National Day of Reason offers alternative

To the editor:

On Thursday, May 3, while Christians prostrate on the Capitol steps in St. Paul for the National Day of Prayer, the Minnesota Atheists will be celebrating the National Day of Reason inside the Capitol’s rotunda at noon. The celebration is open to the public and we welcome all who are interested.

The National Day of Reason is celebrated by secular organizations throughout the nation on the first Thursday in May as a collective response to the National Day of Prayer. This is also a day that we highlight religious-based unconstitutional practices, policies, and referendums such as the anti-GLBT marriage amendment on this November’s statewide ballot.

While it may be true that the texts of Abrahimic religions (Christianity, Islam, and Judaism) forbid GLBT sexual relationships, we can take comfort that we do not live in a Christian nation where the Bible dictates our lives in the bedroom.

John Adams left little doubt about religion’s role in our government when he and Congress ratified the Treaty of Tripoli in 1797 which clearly indicates that “the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”

It’s also important to note that the framers of our Constitution carefully made no mention of God or Jesus in our nation’s most sacred, law giving document. Our godless Constitution was written by men of science and reason who valued the teachings of Spinoza, Locke, and Hume. It is due to their devotion to reason, not Jesus, that the framers wrote “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

Most atheists and many people of faith agree that our nation is strengthened when we preserve the Jeffersonian wall between religion and government. Both institutions are cheapened when one overreaches into the other.

Whether you’re tired of impressionable children being led by their public school teacher to pledge their allegiance to a nation “under God” or policy makers making an overt display of prayer, you can respond by actively celebrating reason every day with the Minnesota Atheists.

ERIC JAYNE
Apple Valley

Editor’s note: Jayne is associate president of Minnesota Atheists

  • Jan Dobson

    The first sentence of the US Constitution contains the words, “the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” The last includes, “the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven.” Calling the Constitution a godless document is both uninformed and incorrect.

    Also, our country promises separation of church and state. That is not at all the same thing as separation of God and state. Churches (religions) are earthly inventions. God is, well, God. Irreconcilable inconsistencies prevent me from being part of any organized religion. Undeniable, preponderant, constant and gracious evidence of God’s enduring kindness fills my heart to overflowing with joyful gratitude and propels me to thank Him everyday.

  • FreethinkEric

    You’re desperately grasping for invocations of God. Yes, the Constitution is formally signed with the common vernacular used at the time: “the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven”. What’s important to note is that neither “God” nor “Jesus” (or even generic terms like “creator” or “lord”) are mentioned in the law-establishing texts of the Constitution. Not one single mention and that’s a simple fact. Denying that the Constitution is based in secular reason and omits any mention of God is not only uninformed and incorrect, but downright delusional if you’ve read it.

    Your god belief makes you happy. A different type of god(s) belief might make somebody else happy. My no-god belief makes many others happy. Thankfully the Framers were enlightened enough to make a careful effort to create a government where myth-based beliefs (Judeo-Christian or otherwise) and myth-based dogma (Judeo-Christian or otherwise) would be separated from our government.

    • Jan Dobson

      The terms “Blessings” and “Lord” clearly refer to the existence of a Divine Power. Those terms clearly appear in the opening and closing sentences of the Constitution. Therefore, the Constitution cannot be called a godless document. Attempting to cherry-pick those terms out to fit your beliefs doesn’t change the fact that they are there. It is absolutely true that, in their wisdom, the Framers did avoid reference to any particular religion in an effort to ensure separation of church and state. But it was never their intention—nor was it within their power—to separate God and state.

      Many of the same men that crafted the Constitution were also instrumental in writing the Declaration of Independence. Do you have any comments on that document?

      • FreethinkEric

        You appear to be showcasing “blessing” and “lord” as a way for you to hold on to your idea that the Constitution is a godly document. I already discussed the use of the word “lord” in my previous post but let’s look at “bless”

        The word “bless” can be, and often is, used in the secular domain and without reference to any god(s). Let’s look at what the dictionary says about “blessing”…

        bless•ing
        [bles-ing]
        noun
        1.
        the act or words of a person who blesses.
        2.
        a special favor, mercy, or benefit: the blessings of liberty.

