George Will On Religion and Founding Needs Ayn Rand's Theory of Rights

Posted by khalling 3 years ago to Philosophy
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"He even says explicitly that neither successful self-government nor “a government with clear limits defined by the natural rights of the governed” requires religion. For these, writes Will, “religion is helpful and important but not quite essential.”"
SOURCE URL: https://www.theobjectivestandard.com/2013/08/george-will-a-conservative-none-in-need-of-ayn-rands-theory-of-rights/


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  • Posted by BuddyLama 3 years ago
    Although founded by mostly Christians of various sects and denominations, our nation is by no means a theocracy, nor was it "founded on Judeo-Christian values." Our Liberty and Rights are from Man, ourselves -- ours is "A government Of the People, By the People, and For the People." No deities required!

    Our government is secular, as the founders expressly intended. Thomas Paine was an atheist, Jefferson and Franklin were Deists, and Deists do not believe in the Judeo-Christian anthropomorphic white-haired interventionist guy-in-the-sky who experiences jealousy, anger or love. The Deists' God is none of these things.

    The phrase, "endowed by our creator" is found only in the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution or Bill of Rights. The Law of the Land is embodied by the Constitution and BoR.

    The DoI and Federalist #43 both refer to the "Laws of Nature" and of "Nature's God," but that is the language of deists, not Judeo-Christian beliefs.

    Some faiths object to or even forbid writing the name of their deity. While the common Christian name for 'God' is simply God, or Lord (gets a bit contradictory with Jesus and the holy trinity stuff), the Hebrew names for G-d include, YHVH, YHWH, Jehovah, Adonai, Ehyeh, Asher, Ehyeh...

    The framers of our founding documents were skilled wordsmiths, I think the words they employed and those they omitted were each selected with clear intent and broader understanding than the bulk of today’s pandering politicians combined.

    Religion is mentioned in a couple of the Federalist Papers, but it is not a primary or protracted discussion in any of them.

    In Federalist #2, John Jay counted as a blessing that America possessed "one united people—a people descended from the same ancestors, the same language, professing the same religion."

    In Federalist #10, James Madison identifies the most serious source of faction to be the diversity of opinion in political life which leads to dispute over fundamental issues such as what regime or religion should be preferred.

    John Jay, George Washington and a few other founders repeatedly praised “divine providence” for the success our Revolution, but these were the same few voices saying the same thing over and over again, and historic reality reveals that our success was won by the blood and courage of a relatively small group of men and women determined to free themselves from all forms of government AND religious oppression (including yours).

    cont...
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    • Posted by BuddyLama 3 years ago
      Keep in mind the bloodshed, oppression and misery of the Protestant Reformation which culminated in the ‘Thirty Years War’ in 1648 was relatively recent history for the founders, who were born in the early 1700’s when England and Europe were still recovering from the war’s devastation.

      Thomas Paine, author of “Common Sense” (link below) and "Age of Reason" was an outspoken atheist; it is unlikely the Revolution would have occurred without him.

      Benjamin Franklin was a self-proclaimed Deist who wrote a great deal often mentioning religious matters, often in a negative light:

      "I have found Christian dogma unintelligible. Early in life I absented myself from Christian assemblies."
      —Benjamin Franklin, in Toward The Mystery

      "I cannot conceive otherwise than that He, the Infinite Father, expects or requires no worship or praise from us, but that He is even infinitely above it."
      —Benjamin Franklin from "Articles of Belief and Acts of Religion", Nov. 20, 1728

      "When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not care to support it, so that its professors are obliged to call for the help of the civil power, 'tis a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one."
      —Ben Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanac, 1754 (Works, Volume XIII)

      "My parents had early given me religious impressions, and brought me through my childhood piously in the dissenting [puritan] way. But I was scarce fifteen, when, after doubting by turns of several points, as I found them disputed in the different books I read, I began to doubt of Revelation itself. Some books against Deism fell into my hands; they were said to be the substance of sermons preached at Boyle's lectures. [Robert Boyle (1627-1691) was a British physicist who endowed the Boyle Lectures for defense of Christianity.] It happened that they wrought an effect on me quite contrary to what was intended by them; for the arguments of the deists, which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations; in short, I soon became a thorough deist"
      —Benjamin Franklin, "Autobiography,"p.66 as published in *The American Tradition in Literature,* seventh edition (short), McGraw-Hill,p.180

      "The way to see by Faith is to shut the eye of Reason."
      —Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard, 1758

      "Remember me affectionately to good Dr. Price, and to the honest heretic Dr. Priestley. I do not call him honest by way of distinction, for I think all the heretics I have known have been virtuous men. They have the virtue of fortitude, or they could not venture to own their heresy; and they cannot afford to be deficient in any of the other virtues, as that would give advantage to their many enemies; and they have not, like orthodox sinners, such a number of friends to excuse or justify them.
      Do not, however, mistake me. It is not to my good friend's heresy that I impute his honesty. On the contrary, 'tis his honesty that brought upon him the character of a heretic"
      —Benjamin Franklin, letter to Benjamin Vaughan of England, in Works, Vol.x., p.365

      ...cont
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      • Posted by BuddyLama 3 years ago
        Thomas Jefferson was a Deist who appreciated the Bible and teachings of Jesus, but not all its superstitious and supernatural mumbo jumbo. He cut & pasted his own version of the Bible, omitting the mystical magical miracles and claims of divinity. In 1803 Jefferson scoured the text for Jesus' teachings, sliced out his favorite portions, and glued them into an empty volume. He called it "The Philosophy of Jesus." That book was lost to history. In 1819, he started over and created a new version called "The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth," commonly referred to now as the Jefferson Bible. This volume was kept largely secret and passed among Jefferson's relatives until 1895, when it was discovered by the librarian at the Smithsonian and published by Congress in 1904.

        I'm sure you're familiar with Thomas Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptist Church that contains the following statement referring to the 1st Amendment, reiterating its intended meaning:

        "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church & State."
        —President Thomas Jefferson, letter to Danbury Baptist Church (1802)

        Jefferson believed religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God – not his government.

        Jefferson wrote this letter Jan. 1, 1802 -- WHEN HE WAS PRESIDENT!

        As one of the authors of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and probably thee most intelligent individual of his era, I think Jefferson knew exactly what that document is intended to convey, and what he intended to say in all of his writings.

        Jefferson expressed many personal thoughts on religion, which were rarely charitable, earning him accusations of being atheist:

        "The clergy, by getting themselves established by law and ingrafted into the machine of government, have been a very formidable engine against the civil and religious rights of man."
        —Thomas Jefferson to Jeremiah Moore, August 14, 1800 -- Ford 7:454 - 55

        "The clergy...believe that any portion of power confided to me [as President] will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly: for I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. But this is all they have to fear from me: and enough, too, in their opinion."
        —Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Rush, 1800. ME 10:173

        "The proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right."
        —Thomas Jefferson: Statute for Religious Freedom, 1779. ME 2:301, Papers 2:546
        [ Reference Article VI, 3, of the Constitution: "No religious test"* ]

        *Article IV, paragraph 3.
        "No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

        Article IV, paragraph 3, illustrates there is ONE and only one reference to religion in the body of the Constitution, and that single reference forbids the use of any "religious test" as a litmus test for anyone to hold public office. Perhaps more importantly, it also illustrates the framers did not completely ignore religion in the Constitution and Bill or Rights, they erected walls of separation between government and religion.

        "Our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, more than on our opinions in physics and geometry. . ."
        —Thomas Jefferson ("The Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom")

        "In every country and every age, the priest had been hostile to Liberty."
        —Thomas Jefferson

        "I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature."
        —Thomas Jefferson

        "Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear."
        —Thomas Jefferson

        "To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical."
        —Thomas Jefferson: Bill for Religious Freedom, 1779. Papers 2:545

        cont...
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        • Posted by BuddyLama 3 years ago
          Such sentiments were not exclusive to Jefferson.
          Washington, Adams, Madison:

          "The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion."
          —George Washington (The 1797 Treaty of Tripoli, signed by John Adams and ratified unanimously by Congress.)

          - - - (The above says it all, but there's more!) - - -

          "Thirteen governments [the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind."
          —John Adams

          - - - “founded on the natural authority of the people alone” - - -
          - - - “without a pretence of miracle or mystery” - - -


          "In the Papal System, Government and Religion are in a manner consolidated, & that is found to be the worst of Govts."
          —James Madison, Father of the Constitution (Letter to Jasper Adams)

          "Notwithstanding the general progress made within the two last centuries in favour of this branch of liberty, and the full establishment of it in some parts of our country, there remains in others a strong bias towards the old error, that without some sort of alliance or coalition between Government and Religion neither can be duly supported. Such, indeed, is the tendency to such a coalition, and such its corrupting influence on both the parties, that the danger cannot be too carefully guarded against."
          —James Madison (Letter to Edward Livingston)

          "Because the bill vests in the said incorporated church an authority to provide for the support of the poor and the education of poor children of the same, an authority which, being altogether superfluous if the provision is to be the result of pious charity, would be a precedent for giving to religious societies as such a legal agency in carrying into effect a public and civil duty."
          —James Madison, Veto Message, Feb 21, 1811 By James Madison, to the House of Representatives of the United States: Having examined and considered the bill entitled "An Act incorporating the Protestant Episcopal Church in the town of Alexander, in the District of Columbia. (Madision did not think it was the role of government to aid even the charitable and educational aspects of religion, even non-preferentially.)

          "Besides the danger of a direct mixture of religion and civil government, there is an evil which ought to be guarded against in the indefinite accumulation of property from the capacity of holding it in perpetuity by ecclesiastical corporations.
          The establishment of the chaplainship in Congress is a palpable violation of equal rights as well as of Constitutional principles.
          The danger of silent accumulations and encroachments by ecclesiastical bodies has not sufficiently engaged attention in the US."
          —James Madison, being outvoted in the bill to establish the office of Congressional Chaplain.

          "They seem to imply and certainly nourish the erroneous idea of a national religion."
          —James Madison, on his opposition to government-sponsored calls to prayer and thanksgiving.

          So keep religion OUT of politics, if you please.

          --The BuddyLama

          NEXT: National Mottos and Pledges of Allegiance…
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          • Posted by Robbie53024 3 years ago
            Your analysis overlooks the fact that religion so permeated the culture that it did not need to be expressly called out - it was assumed. They also didn't call out the need for oxygen, but that doesn't prove they didn't think it was essential. They called out those things that had been denied or suppressed. How do you account for the fact that the First Amendment specifically protects religion? If they weren't religious, why would they make that the first item to protect?
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            • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
              Prohibition of religious wars through the force of government is not an endorsement of the supernatural. Religious dogma is not "oxygen" and played no role in the formulation of the founders' ideas on establishing our form of government and the reasons for it. The ideas of the Enlightenment advocating individualism and reason permeated the culture, and they still referred to them in their writings, not Augustine's dogmas condemning life on earth. If those notions of other-worldliness, submission and faith in supernatural animism has continued to dominate the culture they way they had before the Enlightenment, this country would never have been founded.
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          • Posted by  $  blarman 3 years ago
            "So keep religion OUT of politics, if you please."

            Religion is your way of life: your code of conduct. It is WHY you do what you do and how you value things when weighing decisions. Religion is all about recognizing yourself and your goals - whether they be for power, lust, money, family, etc.

            What course you choose to take for your life and what value set you choose to adopt are the very heart of "religion". You can choose to pursue (or worship) whatever or whomever you choose. It can have a formal name and affiliation or not. But to deny that this is anything but religion is self-deception.

            Liberals worship liberalism (or the power derived thereby). Communists worship communism (or the power derived thereby). Christians worship Christ. Buddhists worship Buddha. Muslims worship Allah and Mohammed. PETA worships animals. I could go on and on. The choice to make is to identify WHICH set of values you want to live by and WHY.
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            • Posted by  $  IndianaGary 3 years ago
              "Religion is your way of life: your code of conduct. It is WHY you do what you do and how you value things when weighing decisions."

              I don't accept your premise.
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              • Posted by  $  blarman 3 years ago
                If you want to restrict "religion" to mean a specific set of values or creed - ie an organization - that is your decision, of course, but I would simply ask this: do you follow an administration - or the ideals which founded it? If one claims to be an Objectivist, does one worship Rand - or the ideals she helped to codify?

                Food for thought.
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                • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
                  He didn't restrict religion to an "organization". He rejected the premise that religion includes any way of life or code of conduct. That is not what religion is. It specifically embraces belief by faith in the supernatural. Objectivism does not mean religious worshiping of either Ayn Rand or her ideas.
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                  • Posted by  $  blarman 3 years ago
                    Well, you and I obviously differ on the definition of religion. Having talked with people of many different sects and belief sets, however, I would suggest that religion is not so circumscribed. I spent considerable time in the Near East, and I can tell you from my conversations with people there that Americans are the only ones who believe that one can separate "religion" and values from one's daily life - that somehow what happens on Sunday is any different than what happens Monday through Saturday. To the people of the Near East, this is sheer fallacy and a source of great amusement to them. After examining my own way of looking at things, I was forced to conclude that they were justified: what one really believes comes out in every decision we make - Sunday through Saturday. What was also instructive to me was to look at the equivalent word for religion in those languages. The connotations were always that of "a way of life". Thus I have adjusted my viewpoint accordingly. If you're not interested, it's no skin off my nose, but someone else might be.
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                • Posted by 3 years ago
                  Rand's philosophy of Objectivism. and for me, personally, "open" Objectivism, although I don't like that term. The metaphysics, epistemology, the Ethics and Capitalism as the only moral system of economics
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                  • Posted by  $  blarman 3 years ago
                    Precisely my point. You follow an ideology, not a person. You do so because you believe in the principles so espoused - not merely the one who articulated them as such. What is more, you actually took the time to prove them out to yourself and are content with the results. There are many who are not willing to do such. I commend you for your efforts.

                    What is more, you disagree, but are not disagreeable - unlike some others. The world would be a better place with more like you.
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            • Posted by 3 years ago
              I think the difference is, an Objectivist does not vote to control another's actions through their life philosophy. Religious people can and do
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              • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
                The difference is a lot more fundamental than politics.
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                • Posted by 3 years ago
                  yes, but the article is about the Constitution and what influence, if much of any, religion had on it
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                  • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
                    The article is, but he opened it up to a package deal claiming that any philosophy of life is religion. In such a context the essential difference between his religion and Ayn Rand's philosophy is much more than the politics. When you've been accused of being only another variety of religion, as an excuse to include religion in politics by claiming everything must be religion, then it's gone far beyond the history of the constitution and there is more at stake.
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  • Posted by  $  puzzlelady 3 years ago
    Religion: a pox on all their houses. They and their emphasis on sacrifice are a poison in human psycho-epistemology. Whatever "helpful" elements they contain are not exclusive to religion and exist independently as rational ethics.
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    • Posted by  $  Mimi 3 years ago
      *Big grin*
      Bear with me. I think men created religion for a reason. If we created it--we needed it; it was a tool. Society is evolving. Many have been willing to throw religion under the bus during this upheaval, but they aren’t addressing the fundamental questions to why man created religion in the first place. Did we need to reach outside ourselves, maybe? I don’t know. I just know it was an important part of our development. I personally beleive it has something to do with the brains inability to understand mortality. You can’t stop yourself from thinking. It’s a survival instinct thing. So my theory is we developed stories to correlate with our brain's belief that ‘we’ will always be. Now, good behavior usually will help you to survive longer, agreed?
      I personally believe that kids do better if they are raised with a belief in God. The reason I say this is: there isn’t a mechanism in society to compare to teaching kids self-awareness and conscious more readily then the believe that an omni-present being is watching everything that they do in secret. If no one sees you doing wrong, then how can it be wrong? When will it feel wrong? It’s hard to feel discomfort and shame if there isn’t an audience. Would they use their rational brains to control their behavior?Medically, we can prove there is nothing rational about a teenage brain--good luck with that! What aids can we use?
      I think the idea that something ‘larger’ than ourselves is a useful productive tool. If we want to do away with it, we need an adequate replacement to mediate upon.
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      • Posted by  $  IndianaGary 3 years ago
        I consider teaching kids to accept the irrational in their most formative years the most reprehensible brainwashing imaginable. Just when they are beginning to discover the wonder of the world, we scare the hell out of them with the Devil and saddle them with Original Sin. I can think of nothing more evil.
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        • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 years ago
          "Just when they are beginning to discover the wonder of the world, we scare the hell out of them with the Devil and saddle them with Original Sin"
          Yes. I am atheist, but my kids know the people think the Devil punishes evil-doers and that there's no evidence for this. My son is interested, and my daughter doesn't care. I try really hard not to give them any of my ideas. They don't know for sure what I think of politicians or anything I think is controversial. They'll figure out the world based on reason and facts.
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      • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
        Mimi: "... they aren’t addressing the fundamental questions to why man created religion in the first place."

