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God-fearing....or not.

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TomMark
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50 posted 12-15-2007 12:56 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

"How can a transcendent personality not be contingent on a prior transcendent personality"

It seems a dead cycle but "contingent on" is on on variables not the nonchargeable.  The 'prior' will definitely come to an unchangeable end,  where one does not use "contingent" but "dependent".


----------------
Stephen: And the fact that people believe in a human dignity and ethos that is more than opinion (including corporate opinion), IS a proof of God.

Ron:  Ah, now that's a real pity, Stephen. Proof of God, after all, makes your faith redundant and meaningless.
----------------

Dear Ron, I guess that Stephen meant that Human Dignity and ethos
were given by God. Because nothing can change them, even when one was a slave under his owner or people under their king.  
TomMark
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51 posted 12-15-2007 02:45 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

And dear Ron, I agree with you on most of what you said.

But about human right.contingent on a common faith.
is there a common faith?

Supposing  that I were form Jungle and my god tells me to eat you while your God tells you that murder is a crime.
I don't want to give you proof that transcendent right is contingent on recognition of the right. Because there is matter of true God or false god and that is why we are all not converted to eat other alive and they are converted to stop eating humans. Truth prevails. If human right is contingent on anything then that means no right at all. contingent on a common faith.

[This message has been edited by TomMark (12-16-2007 01:53 AM).]

Stephanos
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52 posted 12-15-2007 11:06 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
Me: How could transcendent personal rights not be contingent upon a transcendent personality?


Ron: How can a transcendent personality not be contingent on a prior transcendent personality, Stephen? That is essentially the same question you just asked. And when you answer my question you'll find the answer to yours.


A transcendent personality such as God's is transcendent also of time, making a "prior" personality superfluous.

I think you're making a categorical mistake in equating my question with yours.  I asked how transcendent personal rights (which apply to finite personal beings) could not be dependent upon a transcendent personality.  If they are dependent upon themselves as mere concepts, it underscores the question of how they could be personal. (a kind of neo-platonism)  If they are dependent upon mortals, it underscores the question of how they could be transcendent.


Your rhetorical question of how God's transcendent personality could not be contigent upon a prior personality, obfuscates the whole crux of my question ... namely to ask how finite individuals beings can be thought to have transcendent rights (as most everyone really does).


So if you can answer how you can so easily swap a transcendent God with finite man, and call it essentially the same question, then you too will have the answer.

quote:
Me:  And the fact that people believe in a human dignity and ethos that is more than opinion (including corporate opinion), IS a proof of God.


Ron:  Ah, now that's a real pity, Stephen. Proof of God, after all, makes your faith redundant and meaningless.


Not at all Ron ... unless you're willing to believe in a fideism so extreme that it makes the Bible itself look like a Geometry textbook.  Remember that the apostle Paul spoke of "evidence" as well as of faith.


quote:
Me: Not proof in the sense of incontrovertible or inarguable (again how many western philosophers argued for their own non-existence??), but proof in the sense of 'darn good evidence'.


Ron: ... You mean like when you look out the window and see all kinds of darn good evidence for a flat Earth? You have a very strange definition of "proof," Stephen.


You're the one implying the insight of the writers of the Declaration of Independence was on the same level of merely glancing out of a window, not me.

As to your hermetically sealed definitions ... even the best "proofs" may be thought as evidence.  And the best evidence may be rejected simply because of will.  That doesn't change much about the evidence.


quote:
If you say that human rights requires the existence of God, that is proof, not evidence, and there is little enough to discuss.


Many particulars were said to require the centrality of Sun in our planetary system ... That didn't end discussion at all but opened up many more avenues of knowledge.  The fatalism and closed discussion you mention is a possibility, but not a necessity, of coming to a conclusion.


quote:
My rights, your rights, and their rights, are not contingent on a common faith.


Again, you're plainly confusing rights with the recognition of rights (what you charged me with earlier).  I never said that rights were contingent upon a common faith.  I said they were contingent upon God.  Of course, like the framers of the U.S. government, I believe that a recognition of this truth is more conducive to preserving the recognition and protection of those rights.


quote:
Me: it goes without saying that the authors of the Declaration of Indepedence disagreed with your statement about God and the justification of rights. You call it antiquated perhaps, I say it was insightful and wise.

Ron: Antiquated? On the contrary, Stephen, I think human rights go back a little bit farther than 1776. I think they go back farther than Jesus, and back farther than Moses. Jefferson didn't invent human rights when he penned the Declaration of Independence, any more than the Greeks invented lightening or the Norse invented thunder.


lol.  Now you're getting it.  Of course they do.  They go all the way back to the beginning of creation iteslf, and to eternity, to the God who gives them.

