That is an interesting choice of words. It is the "birthright of every
human being". But unfortunately not every human being has the right to be
born in order to practice that right.
Just to be clear, I myself am an evangelical; I would also claim knowledge that
you would deem unknowable. Indeed, a difference in epistemologies, as you note,
is a key divergence between naturalists and supernaturalists.My
point in quoting Russell, perhaps one of the most brilliant atheist philosophers
of the 20th century (after Anthony Flew, perhaps), is that the most
correspondent form of atheism will have a nihilistic flavor, because that
philosophy most closely matches an atheistic reality. Anything beyond this is
artificial and contrived. Whether you die free or enslaved in atheism is
irrelevant.I would challenge you to push the bounds on your
assumption that transcendental knowledge is not possible. Of course it's
not possible if you define your epistemology to exclude it right from the start.
The only way to avoid artificiality in our beliefs is to align them with
reality, and if there is indeed an eternal Creator who spoke, belief in him
would be the only non-contrived philosophy out there. One book I
began reading recently is Craig Keener's Miracles. I would recommend it to
you as a testimony of the in-breaking of the Kingdom into the modern world.
SC Fan,I did not say what you just insinuated I said. What I said
is quite clear. Please refrain from telling others what I have said. It seems
to be a habit of yours to alter what I said to match what you wish I had said in
some attempt to malign me. I would appreciate an apology, though I won't
hold my breath.
ClaudioSo are you saying that those countries have the freedom of
religion and tolerance that we have in America? If so then you must have been
living in the palace of some shiek, because if you are found to have a Bible in
those countries, it can be head rolling time.
@brokenclay – “Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on
the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation
henceforth be safely built." -Bertrand Russell”Brilliant
quote and I appreciate your commentary as well… surprised?And
perhaps you’re right, that all our contrivances are artificial, but how
many religious people do you know who will admit this? And this is the crux of
my argument against religion – that it is the most hubristic contrivance
of all because it claims absolute certainty about things one cannot possibly
know. And this is almost always followed by totalitarianism with the seers and
prophets ruling the believers (and non-believers if they acquire enough power).
But to me the most interesting question resulting from this
acknowledgment is, “how can we then go on to have happy and even joyful
lives?” And despite your attempts to lump me in with ideologies that are
the antithesis of freedom and happiness, I want those things (and believe they
are found in and fully compatible with secular humanism) as much as any
religious ecstatic who has been transported to the 3rd heaven.Peace
"That man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they
were achieving; . . . that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and
feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labours
of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness
of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar
system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be
buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins-- all these things, if not
quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which
rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths,
only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s
habitation henceforth be safely built." -Bertrand RussellSecular
humanism is a philosophy no less artificial than the religions and philosophies
you criticize, including your philosophical brothers the communists. Anyone who
ignores Russell here is stuck in fantasy and make-believe. You, too, will pass
into non-existence. Your significance is contrived.
Heretic,"Personally, I think that many religious folks lie,
exaggerate, etc. Which is why I don't value opinions of religion
folks very much."You've also accurately identified why religious
people don't value your opinion.
Re: SCFanI lived in the Middle East for 5 years. Saudi Arabia for
2, Turkey for 2, Jordan for 1. I am certain I have plenty perspective to give
my opinion on the issue. Thanks for your concern.
@brokenclay – “Any atheist who isn't a nihilist has his head in
the sand.”What an amazingly ill informed comment… and I
wonder if you are aware of how many non-believers throughout history you have
insulted? From Socrates to Shakespeare to some of the Founding Fathers to the
majority of today’s scientists, to the growing number of people today who
can no longer buy the legion of superstitious silliness an even immorality
(disguised as piety) found in the sacred books of religion. And
please realize that Atheist is simply a word we use to describe people who
don’t believe things on bad or no evidence (i.e., are not disposed to take
things on faith). The fact that we have a word for this is strange
in and of itself, since we don’t have words for non-astrologers are
non-alchemists.And to say an atheist is by definition a communist or
Maoist or any other “ist” is a total non-sequitur. All those
so-called philosophies were steeped in dogmatism and irrationality, except they
were directed towards a person or ideology rather than religion (as was
typical).They were the antithesis of secular humanism…
It's striking to me that all but one of the countries mentioned (Burma) are
either Islamic or Atheist. Those who trumpet the benevolence and even-handedness
of the irreligious, while maligning the intolerance of the religious, are far
too short-sighted in forgetting the 20th century scourge of Communism. Own up to
your philosophies. Any atheist who isn't a nihilist has his head in the
ClaudioWe in the U.S. are not even close to any kind of oppression
against Muslims or anyone else compared to the Muslim countries in the
Middle-East. Get some perspective please.
bandersen:"Jesus invited all to come to Him, without compulsion,
without retribution, without anger. He sent His chosen leaders to do
likewise. "...and during the inquisition his chosen
representatives invited all to come to him or die being tortured in Christs
name.There was also this incident in southern Utah near a meadow where
people were just doing the lords work. To long ago? How about
Christ's representative - Fred Phelps Sr. of the Westboro Baptist
Church?Core values intact?Christ taught many good
things, to bad so many who claim to represent him don't/didn't really
listen.Personally, I think that many religious folks lie,
exaggerate, etc. Which is why I don't value opinions of religion
folks very much.
