Originally Posted August 2010 (Conversation was from 2001 via SPACEBATTLES)
Updated in January of 2017, and again today (July 2023)
“No SeanG, unlike you, we are not forcing morality on anybody. We are for allowing a choice. NOWHERE in the pro-choice agenda is there anything about making abortion mandatory.” (Emphasis in the original)
Answer:For women, Roe means more than having control over their bodies; it allows them to plan her life. If there’s a contraceptive failure, the law protects her, permits her to decide whether-or-not to become a parent.
Once contraception has failed, the women have ALL the rights. She can get an abortion. If she decides to have the child, she can make the father pay support, whether or not he wanted it.According to Roe, the man’s obligation begins and ends with his wallet. This is true, but money facilitates existence (one of the reasons an abortion is allowed… monetary standard of living). The quality of life is measured in dollars and cents.
Inarguably, the man is required to pay support for eighteen years and will have his standard of living diminished (severely so, if his circumstances are modest). Certain career, education, and family options will be foreclosed – for the man at least.>> UPDATE TO THIS PART BELOW | JUMP
(Sound familiar? These are excuses for the women to get “off the hook” – e.g., abort a life – but men don’t have that choice.)
Ifmaximizing personal freedom is the primary goal of our legal system, why should men be held to their traditional obligations (supporting the children they’ve fathered) while women are liberatedfrom theirs?
“Do you believe the government should be able to force someone to become a parent?”
Well? This is precisely what is being done by the government à as I speak! You would argue that the government should stay out of your affairs when choosing whether to become a parent (i.e., to abort or not), however, you wish the government to be involved in telling the father that he has to become a parent and supply all the necessary needs for that child. Thus, you are forcing your morality on me Susan (as a defined group) and using the power of the Federal Government to boot!!! You cannot say any differently with what I just have shown above. This belief is self-refuting and shows youto-be-the hypocrite, and not me. You see… I am for equal rights under the Constitution. A “right” has no “moderation (see below). You, on the other-hand, are for special rights inferred upon groups of people.
An aside: in the Laws of Logic, the Law of Non-Contradiction is the most important and can thus be stated like this – “A” cannot both be “A” and “non-A” at the same time. This law is valid in science, law, politics, philosophy, etc. Any theory which purports something, cannot also deny that purport’ion. As in this case, the pro-choice movement is purported to be about liberating – “civil” rights – etc., however, in doing this they deny to some what they want for others… it is self-refuting, a non-logical theory that is really about special rights rather than equal protection under the law.
Student: You made some good points in your talk, but you shouldn’t force your morality on me or anyone else who wants an abortion. It’s our choice, isn’t it?
Me: Are you saying I’m wrong?
Student: I’m not sure. What do you mean?
Me: Well, you think I’m wrong, don’t you? If not, why are you correcting me? And if so, then you’re forcing your morality on me, aren’t you?
Student: No, I just want to know why you are telling people what they can and cannot do with their lives.
Me: Are you saying I shouldn’t do that? That it’s wrong? If so, then why are you telling me what I can and cannot do? Why are you forcing your morality on me?
Student (regrouping): I’m confused. Look, the simple fact is that pro-choicers are not forcing women to have abortions, but you want to force women to be mothers. If you don’t like abortion, don’t have one. But you shouldn’t force your beliefs on others. All I am saying is that pro-life people should be tolerant of other views.
Me: Is that your view?
Me: Why are you forcing it on me? That’s not very tolerant, is it?
Student: What do you mean? I think women should have a choice and you don’t. It’s your view that’s intolerant, wouldn’t you say?
Me: Okay, so you think I’m wrong. What is it you want pro-lifers like me to do?
Student: You should let women decide for themselves and tolerate other views.
Me: Tell me, what exactly do pro-choicers believe?
Student: We believe everyone should decide for themselves and tolerate other views.
Me: So you are demanding that pro-lifers become pro-choicers?
Student: What? No way.
Me: With all due respect, here’s what I hear you saying. Unless I agree with you, you will not tolerate my view. Privately, you’ll let me think whatever I want, but you don’t want me to act as if my view is true. It seems you think tolerance is a virtue if and only if people agree with you.
A friend texted me the Jeff Daniel’s Newsroom video… and this was essentially my response. (Here it has links and videos as well as larger quotes, the real response was just in text form)
In my years of experience of talking about religion and politics (since 1999 on the WWW, Space Battles Forum), I have noticed the main impediment to people progressing in thinking on a matter. Not speaking of you, but a wider point I am making (Yoda). People will watch that clip and be convinced (This is referring to the Jeff Daniels “Newsroom” clip that occasionally makes it’s rounds).
There were a lot of things just spewed out as fact that many just accept as fact. But to dissect this clip even more work needs to be done than I did – linking articles, media, etc. (As I did: Newsroom’s Anti-America Scene Bitch Slapped!)
People would rather “just accept/believe” than do the hard work to challenge, properly their own beliefs by rightly contrasting two views. Well.
People want the easy way out.
Take for instance an oft used “evidence” against God. People will merely say, “well, what about this evil [insert any one you wish], doesn’t this disprove your God? This person to challenge their own position will have to respond to their own “bumper sticker position” by asking themselves what are the competing worldviews? What do they offer as explanations to said evils? Does theism offer a reasonable response?
These questions take more time than one sentence responses like the one sentence challenge.
But as before, people like the easy route versus thinking well.
Here is a truncated example, how the three big worldviews would respond to rape:
THEISM: evil, wrong at all times and places in the universe — absolutely.
