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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+15311) 10 years ago
I just finished reading a great book entitled: The God Virus: How Religion Infects our Lives and Culture. I highly recommend it. Here is a noteworthy quote:

Informed policy requires open discussion and clear cost-benefit analysis. When religion gets in the mix, imaginary costs and benefits influence the calculations. Our liberal democracy works despite religion, not because of it. When religion has been subdued in the debate, this nation has made great strides.

Beginning with the deistic founders and presidents of the early United States to the deistic leadership of Abraham Lincoln to the liberal, non-religious leadership of FDR, progress comes when the nation makes decisions in the best interest of the people, not religion. The decades-long fight over abortion has given the god virus the means to infect the central nervous system as never before. With five Catholic Supreme Court justices, religion is rapidly becoming a key factor in judicial decisions.

Despite the U.S. Constitution's prohibition against religion as a test for office, presidential candidates have been made to wear their religion on their sleeve since at least 1976. The non-religious Ronald Reagan suddenly became interested in attending church when he ran for governor of California. The religious right questioned George H. W. Bush's religious credentials because his wife, Barbara Bush, was pro-choice in 1988. During the 2008 presidential debates, candidates advertised their religion in ways that would have been seen as shameful in the 1800s.

As non-theists, we can support rational discussion in the public square and help discourage the drive to inject religion into every aspect of electoral politics. We can ask the question, "How does religion qualify a person for good governance?" Most school board members made little of their religion in the past. Why has religious affiliation religion into the classroom? When candidates advertise their religion or make blatant statements to pander to the god viruses, we must be prepared to call them on it.

The god virus will happily take a culture back to the Iron Age, or even Stone Age, if it enhances propagation. Look at the stagnation of Islamic culture for the last 800 years. Islam was once the cradle of science and math. Christian fundamentalists would do the same. Evangelical vectors preach every Sunday about going back to the Iron Age in terms of education, science, marriage, politics, etc.

Here are their visions for our future:

This is our land. This is our world. This is our heritage, and with God's help, we shall reclaim this nation for Jesus Christ. An no power on earth can stop us. -D. James Kennedy, A Nation in Search of Its Soul

If you don't want a Christian nation, then go to one of the many nations that are heathen already, rather than perverting ours. -Jeff Fugate, Pastor of Clays Mill Road Baptist Church

Those who study jihad will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world. All the countries conquered by Islam or to be conquered in the future will be marked for everlasting salvation. For they shall live under God's law. -Ayatollah Ruhaollah Khomeini, Islam is Not a Nation of Pacifists

Nobody has the right to worship on this planet any other God than Jehovah. And therefore the state does not have the responsibility to defend anybody's pseudo-right to worship an idol. -Rev. Joseph Morecraft, Chaldedon Presbyterian Church. Speech

Religions will be with us as long as humans seek easy answers; as long as skilled vectors sedate people to avoid life's difficult questions; as long as the infected let their preachers, popes and imams do their thinking for them, we will have religion.

As non-theists, we can work to make this religious environment less toxic to our culture and to ourselves. Identify and challenge viral behavior in yourself and learn to live virus free.

Ray, Darrel (2012-01-31). The God Virus: How Religion Infects Our Lives and Culture (Kindle Locations 3969-3971). BookMasters. Kindle Edition.
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Posted by Bridgier (+9430) 10 years ago
So.... I guess we're no longer disagreeing about the role of women in the Missouri Synod?
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+15311) 10 years ago
Other than making jello salad and babies, women have no role in the misery synod. So... yes, we are no longer disagreeing.
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Posted by K.Duffy (+1820) 10 years ago
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Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+18118) 10 years ago
dadgum obama lovers
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Posted by Bob L. (+5095) 10 years ago
Mmmmmmmmmmmm. Jello salad.
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Posted by Jeri Dalbec (+3261) 10 years ago
You also might want to read Joseph Campbell's "The Power Of Myth" with Bill Moyers. Really interesting.
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Posted by Bob Netherton II (+1905) 10 years ago
I just want to know who, or what has occupied Richard's body.
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Posted by howdy (+4944) 10 years ago
Richard has gone thru a complete transformation on MC.COM IMO...He was formerly a very conservative Limbaugh listener and now is bordering on liberal...yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa for Richard....He is a very honest man with himself which is rare these days IMO...
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Posted by Fred South (+163) 10 years ago
Richard:
Based on your quote from the God Virus, are we to assume that an atheistic culture, like the old Soviet Union, would be much nearer the ideal?
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+15311) 10 years ago
A government free from religious influence would be ideal.
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3712) 10 years ago
A government free from religious influence human beings would be ideal.


