American Myths

I just caught this over morning coffee and had to respond. The willful ignorance of many in this country to both believe what’s demonstrably false and to forward this Christian theocracy goal in direct opposition to our constitution and in light of both how theocracies generally fare and the grave division between the various Christian sects is mind-numbing at times.

Mr. Patterson refers to myths, however what he’s using to base his opinions on lack just as much credibility:
• The US constitution is not based on any religious texts and is in fact in direct opposition to many tenets of major religions including Christianity.
• Religious morals historically reflect societal morals and change accordingly over time. No better example than Christianity. Compare the morality it preached 200, 100 or even 50 years ago with that of today. Of course you could go back further, say Inquisition, Crusades, etc.
• The words “separation of church and state” do not literally appear in the constitution, but the concept clearly does. Other things not literally in the original constitution but still addressed by it would include slavery, the Electoral College, Executive Orders, “freedom of expressions”, absolute freedom of speech, and more.
• Stalin’s behavior in general was not motivated by atheism, and his actions specifically against the church were in response to the church fomenting counter-revolution to regain the opulent place of privilege it had under the Czars.
• Likewise, Hitler self-described as a Christian and much of his anti-semetic language echoed Martin Luther’s and Calvin’s.
• The US is a secular nation, not part of “Christendom”.
• The use of “Creator” in the Declaration was in response to the prevailing rationale for monarchies at the time, divine right. As revered a document as it is, it’s no more a founding document of the United States than Paine’s Common Sense.
• In democracies and republics, rights are decided by societies and made into laws. Cases in point would be women’s suffrage and abolition of slavery, both decidedly NOT from the Christian bible.

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7 Responses to “American Myths”

  1. It's all part of what I call the "bullshit stories" we tell ourselves so that we feel special.

    Re: Stalin. What I think needs to be emphasized with him and Mao Zedong is that they assumed power in countries that had a centuries long tradition of autocracy. 100 years before Mao's atrocities, tens of millions of Chinese died in a rebellion began by a Christian convert who thought he was the brother of Jesus. Stalin was Ivan the Terrible with better firepower. So for someone to say that atheism is the cause of what happened under Stalin and Mao is to completely disregard the histories of these places and the blood soaked legacies of the tsars and emperors who preceded them.

  2. Excellent points. I'll have to remember those.

  3. One needs a mighty big shovel to get through that article's bullshit! The title sets the stage nicely for the rest of the piece: Religion and Politics Have Always Been Intertwined. So what if they have? Is everything that's allegedly "always" been the case desirable?

    I love this line: In fact, atheists actually do have an image of a supreme being. It is Man… Do you know of any atheists who believe anything like that? I don't. All of the atheists I know, whose books I've read, etc., are keenly aware of human flaws, frailty and mortality – traits we humans share with the rest of the natural order. Atheists don't have scriptures teaching us that humankind was created "in god's image" and divinely ordained to have "dominion" over the rest of creation. Who are the arrogant ones again? Many theists argue that atheism robs humankind of its rightful glory by positing that we're simply one species among many. Now this guy is saying atheists think humans are something special, even godlike. Which is it? Are we arrogant assholes striving to be gods and goddesses or not? They can't have it both ways. But, as usual, that won't stop them from trying.

  4. I found that objectionable too, but I wanted to focus on other points.

    I think the longer you consider his objection, the more it becomes apparent that the objection is really only an objection due to a belief in a supreme god. Now aside from conscientious objections, like in the case of vegans, I think the objection to humans as supreme beings is because it's blasphemous to a believer, a direct challenge to their god's supremacy.

    Does that mean humans are perfect? Not by a long shot. It's along the lines of the old saying, "in the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king". Humans are currently the supreme beings on the planet. That could change tomorrow with an asteroid, nuclear disaster, zombie apocalypse, alien invasion, what have you. ;)

  5. …the objection is really only an objection due to a belief in a supreme god…. the objection to humans as supreme beings is because it's blasphemous to a believer, a direct challenge to their god's supremacy

    Right – the "challenge" only exists in believers' minds. Atheists don't waste time and energy "challenging" imaginary beings. The "challenge" notion is a theistic attempt to fit atheism into the pigeonhole of their worldview, which only allows for two possibilities – either acceptance of their deities (and acceptance of their claims about said deities) or rebellion against those beings (and believers' claims about them). Their worldview doesn't have room for the actual atheist position, which is simply rejection of believers' claims re: the existence of deities and their knowledge of deities' natures and desires. We're not challenging anyone for supremacy. What we're doing is refusing to accept unwarranted claims, period. Yes, humankind dominates the planet at the moment. Dinosaurs had their moment too.

  6. I love this line: In fact, atheists actually do have an image of a supreme being. It is Man...

    Actually, it is theism that suffers from what I call human egocentrism. In this vast universe filled with billions of galaxies, religions like Christianity and Islam posit that a being that created all of that is primarily concerned with the behavior of the species homo sapiens on planet Earth, that we are so special that we are created in this deity's image, and that our world is the central front in a cosmic war between the forces of good and evil.

  7. It would be interesting if there was ever contact with aliens who are technologically on par or beyond us. ESPECIALLY interesting if they have a religion, or religions. Imagine if they had a Maud'Dib. How would Earth's religions respond? Could they adapt? Would Mormons be bashing on alien doors handing out copies of the Watchtower?

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