        Again, there is no reference to any particular god (Yahweh, Poseidon, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, etc.) including whatever god you may believe in. There is no acknowledgement of Mosaic law or religious doctrine. There is no reverence paid to God.

        Instead of God or Jesus, the Framers hold “We the People” as the ultimate authority. The people “ordained” the Constitution (not the Ten Commandments or teachings of Jesus) for the United States and give no sovereignty or authority to God. It’s a corporeal document, written by human beings, for a nation in a corporeal world.

        In spite of your poor attempt to connect the word “blessing”–as well as the standard manner in which the document was dated–to a Christian-based ideological position, the fact remains that the Framers wrote a beautifully secular Constitution that conspicuously omits mention, credit, and authority to God.

        • Jan Dobson

          Without agreement on the definition of terms reasonable discussion is impossible. It’s pretty clear that we will never agree on terms. Thanks to the Declaration of Independence and United States Constitution, you have every right to deny that the terms “Blessings” and “Lord” refer to a Divine Power. I have every right to point out that you are wrong. May we all enjoy the Blessings of Liberty in the year of our Lord two thousand and twelve and in all the years of our Lord thereafter.

  • FreethinkEric

    I don’t think that you came into the comments section here with the intention of engaging in a reasonable discussion. You’re only interested in contradicting evidence that doesn’t jibe with your ideology. You do this, in part, by fitting your own narrow and unique definition of a word to desperately prove a point. You then suggest a reasonable discussion is impossible because I (and dictionary.com) don’t agree with the way you chose to define it.

    As you pointed out, Americans (including yourself) have the right to reject evidence, desperately cling to false (but comfortable) ideology, and remain willfully ignorant.

    Let us also rejoice the blessings of liberty in the months of pagan gods: January (from the Roman god Janus), March (from the Roman god Mars), May (from the Roman god Maia)….

  • Jan Dobson

    You don’t think my intention is to engage in reasonable discussion? Are you a mind reader, Mr. Jayne? Because the only way you could come by information regarding my unspoken internal motivations is to step inside my head. The notion of long distance telepathy is a really cool basis for writing science fiction but I’m pretty sure it’s not deemed reliable enough to be admissible as evidence in any court of law. Your inventions and imaginings about my thought processes are pure conjecture. Besides, what does motivation for commenting have to do with anything? Content of a comment is really the only thing pertinent to an online forum.

    As far as “narrow and unique” definitions of terms are concerned, saying that “blessing” is “the act or words of a person who blesses” is meaningless without defining the word “bless.” “Bless” is the root word from which “blessing” is derived. Look it up. You’ll see that “bless” is not at all a secular term. It was included in the US Constitution to acknowledge God. Remember, separation of church and state is not synonymous with separation of God and state.

    During our ongoing opinion exchange you have directed such dramatic and inflammatory terms as “desperately grasping,” “delusional,” “desperately cling,” and “willfully ignorant” at me personally. Emotional, personal attacks deserve no credence in a discussion of ideas. In my experience, such attacks are the only ammunition available to a debater whose stance (or agenda) doesn’t hold up to intellectual scrutiny. And I contend that such attacks are unlikely from someone that is truly a tolerant, reasonable, rational thinking person.

    • FreethinkEric

      Oh, Jan. This exchange has been less than pleasant on your end as well. You’ve made disparaging remarks toward me and I don’t think anything I’ve said has been any more of a “personal attack” than that which has come from you.

      One doesn’t need to be telepathic to judge a person’s intent. For example, when Rush Limbaugh discusses any given Obama-endorsed policy it becomes fairly evident that he’s not turning his microphone on to intellectually and objectively discuss the nuances of the policy. Without reading his tortured mind, I can observe he’s behind the mic with intention of attacking anything or anyone that threatens his (and his followers’) ideology…oh, and making lots and lots of money. Heck, playground monitors at school have to decipher intent everyday when one child hurts another. Do you consider them to be mind readers?

