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NeoNotes — Who gets to call the shots

The argument is not over sexual practices but over who gets to call the shots. I disagree with you on this one.

Let’s leave aside the fact that “Judeo-Christian” excludes every person who is not a Jew or a Christian. Let’s leave aside the face that many Jews are offended by the notion of being lumped in with the Christians. Let’s even leave aside the point that “Christians” includes faiths such as Baptists, Mormons, and Catholics who are barely even on speaking terms with each other.

The real question is why should any group be in charge? Why should one morality have the force of law while others do not?

Competition keeps us honest. If you can’t convince people that your morality works without being backed by law, then you’re doing it wrong. “Do it our way or we’ll force you.” “Do it our way or The Officially Sanctioned Authority Figures will point guns at you.” “Do it our way or you’ll be tossed in jail.”

If you don’t like what they are doing, fine. They shouldn’t force you. But that means you shouldn’t force them either.

I’m a big believer in the family. That’s one reason I support the age of consent. I’m from my mom’s first marriage, and I have stepsibs including one from my stepdad’s first wife’s first marriage. I think that the family is the strongest thing is a society.

But people have to make the choice of their own free will and without coercion or it counts for nothing.

Virtue under threat is not virtue, it’s slavery.



I realize you and I are using atheist in different ways. I am no more an atheist because I don’t worship your god than you are an atheist because you don’t worship mine.

If I am reading this right, you want me to rally to your banner and fight in the name of your faith to establish your morality over all in a glorious victory. And then we’ll haggle over my crumbs later.

To which I reply KYFHO.

I think it was yesterday I was reading Limbaugh’s site. He tried to make the point that just because the Republican leadership were a bunch of wimps, that wasn’t a reason to vote Democrat to spite them. He was wrong. Either/or is not a choice, it’s a trap.

Freedom is what matters. If all we fight for is who gets to call the shots, then freedom has lost.

I will not exchange one overlord for another.



And if folks weren't pushing a "Judeo-Christian" rule system for everybody, it wouldn't matter.

We can agree on a public morality without making personal religion the governing factor.



This nation was founded by Christians, Deists, and others, but not on a Judeo-Christian basis. They borrowed from anything and everything they thought would work. And then they argued over it. For years and years they argued. They still goofed some things up. Slavery is the obvious example.



I didn't say anything about the worth of Judeo-Christians values, I just said that they weren't the paramount source of all that is good in our society.

If you reread everything I have said on this thread, you will not find one place where I criticized Judeo-Christian values.

I did say that people should choose for themselves whether to put Judeo-Christian values at the center of their lives. And I objected to anyone choosing those values for everyone else.



Again, my objections are not about Christianity.

It's about Christianity being the "default" choice.

As I said above, either/or is not a choice, it's a trap.

Tell me, what would you do if someone insisted you had to abide by the morality of Confucianism? Would you not speak loudly and say that wasn't your choice?



I of course live in the United States where freedom of religion is the law of the land.

Not freedom of Judeo-Christian religion, not Judeo-Christian religion placed first, but freedom of religion.

The Founders were among the best educated and enlightened men of their time. Why do you supposed they chose to make it like that?



They did accept it.

It took a Civil War to stop it. And even then, Lincoln didn't begin the war with the idea to end slavery.

That came later.



Must have been some Brits.

The Treaty of Paris was signed in 1783. The Continental Congress adopted the Constitution in 1788.



First, I wasn't the one who started with the "Judeo-Christian" phrase, that was RSM in the original article. It's what started this.

Second (and this is the Really Important Bit), the Founders deliberately did not put religion in the Constitution. It's not because they did not have faith, it's because they believed one man should not dictate the faith of another. It has nothing to do with the merits of Christianity and everything to do with personal choice and responsiblity.

BTW, I don't read either Zinn or Maher. I think the last history book I read was Churchill's autobiography.



Still doesn't change the point.

You wouldn't want to live under the rules of another belief system even if it was a good system and was for everybody.



C'mon.

Your insistence that the Judeo-Christian basis is the only possible choice has made that point very clear.



DING!

I answered which makes it responsive.

You might ask yourself why you feel threatened by the merest possibility.

(P.S. I insist on better sound effects)



Pardon, but that's the point. If you put law a rung or two below your religion, you'll expect others to defer to your religion. Even if they don't share that religion.



Would you defer to my religion?



Should any nation embody a religion?



It doesn't matter. Under the terms that people on this thread have set, the religion is immaterial. It only matters if the nation has a basis in that religion.

No matter what yours may be, you must submit.



Most importantly, my religion doesn't require you to submit.

Neither does Christianity, despite what some say.

Even here on this thread, I'm not denouncing Christianity. I'm just telling Christians they can't use the precepts of their faith to rule another.



Some of them are good rules. Some of them are not.

My point is that one religion should never be considered The Moral Authority for a society. Morality is too important. We need to argue over it. Competition keeps us honest.

