Atheists Annoyed by Inaugural Oath

In their 39-page lawsuit seeking to prohibit religious figures and phrases from Barack Obama’s inauguration, the plaintiffs made a number … Continued

In their 39-page lawsuit seeking to prohibit religious figures and phrases from Barack Obama’s inauguration, the plaintiffs made a number of interesting complaints but none more colorful than this one: “Interlarding those ceremonies with clergy who espouse sectarian religious dogma does not unite, but rather divides, our citizenry.”

Interlarding? Rick Warren is a big guy but he’s not that big. Of course, attorneys for atheist Michael Newdow and other plaintiffs were using the term metaphorically, arguing that mixing (interlarding: to insert something foreign into) petitions to God and other “explicitly religious dogma” into the secular ceremony violates the Constitution.

Reaction to the suit ranges from annoyance to ridicule. “Newdow’s lawsuit over the inauguration is a lot like the streaker at the Super Bowl: a pale, self-absorbed distraction. And anybody who looks at it carefully can see there’s not much there,” said Scott Walter, executive director of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

I suspect there’d be a lot more sympathy for the suit if Obama had invited a Muslim cleric and a Wiccan priestess to deliver the inaugural invocation and benediction, rather than well-known Christian clergy Rick Warren and Joseph Lowery. Or if Chief Justice John Roberts was planning to ask Obama to close his oath of office with the words “So help me Jesus” instead of “So help me God.”

And I suspect the lawsuit would have generated less condescension if it had been filed by the Freedom Forum or the National Council of Churches, rather than two dozen atheist and humanist individuals and groups led by the infamous Newdow, best known for his lawsuits challenging the interlarding of the Pledge of Allegiance with the phrase “under God.”

The Constitution protects minority rights, not minority sensibilities. Newdow and company filed similar lawsuits before the 2001 and 2005 inaugurations, to no avail. The Supreme Court ruled more than two decades ago that such public “acknowledgments” of God are ceremonial, not theological, and serve “the legitimate secular purposes of solemnizing public occasions, expressing confidence in the future, and encouraging the recognition of what is worthy of appreciation in society.”

But just because this lawsuit will be dismissed doesn’t mean we should be dismissive of some of the important points made and questions raised by the plaintiffs:

When Chief Justice Roberts asks President-elect Obama to put his right hand on a Bible and swear to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution “so help me God,” is the United States of America declaring that God exists? Does the inclusion of clergy prayers and oaths to God in the inauguration of the president mean that the new government officially endorses theism and rejects atheism?

If not, do the words “so help me God” mean anything at all?

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Note: U.S. Dist. Judge Reggie B. Walton has scheduled a hearing on the matter Jan. 15.

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  • bevjims1

    Just for reference since I haven’t seen it mentioned after skimming recent postings, Article 2 section 1 of the constitution specifies the oath to be taken by a president. So, it seems clear to me that when the Chief Justice adds “so help you God” is an attempt to require the new president to establish a religion that his oath is premised upon. This is blatantly unconstitutional and the Chief Justice should be reprimanded, but by whom I am not sure. Maybe it should be made clear that by adding the words to the oath, it invalidates the oath since it is not taken constitutionally, requiring the president to take the real oath later and the oath taken with the Chief Justice the the reference to God, in public, is nothing more than theater since it does not abide by constitutional requirements. No one should be forced to take an oath to any God except in religious circumstances, which a swearing is is not.

  • efavorite

    Lawsuit aside, I’m hoping “So help me God” won’t be added to the oath. I’m hoping Roberts won’t say it and Obama won’t repeat it — that they’ll arrange in advance to handle it the way it’s stated in the constitution. Plain and simple. They’re both citizens and both lawyers so it should be pretty easy for them to understand. I like to think this is how Obama planned to handle it before this lawsuit came up.As for the prayers – go ahead – have a prayer – just don’t mess with the Constitution.

  • Spectator

    At first glance, I, as an agnostic, thought the atheists were being their negative selves again. But, after reading the article and comments carefully, I realize this issue is worth listening to from both sides.Do local and federal courts require such an oath for sworn testimony? What would happen if the witness/testifier declined the “Under God” part?

  • cnj5954

    Religion discourages open mindedness. “Reason is the greatest enemy of faith” – Martin Luther. Enough said. No other entity has a wall of protection built around it whereby it is considered offensive and disrespectful to criticize even its most outlandish and ludicrous claims. Great scientist, philosophers, educators, psychologist and astonomers can be attacked enlessly, but the religious, oh nooo! Groups crying out for rights guaranteed by the constitution are scolded by the religious and are told that they are infringing on their right to worship. Where will this lunancy stop?

  • jmorris2

    I think one of the key points of the lawsuit is that:If Obama wants to include them as a personal choice, that would be fine, but why should the Chief Justice insist he include them?

  • iamweaver

    My real issue with this oath is that it if the intended god is the Christian God, the idea goes against the teachings of the New Testament, in which Jesus clearly states not to use oaths. “Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one.”Even though this particular passage in Matthew contains a fair amount of hyperbole, it’s clear that oaths should be avoided.

  • PattiFink1

    The purpose of an oath is to establish and publicly recognize that the oath-taker is truthfully making the highest/strongest possible commitment to upholding the content of the oath.I have no problem with the administered oath being done with a holy book and the words “so help me God” IF those elements are applicable to the oath-taker in expressing the highest/strongest possible commitment to upholding the content of the oath.If the oath-taker is, say, a Muslim…then for him/her, the personal commitment to upholding the oath would most appropriately be made by using a Koran and perhaps “so help me Allah” to conclude the oath. The words spoken in the oath — and the act of placing a hand on a holy book respected & meaningfully revered by the oath-taker — should assist in bringing confidence in the oath-taker’s commitment, and thus should reflect the oath-taker’s personal beliefs.Theoretically, these ceremonial accoutrements are only meaningful if they fit with the oath-takers belief system. I am a Christian, and for me to place my hand on a Koran, for example, while taking an oath might not instill confidence in others that I am serious about the oath I’m taking. If a Jew is taking an oath and placing his/her hand on a Christian Bible, many might view the oath-taker with skepticism about his/her highest/strongest commitment to upholding the oath.While I do not believe that it is necessary to include a holy book or a concluding oath to a higher power in a public official’s swearing-in, I think it’s fine from a constitutional point of view. The oath has meaning with and without these accoutrements, and when they are of personal significance to the oath-taker’s belief system, they may provide an extra emphasis needed for others to feel confidence in the oath-taker’s commitment to the oath. I do not see it as a governmental endorsement of religion, since it inherently must be tied to the oath-taker’s personal belief system rather than to anyone else’s belief system.

  • fedssocr

    Everyone in Executive branch service says a similar oath/declaration when they are sworn in. It may actually be the exact same one. I don’t think the “so help me God” line was included when I was sworn in, or at least I didn’t say it if everyone else did.Also, when you are in court you are not required to “swear to tell the truth, the whole truth…so help me God” if you don’t want to. You can leave out the God part. When I was on jury duty in Arlington a few years ago I asked the clerk of the court about the oath the jurors have to take because I objected to the “so help me god” part in that. He told me no one had ever brought it up before. I guess most people probably just say the words because it either doesn’t mean anything to them or it’s just not a big enough deal to them to raise the issue.

  • bevjims1

    PattiFink1 wrote: “While I do not believe that it is necessary to include a holy book or a concluding oath to a higher power in a public official’s swearing-in, I think it’s fine from a constitutional point of view. The oath has meaning with and without these accoutrements, and when they are of personal significance to the oath-taker’s belief system, they may provide an extra emphasis needed for others to feel confidence in the oath-taker’s commitment to the oath. I do not see it as a governmental endorsement of religion, since it inherently must be tied to the oath-taker’s personal belief system rather than to anyone else’s belief system.”There is no constitutional requirement that the oath be given by the chief justice, so, would you mind the oath being given by a Catholic bishop in the National Cathedral? Yes, its an extreme example, but you are arguing that the president can take the oath anyway he wants, and possibly that the chief justice can give it anyway he wants. That is not what the Constitution says. By adding a bible and the words “so help me God”, the oath is changed, and its meaning is changed since the president is not swearing (or affirming) an oath to the American people, but to God. You only need to remember Bush saying that he consulted a higher authority before invading Iraq to understand that if Bush’s oath was truly to God and not America, then he took his oath improperly, on a bible and swearing his oath to God, which the forefathers did not include in their secular government. So, IMHO, it matters a lot whether the words and bible are added or not.

  • monel7191

    violettavalery has a good point. Obama’s beliefs are his and his alone and I don’t really care what they are or how he believes in them. What I DO care about is those words in the oath of office that MUST have a grounding in the person’s integrity, patriotism and honor: “to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”Every thing else is just window dressing

  • pinetree2

    Roberts is a religious bigot of the very conservative Catholic variety. Pure and simple. And we all know their great accomplishment throughout history; apparently nobody expects an American Inquisition either (all due respect to Monty Python). I think it would be great if somebody added to the real oath: “By the Goddess, so mote it be”. That at least would be fun, and beside I happen to like Goddesses. But then Roberts would have to do an extra life time or two in purgatory as time to reflect on the consequences of his meddling. Frankly, I don’t see the issue as any better if Obama add it instead. I don’t want Obama to be Theologist in Chief either, it is just as wrong for him.

  • yetimo

    This is something I’ve never thought much about although it is interesting. If an atheist were swearing in as a court witness, would his oath be null and void if he swore on the bible? Would he be held in contempt if he refused to swear on the bible?

  • ianf46

    We all want our political leaders to behave themselves and expect them, on taking office, to promise this to their public most solemnly. However, I don’t think the USA citizenry should beat itself up over its relationship to God in this instance when it ignores countless examples of its misuse of God. There is no doubt that religious oaths are contrary to US law and to Christian teachings and, given this, it is a mystery to me that how they came to be introduced in the first place and, if anything, grew in importance over past decades. Many countries, such as England, Iran and Malaysia have an ‘official’ religion, but the USA, like Australia does not. Britain retains DF (Defender of the (Protestant) Faith)on their currency but Australia dropped it many years ago. However, the US isn’t the only nation to defame God by associating his wishes with their actions. Both sides in most conflicts, either foreign or civil (even economic miscreants, our latest social enemies, have been known to claim his suppport), invoke God’s endorsement of their aspirations. I don’t know why the atheists are dissenting over a God they deny exists, when it’s we Christians who should be most offended. Most Christians probably disagree with many pronouncements or policies made by individuals supposedly speaking on our behalf but we have become used to it. Churchill, I think, once said that in public life, Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel and, for myself, a politician embracing my God to justify his/her secular activities is instantly of lesser value. I agree it is specifically against Jesus’ commands to swear such an oath but as long as this politician is otherwise a genuine believer, which he seems to be, then at least he is making us a solemn promise – which is the main point. Ian, Canberra, Australia

  • bob2davis

    It is a travesty that ninety percent of Americans, including Obama, say that they believe in god. It is abhorrent that such a large number is so ignorant. None of these people have questioned or researched the existence of god. If one actually does this work, an affirmative answer is impossible. The words “so help me god”, while certainly unconstitutional, are as ridiculous as saying “so me help me Paris Hilton!” It is sad that a country with enormous educational opportunities can perpetuate such idiocy for so long.

