America: Predicated on a Creator

Discussion in 'History & Past Politicians' started by usfan, Nov 20, 2019.

  1. usfan

    usfan Banned

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    In a godless universe, the concepts of morality, inherent rights, and human equality do not exist, except as delusional platitudes.

    How can they?

    Morality, to be a Real Thing, has to be imbedded in the psyche of man. With no Embedder, right and wrong are meaningless platitudes, invented by the whims of man, for manipulative purposes. In a godless universe, amorality, or whatever you want is all there is. Any attempts to 'standardize' moral codes are just arbitrary opinions enforced by power.

    Human equality is a delusion, in a godless universe. Humans are just animals, at different stages of evolution, and the smarter and more 'fit' will be the ones to survive. Delusional, superstitious, and simple minded sheep are there to be exploited by the more highly evolved, advanced humans, and should be managed by the same. Power, deception, intimidation, brutality, manipulation, and anything necessary to achieve this goal is a positive. The ends justify the means.

    Natural Law, like morality, can only exist as a Real Thing, if it was embedded by a Creator. An 'inherent right' carries with it an Embedder of these rights. The Enlightenment definition of Natural Law is the inherent right of everyone to life, liberty, and property. But in a godless universe, these are empty platitudes.. no Creator? No Natural Law. Rights are privileges granted by the ruling elite, and are not inherent.

    America was founded upon principles that can only come through a Creator.

    The 'self evident' truths that this nation was founded upon hinges entirely on them being embedded by a Creator, that EVERYONE senses, inherently.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.. ~the Declaration of Independence

    The foundations of America are premised upon a Creator, embedding Natural rights and equality. In a godless universe, the foundations of America are built upon a lie.. a delusion of equality and inherent rights.
     
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  2. ThirdTerm

    ThirdTerm Well-Known Member

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    The idea was taken from John Locke's theory of natural rights. Jefferson was a man of the Enlightenment, who was heavily influenced by Enlightenment thinkers. The last part of the quote justified the overthrow of a tyrannical government which does not respect basic human rights, by which he meant the British government at the time. The Declaration of Independence was basically a manifest to support the revolt against King George theoretically.

     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2019
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  3. Margot2

    Margot2 Banned

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    God didn't give human beings any natural rights.. What are you talking about?
     
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  4. Talon

    Talon Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    He's talking about Natural Law, and and from that Law is derived the assertion in our Declaration of Independence that "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness".

     
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  5. Talon

    Talon Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    The statement is a spin-off of Locke's "life, liberty and estate" and remarks made by the Irish-born Scottish philosopher Francis Hutcheson:

    The following natural rights of each individual seem of the perfect sort: A right to life, and to that perfection of the body which nature has given, belongs to every man.… This right is violated by unjust assaults, maiming, and murder.

    As nature has implanted in each man a desire of his own happiness … tis plain that each one has a natural right to exert his powers, according to his own judgment and inclination, for these purposes, in all such industry, labor, or amusements, as are not hurtful to others in their persons or goods….

    This right we call natural liberty. Every man has a sense of this right, and a sense of the evil or cruelty in interrupting this joyful liberty of others….

    Each one has a natural right to the use of such things as are in their nature fitted for the common use of all; and has a right, by any innocent means, to acquire property in such goods as are fit for occupation and property, and have not been occupied by others….

    The idea is far older than Locke and Hutcheson, going all the way back to the Ancient Romans and Greeks. Sophocles spoke of a higher law in his play Antigone (written around 441 BC) and the great Roman statesman Cicero is credited with formulating and articulating the concept of Natural Law that is familiar to us today in De Re Publica (Book III), which was written about 50 years before the birth of Christ. Here's the famous quote:

