Interesting argument on the impossibility of true neutrality
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09-10-2016, 10:58 PM (This post was last modified: 10-10-2016 11:32 AM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Interesting argument on the impossibility of true neutrality
(08-10-2016 03:32 PM)mhausam Wrote:  On the other hand, if a person tries to influence civil law to allow abortion, that position flows from other beliefs and values, beliefs and values different in some ways from mine. (For example, perhaps the person is an Agnostic rather than a Catholic and so doesn't think that "God's moral law" is a good reason to ban abortion or that there is any other good reason.) And so that position is not religiously neutral either, as it assumes some view other than my Catholic view just as much as my position assumes my Catholic view.

No. Get out of your little Catholic cocoon. *Dismissing* the idiot inconsistent positions of your men in red dresses is not agnosticism. We don't even know the position of the RC church anymore, on almost every subject, (that's assuming they ever had one). A clump of cells with no brain and no neural tube is a POTENTIAL human, not a person. The ONLY reason to say it is, is the Catholic position you FOIST on society, about your magic made-up "soul" BS. I ask you, sir, if twinning occurs AFTER conception, (which it often does) ... then before the twins are formed, are there two souls in the fetus ? LMAO.
You can't even tell us when exactly is the "moment of conception".

Your incidental *possible* straw-man reason why someone may oppose your fool position is NOT at ALL accurate, gramps. It does not flow from religion and is not religious. You obviously cannot think in any other terms. That's your problem. Do not caste the entire world in your parochial cocoon. It's a human right. It has NOTHING to do with religion. Why are you so obsessed with what young women do with their reproductive systems ? Creepy.

In the Treaty with Tripoli, the founding fathers of the US said the US is in no way a Christian nation. Get over it. There is a reason 10% of Americans are ex-Catholics. It's people like you that are the cause of this. Congratulations. Thumbsup Keep up the great job of driving people away. If you don't want to have an abortion, then don't have one. You are perfectly free to chose that. So yeah, you are free with respect to abortion.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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10-10-2016, 12:33 AM
RE: Interesting argument on the impossibility of true neutrality
(09-10-2016 06:07 PM)mhausam Wrote:  No, my point is that a secular law, rooted in a non-religious viewpoint, is no more neutral than one rooted in a religious viewpoint.

So long as it does not extend special favoritism or special exceptions to any religious belief or none, then it is neutral.


(09-10-2016 06:07 PM)mhausam Wrote:  If, for example, we were to enact a law allowing abortion, on the grounds that there is no good reason not to allow it from a secular, non-religious point of view, this law would be based on assumptions contrary to those of various religions, such as Catholicism.

Laws built upon assumptions are bad. The right to abortion was upheld by the Supreme Court because the law had good reasons to exist, and those reasons stood up well enough on their own without the need for religious scaffolding to prop it up. It has yet to be overturned, because the vast majority of arguments against it are grounded in purely religious terms, and such argument carry no weight in a secular system.


(09-10-2016 06:07 PM)mhausam Wrote:  From a Catholic point of view, the truth is that God, who is the ultimate moral authority of the universe, commands all societies to ban abortion, so the right and prudent thing to do is to ban abortion.

Except that the Catholic view is dictated by the Pope, and the view can and does change. Which is fine, human opinions can and will change over time. However in a secular system, nobody gets points for claiming that their god is on their side.


(09-10-2016 06:07 PM)mhausam Wrote:  The secular law allowing abortion is based, at least in effect, on the assumption either that this Catholic position is not true or at least that it is not known objectively to be true (an Agnostic position).

That is demonstrably incorrect on multiple levels. Laws built upon 'assumptions' generally do not fare well under the scrutiny of the Supreme Court.


(09-10-2016 06:07 PM)mhausam Wrote:  Therefore, the secular law is no more religiously neutral than the Catholic one. A law based in non-religious assumptions is no more neutral than one based in religious assumptions, when those assumptions contradict each other.

Too bad that you're entire argument is built around 'assumptions', trying to create the perception of a false equivocation, when it would be hard to be much further from the truth. Your premises are demonstrably false. Abortion didn't make it through the Supreme Court because of a crap-shot.


(09-10-2016 06:07 PM)mhausam Wrote:  Also, there seems to be a tendency in this thread to think that I am complaining about being persecuted or something like that. That is not my point. All I am doing is trying to express a very simple observation--that all laws reflect certain beliefs and values that are not the same as other people's beliefs and values, and that therefore no set of laws can be religiously neutral.