  • kengelhart

    PattiFink1: “The purpose of an oath is to establish and publicly recognize that the oath-taker is truthfully making the highest/strongest possible commitment to upholding the content of the oath.”Exactly. Anyone who disapproves of a culturally accepted behavior needs to specify a better one that satisfies the needs of the entire culture. Even atheists, a clear minority, should recognize the needs of other segments of the society and suggest an improved oath, or simply accept the current one without getting defensive about it.

  • bdunn1

    From my reading of the suit, the oath of office as written by the forefathers does not include “so help me God.” What’s wrong with following the Constitution? Either administer the right oath or amend the Constitution.

  • globalone

    bob2davis,A country that started as a colony of England, fought for its own independence, and then rose to become the only “superpower” in the world. All the while acknowledging that the majority of its citizens believed in God (whomever you claim that to be).If the belief in God makes this country “ignorant”, what does that say about the rest of the world?

  • CraigBettenhausen

    It’s a travesty that such a large percent of arguers, including Bob2Davis, say that their conclusion is the only one a thinking person can come to. It is abhorrent that such a large number are presuming ignorance on the part of those who disagree with them. The majority believers have questioned and researched (to the degree that is possible) the existence of God. If one actually does this work without prejudice, an affirmative answer is common but either answer is understandable. The words, “so help me God,” while certainly constitutionally protected free speech, are far less ridiculous than asking one person to swear by another’s belief system. It is sad that a section of the atheist community that so often presumes educational superiority (without supporting evidence) can persist in such intolerance and fear of differing viewpoints and intelligent discussion. (and odd grammer)

  • Wsedms

    I suggest everyone read the actual complaint in Newdow v Roberts.”95. Defendants are acting in concert to further worsen the social condition of Plaintiffs. They are engaging in and promoting governmental activities that (a) will exacerbate Plaintiffs’ “outsider” status, (b) will have religious purposes, (c) will have religious effects, (d) will endorse the purely religious notion that there exists a God, (e) will show a preference for that exclusionary religious belief, (f) will affiliate government with that religious belief, (g) will signal the disapproval of Plaintiffs’ religious views, (h) will violate the governmental neutrality required in matters of religion, (i) will inculcate the specific religious belief that God exists (and likely the specific religious belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God), and (j) will place government’s “imprimatur” on those specific religious beliefs.96. Moreover, Defendants know that they will impose these harms not only upon the adult plaintiffs in this case, but upon the minor plaintiffs as well.97. Such impositions, upon impressionable young children, amount to the coercive imposition of religious dogma specifically denounced by the Supreme Court in nine out of nine public school cases (where religious dogma is imposed upon children in a governmental setting).”For REASON’s sake, think of the Children and all the harm you are doing to them. The STATE is imposing its monotheism dogma on little children.I can tell everyone this for certain, whatever deity President-elect Obama swears to, it will not be my deity, nor will the one being prayed to by Rick Warren. I really do not like the deity of hatred, racism and sexism.

  • bevjims1

    kengelhart wrote: “Anyone who disapproves of a culturally accepted behavior needs to specify a better one that satisfies the needs of the entire culture. Even atheists, a clear minority, should recognize the needs of other segments of the society and suggest an improved oath, or simply accept the current one without getting defensive about it.”The problem with swearing any oath is that one expects the oath taker to have some fear while swearing the oath. Someone who takes an oath in court swears upon the fear of punishment for perjury. Presumably, an oath of office includes God due to the assumption that the oath taker fears God and so the oath would have more teeth in it for the oath taker. But that assumption may be wrong. Relying on an assumption about the oath taker’s fear of God is not a good idea. Nor is it a good idea to have the oath taker swear an oath to God and not the American people. As Bush clearly showed, his God comes before his country. Removing the reference to God indicates who the oath is being sworn to, the American people, the same people the president must answer to should the oath be broken. Bush seems to care less what the people think since he may be feeling his oath to God was more important. When Cheney was asked about the polls showing a large number of people wanting to withdraw from Iraq he answered “so what?”. Makes one wonder who these two were serving. Their oaths to God may explain who they feel they swore an oath to, and of course, in their minds, God completely agrees with them, as so many feel God agrees with their views.Remove the reference to God. Its not constitutional and a bad idea. The notion that swearing the oath to God makes the oath more powerful is a feel good assumption and nothing more, which is why the forefathers did not include it in the Constitution.

  • gwymer

    This is one of the first improvements we could make as a nation that needs to grow intellectually and spiritually. What did it really mean when George W Bush spoke the words, “so help me God?” Nothing. Seeing what his criminal administration has wrought, the answer is quite clear. Invoking the name of God means nothing. As a citizen of the United States, I would feel much better knowing that the President at his/her inauguration would promise his allegiance to the people of the nation, asking for the help of the people, not some undefined ‘god’ that everyone is in constant dispute over anyway. Let’s grow up here.

  • Good2bOK

    Bob2,I would love to hear the argument that produces the conclusion that the existence of God is impossible. Is it based on science, philosophy, something else? That’s a pretty strong statement. Like asserting that there is no gold in all of Alaska, proving the negative can prove elusive (and arduous).Just asking.

  • Jazzman7

    I am atheist. Literally, I do not recognize the power of a sentient being that organizes the universe.In a court proceeding a few years ago, I was asked to swear by the Bible. I was not affronted by the request, for I think it important that all people be able to swear an oath of diligence or honesty. I pointed out to the clerk that I was atheist to give the understanding that the conventional oath would not be binding to me as a person without religious faith (but not without faith of any kind).I think that a person of religious conviction may justly swear an oath by what he or she believes without regard to the faiths of others. We as humans should be able and willing to accept the intent and meaning of the oath and the symbol to which it is bound. I myself have no difficulty swearing to the powers of the eternal universe.

  • gwymer

    This is one of the first improvements we could make as a nation that needs to grow intellectually and spiritually. What did it really mean when George W Bush spoke the words, “so help me God?” Nothing. Seeing what his criminal administration has wrought, the answer is quite clear. Invoking the name of God means nothing. As a citizen of the United States, I would feel much better knowing that the President at his/her inauguration would promise his allegiance to the people of the nation, asking for the help of the people, not some undefined ‘god’ that everyone is in constant dispute over anyway. Let’s grow up. People who say things like Fishcrow here, that “God defines himself,” and who in the same breath think that they are being “reasonable” prove my point with their very lack of logic and their simple tautologies.

  • iamweaver

    BEVJIMS1 writes:”Nor is it a good idea to have the oath taker swear an oath to God and not the American people.”This is not the first post that has said this, and it is an incorrect statement. The swearing-in ceremony is an oath to the people of the United States. God is being invoked as a witness, not as the recipient.

  • Good2bOK

    Seems to me like it doesn’t matter how God is “defined” or conceived or portrayed when talking about the oath. The phrase “so help me God” strikes me as a plea for help: “I promise, with God’s help, to uphold the Constitution….” If that’s the case, the phrase should not be essential–it doesn’t add any certainty to the oath.The corollary, of course, is that if Obama chooses not to say that part, his oath should not be nullified.Me, personally, I trust more a man/woman who seeks God help in upholding a promise. Just me, I guess.

  • Good2bOK

    WSEDMS,@3:51, I honestly thought you were ridiculing the complaint for making extreme claims. I expected you to finish up with something like, “You see, this is the kind of ridiculous nonsense that justifies tort reform.”But that’s not what you said.Seems to me that lots of children grow up without a belief in God, even though the president mentions him in his oath. It must be that parents exert a greater influence than government.Just a theory.

  • kthhken

    I guess the atheists would not have signed on to the Declaration of Independence, another of our founding documents, since it is clear that the founders believed that “human rights” come from our Creator (God). If you don’t believe in the foundational prinicples of our country and that includes and understanding of the relationship of our Creator to Natural Law to Human Rights, then perhaps a good atheistic country like China, or Cuba, or North Korea may be more to your liking. After all those countries are atheist with strictly procedural constitutions.This country was founded by men who rightly understood our relationship to our Creator. They did create a Constitution to protect which flavor of worship you would choose, but they did not found a country to be divorced from God, they rightly knew that was not possible or desirable.IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

  • chopin224

    I bet those who favor this phrase cherish our religion freedom unless of course the person is a Muslim, Hindu, Shinto, Buddhist, etc. Religious freedom in this country is a joke.

  • publia

    I agree with “financepirate” on the points s/he makes. For my own part, I would prefer that the oath be seen as a solemn agreement between the president and the American people. If it is felt necessary to make the oath on some written material, I would prefer it to be a copy of the U. S. Constitution, perhaps opened to the exact page wherein the words of the oath are found. Here it is, as it appears in Article II, Section 1: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”As for swearing in court (an oath is sworn in the name of God), ask the clerk to allow you to affirm (an affirmation is not in the name of God). This eliminates the God issue for non-believers, or even for believers who do not wish to call upon God for human matters. Personally, I don’t much care whether God exists or not. I would live my life in as righteous a way as I can anyway, fully practicing the Golden Rule. When I go to court, I always insist on making an affirmation. I don’t think the Deity, should there be one, should be called upon for trivial human issues. And I am much more motivated by the fact that if I give false testimony I am liable to prosecution for perjury than I am motivated by some hazy thought of punishment in hell, should there be one.

  • postmichael

    I have never known a president in my lifetime that kept his oath of office – witnessed by god or not. So what is it worth anyway? God as a witness didn’t seem to stop GWB from any of innumerable and shameless betrayals of his oath and yet the religious faithful love him…

  • CCNL

    Even atheists have some kind of “god(s)” and/or “goddess(es)”.Choices: the “Yahwehers”, the “Zeusers”, the “Allahers”, the “Jehovahers”, the “Mother Naturers”, the “Suners”, the “Krishna-Vasudevaers”, the “Vishnuers”, the Hariers, the “Shaktiers”, the “Thorers”, the “Universers”, the “Quetzalcoatlers”, the “Tezcatlipocaers”, the “Apolloers”, the “Marsers”, the “Faunaers”, the “Caesarers”, the “Kennedyers”, the “Clintoners”, etc. BO’s “gods” and “goddesses” are the members of the Immoral Majority who put him in the “Blood” House i.e. the 70 + million voting “mothers and fathers” of 35+ million aborted womb-babies slaughtered since 1973 at a rate of ~one million/year.