    True law is right reason in agreement with nature; it is of universal application, unchanging and everlasting; it summons to duty by its commands, and averts from wrongdoing by its prohibitions. And it does not lay its commands or prohibitions upon good men in vain, though neither have any effect on the wicked. It is a sin to try to to alter this law, nor is it allowable to attempt to repeal any part of it, and it is impossible to abolish it entirely. We cannot be freed from its obligations by senate or people, and we need not look outside ourselves for an expounder or interpreter of it. And there will not be different laws at Rome and at Athens, or different laws now and in the future, but one eternal and unchangeable law will be valid for all nations and all times, and there will be one master and ruler, that is, God, over us all, for he is the author of this law, its promulgator, and its enforcing judge. Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature, and by reason of this very fact he will suffer the worst penalties, even if he escapes what is commonly considered punishment. . .
     
  6. Anonymous.Professor

    Anonymous.Professor Newly Registered

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    Fathers of USA constitution were protestant christians and deists so USA constitution is in one way also a philosophical compromise between them on the question how to organize society. For example the principle of separation of powers is coming from the idea that humans are to weak and to corruptible for the concentration of power.
     
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  7. Talon

    Talon Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    An interesting argument, and while I don't necessarily disagree with it I don't necessarily agree with it, either.

    First of all, I think it can be argued that the foundations of America are rooted in the timeless struggle for individual freedom that spans thousands of years. Secondly, it can be argued that morals, ethics and Natural Law and Natural Rights can exist in a godless universe. Going back to Cicero's statement that "true law is right reason in agreement with nature" notions of morality, human equality and Natural Law can be acquired through reason and nature (human and otherwise).

    While I believe the principles America was founded on could have been formulated independent of the existence of God (or gods), the fact remains that they weren't. While our notion of Natural Law originated in Ancient Greece and Rome, our notions of morality and human equality are rooted in religion, most particularly Christianity.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2020
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  8. usfan

    usfan Banned

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    America was born out of the Enlightenment, which was spawned through the reformation. Ideas (and ideology) do not arise in a vacuum, but unfold as the mind, conscience, and spirit of mankind awakens.

    I see the Enlightenment as the pinnacle of human awakening, at least in western civilization. The obvious reality of embedded morality, the sense of human equality, and an inkling of 'more' that nags our inner psyches, all come together in a cosmic crescendo to force us to face our Creator.

    The nations that do that, prosper and grow in wisdom, knowledge, industry, and moral efficacy. The people that do not, languish in dark ages despair and oppression.

    But the fact remains, that ONLY an Intelligent Agent, with the ability to 'embed' such platitudes in man can be the source of Natural Law, human equality, inherent rights, and morality. In a godless universe, there is no logical provision for these things, but they are human constructs, to manipulate and control people.

    I would argue that the 'root' of human awareness of natural law goes back further than that. It has been there from the beginning. It is evidence of the Creator, as these things could only be delusions, in a godless universe.
     
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  9. Derideo_Te

    Derideo_Te Well-Known Member

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    :roflol:

    Wrong, as always!

    NOWHERE in your bible does your IMAGINARY "creator" give anyone any rights at all!

    Your imaginary "creator" begins by DENYING your right to the Presumption of Innocence!

    Then your imaginary "creator" DENIES you both Freedom of Religion AND Freedom of Speech!

    It gets even worse when your imaginary "creator" DENIES your right to not have to suffer from Cruel and Unusual Punishment!

    Once again the OP is just another Epic Failure.

    Sad!

    :roflol:
     
  10. Talon

    Talon Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    I agree with you about the Enlightenment, and from my own perspective I would say America was born out of its own American Enlightenment where religion was allowed to co-exist alongside secularism. What we see here is the uninterrupted and evolving continuum, particularly in the case of Natural Law, from Sophocles and the Stoics to Cicero to Jesus to Aquinas to Lilburne, Locke, Sydney and Hutcheson to our Founders and beyond. Our Enlightenment is quite different than the one the French, for example, pursued, where the anti-clerical and anti-religious views of some of the philosophers in Europe led to a break between the secular and the religious. This was painfully highlighted during the worst excesses of the French Revolution, particularly during the Reign of Terror and the War in the Vendée, and is still reflected in French law and society today. While I am a firm believer in secularism and pluralism I am glad our Founders chose the path they took instead of the one the French took.

