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 Obama on Religion

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PostSubject: Obama on Religion   Thu Nov 06, 2008 12:30 pm

First off I was delighted with his victory

I also agree with his views of the place of religion. Heres an exerpt from a speech a while back.
How enlightened the american founding fathers were! From this h appears to be following in their footsteps.

"For one, they need to understand the critical role that the separation
of church and state has played in preserving not only our democracy,
but the robustness of our religious practice. Folks tend to forget that
during our founding, it wasn't the atheists or the civil libertarians
who were the most effective champions of the First Amendment. It was
the persecuted minorities, it was Baptists like John Leland who didn't
want the established churches to impose their views on folks who were
getting happy out in the fields and teaching the scripture to slaves.
It was the forbearers of the evangelicals who were the most adamant
about not mingling government with religious, because they did not want
state-sponsored religion hindering their ability to practice their
faith as they understood it.

Moreover, given the increasing
diversity of America's population, the dangers of sectarianism have
never been greater. Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a
Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a
Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.

And
even if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every
non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity
would we teach in the schools? Would we go with James Dobson's, or Al
Sharpton's? Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy?
Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is ok and that
eating shellfish is abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests
stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick
to the Sermon on the Mount - a passage that is so radical that it's
doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application?
So before we get carried away, let's read our bibles. Folks haven't
been reading their bibles.

This brings me to my second point.
Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their
concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It
requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to
reason. I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I
seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the
teachings of my church or evoke God's will. I have to explain why
abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all
faiths, including those with no faith at all."
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PostSubject: Re: Obama on Religion   Thu Nov 06, 2008 1:01 pm

This is great stuff. Is he too intelligent to be a President do you think? Is it possible his 26 year old speechwriter wrote this? He said it, anyway.Very Happy

The only problem I can see is that it is reason-based, and religion is based on the irrational i.e. faith. That is the whole point of it. As long as people feel that life is incomprehensible and out of their control, they will need religion.

Given the history in the US of keeping religion/education and state separate, and given their material resources, the Americans have as good a chance as anyone of getting it right.
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PostSubject: Re: Obama on Religion   Thu Nov 06, 2008 1:27 pm

Cactus, could we please move away from this notion of yourself being rational and those of us who have faith being 'irrational'. Not only is it grossly offensive, it also severely stifles debate. I do not state that you are inherently blind, so do not state that I am inherently irrational. It a process by attempting to put ourselves beyond contradiction which is so damaging - whatever label it wears. Such a position demolishes plurality, complexity and avoids proper debate as it loads the discussion from the offset.

As I said on a previous thread (here)
johnfás wrote:
Where cactus and I would differ, is aside from issues
of belief, in our understanding of science. I whole heartedly agree
that science is one of the most important aspects of the universe, the
universe is clearly governed by science! I think you will find that the
vast majority of Christians in the world completely agree with that
sentiment. There are whole movements of Christians in science and
indeed many of our greatest scientists have also been Christians.
Ernest Walton for instance, our only Irish Nobel Prize winning
physicist was a committed Christian as was Prof Cocker of Trinity
Chemistry who was another internationally renowned scientist.

When
I sit in Church in my congregation on a Sunday morning in the seat
behind me generally sits a fellow and professor of immunobiology at
Trinity College Dublin. Just across the aisle generally sits a post
doctoral fellow of Neuroscience attached to the Conway Institute at
UCD. When I attend my girlfriend's Church I regulardly converse with a
Professor of Mathematics at UCD. When I used to sit down with my
grandfather and chat prior to his death I sat not only with a lay
preacher of the Church but also with a European expert in his field of
science who headed up his particular speciality for the whole of Europe
in the Council of Europe.

The list of top notch scientists who
are committed Christians is endless both throughout history and today.
Whilst this is of course, no indication of the absolute truth of a
higher order, it is indicative of the truth that all these people hold
that whilst Christians do not have a monopoly on truth, nor does any
other form of study have a monopoly on rationality. Any such person who
claims they do is at best deluded and at worst a perpetual liar.

The
boundary between conviction and fanaticism is something which should be
of a concern to all of society whether it is in regard to the religious
or the non religious, or indeed anything else. Fanaticism takes root by
dividing the world into black and white "Christians think this,
atheists think that" it is a manner of framing debate which seeks to
eschew complexity and mistakes assertion for argument.

Most
Christians have absolutely no fear of science, they fully support it as
the most satisfying way of discovering the glory of creation - what
better way could there be than discovering creation under a
microscope?
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PostSubject: Re: Obama on Religion   Thu Nov 06, 2008 1:54 pm

good post johnfas,

indeed the professor at cern whom i met over the summer believed in god too.
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PostSubject: Re: Obama on Religion   Thu Nov 06, 2008 2:47 pm

johnfás wrote:
Cactus, could we please move away from this notion of yourself being rational and those of us who have faith being 'irrational'. Not only is it grossly offensive, it also severely stifles debate. I do not state that you are inherently blind, so do not state that I am inherently irrational. It a process by attempting to put ourselves beyond contradiction which is so damaging - whatever label it wears. Such a position demolishes plurality, complexity and avoids proper debate as it loads the discussion from the offset.

