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Blood last won the day on July 21 2019

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About Blood

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    Houston, TX, USA
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    Ancient history, religion
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    Average person.

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?

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  1. I believe "Judeo-Christian" is a modern (post-1920s) construction. Nobody from 100 to 1900 talked about "Judeo-Christian values." The main appeal of Christianity is that they were better than the Jews. They were the real chosen people, not the Jews. They (in their minds) triumphed over the Jews. The Bible was written by Jews for Jews. Unfortunately, they made the serious error of evangelizing (never a good idea), and brought in some Greeks and Latins ("Gentiles") to the fold at a certain point. After awhile, some of this faction decided that while the texts themselves were pretty cool, the whole "Jewish" aspect of the religion had to be whitewashed. There were no copyright laws in those days. So they essentially not only stole the main intellectual property of the Jews (which would have been bad enough), they compounded the theft by audaciously writing new scriptures that demonized the Jews. These actions have been the main source for the schizophrenia of the West for the last 2,000 years.
  2. Trump's interest in the Bible, God, evangelicals, prayer, and teaching the Bible in schools will evaporate 5 seconds after he leaves office, and will never be discussed again by anyone, as if it never happened.
  3. Thanks. I'm well-aware of Paine's religious views, but since he wasn't present at the 1787 Convention, he is outside the scope of my question. The Edward Herbert quote I was unaware of. I like that.
  4. Keep in mind that people in France like Denis Diderot embraced atheism as early as the 1750s, so it was not as if this position required 19th-century science in order to be comprehensible, or defensible. Atheism had become fairly mainstream, I believe, among the philosophes in France by the 1790s.
  5. 1. The popular idea of "the founding" revolves around the Convention of 1787, though the concept of "the founding" is deliberately vague so it can be inclusive of everything that happened between 1774 and 1800 when it suits someone's argument. And since this is vague, the concept of "the founders" as a group of individuals is equally vague. 2. People can twist the Bible to say anything they want it to say. Millions of people both in the 1780s and today cite verses from the Bible to support American Constitutionalism. I read somewhere that the Book of Deuteronomy was one of, if not the most cited sources for law and governance during the so-called "founding" period.
  6. Thanks. It was a thoughtful article, but it didn't find any more Deists at the 1787 Convention.
  7. I already wrote that. "The only person present at the 1787 Convention who was a Deist (as far as I'm aware) was Benjamin Franklin. Can you cite others?"
  8. Yes, of course the "Year of our Lord" was just a standard language convention of the time. I can find no statement from James Madison that implies, or states explicitly, that he was a Deist. Thomas Paine was not present at Philadelphia in 1787. So, if the conception of "the founding" is supposedly the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia, so far I know of only one person present who was a professed Deist: Benjamin Franklin.
  9. If you can find a quote from Washington and Jefferson where they explicitly state "I'm a Deist," I would be very interested in that. Also, Jefferson was not present at the 1787 Convention. I specifically asked for Deists present at the Convention.
  10. Yes, as I wrote: "'The people' is inclusive of everyone from Baptists to atheists." These are the actual founders of the new central government. The public or private opinions of their representatives in Philadelphia should be irrelevant, as the people themselves assumed at the time. But over the years, the concept of a few individuals being "the founders" took hold, and the legal tradition began to interpret the personal opinions of these few individuals as being the basis for law. The only person present at the 1787 Convention who was a Deist (as far as I'm aware) was Benjamin Franklin. Can you cite others?
  11. It's the slippery slope argument. If the government can provide health care for everyone, so the thinking goes, it can do anything else it wants, some of which may be nefarious. The idea is that something like the Soviet Gulag is not far behind. Or at least a large-scale Jonestown. It's certainly true that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
  12. Japan is the only similar example, I think. IIRC they went from the bottom of GDP in the 1940s to second place by 1975.