    As I mentioned earlier, the logical provision would be Reason and Nature. I would also suggest that even a divinely embedded, endowed and/or inspired Natural Law serves to influence the behavior of people and governments so that the life, liberty and property of individuals is respected. In that respect one might find a similarity between Natural and Positive Law.

    I would agree that it goes back much further than the Ancient Greeks and Romans. We can glean from their earliest writings and practices that their prehistoric ancestors had a conception of natural law that was reflected in their religion and the law that was derived from it.
     
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  11. Talon

    Talon Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Talk about epic failures. :roll:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness...

    For someone who is so fixated on the Bible, as if it was supposed to contain and amount to everything to everyone concerning the divine and religion throughout time immemorial, it is odd that you could overlook something as obvious as the First Commandment and the Natural Right it implies - Life.

    Oops!

    While I'm at it, I'll re-post Marcus Tullius Cicero's famous quote from De Re Publica, written somewhere between 54-51 BC, about Natural Law. While Cicero was not a Stoic, his view of Natural Law was quite similar to that of the Ancient Greek Stoics:

    True law is right reason in agreement with nature; it is of universal application, unchanging and everlasting; it summons to duty by its commands, and averts from wrongdoing by its prohibitions. And it does not lay its commands or prohibitions upon good men in vain, though neither have any effect on the wicked. It is a sin to try to to alter this law, nor is it allowable to attempt to repeal any part of it, and it is impossible to abolish it entirely. We cannot be freed from its obligations by senate or people, and we need not look outside ourselves for an expounder or interpreter of it. And there will not be different laws at Rome and at Athens, or different laws now and in the future, but one eternal and unchangeable law will be valid for all nations and all times, and there will be one master and ruler, that is, God, over us all, for he is the author of this law, its promulgator, and its enforcing judge. Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature, and by reason of this very fact he will suffer the worst penalties, even if he escapes what is commonly considered punishment. . .

    Interesting. This Roman and many of his kindred Greek spirits asserted that God is the author and promulgator of this law.

    If your post was anything other than another tired and failed exercise in atheistic trolling you would have offered an argument - as I did in Posts #7 and #10 - that Natural Law can be derived from something and/or someone other than the Creator (whatever/whoever that is), but you didn't, which is rather unfortunate. It's wonderful to know that you're an Atheist - I'm an Agnostic, by the way - but that doesn't shine any light into the source and existence of Natural Law and the foundations America was built on. Are "progressives" even knowledgable of these things? They often leave me with the impression that they are completely clueless in this regard. :D
     
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  12. usfan

    usfan Banned

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    Well, your anti-christian rant has nothing to do with the topic, and is just a knee jerk bigoted attack on your religious enemies.

    The bible is not the topic, nor even christianity, specifically. The presumption of a Creator, as the Source of Natural Law, human equality, and the American Experiment, is.
     
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  13. Derideo_Te

    Derideo_Te Well-Known Member

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    For starters Cicero was prescient enough to identify all of the MISTAKES that the OP is making.

    This entire thread and many others by the OP is all about COMPELLING OTHERS to BELIEVE in his IMAGINARY "creator"!

    Secondly your pretense of being an agnostic is betrayed by your belief in the 1st commandment.

    The problem that I have with the "natural law" is that it is always used as an EXCUSE to get away with all kinds of SELF SERVING bovine excrement. The conservative neoliberal fiscal policies are a classic example of how that works.

    The Founding Fathers were INVOKING the "divine right of kings" fallacy when they made that statement in the DOI as a means to REFUTE King George's claim to being their monarch. You have to remember that he was the head of the Church of England and they were trying to extricate themselves from being his minions. They had to INVENT something that would justify their reasons for doing so on both a secular and religious basis.