ATHEISM: taboo, it was used in our species in the past for the survival of the fittest and is thus a vestige of evolutionary progress… and so may once again become a tool for survival — it is in every corner of nature.
TWO BOOKS I read years ago that would undergird the evolutionary/atheistic [naturalism] foundation for explaining rape: Dale Peterson and Richard Wrangham, Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence | Randy Thornhill and Craig T. Palmer, A Natural History of Rape: Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion.
PANTHEISM: illusion, all morals and ethical actions and positions are an illusion (Hinduism – maya; Buddhism – sunyata). To reach some state of Nirvana one must retract from this world in their thinking on moral matters, such as love and hate, good and bad. Not only that, but often the person being raped has built up bad karma and thus is the main driver for his or her state of affairs (thus, in one sense it is “right” that rape happens).
— Atheist Morals Noted Below —
….Darwin thought that, had the circumstances for reproductive fitness been different, then the deliverances of conscience might have been radically different. “If … men were reared under precisely the same conditions as hive-bees, there can hardly be a doubt that our unmarried females would, like the worker-bees, think it a sacred duty to kill their brothers, and mothers would strive to kill their fertile daughters, and no one would think of interfering” (Darwin, Descent, 82). As it happens, we weren’t “reared” after the manner of hive bees, and so we have widespread and strong beliefs about the sanctity of human life and its implications for how we should treat our siblings and our offspring.
But this strongly suggests that we would have had whatever beliefs were ultimately fitness producing given the circumstances of survival. Given the background belief of naturalism, there appears to be no plausible Darwinian reason for thinking that the fitness-producing predispositions that set the parameters for moral reflection have anything whatsoever to do with the truth of the resulting moral beliefs. One might be able to make a case for thinking that having true beliefs about, say, the predatory behaviors of tigers would, when combined with the understandable desire not to be eaten, be fitness producing. But the account would be far from straightforward in the case of moral beliefs.” And so the Darwinian explanation undercuts whatever reason the naturalist might have had for thinking that any of our moral beliefs is true. The result is moral skepticism.
If our pretheoretical moral convictions are largely the product of natural selection, as Darwin’s theory implies, then the moral theories we find plausible are an indirect result of that same evolutionary process. How, after all, do we come to settle upon a proposed moral theory and its principles as being true? What methodology is available to us?
Paul Copan and William Lane Craig, eds., Contending With Christianity’s Critics: Answering the New Atheists & Other Objections (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing, 2009), 70.
This is why I have this “legal statement” — for lack of a better descriptor when people hit me up online or through emmail to discuss issues:
“By-the-by, for those reading this I will explain what is missing in this type of discussion due to the media used. Genuflecting, care, concern, one being upset (does not entail being “mad”), etc… are all not viewable because we are missing each other’s tone, facial expressions, and the like. I afford[a] the other person I am dialoguing with the best of intentions and read his/her comments as if we were out having a talk over a beer at a bar or meeting a friend at Starbucks. Or even striking up a conversation in a line at a grocery store. In other words, in public. (I say this because there seems to be a phenomenon of etiquette thrown out when talking through email or social media sites. There seems to be more vulgarity and gratuitous responses than if you were to strike up conversation in line at a check stand in a grocery market.) You will see that often I USE CAPS — which in www lingo for YELLING. I am not using it this way, I use it to merely emphasize a point (even at times noting this): *not said in yelling tone, but merely to emphasize*. So, in all my discussions I afford[a] the best of thought to the other person as I expect he or she would to me… even if dealing with tough subjects like the ones being discussed herein. I have had more practice at this than most, and with half-hour pizza, one hour photo and email vs. ‘snail mail,’ know that important discussions take time to meditate on, inculcate, and to process. I will not expect agreement, rather, clarity. So be prepared for a good thought-provoking discussion if you choose one with me.”
[a]DICTIONARY: 2. provide or supply (an opportunity or facility): “the rooftop terrace affords beautiful views”
ORIGIN: late Old English geforthian, from ge- (prefix implying completeness) + forthian ‘to further’, from forth. The original sense was ‘promote, perform, accomplish’, later ‘manage, be in a position to do’.
I dug this gem out of my Microsoft Word due to a conversation on my Facebook. I was planning on going a different direction but after I found this from about 1999 via a debate in a forum on what is still SPACE BATTLES… it was late 99 or early 2000 that I cut my teeth on the Internet via Space Battles. I kept most of my debates from the 4 or so years I was on the forums there… at least my responses. This is one of those early debates — the main point here is that secularism is a religion. (I may add some media when I see fit):
SKEPTIC, YOU SAID:
I don’t know how you can say Jimmy Jones and the Branch Davidians weren’t believers in absolutism and God.
This is easy to say. Both rejected the God of the Bible, period. They were not Christians, period. They were cults who had sex with multiple partners and were power hungry and changed meanings of plain and clear scripture to get their way. This is important, because when anyone deals with a cult member, they need to realize that there is a language barrier. For instance, when a Mormon says he or she believes in Jesus, is this the same Jesus Christianity has preached for 2,000 years? How a bout the Jehovah’s Witness when they say they believe in Jesus?
Mormons believe that Jesus is not God, but a god, they are polytheists. They believe that Jesus was born first in heaven in a spiritual body via sexual relations between “Heavenly Father” (God in Mormon terms) and one of his many wives. Lucifer also was a son born by “God” sticking his dingy in one of his wives. By the way, God was once a man like us, and now resides on the planet Kolob (according to the Pearle of Great Price – one of many added Mormon scripture). And be sure that all mentioned here have to take away, change, or add scripture to get their theology to work – just like Hitler and his cronies.
