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Shaker

The toxic mix of religion & politics in the USA

The Bible as Bludgeon by Frank Bruni of the New York Times:

Quote:
You can make a successful run for political office in this country without an especially thick résumé, any exceptional talent for expressing yourself, a noteworthy education or, for that matter, a basic grasp of science.

But you better have religion. You better be ready to profess your faith in and fealty to God — the Judeo-Christian one, of course.

As full of insight and beauty as the Bible is, it’s not a universally and unconditionally embraced document, and it’s certainly not a secular one. Yet it’s under the hand of almost every American president who takes the oath of office.

It’s in classrooms, some of which teach creationism. The Texas Board of Education has been withholding approval of a widely used biology textbook because it presents evolution as more than just a theory. Thus, in the nation’s second most populous state, whose governor essentially kicked off his 2012 presidential campaign with a stadium rally for tens of thousands of evangelicals, religion is trumping scholarship, at least for now.

'So help me God.' 'Under God.' 'In God We Trust.' Perhaps we’re meant to register these ubiquitous phrases as unspecific inspirations, vague recognitions of an undefined higher power, general appeals to generous living. But they’re rooted in a given religious tradition and are arguably the gateways to the Arkansas ridiculousness and to the overwrought accusations of a 'war on Christmas' that herald the holiday season as surely as Frosty the Snowman and Black Friday do.
genghiscant

I'd like to say "only in America", but it happens the world over & in every religion. Imagine what would happen to a politician in this country who refused to attend a commemoration service for some "hero" who was only doing what they get paid for.
I strongly suspect that there are many atheist politicians who daren't own up to it.

Religion poisons everything.
The Boyg

genghiscant wrote:
Religion poisons everything.


So it's religion's fault that politicians will deliberately mislead their electorate in order to maintain their position.  
genghiscant

The Boyg wrote:
genghiscant wrote:
Religion poisons everything.


So it's religion's fault that politicians will deliberately mislead their electorate in order to maintain their position.  


If it wasn't for institutionalised religion, they wouldn't have to.
cyberman

genghiscant wrote:

I strongly suspect that there are many atheist politicians who daren't own up to it.
.


Is this strong suspicion based upon evidence of any kind?
Shaker

cyberman wrote:
genghiscant wrote:

I strongly suspect that there are many atheist politicians who daren't own up to it.
.


Is this strong suspicion based upon evidence of any kind?

Sheer statistics, I imagine - by the weight of numbers alone it becomes an extreme improbability that there haven't been and are no non-believing policitians in a technically secular country which makes so much of the visibility of religious belief. It's just not credible that they don't exist, so there must be another explanation.

It's like the case of the notable absence of high-profile gay footballers in this country: it defies belief that they don't actually exist, so the only reasonable explanation is that they certainly do exist but decline to be open about it, and as far as I'm concerned for the same reason.
cyberman

Shaker wrote:
cyberman wrote:
genghiscant wrote:

I strongly suspect that there are many atheist politicians who daren't own up to it.
.


Is this strong suspicion based upon evidence of any kind?

Sheer statistics, I imagine - by the weight of numbers alone it becomes an extreme improbability that there haven't been and are no non-believing policitians in a technically secular country which makes so much of the visibility of religious belief. It's just not credible that they don't exist, so there must be another explanation.



But no-one is saying they don't exist, are they? I am just questioning the evidence behing genghiscant's strong suspicion that there are atheist politicians who pretend not to be atheists.
genghiscant

cyberman wrote:
genghiscant wrote:

I strongly suspect that there are many atheist politicians who daren't own up to it.
.


Is this strong suspicion based upon evidence of any kind?


No, but it stands to reason.
cyberman

genghiscant wrote:
cyberman wrote:
genghiscant wrote:

I strongly suspect that there are many atheist politicians who daren't own up to it.
.


Is this strong suspicion based upon evidence of any kind?


No, but it stands to reason.