  • dgblues

    “The Supreme Court ruled more than two decades ago that such public “acknowledgments” of God are ceremonial, not theological, and serve “the legitimate secular purposes of solemnizing public occasions, expressing confidence in the future, and encouraging the recognition of what is worthy of appreciation in society.” “And the Supreme Court also ruled that money is speech. So what. We once thought the universe revolved around the Earth as well.These public supplications are ceremonial specifically and only because they are theological. For if they didn’t have that aura of “respectability” they would certainly be ridiculed as would any fairy tale meant to impart values to impressionable children in which an adult might still vest their blind faith. You won’t see Obama beseeching the Easter Bunny to bring candy for the nation for that very reason.Supreme Court or no, it certainly doesn’t follow to me that this supplication before Santa Claus (or whatever other mystical being who makes a list and checks it twice) lends itself to either confidence in the future or recognition of what’s worthy in society. To the contrary, were it not for this mad delusion, global conflict in the 21st century would be much abated.I’m not hopeful that these governmental god-policies will change in my lifetime, so I tend not to dwell on it too much. I just accept it, just like I accept that the Democrats have become Republicans.

  • Chagasman

    The fact that George W. Bush said “so help me God”, immediately violated his oath, and wasn’t struck down by bolts of lightening from heaven shows that the phrase is meaningless. Neither God nor man can keep a President, as the House and Senate couldn’t stop Bush from torturing human beings or prosecute him for violating multiple laws and the Constitution. Keeping the phrase in the oath accomplishes absolutely nothing. It is just like all the rest of the phrases the religious toss around…”Under God”, “In God We Trust”, nothing but meaningless blather shouted out by fearful people to justify actions that God would condemn, it he existed.

  • spidermean2

    This is a lawsuit coming from the BRAINLESS. This nation should have no time entertaining IDIOTS. Use your brains. Use your brains. Here is a SCIENTIFIC FACT. Any discussion about atheism does not make sense anymore due to this irrefutable fact :Intelligence can produce (dumb and smart) objects but NO dumb object/s can produce intelligence.In other words, if we try to rewind creation and and look for the beginning of things, we would end up finding INTELLIGENCE as the MAIN SOURCE of creation.From hereon, the discussion should be “who or what is that Intelligence?Use your brains. Use your brains.

  • gtechgladin

    I am essentially an atheist, although I would technically consider myself agnostic with a strong belief that the God’s envisioned by man and described by holy and ancient texts have a very low probability of existing based on evidence. In that context, I would argue that atheists need to pick and choose their battles. If our country elects a christian like Barack Obama, which they will almost certainly always do based on demographics, then so be it. The man is not forced to swear on a Bible, neither should he be forced not to. The inclusion of the word “God” is agnostic enough for me to allow it on historical and cultural terms. We need to focus on real battles, such as keeping the teaching of pseudo-science based on falsified evidence and false claims out of our public schools, and thus letting the truth speak for itself. That, if you’ve ever read Thomas Jefferson, is what the first amendment is about.

  • spidermean2

    It’s easier for God to take away from existence the people who opposes God than to take away that phrase “under God”.That is the prophecy and very soon, God will execute it.

  • asoders22

    Of course the religious part of the Inauguration ceremony is absurd. Quote: “The Supreme Court ruled more than two decades ago that such public “acknowledgments” of God are ceremonial, not theological, and serve “the legitimate secular purposes of solemnizing public occasions, expressing confidence in the future, and encouraging the recognition of what is worthy of appreciation in society.” Unquote.In other words: This is just form, people, nothing else.If that isn’t mockery of religion, I don’t know what is. The Supreme Court wants to eat the cake and have it. Either it’s religious, and then it shouldn’t be there, or it’s pure hypocrisy, and then it shouldn’t be there.

  • raschumacher

    The phrase should not be there. Part of the genius of America is our tolerant secular government, which in theory takes no part in and has no position on any religion. This practice violates that principle.

  • akuperma1

    The phrase is added by the President. He can add anything he feels like. It’s his right.When Newdow gets elected, he can say whatever he wants.

  • redtodd78

    The oath of office is laid out word for word in the Constitution and it is completely devoid of the phrase “so help me God” or any other religious reference. As an agnostic and a believer in a secular republic, I would prefer public officials not add that phrase, but I really doubt it matters what they say after the required oath (except perhaps “just kidding.”)I would prefer that God not be included in court oaths, on money, etc., but as long as I am not compelled to attend church or to financially support one, I am prepared to let this argument go.Perhaps one day there will be an agnostic or atheist (or at least non-Christian) President and just perhaps it won’t be that big a deal to people when that President declines to add the “so help me God.” If you think that’s crazy or decades away, in two weeks a black man will be President of the United States, less than 50 years after the end of de jure segregation.

  • punxnbutter

    I’m as repulsed by the self righteousness of the Conservative right wing as any atheist, but the obnoxious attempts to strike god from the record is quite tiresome. It just feeds the animals on Faux who scream culture war at the top of their lungs and it gets the red staters all riled up when we have much much bigger issues to deal with. Save it for a time of relative prosperity to deal with these little nuances.

  • gtechgladin

    Can we please avoid any attempt to seem like a repressed minority? We truly aren’t.

  • punxnbutter

    spidermean2 Author Profile Page:It’s easier for God to take away from existence the people who opposes God than to take away that phrase “under God”.That is the prophecy and very soon, God will execute it.-See what I mean? Ridiculous to their last breath.So says the book of Spiderman

  • SueMc

    I appreciated your mention of a Wiccan priestess, since I am one.I wonder what the feelings and comments here would be like if the person taking the oath of office were to invite me to recite the “Charge of the Goddess”, and after completing the oath added something like, “as the Goddess wills it.”Just a thought…

  • spidermean2

    “See what I mean? Ridiculous to their last breath”Wait and see first before you call it ridiculous. WW3 is about to come soon. And see if the idiots will still exist after that.

  • kase

    These gullible people with their imaginary friends…how annoying.

  • spidermean2

    This is a lawsuit coming from the BRAINLESS. This nation should have no time entertaining IDIOTS.Use your brains. Use your brains. Here is a SCIENTIFIC FACT. Any discussion about atheism does not make sense anymore due to this irrefutable fact :Intelligence can produce (dumb and smart) objects but NO dumb object/s can produce intelligence.In other words, if we try to rewind creation and and look for the beginning of things, we would end up finding INTELLIGENCE as the MAIN SOURCE of creation.From hereon, the discussion should be “who or what is that Intelligence?WE HAVE NO TIME FOR STUPID PEOPLE. Just look at Gaza. See what stupidity can become if we let stupid people have their say, let alone, rule a small area (Gaza).Use your brains. Use your brains.

  • PattiFink1

    BTW, forgot to mention in my previous post:Goode was defeated in November 2008 and won’t be returning to the 111th Congress. Ellison was re-elected and will again be taking the oath of office today (already did a few hours ago?).

  • jpbillon

    As an agnostic, i’d say that if God exists the “help me god” sentence might help, if She does not exist, it cannot do any harm.As a French man, I’d add that it is one of the odd things I like in the US, the land of free speech and free thinking, that God is anywhere, even on the money. Keep on that, as on miles vs. kilometers, feet vs. meters, etc. We European, we begin to be bored to have a unique, neutral, scientist approach on everything, so long life to the US oddities.

  • Chops2

    Spidermean:Firstly, this thread has to do with the inauguration so who or what intelligence created the world has f%$king nothing to do with this subject. But as u are such a cretin, I will bite.Why do u automatically assume that even if it took intelligence, that this supposed intelligence is god? Couldn’t it be extra terrestrial?To which u will call me stupid, but is it any less stupid than an invisible deity that creates the world in 7 days with the lights off then wipes off all life on earth in a flood only allowing some geezer beforehand to build a bloody big boat and collect two of every animal to procreate or create eve from a rib. See my point?Use your brain

  • spidermean2

    Im not saying that Goode is unfit but being elected doesn’t mean that stupid people like Hamas can’t be elected by stupid people.Doomsday is coming because too many stupid people elected stupid leaders around the world.

  • spidermean2

    Chops2, the Bible should be interpreted CORRECTLY and not very badly. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

  • AlanBrowne

    God is general enough a concept that it should not offend. Clearbeard’s comment is quite astute.

  • motekeeper

    TO: Spiderman 2

  • erios

    Spidermean2 posted: “Intelligence can produce (dumb and smart) objects but NO dumb object/s can produce intelligence. In other words, if we try to rewind creation and and look for the beginning of things, we would end up finding INTELLIGENCE as the MAIN SOURCE of creation.”This is not so. The physicists have demonstrated that entropy can spontaneously decrease in nonequilibrium situations. This is physics jargon for an increase of order and complexity in limited regions of the universe. Intelligence is an example of such increase. A more obvious one is the production of a chick, or a human being, from a simpler pair of cells. No preexisting soul needed.

  • Chops2

    Spidermean 2:It is true I dont know what I’m talking about when discussing the origin of the universe, neither do u mate. None of us do, we just have beliefs and theories.I just have the academic honesty to USE MY BRAIN and think beyond the teachings of a 2000 year old iliterate peasant with a messiah complex.He may be right, he may be crazy, but the point is valid, u assume it is god that created the world without exploring other options.Your arrogance and certainty are astounding. It must be kind of depressing to know everything and not have to use your brain to question christian dogma. But u are easily led. I actually feel sorry for you.Use your brain.

  • Chops2

    motekeeper:That was nice mate, keep it up.

  • motekeeper

    “The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish.”

  • motekeeper

    CHALLENGE TO BIBLE BELIEVERS!!!QUESTION: If Adam was made before Eve, then why does Adam (males) have nipples?Can any creation believer answer this please?

  • saami

    There should be no mention of God anywhere nor should there be a Bible used. The person can swear by raising their right hand and swearing by their own honor. As an atheist, I do not swear on a Bible nor do I say so help me God because I don’t believe in either of them as anything but fantasy.

  • Freestinker

    QUESTION: If Adam was made before Eve, then why does Adam (males) have nipples?… because God wanted to make us that way, of course! If you think God’s works need a logical explanation, then you completely misunderstand the nature of faith.Why does it feel good when men’s nipples are stimulated? Because God obviously wants men’s nipples to feel good too!Any more questions??

  • Domino21202

    My point:If the man making the oath is not an atheist, does it even matter? It is not Newdow’s oath, when he takes the oath he can state it in his preferred terms. His opinion is rather inflated and absolutely irrelevant.

  • motekeeper

    TO: FREESTINKERLOL!Need a Bible believer to think about this please?

  • spidermean2

    motekeeper wrote “CHALLENGE TO BIBLE BELIEVERS!!! QUESTION: If Adam was made before Eve, then why does Adam (males) have nipples?”God exists because man by himself (using all his intelligence) can’t even make a simple nipple from scratch. He doesn’t even know how to grow hairs except to transplant it. That’s how “advance” man’s intelligence is.Use your brains. If you cannot, at least acknowledge that there is Someone much more intelligent than you otherwise, you’re acting like IDIOTS.

  • spidermean2

    Chops2, as I’ve said, you don’t know what you’re talking about. There are no “simple cells”. Upto now, NO scientist (idiot or intelligent) know how cells actually work. They can’t even defeat “a very simple” virus like the HIV. They are as clueless as you are.

  • Freestinker

    Motekeeper,Asking people to explain their faith with reason is like asking a fish to explain algebra in French.