  13. I haven't read the book, but I think about this subject often. A big part of the problem, in my opinion, is the interpretation of who "the founders" of the United States are, and the decision to omit the previous 170 years of social evolution from the discussion, as if that epoch was irrelevant to what happened in the 1770s-80s. Some of the early migrants to North America were leaving England or Holland for religious reasons. The Separatists ("Pilgrims") left Holland, where there was religious toleration, for Plymouth, along with other non-members of their sect. The Separatists were highly religious and idealistic. But their tiny sect didn't last in North America. The Puritans left England because of ongoing hostility to their rebellious ways by the Stuart kings. They were much more successful in the new world than the Separatists. The Massachusetts Bay Colony that they founded flourished despite rigid rules and no toleration for other sects. Still, Puritanism was not evangelical, they did not try to spread their faith and it remained limited to their region, and not influential outside of it. The main settlers of Virginia and Carolina were Anglicans, who were strongly opposed to the Puritans. The settlers of Pennsylvania were Quakers, a liberal form of Christianity from northern England. They were opposed to the Puritans and Anglicans, but had a high degree of tolerance for all religions. Most of these sects were opposed to Catholicism, which was illegal to practice in 10 out of 13 colonies before the war. So, in most cases, the main people establishing local governments in North America were doing so under the pretense of some form of Christianity. These sects were at odds with one another. They had no intention of ever "uniting" with one another. The whole purpose of their migration was to establish autonomy for their sect, with no oversight from the Church of England. The sole exceptions being Virginia and Carolina. There was no thought whatsoever about ecumenicism with the other sects colonizing North America in most cases. All of these sects were opposed to monarchy except the Anglicans in Virginia and Carolina. So the ideology of the American Revolution was ever-present from 1620 onward. The Great Awakening was a revival movement in the 1700s that ignited religious enthusiasm throughout the land. The point of all this is to demonstrate that North America from 1607-1787 was deeply immersed in a multiplicity of Christian sects, ideas, and enthusiasms. The "separation of church and state" was not necessary because if you didn't like the religious authority in one area, you were free to migrate to another area, or move to the hinterlands and start your own religion. The people are "the founders" of the United States, not a few elected officials who met in Philadelphia in 1787. So it doesn't matter what the religious ideas of the latter are. The people had already broken from the king of England in 1620. The only thing "founded" in 1789 (after the new Constitution was ratified) was a central government with unlimited taxation powers, a court system, and a small standing army. No national church was founded, but that is a trivial point since there never was anyone calling for such a thing, and the vast majority practiced some form of Christianity. The majority of people were still Puritans (Congregationalists), Anglicans (Episcopalians), Baptists, Quakers, Methodists, etc. These are the ones referred to as "we the people" in the Constitution of 1787. They were the ones who ratified the new Constitution. Had the Puritans (for example) seen the new Constitution as a threat to their religious authority in Eastern Massachusetts, they surely would have voted it down. Very few people saw the new central government as being, in any way, hostile to Christianity. The personal opinions of a few people who drafted the document was irrelevant.
  14. Just like "we're all immigrants," this notion that "the founders were Deists" or "the founders were Christian" is simplistic gobbledegook that muddles the issue instead of clarifying it. The people are the founders of the United States -- not a few select individuals whose letters (often privately communicated) can be quote-mined to harmonized to somebody's current political/social agenda. "The people" is inclusive of everyone from Baptists to atheists. What was "founded" in 1789 (actually re-founded) was a central government with broad taxation powers, a judiciary, and a small standing army. All 13 colonial governments had been "founded" prior to this.
  15. The revised 1789 Constitution was created in order to set up a centralized taxing entity, necessary to pay our creditors for huge war debts. The 1789 Constitution thus greatly EXPANDED the central government, not limited it. The original Constitution of 1781 (The Articles of Confederation) was a genuinely limited central government. But none of this matters much. The very concept of "limited government" was invented by the mercantile classes in Holland and England in the 16th-17th century mainly to enrich themselves rather than the monarchy or aristocracy. In essence, capital is sovereign in the western world (and now globally), and "government" exists mainly to socialize the debts and deal with all the social problems that sovereign capital creates, e.g. illegal immigration.
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