Once we say that The Moral Authority Religion is what tells the society that murder and theft are morally wrong, it's way too easy to say that TMAR says that this sexual partner is wrong, or that this fabric should never be sewn to that fabric, or that we should only eat from religiously approved diet.



I am totally for live and let live. It's the core of my most deeply held beliefs.

I really don't care about someone else's beliefs or politics unless they want to impose those on everyone else.

Going back to my original post on this thread, if the choice is between the absolute on the left side or the absolute on the right, I am going to pick freedom despite both.

I respectfully disagree with you on that.



I disagree. I think "free to choose" applies to more than just economics. I think ideas work best in a "free market" too.



"Given that, for example, I like the morality embodied in Judeo-Christian law…" But not everyone does.

"…and that we also know that other people would gladly choose anarchy by their own free will…" Oh? All others, or did you have a specific group in mind?

"it seems to me as if a stable culture does need to have reasonable, enforceable codified laws." I agree with the conclusion but not your reasoning.

"Which means that somebody's standard of morality has to set the bar." Yes.

"And I think that if you put to the vote which system of law would people prefer, Sharia law, Judeo-Christian or anarchy…" Why are these the only choices on the menu?

"…most Americans would say Judeo-Christian (given that a large component of that is "don't screw with me and I won't screw with you.")" I wish more people accepted "live and let live," I really do. I think Americans would accept it. But I don't think that's a substantial part of Christianity, especially as it is practiced today.



"Also, I think you confuse the practice of true Christianity with the practices of lying liars who lyingly claim to be Christian because it suits their lying agenda." Some are liars, yes. Some are devout Christians with the best of intentions.

"…the (Judeo-Christian based) Constitutional law as implemented originally for this Republic…" I'm sorry, but I have to stop you right there. It wasn't Judeo-Christian based. Look at the Constitution. Other than the date, there is not a single mention of Christianity. This was very unusual for any government document at the time. This was deliberate.

Christianity was only one of many influences. It's amazing I even have to mention this when one house of the national legislature is called the Senate and the other has a ceremonial mace based on a Roman fasces.

E pluribus unum. The original motto of the United States, roughly translated into "one from many." Or as I prefer, "united we stand." It's not just the people, it's the ideas.

And it is not specifically or even mostly Christian.



And the first question is why didn't the Founders see fit to put it in the Constitution?

The second question is why are people offended when I point out that Christianity may not be the sole source of goodness in Western Civilization?



And would that Christian belief system be the Protestants or the Catholics? Perhaps the Quakers?

Since the idea of democracy predated the "Judeo-Christian" basis we might have to consider a few other things.

Your problem is that I won't acknowledge the "fact" that Christianity is primary source of Western Civilization and of the United States.

Which pretty much brings us full circle to my first post on this thread.



You know, since we've spent so much time on this thread about the Founders, I can't help but wonder if the Brits thought they were being "willfully obtuse."

I know people thought Bill Gates was "willfully obtuse" when he had this crazy idea about copyrighting software and building a company on it.

So it really depends on your point of view, doesn't it?



I'll let you in on a secret.

I try to treat people online as they have treated me. I'm nice until someone shows they don't deserve it.

For life in general, I have three rules.

THE GOLDEN RULE - Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

THE SILVER RULE - Do for yourself at least as much as you do for others.

THE IRON RULE - Don't do for others what they can do for themselves.



I think the Founders made a wise choice. They didn't want an official religion but they didn't want to interfere with personal religion.

It ties into individual choice and responsibility. It's bottom up. The Founders wanted individuals to draw from their faith and influence the nation, not the faith to shape national law and policy and so rule the individual.

Most importantly they wanted people of faith to watch government closely.



I didn't say no codified laws.

I just said that I thought we could do public morality without enshrining a religious system as The Moral Authority.

While I agree that religion can be an excellent source of personal morality, I don't think it works on a cultural level if there are multiple faiths in that culture.

So we have to start from another basis.



But not Judeo-Christianity alone.

BTW, many Jews are really offended by that term.



And a lot aren't.

And they are still offended.

Are you accusing the Jews who dissent from your views of being anti-Christian and unAmerican?



I said,

"BTW, many Jews are really offended by that term."

I don't have to be a spokesman for the Jews to know that many resent the term "Judeo-Christian." It implies a continuity which is not recognized by their religion.



So apparently it's either/or. I have to accept that law only has a Judeo-Christian bias or we do without law?

We couldn't just sit down, find out what we and others agree on, and make laws based on that?



So if I disagree that American society had a "Judeo-Christian" basis and that all that is good and wonderful comes from the actions of enlightened Christians, I can take a hike?

It's not me you have a problem with, it's dissent.

You might want to think about that.



Take Daylight Savings Time, that's not moral, just annoying.

Why does a nearly microscopic flake of cannabis on the passenger seat cost someone their car but three "suitcases" of beer in the trunk doesn't?

Why can't you legally buy a high flow toilet?



Laws are not moral.

We should be arguing over them.