  • ckaybee

    HelloI have heard many debates where the participation of some more intellectual believers provide a welcome respite from the religious mots (man on the street). Frances Collins being the celebrated and articulate member of a group of scientists who believe that science actually serves to proove that god exists. I am unpersuaded and reject wholeheartedly and completely the beliefs these esteemed individuals. Having said that, I respect that they have dedicated some time and effort to trying to make a judgement based on imperical evidence, instead of blindly accepting to superstitions of their parents like most of the religious people I know. Coloradodog’s rather cavalier and frankly, insulting dismissal of the non-religious as not being “rigorous thinkers” is par for the course when it comes to the religious. Because religion so permeates Americam society, it is accepted by the masses as truth and very little exploration of great athiest thinkers’ formulation of their beliefs is ever studied by the religious masses. It is a pity. I have read many works of great religious thinkers, and I think you should read the works of contemporary athiest thinkers like Bertrand Russell, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and others. Just because you do not agree with us athiests, does not make us stupid!Here is a short list of some very smart athiests:Thank-You,

  • motekeeper

    TO: SPIDERMEAN2But, can you answer the question?You keep calling everyone “idiots”, “stupid”, and such.I demand to know why a creator would put milk nipples on my male chest!If there is no reasonable answer soon then I guess we evolved over millions and millions of years like ALL the top scientist say we did. At least they have tons of fossils to back their theory. I think it makes more sense to believe modern day science than a old book written 2,000 plus years ago by bronze age man.

  • spidermean2

    ckaybee wrote “Here is a short list of some very smart athiests:”Atheists can’t even name a smart atheist so they end up naming believers. Very funny. There were dumb people he named also. For that, Im sure they are atheists.

  • Freestinker

    “I demand to know why a creator would put milk nipples on my male chest!”Motekeeper,I demand to know why an atheist expects believers to explain their faith with reason?

  • spidermean2

    motekeeper, that’s not an easy question. If you try to answer hard questions just for the sake of answering, it may end up as the dumbest answer. That’s what many “scientists” do – to make dumb answers.But if you insist, here is my own “dumb” answer. Maybe it’s needed for man and woman to produce offspring. Animals that are not similar (like male horse and female pig) with respect to their DNAs cannot produce offspring. If man doesn’t have nipples, that may alter his DNA that would be much different from women which in a way may affect their ability to produce an offsring.Satisfied? There are many possiblities. Do you want more?

  • wiccan

    SueMC:Just a thought…”Why, a hearty “So Mote It Be!” is my response. :-)

  • spidermean2

    If man have no nipples, there is also a possiblity that a man and woman’s offspring would produce a female without nipples. She would turn out to be a mutant. If you don’t believe it, try changing your DNA like erase the “coding” for making nipples. Then implant your “changed DNA’ to a female egg. Then observe how your “child” would turn up. My guess is your child would be a female with breasts without nipples. There is a possiblity that she would “copy” your DNA. Satisfied?

  • nbahn

    Switch the word “god” with “Buddha” and everyone should be happy.

  • spidermean2

    SueMC wrote “I wonder what the feelings and comments here would be like if the person taking the oath of office were to invite me to recite the “Charge of the Goddess”, and after completing the oath added something like, “as the Goddess wills it.”Try make a nation first like what the puritans dreamed of and have it when they first landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts. I suggest you make your “own little nation” on top of an active volcano. That is if the volcano don’t erupt first.

  • AThagoras

    spidermean2 said:Intelligence can produce (dumb and smart) objects but NO dumb object/s can produce intelligence.”spidermean,But how is that relevant to this discussion?

  • globalone

    “Having said that, I respect that they have dedicated some time and effort to trying to make a judgement based on imperical evidence, instead of blindly accepting to superstitions of their parents like most of the religious people I know”———————————–Fortunately, most of us are not robotic zombies like ckaybee would prefer. Thank God I didn’t psychoanalyze my relationship with my wife before I married her. Instead, and perhaps this is an unknown phenomenon to ckaybee, I was led by my heart and innate desire to spend the rest of my life with her.

  • barnabytwist

    I have a position which requires that I get documents notarized from time to time. I usually use the same notary. As a devout Witch of long standing, I always said “So help me GoddESS” in response to her “Do you . . . so help you God?” She no longer bothers with the oath and just certifies my documents.

  • cohenj2

    Bottom line: Religion is an illogical social construction of reality. The burden of proof to show that a deity/deities exist is on those who are religious. I have yet to see any evidence…

  • krankyman

    Here is the irony of atheism:To be an atheist one must deny the existence of a god.To deny the existence of a god means the atheist must know there is no god.To know there is no god means one has absolute knowledge that a god does not exist.Absolute knowledge means one must have all knowledge about a subject.Absolute knowledge on a subject means one is omniscient.Omniscience is one of the attributes of a god (along with omnipresence and omnipotence).Thus the atheist has the attributes of a god making a true atheist a god (or perhaps a demi god).Thus, if an atheist is right and there is no god then the atheist is a god thus proving the existence of a god.I know this sounds circular but this is the atheist’s argument exposed. Sounds a bit confusing doesn’t it?Merely naysaying the existence of something does not render it non-existent. Naysaying the existence of something that exists is merely self-delusion.

  • B2O2

    I suggest we change the wording to “SO HELP ME GREAT TOOTH FAIRY IN THE SKY”. When the North American Taliban titter and scoff at the ridiculousness of the phrase, then they’ll know exactly how thinking, modern America feels about their primitive superstitious delusions.The Constitution was just kidding about the First Amendment, right? We are a nation of First Class hypocrites.

  • AThagoras

    financepirate wrote: I hear this a lot. It sounds like fuzzy thinking to me.The statement “A God exists” is either true or not. You either believe that the statement is true or you believe that it is not. If you think it is true, you’re a theist, if you don’t, you’re an atheist. I don’t see any difference between the statements “I believe that God does not exist” and “I do not believe that God exists”. They mean exactly the same thing.I agree that some atheists can be arrogant and annoying, but I don’t think there is any difference in what we believe about the existence of God.In this case, I think the lawsuit is a good way to promote awareness of the fact that religious ideas are given an unreasonable degree of protection in our society. Religious ideas should stand or fall based on their proven benefits to society and based on whether they correspond to reality and are supported by evidence. They should not be exempt from criticism.

  • cohenj2

    Kranky:So admitting the existence of something that you can’t prove exists isn’t delusional?If you’re so sure that god exists, you’re being omniscient as well, which, I’m pretty sure, is a biblical sin…?

  • Skowronek

    If Obama wishes to say “so help me God”, it is his right to do so. If he doesn’t, it doesn’t negate the fact that he’s been sworn into office. If he does, it doesn’t make him more sworn in.I’m not a lawyer, but I’ll hazard a guess that this will be argued before several courts. It will make for interesting, if expensive, discussion. I doubt the outcome will sway anyone’s opinion one way or the other though. Whatever else he says, that one little phrase doesn’t change the outcome of the election.

  • arjay1

    David Waters: “ In their 39-page lawsuit seeking to prohibit religious figures and phrases from Barack Obama’s inauguration, the plaintiffs made a number of interesting complaints but none more colorful than this one: “Interlarding those ceremonies with clergy who espouse sectarian religious dogma does not unite, but rather divides, our citizenry.”Inspection of the 39-page lawsuit indicates five specifications largely involving a Fifth However… The first Amendment says: “ Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” It says that the government cannot interfere with the ‘free exercise thereof’ by citizens. There are several thousand lawyers within blocks of that Mall (and not all evil lobbyists) who might consider a class action suit against this atheist for interfering with the free exercise of their beliefs in a public assembly area largely intended as a democracy and citizen education process (Archives, Library of Congress, Smithsonian, etc). A class action suit of this nature might involve damages from each of the plaintiffs (200?) in the amount of $1000 for each citizen in assembly (200,000). Would that be appropriate damages of 40 billion of which some would be aiding our beleaguered system? In any case the original phrase “so help me God” probably should have been “with the help of Creation”, which includes the help of all things including citizens.

  • JohnHHubbard

    To me, the word “god” conveys next to nothing. Not having any idea what the word might mean, I am not in a position to really think about it. On the other hand, specific reference to the Christian religion, or Judaism, or Islam, does mean something, and refers to something I dislike, and I can’t help think that the word “god”, in this context, does refer to this, more specifically the Christina religion and its mythology. The inclusion of “under god” in the oath of allegiance is the reason I cannot run for the school board in my home town; I could never lead people in saying the oath of allegiance with that phrase inserted. John Hubbard

  • cletus1

    The “In God We Trust” on the money and the god in the pledge have been there long enough to give them a pass as tradition in my view (ditto the inauguration prayer and the oath). It certainly does not bother me that it’s on the currency, since it still spends either way. I’m more concerned about the dollar someday soon being valued like a Peso rather than anything printed on it. (I would welcome an occasional “Satan Rules” or “Allah’s Going to Ream You but Good, so Lube Up” there, though). We should be more worried about Obama & the Congresional Democrats further debasing the currency past that done by W — if that’s actually possible at this point.As far as Mr. Newdow’s lawsuit, these battles are immensely amusing to observe, and I hope they don’t go away soon. The holiday season would be much less for it would the annual “War against Christmas” scrum go away.

  • goscott2

    Athiests need to get over this issue and drop this ridiculous lawsuit. This country was founded by people who had a belief in God and religious freedom (which ironically also gives Athiests freedom of expression under our Constitution). We don’t need to change the tradition for this prayer just to pacify Athiests who do not believe. There are millions of intelligent, educated and well informed Americans who “do” believe in a supreme being. I believe that Athiests have a right to believe whatever they want. However, they do “NOT” have the right to impose their thinking on the majority to change the fundamental traditions that this country was built on. My advice – Get over it.

  • aberdeen

    People who debate whether or not a president has a right to say or not say “under God” in an oath are people who don’t understand what human rights, freedom in general and freedom of speech are. Freedom of speech and of religion means just that, freedom to say what one believes about God and/or, say what they don’t believe about God and/or, anything else.As Jefferson very clearly wrote, “we are endowed by our Creator” with human rights, clearly reflected historically by a shared human conscience, as similar laws against murder, theft, false witness and adultery are universal to the vast majority of societies scattered throughout history, often having no contact or other connection with each other, other than that somewhere up the chain, we all came from the same singular male and female of a singular “human” race. If someone wants to ignore the overwhelming evidence and pretend there is no God, they have a right to make a shallow-minded neanderthal jackass of themselves in public, accordingly. After all, freedom, by definition, includes freedom of speech for or against the existence of God, sanity and reason.And then of course, there are the few and far between who are able to grasp that there must be an infinitely vast difference between God and religion, which includes me. Who is protecting my freedom to say I believe in God and do not believe in any religion?Free 20-Song CD

  • MikeB8

    KIYORYU said:Interesting that you ignore or forget the multiple cases of illegal proselytizing at our nation’s service academies. Or the case of the athiest soldier in Iraq who had to be returned to the US because the military could not guarantee his safety among fellow-soldiers.Barack Obama is free to endorse the existence of God if he so chooses. He can go to church 5 times a day if he’d like. I simply believe he should not express his personal religious beliefs at official public ceremonies. While it may not be his intention to proselytize, his actions become a de facto state endorsement of a particular religious practice (monotheism). This, of course, is pretty much the idea espoused by Christians who feared that Obama was secretly a Muslim, or that he took the oath of office for the Senate on a Koran – public display of private religious belief becomes de facto state endorsement (there were obviously other crazy ideas in their heads). “This is a Christian Nation” was a familiar refrain.By way of the merits of the legal arguments presented in the case under discussion, I’m not a legal expert so I don’t really know…However, it is clear to me that the best way to prevent religious discrimination is to keep religion far away from the government. When a secret Satan worshipper one day tries to inject Satanic messages into his or her public ceremonies, let’s see if those mocking this legal case are so vociferous in their defense of public expression of religious belief.

