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mygif

James,
I don’t disagree. Like I said, I was only trying to put things into a bit of perspective. Personal beliefs and viewpoints have always been a guiding force in the laws of just about every government on the planet. I made some generalizations as I wasn’t intending on presenting a research paper, but the fact remains Christianity was an influence on the founding fathers and the laws, statutes, etc. that they brought into play, as many of them were devote Christians coming from a society that was very much influenced by religious belief. I’m not saying it should remain that way, I was simply pointing out that it isn’t something new that the republican’s have just started harping on in the last decade.

To clarify, the following isn’t directed at anyone in particular: As long as human beings are making decisions and deciding what is to be considered “right” and “wrong” personal belief, and often religion, is going to play a deciding factor. Because for those people who do feel strongly about their personal religious beliefs, they aren’t just a set of dogmatic rules or mythology, but are instead what they personally believe to be irrefutable facts concerning morality. This doesn’t just apply to Christians or other religions, either. Atheists, agnostics, etc. all have a similar problem, only instead their guiding influence is science or logic or what have you as opposed to “mythology” or religious doctrine.

I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but it can be just as blinding when you remain narrow focused and convinced that you’re right. What we consider to be “fact” can change, and does very often as we learn. There are just as many zealots who have no personal religion to speak of as there are on the religious side of the fence. Dismissing all religious teachings and beliefs as mythological, superstitious, or moronic is just as ignorant as blindly believing in it. The goal is to find a balance point, as much as we are able. As a society made up of many differing backgrounds, beliefs, religions, creeds the goal is to find a common ground and what is in the best interests of all involved. No one has all the answers. No one has it all correct. Blaming any specific religious doctrine, denomination, or belief structure- religious or scientific- is stupid and completely missing the point. It’s not the religion or the science that’s wrong, it’s the people who do stupid shit in it’s name out of ignorance, pride, or greed.

People like Palin tend to make decisions based on religious doctrine that they don’t fully understand or have studied themselves- and that is obvious to anyone who has. Just because you read a Bible and go to church on Sunday doesn’t make you a moral authority on what is right and wrong, just as being a well educated person doesn’t either, and I’m getting so sick of hearing both sides of the fence slamming the other rather than realizing that NO ONE has it all down. You show me a perfect person and I’ll show you an arrogant jerkoff that just thinks he/she is.

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mygif

“This doesn’t just apply to Christians or other religions, either.”
Obviously, but it does apply more OFTEN due to the massive number of christians in this country. Unfortunately this statement implies (intentionally or not) that since it’s applicable to more than one group, it’s not so bad.

“I made some generalizations as I wasn’t intending on presenting a research paper…”
If you’re not interested in discussing this more that’s not a problem, my intention was not to rope you into a “defend your faith at length while i make snarky comments about it” thing. But the way that MOST religious people (i am referring specifically to christians not because i have some sort of vendetta against them, but because of the number in my country is overwhelming, and well, i can’t remember the last time a Taoist said “The Way is meant to flow towards an oil pipeline. It came to me in a moment of quiet reflection”) are unwilling to make any kind of self examination about their beliefs or empathize -and empathy CANNOT be the strong suit of a person who thinks that if what other people do with their sex lives (OF COURSE i’m excluding rape) doesn’t fit with their ideas, they don’t get retirement benefits- with people who disagree with them will always lead to bad things.

Inability to accept new information and evaluate it intelligently without the desire to confirm any preconceived notions is the problem in this regard. If Palin was able to remove herself from the decision and honestly think about the best of accomplishing her goals, I wouldn’t have too big a problem with her (the removal of library funding to help pay for a sports arena is still a bad thing).

“Atheists, agnostics, etc. all have a similar problem, only instead their guiding influence is science or logic or what have you as opposed to “mythology” or religious doctrine.”
Questioning is just as prone to error as unquestioning belief? You really believe this? Really? That people who are from birth told to believe in the stories (i.e., don’t just adopt ethics) are as equally prone to critically evaluate information as people who are not? (Atheist is a misleading term because it implies a system of thought when it is the opposite). The whole basis of science is investigation, not declaration. The simple fact is that many – NOT ALL – religious facilities operate under the idea that they DO have all the answers (‘God works in mysterious ways’ or ‘it is not for us to know Yahweh’s will’.

(Incidentally, the use of the word mythology on my part is not a cheap shot on the truth of the stories, it’s using the word according to it’s definition [specifically definition 1. on dictionary.com], it was not to be a jerk)

“Dismissing all religious teachings and beliefs as mythological, superstitious, or moronic is just as ignorant as blindly believing in it.”
Aside from the fact that that is a sweeping generalization without explanation of why – I (almost) agree. But I have a problem with the way that your argument is going towards the “science is just another religion” angle that a lot of people use. It’s not truths come from investigation of what is around us, not through ancient texts or rituals. No matter how well read you are in whatever holy text you like, the act of having faith in what you are told alone will not help anyone when an accident occurs and the cause needs to be investigated. To do so requires the gathering and analysis of data – which is what the servant religion actively oppose on many, many occasions.

