The Spinning Pinwheel
Table of Contents
Part 7, Part 8, Part 9
appeared in issue 227
|part 10: Religion|
A motley group of participants in an Internet forum take widely differing positions on various social issues, including a war in the Middle East. Note the date: 2024.
Challenge happily accepted, Fat Toe ! ;-)
YOUR turn One Man, Liberal and others. Do you DENY ANY possibility of a higher power? That there is nothing “above” you and I?... Claim that WE are the “ultimate power”? I’m going to be a little disappointed if you agree to such “universal” arrogance. ;-)
However — I must allow you to say if Fat Toe is correct about your opinion. The only thing I ask is you don’t use mainstream religions to “define” that power. Please don’t claim you “don’t believe” if you’re actually talking about MAN’s definitions.
EXPRESS yourself. ;-)
---Original Message ---
From: “Fat Toe”
Sent: Thursday, September 09, 2024 12:11 AM
Subject: Re:Cro-Magnon Thumpers
Thanks for an interesting and thoughtful reply. Perhaps our differences are more a matter of semantics here — when I referred to the positive influence of the “Judeo-Christian tradition” I was simply referring to the ideas and values that find their roots in the Old and New Testaments as taught through the centuries by the Jewish and many Christian faiths.
I certainly realize that there are many different translations of the Bible and a broad spectrum of organized religions that fall under the “Christian” umbrella, but I think the main themes and key teachings of the various religions are actually quite similar.
Same goes for other great writings such as the Code of Hammurabi, the Bhagavad-Gita, etc. All share a common core set of values upon which civilized society should be based, and the fact that this nation has, at its foundation, an understanding that certain rights are God-given has enabled this country to become the beacon of liberty and rights for the rest of the world.
As for your assertion that there are no “atheists” today, you are unfortunately very mistaken. Had you been an addressee in earlier debates among this group, you would realize that both One Man and Liberal are hard-core atheists — they both deny the existence of any God at all and heap scorn and ridicule (not to mention gay pornography) upon those who express a belief in God.
Liberal has blocked my email messages and One Man has asked all who have expressed a belief in God to stop sending him messages, so you will have to confirm their atheist ideology with them yourself.
As for myself, I do NOT use the term “atheist” to refer to someone who does not believe in the same God (or belong to the same religion) as me; as I mentioned before, I am fully aware of the wide range of beliefs, and tend to think that all share a common set of core values.
As a matter of fact, I was shocked that educated people like Liberal and One Man could be atheists since the evidence of a God or Higher Power seems so self-evident to me.
Finally, with regard to the way the Bible has been interpreted over the years, I took a look at the website you recommended. Very interesting. I am sure there are inaccuracies in many current translations of the Bible — after all, I believe that many of the writings in the Bible were put to paper after hundreds or perhaps thousands of years of being passed through the generations by word-of-mouth or storytelling. However, this does not detract from the basic messages that are conveyed in both the New and Old Testaments.
Regardless of which religion you belong to (or even if you do not belong to an organized religion) or which interpretation of the Bible you read, my basic point in my previous email remains the same: that this nation was founded, built and made its greatest social advances by people who have a strong faith in God and believe in a set of principles, values and ideas which have their common roots in the writings of the Old and New Testaments. As a result, we are, as Ronald Reagan was fond of saying, that “shining city upon a hill.”
--- pmichael wrote:
Dear Fat Toe,
As I’m not going to be on the Internet after September 30th, it is going to be difficult to explain all this to you my friend, but I will try to give you a couple of helpful tidbits. Please note these comments are from a former priest who now disdains all the mainstream organized religions.
While we still have strong disagreements, my closest friends these days are Mennonites and German Baptists (Dunkards) who find it amusing that other Protestants you identify as “Judeo-Christain” (sic) actually call themselves Christians. That’s another argument for another time, however. For them, a real Christian doesn’t even vote or get involved.
A) By the current definition there is no such animal as an “atheist.” That word is a catch-all, unfortunately, for people who disagree with mainstream organized religions and their explanations of who and what God is. No person in their right mind (including One Man & Pat L) would claim mankind is the highest form of existence in the universe or that a higher power couldn’t have an influence on you and I.