        Ayn Rand did address why religion was created. It is a primitive form of philosophy and every human being requires a philosophy in some form to integrate his ideas and observations. As conceptual beings who must use our rational minds for survival we can't live range of the moment jumping from one thought to another with no connection, coherence or explanation. See her essay "Philosophy and Sense of Life", republished in her anthology The Romantic Manifesto. It should have also been included in the more recent Philosophy: Who Needs It?.
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        • -4
          Posted by Robbie53024 3 years ago
          claptrap
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          • Posted by jabuttrick 3 years ago
            That's not really a helpful argument, it's just name calling. In fact Rand's insight here seems spot on. Primitive man was seeking some explanation of the physical universe and, more importantly, a coherent way of dealing with it. Why not invent invisible Gods as explanations for natural occurrences like floods, lightning, fires, etc.?
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            • Posted by Robbie53024 3 years ago
              clap·trap (klptrp)
              n.
              Pretentious, insincere, or empty language

              Not name calling at all. I stand by my comment.
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              • Posted by jabuttrick 3 years ago
                Fair enough. But why not explain why it is purportedly "claptrap"? On in its face isn't Rand's argument worthy of refutation?
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                • Posted by Robbie53024 3 years ago
                  I've made this argument many times. I call it the "Baddest Ass on the Block" refutation of the NAP. AR argued that it is in one's own self-interest not to aggress against others as that is the only way for all to maintain a system of mutual non-aggression. But that assumes that an individual seeks the advantage of the collective, which is anti-thetical to history and to Objectivism (although, I'm certainly no O).

                  I say that history is replete with examples of tyrants and bullies that oppress masses of people, and those people willingly acceding to such. The Pharaohs, Genghis Khan, Roman Emperors, European Kings, Dukes, Earls, etc., al the way to modern day Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, etc. I say that all of them had much better lives and wouldn't trade any downside for "mutual non-aggression." And many of those who were ruled lived in those systems willingly. Heck, we have many today who are willing to give over control to others and be ruled instead of rule themselves (we call them Democrats).

                  If as a bully I can subvert you to my will, and you accept that, why would it not be in my best interest to do so? And history shows that many are willing to allow such.
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                  • Posted by conscious1978 3 years ago
                    You keep bringing up your 'bad ass' argument in a poorly reasoned attempt to refute Objectivism. Let me offer you some "claptrap" as cud. :)

                    All the "bullies" you mention, certainly had no regard for the natural rights of individuals—a rather obvious observation. Objectivism sees those rights as fundamental to the nature of man; but it is not a religion that is imposed, by magical wand, cross, or threat, on others. However, when one of your "bad asses" runs into a group of people that cherish the value of their natural rights, they will see the passion and intelligence of men and women that don't willingly give that up.

                    That "bullies" exist doesn't negate the philosophy of Objectivism. Just because Objectivism doesn't threaten men with some post-life damnation, doesn't negate the truth of its concepts.

                    People are...people; some have a better grasp on reality than others.
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                    • Posted by Robbie53024 3 years ago
                      If it's so natural, why doesn't it dominate? Why doesn't it dominate today? More of the world is under the rule of despots than not. And just look at this great nation. Slowly slipping into tyranny (or maybe not so slowly anymore). I think your arguments are refuted by history.
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                      • Posted by conscious1978 3 years ago
                        Your logic is flawed. Most of mankind has never heard the concept of natural rights. Your conclusion is similar to the flaw in thinking that advanced math is refuted by a history of most people not knowing or understanding it.

                        Rand's achievement was explaining the origin and validity of man's rights in a way not previously understood.
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  • Posted by Genez 3 years ago
    In a discussion with family recently I made a similar point. The founders wrote the Constitution as a "secular" document. This means it was based on a self-sustaining "rule of law" based on a separation of powers with checks and balances. We were not founded as a 'Christian nation' as so many Christian leaders try to say. We were founded by many people who were Christians, or who at least believed in the Christian God, but they did not found a religious nation as such. Many of the original colonists were fleeing just that, state religion and religious control. Their desire was to found a nation that allowed religious practice/freedom but did not mandate it on the individual.

    It seems to me this is the type of point that Will is trying to make. While, yes, we were founded on many so called "Judeo-Christian" principles or ideas, we were NOT founded as a religious country. Therefore the rule of law and rights, as such, can not be said to be based in religious context.
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    • Posted by  $  Mimi 3 years ago
      Actually, the early christians were fleeing crack downs on over-zealot communities in Europe. They were nuts.They wanted a stricter code of religion. Torture practices among the early settlers is what caused many to leave the Puritan society and forge new religious groups in Pennsylvania.
      The reason the Constitution is less-religious in content reflects upon the widespread appeal of the Enlightenment movement in Europe at the time, while the Declaration was more religious in attuned because it was written at an earlier time.
      I think about the historical context when we talk about possible changes to the Constitution to reflect a more modern thought. The world at large is in chaos; this is not the time to be rewriting anything. No one seems to have a clear purpose or thought.
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    • Posted by barwick11 3 years ago
      That's news to the founders... the ones of which said we do not want a FEDERAL Government to establish a religion, but whom were perfectly fine with States having a main denomination (Christian by the way).

      Without a Judeo-Christian foundation, there is *no* basis for morality, except for "well, most people don't want it this way". Christians led the charge to end the slave trade. Christians led the charge to end slavery itself (most people wanted it). Christians stood side by side with blacks in their fight for civil rights. Christians led the charge for women suffrage. Christians led the charge to end the murder of unborn babies (and it will end, despite most people looking the other way on it).

      Oh, and, yes... Christians and Churches were responsible for preserving our system of individual liberty in the war for independence. Not that others didn't play a part, but they were the lead influence. Who is Jonas Clark? http://chuckbaldwinlive.com/Articles/tab...

      Long story short, and back to my original point: Without an unchanging foundation, morality is whatever YOU make it. That is why Christians have always led these causes, we have an unchanging moral foundation in an unchanging God.
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      • Posted by jabuttrick 3 years ago
        How do you explain the fact that many Christians supported the slave trade, supported slavery, were slaveholders, fought against civil rights for blacks, opposed suffrage for women, support abortion rights, and fought for the British or were Tories in the Revolutionary War?
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        • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
          jabuttrick: "How do you explain the fact that many Christians supported the slave trade, supported slavery, were slaveholders,..."

          Even George Whitefield, the well-known, mesmerizing evangelist just before the revolution, supported slavery on principle.
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        • Posted by  $  jbrenner 3 years ago
          I mean no offense, but a Christian doesn't have to explain those offensive behaviors. One of the more redeeming (pun intended) characteristics of Christianity is the personal relationship that Christians claim to have with their god. Christians do not have to explain others' "sins"; they only need to atone for their own sins.

          Ironically to most Objectivists, Christianity is quite a selfish decision to make. Christians realize what they perceive to be their own inadequacy and make a decision to live their lives for another man (Jesus Christ) in exchange for a promised future salvation. Whether that decision is a good decision or not is certainly one worth debating (and frankly has been debated thoroughly) in the Gulch.
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          • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 years ago
            "a Christian doesn't have to explain those offensive behaviors"
            Yes. This is just as no one has to explain offensive behaviors of their group. "What about [light-skinned people / dark-skinned people / Muslims / atheists] who did [XYZ]? " People shouldn't have to answer for things *other people* did.
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            • Posted by jabuttrick 3 years ago
              I understand your point, but I think you misconstrued the reason for my request for an explanation. I was responding to the observation that "real" Christians had purportedly advocated for all sorts of supposedly good causes. My comment was made to highlight the fact that Christians had also advocated for evil. I was challenging the prior poster to "explain" how those facts fit into his view of Christianity. Your point is, of course, correct.
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          • Posted by 3 years ago
            objectivists do not celebrate a man living for another man (or god). Promises of future whatever is not fact
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            • Posted by  $  jbrenner 3 years ago
              I agree, khalling. This is precisely why I have said that a Christian cannot be an Objectivist, and vice versa. There can be many views that Christians and Objectivists agree upon, but their premises are different. Thus, they will definitely be mutually exclusive, despite what some Gulchers think.
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              • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
                Christian religious premises do not lead to American individualism and are not compatible with it. Most American Christians hold a mixture of premises, some religious and many not, which is what makes so much in common possible in some cases. It depends on what premises are being emphasized or compartmentalized.

                The danger on a cultural scale is pushing destructive, false premises as a foundation (including the bizarre claims of "Christian Objectivism") because when those wrong premises are emphasized and followed out it means the end of modern civilization and a return to the Dark Ages. This why, for anyone who takes ideas seriously as the source of trends on a cultural scale, the attempts to explicitly promote religion or an alleged "compatibility" with Ayn Rand's philosophy must be explicitly and emphatically rejected.
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                • Posted by  $  jbrenner 3 years ago
                  I'm not disagreeing with you on this, ewv. An example of the "mixture of premises" that you describe is Americans' belief that "God helps those who help themselves". This is a statement by Ben Franklin, and is not in the Bible. The closest thing in the Bible to it is the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), but that is not really the same thing.
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                  • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
                    There are many common sense ideas that were adopted along the way throughout history by people in religious-dominated societies, to such an extent that they became part of the culture and known as part of the commonly accepted "religious beliefs". But they did not come from the religious premises themselves and were in spite of it. If this hadn't happened there could not have been an evolution that led to the Enlightenment, and we would still be in the Dark Ages.

                    But the kind of mixed premises I am referring to are more fundamental. American Christians for the most part live their lives, and consciously and rationally work, in pursuit of their own values and dreams here on earth. This is in complete contradiction to the essential Christian ideals of other-worldliness, submission, sacrifice and faith even while occasionally paying lip service to it on Sundays. If their actual sense of life becomes undermined by a rise in religion on a broad scale, then the society is doomed.
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        • Posted by 3 years ago
          many christian groups including the Quakers worked under great danger running the Underground Railroad. Like any individual, most fight for their country, in the Revolutionary War, the majority of americans saw themselves as british subjects.
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        • Posted by barwick11 3 years ago
          How do you explain the fact that there's people who call themselves fans of Ayn Rand, but don't believe in any of her principles?

          People can call themselves whatever they want. And, occasionally, even if they are truly a Christian, I know this comes as a shock to you, but... Christians aren't perfect either.
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          • Posted by xthinker88 3 years ago
            Yes - some of them - like you - are actually in this gulch.
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            • Posted by barwick11 3 years ago
              Oh, I was unaware that Ayn Rand was a flawless human being. I'm glad you adhere to her teachings in utter perfection.
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              • Posted by xthinker88 3 years ago
                It's not a matter of adherence or flawlessness. THe question is why somebody would support a person who was an avowed enemy of his religion.
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                • Posted by barwick11 3 years ago
                  The same reason we study Plato?
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                  • Posted by 3 years ago
                    this whole thread degraded. both of you have much common ground in this site. the topic is the importance of religion in the founding documents. How essential is that to the framework of the Constitution?
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                    • Posted by xthinker88 3 years ago
                      pretty important if you believe that this country was founded as a Christian nation and that only the Judeo-Christian mythology provides a backdrop that supports an understanding of rights.
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                      • Posted by 3 years ago
                        yes, I agree. I think it's important for Christians to consider the logical derivation of rights from Man himself. After all, Man , in their view, conceptualizes God. Why not rights?
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                    • Posted by barwick11 3 years ago
                      Very, considering that despite xthinker's claims, it's a well documented fact that our founders (and their predecessors upon whom they based their ideas) used the foundation of Judeo-Christian principles in our founding.

                      For almost all of human history, the view was "God gives rights to government, which gives rights to man". Our founders (and again, their predecessors) said "no... that's not right. The truth is, God gives rights to man, who gives rights to government".
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                      • Posted by 3 years ago
                        I disagree with this. You are using quotes, however, not citing the source(s). God is not mentioned ONCE in the Constitution. It's not there
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                        • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 years ago
                          "God is not mentioned ONCE in the Constitution."
                          Yes! I think they wanted to say that rights are a human birthright and pepole grant power to the gov't, not the other way around. They thought this was so monumentally important that they didn't want to get bogged down with the question of where does humankind's birthright come from. That's up to everyone to decide for themselves. They weren't making a statement on that point. They were trying to avoid this very discussion of whether they endorsed particular religiouis views.
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                          • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
                            Religious ideas were and are irrelevant to the constitution. They weren't evading anything.
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                            • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 years ago
                              "They weren't evading anything."
                              I said they were avoiding them, not evading them. They were saying rights are a human birthright. It's not a stretch to read that claim and ask how did humans come to have agency, the feeling of free will, self awareness, and everything associated with those rights. The Constitution does not address the points. I don't consider that evasive.
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                              • Posted by ewv 2 years, 12 months ago
                                There was nothing to avoid or evade. Their concept of rights had nothing to do with religious supernaturalism.

                                The Constitution is a secular political, not a philosophical, document. There was no place for philosophical discussion in it. It didn't arise at all; it wasn't "avoided". If the government were founded for theocracy, the Constitution would have had to include religion.
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                          • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
                          • Posted by Robbie53024 3 years ago
                            They didn't need to identify God in the Constitution, they had already done so in the Declaration of Independence. That is the document that sets the foundation of what we are and why we have our rights - they were given to us by our creator. The Constitution is a description of how a government of men is organized - there was no reason to mention God. Yet, the first amendment to that document expressly protects religion and religious thought.

                            Some people really have an incomplete or naïve view of history.
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                        • Posted by barwick11 3 years ago
                          I never said they founded this nation to be an exclusively Christian nation, let alone any denomination of Christian. That's why they prohibited using a religious test to hold office.

                          But that doesn't change what I already said: They used the foundation of Judeo-Christian principles in our founding.

                          The Declaration of Independence however, the document that is the reason the Constitution exists, explicitly mention the "Laws of Nature and Nature's God", "endowed by their Creator".
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                          • Posted by  $  IndianaGary 3 years ago
                            Most of the Founders were not explicitly Christian; they were Deists, which is subtly different.

                            Definition: deist - Deism is the belief that reason and observation of the natural world are sufficient to determine the existence of a Creator, accompanied with the rejection of religious knowledge as a source of authority.

                            This is more like the concept of Intelligent Design than explicitly Christian. We Objectivists argue that reason and observation of the natural world are sufficient to determine that there is no need for the existence of any god and that, in fact, accepting the existence of a (necessarily) supernatural god is counter to reality. As you have said before, you may choose to believe what you want to believe and I'll go down a different path.
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                            • Posted by  $  blarman 3 years ago
                              So define "Christian". Is it Methodist or Baptist? Protestant or Quaker? Catholic or Othodox?

                              The Founders believed in the Judeo-Christian version of God, but you are correct in that most did not specifically associate with any professed creed. But I think it a bit two-faced to try to assert that simply because most did not ally themselves with the various sects of their time, they did not believe in a Judeo-Christian God and that such a belief did not heavily affect their deliberations and foundational beliefs.
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                              • Posted by  $  Zenphamy 3 years ago
                                Nonsense! The founders specifically left god and Jesus out of the Constitution. Their reasons for the Freedom of Religion was to prevent individuals from having to worship or believe anything not formed from their own individual reasoning and rationality.