    Once they FREED themselves of that burden they made it abundantly obvious that there was going to be NO RELIGION WHATSOEVER in the SECULAR government that they subsequently formed.

    Article VI

    This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

    The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.[1]

    That is the BASIS for the FOUNDING of our nation and so the fallacious attempt by the OP to invoke the DOI is absurd.
     
  14. Distraff

    Distraff Well-Known Member

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    America is a very different country today than it was. The founders believed in a very tiny federal government with almost no powers. Most of the powers belonged to the states who were voluntarily in union together. The federal government had no standing army and only used militias begged for by the states. This arrangement was similar to the EU.

    While the state governments had more power than the federal government, they were build on a model of small government as well. There was no draft, no income taxes, no state standing armies, and few environmental and safety regulations. We were isolationist and strictly kept out of foreign alliances and conflicts. The beliefs of the founders are very different than the beliefs of democrats and republicans today and are far more like libertarians.

    America was also based on the superiority of white people and men. Women had no right to vote and only white land-owning males could vote. Native Americans were treated as inferior and their land was taken however possible.

    But we as a country changed. The government has a larger role, there is more equality, the military has a larger role, and we are more secular and less religious. We can debate whether being secular is a good thing, but change isn't necessarily bad.
     
  15. Talon

    Talon Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    LOL - Never mind that you are guilty of making the same mistake.

    Having read my fair share of Cicero over the years I'm well familiar with his list, and it appears that in your own attempt to compel us to believe and live as you do you forgot that this is a forum for discussion and debate. An OP freely submits an argument and/or opinion and we in turn freely submit our own arguments and/or opinions. None of us here can force or compel anyone else to believe and live as we choose.

    And your responses are all about compelling us to believe that his Creator is imaginary!

    I think it would be honest and fair to state that both of you are trying to persuade people to believe what you believe.

    Refuting your assertion that "NOWHERE in your bible does your IMAGINARY "creator" give anyone any rights at all" has nothing to do with my Agnosticism.

    Other than simple self-preservation, my belief that Life is a Natural Right that cannot be taken from me or you or anyone else arbitrarily and unjustly is grounded in Natural Law as well as Positive Law. The Positive is purely a matter of man-made law and whether the Natural is grounded in Reason, Nature or God makes no difference to me - the Law exists all the same.

    And what, precisely, is this "SELF SERVING bovine excrement" - the private property rights that Leftists don't believe in and routinely seek to relieve from others?

    How did the Godfather of Socialism put it?

    "Nature has given to every man the right to the enjoyment of an equal share in all property"
    -- François-Noël Babeuf


    That's nothing America was founded on and everything the Soviet Union was founded on, and if you read my signature Samuel Adams explains why.

    Yet there is no reference to the king or the "divine right of kings". The reference is to "governments" and "any form of government", which would include the British Parliament that insisted that it "had hath, and of right ought to have, full power and authority to make laws and statutes of sufficient force and validity to bind the colonies and people of America ... in all cases whatsoever" (Declaratory Act of 1766), including the non-existent "right", power and authority to tax the British colonists in America without their representation and consent.

    The statement in the DOI concerning Man's Natural Rights and the institution of government to secure those rights appears to be invoking Locke's concept of the social compact and consensual civil government to me. It's all in the second of his Two Treatises on Government.

    Of course, the Founders didn't invent anything and Thomas Jefferson admitted as much in a letter to Henry Lee in 1825:

    This was the object of the Declaration of Independence. Not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of, not merely to say things which had never been said before; but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent, and to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take.

    I think your argument is better grounded in the Establishment Clause: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Interestingly enough, some of your Democratic champions in Washington have seen fit to abandon Article VI in their questioning of Catholic judicial nominees. :eek:

    Personally, I think your argument with the OP highlights what I said about the American Enlightenment where the secular and religious were allowed to co-exist. It's not difficult to see that much of what might be deemed our Positive Law is grounded in Natural Law.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2020
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  16. Derideo_Te

    Derideo_Te Well-Known Member

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    :roflol:

    Great job at DESTROYING your PRETENSE of being an agnostic!