      I’m glad that you brought up the content of your comments though because I’ve been puncturing them with reason and evidence throughout our exchange. One only needs to scroll up and read our comments to see that. Here’s how your content can be summarized: “The Constitution is a godly document because it uses the word ‘blessing’ in the preamble and it was dated with the standard formal dating practices of the time.” Your content is severely lacking in cogency, but I understand that those are the only two pieces (in the preamble and date) that you have any hope of connecting to an idea of Constitutional endorsement and/or praise to God.

      If I accept your argument, which I don’t, but if I did, it still makes little to no difference since the law-establishing text in the Constitution makes no explicit or subtle mention of–or gives sovereignty to–God, Jesus, the Bible, or Mosaic law. What the Constitution does give sovereignty to, and praises quite explicitly in the preamble, is “We the People”. Of course there is an unfortunate caveat to that since white men who owned property were originally given most of the rights and power. But this just suggests what we should already know and that is that our nation was structured by imperfect men. Thankfully these men employed reason when considering self-governing. They had the foresight to know that laws would need to be amended as time carries on. Of course their *intent* in writing the Constitution could have been to simply write a new, original canticle to supplement the bible. I can never know for sure since, as you so thoughtfully pointed out, I am not a mind reader.

      Your position and arguments have been noted. Unless you have anything new to add I see no further reason to continue our exchange.

      • Jan Dobson

        Huh… I went back over the exchanges and didn’t find an example in my writings of calling you delusional or willfully ignorant. Neither did I imply that you are desperately clinging to or desperately grasping at anything.

        • Paul

          I looked for any insults, as well….

          Eric is, quite literally an irrational person who is blatantly saying you attacked him personally because he *wishes* you did such a thing… not because it actually happened.

          Eric, you are not much of a “thinker” let alone a “free” one.

          • FreethinkEric

            Hi Paul. Your opinion and accusations have been noted; however, I have no desire, and see no need, to dignify them with a response.

            Unfortunately, this thread keeps deteriorating.

          • Rosie from Rosemount

            Paul, I agree. He has already let his emotions get the best of him, admitted to being annoyed, and is obviously both angry and frustrated at himself and vents that morbidity on those in disagreemten with his ramblings. Actually, he is not much of a debate opponent at all, I have seen tenth grade debaters do a far superior job and maintiain the discussion track. He meanders more than an ancient river, never quite able to clarify his many and often boggling points.

  • Rosie from Rosemount

    I like the reference to “Mr. Jayne.” Easy on the eyes.

  • Rosie from Rosemount

    Oh, I thought this discussion was about the TV show,”The Mentalist.” Patrick Jayne….ahhhhh!

    Anyway, Mr. Jayne for me you lost immediate credibility with your suggestion that someone who holds a differing view grasps at straws to make what you seem to think is a wild point. I know atheists and agnostics (atheists who are cowards) and I hope you all enjoy your day of reason together. I find it interesting that you feel you must compete in a society where a day of prayers exists, essentially picking the day of prayer for your day of reason. Oddly but expectedly, I see no evidence that your day of reason existed prior to the day of prayer and its scheduling seems to be a mere knee-jerk response to the alternate, perhaps alike to a teenager trying to get her friends to go to the movies on the night of a party she does not want to attend because her old boyfriend and his new girlfriend are there, but all of her friends plan on attending. I would hope every day is a day of reason and a day of prayer. To JD’s point, there is a big difference between God and religion. Religion is a culture-derived circumstance, and the freedom of religion by its very nature admits to an environment where God exists. The founders, whom you quote to support your view, did not outlaw religion despite that being the best and likely easiest way to enforce a Law of The People. Yes, religion is an emotional thing, and I suggest you read at least 2 books by Corrigan, “Emotion and Religion” and “The Hidden Balance.” In terms of defining everything with reason, you then have to admit that there are no coincidences; as such they are outside of reason. This is where the idea of “miracles” resides. In our material world there is much that happens outside the laws of physics. Reason dictates that physics is responsible for the material interactions we witness on a second-by-second basis, whether that is electrons chasing around our disk drive or the explosion of a distant star. Yet we must vacate reason when we see obvious laws of physics ignored and things happen with no other explanation than Divine Intervention. Miracles are real and it does not take much from a reasoned-individual to see them, only eyes wide open and a tiny bit of sincere reflection.