  • huizhe

    When Eisenhower approved the “under God” intrusion in the pledge of allegiance, I was in 7th grade. No one in my family ever mentioned it at home, but it mightily offended me even when I was a 12-year-old. It was during those McCarthyite witch-hunt years, a rerun of the Salem witch-hunt trials of 1692. I refused to say them in high school assemblies, and one day the principal noticed that I was yawning during those two words. After the pledge, he called me up to the stage, told me that “if that’s the best you can do, go to my office and wait for me”. He then proceeded to pillory me and my family by calling us all Communists in front of the entire school — but not in front of me, the coward. Do those government-approved words about “God” mean anything at all? Yes, they do. They mean that theists (and by that I mean, of course, Christian theists — history clearly reveals how Talibanistically European imperialists have treated non-Christians all over the world they colonized — as well as the current crop of religiously motivated murderers of those who “offend” their religious sensibilities) are respected and atheists are pariahs in the USA. They have been for the past 65 years of my existence, and for the past 400 years of European occupation of the Americas. What I don’t understand is why so many religionists insist that everyone be subjected to a public affirmation of their religious beliefs. Reasonable persons would be satisfied not to hear anything at all about something as personal (and, therefore, it seems to me, private) as their faith. If they are so sure that what they believe is true, then then can relish their knowledge of the truth in the privacy of their own little brains instead of requiring the rest of us to be offended by having to listen to what we consider offensive superstitious nonsense. But they seem to feel that it’s okay for them to force us to waste our time and be offended by having to hear their “good news” and their “truth” as they berate atheists and believers in other faiths for not being tolerant of the preference given to their belief that a deity exits and the preference given to those who believe in a deity.This final paragraph of yours: “The Constitution protects minority rights, not minority sensibilities. Newdow and company filed similar lawsuits before the 2001 and 2005 inaugurations, to no avail. The Supreme Court ruled more than two decades ago that such public ‘acknowledgments’ of God are ceremonial, not theological, and serve ‘the legitimate secular purposes of solemnizing public occasions, expressing confidence in the future, and encouraging the recognition of what is worthy of appreciation in society.’” is pure nonsense, by the way. The facts that you fail to disclose in it are:1. Religionists are more concerned about their sensibilities than anything that might be considered a civil right. For example, the first Buddhist rock opera was shut down just the other day somewhere in Southeast Asia because a bunch of Buddhist clergy decided that it insulted Buddhism. Majority sensibilities were offended in that Buddhist country, not majority rights. Changing the word from “God” to “Buddha” is no solution.2. Requiring the phrases “so help you God” and “under God” in government sponsored and mandated oaths does not “serve ‘the legitimate secular purposes of solemnizing public occasions, expressing confidence in the future, and encouraging the recognition of what is worthy of appreciation in society.’” It divides the population by endorsing the idea of a supernatural order that cannot be proved or disproved (it doesn’t matter, really, because it’s all about blind faith, not science or reason, and that’s fine as long as believers and nonbelievers don’t argue about who is correct when describing this elephant).3. Talking about “God”, any kind of god, in public cannot logically be considered “secular” talk but only religious talk. Leave the word “God” out and the statement becomes secular; rape logic by sticking it in, and you’ve got an ipso facto religious statement. Roberts is surely a believer a or hypocrite or both. Bush certainly would not have appointed an atheist to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.Q.E.D.

  • eaglehawkaroundsince1937

    Rick Warren? – I did not know he was a Christian. I guess he fooled me by his actions.

  • PattiFink1

    GOSCOTT2 wrote: “I believe that Athiests have a right to believe whatever they want. However, they do “NOT” have the right to impose their thinking on the majority to change the fundamental traditions that this country was built on. My advice – Get over it.”While I agree that the use of “so help me God” is fine constitutionally and traditionally since it is the choice of the oath-taker (see my previous posts), I could not possibly disagree with you more on your reasoning.While we both arrive at the same place with regard to appropriateness of “so help me God” in the presidential oath, we get there via very different paths. No one – of any religion or non-religion – has the right to impose his/her “thinking” on anyone else. Period. The rationale you propose is simply you imposing your “thinking” on atheists & others who object to “so help me God.” And just because your “thinking” is in the majority does not also make it “imposable” onto all others.GOSCOTT2 wrote: “This country was founded by people who had a belief in God and religious freedom (which ironically also gives Athiests freedom of expression under our Constitution). We don’t need to change the tradition for this prayer just to pacify Athiests who do not believe. There are millions of intelligent, educated and well informed Americans who “do” believe in a supreme being.”Again, I support Obama’s use of “so help me God” IF he chooses to use it, and I support his right to choose whoever he wishes to say a prayer IF he chooses to include a prayer. However, your assertion that because this country’s founders included deists and there are currently millions of deists now is simply another “we’re in the majority and thus entitled to impose our ‘thinking’ on everyone else” rationale.

  • AThagoras

    Krankyman claimed that atheists have to be omniscient to know there is no God.For starters, I don’t know of any atheist who claims to *know* there is no God, but I have come across many people who claim to know that there is a God and also to know which one of the many thousands of Gods It is, and also that they know what Its plans are.Krankyman, do you believe that the moon is made of green cheese? We don’t know for sure that it is not. There might be a thin layer of dust on the surface, but it could be almost completely made of cheese and we would not know.If you were to claim that the moon is made of cheese I would expect you to provide some evidence to support that claim. I would not believe it just because you say so. I would not believe it just because it was written in an ancient book. I would expect some reliable positive evidence.I do not need to be omniscient to disbelieve your claim. I don’t even need to be well educated. A very basic education would suffice for me to be reasonably sure that the moon is not made of cheese.Likewise, a basic education and simple logic tells me that most of the claims made by most religions have been false. Therefore it is reasonable to conclude at least that religious claims are not very reliable. In the absence of any reliable evidence, I do not believe in any of the Gods or supernatural entities that people have described.Fortunately I don’t live in the US, and I don’t have “In God we trust” written on my money. In your case, assuming you are a US citizen, religious or not, you should be opposed to your government endorsing or promoting relious views, because one day it might be promoting a different religion to the one you believe in. Religious and non-religious people should all agree on that!

  • krankyman

    cohenJ2:You should note I was exposing the logical absurdity of the atheist’s argument.Those who study Logic and Critical Thinking know the logical proof for the existence of a god is one of the most elegant arguments in Western Civilization.The problem with atheism or the theory of the origin of species is one of post hoc ergo propter hoc; they wish there is no god therefore they construct theories to support their belief.Hardly scientific…

  • spidermean2

    AThagoras wrote “If you used your brains and learnt some biology, you would know that we have pretty much figured out how intelligence can arise from non-intelligent processes.It’s called evolution.”Right and no evolutionist has made any artificial intelligent device work intelligently. Humanoids still act like idiotic dolls. I suggest that you write the algorithm how intelligence performs so we can start making very intelligent robots with a mind of its own.

  • rob32

    Article 6 of United States Constitution includes the following language: “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”This seems clear and unambiguous.

  • andio76

    I interlarded LARD into FLOUR to make a pie crust that will be firmer than the argument these guys are trying to make…

  • bevjims1

    spidermean2 tried his hand at logic by writing: “Any discussion about atheism does not make sense anymore due to this irrefutable fact : Intelligence can produce (dumb and smart) objects but NO dumb object/s can produce intelligence.”So how did God come to be if He is intelligent and nothing came before Him? Oh, must be that forever and ever handwaving thing that explains it.What you should ask yourself spidey is why belief in the religion you believe in would cause you to hope for WW3. Doesn’t it strike you as wrong that a religion’s view of the future is total destruction? So much for the benevolent God I keep hearing about but never see in the bible.

  • bevjims1

    krankyman wrote: “Those who study Logic and Critical Thinking know the logical proof for the existence of a god is one of the most elegant arguments in Western Civilization.”It can also be used to prove the existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, vampires, ghosts, aliens, and many other things people claim exist but have never been proven. Elegant is far from the proper word to use for these “proofs”.krankyman wrote: “The problem with atheism or the theory of the origin of species is one of post hoc ergo propter hoc; they wish there is no god therefore they construct theories to support their belief.”Hmm, well they sure went to a lot of trouble burying all those fossils just to prove their point. They also seems to have somehow altered the DNA in all living species so that those Darwin said were closely related also share a lot of the same DNA coding. Those scientists sure do work hard to show God does not exist.krankyman wrote: “Hardly scientific…”You have demonstrated you have no clue as to what “scientific” means.

  • rmk3551

    This nation was founded by people who wanted to worship God in their own way, not dictated by the state or government. Freedom of Religion means free to worship how you want to, and seperate the Church from the government. Never did these people say they founded this country to ignore or state that there was not a God. The athiests need to move and find their own country so they can set up their own beliefs if they want to infringe upon what this country has stood for and believed since its inception.

  • bevjims1

    spidermean2 wrote: “[...] no evolutionist has made any artificial intelligent device work intelligently. Humanoids still act like idiotic dolls. I suggest that you write the algorithm how intelligence performs so we can start making very intelligent robots with a mind of its own.”You made AThagoras’ point spidey. A robot has not gone through evolution and so is not intelligent. Intelligence requires evolution to bring about an intelligent species, and millions of years of evolution to refine that intelligence whose sole purpose is to enhance survival. Your own mind includes a belief in a god you cannot prove. Its something humans developed to help survive but not something we should call “intelligence” anymore than fish swimming in schools is a form of intelligence. Your brain is wired to believe in the supernatural, and so you do, and nothing you do can change that.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    David Waters said:”If not, do the words “so help me God” mean anything at all?”I do not think these words mean anything at all about God. It is just an exclamation that means “surely” or “truely.” It is like when someone sneezes, you say “God bless you.” Or when you have a car wreck, you say,”good God!” These are interjections, exclamations, intensifiers, honorifics…yada-yada-yada…Even more, such references to God lose meaning when uttered by a public official at a public event, for show, so that people, the public, the electorate, will hear this reference to God, and approve of it. Then it loses what ever miniscule spiritual meaning it ever had, and becomes “Ceremonial Deism” which is an impersonal, governmental reference to God out of a sense of respect for tradition, with no religious intention, whatsoever. I do not see how this bloodless, soulless, vacant practice could possibly mean anything to anyone’s religion, I mean, how could anyone possilby be so shallow, but if so, then why not?