"And, like it or not, 51% of the humans will impose its vision of society and its morality on the remainder." Actually I'd argue that most of the Bill of Rights specifically forbids the Federal government from doing exactly that. Not to mention the other checks and balances built into the system. Originally when Senators were chosen by the state legislatures, it was supposed to balance the populism of the House of Represenatives.

"Like it or not, Judeo-Christian ethics and morality have stood Western Civilization and indeed the world in good stead for a long time." Except Western Civilization was never just Judeo-Christian. Nor were it's ideals and morality.

"Personal liberty is more than putting whatever you want into your mouth or finding some new way to excite your genitals." Except I was talking about freedom which implies responsibility. Especially in an American context.

"Again, I defy anyone to demonstrate a social system better at doing that while protecting the dignity of the individual better than those based upon a Judeo-Christian foundation." You mean other than the American one that I already showed was not based solely on that Judeo-Christian foundation?

ETA: Sorry, I missed an important one.

"You say, such choices should be made "individually" and without societal influence," Except I said without coercion, as in no use of force.

But if you adopt a religion's moral code into the law, we can't do that. It's not up to the people. It's up to the leaders of that religion.



Not a weasel word.

Just a point again that Western Civilization did not begin and end with Christianity and Christian thought.

Some laws are not moral. For example, right now many police departments are partially funded by civil forfeiture laws.

Something like 40% of the Export-Import Bank's loans have gone to support one company, Boeing.

Not so very long ago, the Federal government decided that the U.S. should be forced to switch to the metric system.



"That immoral people have taken advantage of it doesn't discount the original intent."

Yeah, it kinda does. Your own religion has some interesting things to say about good intentions.

And no one has yet addressed my macro argument. The real question is why should any group be in charge?

You've all been so busy telling me how much the U.S. has a "Judeo-Christian" basis, not one of you has bothered to say why Christianity is a superior system.

I'm willing to work with people to get an acceptable set of laws. But the second you tell me it's Judeo-Christian based I will walk away. Not because I hate Christianity, but because I do want ANY religion given the force of law.

We need people of faith questioning government.

ETA: Pardon, that is my goof. that should read "…but because I do not want ANY religion given the force of law."

You two had me typing so fast last night that my hands couldn't keep up with my brain.



Thank you. I was waiting for someone to introduce the Ten Commandments.

Number One on the Hits List there doesn't apply to anyone not a part of that religion.

Unless you want to point a gun at my head until I put your god first?

Don't you see? I'm not attacking the Christian faith. I'm just saying you can't use the law to impose it on anyone else. Your choice is your choice, their choice is theirs.



Please tell me again how the Ten Commandments are the "fundamental principles of America."

Please tell me again how me NOT putting the "Judeo-Christian" morality above and beyond my own morality rejects American principles "because of their ethical monotheist origin."

It certainly seems that you have issues with every single American who does not embrace Christianity immediately and on your say so.



And you honestly believe that the Judeo-Christian basis is the only possible source of morality for the Founders?

How curiously limiting.



I called the Founders among the best educated men of their time. I pointed out that the deliberate omission of ANY god in the Constitution. And I told you they argued and debated for years to do the "right" thing even as they made the occasional mistake.



You're right. I'd walk away from the group. I wouldn't walk away from the issue.

You see, I have this thing about freedom…



" You wish to have morality without any consequence." I do not. If you'll check some of my previous posts on other threads, I usually stress choice with consequences.

"Western values have a Judeo-Christian foundation…" Among other things.

You did see the bit above where I stressed how important family was, didn't you?



I never said all systems are equal.

I said people should make their own choices. And if you can't convince people that your system is a good one except by using force, then you're doing it wrong.



No, it's a matter of agreeing on morality instead of saying "the Bible tells me this is good SO THIS IS WHAT WE WILL DO or else!!"



Then why isn't the Christian God specifically mentioned in the U.S. Constitution?

Why did it take a Cold War to (mistakenly) change the national motto to "In God We Trust?"

Why does the Constitution specifically forbid a religious test as a qualification for office?

Do you get the picture yet? You can be as Christian as you choose.

You just can't choose that OR any other faith for another.



Because government documents of the time routinely did put it in.

I keep telling people. This was not an accident. It was a deliberate choice. It was shocking. It stirred debate in the Continental Congress. It was unheard of.



Articles of Confederation.

You can find a copy at www.usconstitution.net, a very good reference site.



But it wasn't adopted as the national motto until 1956.

The Founders didn't do "givens," they liked to nail things down. If you don't believe me, take a look at the Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist Papers.



Yep, I knew that. That's why I mentioned the Anti-Federalist Papers.

Actually if you examine the Constitution you'll find that broad framework has some very specific anchors.

Which makes the omissions all the more important.



Speaking of coinage, have you heard of the Fugio cent?

Designed by Franklin, one face had "We Are One" and the other face had "Mind Your Business."



Whole wars have been fought by Christians on both sides over that "objective morality."

Whatever the Divine perspective, human understanding is limited and very subjective.

NeoNotes are the selected comments that I made on other boards, in email, or in response to articles where I could not respond directly.

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