    • FreethinkEric

      Hi Rosie, nice of you to have Jan’s back. You listed a lot in there so let me take a little time to address your points: First of all, I didn’t suggest that somebody holding different views than me needs to grasp at straws to make their point. However, in this particular case that’s pretty much how I see Jan supported her case, for reasons I have already detailed in previous comments on this thread. I really don’t feel like beating a dead horse with you too, Rosie.

      I’m glad that you’re interested as to why atheists and secularists of various identities are inclined to hold a Day of Reason on the same day as a Day of Prayer. If you’re really interested then I kindly implore you do a little research. You can begin by visiting here: http://nationaldayofreason.org/2012/rep-pete-stark-issues-national-day-of-reason-proclamation/ and reading Rep. Pete Stark’s statement in support of the Day of Reason on the House floor.

      As long as organizations of faith continue to inject their monotheistic, Judeo-Christian god and dogma into public institutions and public policy as it’s been done with same-sex marriage bans, for one example, then I see no need to accommodate for, or give respect to, the National Day of Prayer. Holding our Day of Reason on the same day as the Day of Prayer sends a very clear message that we emphatically reject faith-based public policy and the federal government’s endorsement of prayer to God or any god(s). Sorry (not really) if exercising our first amendment rights are an inconvenience for you.

      To your point about understanding things that are difficult to understand, devolving scientific inquiry to a technique of throwing our hands in the air and saying “God did it” is irresponsible and lazy. Science has explained many previously thought miracles away and science is working every day to learn more about our world and universe. If you have proof of a miracle then I encourage you to contact the College of Science at the University of Minnesota and share this miracle(s) with them; don’t forget your supporting evidence. Scientists would find this to be very useful and quite valuable!

      • Rosie from Rosemount

        Mr. Jayne, with regards to JD, she and I have gone head-to-head on other topics, so to say I have her back is an overstatement. In this case JD has made a sensible and logical discernment between God and religion, a discernment you are obviously uncomfortable about and have thus far inadequately addressed in a way to support your end of this conversation. With particular regard to your same sex marriage comment, I personally do not support the upcoming amendment, and I find it reprehensible. Further, while not a practitioner of such, I am not per se against plural marriage either. You seem to have lost your ability to reason appropriately by producing generalities and labels for people, as it appears you seemingly label judeo-christian practitioners as opposing same-gender marriage, not the case for me and many more like me. I find your vocal generalities as equally reprehensible.Our social order is derived from contemporaneous and ancient religious beliefs and practice. I am not saying this always works well. And I will not dispute logic and reason as the best methods to sustain in many circumstances, but practicing such without mercy, remorse, and love is counter-productive to humanity as a whole. Reason without emotion is insincere. I happen to believe perfection is possible for humans, but such can only be received by displaying and acting upon emotion learned from a very tangible God. This has nothing to do with religion.
        Back to miracles: In addition to Corrigan’s writings, I also suggest you read Louise Erdich, a noted University of Minnesota scholar who provides novels and non-fiction on the subject, and employs scientific theory for testing. BTW, she is one of many. Further, ignoring miracles does not make them disappear. I will agree that a working ipad in 1776 would have either been considered a miracle or the tool of Satan by many (I suppose such an argument could still be made today.) Certainly everything from pharmaceutical science to string theory may have even been retorted with a considerable volume of sacrilege in 1776. Finally, on the subject of miracles, I believe a phrase by Potter Stewart sums it up best: “I cannot describe it in words, but I know it when I see it.” A very human, sincere, and logical reaction to a dilemma (the dilemma was not identifying a miracle, rather identifying obscenity, but it works for miracles and other circumstances as well.) There are things with which I agree with him, such as his opposition to the Vietnam War and when he voiced that Connecticut’s contraceptive ban was, “an uncommonly silly law.” And there are areas where I disagree too. Anyway, prudence is the perfection of intellect, and to work one’s life on the basis of justice means respecting the rights of others whether legal or natural. We can bestow legal rights upon ourselves, such as property rights, but we cannot bestow natural rights upon ourselves, as this is simply illogical. The founders understood and recognized the existence of God but also understood the emotion of religion and specifically spelled out inalienable rights granted to individuals by the Creator. Like it or not, it is the only logical conclusion. Despite this, I do not in any way wish to curtail your views as it does add a ying-yang flavor to things, in a sideways sort of way.