Could you talk me through the reasoning process at work here, please? Why do you think that there are lots of lying atheists in public life?
Shaker

cyberman wrote:
But no-one is saying they don't exist, are they? I am just questioning the evidence behing genghiscant's strong suspicion that there are atheist politicians who pretend not to be atheists.

No one is saying that they don't exist, but their invisibility in the political life of a country of 314,000,000 stands in need of explanation and the suspicion that some atheist politicians are paying lip service to belief is entirely reasonable. We have evidence that American society generally is suspicious/mistrustful/disapproving of and at times actively and explicitly hostile to atheists/ism and I can't see why you'd need to look much further than that. Religion is a big deal over there in a way that it just isn't here - we have an atheist leader of the opposition, an atheist deputy prime minister and, currently, a prime minister who regards himself as a Christian but is confessedly a bit shaky on the whole belief thing and it's not even commented upon. That's unthinkable in the USA.
genghiscant

cyberman wrote:
genghiscant wrote:
cyberman wrote:
genghiscant wrote:

I strongly suspect that there are many atheist politicians who daren't own up to it.
.


Is this strong suspicion based upon evidence of any kind?


No, but it stands to reason.


Could you talk me through the reasoning process at work here, please? Why do you think that there are lots of lying atheists in public life?


The op was about politicians, but if you want to open it up.

Are there many paedophile clergy in Britain? Probably not many but certainly some. Lying about being  an atheist is no where near as bad as lying about being a paedophile.
Balance of probabilities you see.
Lexilogio

cyberman wrote:
Shaker wrote:
cyberman wrote:
genghiscant wrote:

I strongly suspect that there are many atheist politicians who daren't own up to it.
.


Is this strong suspicion based upon evidence of any kind?

Sheer statistics, I imagine - by the weight of numbers alone it becomes an extreme improbability that there haven't been and are no non-believing policitians in a technically secular country which makes so much of the visibility of religious belief. It's just not credible that they don't exist, so there must be another explanation.



But no-one is saying they don't exist, are they? I am just questioning the evidence behing genghiscant's strong suspicion that there are atheist politicians who pretend not to be atheists.


I would believe that there were many politicians who lied about their religious beliefs in order to get elected. And that has to be hypocrisy of the first order.

Whether they are atheist or not - I don't know. I suspect many are less religious than they pretend. But perhaps that is because I naively think you cannot have strong religious beliefs and then think its ok to behave like a politician....
trentvoyager

Quote:
But perhaps that is because I naively think you cannot have strong religious beliefs and then think its ok to behave like a politician....



Ah - recognising your naivety is your first step on a long road to full, total realisation of your inner pessimist. Not to mention fully understanding the nature of hypocrisy in all its many splendoured varieties.
Derek

Lexilogio wrote:
cyberman wrote:
Shaker wrote:
cyberman wrote:
genghiscant wrote:

I strongly suspect that there are many atheist politicians who daren't own up to it.
.


Is this strong suspicion based upon evidence of any kind?

Sheer statistics, I imagine - by the weight of numbers alone it becomes an extreme improbability that there haven't been and are no non-believing policitians in a technically secular country which makes so much of the visibility of religious belief. It's just not credible that they don't exist, so there must be another explanation.



But no-one is saying they don't exist, are they? I am just questioning the evidence behing genghiscant's strong suspicion that there are atheist politicians who pretend not to be atheists.


I would believe that there were many politicians who lied about their religious beliefs in order to get elected. And that has to be hypocrisy of the first order.

Whether they are atheist or not - I don't know. I suspect many are less religious than they pretend. But perhaps that is because I naively think you cannot have strong religious beliefs and then think its ok to behave like a politician....


 

Naively,  no. Realistically,  yes.
cyberman

genghiscant wrote:
cyberman wrote:
genghiscant wrote:
cyberman wrote:
genghiscant wrote:

I strongly suspect that there are many atheist politicians who daren't own up to it.
.