Jehovah’s Witness’s believe that Jesus was the first created being, that is, Michael the Archangel. Jehovah (God) then created all things THROUGHMichael the Archangel. When Michael came to earth in bodily form he was known as Jesus. And now is not Jesus any longer, but once again under the name and title Michael the Archangel, the first-born.
Jesus, according to the historic Christian faith is God, the creator of everything in heaven and on earth. He is not bound by time-space; for unlike the two before mentioned perversions of plain scripture, Jesus is the Creator of the space-time continuum. He is God Almighty.
Both Jehovah’s Witness’ and Mormons believe that the sacrifices given on the cross by “Jesus” was only in remission of Adam’s original sin, opening the way for these sincere persons to “work” their way into heaven or “salvation.” Jehovah’s Witness’s believe that 100 hundred hours a week of going door-to-door or standing in front of donut shops handing out booklets will one of the many rules sufficient enough to allow them to be resurrected here on earth to live forever more (only 144,000 get to go to heaven). Mormons don’t drink caffeine, cuss, marry in the temple, wear special undergarments, tithe, all in the hopes of making to the “best” heaven.
Christianity teaches that we can do nothing to please God, all our good works are like leaves in the wind, they blow away. Salvation is a gift that only can be fulfilled by an immutable, perfect, gift… man can never attain this in his finite state. Salvation is through Christ alone. This is one of the many proofs that Christianity is divine, that is, if this were a man-made religion, man would have made it conquerable. So like Mormonism and Jehovah’s Witness’ religious construct of lists of items to do for salvation to be attainable, Christianity has no such list. If man had made Christianity, there would be something we could do to please God for our salvation, in fact, we cannot. Christianity is unconquerable by man. (sorry, back to the point).
So when a Jehovah’s Witness or Mormon come to your door and say, “we believe in Jesus,” or, “we believe in salvation,” and, “we are followers of Christ, therefore we are the true Christians,” you can break through the fog by understanding what is meant by terms used.
(From a debate with a J-Dub):
The main problem is that the Watchtower gives ALL truth that is to be believed by the Jehovah’s Witness. I will show an example, and I quote the founder, Charles Taze Russell:
If the six volumes of SCRIPTURE STUDIES are practically the Bible, topically arranged with Bible proof texts given, we might not improperly name the volumes THE BIBLE IN AN ARRANGED FORM. That is to say, they are not mere comments on the Bible, but they are practically the Bible itself….
Furthermore, not only do we find that people cannot see the divine plan in studying the Bible by itself, but we see, also, that if anyone lays the SCRIPTURE STUDIES aside, even after he has used them, after he has become familiar with them, after he has read them for ten years – if he then lays them aside and ignores them and goes to the Bible alone, though he has understood the Bible for ten years, our experience shows that within two years he goes into darkness. on the other hand, if he had merely read the SCRIPTURE STUDIES with their references, and not read a page of the Bible, as such, he would be in the light at the end of two years, because he would have the light of the Scriptures.
Even if you’ve read the Scripture Studies for ten years, and you lay them aside and read the Bible for two years alone, you enter into darkness?!
This is a revealing quote.
It shows how brainwashed Jehovah’s Witnesses are to the fact that the ruling council and president of the Watchtower Society dispense nothing but truth and reality while the rest of humanity who points out the misquotes and misrepresentations are shunned as devils (almost literally).
I will go out on a limb here and say, “if the devil were to create a religious group that undermines the true message in the Bible, would the devil require someone to read the Bible by itself… or would the devil want to add something to it that would interpret everything within?”
Same goes for our current discussion.
When Hitler uses the words Christians, Jesus, church, and the like, you know he had changed the Biblical absolutes to fits his relativistic pantheism/paganism that we know he believed. If Hitler came to our door today passing out tracts talking of Jesus’ non-Jewish heritage and that he was going to finish what Jesus couldn’t, namely the extermination of the Jews, then we would know that this is not Christianity, not absolutes, but fascism at it most perverted. Remember what a philosophy major once said:
“Everything I have said and done in these last years is relativism by intuition…. If relativism signifies contempt for fixed categories and men who claim to be bearers of an objective, immortal truth… then there is nothing more relativistic than fascistic attitudes and activity…. From the fact that all ideologies are of equal value, that all ideologies are mere fictions, the modern relativist infers that everybody has the right to create for himself his own ideology and to attempt to enforce it with all the energy of which he is capable” — Mussolini
Mussolini, Diuturna (1924) pp. 374-77, quoted in A Refutation of Moral Relativism: Interviews with an Absolutist (Ignatius Press; 1999), by Peter Kreeft, p. 18.
This is what Hitler did, Mussolini, Joseph Smith, Charles Taze Russell, Jim Jones, David Koresh, and all others who relativize God’s plainly stated truth to fit their particular needs or situation. And in doing so, they must change, reject, or add to the Bible or the historic Christian faith in order to do so.
SKEPTIC, WHEN YOU SAID:
That I agree with! Claiming a personal revelation can hid a host of evils. But it seems like the religious are more likely to do that then a humanist…. I am also arguing that a humanist who believes he contains within himself the ultimate determination of what is moral, would not do the things that these people did without, at least, the recognition that he is being evil. These nazis, Branch Davidians, terrorists, and kool aid killers are all more dangerous because they believe they are doing good.