        • FreethinkEric

          While you and Jan may want to discuss the differences between a mythical character (God) and the systematic set of beliefs about said mythical character (religion), I find it to be uninteresting and an irrelevant digression. To an atheist, it’s a bit like discerning Santa Claus from the Miracle on 34th Street or the other multiple stories/movies/TV shows about Santa Claus.

          You seem to have an interesting way of interpreting words, Rosie. Not one single time did I say that ALL faith organizations or ALL “Judeo-Christian practitioners” oppose same sex marriage. Here’s what I did say: “As long as organizations of faith continue to inject their monotheistic, Judeo-Christian god and dogma into public institutions and public policy as it’s been done with same-sex marriage bans, for one example, then I see no need to accommodate for, or give respect to, the National Day of Prayer.”

          I stand by that statement and I challenge you to deny that organizations of the Judeo-Christian faith are the most powerful, collective force supporting the marriage amendment. Of course not every church or religious organization supports the marriage amendment, but just about every organization that does support it is a faith organization, subsidiary of a faith organization, or led by a person of faith. You’re certainly not seeing a lot (if any at all) secular humanists supporting the deplorable marriage amendment.

          I couldn’t help but notice that there was a letter to the editor published in the very same Sun-ThisWeek paper last week that pleaded with readers to vote for the marriage amendment for the ridiculous reason that it threatens the writer’s religious beliefs. I really don’t think it’s much of a stretch to acknowledge that same-sex marriage bans are rooted in religious beliefs. Not the religious beliefs of every single person, but those who oppose same-sex marriage seem to usually cite “values” derived from their religious faith as their reason for same-sex marriage equality.

          I don’t disagree when you said that “the founders understood and recognized the existence of God”. Many were pious Christians and some were Jesus-rejecting deists who still believed in a “creator”. That was not the point of my letter to the editor nor was it a point I have been making here. What I have reasonably explained throughout these comments is that the Constitution—as our nation’s most sacred policy document—is a secular document that gives no authority to, makes no mention of, and conspicuously omits God. Furthermore, I feel that I have repeatedly stated a very good case for the National Day of Reason as that was the original intent of my letter.

          • Rosie from Rosemount

            Same gender marriage threatens my heterosexual marriage about as much as Dick Clarke’s death. I have nothing against a national day of reason, but I do take issue with those who generalize as you have done. Undeniably, various Judeo-Christian religions want to ban same-sex marriage. Why do you think I am in disagreement on this point? So what? I can condone various aspects of these same congregations with regards to their charitable work, volunteerism and help of the poor. Big deal Eric. For one who proclaims reason, you certainly take no exception to rationalization. I will add that the clip which your operative posted was trite and it offeneded me, but not from a trajectory of my emotions or even spirituality, rather it offended my intellect and it should offend the intellect of those who recognize either the ignorance with which the clip was produced or the varitable misinformation portrayed within it.

  • Rick Schauer

    Eric, I think this link may help somewhat but I have my doubts with Jan and Rosie:

    http://godisimaginary.com/video10.htm

    Just trying to keep it real. C ya at the Capital.

  • FreethinkEric

    That is a wonderfully clear and succinct clip. Thanks, Rick! See you Thursday.

  • FreethinkEric

    Rosie, your comments are getting increasingly annoying, misleading, and ugly. Repeating your half-baked accusation of me generalizing doesn’t make it true. I refuse to address your accusation a second time so I’ll refer you to my comment — dated May 1, 2012 at 11:51am — which already addressed it. And you certainly got it right when you observed: “Undeniably, various Judeo-Christian religions want to ban same-sex marriage.”

    As far as your questions about condoning the positive works of faith organizations, of course those are good things to celebrate and participate in. I have personally seen churches provide very valuable assistance to families. Faith organizations do provide community social services for individuals and families which is great, but they also have a significant amount of resources to help so I really wouldn’t expect them to refuse to give back to the community.