    Where have I ever started a thread PROMOTING atheism?

    Just like the vast MAJORITY of atheists we don't give a crap about what others believe and have ZERO compunction to COMPEL others to "believe" in atheism.

    So by PROJECTING your own theist COMPULSION onto me you effectively wiped out your pretense of being agnostic.

    LOL! Like most theists they ONLY ever see what just they WANT to see!

    https://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/

    The ENTIRE DOI is ALL about the King and his ACTIONS that are the ROOT CAUSE of the GRIEVANCES!

    Furthermore the HISTORY of the British Monarchy includes the imperative to establish their own "legitimacy" in the eyes of YOUR imaginary "creator".

    The Founding Fathers had NO other OPTION but to INCLUDE the religious references otherwise they would have been condemned for "violating god's laws". In essence they were doing what Henry VIII did when he split with the Catholic Church and formed his own religion. Back then had they NOT invoked "god's laws" the British would have been able to justify waging a "holy war" against the American States. The British people waged their own bloody Civil War on the religious differences between Catholics and Protestants and that resulted in denying Catholics from ever being allowed to hold office.

    Since you obviously do not posses the relevant subject matter knowledge of the DOI and the historical background that effectively disqualifies you from any further engagement in a substantive discussion on it as far as I am concerned.

    Have a nice day!
     
  17. Talon

    Talon Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Guffaw! Great job convincing yourself of that!!

    Got any more gratuitous remarks where that came from? I bet you do.

    How is that relevant to your posts promoting atheism?

    It's not, and do you honestly think that starting or not starting a thread promoting atheism will magically make your posts promoting atheism disappear?

    Hilarious...

    A lot of atheists don't care but obviously you're not one of them. We're all thrilled that you've repeatedly taken time out of your busy day to try to compel others to believe what you believe.

    Your fabrications reflect on you and no one else.

    I realize what I posted earlier flew over your head, and while it probably won't do any good you might want to run your madd reading comprehension skills over my response to the OP in Post #7:

    "Theist COMPULSION"! DERP!!!!

    Do you even grasp the implications of what I posted there?

    The joke's on you, sport, but I can't blame your desperate attempt to ignore the specific context of what I was responding to in your post (in bold face below):

    And here's the statement in the DOI:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

    Much, not all. Obviously, you conveniently omitted the content that preceded it.

    I'm not sure what YOUR imaginary "creator" has to do with anything, and we're all familiar with the British monarchy's claim to a "divine right" to rule. Furthermore, the history of the British Parliament includes its own imperative to establish an authority over the Colonists that it did not possess in reality, so the monarchy is hardly alone or unique in its phony pretenses.

    Since you failed to provide the quotes of the Founding Fathers stating that they had no other option but to include the religious references otherwise they would have been condemned for "violating god's laws", I'd like to see you substantiate your claim in their own words. I suspect that you can't.

    Judging from their actual remarks, I think they believed exactly what they said and until proven otherwise I will presume that they did indeed have other options. Are you familiar with the phrase "Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God"? John Knox came up with that long before the DOI was written and it would have been sufficient to refute any claim that the Colonists were "violating god's laws", rendering a declaration of natural rights superfluous.

    LMAO!!! You obviously don't know squat about the English Civil War.

    English Civil War
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_Civil_War

    Better yet, read Peter Ackroyd's Rebellion: The History of England from James I to the Glorious Revolution and get back with me after you can address the topic in an informed manner.

    That's pretty funny coming from someone who doesn't know jack about the English Civil War and has had to resort to fabrications, blatant logical fallacies, unsubstantiated claims and gratuitous remarks to "support" their wandering excuse for an "argument".

    By all means, run away!! :lol:
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2020
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  18. Derideo_Te

    Derideo_Te Well-Known Member

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    :roflol:

    Thank you for establishing beyond any doubt whatsoever that the DISQUALIFICATION is 100% JUSTIFIED in your case!