You are demonstrably wrong once again. We don't maintain laws against murder because it's the Christian thing to do, or the Jewish thing to do, or the Muslim thing to do. We maintain those laws because we have very good reasons to want to dissuade people from committing acts of murder; such as stability of society, desire for safety, and protection from unwarranted harm. No god or religion is needed to argue the case that murder should be disallowed, and thus it is religiously neutral.


(09-10-2016 06:07 PM)mhausam Wrote:  I just think that this is a very interesting and important observation which has great implications for how we think of the meaning of a secular society in comparison to religion-based societies.

I think that your ideas are built upon demonstrably false premises, which will necessarily lead to false conclusions.

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10-10-2016, 01:56 AM
RE: Interesting argument on the impossibility of true neutrality
Hi Mark, welcome to the forum.

(09-10-2016 06:07 PM)mhausam Wrote:  No, my point is that a secular law, rooted in a non-religious viewpoint, is no more neutral than one rooted in a religious viewpoint. If, for example, we were to enact a law allowing abortion, on the grounds that there is no good reason not to allow it from a secular, non-religious point of view, this law would be based on assumptions contrary to those of various religions, such as Catholicism. From a Catholic point of view, the truth is that God, who is the ultimate moral authority of the universe, commands all societies to ban abortion, so the right and prudent thing to do is to ban abortion. The secular law allowing abortion is based, at least in effect, on the assumption either that this Catholic position is not true or at least that it is not known objectively to be true (an Agnostic position). Therefore, the secular law is no more religiously neutral than the Catholic one. A law based in non-religious assumptions is no more neutral than one based in religious assumptions, when those assumptions contradict each other.

"Neutral" isn't a particularly useful term when considering the law. Impartial is more meaningful. Regardless, the law is neutral with respect to belief, or at least that is the ideal. Where that breaks down is typically where believers try to foist their beliefs off on everybody else by circumventing the separation of church and state but that's another matter.

Let's look at it simply, without the actual issues attached:

Party A believes X.
Party B believes Y.
X and Y are mutually incompatible.

The law states that, in the absence of evidence of harm both parties shall be allowed to hold their beliefs but neither shall be allowed to do unto the other.

Party A may practice X but may not force B to participate.
Party B may commit Y but shall not force it upon A.

Each party is allowed to live according to their beliefs. That's neutrality.

You seem to feel that neutrality does not exist because you are not allowed to use the law to push your belief regarding abortion onto those that do not share that belief. That would hardly be neutral. By the same token, forcing people to have abortions would not be neutral either.

Let's put your shoe on the other foot and see how well it fits.

I believe that churchs are a waste of valuable real estate and that they should be converted into shelters, low-income housing or parking lots, as needs dictate. Should my belief trump yours? Should you be forced by law to tear down your cathedrals and build something more utilitarian?

I'm always a little surprised that religions don't embrace this principle with greater enthusiam. It is what keeps the government from telling you what to believe and how to worship. I suppose that most religions feel that they can leverage the government to promote their aggenda, all the while myopically ignoring all the others doing exactly the same. How would you like to live under the state rule of southern Baptist evangelicals, Mormons or Scientologists?

Only under a neutral and impartial legal system where you may do as you see fit and I may do as I see fit and neither of us may do unto the other can we both live free of the tyrrany of another's beliefs.

You may not like what I do with my freedoms, but that's your problem. And your right.

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10-10-2016, 05:17 AM
RE: Interesting argument on the impossibility of true neutrality
(09-10-2016 08:34 PM)Dark Wanderer Wrote:  
(09-10-2016 08:20 PM)TheInquisition Wrote:  Your viewpoint doesn't really state anything new or interesting. Laws created through religious principles have a tendency to be struck down because they contradict the constitution, in a free society you can vote people in that will reflect your point of view whether it be secular or religious.

We are moving to a more secular viewpoint in regards to these old laws that reflect religious values, in my state, it's illegal to have liquor stores open on Sundays, and you can only get low-point beer in convenience stores. At long last, we're about to change this antiquated prohibition-era nonsense. Would this be "anti-Catholic" or "anti-Baptist"?
I could care less and the voters are going to put these old laws to rest.

I take it you live with me in Indiana?

I hate that fucking sunday law.

Oklahoma, they got quite the history of foisting their religious views upon the populace.