Fixed. Thinking that getting rid of religion would create a rational, altruistic government is no less delusional than thinking that changing to a theocracy would have the same result.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+15311) 10 years ago
So all government is delusional? Your tendency to triangulate into the land of magic ponies is hard to comprehend.

Again
Informed policy requires open discussion and clear cost-benefit analysis. When religion gets in the mix, imaginary costs and benefits influence the calculations. Our liberal democracy works despite religion, not because of it. When religion has been subdued in the debate, this nation has made great strides.

Beginning with the deistic founders and presidents of the early United States to the deistic leadership of Abraham Lincoln to the liberal, non-religious leadership of FDR, progress comes when the nation makes decisions in the best interest of the people, not religion.


[This message has been edited by Richard Bonine, Jr. (4/20/2012)]
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Posted by Bridgier (+9430) 10 years ago
I would like to see less moralizing in our government policies at all levels.

Instead of giving all this money to the banks, for example, why not give it to the people whose mortgages were underwater? Because we must punish them for being greedy, or stupid, or merely late to the casino. It's the same impulse that leads to drug tests for welfare recipients, "workfare" requirements to receive SNAP or TANF benefits, or even just generalized butthurt over the fact that 47% of your fellow American citizens are so procreating poor that they don't even have to pay Federal income taxes, those lucky lucky duckies.

For some reason, it's been determined that the middle and lower classes MUST SUFFER, or else any sort of recovery is just a dirty trick, like finding out that EVERYONE is going to heaven, and if that's the case, how will the swells be able to spot one another at the supermarket?

If this is the best that our "christian" society can do, then I say bring on the humanists with their cost-benefit algorithms weighted towards restoring the viability of the middle class.

In the meantime, I'm just going to pray for that meteor.

[This message has been edited by Bridgier (4/20/2012)]
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Posted by howdy (+4944) 10 years ago
Ditto, Bridgier!!!
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3712) 10 years ago
So all government is delusional? Your tendency to triangulate into the land of magic ponies is hard to comprehend.


Good lord, I didn't say that government is delusional, I said that the author of your quote is. Re-quoting the same thing again isn't likely to change my opinion.
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3712) 10 years ago
Instead of giving all this money to the banks, for example, why not give it to the people whose mortgages were underwater?


Because the people with the mortgages don't tell the government what to do, the Wall Street Banks do.
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Posted by Bridgier (+9430) 10 years ago
WOOOOOOOOSHHHHHHH
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3712) 10 years ago
I don't buy your theory. It's not about Christianity, humanism, atheism, punishing anyone, ideology, or all those high minded theories. Assume that everything is about money and you'll never be surprised.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+15311) 10 years ago
I don't buy your theory. It's not about Christianity, humanism, atheism, punishing anyone, ideology, or all those high minded theories. Assume that everything is about money and you'll never be surprised.


It may well be about "the money". But how that money is spent is unarguably being determined by those infected with the god virus. If policy decisions were made solely on the basis of science and logic our country would be very different and IMO better off. Pick any of the major spending categories of our federal budget, be it healthcare, military, social programs,etc., it is being impacted by the judeo-christian god virus. Retaining the power for continued infection is what republicanism is all about right now.

[This message has been edited by Richard Bonine, Jr. (4/21/2012)]
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3712) 10 years ago
So, I think this is nonsense, but assuming that it is not, what exactly would you do to accomplish the goal of policy decisions being made "solely on the basis of science and logic"? Maybe we should also make decisions solely on the basis of love and kindness as Christianity would dictate. Is this a reasonable goal?
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Posted by howdy (+4944) 10 years ago
Love and Kindness would sure give us a health care system for all at a reasonable price and cut out the insurance companies...
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+15311) 10 years ago
So, I think this is nonsense, but assuming that it is not, what exactly would you do to accomplish the goal of policy decisions being made "solely on the basis of science and logic"? Maybe we should also make decisions solely on the basis of love and kindness as Christianity would dictate. Is this a reasonable goal?


Loving other people as you love yourself is a human value that transcends religious views. Making decisions based on love for our fellow human beings and showing people the power of cooperation and inner-dependence rather that the selfish independence that wraps itself in the flag and it's parochial view of god, is an ideal to which we should all aspire.

Decisions made on the basis of logic and science would include changes in our foreign policy. Our approach to Israeli Arab relations, and the subsequent wars, are largely based on the christian god-virus notions surrounding the pre-tribulation rapture doctrine and a premillenialist end-times view. That strain of the god-virus has infected how we decide which side we favor/bomb and who we placate.

Decisions about drug policy are made from an abolitionist mindset which comes from the christian fundamentalist god virus. Thus, we are throwing people in jail for 5 year because they possessed and/or are using Cannabis vegetation indigenous to the United States. As a taxpayer, I think it is absurd that money is used to lock such people up. Much of the immigration issue and border drug war with Mexico is part of this issue. Science and logic would show cannabis use is a non-issue if it is taxed and regulated like alcohol.