    Of course charitable works and good deeds are not innately connected to god-belief. People of faith would likely do good and help their communities with or without a belief in God (or Vishnu, or Baal, or Odin, or the magical power of JuJu). My desire to volunteer and give to charity certainly hasn’t waned from when I was a Christian. In fact, some of the most effective charity organizations I’ve interacted with are secular.

    This discussion seems to have digressed quite a bit and I’m just no longer interested in addressing any more of your typically spurious comments.

  • Jag

    FreethinkEric, Rick, I’m looking forward to joining you on Thursday at the Capitol – I literally just decided to take the time off work to attend after reading the comments. Reasonable people being reasonable in the face of overwhelming unreason.

    And FreethinkEric? Nice job in the comments above. You’re very articulate and polite (and reasonable), and I appreciate you speaking up. Thank you for taking the time to write the letter that prompted the discussion that pushed me to decide to participate.

    • FreethinkEric

      TERRIFIC! Thank you for your kind words, Jag. I’m hope to meet you there :-)

      • Jag

        Great meeting you yesterday! I look forward to many more happy occasions where we continue to fight the good fight on behalf of ALL citizens of this country.

        • FreethinkEric

          Likewise, Jag!

  • Jan Dobson

    A more pertinent quote from John Adams:

    “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
    John Adams (The Works of John Adams, ed. C. F. Adams, Boston: Little, Brown Co., 1851, 4:31)

    • Jag

      John Adams you say? Try this:
      “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen,—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”

      Recognize this? It’s from the Treaty of Tripoli, which was negotiated under George Washington, and ratified by John Adams. Interesting little contradiction isn’t it?

      • Jan Dobson

        Hi Jag. I don’t see the two quotes as contradictory. Would you mind explaining the point you are trying to make?

        • Jag
          • Jan Dobson

            Could you be a little more specific?

          • Jag

            Yes Jan, I’d be happy to be a little more specific. Forgive my empty original response – for whatever reason, it didn’t post correctly. I sure do appreciate you giving me the benefit of the doubt though…

            “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other…”

            And:

            “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion…”

            In your example, John Adams states that the Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people, while the Treaty of Tripoli, ratified under John Adams clearly states that the US government was not in any way founded on Christianity.

            In your original post, you stated that “Calling the Constitution a godless document is both uninformed and incorrect.” Many exchanges later you posted a quote from “The Works of John Adams”. Did I incorrectly assume that when you referred to it as “A more pertinent quote from John Adams” that was the point you were posting in support of? Was it intended to be more pertinent to something else?

            Given that Christianity is the dominant religion in the US, I find the distinction between religion and Christianity drawn in the Treaty to be significant. You may be being completely honest when you state that you are unable to participate in organized religion due to irreconcilable inconsistencies (and on this matter, we’re in complete agreement, although we’ve drawn different conclusions), but the undeniable fact is that Christianity is the dominant religion in the US, and Christians frequently try to contend that this is a nation founded on Christianity and Christian principles. I call BS every time I see it – and I apologize if it really was inappropriate in this case.

            We could debate this for days, but I feel compelled to make this point to you before we go any further: for someone with a “heart to overflowing with joyful gratitude”, you’re kind of snippy.

          • Paul

            She was not snippy in the least, jag.

            What is it with these so called “free thinkers” and their short tempers?

  • FreethinkEric

    Since we’re looking for explanations, can you explain the purpose of your comment dated May 2, 2012 at 12:50 pm, Jan?

    • Jan Dobson

      What part don’t you understand?

      • FreethinkEric

        Your reason for posting it.

        • paul

          It seemed that Jan was trying to argue that the constitution is for religious people but she seems unable or unwilling to explain what point she was trying to make.

  • Jan Dobson

    Mr. Jayne,
    Discussion has included John Adams’ attitude toward the US Constitution. I quoted Adams’ own words on the subject. That seems more pertinent than a quotation regarding a treaty.

    Jag,
    I read through your comment a few times but still don’t see the Adams’ quotes as contradictory. Confusion might be because of the fact that in some cases the term “religion” applies to one’s personal set of beliefs while in other cases the term “religion” applies to an institutionalized set of beliefs. Context dictates the meaning of a term with multiple definitions.