“Blaming any specific religious doctrine, denomination, or belief structure- religious or scientific- is stupid and completely missing the point.”
I’m sorry, what?! That kind of generalization is indefensible. “Any belief structure”? Any? The idea that being critical (blaming is done out of desire to look good, being critical is about bettering our understanding) of a belief system is “stupid and missing the point” is unbelievably dangerous. I understand that you are not advocating this, but the way in which you said that makes it so that (hypothetically) getting angry at a father who decides that his pacifism is more important that saving his daughter from being gang-raped to death is wrong because pacifism is a belief system. I am not twisting your words and going “ha-ha, stupid”, really, i know that’s not what you were thinking of, but it needs to be pointed out that blanket statements that vilify ANY criticism (which, again, as intelligent adults, should not be taboo) are incredibly dangerous because they enable the kind of people that do have dangerous beliefs (surely i do not have to argue that they exist).

As for your last paragraph (too long to paste), c’mon, you are a smarter person than that. what you’ve said in that basically amounts to “well, we can’t really judge anything because nobody’s perfect”. We aren’t, but improving our ways of thinking can make us better, doing that requires calling bad ideas bad and abandoning them without any emotional motivation; not saying anything will make it so we will never even have the CHANCE to be more than we are now.

You’re right; no one has it all down, but some people are closer than others.

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mygif

–And let me be blunt: a speech like that in Canadian politics gets you laughed out of the room.–

Citations or it never happened.

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mygif

A speech like that, in Canadian politics would most certainly get the speechifier laughed out of the room. And lose his or her party the election, in all likelihood.

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mygif

James,
You seem to be under the impression that I was attempting to debate you or make an argument. I was just stating an opinion and even prefaced most of my last post with “To clarify, the following isn’t directed at anyone in particular”. I don’t agree with Palin, don’t like Palin, and in fact am sickened by Palin and most of the rest of the douches in politics in general. My posts were not intended to defend her in any way. I was, however, trying to bring a little balance to the religion bashing fest that tends to happen whenever the republicans are involved, and remind everyone that most people have a belief structure of whatever kind- determined by experience, life, study, whatever- and they tend to see things from that perspective. However:

““Atheists, agnostics, etc. all have a similar problem, only instead their guiding influence is science or logic or what have you as opposed to “mythology” or religious doctrine.”
Questioning is just as prone to error as unquestioning belief? You really believe this? Really?”

Uh, check out that next few sentences. I admit I hit enter there when I should have after the following sentences which probably gave it an emphasis I didn’t intend. Anytime you blindly believe and or follow something, convinced you’re right and not open to the points of views of others, then yes, it is a problem. A big fat glaring one. Religious people aren’t the only ones with a membership card to the “I’m smarter than you and my beliefs are correct” club. Unfortunately they just tend to be the more vocal ones that are dumb enough to spout off in front of a camera. I know just as many elitist assholes that aren’t religious at all that think their opinions on things are right and everyone else is a moron as I do the religious ones. Sure, they give off the impression that they’re open minded and constantly “seeking” etc. but they have just as many beliefs that are iron clad to them as religious people do with theirs.

“No matter how well read you are in whatever holy text you like, the act of having faith in what you are told alone will not help anyone when an accident occurs and the cause needs to be investigated. To do so requires the gathering and analysis of data – which is what the servant religion actively oppose on many, many occasions.”

Again, just as you accuse me of making sweeping generalizations, you’re doing that a bit too. Again, you’re focusing on the more vocal jerkoffs, and I do admit there are a lot. I’m not even saying that religious folk aren’t more closed minded about things than most. We’re not ALL like that. In fact, I’m a licensed minister. I spent 4 years of schooling researching not just “holy scriptures” but a lot of different things- philosophy, other religions, etc. Some of my professors even worked on the translation of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Most of them taught me to QUESTION. I had one professor that actually made students cry the first day of class because he completely tore down their “the Bible is perfect” world by pointing out some of the glaring contradictions etc. When i was working at a church I actually taught all my classes that way as well. I taught my kids (Jr High and High School) to think for themselves rather than blindly believing what they’re told by ANYONE.

“I understand that you are not advocating this, but the way in which you said that makes it so that (hypothetically) getting angry at a father who decides that his pacifism is more important that saving his daughter from being gang-raped to death is wrong because pacifism is a belief system.”

You’re right, I didn’t phrase that very well and I didn’t mean for it to come off that way. Of course you should be critical, but there’s a difference between educated criticism and ignorant criticism. All too often people who criticize a specific religion, science, etc. tends to be fairly ignorant about the subject and is just going off of what other ignorant people have told them or demonstrated. Which was really the point: more often than not it’s the people, not the subject, that are the issue. It’s their misinterpretation, ignorance, etc. that causes the problems.