  • aussiebarry

    wow! I never thought I would say this but spidey’s comments about men’s nipples is quite clever,it may be nonsense nonsense, but he did actually put some thought into it, which has got to be a first

  • coloradodog

    The eternal, fundamental problem is who defines God?If it is the white, straight, punitive, exclusionary, English-speaking intolerant God of Mormons, neocon Catholics or neochrisitan evangelicals, I side with the atheists.

  • cletus1

    I don’t believe in any of the gods that have been identified since the dawn of man, but I certainly would pick one to say I believed in if running for office, the one I picked depending on what the majority there believed. Otherwise, I would probably not be elected. Is that a tyranny? In the end, it doesn’t really mean anything one way or the other. Except to my unluckly constituents in the short term, I suppose.

  • coloradodog

    oops, should have said “homophobic” instead of “straight” – no problem with straight people here.

  • spidermean2

    bevjims1 wrote ” So how did God come to be if He is intelligent and nothing came before Him? “What a dumb question. Read this again please but this time try to understand it:Intelligence can produce (dumb and smart) objects but NO dumb object/s can produce intelligence.In other words, if we try to rewind creation and and look for the beginning of things, we would end up finding INTELLIGENCE as the MAIN SOURCE of creation.The SOURCE means NOTHING can come before it. Also, when I speak about WW3, it doesn’t mean I wish it to happen. The Bible is just saying that your stupidity will make it happen and it’s going to happen soon. Now how the Bible KNOWS it is beyond your intelligence.

  • clearbeard

    It seems fairly clear to me, actually. Including the phrase “so help me God,” and indeed using the Bible in the ceremony at all, can be viewed as relating to the belief structure of the person giving the oath. If Obama was himself an athiest, using the Bible and swearing in God’s name would make the oaths he takes meaningless. As it stands, using these faith-laden symbols are simply saying “I, Barack Obama, swear these oaths upon that which I hold most dear and sacred.” In doing so, we the people can better trust that those oaths will be kept, as they have meaning to the one giving them. The specific relevance to those hearing the phrases is negligible, viewed in this context.

  • krankyman

    Mr Athagoras:I was merely pointing out the logical fallacy of the atheist’s claim.To assert there is no god i.e. to know for a fact, beyond any doubt, to have a scientific certainty that no god exits, means the person making such an assertion is claiming to be omniscient. For if they were not omniscient then they could not credibly advance this argument.You state you “do not need to be omniscient to disagree” with my claim. I agree. But if your disagreement is illogical or irrational then it has much less merit and perhaps no merit at all. Remember, if wishes were horses then beggars would ride. In the end such a position is based on emotion and not rationality.My point is that persons who claim to be atheists don’t even understand want they claim to be. Emotionally they wish to operate in a world without a god so they construct what appears to be an argument that disproves the existence of a god. Yet in order to construct such a reality they must be a god thus destroying their argument that there is no god.As my earlier post illustrates, the atheist’s position is irrational and therefore untenable.Consider the inverse. If there was a god who could directly affect my well being in this life and perhaps the next, then wouldn’t it be prudent for me to learn what this god expects and what this god might want? Surely to deny the god’s existence would be foolish and perilous.Yet this is exactly the position of the atheist.

  • DMZ1

    The presidential Oath of Office is specified in the Constitution, and it does NOT include the words ‘so help me god’. Next, yes, if the government of the U.S. takes any position whatsoever on the existence or non-existence of god, then it HAS established religion.

  • PSolus

    “…do the words “so help me God” mean anything at all?”No they don’t.Bush said those exact words at least twice in the past eight years; do you really think that all of his incompetence and malfeasance was helped by any sort of magical supreme being?

  • spidermean2

    aussiebarry, Im an engineer and thinking is my hobby. You guys should learn to love thinking and enjoy it.That’s the first step get rid of stupidity.Whenever I read anything about evolution, at the fist sentence, my eyes start rolling. This is what happens when a man is thinking. Try it.

  • spidermean2

    That’s the first step to get rid of stupidity.

  • aussiebarry

    Kranky, how many times does pascal’s wager have to be shown to be ridiculous before religeous people stop quoting it. You are in just as much peril if any of the other countless religeons are right

  • Tron3000

    Clearbeard is right, swearing on the Bible is only relevant because the one doing the swearing holds it dear. It is not required that he swear on a Bible, and the words “So help me God” are not officially part of the oathe. Rather, the words were supposedly added by President Washington, but more likely, by President Lincoln. Eitehr way, the words and the Bible are not Constitutionally necessary to the Oathe of Office.

  • spidermean2

    aussiebarry wrote “You are in just as much peril if any of the other countless religeons are right”There is only one book which has predicted correctly everything that is happening today. That is the Christian Bible. There is actually no need for a Pascal wager coz the Bible is 100 percent accurate.

  • krankyman

    Bevjims1:If evolution is truth then why does science call it the Theory of Evolution and not the Law of Evolution?I am amused by the number of people who never studied science beyond high school, who spent perhaps three weeks in high school studying evolution, yet who then claim to be scientific experts on the Origin of the Species.The THEORY of evolution is one man’s supposition about the cause of changes in biological entities based on the simple observations of a few years. It may may be useful in studying cancer etc. but falls far short in explaining the Origin of the Species.For example, one of the LAWS of Thermodynamics states all closed systems progress from an organized state to a disorganized state unless energy from an outside source is applied.Yet the THEORY of Evolution is based on disorganized systems progressing to organized systems.In the world of science LAW trumps THEORY.Consider the THEORY or Relativity. Einstein’s equations provide a beautiful and elegant way of looking at the physical world. Yet even though the Theory and the equations provide a scientific method for observing the physical universe they are in fact based on the assumption that the speed of light in a vacuum is constant. Thus the reason it is the THEORY of Relativity and not the LAW of Relativity. Einstein himself understood his ideas to be only an approximation of the universe that was based on an assumption.If the assumption is wrong then…

  • violettavalery

    I am not an atheist but I agree with them here. Keep religion out of our White House. Barack Obama’s or your religious beliefs are none of my busienss and I could care less. I want him to lead the basis on constitutional grounds, not religious grounds.

  • fishcrow

    coloradodog:”Who defines God” is not the eternal, fundamental problem, because God defines Himself. Our job is to discover that definition through reason. Faith is not pure reason, but it is reasonable. The proofs are there, but that doesn’t mean people will accept them. Einstein refused to believe his own theories could lead to the proof that the Universe had a beginning. A perfect case of a reasonable person refusing to accept a proof through simple prejudice. The same is true of atheists. They have a right to their opinion, but they can hardly be confused with rigorous thinkers.

  • wmnathe

    We have had two thousand years of Christianity inserting itself in political affairs, over two hundred here in the US. I have no doubt that all religion will only be removed from the political sphere kicking and screaming. Each step, small or large, is important in removing religion from politics. The NY Times this morning ran an article about the struggles to remove religion from Spain’s politics. It is an on-going struggle. The references to God should be removed from the inauguration oath.

  • acebojangles

    Fiscrow:What are these proofs you mention?

  • CCNL

    “God” and “Goddess” mean different things to different people. We have the “Yahwehers”, the “Zeusers”, the “Allahers”, the “Jehovahers”, the “Mother Naturers”, the “Suners”, the “Krishna-Vasudevaers”, the “Vishnuers”, the Hariers, the “Shaktiers”, the “Thorers”, the “Universers”, the “Quetzalcoatlers”, the “Tezcatlipocaers”, the “Apolloers”, the “Marsers”, the “Faunaers”, the “Caesarers”, the “Kennedyers”, the “Clintoners”, etc. Pick one and get on with your life!!!.

  • StephenD11

    Why are you so dismissive of the lawsuit, Mr. Waters, if YOU concede that public officials compelling other public officials to swear a (“non-demoninational”) religious oath VIOLATES the Establishment Clause? If it did not, then you correctly point out that the oath would be legally and rhetorically meaningless.Here, it is the Supreme Court that has bent over backwards to accommodate something patently unconstitutional. If Obama wants to voluntarily invoke gods or unicorns in HIS speech, he has every right to do so. However, the government cannot sponsor a religious invocation or a religious oath at a public ceremony… that is an establishment of religion, case closed.We’ve suffered enough under a knuckle-dragging theocracy for the past eight years… lets finally announce the arrival of the 21st century in a way that’s inclusive to the growing body of people who flatly reject religious superstition.

  • financepirate

    “It is clearly not neutral when the government places “so help me God” in its oaths or sponsors prayers to God, knowing that some individuals believe that God does not exist.”You are correct, David – it is clearly not neutral. However, please note the subtle, but very important, distinction between atheists who “believe that God does not exist”, and atheists who “do not believe that God exists”. The former are the blowhard Michael Newdows of the world, and the latter are the silent majority of atheists.I consider the question of the existence of a god irrelevant, and the government should have absolutely nothing to say on the subject, either in the pledge, on currency, or in official oaths.However, as has been pointed out, “so help me God” is not officially part of the inaugural oath, nor is the Bible under the oath-taker’s hand requried. If the president-elect wants to appeal to a higher authority that he holds dear, it is his choice and his alone. I think less of him for it, as I would of any adult who invokes an imaginary friend to help him do his job, but I still voted for him, because I think he will do a good job.References to God should be eliminated from currency and the pledge of allegiance. You may trust in your god all you want, but I do not. I should not be forced to carry an endorsement of your philosophy in my pocket all day long, and my children should most certainly not be required to recite such an endorsement every morning. To insist otherwise is profoundly unamerican. It’s simple logic, but unfortunately, too many of both the theist and atheist stripe don’t get it.

  • tagline

    More importantly, when Chief Justice Roberts asks President-elect Obama to put his right hand on a Bible and swear to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States – So help me God” is the Chief Justice subjecting the President-elect to a religious test oath by adding a extra-constitutional phrase, and thereby violating his own oath of office?

  • TmH1

    elife1975 : Typical – arrogance of man comment; assuming that because one elects to believe in God (the potential for a life after death and a creator) that believers are ignorant. Actually your viewpoint is typically demeaning to a whole group of very educated and intelligent people who choose to believe there is more to this life then the base animalistic perspectives that people like you and the no talent Bill Maher endorse.

  • ourselves_alone

    Atheists and theists have more in common with each other than they do with agnostics. Let us grant that the existence and non-existence of God are each unprovable propositions. One takes a stand on the existence questions not on the basis of any proof or application of reason, but rather an effort of will. Atheists make a willful decision to place faith in the proposition that God does not exist. Theists willfully make the opposite decision. Agnostics table the question and go about their business without any sort of willful decision.Faith is not about proof. It is a decision about how to relate oneself to the universe, to other people, to life. Faith is about will.It appears to me that as life experiences accumulate their is a greater tendency for atheists loose their faith in atheism than for theists to loose their faith in God. I conjecture that it is the atheist’s obsession with God that makes them especially vulnerable to such reversal.Since they dwell on the question continually they are more likely to change their decision. The agnostic is comfortable ignoring the question entirely.As for “so help me God”, there are many interpretations of God with which even atheists should be comfortable. The “God” of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle and of many professed atheists thinkers of the Enlightenment equates to the phenomenon of Existence, of Nature, of Being itself.Even atheists could relate to God under this definition. In fact, many do; though they refuse to call the object of their faith God. Instead they call it reason, or truth, or reality. But Plato called these things “God”.

