means, "how most people view it"; an important distinction) or what could more accurately be called the scientific view vs the fantasy view had nothing to do with the original intent of the separation of church and state.

If people think the church is influential now, then you don't know Bo. The church used to be astronomically more powerful than it is now and massively influential. It used this influence to get the government to act in its favour, to the exclusion of other interest groups. This was inherently non-democratic because a single special interest group controlled government policy. By separating out the church's power from the state, the intent was to free the state to be able to act in the best interests of everyone equally, or at least as equally as possible.

Now here's the danger of forgetting that and assuming it had to do with Theists being cranks.

All states are filled with special interest groups. That's just the way it goes. At any given time, either a single special interest group, or a coalition of special interest groups, will control the state. The more moderate the political climate, the more special interest groups will be in a coalition, the more radicalised the political climate, the fewer. This is because moderates are inclusive. They allow room for others. Radicals are exclusive and crowd out as many special interest groups as possible. The way it balances out is that because the system functions this way, at any given time, some special interest groups are going to be marginalised. That is always the case. That is also the anomaly that the Architect speaks of in the Matrix Reloaded.





When things are moderate and inclusive, their marginalisation is less. When it's radicalised, it's terrible. For example, blacks today are still on the outside looking in, but they aren't owned anymore. That's the result of a radicalised political climate that became moderate. When things are radicalised, there are not only more marginalised interest groups, but their disenfranchisement is greater. The more powerful a single group gets in government, the more pissed off the masses get. Eventually they refuse to take it any longer.





All of this is to say that the bane of democratic systems is the concentration of power in the hands of fewer and fewer special interest groups.

Separating the church severed the institutionalised link between the church and the state, making them just another special interest group rather than the grand poobah of them all.

Today however, we very clearly see other special interest groups with massive power. Corporate lobbies basically instruct governmental regulatory bodies how to rule; invariably in their favour.

Mussolini called fascism the marriage between corporation and state.

Because we focus on the importance of separating church and state, we're blindly allowing corporate interests to run the government. It's not about separating church from state, it's about separating any and all special interest groups from the state so that the state is free to represent everyone equally. This, today, is CLEARLY not the case.

So naturally I'm not saying that it isn't important to maintain the separation of church and state, quite the opposite, I think it's essential. The Christian right in the US, for example, has made it abundantly clear that if they take over, they are changing all of the laws to suit them and only them ("You shall have no other gods before me" is not an inclusive law). What I am saying is that it doesn't stop there. The notion should be re-branded, the separation of all special interest groups and state. Only when that happens can you have democracy.

In terms of that article, holy fucking nut bag. It has a lot to do with Hobbesian philosophy. Without the rule of law the life of man would be nasty, brutish and short blah blah blah. Holy sky is falling nonsense. If we removed thou shalt not kill, Hitler would be alive and well. Get bent. The modification to Hobbes that this guy is making, in the most demagoguic of ways, is that without the rule of BIBLICAL law, the life of man would be nasty, brutish and short. It's just silly. "Adultery is sex outside of heterosexual marriage." Really? Are you fucking kidding me? Marriage, as we know it today, didn't exist during Biblical days. Talk about fucking revisionism. He's basically saying that communism is a system of theft. Eat a dick. Yeah, eliminating those religious notions would eliminate prisons because Jeremy Bentham never existed because history began yesterday. Makes me ill. Anyway, it's a truly demagoguic argument that basically says:

Accept my version of things or civilisation as we know it will crumble around your head and your life with be solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. Afraid yet? Good. This fictional problem that I just invented out of thin air has a solution and I just happen to be the one that has it. Give me the power to remake the world in my image and I promise you that you'll be safe.

It's bullshit of the worst kind of feculent fetid stank.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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23-06-2012, 05:42 PM
RE: Arguing against religion - Government without God
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23-06-2012, 06:03 PM
RE: Arguing against religion - Government without God
I agree a pure democracy is majority rule, and that is bad.

Also just a note for the crazy editor. This government is independent from religion, and we intend to keep it that way.



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27-06-2012, 06:27 AM
RE: Arguing against religion - Government without God
(23-06-2012 10:24 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Sup, Ocean?

Quote:The need to remove religion from government has nothing to do with
evading government restrictions. It has everything to do with having a
government that relies on common sense and morality (which can arise
without any interference from religion) and not on fantasy.

That's actually revisionist. It's projecting the arguments of today onto the arguments of the past. Common sense (which doesn't actually mean "self-evidently true" it means, "how most people view it"; an important distinction) or what could more accurately be called the scientific view vs the fantasy view had nothing to do with the original intent of the separation of church and state.


I suppose 'common sense' is an oft-misused phrase. But I did actually mean 'how most people view it' rather than 'self-evidently true'. I think the average person knows what's right or wrong. Whether they do what's right rather than what's wrong is another matter, but I even think the majority of people can keep themselves from going out and just doing bad things. I guess I can't resist pointing out that the cults of the SkyGod are based on fantasy and not evidence. The more I get into science, the more disgusted I get with the very idea of people just taking things 'on faith', etc. Around the turn of the 20th century, some very smart people believed there was an 'ether' through which light moved. One fellow (I forget his name) spent several years trying with experiment to prove defiinitively that it existed. Ultimately he wound up disproving its existence, and, since he was a scientist, had to admit that ether did not actually exist.

You wrote a heap of good stuff here, and I thank you for your detailled attention to the subject. It's more than I feel I can properly respond to. Every post I read gives me some more information about how others think and feel about topics like these, and that's very valuable to me. I don't know if I'll eventually come to a point where I feel I can debate with theists over things like these, or whether I'll want to. Right now I'm in the stage of being in awe of the universe and learning all I can about how it works. My contribution to the fight is filling myself with good thoughts and knowledge that I can use to lift myself up when I have to deal with things like the article I referred to.

I hope to come back to this later and comment on your last paragraphs re: Hobbes, etc.

"The amazing thing is that every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. ... So, forget Jesus. The stars died so that you could be here today." -- Lawrence Krauss
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