(and psssttt ... we were discussing the articulation of those rights in the expressions of US government, not because I think the founding Fathers invented human rights, but because it had very closely to do with the subject of this thread)  


quote:
Personally, I believe human rights is an obvious and very necessary corollary to God's gift of free will; you can't have one without the other.


Funny, that sounds a whole lot like my argument.  A very necessary corollary? ... Sounds almost like some kind of proof.  Where is your faith?  


quote:
Belief, however, doesn't make it so . . .  and much more importantly, being wrong doesn't negate the very real existence of either lightening or human rights.


You've quite misunderstood me, if you think that I believe that belief makes it so.  That correct belief is better is a part of my argument, but human rights are contigent upon God, not human belief.


quote:
He's there in the beauty, in the love, in every small miracle surrounding the greater miracle of Life. Everything that exists, everything good or bad, everything tangible or ephemeral, exists to support and confirm the Christian's faith. Nothing, however, exists to obviate the need for that faith, Stephen. We can attribute those streaks of jagged light in the sky to a powerful god or to the inevitable consequence of a Big Bang, and we'll probably never really know, in this life, which supposition is right or, indeed, if both are right or both horribly wrong.


You think Faith and knowledge are mutually exclusive?  You speak one moment of certainty, and the next of a leap which makes Kirkegaard look like he had 20/20. Don't get me wrong, Ron, I'm not denying mystery, or even the suspense of faith.  But I don't think the Bible, human experience, or reality supports such an extreme fideism as you seem to espouse.  I find compelling models of thought in Augustine and Pascal, who both said something amounting to "Believe that you may understand" ... an antidote to the extremes of total fideism on one side, and empiricism / rationalism on the other.  Faith corresponds to reality.  On the other hand reality does not force faith ... all the while reproving unbelief.


quote:
And that's okay, I think, because when we walk out into the storm carrying a big metal pole it isn't going to matter much. The existence of lightning is its own argument.


No argument here.  I'm only suggesting the difference between faith in God and its alternative might be like the difference between holding a lightening rod, and installing a grounding rod.  


quote:
I think everyone -- Christian or not -- still has a whole lot of ground to cover together.


And contrary to the paintbrush I've tried to dislodge from your hand, I agree with this completely.


And as intense as our discussions get, Ron, I always enjoy the exchange,


with goodwill,

Stephen.

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (12-15-2007 11:45 PM).]

Local Rebel
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53 posted 12-16-2007 12:18 AM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Quick clarification;

Jefferson wasn't concerned with attributing rights to the 'creator' because that's where he considered the origin -- but because he wanted to place them in a domain where no man, woman, or government could touch them.

Stephanos
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54 posted 12-16-2007 12:50 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
Jefferson wasn't concerned with attributing rights to the 'creator' because that's where he considered the origin -- but because he wanted to place them in a domain where no man, woman, or government could touch them.


That's like saying Syria doesn't get oil from the ground because it is the source, but in order to obtain oil.  Both reasons apply and contain each other.  Unless the Creator is the source, how could they be "out of reach"?


Otherwise for Jefferson, you would have sleight of hand. I just don't buy it.  Jefferson was at one time a closer-to-orthodox Christan, and at other times a deist.  Either way, his belief in God as the giver of rights was insightful and seems to have been genuine.

Stephen
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55 posted 12-16-2007 01:26 AM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

" You mean like when you look out the window and see all kinds of darn good evidence for a flat Earth? You have a very strange definition of "proof," Stephen."

I shall continue along your intention.

Don't laugh  at "flat earth" period. Absolute curved lines does not exist in math and physics.  If you tell me in your art you draw curved lines, I will say that tracking your motion in nano-second will show straight lines.  

Human observes and frequently adjust to the real truth of the object.


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56 posted 12-16-2007 02:01 AM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

"If you want to say that human rights implies the existence of God, we can call that potential evidence and explore where it takes us. If you say that human rights requires the existence of God, that is proof, not evidence, and there is little enough to discuss."

1. not all human self-claimed rights belongs to  true human rights.  
2. Human right is part of human dignity.
3. Human dignity is based on the freedom of human.
4. Human Being's Freedom is granted by God.
rwood
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57 posted 12-16-2007 10:37 AM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

Everyone has a different perspective of words. Here’s my offering and I’d appreciate anyone’s corrections or input.


quote:
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.


I read:

‘The Course of human events.”—capitalized “Course,” translates to ‘When in Life”, to me.