  • Flipper1

    For all those who say it is not an issue, I say it is. It is simply offensive not only to those who believe in some other deity but mostly to those who do not believe in such nonsense. For us non believers, atheists and humanists, it sounds as ridiculous as saying “So help me Santa”.It’s time to abolish these words from any official ceremony, swearing in, in the local, state or federal government level. Make it voluntary so each individual can choose whether he wants to add in his god or whatever fantasy he believes in.This is a symbolic lawsuit that is similar to Rosa Parks sitting on the front of the bus. We atheists need to be respected. We are a minority (unfortunately, the majority of the populace is still brainwashed and ignorant) but we are a very smart and educated minority. We are offended by the mixing of religion with governance.

  • enogabal

    So I’m an atheist, driving with my family on vacation, and my kids start fighting in the back seat. I turn around and tell them, “If you don’t stop fighting, so help me God, I’m going to… wait a minute…oh, never mind.”

  • paulc37

    “Atheists do not have to Deny God to enjoy their rights”–Pope Benedict

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Giniajim said:”I must take issue with the notion that “so help me God” is ceremonial. It certainly isn’t when I say it…”I assume that you are replying to me, when I referred to this usage as “Ceremonial Deism.” Of course, by definiton, any personal or private expression of religion would not be “Ceremonial Deism.” It is called “Ceremonial Deism” because it is a religions expression by a public offical at a public ceremony, which has no religious intent, purpose, or meaning, but is only part of the ceremonial script, for the purpose of making it more authentic, or credible.This is not really a fight over religion, but about political supremecy. Religious people who think that “Ceremonial Deism” is critical to the faith of the nation are not very plugged into any real religion, except for purposes of pretense and show.

  • krankyman

    Aussiebarry:Whoa dude. “Kranky,It does not matter what your definition of a theory is, what we are talking about is a scientific theory, which needs a scientific definition,”I used quotations on my definition of theory because I got it from dictionary.com. If the dictionary ain’t good enough for the both of us pardner then we got chaos.I don’t dispute the “facts on the ground”. Kranky has stood at the edge of the Grand Canyon and at Dinosaur National Monument in Wyoming.Its the interpretation, the “intermediate in appearance” that worries me.For example. In high school I clearly remember depictions of the evolutionary tree that showed a line from Neanderthal to Cro-Magnon to me. Some years on and DNA now says Neanderthal wasn’t even on the same limb. Oops! But the skull sure looked intermediate!There were many biologists who were convinced Neanderthal was our dad but, alas, they were mere mortals and they were wrong.If they can’t get that right then…Consider Mr. Louis Leaky. After scrabbling about in the dust of the Olduvai Gorge for forty years would you really expect him to come out and say “..nope, didn’t find a thing, drank some good beer, but no proof of evolution…”Perhaps you can help me here. Every scientific field I can think of operates on a predictable, mathematical universe. Astronomy, chemistry, physics, geology,etc.Why is the Theory of Evolution in particular and biology in general the only one that depends on random events on a scale of billions of years?Even that which one might consider random operates on a mathematical system. The topography of mountain ranges, coast lines, etc. can be described by fractal geomotry.Why is evolution the only one that demands a long chain of fortuitous events?

  • Paganplace

    ” paulc37 Author Profile Page:”Atheists do not have to Deny God to enjoy their rights”–Pope Benedict”Surreal.

  • Flipper1

    Interesting that Washington State, which has a high level of people with advanced degrees, is also the less religious state in the country, as well as the most advanced societies in the world. As opposed to the more religious=more ignorant and backwards society. Anyone who accepts all the fairy tales without any questioning and is over 21 years of age, has some kind of problem..I will be kind and refrain from listing what these problems are…

  • motekeeper

    TO:CHARLESBAKERHARRISIt’s always a physicist! ALWAYS!!! LOL!I said earlier that 98% of “EARTH SCIENTIST” except the theory of evolution as basically fact.You are physicist and are ignorant about evolution no doubt. I have called no one dumb or stupid. Only uneducated about evolution, thus they are ignorant about evolution.

  • ramoynihan

    It seems clear to me that forcing Obama to say “so help me God” would be rather contrary to the concept of the separation of church and state. If he WANTS to say it, because it is important to him personally, then no problem. But what if he’s prompted to say it and doesn’t? That would be gutsy a-la Colbert. Imagine the conservative fireworks! From all I’ve read, though, he’s a believer, so we won’t have the fun of witnessing any such spectacle over the next 8 years.

  • Paganplace

    More evidence what me people are turning these ceremonies into, from TMH:”Actually your viewpoint is typically demeaning to a whole group of very educated and intelligent people who choose to believe there is more to this life then the base animalistic perspectives that people like you and the no talent Bill Maher endorse.”Mind you, atheists who come here have a tendency to be annoying to me, too, but I’d be pretty annoyed if the government was being used by someone like you to claim people who believe differently have a ‘base animalistic perspective.’You call *that* equality? Frankly, the inclusion of ‘God’ in these ceremonies would be less of an issue if anyone had some confidence *you Christians* aren’t taking it as permission to demean and denigrate and try to oppress and disenfranchise others. Show us you can *handle* it, maybe. Wouldn’t that be a switch.

  • elife1975

    Reply to tnh1-Typical – arrogance of man comment; You’re right, that was a very demeaning rant. If I refuse to believe that 2+2=4 and that the earth revolves around the sun, would that make me ignorant? Should I be allowed to hold public office? Am I not allowed to be angered over the fact that Mississippi now has more pregnant teens running around than any other state because of a lack of sexual education in it’s schools (or by their parents), or that a gay couple in love can’t find the kind of government support hetero’s do in marriage? All wrongs supported and perpetrated by those citing a belief in god’s will, no less. I guess I am a little pissed, and who can blame me. I just think it’s time to wake up.

  • bevjims1

    timbrusky1 wrote: “This nation was founded “Under God” and God is the whole reason for its very existance. To disparge God and remove him from any ceremony is to deny God’s influence in this nation’s creation. Sorry atheist, no cigar here.”Then explain why our forefathers fought against the government of England, which established the church of England as the national church, that defended God in every way? And, our forefathers wrote a Constitution that excluded any religion from being established by government. In other words, they overthrew a god-fearing government and replaced it with a secular government. So I have to wonder, where do you get this notion that our forefathers fought for God in America? If anything they threw God out, according to your logic, at least out of government. Makes me wonder which side you and others like you would have had sympathies for in 1776.

  • csintala79

    “Those who study Logic and Critical Thinking know the logical proof for the existence of a god is one of the most elegant arguments in Western Civilization.”

  • Neut1

    I’m sick and tired of athiests trying to dictate their wants. I’m tired of them people trying to get God out of everything we have. This country was formed under God and the bible. We better take more interest in God too. I want God in the swearing in ceramony, as it should be. Athiests be dammed.

  • motekeeper

    Correction:

  • bevjims1

    TmH1 wrote: “… assuming that because one elects to believe in God (the potential for a life after death and a creator) that believers are ignorant. Actually your viewpoint is typically demeaning to a whole group of very educated and intelligent people who choose to believe there is more to this life then the base animalistic perspectives that people like you and the no talent Bill Maher endorse.”Ok, then I expect you to respect the ancient Egyptian religious beliefs, which involved elaborate instructions to get to the afterlife and which went to absurd levels of requiring millions of man-hours to build pyramids. This is how atheists view christians, like the ancient Egyptians, going to absurd rituals and requirements at a national level. Actually, if you bother to read the ‘book of the dead’ you would see it aligns very closely with the christian view of death, purgatory, redemption, even a St. Peter at the gate to judge. But I’m sure no christian would consider their religion to be like that of the ancient Egyptians, but it is very much so. Now consider how you would feel if your money said “In Ra we Trust” or if Obama swore his oath to Isis. Would you feel it didn’t matter? But since christians are in the vast majority they probably will just laugh this off, which only shows their lack of intellectual curiosity and their arrogance in this matter.

  • aussiebarry

    Kranky, her are the first 2 definitions from dictionary.com,

  • elife1975

    NEUT1 Said I’m sick and tired of athiests trying to dictate their wants. I’m tired of them people trying to get God out of everything we have. This country was formed under God and the bible. We better take more interest in God too. I want God in the swearing in ceramony, as it should be. Athiests be dammed.

  • bevjims1

    Neut1 wrote: “I’m sick and tired of athiests trying to dictate their wants. I’m tired of them people trying to get God out of everything we have. This country was formed under God and the bible. We better take more interest in God too. I want God in the swearing in ceramony, as it should be. Athiests be dammed.”Is that you Gingrich? Well, please note that references to God were not originally in American government and were added long after the nation was founded, most of it during the 1950s. And atheists are not “trying to get God out of everything we have”. They are trying to prevent God from being established by government as a state religion since the Constitution prohibits that. Do you stand by the Constitution or not? If you do then you cannot support government establishing religion, any religion. You cannot be for God in government and for the Constitution.

  • thepierre

    Seriously, why is this such an important issue to so many people on both sides? Who cares if Obama and every other president says the words “so help me God” and/or puts his hand on some holy text?For crying out loud, 700,000 people lost their jobs just in December and we’re getting our panties all bunched up over what amounts to nothing more than symbolism? Take from it what you will: you can choose to ignore it or choose to give it a special place in our country. But, please, let’s spend all of the intellectual energies we’re wasting on this issue on things that are actually important.

  • khote14

    why do believers require this crap from our government? I mean the morons who believe aren’t the ones I worry about, it’s the people who are smart enough to know better but still believe this nonsense anyway.What’s the matter? Are you having so difficult a time maintaining your suspension of disbelief that you require the positive assertion of this primitive crap from people smarter than you?Would you believe any less if the government didn’t do this, if the god crap wasn’t on our money, would that alter your ability to believe?I guess you don’t believe this stuff that well after all do you?

  • theobserver4

    spidermean2 Author Profile Page:”See what I mean? Ridiculous to their last breath”Wait and see first before you call it ridiculous. WW3 is about to come soon. And see if the idiots will still exist after that.-The quickening/end of days rapture is ridiculous. Even if you’re right that WW3 is around the corner people are not going to float up into the clouds and demons will not pull people down into hell. What will happen is a bright flash of light and poof hundred of thousands will be vaporized and many more will die of radiation sickness. Or mass disease from some bio-weapon, but again people will die and there will be no floating or flying involved. Wait and see……..neither vision of the end can ever be proven ahead of time. There is nothing to argue about when it comes to this.