I almost fell out of my chair. The Communists killed many, many millions believing they were doing good? God revealing this is not mandated by Mao is it? Special revelation isn’t only from God. One needs only to read the Humanist Manifesto’s or the Communist Manifesto to see revelation without God. Huxley called evolution a religion without revelation. However, there can be revelation in non-belief. For instance, consider the following excerpt from a letter written by Charles Darwin in 1881:
“I could show fight on natural selection having done and doing more for the progress of civilization than you seem inclined to admit…. The more civilized so-called Caucasian races have beaten the Turkish hollow in the struggle for existence. Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilized races throughout the world.”
Charles Darwin, Life and Letters, I, Letter to W. Graham, July 3, 1881, p. 316; cited in Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution, by Gertrude Himmelfarb (London: Chatto & Windus, 1959), p. 343.
“At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes … will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.”
Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, 2nd ed. (New York: A. L. Burt Co., 1874), p.178.
How a bout this:
“No rational man, cognizant of the facts, believes that the average negro is the equal, still less the superior, of the white man. And if this be true, it is simply incredible that, when all his disabilities are removed, and our prognathous relative has a fair field and no favour, as well as no oppressor, he will be able to compete successfully with his bigger-brained and smaller-jawed rival, in a contest which is to be carried on by thoughts and not by bites. The highest places in the hierarchy of civilization will assuredly not be within the reach of our dusky cousins, though it is by no means necessary that they should be restricted to the lowest. But whatever the position of stable equilibrium into which the laws of social gravitation may bring the negro, all responsibility for the result will henceforward lie between Nature and him. The white man may wash his hands of it, and the Caucasian conscience be void of reproach for evermore. And this, if we look to the bottom of the matter, is the real justification for the abolition policy.”
Thomas Huxley, Lay Sermons, Addresses and Reviews (New York: Appleton, 1871), pp 20-1.
One more before I head to humanism:
“The stronger must dominate and not mate with the weaker, which would signify the sacrifice of its own higher nature. Only the born weakling can look upon this principle as cruel, and if he does so it is merely because he is of a feebler nature and narrower mind; for if such a law [natural selection] did not direct the process of evolution then the higher development of organic life would not be conceivable at all…. If Nature does not wish that weaker individuals should mate with the stronger, she wishes even less that a superior race should intermingle with an inferior one; because in such a case all her efforts, throughout hundreds of thousands of years, to establish an evolutionary higher stage of being, may thus be rendered futile.”
Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, translator/annotator, James Murphy (New York: Hurst and Blackett, 1942), pp. 161-162.
These seem very revelational, just revelations from nature.
John Dewey, signer of the Humanist Manifesto I, says this regarding education:
education is the fundamental method of social progress and reform…. In this way the teacher always is the prophet of the true God and the usherer in of the true kingdom of God.
John Dewey, Education Today, “My Pedagogic Creed,” (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1897), p. 15, 17.
You see, John Dewey argues that “scientific” education has made the notion of the supernatural “incredible,” and anticipates “the coming of a fuller and deeper religion” – Humanism. Dewey viewed public education as the vehicle to promote this “deeper religions.”
We certainly cannot teach religion as an abstract essence. We have got to teach something as religion, and that means practically some religion…. It is their business to do what they can to prevent all public educational agencies from being employed in ways which inevitably impede the recognition of the spiritual import of science ands of democracy, and hence of that type of religion which will be the fine flower of the modern spirit’s achievement.
Ibid – 1940 edition.
My point as I continue on here is that men are made for revelation, if God’s is thrown to the wayside, some other revelation will take its place. Roy Wood Sellers is also a signer of the Humanist Manifesto I, he says:
The center of gravity of religion has been openly changing for some time now from supernaturalism to what may best be called a humanistic naturalism…. There have been many steps forward in the past, for every age must process its own religion, a religion concordant with its knowledge and expressed of its problems and aims…. The coming phase of religion will reflect man’s power over nature and his moral courage in the face of the facts and possibilities of life. It will be a religion of action and passion, a social religon, a religion of goals and prospects. It will be a free man’s religion, a religion for an adult and aspiring democracy.
Roy Wood Sellers, The Next Step In Religion (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1918), foreword.
Here Sellers makes the case for atheistic, naturalistic Humanism as the next world religion, or revelation. Again:
But the humanist’s religion is the religion of one who says yea to life here and now, of one who is self-reliant and fearless, intelligent and creative. It is the religion of the will to power, of one who is hard on himself and yet joyous in himself. It is the religion of courage and purpose and transforming energy. Its motto is, “What hath man not wrought?” Its goal is the mastery of all things that they may become servants and instrumentalities to man’s spiritual comradeship. Whatever mixture of magic, fear, ritual and adoration religion may have been in man’s early days, it is now, and henceforth must be, that which concerns man’s nobilities, his discovery of, and loyalty to, the pervasive values of life. The religious man will now be he who seeks out causes to be loyal to, social mistakes to correct, wounds to heal, achievements to further. He will be constructive, fearless, loyal, sensitive to the good wherever found, a believer in mankind, a fighter for things worth while…. The religion of human possibilities needs prophets who will grip men’s souls with their description of a society in which the righteousness, wisdom and beauty will reign together…. Loyalty to such an ideal will surely constitute the heart of the humanist’s religion…. If religion is to survive, it must be human and social. It is they who insists upon a supernatural foundation and object who are its enemies. Man’s life is spiritual in its own right. So long as he shall dream of beauty and goodness and truth his life will not lack religion.
Ibid., p. 212, 215-216, 225.
Curtis W. Reese likewise signed the Humanist Manifesto I, he says quite plainly:
Within the liberal churches of America there is a religious movement which has come to be known as Humanism…. There is a large element of faith in all religion. Christianity has faith in the love of God; and Humanism in man as the measure of values…. Hypotheses, postulates, and assumptions in their proper realm are comparable to faith in the realm of religion. In this way I speak of the faith of Humanism.