“One people dissolve a political connection.”

“assuming among the powers of the earth” – having grounds for political independence.

“the separate and equal station”—entitled them by “the L of N and N’s G”

“a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation,”—justification to split from the British Crown.

and the cause list is loooong.

Preamble:  
quote:
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.


I think there is some confusion as to how the Church took the word “Creator.” Because of the word is in the same sentence with “unalienable Rights.”

quote:
Samuel P. Huntington wrote: “The "inalienable rights" argument from the Declaration of Independence was necessary because [t]he British were white, Anglo, and Protestant, just as we were. They had to have some other basis on which to justify independence.”
wiki

contradictory terms???

quote:
Critics argue that use of the word "Creator" signifies that these rights are based on theological principles, and ask which theological principles those are (since none of the major religions of the world assert the existence of inalienable rights), or why those theological principles should be accepted by people who do not adhere to the religion from which they are derived.
wiki

Stephen?? Anybody?? Is this true??

I think the word “Creator,” is an intended break/contrast from an all-encompassing God, and most certainly a clear acknowledgment of inalienable rights to pursue Life, Liberty, and Happiness, without having to acknowledge any select power source, or having to bow down to any notion of origin. The whole idea of having to “Name” or “Label” a source of inalienable rights, seems illogical to me because it tends to Alienate each and every person from the other, but whether that matters or not may be off the mark.  

quote:
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
The People.

which again, this is a clear contrast to the “Divine Right of Kings.”

Is it the will of God to alienate or to make people feel inalienably dependent upon a God power in the human pursuit of independence?

I dunno. Lots of angles here and I’m sure I’m missing something.

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58 posted 12-16-2007 01:29 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

quote:

Jefferson was at one time a closer-to-orthodox Christan, and at other times a deist.  Either way, his belief in God as the giver of rights was insightful and seems to have been genuine.



To which old Tom would just say -- none of your business Stephen.

What is, however, our business -- is what he (or Thomas Paine) wrote as the Declaration of Independence.

Regina points out;

quote:

Samuel P. Huntington wrote: “The "inalienable rights" argument from the Declaration of Independence was necessary because [t]he British were white, Anglo, and Protestant, just as we were. They had to have some other basis on which to justify independence.”



Which goes to the very heart of the Declaration -- it was a document written for one purpose only -- and it was written to the specific audience of white Anglo men in England who were protestants.  

The original draft of the Declaration did not even use the word "creator", but instead said:

quote:

We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable, that all men are created equal and independent; that from that equal creation they derive in rights inherent and unalienables, among which are the preservation of life, and liberty and the pursuit of happiness;  


http://www.constitution.org/tj/ddi_01+.jpg

In fact -- from Jefferson's writings we get the picture more clearly -- the use of God is a marketing tool, because he knows his audience --

quote:

"Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath?" --Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia Q.XVIII, 1782. ME 2:227

emphasis mine


http://etext.virginia.edu/jefferson/quotations/jeff0100.htm

In bulk Jefferson refers to Natural Law and says
quote:

"Nothing... is unchangeable but the inherent and unalienable rights of man." --Thomas Jefferson to John Cartwright, 1824. ME 16:48




Certainly not a tip of the hat to Yahweh?

quote:

That's like saying Syria doesn't get oil from the ground because it is the source, but in order to obtain oil.  Both reasons apply and contain each other.  Unless the Creator is the source, how could they be "out of reach"?



As to the former -- no, it's not like that at all -- because we can obtain oil from the ground -- a more similar comparison would be the ownership of the oil and the ground -- titles and deeds being made of men -- I'm sure the dinosaurs -- if able -- would like to lay a claim as well.

Regarding the latter -- unless you have a considerably long ladder -- how do you purport to reach God?  You're not building a ziggerat?

But, I think you may be needlessly perplexed by my statement --

quote:

Jefferson wasn't concerned with attributing rights to the 'creator' because that's where he considered the origin -- but because he wanted to place them in a domain where no man, woman, or government could touch them.



I didn't say that Jefferson didn't believe the origin to be the Creator -- but that his motives were not to attribute them as such -- but to keep our hands off them. Difference no?

It's that whole separation of Church and State thing that Jefferson was so adamant about.
http://www.constitution.org/tj/sep_church_state.htm



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59 posted 12-16-2007 04:48 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

LB
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia_Statute_for_Religious_Freedom

"In Section 1, Jefferson argues that the concept of compulsory religion is wrong for the following reasons:

* The imposition of anything on a human mind, which God made to be free, is hypocritical and wrong.
* "Whereas Almighty God hath created the mind free", God never coerced anyone to follow him, and the imposition of a religion by government officials is impious.
* The coercion of a person to make contributions -- especially monetary -- to a religion he doesn't support is tyrannical and creates favoritism among ministers.
* Government involvement in matters tends to end in the restraint of religion.
* Civil rights do not depend on religious beliefs, and what a person thinks is no business of the government's."