    As far as the rest of your TROLLING drivel goes it is obviously just a feeble attempt to cover your embarrassment about your glaring absence of any relevant subject matter knowledge.

    Facts matter, trolls don't!

    Have a nice day!
     
  19. Talon

    Talon Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    You're back?

    So who were the Catholics in the English Civil War, Captain History - the Roundheads or the Cavaliers?

    [​IMG]

    If you were actually interested in having a calm, mature, thoughtful, informed discussion/debate on this matter you would have recognized from my comments in Post #7 that we just might be in agreement on the question of whether or not the concepts of morality, inherent rights, and human equality CAN exist in a godless universe:

    Are we in dispute here?

    If you would care to rebut/refute my argument that "morals, ethics and Natural Law and Natural Rights can exist in a godless universe" and "can be acquired through reason and nature (human and otherwise)" by all means do so. As a Donor I pay for the entertainment around here.
     
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  20. Derideo_Te

    Derideo_Te Well-Known Member

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    I appreciate your refraining from any further trolling.

    The answer to your question can be found at this website but discussing it here would derail this thread. Open another if you believe it is worth discussing further after you have perused that website.

    https://www.britpolitics.co.uk/causes-of-the-civil-war/

    No, I do not dispute your statements above because there is evidence for the existence of morals and ethics and no evidence for any imaginary "creator" therefore it is a logical step to make that they were "acquired through reason and nature".
     
  21. Farnsworth

    Farnsworth Active Member

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    Locke was not an atheist, he was in fact a Christian, and his 'natural laws' came directly from the King James bible, where the Greek ideals were perfected; the Greeks were also pagans and their sophistry was part of that, so you can't get away from religion in either direction. The DOI had lots of religious references because most of the colonies were religious dissenters as were the majority of immigrants, so duh ..., and as for Jefferson, his major influences were not Locke, but 'Bolingbrokism', and it is also a fact that the vast majority of Founders were not Deists, but assorted Christians; of course some would much prefer everybody to believe Franklin and Jefferson were the only 'Founders', but sadly for them both were outnumbered by ministers and pastors and their followers among the Founders.

    It is also a fact that the evangelicals of the Second Great Awakening almost singlehandedly got Jefferson his VP and Presidency over the Federalists, and he was anxious to placate the Danbury Baptists for that reason among others, one other being it is the Baptists who invented separation of church and state in the first place; see a bio of Thomas Helwys for that event.

    The Establishment clause did not prevent any of the individual states from having a favored sect, complete with tax levying powers, it prevented the Federal govt. from establishing one; otherwise there would have been no Constitution and no United States, since as pointed out earlier many of the colonies were themselves religious states and remained so after the ratification for many decades, Massachusetts being the last to amend its state constitution and become 'secular' in 1833-34 or so; the main impetus for that in every case was the massive demographic changes among immigrants in the states themselves, not some Supreme Court ruling or pompous pseudo-intellectual finger wagging from Deists.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2020
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  22. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    This thread brings up almost everything relevant, but I think I can add a psychoanalysis of Thomas Jefferson. That one thought, considered when reading the Declaration of Independence, unites the divided arguments you see here.
    First of all, the Continental Congress were traitors and would all be excecuted if captured. They were supporting a war even though some of them, and many colonists, wanted peace and reconciliation. When they decided to write the declaration, they needed colonists to support it, foreign countries to endorse it and the British to understand it. (There was still hope it might influence the crown to stop the war, give autonomy and maybe grant independence.) There was a good chance the measure would be rejected by the Congress and certainly edited.
    Jefferson therefore was in a position similar to the Communists in Hollywood 30s through 60s. He had a personal agenda based on his enlightenment, religious views and vision of a better world, but had to declaw several points for a diverse audience.
    Line by line the Declaration goes back from what he wanted to what most wanted to the edited version the whole Congress could accept. An evangelical Christian would not write it that way.
     