Is this strong suspicion based upon evidence of any kind?


No, but it stands to reason.


Could you talk me through the reasoning process at work here, please? Why do you think that there are lots of lying atheists in public life?


The op was about politicians, but if you want to open it up.

Are there many paedophile clergy in Britain? Probably not many but certainly some. Lying about being  an atheist is no where near as bad as lying about being a paedophile.
Balance of probabilities you see.


erm...

You are obviously using some archaic usage of the word "reason" which the erst of us don't recognise.

I am not trying to be difficult, but I really can't see how you pointing out that being a liar is better than being a paedophile helps us to understand how you think it "stands to reason" that there are lots of lying atheists in politics.

Don't forget, the claim that these atheists liars exist in large numbers is yours, no-one else's.
genghiscant

cyberman wrote:
genghiscant wrote:
cyberman wrote:
genghiscant wrote:
cyberman wrote:
genghiscant wrote:

I strongly suspect that there are many atheist politicians who daren't own up to it.
.


Is this strong suspicion based upon evidence of any kind?


No, but it stands to reason.


Could you talk me through the reasoning process at work here, please? Why do you think that there are lots of lying atheists in public life?


The op was about politicians, but if you want to open it up.

Are there many paedophile clergy in Britain? Probably not many but certainly some. Lying about being  an atheist is no where near as bad as lying about being a paedophile.
Balance of probabilities you see.


erm...

You are obviously using some archaic usage of the word "reason" which the erst of us don't recognise.

I am not trying to be difficult, but I really can't see how you pointing out that being a liar is better than being a paedophile helps us to understand how you think it "stands to reason" that there are lots of lying atheists in politics.

Don't forget, the claim that these atheists liars exist in large numbers is yours, no-one else's.


Do you really believe that politicians don't tell lies?  Where have you been for the last 40 years?
cyberman

genghiscant wrote:


Do you really believe that politicians don't tell lies?  


No.

Can you answer my question now, please?
cyberman

genghiscant wrote:
 Where have you been for the last 40 years?  


Lest I be accused of leaving a question unanswered (although I have rarely seen such blatant use of a completely irrelevant question to dodge answering one yourself, but hey ho)

Primary school
Secondary School
Sixth Form College
University
The Civil Service
Self employment as a dreadfully unsuccessful writer
University
An Asylum Seekers' organisation
University
Teaching
Self employment with a tiny bit more success than the first time, and a greater variety of job types
A short to medium length period spent travelling around far less than normal..ahem.
Happily beavering away at what I do now.

What a nosey an dirrelevant question. Strange chap, our genghis.
genghiscant

cyberman wrote:
genghiscant wrote:
cyberman wrote:
genghiscant wrote:
cyberman wrote:
genghiscant wrote:

I strongly suspect that there are many atheist politicians who daren't own up to it.
.


Is this strong suspicion based upon evidence of any kind?


No, but it stands to reason.


Could you talk me through the reasoning process at work here, please? Why do you think that there are lots of lying atheists in public life?


The op was about politicians, but if you want to open it up.

Are there many paedophile clergy in Britain? Probably not many but certainly some. Lying about being  an atheist is no where near as bad as lying about being a paedophile.
Balance of probabilities you see.


erm...

You are obviously using some archaic usage of the word "reason" which the erst of us don't recognise.

I am not trying to be difficult, but I really can't see how you pointing out that being a liar is better than being a paedophile helps us to understand how you think it "stands to reason" that there are lots of lying atheists in politics.

Don't forget, the claim that these atheists liars exist in large numbers is yours, no-one else's.


No, you haven't quite got it (not for the first time either).
I said that lying about being a Christian isn't as bad as lying about being a paedophile, so there are probably more liars about the former than the latter. I hope that's cleared it up for you. Difficult things words, aren't they? But then you'd know all about that.
cyberman

genghiscant wrote:


No, you haven't quite got it (not for the first time either).
I said that lying about being a Christian isn't as bad as lying about being a paedophile, so there are probably more liars about the former than the latter. I hope that's cleared it up for you. Difficult things words, aren't they? But then you'd know all about that.