Healthcare has been infected with multiple strains of the god-virus. Women reproductive health, human sexuality, end of life issues, etc. are all highly impacted by people who hold allegiance to a book, which honestly most of them have never read for themselves. The places in the US with the highest teen pregnancy rates, highest abortion rates, and highest divorce rates are the places where the god-virus is most active... red state America, especially in the south. States where the god-virus is not as active have much lower occurrences of teen-pregnancy, abortion, etc. They also have a better healthcare system to address those issues.

I believe the way we accomplish the goal of making decisions based on science and logic is to continue to expose the god-virus heliocentric hypocrisy for what it is. Historically, every time such thinking has been exposed by science and reason, god-virus thinking has been shown to be an enemy of the truth.

[This message has been edited by Richard Bonine, Jr. (4/22/2012)]
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Posted by Steve Craddock (+2732) 10 years ago
I think Levi and Richard both have important points. I'd have to agree with Levi that money is certainly the primary driver of most laws and government policies. At the same time, as we've seen in one campaign after another, the greed motive is usually disguised as serving some variant of the God Virus (morality, tradition, etc.), so it's difficult to separate the two.

One area where the God virus is the primary culprit in an insane public policy is the War on Drugs. Since the day Nancy Reagan first infected us with the god virus known as "Just Say No!," America has turned into what Time Magazine has dubbed the Incarceration Nation. The fact that America as a nation is the main victim of the Drug War is irrefutable. When Pat Robertson and the Wall Street Journal join more liberal voices in stating that it's time to end the War on Drugs, you can bet the time has come to start doing something more sane.

And just for the record, I don't smoke tabacco of ANY kind, so legalilzation won't benefit me personally. I just think it's ridiculous that people who sell and use alcohol make a good living and pay taxes, while those who sell and use marijuana go to prison where their lives are ruined at the cost of billions of tax dollars.

http://www.time.com/time/...77,00.html

[This message has been edited by Steve Craddock (4/22/2012)]
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Posted by howdy (+4944) 10 years ago
as part of the proof about money being a big problem in government read this article...

http://www.addictinginfo....ning-alec/

ok don't get this link problem, it works when I put this long link down below and dont put it in the [ ] things...weird...

http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/04/22/conservative-senator-chuck-grassley-declares-war-on-coca-cola-for-abandoning-alec/

[This message has been edited by howdy (4/22/2012)]
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Posted by Steve Craddock (+2732) 10 years ago
Looks like Grassley caught the TomDeLay Virus!
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Posted by howdy (+4944) 10 years ago
lol, good point Steve....plus to be so blatant about it...they think the American people will tolerate anything I guess...
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3712) 10 years ago
Loving other people as you love yourself is a human value that transcends religious views. Making decisions based on love for our fellow human beings and showing people the power of cooperation and inner-dependence rather that the selfish independence that wraps itself in the flag and it's parochial view of god, is an ideal to which we should all aspire.


So if you believe that this can exist without the influence of religion, why do you think the negative things that you associate with religion would not?

If you haven't guessed, I am not a fan of the "new atheists" (Dawkins and his disciples). I have heard Dawkins talk for 2 straight hours and explain "The God Delusion" and I think he is exactly the same as the so-called Christian Apologists in that he starts with a conclusion (in his case, everything bad in the history of mankind is caused by religion, and bad things that were done by atheists was caused by religion too because they were acting religious) and warps the facts to fit it. He is a religious atheist in that he ascribes powers to atheism that it has not been demonstrated to have (the power to fix everything that is wrong with the world).

In my opinion, if these guys are correct in their belief that there is no god, then it follows that religion is just a reflection of human nature, and there is no reason to believe that people would act any differently in its absence.

In my further opinion, the idea that removal of religion would result in an ideal society ruled by science and reason, or that removal of religion would be possible, or that any one factor should be considered a panacea for the ills of the world, is completely ridiculous and without the support of science OR logic.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+15311) 10 years ago
That is a truly interesting explanation, Levi. One that is certainly worth further contemplation.
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Posted by Bridgier (+9430) 10 years ago
People should just quit being dicks.
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Posted by Jeri Dalbec (+3261) 10 years ago
Running Hawk of Lakota Nation said: "Religion is for people who are afraid of Hell. Spirituality is for people who have already been there".
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+15311) 10 years ago
Jeri: I LIKE that saying.
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Posted by howdy (+4944) 10 years ago
Ditto on that saying!!! sitting here with my friend who happens to be a native american from the Lakota tribe, and she smiled when I read it to her...
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