    The Framers of the US Constitution were men of God AND men of science. Many of them, including John Adams, wrote extensively. Reading what they had to say provides a pretty good picture of how they felt about God, personal religion, organized religion and government. A reading list for anyone who is truly interested could begin with the Declaration of Independence.

    • FreethinkEric

      Ms. Jan,

      You’re wrong. Before your comment dated May 2, 2012 at 12:50 pm, there was no discussion about John Adams’ attitude toward the US Constitution. Scroll through the comments and you’ll that I’m right…again.

      You seemed to have tossed that Adams quote in as another desperate attempt to argue that the Constitution is a godly document. This is getting boring, Ms. Jan.

      Yes, our Constitution was made for both moral and religious people.

      • Jan Dobson

        In the John Adams quote that you introduced as part of your original letter, the treaty quote, Adams speaks of the principles upon which our nation’s government was “founded.” The foundation, from the word “found,” of our nation’s government is the US Constitution. That document, among others, defines the principles upon which our nation’s government was founded. Therefore references to the founding of our nation’s government necessarily refer to the Constitution whether or not the actual word “Constitution” is used. Your paragraph that immediately follows your treaty quote is presented in a manner to suggest continuation of a line of thinking. In that paragraph you do use the world “Constitution” specifically.
        In the John Adams quote that I introduced, the Constitution quote, Adams uses the word “Constitution” specifically.

        Both quotes support separation of church (organized religion) and state.

        Separation of church and state is not the same thing as separation of God and state.

        Separation of church and state in no way implies that our nation is an Atheist state.

        I urge anyone who wants to know how the Founding Fathers felt about God and state to read the Declaration of Independence.

        You say you’re getting bored with this discussion. I tire, too. Exchanges geared to demonstrating the validity of an opinion are much more stimulating than gotcha sniping based on:
        -name-calling such as “delusional,” “snippy” and “willfully ignorant”,
        -unsubstantiated insulting conjecture regarding unknowable internal motivations of one’s debate opponent such as “desperately grasping,” “desperately cling” and “desperate attempt” and
        -quibbling over what the definition of “is” is.

  • FreethinkEric

    Yes, I see that you’re playing the “woe-is-me, stop calling me names” card. You came into this comments section with a confrontational tone and suggested that I was “uninformed”. You’ve followed up with some rather thick sarcasm and more unpleasantness. That’s fine. I really don’t care because I can play that game too, but you cry foul when you’re on the receiving end. And besides, cherry picking my words out of their context and listing them out as examples of unfair “name-calling” is the type of digression and distraction I have come to expect from you. Also, I have no idea what your Bill Clinton reference (“is” definition) is about. But let’s just agree to let it go.

    I like the way you explained “discussion has included John Adams’ attitude toward the US Constitution” by jumping over all 30+ comments and going back to my original letter. Anyway, Adams’ treaty quote specifically says that “the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion”. Not a particular church, but the whole “religion”. The United States is not found on Christianity—in any sense. The god of the Christian religion has as much to do with our nation’s sovereignty, laws, values, security, morality, etc as any other god and mythical character including Zeus, Thor, Vishnu, Aphrodite, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. All of the aforementioned gods, by the way, are mentioned the same amount of times in the United States Constitution: ZERO.

    The only god mentioned in the Declaration of Independence is “Nature’s God” and a “Creator”. I don’t see the Christian god, (i.e. capital “G” God without a predicated qualifier) or Jesus, or the Bible, or Christianity being referenced. As I’ve said earlier in this thread, many Founders were Christians and many were deists. The latter belonging in quite a different domain separate from the Christian faith.

    And, by the way, who said anything about church and state separation implying an “Atheist state”? (This is a rhetorical question since the answer is no one, but you brought it up in your previous comment.)

    Look, maybe it’s time to pack up your straw men and end this exchange, especially since we’re both tired of it. Your words and my words are clearly listed and can be reviewed. I feel that I made very solid and reasonable points while supporting my position and knocking down your strikes. I have nothing more to add.