Jefferson was a learned man.
1. He believed in God.
2. he had the knowledge the history of the development of christianity  as a human religion.
3. he knew Church of England.
4. He clearly knew that church was a human organization and there were, have been, are and will be many un-Godly things.
5. That is why he emphasis that faith is between himself and God.

His statement no doubt was on the base of his understanding of how God has treated man. Because he would not betray himself. esp on the issue of Rights.

my thought.

ps why I was thinking that all founding father were Englishmen?


[This message has been edited by TomMark (12-16-2007 11:33 PM).]

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60 posted 12-18-2007 01:53 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Reb,

It's good to see you lively again.

quote:
Me:Jefferson was at one time a closer-to-orthodox Christan, and at other times a deist.  Either way, his belief in God as the giver of rights was insightful and seems to have been genuine.


LR:To which old Tom would just say -- none of your business Stephen.


Would he now?  But if so, I can sure imagine him saying the same to you when you speak so confidently of what his motives really were.

And of course, you will doubtless remind me that his writings speak of the desire to protect human rights.  But his writings also speak of the Divine as the source of those rights.  So his motive, most likely, was a mixture of piety and concern for human rights.  To conclude that Tom had both religious and humanitarian motives, is most consistent with the complexity of human nature.

quote:
Which goes to the very heart of the Declaration -- it was a document written for one purpose only -- and it was written to the specific audience of white Anglo men in England who were protestants.  

and

....from Jefferson's writings we get the picture more clearly -- the use of God is a marketing tool, because he knows his audience



Understand that I recognize that Jefferson was no Christian in the traditional sense, though what theology he retained was doubtless Judeo-Christian in origin.  I also understand that an appeal to a mostly Protestant populace was a factor in his choice of words in the Declaration.  That doesn't mean that his own religious convictions were not expressed therein.  With Deism, you get the organizational side of God, if not the interventional.  And since Jefferson saw "The Creator" as the source of order and design, he saw human rights in this light.  The thing is, as a Deist, he would never have dreamed that rights were arbitrary constructs of the human mind alone.  Consider the how the tone of Jefferson's quotes below chime with the "Intelligent Design" movement of today ...

"I think that every Christian sect gives a great handle to atheism by their general dogma that without revelation there would not be sufficient proof of the being of God - On the contrary, I hold (without appeal to revelation) that when we take a view of the universe in its parts, general or particular, it is impossible for the human mind not to perceive and feel a conviction of design, consummate skill, and indefinite power in every atom of its composition. The movements of the heavenly bodies, so exactly held in their course by the balance of centrifugal and centripetal forces; the structure of our earth itself, with its distribution of lands, waters, and atmosphere; animal and vegetable bodies, examined in all their minutest particles; insects, mere atoms of life, yet as perfectly organized as man or mammoth; the mineral substances, their generation and uses it is impossible, I say for the human mind not to believe that there is, in all this, design, cause, and effect, up to an ultimate cause, a Fabricator of all things from matter and motion, their Preserver and Regulator while permitted to exist in their forms, and their regeneration into new and other forms.

We see, too, evident proofs of the necessity of a superintending power to maintain the universe in its course and order. Stars, well known, have disappeared, new ones have come into view; comets, in their incalculable courses, may run foul of suns and planets, and require renovation under other laws; certain races of animals are become extinct; and were there no restoring power, all of existence might extinguish successively, one by one, until all should be reduced to a shapeless chaos.

So irresistible are these evidences of an intelligent and powerful Agent that, of the infinite numbers of men who have existed through all time, they have believed, in the hypothesis of a million at least to a unit, in the hypothesis of an eternal pre-existence of a Creator, rather than that of a self-existent universe. Surely this unanimous sentiment renders this more probable than that of the few in the other hypothesis....
" (TJ, Letter to John Adams)


quote:
In bulk Jefferson refers to Natural Law ...
  

Yes, but in the Deist framework, natural law comes from the Creator, and nowhere else.  The Machinist (in Jefferson's mind) may be distant, but his engineering decisions aren't diminished in the least.  

As a sidenote, it is also interesting that "rights" cannot be interpreted as natural law, since it is not an inviolable law that men recognize or acknowledge rights.  It seems to be a statement of moral law, emphasizing "ought", but not a natural law merely describing what "is".

quote:
Nothing... is unchangeable but the inherent and unalienable rights of man.