                                If you so badly want a country founded on and ruled according to your judeo-christian beliefs and fantasies, go found one, but keep it out of this country founded on reason and individual rights. Practice it in the privacy of your environment or with others that believe as you, but not in my environment or one which we have to share.
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                              • Posted by 3 years ago
                                I keep giving you a point...but I disagree with your pemise
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                                • Posted by  $  blarman 3 years ago
                                  The first question posed in the thread is whether or not the United States is a Christian nation. I think we generally agree this to be a fallacious assertion solely based on the contents of the First Amendment.

                                  The second question is whether or not the Founders were influenced by a belief in the Judeo-Christian God. Since we can not ask them directly, we can only look a their published writings, and the predominance of those suggest that the majority interpretation of God was profoundly Judeo-Christian in nature. Some like George Washington leave no ambiguity whatsoever, as his use of the word God in speeches such as his inauguration addresses is plain and clear in denoting his understanding and faith in a Judeo-Christian God. Others such as Jefferson are less clear because some writings seem to support, but others oppose. John Adams grew up as a Puritan, but while he later dropped his affiliation with that sect, his writings make it clear he still believed in a Judeo-Christian God. We can go on through the list of Founders if we wish.

                                  Does that mean that the United States was created only to govern a Christian nation? I can not agree with that assumption because if that were the case, I would expect the First Amendment to be exactly the reverse of its present writing.

                                  If the real point of the question is to identify the source of inspiration of these men, I would suggest that simply trial and error, as well as long deliberation by informed men played the larger part. Simply reading through the Constitutional Convention debates makes it very clear to me that these men were highly educated in the histories of both past and present governments and could easily point out flaws in any or all of them. They were as quick to point out the flaws in Switzerland or England as that of Carthage or Rome or Athens. And they had one failed experiment - the Articles of Confederation - under their belt to learn from.

                                  I care much less about the origins of the Constitution than the preservation of such and the resulting freedoms.
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                                  • ewv replied 2 years, 12 months ago
                            • Posted by barwick11 3 years ago
                              "Most" is a wishy washy term. Certainly many were deists. Deism is the natural result of God's revelation through nature. But nature alone isn't sufficient for salvation. That's a deep subject, not going into it.

                              But what you said there, that they were deists, even if I gave you the "most" (which I'll contest some other time), you just said that they had sufficient evidence through reason and observation to determine that there is a Creator. But, they themselves choose to rebel against that creator.

                              The world they lived in, they didn't have the archaeological and historical evidence that backs up the accuracy and historicity of the Bible. They could "reasonably" (though not really) reject the claims of the Bible by making the assertion that it isn't accurate, and/or was corrupted.

                              Today, we don't have that luxury. It seems that almost every time a spade is turned in archaeology, it supports the accuracy of the Bible. This started to really accelerate in the 1800's, continuing through the 1900's, and still continues to this day. Finding things that Luke said that people thought "he was wrong, this guy wasn't proconsul, nor was he leader during this time" only to find out he did in fact hold that title during those times when they made an archaeological discovery.

                              Little things like that have happened so many times that nowadays, people can't claim that the Bible is inaccurate, so they have to either completely reject God all together, or make a claim that the purpose of the Bible isn't to be inerrant, but to be "interpreted" in different ways.

                              All that to say, the founders were honest enough to say that "yeah, reason and observation lead us to conclude that there is 'a god' out there". But modern day people are trying to claim the exact opposite, despite us having more evidence to support the existence of God than we did before.
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                              • Posted by  $  IndianaGary 3 years ago
                                Now I believe that you have crossed the line from discourse on the topic at hand and proselytizing. Let's simply agree to disagree since you are clearly impervious to reason.
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                                • Posted by barwick11 3 years ago
                                  Impervious to reason... sigh...

                                  I write an entire post showing that the very founding fathers of this nation (even the diests) essentially said "reason and observation lead us to conclude that there is 'a god' out there", in order to show that your claims that "[my] belief in God is not based on reason" are false.

                                  Then you come back and say "you are impervious to reason"? Sigh...
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                                  • ewv replied 2 years, 12 months ago
                                  • ewv replied 2 years, 12 months ago
                              • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
                                The founding of America had nothing to do with "salvation" and "revelation" and your theology is not "deep". A vague deist belief in some being that started the world off and then leaves us alone has nothing to do with mystical, Christian other-worldliness and demands for human sacrifice, all as a way of life and a theology replacing philosophy. And no, archeology is not confirming that primitive mindset.

                                This is a site for those who admire Ayn Rand's philosophy of reason and her novel Atlas Shrugged that it made possible, not for proselytizing religious mysticism. You have gone far beyond discussion of the history of the formulation of the constitution and the lack of religious mysticism in the founding of this country. You are promoting religion as such with your mystical mindset with appeals to "revelation" and "sacred text" on behalf of belief in the supernatural. You can believe whatever you want but that doesn't belong here.
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                                • Posted by barwick11 3 years ago
                                  Oh that's nice of you... I've somehow violated the rules you think exist here. One topic leads to another dude... nothing is independent in and of itself.

                                  Unless you want to do some homework yourself and read a book I suggest (because obviously you are not familiar with the facts presented in it), then I think we're done.

                                  The book is "Evidence that Demands a Verdict" by Josh McDowell. He set out in his thesis to disprove the Bible. He became a Christian.
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                      • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
                        barwick: "it's a well documented fact that our founders (and their predecessors upon whom they based their ideas) used the foundation of Judeo-Christian principles in our founding".

                        That is not only not "well documented", it is false, not a "fact" at all. Judeo-Christian principles are the philosophy of the Dark Ages and the opposite of the founding of this country, which was based on the Enlightenment emphasis on reason and individualism in contrast to the centuries dominated by their opposite. Christianity was primarily other-wordly in its mystic beliefs. The first and fundamental goal was to wallow in and live for salvation in another realm, denouncing and escaping from the misery of life on earth. The means of allegedly knowing were by faith in contrast to reason. It is not possible for such a world-view to have lead to the founding of America and it did not.
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                        • Posted by barwick11 3 years ago
                          Wrong. The enlightenment philosophy is what resulted in the FRENCH REVOLUTION. Polar opposite to the American Revolution. Frenchmen would make paper effigies of Jesus, Mary, Saints (the latter two being primarily aimed at the Catholic Church, which if you ask me is borderline not Christian, though many Catholics are Christian, long story there...) They would then take those effigies and burn them in the streets, and inside would be found wood or metal objects etched with "reason", etc.

                          Read some history. Or if you're not fond of reading (which I doubt, but regardless, videos are fun still), David Barton has produced an excellent video history on the foundation of America in his "American Heritage" series.
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                          • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
                            Your history is full of crap. Barton is no historian. He is an ex-elementary school math teacher turned evangelist whose idea of history is to find his religion in everything he sees, ignoring what he doesn't like. He is so discredited that he even had to retract fabrications of quotes he had dishonestly put in his own books, confusing his wishful thinking speculation with history.

                            The Enlightenment is so named because people became enlightened when they rejected the dogma and authoritarianism from the Dark and Middle Ages. The pursuit of individualism and rationality led to an explosion of knowledge and well being.

                            The Founding fathers of this country were well read in the ideas of the Enlightenment, particularly Locke, and it was in fact the philosophical basis for this country. Instead of reading Barton's imaginative interpretations, read a real historian, like Bernard Bailyn's classic Ideological Origins of the American Revolution.

                            This is a forum for reason and individualism in Ayn Rand's philosophy, not for proselytizing religious faith with tortured re-writes of history and grandiose claims for your "depth" as you preposterously write off enormous institutions like the Catholic Church and its history as non-Christian in your tormented revisionism. Your dogmatic ignorance and lack of objectivity do not belong here.
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                            • Posted by  $  jbrenner 3 years ago
                              Barton is the author of the most popular college American History textbook. Do not dismiss him so cavalierly. If he was so full of crap, then he wouldn't have the reputation he has.
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                            • Posted by barwick11 3 years ago
                              ewv, for the first time on this board, I've downvoted someone... you have earned that distinction. Congratulations.

                              I tire of your rantings and ramblings. You make claims without any basis, you utterly refuse to look at facts I've presented, and you refuse to acknowledge that, possibly, someone other than yourself MAY have something valid to say. You rant about what this board is supposedly for, I explain something and you say "that doesn't matter", etc, etc, etc. You are blinded by your hatred, and not a single word I can ever say in and of itself will ever change that fact. I'm not mad at you, becuase if it weren't for the grace of God, I'd be doing the same thing you are, and probably would be even more vitriolic than you are. Have a good life, I pray some day God will have mercy on you and show you the Truth. And I'm sure you're seething right now about me even saying what I've said here, whether you admit it or not. Good day.
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          • Posted by jabuttrick 3 years ago
            Calling oneself a "fan" is a bit different from being an Objectivist. I really don't know any self-identifying Objectivist who doesn't "believe in any of [Rand's] principles." My point, made unclearly, perhaps, is that your argument that some "Christians" participated in a selected group of causes (and implicitly that something about christianity mandated that they take those positions) does not rest on firm factual footing. Those who opposed women's suffrage in this country were overwhelmingly Christian and they cited the Bible to support their position (as did the pro-slavery Christian crowd). You want to claim Christian credit for a raft of positions without noting that the opposing forces were also made up primarily of Christians. Unless of course you are claiming that they were not really "true" Christians which would come as a great surprise to them and would be a prime example of the "no true Scotsman" fallacy.
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          • Posted by xthinker88 3 years ago
            You do understand right that the CHristians aren't perfect doesn't cover things such as slavery. Systemic slavery is not the same as whoops, i told a little lie. It's like whoops, i created a whole system enslaving millions of people and use texts from my scripture to justify it.
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            • Posted by barwick11 3 years ago
              You do understand that you will not find someone who was a true Christian that could ever advocate for involuntary servitude for any length of time, don't you? They might be blind enough to not see what it is, and casually throw their hat in "support" of it, until they get off their lazy butt and think about what it is. Unfortunately, most people don't *think* nowadays, nor in the past.
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              • Posted by jabuttrick 3 years ago
                Ah, they weren't "true Christian[s]." Here comes that "no true Scotsman" fallacy again, now explicit.
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                • Posted by barwick11 3 years ago
                  Do you even know what it means to be a true Christian? Someone who, not of their own will, has been born again spiritually. Again, NOT of their own will, they are wholly incapable of choosing to be born again (did you decide when you were first born?). Jesus Himself spoke of this in John 6:60-65. And you are doing the same exact thing Jesus spoke of here:
                  https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?se...
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                  • Posted by  $  IndianaGary 3 years ago
                    I bought into that religion until I was about 21. Then I started thinking for myself and discovered Objectivism. It took a couple of years of difficult introspection and study before I fully understood the evil of altruism, which is the basis of virtually all religion, particularly Christianity.

                    Try this exercise: read a Papal encyclical and replace the word "God" with the word "State" and see just how close it comes to a Communist equivalent. The relationship between Christianity and Communism is uncanny. If you agree that Communism is evil, I'd suggest that you look very closely at what you've let into your religion. I suggest that it is built-in and cannot be separated.
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                    • Posted by barwick11 3 years ago
                      You're talking about the Roman Catholic Church. I am not. The Christian Church as a whole relies on the Bible as it's sole inerrant source of revelation about God. That's the foundation of it.

                      Heck, look at today's Pope if you have any doubt about the Catholic Church's misguided direction it's gone in over the last millenia-plus. Now, that's not to say that all Catholics aren't Christian, but certainly a LOT of them aren't. But I know some who are.
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                      • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
                        This isn't about a battle between religious sects, with claims of different kinds of "inerrant revelation" and "sacred text". The variations are irrelevant. Catholic encyclicals are a consequence of its fundamentals. The Church was worse than "misguided" long before the last millenia.
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                        • Posted by barwick11 3 years ago
                          Yes, it is a "battle" between religious "sects". It would be like you arguing with someone else who claimed to follow the teachings of Ayn Rand, but her teachings were irrelevant if some authority figure said something that contradicted her teachings.
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                          • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
                            This has nothing to do with Ayn Rand. Ayn Rand's philosophy does not mean "following Ayn Rand" or "authority figures". Your religious rhetoric is irrelevant.
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                  • Posted by  $  blarman 3 years ago
                    As a Christian, I really can't agree with you here. The choice to be baptized and follow Christ is absolutely a choice of free will and no different than the choice to follow Ayn Rand's Objectivism, Mohammed's Islam, Rastafarianism, or anything else. One does not lose their free will when they become a Christian, and they can turn away at any point afterward. Those are all choices of free will. I'm not really following you here.
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                    • Posted by barwick11 3 years ago
                      Long long discussion, but here's the short. I understand what you're saying. I was there too. Start with John 6:35 till the end of the chapter. Pay special attention. To verse 44. Also, "born again", which of us chose to be born the first time?

                      Don't get me wrong, you do have to choose.. but you never will unless God draws you. And if He draws you, you WILL choose, not because he forces you, but for the same reason you eat when you're hungry, when you didn't eat 2 hours before because you have changed, and now you actually want to. He changed you, and now you want to.
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                      • Posted by  $  blarman 3 years ago
                        We'll just agree to interpret that scripture very differently, then.

                        As for your choice about birth - do you believe that we originated from nothing? I happen to believe that we existed before this earth and that we chose to come here for the experience. Birth is an entry through a portal to a new realm of experience. Seems to fit both circumstances and I doubt the analogy with reference to baptism was randomly selected.
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                        • Posted by barwick11 3 years ago
                          I'm just saying... scripture is pretty clear once we can get beyond this preconceived notion that it is "our choice" to accept or reject Christ.

                          Yes, we have that choice. But every single human being on the planet earth since time began, until time eternal, WILL choose to reject Christ, by their own human nature. Where does that leave us?

                          ONLY those whom God "draws" (as Christ himself said) can come to Christ, and those whom he draws *will* come.

                          It's plastered all over scripture. It's the same thing Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Whitefield, Spurgeon, Aquinas, Polycarp, and all the way back to Paul and the Apostles, all taught and believed.

                          I'm not quite sure where you get your belief about our "existence before this earth, and choosing to come here for the experience" from, but I've never seen it or heard it anywhere in the Bible, and I've read through it and studied it verse by verse at the same time 2.5 times already, and have listened to thousands of hours of sermons and biblical teachings by long-time Bible scholars.

                          If you have a reference for that belief though, by all means share.
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                  • Posted by jabuttrick 3 years ago
                    Huh? I thought a Christian was someone who: (i) believed in God as a supernatural power; (ii) believed in Jesus Christ as a divine entity who appeared on earth and whose activities and teachings are accurately set forth in the New Testament; and, (iii) accepted the teachings of Jesus Christ as set forth in the New Testament. If I'm wrong about that then we are talking at cross purposes.
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                    • Posted by  $  jbrenner 3 years ago
                      Your interpretation, jabuttrick, is correct, but incomplete. A Christian also must live their life for another man (Jesus Christ), contrary to Galt's oath.
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                      • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
                        There is much more to this than "Galt's oath" as a single principle. The whole metaphysics of supernaturalism, faith and authoritarian "sacred text" as a means to knowledge, the purpose of ethics as pursuing another world, and the subservient duty mentality are all fundamentally contrary to Ayn Rand's philosophy (and living on earth).
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                      • Posted by barwick11 3 years ago
                        Then it's John Galt vs Jesus. One of them therefore must not be perfect. Or both if you choose that route, but you get the point.