10 Commandments removed from Okla. Capitol

My wife and I just went on vacation in Arizona and we go into Safeway there and it is fully stocked with liquor and open on Sundays. We were like kids in a candy store. Big Grin

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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10-10-2016, 06:51 AM
RE: Interesting argument on the impossibility of true neutrality
(10-10-2016 05:17 AM)TheInquisition Wrote:  
(09-10-2016 08:34 PM)Dark Wanderer Wrote:  I take it you live with me in Indiana?

I hate that fucking sunday law.

Oklahoma, they got quite the history of foisting their religious views upon the populace.

10 Commandments removed from Okla. Capitol

My wife and I just went on vacation in Arizona and we go into Safeway there and it is fully stocked with liquor and open on Sundays. We were like kids in a candy store. Big Grin

Apparently liquor stores in Indiana support the law and don't want it to change. I have no idea why. Also supermarkets aren't allowed to refridgerate their alcohol. What... the... fuck?
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10-10-2016, 06:55 AM
RE: Interesting argument on the impossibility of true neutrality
(10-10-2016 06:51 AM)Dark Wanderer Wrote:  Also supermarkets aren't allowed to refridgerate their alcohol. What... the... fuck?

That's because the bluenoses couldn't pass the 3-day waiting period law on alcohol purchases - they had to settle for warm beer. Big Grin

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10-10-2016, 07:08 AM
RE: Interesting argument on the impossibility of true neutrality
(10-10-2016 06:55 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(10-10-2016 06:51 AM)Dark Wanderer Wrote:  Also supermarkets aren't allowed to refridgerate their alcohol. What... the... fuck?

That's because the bluenoses couldn't pass the 3-day waiting period law on alcohol purchases - they had to settle for warm beer. Big Grin

It drives me nuts. I'll get the warm beer home and put it in the freezer to get it cold faster. But of course i forget about it, since i down a few that i had leftover, and then end up with frozen beer. Thawed out beer is not good.
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10-10-2016, 07:16 AM
RE: Interesting argument on the impossibility of true neutrality
(10-10-2016 06:51 AM)Dark Wanderer Wrote:  
(10-10-2016 05:17 AM)TheInquisition Wrote:  Oklahoma, they got quite the history of foisting their religious views upon the populace.

10 Commandments removed from Okla. Capitol

My wife and I just went on vacation in Arizona and we go into Safeway there and it is fully stocked with liquor and open on Sundays. We were like kids in a candy store. Big Grin

Apparently liquor stores in Indiana support the law and don't want it to change. I have no idea why. Also supermarkets aren't allowed to refridgerate their alcohol. What... the... fuck?

Supermarkets here can refrigerate the beer, but it is only low point beer. Alcohol stores here can't refrigerate their stuff, absolutely bizarre laws.

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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10-10-2016, 07:28 AM
RE: Interesting argument on the impossibility of true neutrality
I always blame jesus when i forget the sunday law.
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10-10-2016, 10:49 AM
RE: Interesting argument on the impossibility of true neutrality
(08-10-2016 08:06 PM)mhausam Wrote:  "But if the government acts with deliberate blindness on the subject, if it makes these decisions without consultation or care as to whether or not they violate or advance anything that any religion cares about, but instead decides entirely on a policy's merits viewed from outside of a religious perspective, then that IS a form of neutrality towards religion. Not deliberately balancing the interests, but being totally indifferent to them."

To be indifferent to the beliefs and values of Catholicism is to take effectively the position that they are not true or that we do not know them to be true (or else it is to adopt a position of intentional stupidity, for if Catholicism is really true and can be known to be true it would be the height of foolishness to go against the objective moral law of God). Your entire post assumes a non-religious (Atheist or Agnostic) point of view, which is exactly what I mean when I say that it is not a neutral position any more than mine is.

It's already been pointed out that "neutral" isn't really the right word here. And I'm not sure that "atheist" and/or "agnostic" is the right word either. The US government is explicitly secular, meaning that, while not totally discounting religious beliefs (most of the founding fathers were at least deists, if not theists), we don't allow any specific religion to enforce its particular beliefs on the rest of the population.

Also, for Catholicism to be "true and known true" is a pipe dream. If that were possible, the whole world would be Catholic and we wouldn't be having this argument. No religion can be "known" to be true (or, in my opinion, known to be untrue either). Since citizens of this country can and do have all sorts of different religious beliefs (some of which have no problem with abortion -- and this isn't limited to atheists/agnostics), and those beliefs conflict with each other, we have agreed (it's right there in our constitution) not to elevate any of those conflicting beliefs above the others. That's one of the basic principles of this country. Sure, we can argue about abortion, but you're not guaranteed to win the argument.
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