Surely, within context of his Deism, he meant that nothing is unchangeable in the natural realm.  He was still sure that nature received her commands from the outside, as it were.  


So while I think you've got a point there Reb, I'm still convinced there's more to it.

Maybe we're agreeing more than we disagree, with difference in emphasis?  I've debated many times, when I've had the creeping realization come that my rival and I actually agree about most things except about which things are most important.  I get that feeling now.


later,

Stephen            
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61 posted 12-18-2007 02:19 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Regina:
quote:
I think the word “Creator,” is an intended break/contrast from an all-encompassing God, and most certainly a clear acknowledgment of inalienable rights to pursue Life, Liberty, and Happiness, without having to acknowledge any select power source, or having to bow down to any notion of origin.


While it may be true that the title "Creator" gives one the feeling of a distancing of the Judeo-Christian God, it is still derived from the unique idea of special creation.  You mentioned not having to bow to a "notion of origin", and yet the title "Creator" is reference to just that very thing.  

quote:
The whole idea of having to “Name” or “Label” a source of inalienable rights, seems illogical to me because it tends to Alienate each and every person from the other, but whether that matters or not may be off the mark.


I would respond by saying that people are already alienated by their sinful natures.  Alienation is not only a pathology surrounding religious exclusivism, but human nature in general.  (a confirmation of the doctrine of original sin, I might add).


To me, it is not illogical to think that since we have personal ethical "rights", the Creator who gives such rights need be personal too.  Impersonal cosmos cares nothing for justice or rights.  And if personal, the Creator may have his own "name" as it were.  I certainly don't need people to name me, as I already have one.  My point is, if God is personal, and there is some objectivity about his identification, he may care whether or not we know his name.  Names are so very special.  


Stephen
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62 posted 01-24-2008 06:20 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

     I stumbled on this wonderful discussion today and I'm sad that we've seemed to run it to exhaustion.
    
     I like the golden rule, myself. If I want my own civil rights, it only makes sense that I extend them to others.  If I want to extend the notion of civil liberties and human rights beyond that framework and anchor it in authority, then I'm free to try to make my case, as several of you have tried to do.  I enjoy the elegance of the minimalist approach, though.  If you don't have yours, what right do I have to insist on my own?
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63 posted 01-24-2008 07:45 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

Dear Bob K
If you don't have yours, what right do I have to insist on my own? Why do you say this?   If one gives up one's right, will you give up yours as well?  
Tom

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64 posted 01-26-2008 12:01 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K


Dear Stephanos,

    
           "That's like saying Syria doesn't get oil from the ground because it is the source, but in order to obtain oil.  Both reasons apply and contain each other.  Unless the Creator is the source, how could they be "out of reach"?"

     I'm not sure I follow your reasoning, Stephanos.  The last sentence, however, might be addressable.  James I of England wrote a book called the Divine Right of Kings in the early 17th century.  He was a devout man, no question, and probably honestly so; but his thesis was that all rights and privileges flowed down to the people from the King, and that except as expressly granted to them by the King, they had no rights at all.  James had a very difficult relationship with his parliament, as you might suspect.  And his son, Charles I, was downright paranoid on the subject.  He tried to rule solely on the basis of royal power and Divine Right.

      This was a lesson the English never forgot.  Charles I lost his head, the whole Roundhead-Cavalier revolution exploded across not only England but Ireland as well, and Cromwell assumed power as the Lord Protector.  As a whole, the English were unhappy with religion messing up their attempts to govern.  The whole notion of Rights of Man and their relationship with religion was very touchy.
The people who made the most trouble and created the biggest problems were, you guessed it, the Puritans, who were considered a bit on the fringe.  

     The Colonies had this whole mess dumped in their laps.  The way they decided to handle it was to be as hands off as possible, and to make sure that nobody got a lock on the influence of religion on government.  Today it feels safer, possibly, to insist on the role of God, and the notion that all rights must come from God.  I think we have forgotten what an explosive mix the two can be, especially when there is an attempt to assert the rightness of any single religious position.  The history of Europe is dotted with the ruins of christian sects that lost out in power struggles with each other.  Jews have quarreled with joy and ferocity for even longer.  The disagreements among Muslims must surely match those of the other two peoples of the book.

     It seems understandable, given the history of the enlightenment and Jefferson's fondness and immersion in the anti-clerical culture of France for much of this time, that his sympathies would run heavily in that direction.  As twenty or twenty-five years later the sympathies of at least some of the Revolutionary French would look to America for their inspiration.