                        And you're absolutely right. Christianity is living your life for another being, in this case, the God of the universe. Christians see themselves as wholly subservient to God because, well, he's God. People turned off by being subservient to the creator of the universe, well... they want to invent who they *think* God should be, rather than find out who God is for real. And based on who they think he should be, they say "well, God can't be real, he's not like I think he should be".
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                    • Posted by  $  blarman 3 years ago
                      But what does the actual "acceptance of teachings" constitute? If one says that they "believe", but justify theft, lying, adultery, etc., does that make them a Christian? No. You have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

                      It is instructional to note that within the entirety of the New Testament, Christ's harshest words were to whom: the Jewish leaders who purported to be awaiting His coming! "By their fruits ye shall know them."
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                      • Posted by jabuttrick 3 years ago
                        Two points and then I think I'm done here. First, by the logical extension of your "walk the walk" standard nobody is a Christian unless they interpret the scriptures exactly as you do. You must know that millions of self-identified Christians, for instance, believe that taxation is moral and even supported by the Bible ("render unto Caesar"). On the other hand, I'd wager that some self-identified Christians on this site believe that taxation is theft. I honestly don't know which group you belong to, but your argument above leads to the conclusion that the other is not composed of "true Christians." I think you can probably see that proposition is fallacious and is of the "Scotsman" variety because it confuses a mere attributes with defining characteristics. Second, I don't know why you say it is "instructional to note" to whom Christ purportedly directed some harsh words. Are you trying to say that non-Christian Objectivists are to be despised by God as somehow "worse" than non-Objectivist Christians? Assuming the validity of Objectivism, what kind of God would assert this and why?
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                        • Posted by  $  blarman 3 years ago
                          "nobody is a Christian unless they interpret the scriptures exactly as you do."

                          Fortunately, Christians don't rely on man to interpret the scriptures for them. They have the Spirit of God and inspired men called prophets to help out when there is any ambiguity. Those who choose to interpret scripture for themselves reap their own rewards.

                          "your argument above leads to the conclusion that the other is not composed of 'true Christians.'"

                          A Christian is someone who follows Christ - not someone who merely professes such. Just as you would not have an Objectivist who believed in the welfare state. Does that mean that there isn't some allowance for imperfection? Of course not. But self-profession in my mind is of little value - it is the actions that matter. Christ Himself said such on more than one occasion. The other matter gets into authority, and I won't get into that right now.

                          "I think you can probably see that proposition is fallacious and is of the "Scotsman" variety because it confuses a mere attributes with defining characteristics."

                          But that is exactly what we are talking about, is it not? Is one a Scotsman who speaks with the appropriate brogue, but can not trace his lineage? No. Such is an impostor and all true Scotsmen will call such out - kilt or no kilt, haggus or no haggus.

                          One can not lump all Christian denominations together in the same pot because they all have different ideas about what "being a Christian" even means to themselves! A Baptist will not call a Mormon a Christian. The Protestants object to the Catholics. Thus the Scotsman fallacy is inapplicable in this circumstance. That was what I was trying to point out.

                          "Are you trying to say that non-Christian Objectivists are to be despised by God as somehow "worse" than non-Objectivist Christians?"

                          On the contrary, Christ castigated the Pharisees (Jewish rulers) because they were those who professed to believe in and look forward to the coming of Christ, yet were the ones who openly opposed Him when He came! The criticism was because they were hypocrites - they were blessed with a knowledge above others and when the time came to act on it, they allowed their own desires and lust for power to trump their own religion. A second example is when he cast the money-changers out of the temple. They knew what they were doing fell contrary to their own beliefs. Christ further instructed these very leaders that the publicans (tax-collectors - universally despised because of their tactics and known dishonesty) and harlots (no explanation needed there) would go into the Kingdom of God before them. Why? Because the harlots and publicans had not been educated as to Christ's doctrine and so could still repent and change their ways. The Pharisees and scribes knew what they should have been doing, but didn't do it. They were in a state of open rebellion rather than ignorance. The scribes and Pharisees knew the path, but not only refused to walk it themselves, but prevented others from walking it. The publicans and harlots didn't even know about the path.

                          I would also mention that God despises none. We are His children and He loves us as such. That does not mean that when our children choose a path we know will harm them that we are not concerned and displeased. What parent does not make an effort to try to correct a disobedient child - sometimes by allowing them to suffer the consequences of their own actions in the hopes they will learn from the experience? And it is out of this love and His respect for us that He allows us to choose our own paths - without coercion. Does He try to educate us on the path available? As far as we will allow, yes. For we can not open the door at the end of the path unless we follow it. But those who knew about the path and choose not to follow it will not have the excuse of ignorance in the end. They will know that they could have had everything and they consciously chose otherwise. That will be their Hell.
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                    • Posted by barwick11 3 years ago
                      That's "mostly" included in what a Christian is, though there are others. Without changing your definitions (though they're not exhaustive), nobody *can* do those things unless they're born again. They're "dead" spiritually. And dead men don't do things.
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                      • Posted by jabuttrick 3 years ago
                        Your definition of "Christian" is so narrow and idiosyncratic that I find it difficult to exchange views with you using the term. I guess it doesn't matter since, according to you, I'm "dead" and can't "do things." Just let it be noted that hundreds of millions of self-identified Christians reject your definition and accept mine. To you they are dead, to me they are Christians. Of course, probably some of them think you are dead. For what it's worth, I think you are alive but mistaken.
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                        • Posted by barwick11 3 years ago
                          There's a lot of Christians that reject my view and yet are still born again. Billy Graham is one of them. John Wesley was one of them. I didn't understand it, and rejected it for a long time, even though I didn't even know the position existed. But once I understood it, literally everything in all of scripture fell into place. Pieces I couldn't reconcile if my life depended on it (because everything centered upon ME, my "free will" to choose or reject Christ, also making my "choice" an act of works towards salvation, however small it may be, that I then took pride in).
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              • Posted by xthinker88 3 years ago
                I guess Paul was not a true Christian. Of course if you make up a definition for "true Christian" that does not mean what it has meant for a couple of thousand years then I guess you could be right.

                The fact of the matter is that most true CHristians did not find slavery to be a problem for most of the history of Christianity.
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                • Posted by 3 years ago
                  neither did the majority of our founding fathers. This argument is guilty by association. Plenty of pagan cultures like the greeks, had slaves
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                  • Posted by comsguy 3 years ago
                    Roger that khaling, and to this day there are still many 3rd worlders and others that try to sell themselves to whoever is buying. They refuse to take any responsibility for their own sin (if you will) but they are always eager to blame the USA or any persons faith.
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                    • Posted by  $  IndianaGary 3 years ago
                      I hate the word "sin". It's a religious crime, not a secular one. According to Christianity, being born is a sin.
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                      • Posted by  $  jbrenner 3 years ago
                        As far as I am concerned, the concept of original sin is the singlemost incorrect thing about Christianity. While Adam and Eve might have "sinned" for eating the apple, it does not logically follow that we have sinned for that reason. I am not saying that all have not sinned. I do not think it is possible to go through life without doing something that should reasonably make you feel remorse for at least once. On this point, however, IndianaGary and John Galt (and AR) were right; the concept of original sin is illogical.
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                      • Posted by  $  blarman 3 years ago
                        "being born is a sin"

                        That is primarily a Catholic doctrine that is without foundation in the Bible. Some other sects have adopted it - knowing no differently - but I don't agree with it. I adhere to the principle of personal accountability - we'll be responsible for our own actions and not those of our progenitors.
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                        • Posted by  $  IndianaGary 3 years ago
                          Original sin is pervasive throughout the Christian religions', not just a Catholic concept. It's based upon bibilical teachings; I know I was inundated with the unearned guilt by my parents almost from birth. They were Methodist.
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                          • Posted by 3 years ago
                            I was raised Presbyterian and original sin was nuanced to fit the local private methodist university's moving target. We were all "college" christianed, which I do not agree with now-just the liberal touchy feely Christianity. I was shocked when I went out into the real world and met fundamentalist presbys. sigh. we even had some moonlighting scientologists peppered throughout the congregation. double sigh. luckily there was music! and sanctuary! I mean that it in the best way. and one PYF night, the minister talked about de-humanizing (this was the late 70's) and I got that. It lead me to Rand, I am sure of it. but I mostly had a great church family experience growing up. I wouldn't trade it. This is an emoting comment, so indulge me or not. Lots of people need to read Atlas Shrugged. we have the world to win
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                            • Posted by  $  IndianaGary 3 years ago
                              My mother was irrational and absolutely evil. I could regale you with stories that would raise the hair on the back of your neck. What she did to my sister using psychological torture (the only word I can think of that fits) was reprehensible. She was sanctimonious and reminds me of an Elmer Gantry-like preacher. The world is much better for the fact that she is no longer around to torture someone.
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                          • Posted by  $  blarman 3 years ago
                            I agree with your observation, I just disagree with the tenet. There are no instances of infant baptism either in Biblical record or as doctrinal teaching. The only references I can find are of Christ blessing little children and His repeated classifications of such as members of the Kingdom of God (Sermon on the Mount).
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                • Posted by barwick11 3 years ago
                  And you continue to show your ignorance. What you are calling slavery (that Paul references) was not involuntary servitude, but an indentured servant. Someone would agree to give a person X large sum (or land) in return for X years of service on their property.
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                  • Posted by xthinker88 3 years ago
                    oh please. over 40% of the population of the roman empire were slaves in Paul's day. And the slavery continued into "Christian" Europe and "Christian" North America.

                    You can do better than trying to change the clear definition of what Paul wrote. I was able to do apologetics better than that back in the day. Come on barwick. There's a much better response than just saying i'm ignorant and changing the meaning of the word slave. You can do it. I've got faith in you. Just not your god. :)
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                    • Posted by barwick11 3 years ago
                      Oh yes, because Rome was known as a bastion for Christianity. Where did you learn your history from?

                      Paul never condoned involuntary servitude, but he told those who were slaves (involuntarily) to submit to their masters. You might want to read Exodus 21:16 if you think the Bible ever condoned involuntary servitude.

                      The "Christian" North America you speak of did not have slaves (involuntary servants) in the primarily religious communities. The commercial (read: the King who called himself a Christian, and others of the same kind) sectors that began to see the profitability of the colonies, they brought involuntary servitude to North America.
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                      • Posted by  $  Mimi 3 years ago
                        You’ve got it backwards. They came here first to make profit. Nobody came to set up ‘colonies’. They came here first to exploit resources for their Kings and Queens. In fact, four months after the first settler landed in Virginia, the first slaves were brought ashore to work the fields. There are African-American families in this country whose roots go back even earlier than most of the Founders.
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                        • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
                          A number of prominent colonies were settled by people escaping religious persecution. The ventures were funded by those staying behind who expected to profit. Most of it had nothing to do with slavery, especially in the mid-Atlantic and northeast, but they did continue the same kind of religious persecution they had not wanted practiced against themselves. Much of "religious freedom" meant what amounts to an insider power struggle. But the 1600s and early 1700s were not what is meant by the founding of the country and its system of government. It was pre-Enlightenment.
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                          • Posted by 3 years ago
                            The Enlightenment is born out the ideas of Locke, Voltaire, Bacon, Descartes, Newton, Smith...all of these are from exactly the time period you are saying did not influence the founding.
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                            • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
                              The early settlers were not influenced by the Enlightenment and were still heavily religious. (Review, for example, the Mayflower Compact). They sure weren't here because of the earlier Newton's physics! The "founding" usually means the revolution and formulation of the constitution in the last part of the 1700s..
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                      • Posted by barwick11 3 years ago
                        I love how people down-vote something on here because they disagree with it. What else would I expect from a community that on average takes pride in rejecting God?
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                        • Posted by  $  IndianaGary 3 years ago
                          I find most of your posts disagreeable but haven't down-voted you yet. I only down-vote people on my OWN posts and then only for one of two reasons: 1) they are attacking another poster using personal invective, or 2) their post is so irrelevant to the conversation as to be useless (these I also hide). I do recall one exception I made for someone who is no longer around because he/she was so obnoxious; I down-voted that idiot at every opportunity.
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                        • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
                          You vastly overrate yourself if you think anyone's source of pride is rejection of nonsense. Religion is a primitive, pre-rational form of philosophy of no consequence other than the destruction of those trying to impose it. This is a forum for Ayn Rand's philosophy of reason, not a "born again" Jehova's Witness mentality. What are you doing here?
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                        • Posted by 3 years ago
                          we are all individuals here. I rarely down vote. Just because someone does not believe in a Diety-does not mean they take "pride" in the rejection. Mostly, they don't think about it unless the topic comes up. Some go out of their way to be vocal and even go as far as to force their views on others. We see this strongly in the public education system. .
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                          • Posted by barwick11 3 years ago
                            I know you don't. You and I have been over this one before, I'm just calling out those who DO do that.
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                            • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
                              You are in no position to be calling out anyone for anything. Your posts proselytizing for faith in "revelation" and sacred text as authority over the mind have no place here. This is forum for those who advocate reason.
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        • Posted by Robbie53024 3 years ago
          Many non-Christians supported slavery - what's your point? There can be wrong headed people of every persuasion. Doesn't support/negate anything.
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          • Posted by jabuttrick 3 years ago
            It supports the idea that Christianity is not necessarily a virtuous belief system. That should be obvious, but one of the posters was citing supposed instances of Christian opposition to slavery, among other things, as evidence for the moral superiority of Christianity. I was citing an obvious counterexample, that's all.
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            • Posted by 3 years ago
              what's the supposed part. Plenty of Christians opposed slavery-in fact the quakers were the first to be commented on by Washington for developing routes in 1780. from Wiki-
              "Church clergy and congregations often played a role, especially the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Congregationalists, Wesleyans, and Reformed Presbyterians as well as certain sects of mainstream denominations such as branches of the Methodist church and American Baptists."
              I am not trying to saying Christians were superior in this effort-only stating the fact that many denominations were against slavery as a group. I'm certain individuals disagreed on this. Bt I don't see it as a coordinated religious movement.
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            • Posted by Robbie53024 3 years ago
              Many people hold ideas that are inconsistent. Doesn't mean that some of those ideas aren't correct. I know that eating a whole pint of B&J Choc isn't good for me, I sometimes do so anyway.
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      • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
        barwick11: "Without a Judeo-Christian foundation, there is *no* basis for morality, except for 'well, most people don't want it this way'"

        That is patently false. Have you read Ayn Rand? Why are you here?

        Not only is the foundation of morality based on the nature of man and the factual requirements for his living on earth, a "Judeo-Christian foundation" of mystic faith and supposed other world makes a morality for life on earth impossible. Subjective decrees of fantasy, subjective "revelations", and imposed duties of subservience explain nothing and are the opposite of any kind of permanent foundation. Rejecting rationality in formulating morality based on the factual nature of man and his requirements for life makes no more sense than accounting for the weather with speculated demons and gods. You don't have a "foundation", you are issuing irrational dogmatic decrees.
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        • Posted by barwick11 3 years ago
          The basis for morality boils down to one thing... WHO says?

          Ayn Rand makes claims. We make claims. You make claims. The Chinese make claims. Plato made claims. The Nazis made claims. The Communists made claims.

          Every single person thinks they know what's best for themselves and often for other people. The only one who can trump our knowledge of what's best for ourselves is one who is omniscient. And rarely can we make determinations about what is best for someone ELSE better than they can do for themselves. But it does happen in certain circumstances.
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          • Posted by ewv 2 years, 11 months ago
            And you make "claims". Ayn Rand did not make baseless claims. So why are you here? Subjectivist hedonsim has nothing in common with Atlas Shrugged.
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      • Posted by xthinker88 3 years ago
        So since your "foundation" is a fairy tale, where does that leave you? I guess we should definitely not trust you.
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        • Posted by Robbie53024 3 years ago
          Let's say, just for the sake of argument, that it is a fairy tale. But believing that "fairy tale" causes the individual to behave morally and ethically. What is the harm?

          I'm not talking about the whole altruism thing and those who espouse that believing in a deity automatically makes you a slave to same. That isn't part of the theology that I believe. In fact, any theology that isn't based on a fundamental premise of free-will is really only one of slavery.

          Belief that one will have to answer for one's actions in life is a powerful positive motivating factor for many. Even if you didn't hold such a belief, it would seem rational to support such a system, as the opposite is potentially anarchy.