“As for your last paragraph (too long to paste), c’mon, you are a smarter person than that. what you’ve said in that basically amounts to “well, we can’t really judge anything because nobody’s perfect”.”

No, again, it’s more about constructive, educated criticism than not and a lot of times people on both sides of the fence are taking pot shots about stuff that is more about the moron that said/did it than the religion, science, practice, whatever. Crap is misquoted, misinterpreted, taken out of context, etc. and people hear/see this and automatically believe that’s how it is.

Look, I’m the first person that calls people on their bullshit- especially in the religious sense. The problem I have is this general idea that seems to be popular in the media and on the web that all “Christians” are uneducated, close minded morons and the jackasses like Palin are the ones making it even worse. We don’t all believe like that. We don’t all think like that. In fact, though they probably don’t advertise, a good number of “believers” don’t. They can sit in a church pew and nod their heads, etc. but you’ll find their beliefs etc. to be just as varied as most. If you aren’t constantly questioning what you believe, know, etc. then you aren’t learning or growing. Questioning isn’t bad- dismissing without investigation is. In fact, I think from this very post it should be pretty apparent that even though I’m a “minister” I’m not like you’d typically find. That’s because my beliefs are my own- what I’ve found to be true for me through investigation, study, and personal experience. And those beliefs constantly adjust as I learn more and experience new things. I’m not disagreeing with you on anything you’ve said regarding Palin or the Republican party. I wasn’t trying to defend them or make it sound like we shouldn’t question, but again I wasn’t intending to make some detailed argument. I was pretty much just ranting.

“We aren’t, but improving our ways of thinking can make us better, doing that requires calling bad ideas bad and abandoning them without any emotional motivation; not saying anything will make it so we will never even have the CHANCE to be more than we are now.”

I absolutely agree, but that also involves looking at everything in detail and context rather than at face value- something that doesn’t always happen regardless of what side of the fence you’re on.

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mygif

I wasn’t trying to turn this into a debate (in a combative sense anyway), I apologize if the verbose way I phrased my posts gave it that appearance. I just found your responses to the topic interesting and felt like continuing the discussion, not to draw you into something, but as an intellectual exercise for myself.

I hope that it is clear that I used the term “bronze age superstition” because of the ludicrous nature of Palin’s stances on the issues above, I would’ve (whatever would’ve means) said something like “pseudo-scientific deception” if she based her far-reaching and dangerous opinions on an immoral extrapolation of evolution (like social darwinism), because when someone behaves as she does, it should be ridiculed – but not in a scatter-shot fashion. As I hope came across, when I was responding to things you said, I was not making a broadside attack on the historical accuracy of the christian mythos (again, i do not imply or dismiss the idea of it being fiction with the word choice).

Again, I take issue the fence expression because of the simplistic dichotomy (and symmetry) it implies; it’s true that there are many people on the internet who are especially caustic and inarticulate in their condemnation of christians – not the ideas, the people – in contexts which make no sense (i.e., virtually any youtube comments), but I believe that implying a ‘for-or-against’ categorization with phrases like that worsen the idea of ‘winning for your side’ that far too many people have already, as well as the fact that many people are articulate and self aware enough – in many varieties of thought – so as to be beyond the very limited (and, in my opinion, insulting) categories in the fence metaphor. (I’m aware that you know this, but I think it should to be stated)

Anyway, I’m not gonna take up more of your time. I just wanted to tie up the loose ends of my point (of which there were too many).

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mygif

“I wasn’t trying to turn this into a debate (in a combative sense anyway), I apologize if the verbose way I phrased my posts gave it that appearance. I just found your responses to the topic interesting and felt like continuing the discussion, not to draw you into something, but as an intellectual exercise for myself.”

Not a problem. I enjoy discussions such as this as well, as long as both parties know that it IS a discussion. 😉 It’s often one of the best ways to learn. My friends and I do it quite often, even if it means “defending” a side that we don’t personally believe in. I’ve found that the best way to learn, grow, and get along with others is when you’re able to see things from their point of view, even if you don’t personally agree.

I agree with you about the fence metaphor and I should have used a better one. I used it for simplicity sake which was far more out of laziness than it was meant to be an implication.

Feel free to drop me a line if you’d ever like to have other conversations.

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mygif

I think Sarah Palin is hot, but I have no interest in anything but her appearance, she hasn’t impressed me yet, and I doubt she will.

The speeches given by our current president would get him laughed out of most rooms, whether they are political or not, so say she is going to get laughed out of a Canadian room set aside specifically for politics doesn’t really mean much, American leadership has gone to shit, by all appearances, which is really all that matters.

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