Edited by Curtis W. Reese, Humanist Sermons, preface and “The Faith of Humanism,” (Chicago: Open Court Publishing Company, 1927), p. v, 39, 40
One last quote, as I could go on ad infinitum, another signer was Charles Francis Potter, he plainly states:
[Humanism] is a new type of religion altogether…. Is Humanism a religion? It is both a religion and a philosophy of culture…. Education is the most powerful ally of humanism, and every American public school is a school of humanism. What can the theistic Sunday-schools, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teaching.
Charles Potter, HUMANISM: A New Religion (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1930), p. 3, 114, 128
You can see that one revelation, say, “God exists,” is replaced with another that says, “God does not exist.”
Here is a quote from the famous 1961 court case, Torcaso v. Watkins:
Among religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism and others.
See: Washington Ethical Society v. District of Columbia, 101 U.S.App.D.C. 371, 249 F.2d 127; Fellowship of Humanity v. County of Alameda, 153 Cal.App.2d 673, 315 P.2d 394; II Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences 293; 4 Encyclopedia Britannica (1957 ed.) 325-327; 21 id. at 797; Archer, Faiths Men Live By (2d ed. revised by Purinton), 120-138, 254-313; 1961 World Almanac 695, 712; Year Book of American Churches for 1961, at 29, 47.
“Secular Humanism” is official atheism… BTW. It is a religion according to law, and why there are atheist (secular humanist) chaplains in the military.
Humanism is revelation, and just as “absolute” as the other.
Paul Kurtz says, “Humanism is a philosophical, religious, and moral point of view.”
Dewey states, “Here are all the elements for a religious faith that shall not be confined to sect, class or race…. It remains to make it explicit and militant.”
“When a man ceases to believe in God he does not believe in nothing, he believes almost in anything.”
Humanism is a religion, and the Supreme Court defined it as such in 1961 (Torcasov. Watkins, 1961; the word “religion” or “religious” occurs 28 times in the first Manifesto, 1933). While the initial Manifesto is specifically religious, the subsequent humanist documents are not. However, the democratic humanism of the Secular Humanist Declaration (1980), and the “planetary” humanism of Kurtz’s Humanist Manifesto 2000, do not contradict the major premises of the first Manifesto.
The initial Manifesto most plainly declares humanism to be a religious enterprise. The very first section (or article) states: “Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created” (1933, emp. added). Religionists familiar with the goals and practices of secular humanism may be surprised at the high praise of traditional religion in this seminal treatise:
Religions have always been means for realizing the highest values of life. Their end has been accomplished through the interpretation of the total environing situation (theology or world view), the sense of values resulting therefrom (goal or ideal), and the technique (cult) established for realizing the satisfactory life…. [T]hrough all changes religion itself remains constant in its quest for abiding values, an inseparable feature of human life (Humanist…, 1933, Preface, parenthetical items in orig.).
So the secularist’s problem is not with religion per se, but with religious beliefs and practices that are antithetical to certain humanist norms and objectives. Secularists reject “salvationism,” which they regard as based on mere “affirmation” (Humanist…, 1973). Practically all religion other than humanism falls into the category of religion that humanism would oppose. So, religion must be restructured into a humanist “faith” or belief system.
The first Manifesto unveils the humanists’ desire to reshape modern religion. “The time has come for widespread recognition of the radical changes in religious beliefs throughout the modern world. The time is past for mere revision of traditional values…. Religions the world over are under the necessity of coming to terms with new conditions created by a vastly increased knowledge and experience” (1933, Preface). In a sense, humanists see themselves as saving people from theistic religion: “There is a great danger of a final, and we believe fatal, identification of the word religion with doctrines and methods which have lost their significance and which are powerless to solve the problem of human living in the Twentieth Century…. Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created” (Preface-Section 1).
Because theistic religion is so “out of date” according to secularists, a mammoth adjustment is in order. Religion of practically every kind must be eliminated or restructured.
Today man’s larger understanding of the universe, his scientific achievements, and deeper appreciation of brotherhood, have created a situation which requires a new statement of the means and purposes of religion. Such a vital, fearless, and frank religion capable of furnishing adequate social goals and personal satisfactions may appear to many people as a complete break with the past. While this age does owe a vast debt to the traditional religions, it is none the less obvious that any religion that can hope to be a synthesizing and dynamic force for today must be shaped for the needs of this age. To establish such a religion is a major necessity of the present. It is a responsibility which rests upon this generation (Humanist…, 1933, Preface).
Humanists seem to have as their primary religious activity expunging God from society and the minds of people (see “Humanists Praise…,” 2007; “‘Church Polling Place…’,” 2006). Only when God is out of the picture may humanists convert all humans to the religion of humanism (and this is precisely what they intend to do; see Ericson, 2006; Lyons and Butt, 2007).
This was to be the first of many times that an American president would plot to overthrow a foreign government–a dangerous game but one that the Jefferson administration found as hard to pass up as many of its successors would. Wrote Madison:
“Although it does not accord with the general sentiments or views of the United States to intermiddle in the domestic contests of other countries, it cannot be unfair, in the prosecution of a just war, or the accomplishment of a reasonable peace, to turn to their advantage, the enmity and pretensions of others against a common foe.”
Max Boot, The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power (New York, NY: Basic Books, 2002), 23-24.
This audio is with a h/t to The Religion of Conquest:
Most Americans remain utterly ignorant of this nation’s first foreign war but that exotic, long-ago struggle set the pattern for nearly all the many distant conflicts that followed. Refusal to confront the lessons of the First Barbary War (1801-1805) has led to some of the silliest arguments concerning Iraq and Afghanistan, and any effort to apply traditional American values to our future foreign policy requires an understanding of this all-but-forgotten episode from our past.