As I said on a previous thread (here)
johnfás wrote:
Where cactus and I would differ, is aside from issues
of belief, in our understanding of science. I whole heartedly agree
that science is one of the most important aspects of the universe, the
universe is clearly governed by science! I think you will find that the
vast majority of Christians in the world completely agree with that
sentiment. There are whole movements of Christians in science and
indeed many of our greatest scientists have also been Christians.
Ernest Walton for instance, our only Irish Nobel Prize winning
physicist was a committed Christian as was Prof Cocker of Trinity
Chemistry who was another internationally renowned scientist.

When
I sit in Church in my congregation on a Sunday morning in the seat
behind me generally sits a fellow and professor of immunobiology at
Trinity College Dublin. Just across the aisle generally sits a post
doctoral fellow of Neuroscience attached to the Conway Institute at
UCD. When I attend my girlfriend's Church I regulardly converse with- a
Professor of Mathematics at UCD. When I used to sit down with my
grandfather and chat prior to his death I sat not only with a lay
preacher of the Church but also with a European expert in his field of
science who headed up his particular speciality for the whole of Europe
in the Council of Europe.

The list of top notch scientists who
are committed Christians is endless both throughout history and today.
Whilst this is of course, no indication of the absolute truth of a
higher order, it is indicative of the truth that all these people hold
that whilst Christians do not have a monopoly on truth, nor does any
other form of study have a monopoly on rationality. Any such person who
claims they do is at best deluded and at worst a perpetual liar.

The
boundary between conviction and fanaticism is something which should be
of a concern to all of society whether it is in regard to the religious
or the non religious, or indeed anything else. Fanaticism takes root by
dividing the world into black and white "Christians think this,
atheists think that" it is a manner of framing debate which seeks to
eschew complexity and mistakes assertion for argument.

Most
Christians have absolutely no fear of science, they fully support it as
the most satisfying way of discovering the glory of creation - what
better way could there be than discovering creation under a
microscope?


Oh dear, this is just what poor Obama was trying to avoid. Crying or Very sad It is my sincerely held view that religion is irrational i.e. not reason based, but faith based. I don't expect you or anyone else to change their views to suit mine. I didn't say that religious people are irrational - I said that "religion is based on the irrational i.e. faith." I am not using the word irrational is in any subjective sense to imply that I think there is anything dotty about religion or people who have religious beliefs. In our previous discussion I think I made the point that I think that religion has in the past strengthened societies, particularly in difficult times. Studies have shown that families with a shared belief system are on average happier than those without one.

I am aware that there are many brilliant scientists, whose science is impeccable, but who have religious beliefs that I would consider non-scientific, in that they apply different evidential tests in their scientific work and their religious life.

Quote :
Where cactus and I would differ, is aside from issues
of belief, in our understanding of science. I whole heartedly agree
that science is one of the most important aspects of the universe, the
universe is clearly governed by science! I think you will find that the
vast majority of Christians in the world completely agree with that
sentiment.

I'm not sure whether we do have a differering view of science. My understanding of science is that is that is is the evidence-based study of the material, knowable universe. As you imply, religious people can be highly judgemental about people who don't share their beliefs, whether that judgement is spoken or unspoken. Obama asks people of all beliefs and none to accept the difference, not to seek to impose their own beliefs on other people and to find an agreed territory on which to live together. I agree with that.
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PostSubject: Re: Obama on Religion   Thu Nov 06, 2008 3:09 pm

I think that religious belief and values have much to do with upbringing and are acquired rather than innate.

You either have faith or you don't. I don't think there can be rational debate on the subject and it is thus best avoided.

With regards governance, whilst religion and state should not mix unfortunately in reality they do. No ruler can avoid considering the beliefs and values of the subjects. In many ways religion can be a useful tool and aid stability, but unfortunately difference can be used in a divisive manner. With our more diverse societies this problem becomes more acute. IMO it is the tolerance of religions for other beliefs that in the end matters. How can any state be neutral if its principle religions preach hate? You can't tolerate intolerance, but politics relies on votes and those elected will represent the value sets of the electorate.
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PostSubject: Re: Obama on Religion   Thu Nov 06, 2008 5:18 pm

cactus flower wrote:
johnfás wrote:
Cactus, could we please move away from this notion of yourself being rational and those of us who have faith being 'irrational'. Not only is it grossly offensive, it also severely stifles debate. I do not state that you are inherently blind, so do not state that I am inherently irrational. It a process by attempting to put ourselves beyond contradiction which is so damaging - whatever label it wears. Such a position demolishes plurality, complexity and avoids proper debate as it loads the discussion from the offset.