  • Rosie from Rosemount

    Eric and Jag, you have certainly given me much to think about. I find it interesting that you hold high regard to your belief that participants in Judeo-Christian religions allow those respective dogmas to absolutely dictate their actions and even feelings in a Republic such as we have here in the USA.

    I will add that our political and belief systems are intermingled, which is a natural thus acceptable occurrence for our race, but we have done extraordinary work in separating the political from the religious belief; yet to not have the two intertwined to some extent is not only unnatural, it is to ignore a valuable and undeniable aspect of those who both contribute and take from the political dynamic, as well as those who benefit from it or are held hostage under it. (There are those who would argue this point with me, in that a Republic, aside from the criminal aspect, is incapable of holding one hostage under its realm, as one can simply go elsewhere.) I am rather certain that many increasingly ignore religious dogma and make choices based upon doing the most good. Your comments also confuse me as you seem to recognize a Creator, at least from the standpoint you delivered in one response regarding the authoring founders, but you seem unable or unwilling to connect such with your basis of apparent atheism. (I cite the third paragraph of the post labeled, “May 5, 2012 at 4:22 pm.”)

    Although guilty of it myself from time-to-time, your immature display of emotion to make a point blurs the larger picture you attempt to paint. It is one thing to be passionate about a belief -or lack thereof- but it is entirely another thing to be dismissive of ideas in a conversation when you provide contrary if not contradictive statements punctuated with self-proclaimed annoyance. It is too bad discussions like this annoy you. I suggest that you explore the basis of that annoyance, without being dismissive of those who cause it, whether that means dismissive of their intellect and/or emotion.

    I hope you have learned something. I will tell you I have learned more than one thing from these exchanges.

  • FreethinkEric

    We’re still going? I don’t believe that neither Jag nor I said that “participants in Judeo-Christian religions allow those respective dogmas to ABSOLUTELY dictate their actions” [emphasis mine]. It’s this kind of twisting of words that I find to be extraordinarily annoying. In fact, I’m kind of wondering why I’m even bothering to respond. I will always be dismissive of these techniques as well as attempts to distract from the original topic. You and Jan have spent your words (some quite sarcastic) on accusing me of “reprehensible generalizations”, “uninformed”, “immature”, “cherry-picking”, etc. I’ve given both of you honest and direct responses to your accusations and your disputes–and sometimes I’ve matched the unpleasant tone that I felt was served up to me.

    I’m not sure what confused you about my comment (third paragraph, “May 5, 2012 at 4:22 pm). I acknowledged that a “Creator” and “Nature’s God” was invoked in the Declaration of Independence, but that was it. Furthermore, I observed that the non-predicated, capital “G” God was missing, along with Jesus, Christianity, and the Bible in the Declaration of Independence. I have also acknowledged (more than once) that many of the Founders were deists who believed in a “creator” but rejected the belief of a divine Jesus and Abrahamic god. To be clear, just because the Founders in the late 18th century believed in a “Creator” does not provide good evidence to support the existence of a “Creator”, and there was a very good reason to believe in a “Creator” or “Nature’s God” back then since Darwinian evolution was a few generations from being explained.

    The more relevant point to this discussion is that neither you nor Jan Dobson has put forth any solid evidence to suggest that the Framers of our Constitution and Founders of our country collectively endorsed or legislated that the United States federal government is a Christian nation and/or that the United States federal government is a nation is based on uniquely Christian teachings/values/principals, and/or that the Framers of our Constitution wrote a godly, pious document.

  • Rosie From Rosemount

    What does a “Christian nation” have to do with the existence of God? I am not the only one confused by your own words, you seem to be more confused than me! WO! Carry on if you must.

    • FreethinkEric

      The notion of a Christian nation has nothing to do with the existence of God. I didn’t suggest otherwise. Good night.

      • Rosie from Rosemount

        Your final paragraph certainly says otherwise. You may have written it, but you did not read it. You have become boring and mundane. Perhaps you are normally that way and I witnessed a fleeting glimpse of something more in your occasional and unsuccessful retorts. Oh well. You have ceased to engage or even amuse me,so I will move on.

        • FreethinkEric

          Godspeed.

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