The war against the Barbary States of North Africa (Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli—today’s Libya) involved commitment and sacrifice far from home and in no way involved a defense of our native soil. For centuries, the Islamic states at the southern rim of the Mediterranean relied upon piracy to feed the coffers of their corrupt rulers. The state sponsored terrorists of that era (who claimed the romantic designation, “corsairs”) seized western shipping and sold their crews into unimaginably brutal slavery.
By the mid-eighteenth century, European powers learned to save themselves a great deal of trouble and wealth by bribing the local authorities with “tribute,” in return for which the pirates left their shipping alone. Until independence, British bribes protected American merchant ships in the Mediterranean since they traveled under His Majesty’s flag; after 1783, the new government faced a series of crises as Barbary pirates seized scores of civilian craft (with eleven captured in 1793 alone). Intermittently, the United States government paid tribute to escape these depredations: eventually providing a bribe worth more than $1,000,000—a staggering one-sixth of the total federal budget of the time – to the Dey of Algiers alone.
When Jefferson became president in 1801, he resolved to take a hard line against the terrorists and their sponsors. “I know that nothing will stop the eternal increase of demands from these pirates but the presence of an armed force, and it will be more economical & more honorable to use the same means at once for suppressing their insolencies,” he wrote.
The president dispatched nearly all ships of the fledgling American navy to sail thousands of miles across the Atlantic and through the straits of Gibraltar to do battle with the North African thugs. After a few initial reverses, daring raids on sea and land (by the new Marine Corps, earning the phrase in their hymn “….to the shores of Tripoli”) won sweeping victory. A decade later, with the U.S. distracted by the frustrating and inconclusive War of 1812 against Great Britain, the Barbary states again challenged American power, and President Madison sent ten new ships to restore order with another decisive campaign (known as “The Second Barbary War, 1815).
Continuing with the article:
The records of these dramatic, all-but-forgotten conflicts convey several important messages for the present day:
The U.S. often goes to war when it is not directly attacked. One of the dumbest lines about the Iraq War claims that “this was the first time we ever attacked a nation that hadn’t attacked us.” Obviously, Barbary raids against private shipping hardly constituted a direct invasion of the American homeland, but founding fathers Jefferson and Madison nonetheless felt the need to strike back. Of more than 140 conflicts in which American troops have fought on foreign soil, only one (World War II, obviously) represented a response to an unambiguous attack on America itself. Iraq and Afghanistan are part of a long-standing tradition of fighting for U.S. interests, and not just to defend the homeland.
Most conflicts unfold without a Declaration of War. Jefferson informed Congress of his determination to hit back against the North African sponsors of terrorism (piracy), but during four years of fighting never sought a declaration of war. In fact, only five times in American history did Congress actually declare war – the War of 1812, the Mexican War, The Spanish American War, World War I and World War II. None of the 135 other struggles in which U.S. troops fought in the far corners of the earth saw Congress formally declare war—and these undeclared conflicts (including Korea, Vietnam, the First Gulf War, and many more) involved a total of millions of troops and more than a hundred thousand total battlefield deaths.
Islamic enmity toward the US is rooted in the Muslim religion, not recent American policy. In 1786, America’s Ambassador to France, Thomas Jefferson, joined our Ambassador in London, John Adams, to negotiate with the Ambassador from Tripoli, Sidi Haji Abdrahaman. The Americans asked their counterpart why the North African nations made war against the United States, a power “who had done them no injury”, and according the report filed by Jefferson and Adams the Tripolitan diplomat replied: “It was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave; and that every mussulman who was slain in this warfare was sure to go to paradise.”
Cruel Treatment of enemies by Muslim extremists is a long-standing tradition. In 1793, Algerian pirates captured the merchant brig Polly and paraded the enslaved crewmen through jeering crowds in the streets of Algiers. Dey Hassan Pasha, the local ruler, bellowed triumphantly: “Now I have got you, you Christian dogs, you shall eat stones.” American slaves indeed spent their years of captivity breaking rocks. According to Max Boot in his fine book The Savage Wars of Peace: “A slave who spoke disrespectfully to a Muslim could be roasted alive, crucified, or impaled (a stake was driven through the arms until it came out at the back of the neck). A special agony was reserved for a slave who killed a Muslim – he would be cast over the city walls and left to dangle on giant iron hooks for days before expiring of his wounds.”
There’s nothing new in far-flung American wars to defend U.S. economic interests. Every war in American history involved an economic motivation – at least in part, and nearly all of our great leaders saw nothing disgraceful in going to battle to defend the commercial vitality of the country. Jefferson and Madison felt no shame in mobilizing – and sacrificing – ships and ground forces to protect the integrity of commercial shipping interests in the distant Mediterranean. Fortunately for them, they never had to contend with demonstrators who shouted “No blood for shipping!”
Even leaders who have worried about the growth of the U.S. military establishment came to see the necessity of robust and formidable armed forces. Jefferson and Madison both wanted to shrink and restrain the standing army and initially opposed the determination by President Adams to build an expensive new American Navy. When Jefferson succeeded Adams as president, however, he quickly and gratefully used the ships his predecessor built. The Barbary Wars taught the nation that there is no real substitute for military power, and professional forces that stand ready for anything.