     And of course, it is easy for us to look at figures of this magnitude and see only the creatures of our own imaginations.  You or I will do that without knowing and only hope the other will be gentle in offering the other viewpoint in an attempt to reach some approximation of reality.  My best, Stephanos; BobK
Bob K
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65 posted 01-26-2008 12:08 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear TomMark,

           Who else can offer a correction so gently?  You are right, and I got carried away by my own rhetoric.  Yet perhaps there is something left there anyway.  If I am unwilling to stand up for the rights of others, should I expect them to support mine?  If somebody is unjustly jailed or tortured and I say nothing, what am I?  I don't like the answers that I come up with, starting with prudent, and tracking through reasonable before heading westward toward cowardly and beyond.  Perhaps I'm in the wrong ballpark here?  I really don't know.  Thanks, though.  BobK.
TomMark
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66 posted 01-26-2008 11:55 AM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

Dear Bob k
If I am unwilling to stand up for the rights of others, should I expect them to support mine?

No. But your rights is your rights regardless of other people's attitude. If  you gave up your right, you should not expect other to give up theirs. They may take the chance to own you as a slave.

If somebody is unjustly jailed or tortured and I say nothing, what am I?

Then do you know what price you are going to pay? It is not about other's right. It is about your own value. Because only you have high personal value,  you are willing to  fight for others as be jailed or be kicked out of someplace or be killed. Do you have the right to treat yourself like this? Or do you have the right to fight for others? if you think that your right has to be supported by others?  
and if the jailed one does not want his right, then do you still want to fight for him?  
Stephanos
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67 posted 01-26-2008 08:43 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
Me:That's like saying Syria doesn't get oil from the ground because it is the source, but in order to obtain oil.  Both reasons apply and contain each other.  Unless the Creator is the source, how could they be "out of reach"?"

BobK: I'm not sure I follow your reasoning, Stephanos.  The last sentence, however, might be addressable.


In context, I was responding to Local Reb, who implied (in so many words) that Jefferson based rights on God only in order to make sure that they couldn't be tampered with.  My argument was to show that Jefferson's understanding of human rights flowed from his religious views ... rather than his religious views being merely a vehicle for his practical politics.  Doubtless he was sure that his spiritual convictions could be (and should be) translated into ideology and action;  But considering the body of his writing as a whole, the latter was always a result of the former, not vice versa.


quote:
James I of England wrote a book called the Divine Right of Kings in the early 17th century ... his thesis was that all rights and privileges flowed down to the people from the King, and that except as expressly granted to them by the King, they had no rights at all.  James had a very difficult relationship with his parliament, as you might suspect.  And his son, Charles I, was downright paranoid on the subject.



Well there is no validity to the idea that God mediates rights soley through the King.  Else, when the King unjustly denies rights or justice, there is no recourse.  No man can claim to be the mediator of human rights.  We can cooperate with or violate the rightness of such, but we are not the arbitrator ... hence Jefferson's description of 'inalienable'.  Trying to set up an infallible in human role in determining rights is misguided and quite contrary to Jefferson's expression of divinely determined human rights.

quote:
He tried to rule solely on the basis of royal power and Divine Right.


But Jefferson never spoke of official authority as a "right".  Ruling is a privilege based upon one's gifts, performance, and virtue (and service).  What was proposed (or imposed) by Charles, deviates significantly from Jefferson's idea of rights being determined by God.

quote:
The whole notion of Rights of Man and their relationship with religion was very touchy.


The whole notion of the rights of Man is very touchy ... period.  History has demonstrated this.

quote:
The Colonies had this whole mess dumped in their laps.  The way they decided to handle it was to be as hands off as possible, and to make sure that nobody got a lock on the influence of religion on government.


Its still quite debatable whether their focus of concern had to do with religion influencing government ... or government imposing upon religion.  I believe the focus was more upon the latter.  And there is a difference.  The contemporary mania to banish religious expression from the public (to the desire even to remove the word 'God' from our coinage) is quite foreign to the original framers of our Government I think ...

especially if Jefferson's language can be a kind of guide or sampling proof.

quote:
Today it feels safer, possibly, to insist on the role of God, and the notion that all rights must come from God.


I think it felt safer to Jefferson even then.  It seems like (at least to me) that he felt that rights do not exist apart from the reality of God ... and that people are more likely to acknowledge them with this awareness and recognition that matter + space + time can never render anything like real human rights.  