As I said on a previous thread (here)
johnfás wrote:
Where cactus and I would differ, is aside from issues
of belief, in our understanding of science. I whole heartedly agree
that science is one of the most important aspects of the universe, the
universe is clearly governed by science! I think you will find that the
vast majority of Christians in the world completely agree with that
sentiment. There are whole movements of Christians in science and
indeed many of our greatest scientists have also been Christians.
Ernest Walton for instance, our only Irish Nobel Prize winning
physicist was a committed Christian as was Prof Cocker of Trinity
Chemistry who was another internationally renowned scientist.

When
I sit in Church in my congregation on a Sunday morning in the seat
behind me generally sits a fellow and professor of immunobiology at
Trinity College Dublin. Just across the aisle generally sits a post
doctoral fellow of Neuroscience attached to the Conway Institute at
UCD. When I attend my girlfriend's Church I regulardly converse with- a
Professor of Mathematics at UCD. When I used to sit down with my
grandfather and chat prior to his death I sat not only with a lay
preacher of the Church but also with a European expert in his field of
science who headed up his particular speciality for the whole of Europe
in the Council of Europe.

The list of top notch scientists who
are committed Christians is endless both throughout history and today.
Whilst this is of course, no indication of the absolute truth of a
higher order, it is indicative of the truth that all these people hold
that whilst Christians do not have a monopoly on truth, nor does any
other form of study have a monopoly on rationality. Any such person who
claims they do is at best deluded and at worst a perpetual liar.

The
boundary between conviction and fanaticism is something which should be
of a concern to all of society whether it is in regard to the religious
or the non religious, or indeed anything else. Fanaticism takes root by
dividing the world into black and white "Christians think this,
atheists think that" it is a manner of framing debate which seeks to
eschew complexity and mistakes assertion for argument.

Most
Christians have absolutely no fear of science, they fully support it as
the most satisfying way of discovering the glory of creation - what
better way could there be than discovering creation under a
microscope?


Oh dear, this is just what poor Obama was trying to avoid. Crying or Very sad It is my sincerely held view that religion is irrational i.e. not reason based, but faith based. I don't expect you or anyone else to change their views to suit mine. I didn't say that religious people are irrational - I said that "religion is based on the irrational i.e. faith." I am not using the word irrational is in any subjective sense to imply that I think there is anything dotty about religion or people who have religious beliefs. In our previous discussion I think I made the point that I think that religion has in the past strengthened societies, particularly in difficult times. Studies have shown that families with a shared belief system are on average happier than those without one.

I am aware that there are many brilliant scientists, whose science is impeccable, but who have religious beliefs that I would consider non-scientific, in that they apply different evidential tests in their scientific work and their religious life.

Quote :
Where cactus and I would differ, is aside from issues
of belief, in our understanding of science. I whole heartedly agree
that science is one of the most important aspects of the universe, the
universe is clearly governed by science! I think you will find that the
vast majority of Christians in the world completely agree with that
sentiment.

I'm not sure whether we do have a differering view of science. My understanding of science is that is that is is the evidence-based study of the material, knowable universe. As you imply, religious people can be highly judgemental about people who don't share their beliefs, whether that judgement is spoken or unspoken. Obama asks people of all beliefs and none to accept the difference, not to seek to impose their own beliefs on other people and to find an agreed territory on which to live together. I agree with that.

Hey Cactus, I think the word "unfounded" is better than irrational. For many folks(he says speaking like Obama) the word irrational conjures up some negative images, some of which can sound offensive. In one sense you are completely within your rights to use it, though in the name of diplomacy it might be better to consider altrenatives. I think the claims of religion are unfounded. Still you can believe in things which you are not able to prove to yourself.
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PostSubject: Re: Obama on Religion   Thu Nov 06, 2008 5:23 pm

cactus flower wrote:
This is great stuff. Is he too intelligent to be a President do you think? Is it possible his 26 year old speechwriter wrote this? He said it, anyway.Very Happy

The only problem I can see is that it is reason-based, and religion is based on the irrational i.e. faith. That is the whole point of it. As long as people feel that life is incomprehensible and out of their control, they will need religion.

Good point especially in America where with all the evangelical groups anyone can interpret the bible which ever way they want. I hope Obama reinforces the first amendment and its principals without denigrating the respect we should show for people who believe in God. I disagree with Dawkins here. I think people need hope, even if it does often appear to be just "pie in the sky".
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PostSubject: Re: Obama on Religion   Thu Nov 06, 2008 5:28 pm

Quote :
Hey Cactus, I think the word "unfounded" is better than irrational. For many folks(he says speaking like Obama) the word irrational conjures up some negative images, some of which can sound offensive. In one sense you are completely within your rights to use it, though in the name of diplomacy it might be better to consider altrenatives. I think the claims of religion are unfounded. Still you can believe in things which you are not able to prove to yourself.
Respvblica
Growing Embryo

Unfounded wouldn't really do, because I'm talking about the thought processes, rather than whether or not the conclusions are correct. Maybe "unscientific" would cover it, but I'm not sure if johnfás would agree with that either.

Perhaps if I said "belief, rather than science-based" ?
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PostSubject: Re: Obama on Religion   Thu Nov 06, 2008 7:00 pm

Is it not simply acceptance? A willingness to set aside disbelief?
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