America has always played “the cop of the world.” In part, Jefferson and Madison justified the sacrifices of the Barbary Wars as a defense of civilization, not just the protection of U.S. interests – and the European powers granted new respect to the upstart nation that finally tamed the North African pirates. Jefferson and Madison may not have fought for a New World Order but they most certainly sought a more orderly world. Many American conflicts over the last 200 years have involved an effort to enfort to enforce international rules and norms as much as to advance national interests. Wide-ranging and occasionally bloody expeditions throughout Central America, China, the Philippines, Africa and even Russia after the Revolution used American forces to prevent internal and international chaos.
The Barbary Wars cost limited casualties for the United States (only 35 sailors and marines killed in action) but required the expenditure of many millions of dollars – a significant burden for the young and struggling Republic. Most importantly, these difficult battles established a long, honorable tradition of American power projected many thousands of miles beyond our shores. Those who claim that our engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan represent some shameful, radical departure from an old tradition of pacifism and isolation should look closely at the reality of our very first foreign war—and all the other conflicts in the intervening 200 years.
Religious Implications of the Treaty of Tripoli
A friend recently quoted this:
“As the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen [Muslims]… it is declared… that no pretext arising from religious opinion shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries” …. “The United States is not a Christian nation any more than it is a Jewish or a Mohammedan nation.”
Firstly, those who cite the Treaty of Tripoli as evidence that this nation was not founded on the Christian religion, usually ignore the Treaty of Paris of 1783. This Treaty, negotiated by Ben Franklin and John Adams among others, is truly a foundational document for the United States, because by this Treaty Britian recognized the independence of the United States. The Treaty begins with the words, “In the Name of the most holy and undivided Trinity… ,” and there is no dispute about its validity or its wording. This “disputed validity” can be seen in the article by Tekton. A fuller dealing with the treaty can also be found at the Wall Builder’s site.
The United States Constitution and the American political system were based on Christian principles. Included in those Christian principles are the following theological and moral imperatives:
Government power and sovereignty should be limited to the specific theological and moral commands of the Christian God.
There should be a balance and separation of powers within the government so that a small group of evil people will be unable to tyrannize others.
All citizens should have the right to own property and to buy and sell freely, according to the moral law of the Christian God.
The right to life and property cannot be abridged without due process.
The ultimate source of all authority lies with the God of the Bible.
The American Government was designed to be a sacred covenant between the people, the state, and God. If the state breaks this covenant, then the people have the right, and the duty, to oppose the state but to use violence only as a last resort.
As the Constitution clearly states, Jesus Christ is our Lord because He is the second member of the “most Holy and undivided Trinity.”
Although the Constitution affirms a belief in the deity of Christ and in the Holy Trinity, neither the church nor the state is allowed to physically force people to believe these biblical teachings. The state should, however, do everything it can to facilitate the spread of the Christian Gospel and to place moral limits on the behavior of people.
For instance, one of many examples the Left gives for a secular founding of our nation is Benjamin Franklin. However, we can see his advice to his own kin in these quotes, he wrote to his daughter in 1764,
“Go constantly to church, whoever preaches. The act of devotion to the common prayer book is your principle business there, and if properly attended to, will do more towards amending the heart than sermons generally can do. For they were composed by men of much greater piety and wisdom, than our common composers of sermons can pretend to be; and therefore I wish you would never miss the prayer days; yet I do not mean you should despise sermons, even of the preachers you dislike, for the discourse is often much better than the man, as sweet and clear waters come through very dirty earth. I am the pore particular on this head, as you learned to express a little before I came away, some inclination to leave our church, which I would not have you do.”
And at age 84, when the President of Yale asked his opinion of Jesus of Nazareth, he replied that “I think his system of morals and his religion, as he left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see.” Something in all the quotes on the atheist monument that are assumed to be “set in stone” (answered here in part 1):
Below, however, is my dealing with a signature (every time someone posts a response in a forum, you/they can choose to have the same “signature” display at the end of their comment — similar to email) of a person in a forum I was in a decade[+] ago. Enjoy, but again, I recommend the above linked articles as well as the one by Apologetic Press. You may ask why many apologetic sites deal with this? It is because atheists primarily latch on to this as an argument against the religious history of this nation. See also my paper on the Separation of Church and State.
Blancho’s signature states:
✂ “‘As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion…’ – Article XI of the English text of the Treaty of Tripoli, approved by the U.S. Senate on June 7, 1797 and ratified by President John Adams on June 10, 1797.”
(I have been wanting to address this quote for some time now, just haven’t had the time, sorry.)
How does this quote that Blancho uses fly in the face of other quotes by John Adams? What is the background to this treaty that caused such a signing to enter the record books of our hallowed halls. Let us first see a few quotes by Adams before we enter into the proper context of this treaty.
[speaking on why Christmas and the Fourth of July were out two top holidays] “Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Saviour? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity?”
“Religion and virtue are the only foundations… of republicanism and of all free governments.”
Okay, the Treaty of Tripoli, one of several with Tripoli, was negotiated during the “Barbary Powers Conflict,” which began shortly after the Revolutionary War and continued through the Presidencies of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison. The Muslim Barbary Powers (Tunis, Morocco, Algiers, Tripoli, and Turkey) were warring against what they claimed to be the “Christian” nations (England, France, Spain, Denmark, and the United States). In 1801, Tripoli even declared war against the United States, thus constituting America’s first official war as an established independent nation.
Throughout this long conflict, the five Barbary Powers regularly attacked undefended American merchant ships. Not only were their cargoes easy prey but the Barbary Powers were also capturing and enslaving “Christian” seamen in retaliation for what had been done to them by the “Christians” of previous centuries (e.g., the Crusades and Ferdinand and Isabella’s expulsion of Muslims from Grenada).