I understood all of that entirely the first time, thanks. It is irrelevant, not incomprehensible. Tricky things, words, I know.

While very interesting - and of course undisputed - it doesn't help with trying to understand why you think that reason leads you to the conclusion that there are many lying atheists in politics who are lying about their atheism.

If you think that you have demonstrated that there must be more lying atheists lying about their atheism than lying paedophiles lying about their sexual deviancy, I have to tell you that you have not.
genghiscant

Quote:
it doesn't help with trying to understand why you think that reason leads you to the conclusion that there are many lying atheists in politics who are lying about their atheism.


You're still not getting it. I said there are many atheists in politics lying about being Christians.

In any case, I'm finished explaining it now. I'm sure you know I'm right on this, you're just being awkward. If you really don't understand, then I suggest you go and find an 8 year old to explain it to you.
Shaker

Boys, boys, boys! Come on, you both know that the thread title refers to the USA where there's a significant issue with the acceptability of open atheism which obtains in practically no other Western, First World, developed, secular liberal democracy. In either worms, don't make the dearth of explicitly atheist politicians in the US about lying atheist politicians in general because that's not comparing like with like.

Now you two kiss and make up and let's have clean fight: no holding, no gouging, no tongues or whatever it is they say.
genghiscant

Shaker wrote:
Boys, boys, boys! Come on, you both know that the thread title refers to the USA where there's a significant issue with the acceptability of open atheism which obtains in practically no other Western, First World, developed, secular liberal democracy. In either worms, don't make the dearth of explicitly atheist politicians in the US about lying atheist politicians in general because that's not comparing like with like.

Now you two kiss and make up and let's have clean fight: no holding, no gouging, no tongues or whatever it is they say.



And no closing eyes when we kiss.
Shaker

Do not leave me with that image in my head for the rest of the evening, just do not even go there  
cyberman

genghiscant wrote:
Quote:
it doesn't help with trying to understand why you think that reason leads you to the conclusion that there are many lying atheists in politics who are lying about their atheism.


You're still not getting it. I said there are many atheists in politics lying about being Christians.

In any case, I'm finished explaining it now. I'm sure you know I'm right on this, you're just being awkward. If you really don't understand, then I suggest you go and find an 8 year old to explain it to you.


I understand perfectly well what you are saying. I know you are saying that they are lying about being Christians. they are still lying atheists though, aren't they?

I am asking you to back up your astonishing claim that what appears to be nothing more than a guess can actually be demonstrated using reason.

Calling me stupid isn't helping. I am a highly intelligent man, as a matter of fact - not that that is relevant. I could be the daftest of the Three Stooges asking you to back up your claim, and that wouldn't hide the fact that you are failing to do so.

Stop pretending to believe that I don't understand your claim, and provide the reasoning demonstration which you have lcaimed exists.

So far, you have offered us "well, if paedophiles are going to pretend they aren't paedophiles, then of course atheists are goingt o pretend they aren't atheists".

Now, have another go at pretending that I am just too stupid to see your splendid suit of clothes, and then please actually explain - how does a process of reasoning (not guessing) lead you to believe that there are many atheists in politics who are lying and pretending to be Christians?
The Boyg

genghiscant wrote:
The Boyg wrote:
genghiscant wrote:
Religion poisons everything.


So it's religion's fault that politicians will deliberately mislead their electorate in order to maintain their position.  


If it wasn't for institutionalised religion, they wouldn't have to.


If it wasn't for institutionalised religion politicians would never deliberately mislead their electorate?

It's sweet that you're so naive.  
The Boyg

genghiscant wrote:
Do you really believe that politicians don't tell lies?  Where have you been for the last 40 years?