          I don't know if you've been subjected to my theory of the "Baddest Ass on the Block." Without a final accounting, what is to stop each of us from seeking to be the BA? I know, AR and others have argued that it is in an individuals own best interest to recognize the rights of others, as that is the only way for their rights to be retained. I say that history is replete with counter examples. In fact, history is nearly universal in that there has always been a ruling bully, there still are today, across much of the world. And increasingly, we are seeing the same take hold here in the US.
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        • Posted by barwick11 3 years ago
          "fairy tale"... *sigh*

          Most excellent, well-thought out and reasoned response there kiddo.

          When you can think for yourself, come back.
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          • Posted by xthinker88 3 years ago
            Sorry. Grew up believing your fairy tales. Then became an adult and learned to reason for myself. And realized not only the ridiculous nature of Christian theology from an outside perspective, but from it's own internal contradictions.

            In short, any god that would create the kind of system described by Christian theology is not only not "Love" but is actually quite a monster.

            But hey, don't promise to give god whatever comes out of your house first, in case your child comes out. Because then it will require you to sacrifice your child. And be forever known in the Christian bible as a hero of the faith.
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            • Posted by 3 years ago
              I know many, many christians who are definitely grown ups. They are not moochers and they are respectful of property rights and less government.
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              • Posted by  $  IndianaGary 3 years ago
                While I agree with your assessment, Christianity has built-in contradictions that make having a rational conversation with someone with the Christian mindset difficult, if not impossible. When it becomes clear that a person (Christian or not) is impervious to logic I simply stop and move on; life is too short to waste my time trying to debate a point with a brick wall. Christians simply will not accept the point that ethics need not be based upon the existence of a god.
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                • Posted by  $  jbrenner 3 years ago
                  While there are certainly contradictions in how Christianity has been practiced, it can be practiced in a way that is non-contradictory (provided that one is not at the same time an Objectivist because Galt's oath becomes a major problem). It is quite possible to be a rational Christian and non-contradictory, but if one is that way, then he/she cannot be lukewarm. A Christian must be either "all in" or isn't worthy of the name Christian.

                  Regarding whether Christians will not accept the point that ethics need not be based upon the existence of a god, many Christians will grant that one can certainly be ethical without the existence of a god. Pres. John Adams is a counterexample, but I can tell you of several people within the Gulch who are Christians that would "accept the point that ethics need not be based upon the existence of a god". That being said, it is easier to be moral when one has an unmoving foundation of values in place; for Christians, their god is that foundation.
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                  • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
                    There is no such thing as a "rational Christian" aside from the extent to which they compartmentalize and are rational in important realms despite their religion, and no such thing as "consistently practicing Christianity" while simultaneously staying alive on earth.

                    It's not easier to be moral with a fantasy as an unmoving foundation, but it is easier to adhere to a destructive dogma in the name of morality as a fanatic. Superstition is not a foundation for anything involving living on earth.
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                    • Posted by barwick11 3 years ago
                      *sigh*

                      Have you ever seen Abraham Lincoln? How about Julius Caesar? Homer? There's varying levels of evidence to support all of those men. And similarly, there's a level of evidence to support the life of Jesus Christ, and his deeds and works, and his apostles, and their deeds and works, etc.

                      So please don't go around saying there is no such thing as a "rational Christian".

                      And your second half of your first sentence... I'm going to choose not to fly off the handle on you for that one. I'll just ignore it unless you decide to continue with it.
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                      • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
                        That there was someone running around in one of the mystery cults a few thousand years ago saying the things attributed to Jesus is not evidence of the supernatural, alleged "miracles" contrary to the nature of reality, or even a coherent concept.You have already "flown off the handle". Your promotion of mysticism and the supernatural is not rational and does not belong here at all. It is an obnoxious intrusion contrary to the purpose and values of the forum.
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                  • Posted by  $  IndianaGary 3 years ago
                    "...it can be practiced in a way that is non-contradictory (provided that one is not at the same time an Objectivist because Galt's oath becomes a major problem)."

                    Galt's oath is the denial of altruism; e.g. his unwillingness to accept the sanction of the victim. I can think of something even more fundamental: one cannot be both a Christian and Objectivist because the Christian accepts the existence of a supernatural entity on faith and bases everything else upon that belief, and the Objectivist rejects the supernatural entirely.
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                    • Posted by Robbie53024 3 years ago
                      Maybe they don't consider themselves an Objectivist?
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                      • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
                        Some are obvious enemies of Ayn Rand here to trash her ideas; others have convinced themselves that they are some kind of "religious Objectivists", a contradiction in terms. They steal her ideas and her name while contradicting it.
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                        • Posted by 3 years ago
                          people are also learning. and they fight for their ideas. that's natural. posts like this get everyone's ire up. You are making good points. But as long as people are civil, use your influence
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                          • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
                            That's the point, some of them are not civil -- and occasional others are in so deep that for all practical purposes they are simultaneously epistemologically hopeless and obnoxiously inappropriate, creating a disvalue on the forum which doesn't belong here and which isn't rationally doing them any good either. (Can a Jehova's Witness type of mentality be regarded as "uncivil"? Beyond a certain point yes.) Giving the benefit of the doubt doesn't help with those types.
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                  • Posted by  $  jbrenner 3 years ago
                    In the last statement about "it is easier to be moral when one has an unmoving foundation of values in place; for Christians, their god is that foundation", I think my position is pretty much aligned with George Will's on this one.
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                • -2
                  Posted by Robbie53024 3 years ago
                  On what do you base ethics? If you say it is in my self interest not to harm others, I'll demand you to prove it. I have thousands of years of history that demonstrates that is not true.
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                  • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
                    By now you are expected to be familiar with Ayn Rand's formulation of ethics and the reasons for it. She challenged the thousands of years of philosophy that caused so much destruction.
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                    • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 years ago
                      I don't know the Rand view of the basis of values, but some of it for me is axioms that don't rest on anything else. Maybe they were things people invented out of whole cloth and then I learned them from my parents. It's the exact same place religious people get their values.
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                      • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
                        You should read the title essay in her anthology The Virtue of Selfishness and Leonard Peikoff's Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand.

                        The a-philosophical libertarian 'non aggression principle', without an ethical basis, is put out as a kind of 'axiom' not resting on anything else, but that is not the case for Ayn Rand. She was very careful to show what facts of man's nature give rise to the need for ethics and what it must do.

                        Ayn Rand's conception of axioms, which is very specific, appears in her metaphysical basis identifying the fundamental starting point of her philosophy but not ethics. She very much rejected the idea of throwing out "axioms" that don't rest on anything else as if they came out of whole cloth (which turns out to be cloth with holes). You can find the axioms of existence, identity and consciousness discussed in several places, such as Galt's speech, but it's best explained in her book Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology and in Leonard Peikoff's OPAR mentioned above.
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              • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
                khalling: "I know many, many christians who are definitely grown ups. They are not moochers and they are respectful of property rights and less government."

                So do I, but they are not Augustinians engulfed in the religious sense of life. They are Americans with American individualist values who are so far away from Christianity that they would have been condemned as heretics and worse in the Christian era.
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            • Posted by barwick11 3 years ago
              I love how your utter and complete hatred of what YOU think God should be has blinded you to the Truth of who God is.

              I'm so proud of you, having "become an adult and learned to reason for yourself", since, you know, apparently I don't know how to do that.

              Whatever (big) kiddo. You go on believing what you want to believe.
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              • Posted by 3 years ago
                ok-now see? this is exactly what is not helpful to the discussion. Barwick, you know on this site you will have to answer mystical claims. You will have to answer why God is not mentioned once in the Constitution. and what the very vague term "our Creator" actually means. Why didn't we just adopt the 10 commandments as the original Bill of Rights.
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                • Posted by Robbie53024 3 years ago
                  It wasn't necessary, they permeated the culture.
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                  • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
                    Religious dogma is contrary to the nature of this country and its founding. Enlightenment ideas rejecting it permeated the culture and the thinking of the founders, which they wrote about explicitly. Your theory of invisible reasons claimed to be religious makes no more sense than invisible spirits claimed to explain the world, and comes from the same nonsensical source.
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                    • Posted by  $  jbrenner 3 years ago
                      On this one point, "Religious dogma is contrary to the nature of this country and its founding.", you are not supported by the historical record, ewv. Quite a few of the colonies were formed precisely because of individuals' desire to hold their religious dogmas. The situation is not nearly so clear cut as you make it. Yes, there were plenty of Founding Fathers who embraced Enlightenment ideas, but Robbie is correct to point out the importance of freedom of religion as being in the 1st Amendment. The Constitution's passing was actually delayed until the Bill of Rights was to be added to it.
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                • Posted by barwick11 3 years ago
                  Hey now, don't go yelling at me for feeding the trolls, coming on here and calling the Truth of God a "fairy tale".

                  Agree or disagree, but, hey, "he started it" :)
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                  • Posted by xthinker88 3 years ago
                    Trolls? See the $ next to my name?
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                    • Posted by barwick11 3 years ago
                      Money don't buy you truth brother.

                      Just saying, it was pretty troll-ish to come on and say "fairy tale".
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                      • Posted by xthinker88 3 years ago
                        No but a paid membership to a site that celebrates the ideas of an enemy of the types of myths you choose to believe is less likely to be a troll than the one who is on this site freely espousing those myths. If we were on Christianity Today's website - I'd be a troll. On this site - look in the mirror.
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                        • Posted by 3 years ago
                          I think that it is a fact that those who are religious will be uncomfortable on this site when religion comes up. That is how it's going to go because they are on an Objectivist website, which rejects religion, because it rejects irrationality. John Aglialoro's step son wrote a book on Objectivism and Christianity. This site is an introduction to Rand and Objectivism and ultimately for fans of the movies. barwick, I assume, is a big fan. Not a troll. as I tell db ALL THE TIME, disagree on fundamentals, but don't call a friend a troll, while the progs are stealing you blind.
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                      • Posted by 3 years ago
                        you too! you are both valued members of this site in my non humble opinion, and I enjoy and appreciate much of what you think and write in here. Barwick, for those of us who do not believe, what would you prefer we called it? are you ok with mysticism? I agree that fairy tale ratchets things up.
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                        • Posted by Robbie53024 3 years ago
                          Why not "your belief system?" It is the truth and non-confrontational. It is just as viable for us as yours is to you. And fundamentally, not in conflict, as they support ethical behavior. Funny how that seems to get lost in the name calling.
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                          • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
                            And would evade identifying what they are. Names are for identification. It's not "name-calling" you oppose -- you explicitly and consciously do that yourself -- but rather identification.
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  • Posted by  $  Zenphamy 3 years ago
    I think Will got it partly right and also largely wrong. The partly right is that America, uniquely, has to have it's civil institutions separate from government, though many of the religious and progressives will disagree. If government enters into the teaching and motivating realm of civil affairs of individuals, it will invariably attract those that seek to direct and engineer those civil affairs 'knowing' that their views of human nature are 'right' and any direction and adjustments required to obtain their viewpoints are justified for the betterment of civil interactions. That role, rightly or wrongly, as Hamilton and Jefferson recognized, had historically been filled by religions either through actual faith and belief, or through the desire to be socially acceptable and to fit in. At the turn of the 19th Century, there were no other significant civil institutions than religions to fill that role, and the failure of America could very well point to the lack of any other institutional development that could fill that role.

    But I think he got it wrong in accepting religion, in a pragmatic manner, to serve in that role in the last two centuries of knowledge based realism. Religion, superstition, and the supernatural in a world of unknowables and limited imagination can provide for the masses, acceptable answers and motivations for civil interaction and even culture. But when actual knowledge and the pursuit of such can begin to answer the questions of why and how beyond the readily observable and can move forward to a world of readily available energy, transportation, communication, food, comfort, and ease of survival--even beyond the planet, the motivations and civil interaction moderators previously derived from the religions are seen for what they are, superstitions, magic, and supernatural.

    Rand has provided answers in her philosophy, but can a philosophy fill the role previously held by religions for the masses, particularly a philosophy of the individual? Placing emphasis on the individual, the philosophy is of necessity disorganized and unwelcoming to those unwilling and unable to obtain the necessary education and insight to understand the philosophy, much less confidently apply it to their lives. But it remains that in order to keep government from intruding into that civil and individual space, something institutional in nature must arise and become as universally available and accepted as religion was in our past.

    I won't attempt in this comment to address what that or those civil institutions could be, but I'll at least posit that Objective Philosophy must be at the foundation.
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  • Posted by Herb7734 3 years ago
    It all seems pretty simple to me. If religion gives you solace and it is not used to impede my forward progress, it's OK with me. It does seem to me that religious folks for the most part tend to demonize atheists or agnostics, finding it difficult to believe that they have a good moral compass without the threat of going to hell or the need to be forgiven on earth. If you behave with the belief that coercion of any kind other than self-defense is evil, and that freedom is man's natural state, you could be a Zaroastrian Tree Worshiper, for all I care, so long as you don't expect me to join you in your worship.
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    • Posted by Robbie53024 3 years ago
      Herb: Other than your assertion that "religious folks for the most part tend to demonize atheists or agnostics", I'm in agreement. I don't think that's the case for most main-stream religious today. It certainly has been in the past, and those on the extreme (see Muslims for example) certainly have those beliefs, but not most Jews/Christians.
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      • Posted by Herb7734 3 years ago
        I fear you remind me of my daughter-in-law who blandly asserts that there's not enough anti-Semitism around to worry about. I encounter it several times a month, and I'm not out and about very much. It is also true about atheist hatred. I encounter it on various conservative webs. However, it's true that compared to all my encounters, it is miniscule. And militant atheists are probably the worst of the lot. It reminds me of Mel Brooks' explanation of the beginning of patriotism. It was an anthem the words to which were "Hooray for cave number 59 and to hell with everyone else." In any case, I've had the atheist/agnostic vs. religious believer argument more times than I can recall. Some of my very closest friends are highly religious, but they are good, intelligent people, some of whom pray for me whether I like it or not. Our differences do not interfere with our love for one another. Actually, I'd like to be religious, especially at my advanced age, but I find the bible, the rituals, so damned silly, so historically inaccurate and downright deceitful, that I cannot bring myself to it. I probably have written too much on the subject. Well, ad astra per aspera.
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        • Posted by Robbie53024 3 years ago
          Anyone who calls themselves a Christian, but espouses hatred for anyone, let alone an atheist, doesn't understand their own theology. While there are many sects that espouse the requirement of following their particular rituals, I cannot find that specified in the Bible. Keeping holy the Sabbath (and there's certainly a number of interpretations of what that means) and breaking bread in remembrance are the two that come to mind. I think you are much closer to being religious than you want to acknowledge.
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          • Posted by Herb7734 3 years ago
            You are correct in a certain sense. I cannot believe that the astounding happenings that needed to come together in order for the earth to bear intelligent life are coincidental. On the other hand the great amount of space and energy and matter in the universe makes almost anything even as farfetched as the earth seemingly possible. One thing I know for sure, the king of the universe (Big IF) won't be found with a flowing white beard wearing a tupa. Also, he/she/it won't have a sexual designation. Something tells me, I've been here before. Rand had a very ideal personification of what a human being could and should be. For now, that's as good a guide for my life as I can imagine.
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      • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
        Religious conservatives are constantly gratuitously baiting and attacking "The Atheists". They make no distinction between what different "atheists" believe, only attacking them for rejecting the supernatural, as if a negative could define anyone's beliefs.
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  • Posted by  $  Temlakos 3 years ago
    Rand did propound a sound moral theory. Some might think it weak only because it acknowledges no authority to overrule a governing authority. But contrary to what she might have thought, Christianity does not sanction the kind of highway robbery most governments practice today.
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    • Posted by 3 years ago
      no, but it does enforce concepts such as altruism. Love thy neighbor as thyself could mean respect others' property rights, but I tend to think it means instead, to give the coat off my back to someone who needs one. even in the airplane, the stewardess counsels you that if the oxygen masks drop, place yours on your face first, then on your child's
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      • Posted by conscious1978 3 years ago
        ...ahh yes, the "sanction of the victim" is much worse than "highway robbery". The sources of that code emanate from religion in forms that camouflage the ways government betrays our natural rights.
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        • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
          The sanction of the victim leads to and encourages 'highway robbery'. Socialism is for those who take their altruism seriously.
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          • Posted by  $  jbrenner 3 years ago
            I am sure that Ellsworth Toohey would agree.
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            • Posted by Robbie53024 3 years ago
              Socialism isn't altruism - it is control of the few over the many, pure and simple. Anyone who believes that socialism is about altruism is fooling themselves.
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              • Posted by  $  jbrenner 3 years ago
                The biggest difference between socialism and altruism is that socialists do their "altruism" with other people's money. Altruism really is something that has to be given with a person's own time or money. Before I get downvoted repeatedly, I am not endorsing altruism with this comment.
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                • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
                  The difference is that socialism is a political system of government ownership and control, and altruism is a standard of ethical theory making living for others the standard of morality. The collectivist politics is rationalized with and forcibly implements the altruist ethics.
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                • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 years ago
                  I endorse the form of altruism, of the form where someone decides they are concerned for someone else. My problem is when they tell you it's a fundamental virtue and if you're a good person then you'll feel concerned for some other person. It's worse if they make you "share" at gunpoint. I also have a problem when it's misleading someone, i.e. giving them a job or something else out of pity without telling them the truth.