In an attempt to secure a release of captured seamen and a guarantee of unmolested shipping in the Mediterranean, President Washington dispatched envoys to negotiate treaties with the Barbary nations. (Concurrently, he encouraged the construction of American naval warships to defend the shipping and confront the Barbary “pirates” – a plan not seriously pursued until President John Adams created a separate Department of the Navy in 1798.)
The American envoys negotiated numerous treaties of “Peace and Amity” with the Muslim Barbary nations to ensure “protection” of American commercial ships sailing in the Mediterranean. However, the terms of the treaty frequently were unfavorable to America, either requiring her to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars of “tribute” (i.e., official extortion) to each country to receive a guarantee” of safety or to offer other “considerations” (e.g., providing a warship as a gift to Tripoli, a gift frigate to Algiers, paying 525,000 to ransom captured American seamen from Algiers, etc.)
The 1797 treaty with Tripoli was one of the many treaties in which each country officially recognized the religion of the other in an attempt to prevent further escalation of a “Holy War” between Christians and Muslims. Consequently, Article XI of that treaty stated:
“As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion AS it has in itself no character of enmity [hatred] against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen [Muslims] and as the said States [America] have never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Mohammedan] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”
This article may be read in two manners. It may, as its critics do, be concluded after the clause “Christian religion”; or it may be read in its entirety and concluded when the punctuation so indicates. But even if shortened and cut abruptly (“the government of the united states is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion”), this is not an untrue statement since it is referring to the Federal government.
Recall that while the Founders themselves openly described America as a Christian nation, they did include a constitutional prohibition against a federal establishment; religion was a matter left solely to the individual states. Therefore, if the article is read as a declaration that the federal government of the United States was not in any sense founded on the Christian religion, such a statement is not a repudiation of the fact that America was considered a Christian nation.
Reading the clause of the treaty in its entirety also fails to weaken this fact. Article XI simply distinguished America from those historical strains of European Christianity which held an inherent hatred of Muslims; it simply assured the Muslims that the United States was not a Christian nation like those of previous centuries (with whose practices the Muslims were very familiar) and thus would not undertake a religious holy war against them.
This latter reading is, in fact, supported by the attitude prevalent among numerous American leaders. The Christianity practiced in America was described by John Jay as “enlightened,” by John Quincy Adams as “civilized,” and by John Adams as “rational.” A clear distinction was drawn between American Christianity and that of European in earlier centuries.
As Noah Webster explained:
“The ecclesiastical establishments of Europe which serve to support tyrannical governments are not the Christian religion but abuses and corruption’s of it.”
Daniel Webster similarly explained that American Christianity was:
“Christianity to which the sword and the fagot [burning stake or hot branding iron] are unknown – general tolerant Christianity is the law of the land!”
While discussing the Barbary conflict with Jefferson, Adams declared:
“The policy of Christendom has made cowards of all their sailors before the standard of Mahomet. It would be heroical and glorious in us to restore courage to ours.”
Furthermore, it was Adams who declared:
“The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were… the general principles of Christianity…. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God; and that those principles of liberty are as unalterable as human nature.”
Adams’ own words confirm that he rejected any notion that America was less than a Christian nation. Additionally, the writing’s of General William Eaton, a major figure in the Barbary Powers conflict, provide even more irrefutable testimony of how the conflict was viewed at that time. Eaton was first appointed by President John Adams a “Consul to Tunis,” and President Thomas Jefferson later advanced him to the position of “U. S. Naval Agent to the Barbary States,” authorizing him to lead a military expedition against Tripoli. Eaton’s official correspondence during his service confirms that the conflict was a Muslim war against a Christian America.
For example, when writing to Secretary of State Timothy Pickering, Eaton apprised him of why the Muslims would be such dedicated foes:
“Taught by revelation [the Koran] that war with the Christians will guarantee the salvation of their souls, and finding so great secular advantages in the observance of this religious duty [the secular advantage of keeping captured cargo], their [the Muslims’] inducements to desperate fighting are very powerful.”
Eaton later complained that after Jefferson had approved his plan for military action, he sent him the obsolete warship “Hero.” Eaton reported the impression of America made upon the Tunis Muslims when they saw the old warship and its few cannons:
“[T]he weak, the crazy situation of the vessel and equipage [armaments] tended to confirm an opinion long since conceived and never fairly controverted among the Tunisians, that the Americans are a feeble sect of Christianity.”
In a letter to Pickering, Eaton reported how pleased one Barbary ruler had been when he received the extortion compensations from America which had been promised him in one of the treaties, he said:
“To speak truly and candidly…. we must acknowledge to you that we have never received articles of the kind of so excellent a quality from any Christian nation.”
When John Marshall became the new Secretary of State, Eaton informed him:
“It is a maxim of the Barbary States, that ‘The Christians who would be on good terms with them must fight well or pay well.”
And when General Eaton finally commenced his military action against Tripoli, his personal journal noted:
“April 8th. We find it almost impossible to inspire these wild bigots with confidence in us or to persuade then that, being Christians, we can be otherwise than enemies to Musselmen. We have a difficult undertaking!”
May 23rd. Hassien Bey, the commander in chief of the enemy’s forces, has offered by private insinuation for my head six thousand dollars and double the sum for me as prisoner; and $30 per head for Christians. Why don’t he come and take it?”[/i][/list]Shortly after the military excursion against Tripoli was successfully terminated, its account was written and published. What was the title?
The Life of the Late Gen. William Eaton… commander of the Christian and other forces… which Led to the Treaty of Peace Between The United States and The Regency of Tripoli