  23. Bjorn

    Bjorn Active Member

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    Rights and morality exist because we want it to. I am not American, and I don't believe that Americans ever got their rights from a "Creator". They got it, and retain it, for as long as they keep wanting it and arguing and fighting for it.The idea that a right or a moral sentiment becomes "obsolete" or "meaningless" without a creator assumes that you need a Divine Strong Hand to hold up the "Moral Universe" that governs all of sentient interaction like Atlas holding up the Earth.

    It is the assumption that man can only have agency... if pushed by a divine hand. That we can only trust our neighbours if a God tells us we should trust our neighbour, that we can only keep ourselves from raping and murdering friends and family if there is a tablet of law telling us that we musn't do so.

    And yet, most religions in the history of Earth were not "law religions" like the Abrahamic religions, they left questions of what is moral, what is decent, what is just to society, to tradition, to written or oral law. And just like them, and because it is in our nature as human beings to be social animals, to cooperate (at least within our own "tribes" - after all the Commandments did not tell Jews not to kill, just not to kill fellow Jews) and to establish complex, trusting societies built around social contracts, religion isn't neccesary to provide the moral "mortar" to build a moral society with rights and justice. All you need is there to be a sense of an "Us". No one needs religion for that to either exist, or emerge. It's human nature.

    There are several societies that are majority atheist in the world - and no they're not all Communist dictatorships - where people trust each other, where they care for each other, where they have a concept of rights, right and wrong, of ethics. I believe the Czech Republic is the most atheist country in the world, even more atheist than China, tbh. And yet, they're not resorting to cannibalism or mindless depravities because they think "anything goes".

    If you DO believe, if you've convinced yourself into believing, that without religion, you will... indeed must become completely immoral, hold no regard for anyone's rights, and care only for your personal fullfilment....then you probably will become a slobbering, murderous madman. But only in the same way that a man who fully believes in voodoo, who truly believes that a priestess can kill him with a hex, might actually die of shock from hearing a hex directed at him.

    Without a Creator, your rights are still your rights. Reality is still reality. You just acknowledge that they only ever came from you, from society, from your history, your culture, your ancestors and that it is your responsibility to keep that going.

    You seem to believe that your rights, your morality, your Constitution would lose all of its meaning if it was seperated from the notion of a "bestowed by their Creator". No more than you praying for the health, safety and happiness of your family today, would mean that you'd suddenly not care for your family's health, safety and happiness if you became an atheist. The way you'd express your caring and love would change, but your caring and love would not.
     
  24. Shook

    Shook Well-Known Member

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    No matter how moral a person feels himself to be, if he does not hold himself accountable to a Higher Authority, he will eventually fail. I've seen it.
     
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  25. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    I was interrupted on my last post and couldn't finish.
    I think Jefferson felt a little guilty in 1776. If not for slavery, he'd be middle class and probably a major in Washington's Army. The important line about all men created equal meant that Dukes, barons and especially kings were no better than American aristocrats, maybe no better at birth than serfs. I'm not sure he counted black slaves as part of mankind.
    The fact he could write that, as an early Unitarian, proves that unitarians acknowledged some form of creator and ascribed to him, you might say, a higher moral standard than the deity presented in the Bible, though they denied him the enforcement aspect so critical to the Bible.
    The founding fathers had some devout Protestants, mostly moderate Protestants, Catholics of all stripes and the first generation of Unitarians. Those Unitarians were on a mission to create a better society. The remaining Puritans of New England still hoped to create Heaven on Earth. The founding documents had to be acceptable to all.

    The real estate now called the Czech Republic was once ruled by saints. It was the birthplace of pre=Protestant Protestantism. The best virtues of Christianity became such a part of Czech culture that a person would be anti-Czech if he was anti-virtue. Your atheists, and any in the US in 1776, were steeped in religious values. They could not survive without them. You can't be virtuous without them.
     
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