Not meaning to be contrary here, but I think that the framers of our Government recognized at least as much danger in total religious infidelity, as in religious oppression.  In more modern times, official atheistic expressions of Government have realized this danger as well.

quote:
The history of Europe is dotted with the ruins of christian sects that lost out in power struggles with each other.  Jews have quarreled with joy and ferocity for even longer.  The disagreements among Muslims must surely match those of the other two peoples of the book.


I've always felt that the most valuable of things pose the greatest risks.  Given the stakes, I suppose the tumult is unavoidable ... especially if wrongly wielded religion is no better (perhaps even worse since it is no mere denial, but a positive travesty) than irreligion.

quote:
And of course, it is easy for us to look at figures of this magnitude and see only the creatures of our own imaginations.  You or I will do that without knowing and only hope the other will be gentle in offering the other viewpoint in an attempt to reach some approximation of reality.


Here I agree with you ... and welcome that kind of check.  I think it is important in this kind of approximation to use examples of his own texts (even those in dialectical tension) to understand what he was trying to say.


Stephen

  
Ron
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68 posted 01-26-2008 09:23 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
Its still quite debatable whether their focus of concern had to do with religion influencing government ... or government imposing upon religion.  I believe the focus was more upon the latter.

I agree completely, Stephen.

quote:
And there is a difference. The contemporary mania to banish religious expression from the public (to the desire even to remove the word 'God' from our coinage) is quite foreign to the original framers of our Government I think ...

Stephen, I've seen little evidence of a mania to banish religious expression from the public. Nor does your example qualify as one. On the contrary, if you want to print your own money and put the name of your god on it, no one is going to say you can't. That's within your public rights. It is only when you want to put the name of your god on government money that you run afoul of the very creed you espouse. Why? Because that is clearly government imposing upon religion. In privileging one religion over all others, no religion is safe.

If you went to the bank tomorrow and were given dollar bills that had "In Allah We Trust" printed across their face, I suspect you would go ballistic. And rightly so, I think. Trouble is, Stephen, you don't have the right to go ballistic. You gave up that right when you accepted that any religion deserved to be endorsed by government action. Today it's your religion being endorsed. If you really believe it will always be your religion, I fear you're ignoring the lessons of history.

Religion freedom cannot simply be a euphemism for Christian Freedom. Because that's not really freedom at all.

Stephanos
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69 posted 01-26-2008 10:12 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Ron:
quote:
It is only when you want to put the name of your god on government money that you run afoul of the very creed you espouse. Why?


But despite what you say, "In God We Trust" is a somewhat specified religious article ... like "endowed by their Creator".  The problem with your statements about divorcing this kind of religious specification from Government is that our very conception of human rights is built upon such a specified religious idea ... ie a personal transcendent God.  


If you're going to try and take it out of Government, are you going to remove all of it?  If you're trying to say that our Government is wholly humanistic with no religious foundations, then I think you are simply rewriting history.  And no, I'm not opting for a return to a Jewish Theocracy.  But still the bottom line is that our nation's conception of rights is based upon a very specific religious tenet, even if the body of truth from which that tenet comes is dumbed down or partially rejected to avoid a lame attempt at Theonomy.  I don't claim to have a solution for the perennial tensions between pluralism and religious truth.  But I do know that attempts to divorce specified religious ideas from Government (completely) is like trying to get the white out of rice.

And I do know that the intentions of the framers of U.S. Gov. were not so devoid of specific religious assertions as some claim them to be.


Stephen          
Ron
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70 posted 01-26-2008 11:36 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
If you're trying to say that our Government is wholly humanistic with no religious foundations, then I think you are simply rewriting history.

Stephen, I'd like to think our government is wholly multiracial, but that doesn't mean I want to rewrite history to hide America's obviously Caucasian foundations. I don't care what color of skin our founding fathers had, nor what religious beliefs they harbored, because the principles and laws they gave us were designed to protect everyone. Not just the white, straight, European Christians who started the ball rolling.

So, to more directly answer your question, yes, I would absolutely like to remove all expressions of religious views from our government. Just as I'd like to remove all expressions of racism and every other form of discrimination. That isn't rewriting history, it's recognizing that we must protect our selves today just as we protected our selves then -- by striving to protect everyone.


TomMark
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71 posted 01-27-2008 12:59 AM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

  
quote:
Its still quite debatable whether their focus of concern had to do with religion influencing government ... or government imposing upon religion.  I believe the focus was more upon the latter.


Actually in reality, there is no clear difference between "influencing government" and  government imposing". Government are made of human beings and we have different religions (god or un-god). When there is a decision to make, we all go asking about our own god. Whose god is more powerful to get to the final...then that god will have the imposing power.

quote:
Stephen, I've seen little evidence of a mania to banish religious expression from the public.