What you would normally call an “atheist” is someone who simply disagrees with YOUR explanation of “God” and how much influence that entity has on our individual lives. Finding disagreement with “your” explanation is easy however. All you have to do is cross the line between Catholic, Mormon, and a variety of other Protestant beliefs.
B) You are absolutely on-the-nail regarding the wonderful influence the Biblical writings (I have to assume this is what you are referencing to when you speak of the “Judeo-Christain tradition”). The concepts embedded in these words has certainly contributed to the gradual ‘upgrading’ of the human animal.
For additional influence, however, I would suggest you at least investigate the ‘Code of Hammurabi’. You suggest “required reading.” If you leave out Hammurabi you will be guilty of the very ignorance you are accusing others of. Consider, Thomas Jefferson did not use the words “nature’s god” because he was a Christian. Thomas was a Deist (who actually re-wrote the New Testament removing all the miracles).
C) The problem with your ‘Judeo-Christain’ influence is not its inaccuracy — it is in the way organized religion has taken the original Hebrew and bastardized it into something it was never intended to be. There is not enough room or time in this short letter to get into all the details, but from the very beginnings of the Bible interpreters have twisted the words into what THEY wanted it to say.
For example, the term ‘adam’ which is simply the Hebrew word for ‘mankind’ has been twisted in English translations to mean one man with the name of ‘Adam’ (difficult, as there were no CAPITAL or lower case letters then)... and the word “day” has been completely twisted to somehow indicate evolution is a fallacy.
If you honestly want to spend some time learning more about this try Seek the Roots. It seems to be a long ways from finished, but it’s a fascinating journey into ancient Hebrew. At the least, you’ll find some great computer desktop wallpaper in the “Stars” section.
Washington, April 21, 1803.
In some of the delightful conversations with you in the evenings of 1798-99, and which served as an anodyne to the afflictions of the crisis through which our country was then laboring, the Christian religion was sometimes our topic; and I then promised you that one day or other I would give you my views of it. They are the result of a life of inquiry and reflection, and very different from that anti-Christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions.
To the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed opposed, but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense in which he wished anyone to be: sincerely attached to his doctrines in preference to all others, ascribing to himself every human excellence, and believing he never claimed any other.
At the short interval since these conversations, when I could justifiably abstract my mind from public affairs, the subject has been under my contemplation. But the more I considered it, the more it expanded beyond the measure of either my time or information.
In the moment of my late departure from Monticello, I received from Dr. Priestley his little treatise of “Socrates and Jesus Compared.” This being a section of the general view I had taken of the field, it became a subject of reflection while on the road and unoccupied otherwise.
The result was to arrange in my mind a syllabus or outline of such an estimate of the comparative merits of Christianity as I wished to see executed by someone of more leisure and information for the task than myself. This I now send you as the only discharge of my promise I can probably ever execute. And in confiding it to you, I know it will not be exposed to the malignant perversions of those who make every word from me a text for new misrepresentations and calumnies.
I am moreover averse to the communication of my religious tenets to the public, because it would countenance the presumption of those who have endeavored to draw them before that tribunal, and to seduce public opinion to erect itself into that inquisition over the rights of conscience which the laws have so justly proscribed.
It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others; or their case may, by change of circumstances, become his own. It behooves him, too, in his own case, to give no example of concession, betraying the common right of independent opinion, by answering questions of faith which the laws have left between God and himself.
Accept my affectionate salutations.
---Original Message ---
From: “Fat Toe”
Sent: Wednesday, September 08, 2024 7:10 PM
Subject: Re: More Required Reading for the
Brilliant message, Evangelical Man. I think we effectively slammed the door on Liberal’s ridiculous arguments that the so-called “Thumpers” are repressive and the “freethinking” atheists are the ones responsible for advances in civil liberties. As you have shown, the evidence to the contrary is so overwhelming.
Could it be that it is the atheists and secularists that are “Cro-Magnon” in their stubborn refusal to accept the historical fact that those who adhere to and believe in the principles set forth in Judeo-Christian tradition have made this nation the great country that it is today?
Copyright © 2007 by Luke Jackson