@bandersenYou do realize that most of the followers of the other
religions of the world are just as certain as you are that someday “all
will know that Allah is God” or that “Brahman (God) and Atman (us)
are one” or that any of hundreds of precepts particular to one’s own
religion is the “true path” that all will come to know…
someday.Curious… why would God allow such a diversity of
religions if only one of them was the true religion? And does it ever strike you
just how lucky you were to be born into a family/culture that just happened to
have “the truth?” I mean it’s fantastic that you “hit
the celestial lottery” but it sure is a shame for the billions born into
Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or other families that they have to spend so much of
their time being immersed in false teachings through no apparent fault of their
own.God’s ways are indeed mysterious…
Skeptic: Your wrong! Old time religion is anything but dying! The values,
whether in an organized format, or by itself, is not dying. P.S. In my
neighborhood and in my family I see anything but fear and charlatans. My kids
know what is real and what isn't, whether an ipad or a book. The real
truth urges them on to more, not less!
Tyler: That's an easy question. Jesus said he was 'the way, the
truth, and light!' His was the only way. Every knee shall bow and every
tongue confess that He is the Christ, the only one capable to redeem man from
the fall of Adam till the end of times. That being said, the Christian religion
believes that all men, from the aboriginal pigmy in Africa to the man sitting
next to God Himself, is capable of learning and coming to Christ one step at a
time. All the great religions and people of the world are susceptible to His
light and knowledge, including those you mentioned. All will eventually come to
Electronics is the new religion, ask any eight year old with an ipad;or anyone
on Facebook. The old time religion is dying, too many dictators and charlatans.
People have lost fear and interest.
Ultra Bob, You have accurately described the far left,they seek to control everyone, and their personal lives, their, businesses,
their schools, and their children, the local community, their lands, their
cars, and so and so on.Not sure why you love one controller but hate
the other.--I find it odd that Kerry speaks a
birthright of religious freedom,yet the Obama administration
doesn't recognize the religious freedom a German family wants send them
back Germany where their children will be taken away from them and forced a
secular education on them.But the left are always hypocrites, say
one thing while doing another.
China's constitution includes "the freedom of religious belief".
Sounds pretty great but it isn't quite "religious freedom".
The fact that I do not believe religion does not mean that I hate religion. I
appreciate the good that religion gives people as an enrichment and purpose.
The only requirement for receiving that good is to believe. Being
controlled by a force outside ourselves is being controlled whether it is
voluntary or mandatory. And if you accept the good of religion you must also
accept the control. Generally religions of God are able to control a
person’s life to a much greater extent than mere governments of men. The reasons given for the control are hard for some us to accept and so
we look at other possible motives that the outside force wants to control us.
When I look at a church/religion I see a business operation. I see an
organization that has a product to sell and a desire for a monopoly. My vision is simply the product of my imagination and I appreciate the freedom
of religion to believe and to openly say what I believe. But I do not want to
take that away from anyone else.
I'm fairly surprised by this forceful position in favor of religious
freedom from the administration. Does his boss know about this statement? Will
it be followed by funded policy initiatives?Hasn't our
government worked to marginalize religions to reduce their influence on society?
Re: Thinkin\' ManWhile I agree with your sentiment, I am sure
those countries would reply that they will comply as soon as we stop trying to
prevent the construction of mosques in our neighborhoods or profile Arab
Americans trying to board a flight. We are hardly the beacon of religious
freedom we think ourselves.
@bandersen – “Jesus invited all to come to Him, without compulsion,
without retribution, without anger.”And what does the Bible
tell us will happen to those who chose otherwise or worse, believe another path
is the way to God, Nirvana, Brahman, The Tao, etc.?
Re: bandersen"Jesus invited all to come to Him, without
compulsion, without retribution, without anger. He sent His chosen leaders to do
likewise. Whoever thinks that that core principle has changed within any
religion, is either ignorant of religious history, or has an ax to grind,
neither of which is very dignified."So those people who follow
religions that have no acknowledgment of Jesus are "ignorant" or
otherwise "undignified?"And so shines the problem Ultra Bob
@Ultra Bob"The greatest threat to freedom of religion comes from
religions themselves. Not only does a religion seek control over it’s own
members, it seeks to extend it’s membership to all."-----------Sigh. I can choose to be faithful, active,
and make religion the most important thing in my life. Or I can leave my
religion any time. I can choose to not come. I can choose to not participate. Or
I can choose somewhere in between. I can do this easily. Many, many people come
and go in a church.It is funny how so many religion-haters are
telling us that religion is "controlling" their membership, yet so many
of these religion-haters tell us that is the reason they left religion.
Obviously there is a contradiction there - if religion is controlling things,
yet they were able to freely leave, then obviously religion isn't
controlling things.Personally, I think the "control" is from
the critics who lie, exaggerate, etc. Which is why I don't value opinions
of critics of religion very much.
I hope Mr. Kerry will start pressuring countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt,
Pakistan, and other Muslim countries to allow full religious freedom. It's
ridiculous how America picks and chooses which human rights we're outraged
Jesus invited all to come to Him, without compulsion, without retribution,
without anger. He sent His chosen leaders to do likewise. Whoever thinks that
that core principle has changed within any religion, is either ignorant of
religious history, or has an ax to grind, neither of which is very dignified.
I agree with Mr. Kerry. And, wow, is my idea of what true religion is different
than yours. We're going to have some fun!
The greatest threat to freedom of religion comes from religions themselves. Not
only does a religion seek control over it’s own members, it seeks to
extend it’s membership to all. It is the desire for extending
it’s control over others that drives much of the talk of freedom of
religion and with the great power and influence of religions and churches,
politicians will naturally ally themselves with their cause.