                  But if you want to give your time or money to help someone with no benefit to yourself other than you just wanna, I can't imagine anything wrong with that.
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                  • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
                    Deciding to be concerned with someone else is not the concept altruism, which literally means living for others as the fundamental ethical standard. The common misuse of the term as if it meant being nice to people is very dangerous because it package-deals simple benevolence with a deadly philosophical premise. So that's not a "form of altruism" to endorse either.

                    Whether or not you _should_ help someone else, and how much, depends on who and what they are and if they are worthy of help, what they may mean to you personally, and what you can afford to do without sacrificing more important values. If you don't take all that into account, and help because you "just wanna", then there _is_ something wrong with it, not because helping others is bad but because it's the wrong method and may harm you. There are options you take every day on minor things you do when it's what you want at the time, but it has to be optional and nothing important should be done because you "just wanna". In the case of helping others you could do enormous damage either by sacrificing something more important to you or by helping the wrong kind of person who isn't worth your efforts or worse.
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              • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
                Altruism is the stock rationalism for socialism to get people to go along with it. It is not "control of the few over the many" and nothing else. It requires sacrifice to the collective as a moral duty.
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      • Posted by  $  Temlakos 3 years ago
        That is true--about the safety instruction in a hypoxic situation. See to yourself, and then you can see to others.

        I'd put this to you: relying on the government to enforce an altruistic policy is, at best, a lazy man's act. At worst, it promotes theft and covetousness--both of which the Judeo-Christian traditions forbid.

        When you force someone else to give, that's theft. Worse than that, it is robbery.
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        • Posted by 3 years ago
          but you don't have to use force if you have manipulated people into believing part of being good is to be selfless. All religions ask man to subordinate to a higher power.
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          • Posted by Robbie53024 3 years ago
            How so? By living morally? By treating my fellow human with compassion? Doesn't your moral code call for the same?
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            • Posted by  $  jbrenner 3 years ago
              The Objectivist code does not include compassion. It does include morality, but with a different set of values.
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              • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
                it does not regard compassion or charity as a primary virtue, and rejects a duty to sacrifice for it. But it does endorse benevolence in general -- towards those who deserve it.

                The basic virtues are not 'social' at all since morality is required first as a guideline for how to live your own life. Since we live in a social context, that of course has social consequences.
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          • Posted by  $  Temlakos 3 years ago
            I won't press the point here--not in this question. But if you're interested, I'm prepared to show scientific evidence for a major, nearly planet-busting event in Earth's past that not only explains much that remains unexplained, but corroborates the testimony of that higher power.

            Anyone who wants to know more, reply to me privately--unless I hear enough demand for me to post that as a public question.
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      • Posted by  $  jbrenner 3 years ago
        Khalling is right on this one. There was a rich young man who had followed the commandments, but when Jesus asked to give everything away and follow him, he couldn't (or wouldn't) do it. Christianity does not enforce altruism, but it does more than just highly encourage it. In AR terms, does Christianity require the sanction of the victim?
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        • Posted by  $  blarman 3 years ago
          I think much of this hinges on what one considers a "victim". Are we "victims" of our own choices, or just those of others? If we ourselves have the power to choose our own destiny, isn't claiming victimhood just another way of denying one's own responsibility to choose destiny? Does not then "victimhood" merely consist of those who do not have the will to choose for themselves (and take responsibility for such) and would prefer to allow others to choose for them so they can have someone to blame?

          If we "sanction" something, doesn't it mean to actively agree with? I don't read that in any part of Christian theology, which instead seeks positive action to take control of one's own future - to own one's self and one's future and all the possibilities that may arise. It gives methods for dealing with frustration and others' choices so as to allow one to focus on the bigger goal. It gives ideas about the bigger goal in the first place, and it provides a support structure to reach said goal. But in all this, primary responsibility still lies with the individual to _attain_ the goal: there is no sliding through the proverbial Pearly Gates on the coattails of others.
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          • Posted by  $  jbrenner 3 years ago
            Well said, blarman. To address khalling's point about owning oneself, another aspect that makes Christianity and Objectivism mutually exclusive is that Christians would generally not agree that they own themselves.
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            • Posted by Robbie53024 3 years ago
              Oh, I certainly do. Otherwise I couldn't freely give myself to glorify God. Without it, it would only be puppetry.
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              • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
                When you give it up it's no longer yours. Worse is that the theology regards you that way to begin with.
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                • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 years ago
                  "When you give it up it's no longer yours. "
                  This is an interesting question. Isn't being able to give something away if you so choose part of its starting out as yours?
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                  • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
                    Ordinarily yes, that is why religion is so profoundly worse. It regards you as metaphysically subservient to god from the beginning and demands that you accept that premise with complete subservience -- under threat of fire and brimstone, etc. The corruption is very deep. If you choose to not give it up you are contrary to the religion and regarded as doomed.
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                  • Posted by Herb7734 3 years ago
                    I've been reading the above comments over again, and forgive me, but, there's not much of anything to them. A few hundred years ago, the biggest religious discussion concerned itself with how many angels could dance on the head of a pin. The fact that so many intelligent, and yes, admirable persons could waste their time on such irrelevancies, as one of my English friends would say, "is rather off-putting."
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      • Posted by Robbie53024 3 years ago
        Well, in truth, that's because if you first try to get it on a child who is likely freaking out and screaming/squirming, you'll pass out from no oxygen. If that happens to the kid, it just makes it easier to put the mask on so that they get the oxygen. Purely pragmatic.
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  • Posted by ewv 2 years, 12 months ago in reply to this comment.
    The source of the philosophy underlying individual rights and the constitutionally limited government was the Enlightenment, not god and the Middle and Dark Ages. The Enlightenment overthrew the dominant religious mentality and replaced it with reason and individualism. That some founders made vague references to a god as the source of creation and lingering slogans is not endorsement of or reliance on a religious mindset and life, which they clearly did not embrace and which is incompatible with Enlightenment values and American individualism. If the otherwordly, ascetic religious mindset of the Middle and Dark Ages had continued, America would have been impossible for the same reasons that it had not in fact occurred earlier in the misery and squalor of a religious dominated world.
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    • Posted by  $  blarman 2 years, 11 months ago
      And just what was the dominant religious mentality of the Dark Ages? I will answer: Catholicism. The problem is that you continue to equate Catholicism with Christianity. Catholicism is an interpretation of Christianity, but only one of many.

      Enlightenment came as a result of people being able to READ (due to the Gutenberg press). What was (and still is) the most widely printed book? The Bible. What happened during the Enlightenment? People read the Bible (because most families could only afford one book).

      But then something happened. They compared Catholic dogma with that of the Bible and found inconsistencies and contradictions. Then when they brought up their concerns to their priests, the priests were unable to reconcile these differences. So the people began to look outside the Catholic Church for truth. They began starting over - looking at EVERYTHING without the Catholic official seal of approval, which led to all kinds of unrest and persecution. All kinds of mental and scientific revolutions (not to mention all the Protestant religions) followed which eventually overthrew Catholic control of Europe. THAT was the Enlightenment. It was the study of truth unsuppressed by Catholic ideology and enforced by the nation-states of Europe.

      Aristotle and Plato knew the world was round and rotated around the sun nearly two millenia prior to Columbus. Why were sailors in the Dark Ages afraid of falling off the edge of the world? Because they had grown up under a ruling religious culture that was more interested in control than in truth. The Chinese had sailed all over the world prior to the 1400's, amassing a massive trade empire in the process and creating very detailed charts of the coast of Africa and Indian Ocean. There is also significant evidence that they may have sailed the Pacific as well. Columbus was relying on these charts as much as anything when he set sail across the ocean. Why? Because the map-makers of his time were beholden to Catholic dogma and couldn't include much of this information.

      You continue to see the entire Christian religious world as being Catholic. It's not. I don't have any problems with you pointing out the inconsistencies of Catholic religious dogma (it's been done for several centuries at least) - or any other you want. But to be intellectually honest, you first have to understand that Christianity is not exclusively Catholicism. You will continue to fall victim to the logical fallacy of guilt by association by projecting your criticisms of Catholicism onto other Christian sects.

      The Founders of the United States were overwhelmingly Christian and overwhelmingly NON-Catholics. See [http://candst.tripod.com/tnppage/qtable.htm] and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Founding_Fathers_of_the_United_States] (Heading: Religion)

      You are 110% right in that America would have been impossible if its creation was as just another vassal of the Vatican. Were the Founders influenced by Locke, etc.? Unquestionably. But their primary belief was in a God who created all men equal and wanted all to have equal opportunity in the land of America (see Declaration of Independence). They had seen what dogmatic control of government had done (and was still doing) for more than a millennium to the nations of Europe (among others) and so as their very first order of business set about establishing as their first constraint on government a prohibition against dogmatic/religious control. They crafted American individualism as the key tool to allow all to escape the burden of government-imposed religious dogma not because they refused a belief in God, but precisely because they believed in a God of opportunity and equality, hard work and just reward who was there for the pure seeker of truth - unrestrained by the limits of man.
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      • Posted by ewv 2 years, 11 months ago
        I did not "equate" Christianity with "Catholics", and I did not say that "America would have been impossible if its creation was just another vassal of the Vatican". The Protestant-Catholic war is all yours. America was not and is not the vassal of any religion, mysticism, asceticism, duty, sacrifice for another world, or the supernatural in any form espoused by any sect. I said that the variations are irrelevant. Stop making things up and then accusing your target of "dishonesty".

        Christianity has been mystical, sacrificial, ascetic and otherworldly in all essentials since its beginning in one of the many mystery cults in primitive times. Christianity, in both its earliest form and the sects into which it evolved, is in all essentials the opposite of the founding of this country. It led to and was the philosophy of the Dark Ages, not America. It is the opposite of the distinctive American sense of life of individual pursuit of one's own goals and happiness for and in accordance with life on earth, and obviously the opposite of Atlas Shrugged.

        This is not a matter of "guilt by association" connecting "the Vatican" to "Christians" at the expense of "Protestants", or any kind of wars between religious sects, it is a matter of fundamental ideas and their role in history.

        The sordid sense of life of the likes of Tertullian and Augustine were not "the Vatican". They were the early intellectual expression and development of the original crude mysticism, long before the theocratic rule of "the Vatican". All of it was rejected by the Enlightenment emphasis on this-worldly reason and individualism enjoying and pursuing life on this earth.

        You have no regard for the _content_ of the ideas that developed across history. It matters _what_ one reads, not the act of reading whatever is at hand. The Enlightenment, contrary to your bizarre assertions, was not caused by people reading the Bible, and truth and science did not arise from competing religious sects. Your "history" -- Catholics Bad; Protestants Good; read Bible and lo, truth, science, and America appeared -- is hilariously preposterous.

        Enlightenment thought was made possible not by serfs reciting the dogma of sacred text with subjective "interpretations" when they could personally read a translation of the Bible, but initially by the more intellectual elements in the Church breaking away -- notably Aquinas who re-introduced Aristotelian ideas of reason and this earth, which ultimately led to the overthrow of the likes of Augustine and the domination of life and culture by religious faith and dogma, though that had not been his intent. The rabidly anti-reason Martin Luther of the Protestant Reformation rejected the rise of Aristotelianism in a reversion to the worst of Augustine: "Aristotle is to theology as darkness to light" and "reason is the devil's harlot, and can do nothing but slander and harm all that God does and says."

        The founders of this country did not have the mindset of other-worldly Christian ascetics, and they were equally as opposed to the tyranny of the Church of England as the Vatican or any other sect. Their first order of business was to establish a secular government with limited powers in order to protect the right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, of every individual here on earth, from government in any form -- not just from "dogmatic/religious control" by "the Vatican" against those who want to subjectively interpret the Bible in a mystic frenzy. There was no "God of opportunity and equality, hard work and just reward who was there for the pure seeker of truth", which is a contemporary conservative religious slogan that is false, a-historical, and a hopelessly inadequate, anti-intellectual "faith-based" defense of the rights of the individual.

        This is not a matter of an intra-religious war of competing other-worldly dogmas subjectively accepted on faith. The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in one's own life pursued by reason here on earth is the opposite of all of them, and was not possible, let alone necessary, with an essentially religious mindset. Neither is Atlas Shrugged. The Dark Ages was and is.
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        • Posted by  $  blarman 2 years, 11 months ago
          "This is not a matter of an intra-religious war of competing other-worldly dogmas subjectively accepted on faith. The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in one's own life pursued by reason here on earth is the opposite of all of them, and was not possible, let alone necessary, with an essentially religious mindset."

          The evidence I just gave you plainly states otherwise. Ignore it at your own risk.

          "You have no regard for the _content_ of the ideas that developed across history. It matters _what_ one reads, not the act of reading whatever is at hand."

          You've never really _read_ scripture, then, have you. It is a profoundly philosophical text that touches upon every part of human existence, behavior, and value. That you choose to discard it so easily just because it proclaims the existence of a God you would rather not deal with seems rather short-sighted, given your obvious attention to many of the other worldly scholars of the ages. I would have expected any real seeker of truth to have at least given the most published book in history more than a passing glance, but that could be nothing more than pure speculation on my part.
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  • Posted by  $  jbrenner 3 years ago
    George Will's comments are interesting to juxtapose next to those of John Adams.
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    • Posted by 3 years ago
      hmm, which ones in particular?
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      • Posted by  $  jbrenner 3 years ago
        John Adams said that a religion-based morality was necessary to the long-term success of the country.
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        • Posted by  $  jbrenner 3 years ago
          More precisely, "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." - John Adams
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          • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 years ago
            It works, though, for people like Thomas Paine and those who believe only in the sanctity of their own minds.
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            • Posted by  $  jbrenner 3 years ago
              I'm not saying that I agreed with Adams on this point. I actually agree with George Will on the header to this thread, but Adams' statement, "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." says that he thought it would not have worked for atheists like Thomas Paine.
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              • Posted by Robbie53024 3 years ago
                It would not (and cannot) work in a society that doesn't have a moral/ethical basis. Religion has been the primary mechanism for establishing such. Without it, we have immorality and lack of ethical behavior. We find the US on the precipice of such a culture. There are no atheistic mechanisms to instill a corresponding code of morality/ethics.
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                • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
                  The "primary mechanism" of religious morality of subservience and sacrifice has caused suffering and destruction for thousands of years. There is no "atheistic mechanism" for anything. Atheism means only a rejection of god, which says nothing about one is for. The obsession with attacking "atheism" for not providing a morality is an evasion of the positive beliefs that do. In particular you are supposed to know by now about Ayn Rand's morality instead of pretending it does not exist.
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                  • Posted by  $  blarman 3 years ago
                    "Atheism means only a rejection of god, which says nothing about one is for."