Exactly, politicians will lie about just about anything (their political beliefs, their level of commitment to particular causes, their family life, their honesty, etc.) in order to get / remain elected, not just their true religious beliefs.

So why do you say that it is religion that has poisoned politics?
genghiscant

The Boyg wrote:
genghiscant wrote:
Do you really believe that politicians don't tell lies?  Where have you been for the last 40 years?


Exactly, politicians will lie about just about anything (their political beliefs, their level of commitment to particular causes, their family life, their honesty, etc.) in order to get / remain elected, not just their true religious beliefs.

So why do you say that it is religion that has poisoned politics?


I said that religion poisons everything. Everything it touches.
cyberman

genghiscant wrote:
The Boyg wrote:
genghiscant wrote:
Do you really believe that politicians don't tell lies?  Where have you been for the last 40 years?


Exactly, politicians will lie about just about anything (their political beliefs, their level of commitment to particular causes, their family life, their honesty, etc.) in order to get / remain elected, not just their true religious beliefs.

So why do you say that it is religion that has poisoned politics?


I said that religion poisons everything. Everything it touches.



Do you think that there are Christian politicians lying and pretending to be atheists?

Is it only atheist politicians who lie about religion?

Is it all someone else's fault that they are liars?
The Boyg

genghiscant wrote:
The Boyg wrote:
genghiscant wrote:
Do you really believe that politicians don't tell lies?  Where have you been for the last 40 years?


Exactly, politicians will lie about just about anything (their political beliefs, their level of commitment to particular causes, their family life, their honesty, etc.) in order to get / remain elected, not just their true religious beliefs.

So why do you say that it is religion that has poisoned politics?


I said that religion poisons everything. Everything it touches.


In response to a post about politicians lying about their true beliefs.

So how is it religion that has poisoned this particular situation rather than the insatiable desire of politicians to be re-elected?

Or do you disagree that we can find examples of politicians lying about every aspect of their lives, morals and beliefs to the electorate in order to present themselves in a manner that they believe will make themselves more palatable?
genghiscant

The Boyg wrote:
genghiscant wrote:
The Boyg wrote:
genghiscant wrote:
Do you really believe that politicians don't tell lies?  Where have you been for the last 40 years?


Exactly, politicians will lie about just about anything (their political beliefs, their level of commitment to particular causes, their family life, their honesty, etc.) in order to get / remain elected, not just their true religious beliefs.

So why do you say that it is religion that has poisoned politics?


I said that religion poisons everything. Everything it touches.


In response to a post about politicians lying about their true beliefs.

So how is it religion that has poisoned this particular situation rather than the insatiable desire of politicians to be re-elected?

Or do you disagree that we can find examples of politicians lying about every aspect of their lives, morals and beliefs to the electorate in order to present themselves in a manner that they believe will make themselves more palatable?


I've never said that religion is the only cause of politicians lying. Politicians tell lies for all sorts of reasons, as well you know.
The Boyg

genghiscant wrote:
The Boyg wrote:
So how is it religion that has poisoned this particular situation rather than the insatiable desire of politicians to be re-elected?

Or do you disagree that we can find examples of politicians lying about every aspect of their lives, morals and beliefs to the electorate in order to present themselves in a manner that they believe will make themselves more palatable?


I've never said that religion is the only cause of politicians lying. Politicians tell lies for all sorts of reasons, as well you know.


So you accept that politics is 'poisoned' without religion.
genghiscant

The Boyg wrote:
genghiscant wrote:
The Boyg wrote:
So how is it religion that has poisoned this particular situation rather than the insatiable desire of politicians to be re-elected?

Or do you disagree that we can find examples of politicians lying about every aspect of their lives, morals and beliefs to the electorate in order to present themselves in a manner that they believe will make themselves more palatable?


I've never said that religion is the only cause of politicians lying. Politicians tell lies for all sorts of reasons, as well you know.


So you accept that politics is 'poisoned' without religion.


Yes of course it is. Religion just poisons it more.

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