You are right, dear Ron. Only Christian's expression get banished. Many others are blooming in public, such as Feng Shui.

quote:
You gave up that right when you accepted that any religion deserved to be endorsed by government action.


Very interesting point. Stephen must have given up his religion many times by using foreign money or following the laws of the foreign Government under other gods and un-gods. If you gave money religious power each one holds US cent would believe God. But it is not the case. Then what is the usage of the "In God We trust" on the coin?  It is Christian's "pleasure". I guess.

quote:
Religion freedom cannot simply be a euphemism for Christian Freedom. Because that's not really freedom at all.


You are right again, naturally, Dear Ron.  Supposing the new Cabinet 15 members, 3 are Christians , 3 are Muslims, 3 Jews ,3 Buddhas, 3 atheists. Just like Untied Nation. What is the work of United Nation?  

quote:
So, to more directly answer your question, yes, I would absolutely like to remove all expressions of religious views from our government.

Do you mean that you want the "non-religious" religion to take over "religious" religion? When you draw on white paper, you see pictures. But white is a color too. It is not the color of human soul though.
My thought
Stephanos
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72 posted 01-27-2008 10:34 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
Ron: Stephen, I'd like to think our government is wholly multiracial, but that doesn't mean I want to rewrite history to hide America's obviously Caucasian foundations.


So you're equating Jefferson's statement of Divinely determined human rights with racism?  I've seen you make a stretch before, Ron.  But I must say you've quite outdone yourself here.    


quote:
I don't care what color of skin our founding fathers had, nor what religious beliefs they harbored, because the principles and laws they gave us were designed to protect everyone.


The only difficulty with your willy nilly equation of racism and their convictions about human rights, is that they have emphatically stated that such rights can only be based upon God.  Social contract alone, or Government determination undermines any thought of people having inalienable rights.  If men determine them, then men can take them away.  Without divine determination, the assertion of human rights becomes vapid and illusory.

quote:
So, to more directly answer your question, yes, I would absolutely like to remove all expressions of religious views from our government. Just as I'd like to remove all expressions of racism and every other form of discrimination.


You're only making a strawman here, if you have to constantly mention things like racism and discrimination alongside divinely ordained human rights.

Answer this ... why should it be incumbent to recognize the rights of other races and peoples if said "rights" are Government determined, or are only the outcome of a tally, or opinion poll?

I can only respond to your desire for total secularization Ron, by saying I'm glad that you weren't a part of the formation of our nascent Government, and that even now you can't remove the religious nature of our national understanding of human rights.  And I'm quite sure that no one can, without ultimately undermining them.


Stephen    

Ron
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73 posted 01-27-2008 11:16 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
The only difficulty with your willy nilly equation of racism and their convictions about human rights, is that they have emphatically stated that such rights can only be based upon God.

And where in the Constitution did you find that, Stephen? Our Law, I believe, makes no such claim. Even in the non-binding rhetoric of the Declaration of Independence there's ambiguity whether Jefferson was referencing God or a god.

And while you may not like it much, Stephen, this whole thread is about discrimination. When your government exalts one religion over all others it is no different than exalting one color over others. The others are discriminated against.

quote:
Social contract alone, or Government determination undermines any thought of people having inalienable rights. If men determine them, then men can take them away.

I agree completely, Stephen. I think I've said the same thing many times.

quote:
Without divine determination, the assertion of human rights becomes vapid and illusory.

Sorry, Stephen, but the one doesn't necessarily have to follow the other.

Human rights is much like solar luminance; the noun necessarily flows from the qualifier. The sun is bright simply because it IS the sun. If it wasn't bright, it would no longer be the sun. Similarly, every human has rights simply because they ARE human. Life imbues them with those rights. Not men, not government, and not a dozen different gods.

If you want to argue that Life flows only from God, that's fine with me. That's a different argument, a religious argument not a legal one, and I'm sure you'll find plenty of agreement from many quarters. My rights, however, do not and will not depend on someone's religious interpretations of the day. 'Cause those, I fear, too often change with the wind.

TomMark
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74 posted 01-27-2008 12:34 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

And
quote:
So, to more directly answer your question, yes, I would absolutely like to remove all expressions of religious views from our (your) government.


Dear Ron, I promise you that I'll pay your trip to post this statement in any Muslim countries and Communist countries.

Will you go? I believe they have similar constitutions.

Yes? why?
No? why? (it does save my money)

Religion and politics are not fantasies, they caused war and many peace time death.

 
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