                    You've made your own point more eloquently than you can possible imagine.
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                    • Posted by ewv 2 years, 11 months ago
                      You should stop imagining things in snarky pronouncements and pay attention to what people actually are and stand for. This is a forum in support of Atlas Shrugged and Ayn Rand's philosophy of reason, self interest, and individualism for life here on earth, which made the novel and her view of man possible. Atlas Shrugged is in fact quite eloquent, and is the opposite of your religious proselytizing, which does not belong here. Robbie53024, and now your snide insinuations, are trying to evade that Ayn Rand's philosophy exists as you hide behind empty attacks on "atheism" as if it were a philosophy.
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                      • Posted by  $  blarman 2 years, 11 months ago
                        When have I proselytized? I have not. I have only sought to correct misperceptions like yours about what Christians like myself believe and why we choose to believe differently than atheists. If I were proselytizing, you would be able to tell me exactly which of the myriad Christian sects I belong to (can you?). If I were proselytizing, I would be posting articles advocating religion. I have quite a lengthy history - please find any such.

                        What you seem to not be able to get over is that we actually agree much more than we disagree - you just choose to focus on the disagreement part. We both agree that identity is key. We both agree that values lead to decision-making. We both agree that natural rights such as life, liberty, property, and pursuit of our own gains (as per our values and desires) are inherent. We just disagree on the purpose of life.

                        I would also point out that I have actually PAID to participate in this site. I find it interesting that you have not yet done so.

                        In Piekoff's book, he defines Objectivism (as per Rand) as being the search for absolute truth. What IS. That means discussing possibilities - even ones some may rather ignore. I am here because I find most of the conversations here stimulating and logical and because they present things for me to think about as well as fairly sound reasoning for such, but not because I will ever embrace atheism. I believe that Rand should have advocated agnosticism instead as it fits more with in line with her rejection of formal religion (and antipathy towards such), but also acknowledges the unknown. But such is not for me to decide. I am here to present items for thought. You are welcome to accept or reject as you see fit.

                        As to my "snarky" comment - there was no "snark" intended. By your own words, atheism is nothing more than the pronouncement of a negative. I was only observing that your statement was both profound and defining.
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              • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 years ago
                " I actually agree with George Will on the header to this thread, "
                Yes. I think our Constitution is not for the best in us but for the part of us the freaks out and wants to ban unpopular speech, guns, and search every house for those horrible child abusers etc.
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          • Posted by 3 years ago
            it is an emotive comment. there is no logic in it
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            • Posted by Robbie53024 3 years ago
              Actually there's quite a bit of logic in it. Adams new that it would be impossible, and foolish, to try to legislate all behavior. It requires a society that has a moral/ethical foundation that instills self-restraint.

              We now have a society that seeks increasingly to legislate all behavior, with the result the degradation of morality/ethical behavior because there aren't specific laws prohibiting various behavior. Plus, laws require getting caught, so no self-restraint is called for, merely the ability to shield oneself from getting caught.
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              • Posted by 3 years ago
                Under capitalism, the incentive to be productive is strong to most people. People tend to focus on thriving when opportunities exist. When there are less opportunities or society has created a culture that rewards people for not producing, that's when you have problems
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                • Posted by Robbie53024 3 years ago
                  No disagreement here. But that wasn't the basic point. Adams saw that a free society must have a people that fundamentally regulate themselves - abide by a basic code of morality/ethics that does not depend on laws and a police force. A society that relies on laws and police must necessarily be a tyranny.

                  I've probably said this a hundred times. More laws are not the answer, they are the problem. They remove responsibility of the individual. They instill a sense of getting away with it, instead of the shame of doing something "wrong." We have a culture of people who aren't ashamed of living off their neighbor (welfare), of a political class that feels they are so clever (the electorate is too dumb to know we just screwed them), and a business community that seeks profit via cronyism instead of being the best. It is a society that has already failed and is merely waiting to collapse on itself.
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            • Posted by  $  jbrenner 3 years ago
              I did not say there was logic in Adams' statement above. I just said that it was interesting to juxtapose John Adams and George Will's statements. On the face of it, they don't look all that different, but when you examine them closely, they are nearly complete opposites. I agree with George Will on this one.
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        • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
          It is true that a basically moral society is necessary, but they didn't have a concept of any other basis for ethics. An ethics of individual self interest was implicit in the Enlightenment, but was not properly or fully formulated. The moral right of the individual to his own life, liberty and pursuit of his own happiness was endorsed, but they had no philosophical explanation. Appeals to religion as a foundation were left vague, and they did not pursue in any detail the pursuit of irrationalism, human sacrifice and other-worldliness, but the contradiction was still there and took its toll in the ensuing years.
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  • Posted by woodlema 3 years ago
    Please do not confuse belief in God and the Bible with Religion. The founders were deeply spiritual men who had a strong faith and belief in God, but had issues with religion itself, and Government dictating religion.

    The founders were all about "Free Will." one of the most basic doctrines in the Bible. Our own free will to choose out course of life based on a specific moral code or set of principals, that in the US Constitution are called LAWS.
    "Here is my Creed," Franklin wrote to Stiles. "I believe in one God, Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by His Providence. That he ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable Service we render to him, is doing Good to his other Children...
    Jefferson was very tight lipped about his personal religious views, but through his writings obviously believed in God, but did not care if you did or did not or if you believed in 20 Gods'
    Thomas Jefferson was always reluctant to reveal his religious beliefs to the public, but at times he would speak to and reflect upon the public dimension of religion.
    Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom: "The rights of conscience we never submitted, we could not submit. We are answerable for them to our God. The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. ... Reason and free enquiry are the only effectual agents against error.[2] Jefferson's religious views became a major public issue during the bitter party conflict between Federalists and Republicans in the late 1790s when Jefferson was often accused of being an atheist.
    There are many famous quotes of John Adams on religion, especially in response to the Atheism of Thomas Paine. For John Adams, Atheist beliefs were a threat to a decent and moral society. He rebuked Thomas Paine's criticism of Christianity by declaring that no other religion had more "wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity." But John Adams was independent of mind to recognize consequences of any established religion. In the view of John Adams, Christianity had been twisted over the centuries by authorities who used superstition and division to control the populace, abuse minorities, and lead large scale wars. In the writing of John Adams on religion, he often criticized the Roman Catholic Church for its corrupted structure of power and deceit. John Adams' religion certainly changed during his life, but he always believed in the virtue of Christianity and attended church regularly throughout his life.
    You people need to READ a little more on the founders, and on what principals this country was REALLY founded on. Not only in Christianity, but also a large portion from the government structure of ROME, and the sepration of Government to dictate religion to the people who should be free to choose their own beliefs, and not be inhibited from that.
    Have any of you read the first amendment? Why do you think it was first? Why do you think they said:
    Amendment I
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;
    First Amendment, first part of the first sentence. That is how important God and freedom of worship was to the founders.
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    • Posted by xthinker88 3 years ago
      Jefferson was reluctant? Wow, he wrote an entire gospel in which he stripped Jesus of his divinity and miracles. Pretty clear where he stood. In print.
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      • Posted by woodlema 3 years ago
        Please provide the SPECIFIC citation your referring to. As I recall, Jefferson took the argument on both sides like any lawyer, with the end result being people should NEVER take things on blind faith but on reason, be it Faith in God or Not.
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        • Posted by xthinker88 3 years ago
          Sorry. I can't cite an entire book. He wrote an entire version of the gospel in which he stripped out any miracles. Familiarize yourself even briefly with TJ and you'll find he is not the Christian you're looking for. (old Jedi mind trick. lol) He was a deist.

          Actually, I'm probably closest to a deist. Thinking there might be some consciousness or intelligence behind the whole curtain but that said consciousness does not really care one whit about events on this puny planet.

          Here is a wikipedia article about the book:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jefferson_B...

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          • Posted by woodlema 3 years ago
            Based on your comments I am not so sure you actually read this book, or even really know its contents.
            http://americanhistory.si.edu/JeffersonB...
            This book was a literal cut/paste from bibles and listed out the morality of Jesus and is in essence a transliteration in what appears chronological order tugging and pasting between the 4 Gospels. Wikipedia is not accepted in Collegiate circles as a "real source" either, but might just be good as an index on where to find the REAL sources.

            This is a direct Quote from TJ. "I am of a sect by myself, as far
            as I know."
            — Thomas Jefferson, 1819
            So by declaring himself a Sect, he is declaring himself a religion unto himself.

            But my point had nothing to do with religion or God, only the disingenuous nature of the liberal mindset based on THEIR construct of No God and the belief in Evolution, and the "Law of Nature", Only the strong survive, which in itself is the antithesis of Welfare and supporting and elevating the poor.
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            • Posted by xthinker88 3 years ago
              Yes. A religion unto himself. Not a Christian.

              From Monticello's website (but hey, what would they know about TJ):

              With the help of Richard Price, a Unitarian minister in London, and Joseph Priestly, an English scientist-clergyman who emigrated to America in 1794, Jefferson eventually arrived at some positive assertions of his private religion. His ideas are nowhere better expressed than in his compilations of extracts from the New Testament "The Philosophy of Jesus" (1804) and "The Life and Morals of Jesus" (1819-20?). The former stems from his concern with the problem of maintaining social harmony in a republican nation. The latter is a multilingual collection of verses that was a product of his private search for religious truth. Jefferson believed in the existence of a Supreme Being who was the creator and sustainer of the universe and the ultimate ground of being, but this was not the triune deity of orthodox Christianity. He also rejected the idea of the divinity of Christ, but as he writes to William Short on October 31, 1819, he was convinced that the fragmentary teachings of Jesus constituted the "outlines of a system of the most sublime morality which has ever fallen from the lips of man." In correspondence, he sometimes expressed confidence that the whole country would be Unitarian[3], but he recognized the novelty of his own religious beliefs. On June 25, 1819, he wrote to Ezra Stiles Ely, "I am of a sect by myself, as far as I know."

              - Rebecca Bowman, Monticello Research Report, August 1997

              http://www.monticello.org/site/research-...

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              • Posted by woodlema 3 years ago
                And you have one founder, who cut and pasted, and became a religion unto himself. That does not now nor ever change that the VAST majority of the founders had a firm belief in God, and the moral established in the Bible and used that along with the Government structure in Rome and Cicero to craft the US constitution.

                You and others can deny all you want that Christianity had no bearing at all on the US Constitution but the phraseology, the importance of being able to worship how YOU choose, were major key components in the Constitution AND the Revolutionary War against England.

                Regardless of what you think or believe, here is another DIRECT quote from Jefferson on the US Constitution and our founding based on Religious notions.


                Religion, as well as reason, confirms the soundness of those principles on which our government has been founded and its rights asserted. – Thomas Jefferson to P. H. Wendover, (1815. ME 14:283)


                No government can continue good but under the control of the people; and people so demoralized [lacking good morals] and depraved as to be incapable of exercising a wholesome control, their reformation must be taken up ab incunabulis. Their minds [must] be informed by education what is right and what wrong, be encouraged in habits of virtue and deterred from those of vice by the dread of punishments, proportioned indeed, but irremissible. In all cases, follow truth as the only safe guide and eschew error which bewilders us in one false consequence after another in endless succession. These are the inculcations necessary to render the people a sure basis for the structure of order and good government. – Thomas Jefferson to John Adams (1819. ME 15:234)

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    • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
      The first amendment was included because of experience with endless battles between religious sects for domination and imposition of state religion. It was not an endorsement of mysticism, sacrifice and other-worldliness. The founders of this country were not followers of ancient mystery cults, Tertullian, and Augustine wallowing in the wretchedness of life on earth in search of another, supernatural world.
      Drop the obnoxious preaching to us that is we who need to "READ", with tortured polemical references to "First", bizarrely twisted to mean religion was being put first and above all else. Read the history yourself of how the major influences were the Enlightenment, not "ROME" and mysticism, which could not possibly have lead to this country, its spirit, and its success using reason to live on earth.
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      • Posted by woodlema 3 years ago
        Again this point I made had NOTHING to do with religion or God, only the twisted liberal mindset. Those who do not believe in God, and believe in Evolution have a construct that negates the arguments for Welfare at any level. Law of Nature. Strong survive Weak die. I prefaced that I do not believe this, Liberals do. Their own belief structure contradicts Welfare in any form. There is no compassion in nature, the Lion will eat the cub and not feel one bit of guilt about it. The Lioness will eat her own cub after it moves out and joins another pride, and not feel guilt. Feeling, logic reason are not part of Dawinian nature and evolution therefor propping up the weak with welfare is a violation of these laws of nature Liberasl believe in.
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  • Posted by flanap 3 years ago
    I think a clear definition of religion is needed here. In this current society, words take on new meaning by the minute.
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    • Posted by  $  allosaur 3 years ago
      I've heard it argued that religion and faith are two separate things.
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      • Posted by  $  IndianaGary 3 years ago
        I know of no religion that does not require acceptance of the supernatural on faith.
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        • Posted by  $  allosaur 3 years ago
          Come to think of it, I heard that argument made by someone of one Christian group talking about its superiority over other Christian groups, and that was Year 1980 in Laurel, Mississippi. Thanks for fully jogging this old dino's memory.
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        • Posted by Robbie53024 3 years ago
          Ever hear of Buddhists?
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          • Posted by xthinker88 3 years ago
            True. Buddhism at it's core is a philosophy rather than a religion. And really not necessarily a philosophy in the western sense but a set of tools designed to assist one in experiencing the truth first hand. Or at least the truth as stated by buddhism.

            That said, many different buddhist lineages have taken this toolbox and turned it into a religion and meshed it with all sorts of gods and rituals (the Tibetans come to mind as a notable example).
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            • Posted by Robbie53024 3 years ago
              No doubt. But was merely looking to counter the sweeping assertion. All religions are philosophy, not all philosophy is a religion (although there are some adherents of different philosophy who would be hard pressed not to describe their devotion to said philosophy as anything less than "religious," including some here who consider themselves Objectivists).
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    • Posted by  $  blarman 3 years ago
      What is more needed is to separate any given set of beliefs from others. Everyone is arguing "Christianity" as if it were one homogeneous set of beliefs, when that is far from the truth. Christianity is probably the most diverse set of beliefs imaginable with only a very few, core doctrines in common, while differing wildly in nearly everything else from administration from ordination and authority. When examining the acts of "Christianity", one should actually be examining the so-called Christian organizations first so as not to associate Protestants with the Crusades, etc.
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      • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
        The religious wars between various sects with different rituals and dogmas are not relevant. Ayn Rand rejected all of it based on fundamentals.
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        • Posted by  $  blarman 3 years ago
          Even Objectivism is a belief set. What each person must choose is which set of beliefs to follow and what set of rewards one expects to achieve from adherence.

          What I was pointing out was that many of the posts on this thread were attempting to treat "Christianity" as a single, homogeneous belief set rather than a variety of widely varying belief sets, which can lead one to erroneously conclude many different things. When one recognizes that the individual sects vary WIDELY in their belief sets - in fact even contradicting each other on various points - it then becomes illogical to denounce all by inclusion (fallacy of guilt by association). One must individually address the individual belief sets in order to prove or disprove their validity.
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          • Posted by ewv 3 years ago
            Christianity is a particular religion with its own dogmas which are well known. The variations don't matter once the essence has been rejected. The variations are irrelevant to that, not "guilt by association".
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            • Posted by  $  blarman 3 years ago
              And when death greets us all and we float off into the abyss to dissolve into nothingness, no part of this conversation will even matter.

              But in the off chance that life isn't merely an exercise in complete futility and pointlessness, I'm going to choose a course that provides something to look forward to after death. If I'm disappointed, I've lost nothing and won't even realize it.
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              • Posted by jabuttrick 3 years ago
                This sounds like a variation of Pascal's wager. In any event, I assume by choosing that "course" you are also accepting some form of religious belief which mandates some form of ethics or behavior. Accepting those will surely impact your decisions and actions while alive. Those actions, in turn, may lead to negative consequences ranging from trivial to life altering. You will not have "lost nothing."
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                • Posted by ewv 2 years, 12 months ago
                  His argument is hopelessly irrational. Not only is he trying to base his actions on a presumed other world, destroying life in this one, his notion of his other world is entirely arbitrary and subjective. That is how the lack of objective criteria under claims to faith leads to violence as their only means to settle disputes between the arbitrary.
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                  • Posted by  $  blarman 2 years, 11 months ago
                    Unless you've seen the other side of the Door of Death, I'd say it was a bit prejudiced - or maybe "arbitrary and subjective" to make any kind of assumptions or proclaim one's self an expert on the matter.

                    Really. Do you _want_ this life to be transient and meaningless? For Death to be the point at which nothing you did ever mattered at all? That anyone you ever cared for or who cared for you was similarly a fleeting, passing fancy? An ephemeral wind?

                    Why does it bother you so much when I tell you that I live for an extension of my being beyond the Door of Death so that I can continue to enjoy the company of my friends and family? That I seek for a continuance of my intellect - my intelligence, my identity - beyond the close of this chapter of my life? Why should I NOT seek to continue what I value and hold dear? Wouldn't that betray the single most important principle of logic itself - identity?
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                    • Posted by CircuitGuy 2 years, 11 months ago
                      Wanting, thinking, and seeking are all different. I clearly want to live forever. I don't think I can live forever. Seeking to continue life means avoiding/delaying disease, accident, crimes, and other perils.
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                    • Posted by ewv 2 years, 11 months ago
                      What you frantically want is irrelevant to what is. Your subjectivism is not "logic" and your imagination does not represent an "identity" of what is.
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                      • Posted by  $  blarman 2 years, 11 months ago
                        On the contrary. To anyone with any desire to persist and maintain identity - which even Rand admits lies at the heart of any sane and logical being - the notion that one should willfully accept obligatory and eventual oblivion is equivalent to suicide of self. If that is not the most anti-Objectivist thought, I can not put my finger on it!

                        You don't have to believe in God. I'm not trying to tell you to. I'm trying to point out the meaninglessness of the alternative. If you choose to ignore it because it doesn't fit your preconceptions, that is your choice. I live for life and the possibilities it brings. Any who choose to live for death may similarly enjoy that privilege. I just can't reconcile such a desire with a simultaneous desire for being and identity. To me, it is a stark contradiction of logic.
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                • Posted by  $  blarman 2 years, 11 months ago
                  Religion is a way of life. Objectivism is a way of life - they just don't like to call it a religion because of the inference of an association with God. But both very explicitly define rules for behavior and rewards for doing such.

                  The point I was trying to make was that the difference branches off very quickly at Death. For those who do not believe in an afterlife, at that point, existence becomes entirely meaningless. Nothing one ever did in life matters one whit. It wouldn't matter if one was the "saintliest saint" or the "vilest of sinners". It wouldn't matter whether you were a Christian, a Buddhist, a Muslim, or an Objectivist. That's the whole point: the meaningless of it all. Without existence after death, any investment in morality I make and its aggregate returns will be nullified instantly.

                  Instead, I choose to live for myself. I choose to live assuming that my actions here determine the possibilities which will open up for me after the Door of Death swings shut. I choose to live so that the investment in my actions here will pay dividends both now AND then. I just refuse to buy into the mentality of oblivion when there is the so-obvious alternative which has so much more appeal!
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  • Posted by comsguy 3 years ago in reply to this comment.
    And as I reasoned, still no proof from you or the $ wis-bangs that really came out of the woodwork to attack the faithful. Just more of your expert know it all opinions. You must all really get you panties in a twist around Chrismas and Easter. Using In God We Trust currency must also make you ill.
    The intolerance of the objectivist religion towards others that are productive and good is
    disturbing to me.
    Rejecting even the possibility of a higher intellect,creator, when you look at nature is not logical at all.
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    • Posted by 3 years ago
      actually comsguy, our currency did not adopt that until the Civil War. In fact, at the time, there were still many forms of currency not just one.
      http://ij.org/savannah-tour-guides-free-...
      The founding fathers did not see it as important AND they saw it as a violation between Church and State. Objectivists are not intolerant of everyone "productive and good." You have enjoyed yourself on this, an Objectivist, website.
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      • Posted by ewv 2 years, 12 months ago
        ... and Christmas has been a secular holiday enjoyed by millions for a very long time. Easter bunnies and hunting for brightly decorated eggs are also fun.
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    • Posted by  $  blarman 2 years, 11 months ago
      comsguy: It is actually very easy to entirely destroy the argument that faith is the opposite of reason. You can use either one of the two following logical fallacies: the classic strawman or a negation. Both apply. It is the classic strawman because those who seek to use it use an illogical definition in the first place then claim that because it is illogical, that it can't exist. The other problem is that it's not a definition at all - it's a negation, which doesn't count for any kind of definition at all! One can say that black and white are opposites, but one can define black independently of white and one who has seen neither can correctly identify both without seeing the other. A real definition describes what something IS - not what it is NOT. Logic and nonsense are opposites.

      Faith is merely a foreign word to those who refuse to think of anything in terms of possibilities - especially anything beyond this life. That to me is the main area where atheism falls on its face in a big way. If there is nothing after this life - no amount of achievement in the present will matter one bit. If one is living for themselves, how can they possibly claim to believe in one's own dissolution at death as being a viable alternative?
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      • Posted by ewv 2 years, 11 months ago
        The concept faith means belief against or without regard for proof based on the evidence of the senses. Reason is the faculty of knowing based on evidence of the senses. They are opposites. That is why we have two different different concepts to distinguish them. None of your tortured rationalizations, imagined "possibilities" in the supernatural, and wishful thinking changes that. Fantasy is not a method of cognition.

        Rational people accept their '"dissolution" at death because every observation confirms it. There is zero evidence of consciousness existing apart from a material, living body. Your wishful thinking and speculations about a supernatural existence don't change that. Your perceived lack of achievement does not imply that you keep going.
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        • Posted by  $  blarman 2 years, 11 months ago
          They are only opposites because you adhere to Rand's definition as such. I reject such a definition for what it is - a strawman. You choose not to look for the very proof you claim does not exist. I have found it and KNOW it exists.

          "Rational people accept their '"dissolution" at death because every observation confirms it."

          So I'm really curious: how many people have you met have passed through the Doors of Death and confirmed your hypothesis? Answer: Zero. So how many observations actually exist confirming your hypothesis? Zero. And you want to call that confirmation or proof? Really?

          On the other hand, I have many witnesses who say that life does exist after this - of which I am one. It is not wishful thinking or superstition. You choose to disbelieve the witnesses because you prefer the alternative. Such is your conscious choice. You are entitled to it and (contrary to what you might think) I do not seek to take away any such. We each lay our plans for tomorrow, investing in what we each think will bring us the greatest return. I invest in a future with friends and family in which I plan to enjoy that investment. I hope your investment brings you all the returns you anticipate.
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    • Posted by ewv 2 years, 12 months ago
      No one "came out of the woodwork" to "attack the faithful". This is a forum in support of Atlas Shrugged and the this-wordly philosophy of reason and individualism that made it possible. It is not a site for "the faithful" promoting supernatural, animistic "explanations" in the name of the "productive and good" and "logic".
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 years ago in reply to this comment.
    I would recommend my fellow humanist / atheists first read "How to Win Friends and Influence People".
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    • Posted by  $  jbrenner 3 years ago
      While I disagree with CG on some issues that all Objectivists would disagree with CG on, on this point, CG is correct. His suggestion that we read "How to Win Friends and Influence People" is a good one. This thread has been an interesting one, but would be far more enjoyable without certain individuals downvoting, berating others, etc. Each of us can make our points without having to be offensive.
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      • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 years ago
        "While I disagree with CG on some issues that all Objectivists would disagree with CG on, on this point, CG is correct."
        Thank you for your words of support. Which ideas do you think *all* objectisits would disagree with me on? I've only read Fountain Head and AS, and I loved/agreed with most of it. So it suprises me there would be things _all_ objectists disagree w/ me on. It's possible, though, b/c I come up with my own ideas, and I haven't read non-fiction on Objectivism.
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        • Posted by 3 years ago
          you support state run programs such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare programs. You support income tax, public education, Obamacare. Objectivism does not support any of these collectivist notions. You support laws that give certain groups of people extra rights.and you vote for candidates that support or initiate all of these types of programs. Not only that, you've said you are likely to help campaign for these candidates in the future.
          I would start with Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal
          https://www.aynrand.org/novels/capitalis...
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          • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 years ago
            "Objectivism does not support any of these collectivist notions."
            I reject the claim that all of those things are intrinsically collectivist.
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            • Posted by  $  IndianaGary 3 years ago
              Pick one that is not and defend it. I would like to discuss it with you.
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              • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 years ago
                "Pick one that is not and defend it. I would like to discuss it with you." Thank you for your interest in actual ideas.

                We hire police officers to reduce crime. We make everyone pay for it, even those who would be willing to provide their own security. We'd like to find a way for people don't like it to opt out, but the theory is even if we had the police only respond to people who paid for policing, just having them patrolling benefits everyone. So we make everyone pay. We do the same thing for defending the country against invasion.

                Suppose we find that parts of one of those supposedly collectivist programs such as Welfare or education provide the same type of benefit as more policing. Maybe if you provide food and education geared toward a good-paying jobs, a percentage of would-be criminals will focus instead of learning a useful job. The knee-jerk response appears to be "if you want to hire someone to arrest them and jail them, great, but if the approach involves trying to help them that's collectivist." You can show that many gov't attempts to help people fail. You can show that many gov't attempts to catch criminals while respecting citizens' rights fail. But it doesn't mean the very concept of gov't providing help and/or policing are wrong.

                We have a huge problem with collectivism, esp with middle-class citizens who look to the gov't to take care of their life decisions or basic needs. This is part of why gov't is several times most costly and intrusive than it needs to be.

                My concern about collectivism, however, doesn't make opposed to anything the gov't does that sounds at all like helping someone.
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                • Posted by jabuttrick 3 years ago
                  Your analysis seems to rest upon the assumption that Objectivist opposition to welfare, taxation, government schools, etc. is based upon the belief that those programs don't work or don't work well enough. While it is true that government programs are inherently inefficient, wasteful and have tons of negative consequences (both intended and unintended) I don't understand those criticisms to be the basis of Rand's position. Instead, I think those programs are all deemed immoral since they are based on the use of theft as their common tool of implementation. That is the common denominator in all of the programs cited by khalling, I think. He/she should feel free to correct me if I'm wrong on that. Also, I think your rejection of that line of thought is what khalling thinks marks you as a non-objectivist. Again,. I'm not trying to speak for someone else, just trying to clarify.
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                  • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 years ago
                    "I think those programs are all deemed immoral since they are based on the use of theft as their common tool of implementation."
                    Aren't all gov't programs funding by theft (compulsory taxes)? If so, what is the reason for singling out certain programs as collectivist?
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                    • Posted by jabuttrick 3 years ago
                      I don't think there was any "singling out" except by you.
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                      • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 years ago
                        Maybe so if you believe all gov't taxes and spending are immoral and based on theft. If you some taxing/spending is okay but other is theft, we need to know what's difference.

                        I didn't mean any offense by "singling out", just trying to understand why some spending is collectivist.
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                        • Posted by 3 years ago
                          Again, no one disagrees with government providing a police force.
                          "The only proper purpose of a government is to protect man’s rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence. A proper government is only a policeman, acting as an agent of man’s self-defense, and, as such, may resort to force only against those who start the use of force. The only proper functions of a government are: the police, to protect you from criminals; the army, to protect you from foreign invaders; and the courts, to protect your property and contracts from breach or fraud by others, to settle disputes by rational rules, according to objective law. But a government that initiates the employment of force against men who had forced no one, the employment of armed compulsion against disarmed victims, is a nightmare infernal machine designed to annihilate morality: such a government reverses its only moral purpose and switches from the role of protector to the role of man’s deadliest enemy, from the role of policeman to the role of a criminal vested with the right to the wielding of violence against victims deprived of the right of self-defense. Such a government substitutes for morality the following rule of social conduct: you may do whatever you please to your neighbor, provided your gang is bigger than his." Galt's Speech
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                          • Posted by CircuitGuy 2 years, 12 months ago
                            I love the speech.
                            My point is the same motivations for using tax dollars to stop crime with guns and jails allows us to use tax dollars for things that sound like helping people if they achieve the same goals. I can see reasons why it might be contrary to objectivism, but it's very hard for me to understand that if evidence shows gov't can protect us from criminals by jailing people or providing job training or drug treatment, the objectivist says gov't must to limit its toolbox to things that are punitive.
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                            • Posted by 2 years, 12 months ago
                              two things. 1. proper role of government must by definition, be limited. to try this or that program to bring down a perceived crime rate spike is not the govts role. the private sector can easily provide those things
                              2. the govt takes your money to do these things with. If you do not limit their role, pretty soon they need more of your $s to try this or that program and before you know it, you are paying 40-50 percent of your earnings to this or that of which you have no benefit but you are now a slave. tht's right-you do not get to break your slave role from the US without a rigorous exit process and lots of money. Do not forget the goal. It is most efficient for the market to decide this or that program. and there is incentive. people, ie police payers, will leave if the city can't keep crime under control. any 8 year old playing SIM city figures that out after a couple of games
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                              • Posted by CircuitGuy 2 years, 12 months ago
                                I liked the rest of your comment. I still don't get this part.
                                "roper role of government must by definition, be limited. to try this or that program to bring down a perceived crime rate spike is not the govts role"
                                Then how is it acceptable for the gov't to pay for policing (i.e. this program or that program) to reduce crime?
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                • Posted by 3 years ago
                  "We have a huge problem with collectivism, esp with middle-class citizens who look to the gov't to take care of their life decisions or basic needs. This is part of why gov't is several times most costly and intrusive than it needs to be. " Yet this is exactly the agenda of the Progressives, which you support. It's fair game to call you out on this. Why would you support candidates and governments which advocate taking care of you and providing your most basic needs, like a phone for instance?
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                • Posted by 3 years ago
                  Having a police force is not theft. What I reject to is paying for it based on income. That is an irrational determination for taxing and it is also progressive in nature. Rand is for government providing the function of property right and natural right protection. How to pay for it is procedural partly and there are moral solutions. An income tax is immoral and collectivist thinking. So, now that we remove police and courts from my concept of collectivist programs, pick another to defend.
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                • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
                • Posted by Robbie53024 3 years ago
                  Why would you think that police aren't collectivist? They protect the rights of the group, not the rights of the individual. That is inherently collectivist. As I said, you need to provide a definition of "collectivist" first, and then evaluate your stance against same. You seem to believe that affects an individual isn't collectivist. That's just foolish. All collectivist actions affect individuals. Rather it is the rights of which are paramount - those of the individual or those of the group/collective.
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            • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
            • Posted by Robbie53024 3 years ago
              Why don't you provide your definition of "collectivist."

              I think that most here would say it is anything that puts the rights of the group over the rights of the individual. If you can point to a program that puts the rights of the individual over those of the group, then you may have one that most here could agree with. I'm the Hallings would say that IP protection would be such. I can think of nothing else that would fit such a definition.
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              • Posted by 3 years ago
                Police are tasked with protecting the rights of a group of individuals. An Objectivist police force does not recognize such thing as group "rights." That is an anti-concept.
                "Any group or “collective,” large or small, is only a number of individuals. A group can have no rights other than the rights of its individual members." Virtue of Selfishness
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  • Posted by ewv 2 years, 12 months ago in reply to this comment.
    Your arguments have been thoroughly refuted, which you continue to ignore. Your idea of "reason" is to rationalize belief in the supernatural in the manner of the dogmatic medieval Scholastics. Yes, you are impervious to reason.
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