  • Racje

    Beyond the Constitutional requirements for the oath, It’s clear that “so help me God” and putting a hand on a Bible are NOT part of a legal requirement, but are chosen at the discretion of the person being sworn in as President of the USA. Barack Obama gets to choose. Article II, section 1, clause 8 of the US Constitution requires the President to say : “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Even President Hoover, a practicing Quaker, chose to “swear” rather than “affirm” the oath.According to some traditions, “So help me God” was spontaneously added by George Washington at the first inaugural, although there is no contemprary evidence of this. Many subsequent Presidents have said it, apparently as a matter of choice or custom, not law, including all since Franklin D Roosevelt. “Affirming” an oath without reference to God or sacred works is an option the founding fathers provided for in the Constitution to protect the rights of atheists, agnostics, and religious groups like Quakers who believe in a single standard of truth. Franklin Pierce chose to “affirm” rather than “swear;” all other Presidents have chosen to “swear,” except possibly Harbert Hoover, a practicing Quaker–the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies says he “affirmed,” but other sources say he “swore.”In 1825. John Quincy Adams took the oath using a law book (some say it was the Constitution) rather than a Bible. Theodore Roosevelt used no Bible in 1901 but did use one in 1905. For those who think the Constitution is preferable to the Bible because slavery is endorsed in the Bible, I suggest reading the Constitution, Article I, section 2.The oath prescribed by the Constitution, which includes no mention of God or religion or religious books, is what is required by law. “No establishment” means that Presidents taking office can’t be compelled to use any particular or general reference to religion. “Free exercise” means they may choose to do so.Barack Obama gets to choose whether or not to ask for God’s help, and whether to put his hand on a Bible, and whether to “swear” or “affirm.” I am not disposed to take away to his right to publicly ask for help from God, or any other entity he feels he needs.

  • Paganplace

    Neither “Under God” (added to the Pledge of Allegiance during the Red Scare,) nor “In God We Trust” (added to the currency during Reconstruction) are the national motto.The national motto is “E Pluribus Unum:” that’s Latin for “out of many, one.” It speaks of a *union* of many different states and peoples. For all. Not for some or even ‘most.’ Out of many, one.No out-guessing required.

  • jcyr4

    So the real objection of many of you appears to be politcal not really religion. If I am readingThe problem with this is as a representative Democracy, the vast majority of people in this country A. believe is some sort of higher authority. B. Oppose gay marriage. C. Are in favor of keeping God in the Pledge and in the oath and on the money.Even enlightened California voted to overturn gay marriage.What we have is a vocal minority trying to shout their way into being heard.What I truly find amusing is that these so called atheist argue that anyone who believes in a god lacks intelligence and somehow, they are more enlightened and intelligent. Not a very strong argument based upon the posts I’ve read here.

  • Chops2

    Spidermean:Why the change if heart? You have been slagging off evolution forever now u accept some of it? I thought it, and all that adhered to it were idiots?Its interesting to me that you say everyone except u needs to use their brains and think but u accept without question biblical “truth”. U r a total hypocrite.

  • Chops2

    Spidermean:Not true, u have written some vaguely intelligent things here.

  • bevjims1

    Raceje wrote: “Barack Obama gets to choose whether or not to ask for God’s help, and whether to put his hand on a Bible, and whether to “swear” or “affirm.” I am not disposed to take away to his right to publicly ask for help from God, or any other entity he feels he needs.”While I agree, there are many who would jump out of their seats and speak of God’s wrath if Obama were to NOT have a bible, but something like the Constitution instead, and ended the oath WITHOUT saying “so help me God”. That is the problem, not that he might say it, but the reaction should he not say it. Like Palin said when asked about “under God” in the pledge: “If It Was Good Enough For The Founding Fathers, It’s Good Enough For Me”. Ignorance added to religious extremism breeds arrogant stupidity. Why is it that the only part of the constitution some people know about is the 2nd amendment, and the only history of this nation is learned in bible class?

  • squier13

    JCYR4 @ 12:54pm: “there is no doubt that the founding fathers believed in a God and wrote these documents with that in mind.”*************************Willing “intent” into the Constitution does not change its meaning. The Founders, regardless of their beliefs, created a secular state. That is not debatable.

  • squier13

    JCYR4 @ 2:03pm: “If I am reading*****************************You are not reading the posts correctly because this thread is not about gay marriage.

  • Chops2

    Krankyman:”The problem with athiests…. (is) they wish there is no god therefore they construct theories to support their belief. Hardly scientific”Be honest, the same point could be made for those that believe in god could it not? There is alot more plausible data for evolution than god is there not? The problem with thiests is they construct crazy stories like walking on water, Noah’s Ark, Adam and Eve etc etc to validate their beliefs without a shred of proof for any of it.And I agree with u, evolution is a theory, so is gravity but we accept it. Why? likely and or largely, because it refutes Genesis. But u would have to agree that its more plausable than an invisible deity making the world in 7 days isnt it?

  • Chops2

    Correction to post below:Evolution not gravity refutes genesis.Apologies.

  • comdien

    I guess, in the US if you say, “under God”, there’s this immediate responce in the brain that says, “oh you mean Christian God, see Jesus, the Son Father and Holy Spirit,” because we are called a Judea-Christian nation with Judea-Christian principles. That means Abrahamic religions, which means Adam and Eve, and it goes on like that. What is not thought of when a president says “under God”, is Shinto or Tao Gods. This goes back to the Separation of Church and State. And though its in vogue to salute the military at inaugurations, basically the Commander-In-Chief is the guy they salute to. They report to the Secretary of Defense. Civilian people. So the drama just smacks of too much encroachment by the Military-Industrial Complex. So, from that Standpoint, it is a big thing. As an atheist, I would like an innvocation of “These are the times that try mens souls…this is no time for the sunshine patriot” because then, I know Obama’s calling us to a great cause, he’s doing it in an inclusive way that’s secular and include people that don’t believe in God.

  • khote14

    boy those christians sure obsess about the gays don’t they?Surely there is a deeper meaning behind this … and if there isn’t, we can just assert one. Hey, they do that kind of crap all the time, why shouldn’t we?

  • bevjims1

    jcyr4 wrote: “So the real objection of many of you appears to be politcal not really religion. If I am reading the objections correctly, the argument goes like this; Gays can’t get married in this country, Christians/religion (as a whole) oppose gay marriage, God should be removed from politics.”No, there is no logical argument going on here. There is a difference of opinion on how the constitution’s prohibition on the establishment of religion by government is to be applied. I think there is a consensus, though it may be hard to hear over the yelling, that if Obama wants to use a bible and say “so help me God”, that is his right, but it should not be a requirement since it is not required by the Constitution. Everything else is tangential.jcyr4 wrote: “The problem with this is as a representative Democracy, the vast majority of people in this country A. believe is some sort of higher authority. B. Oppose gay marriage. C. Are in favor of keeping God in the Pledge and in the oath and on the money.”The problem with your argument is that though we live in a democracy it is governed by a Constitution that guarantees rights and equal protection under the law. No vote or referendum can overturn the Constitutionally guaranteed rights except an amendment. The gay-marriage issue is an issue of equal protection. The argument against the references to God in the oath, pledge and on money is the establishment clause. Read the Constitution, its not very long…jcyr4 wrote: “Even enlightened California voted to overturn gay marriage.”The term ‘enlightened’ is debatable considering the heavy influence of the Utah based Morman church in the public debate of the topic in California.jcyr4 wrote: “What we have is a vocal minority trying to shout their way into being heard.”No, the minority is asking for its rights to be observed and the Constitution not be trampled upon. You seem to be arguing that the majority have a right to ignore the rights of the minority. Sorry, but America does not work that way. Maybe its time for you to leave for a country where God and government are very close and minority rights are not protected, like Iran.jcyr4 wrote: “What I truly find amusing is that these so called atheist argue that anyone who believes in a god lacks intelligence and somehow, they are more enlightened and intelligent. Not a very strong argument based upon the posts I’ve read here.”You only need to look at spidermeans posts to see that the point has some validity. If you can find an atheist’s post which is just as lacking of intelligence please bring it to our attention.

  • aussiebarry

    ourselves-alone, I cannot speak for other atheists, but I do not make a willful decision not to beleive in god, I just think that on a balance of probabilities, there is next to zero chance of god existing, but my mind could be changed spectacularly and noisily by god .By the way are you agnostic about Bertram Russell’s orbiting teapot or are you like me ateapot

  • Chops2

    Krankyman:As a rebuttal to your earlier post:HOW TO BELIEVE IN GOD1. First, you must want to believe in God.2. Next, understand that believing in God in the absence of evidence is especially noble. 3. Then, realize that the human ability to believe in God in the absence of evidence might itself constitute evidence for the existence of God.4. Now consider any need for further evidence (both in yourself and in others) to be a form of temptation, spiritually unhealthy, or a corruption of the intellect.5. Refer to steps 2-4 as acts of “faith.”

  • agapn9

    Dear C:

  • khote14

    “More to point Atheism believes that there is no God …”Absolutely untrue. Atheism by definition is the lack of theism. it is not the presence of antitheism, though that is encapsulated in the concept.Why is the so difficult for you believers to understand? Do you look on your muslim cousins and see them believing in the “wrong thing”, and from there assume anybody who doesn’t believe as you do must therefore believe in the wrong thing?There is the possibility of no belief. Learn that fact. Its not hard.

  • Paganplace

    Your problem, there, Agan, is it’s your religious belief that ‘Atheism’ is a rival religion, and that anything not believing in or neutral toward *your* supernatural authority is an active assertion of that ‘rival religion’ according to your religion. It’s you basing your claims to authority on unreason that *makes* this kind of thing an issue. I believe in other Gods. I don’t mind you having yours. But your religion refuses to stop there all too often, when it comes to how our government is conducted. This makes everyone else ‘second class citizens’ in your minds and you refuse to see us *as* a free country because of it. I find many claiming to be ‘atheist’ here pretty juvenile and obnoxious, but they don’t *have to prove your God doesn’t exist* in order to have a valid point that *your* claims to authority over them and us have no substance. Yes, it’s irrational for atheists to claim to prove a negative. But they don’t have to. You’re the only ones that think they have to.

  • plywaski1

    The common case law of United States allowed, for many decades, that religionists may affirm the truth of their judicial statements in lieu of an oath on their God in order not to violate their religious principles. More recently (among other cases) the right of atheists to affirm in lieu of an oath was upheld in Plywacki v. United States, 107 F. Supp. 593 (1952), rev’d 205 F. 2d 423 (9th Cir. 1953); this reversed, on the government’s confession of error, the District Court’s refusal to naturalize an atheist.The insidiousness and danger of religion, religiousness and religiosity into US governmental functions and operations threatens not only the US Constitution but also the ability of divinity-believers to know that when they worship or speak of their God, they do so WITHOUT any edicts or pressure from their government, since such statements of faith are NOT required of them; thus (and only thus!) they do so of their own free will!

  • AThagoras

    Krankyman said:And I was pointing out that you were arguing against a claim that no atheist makes. I don’t know of any atheists claiming knowledge that they don’t have, but I do hear many religious people making claims of knowledge that they clearly don’t have, … and being repeately proven wrong.

  • jhbyer

    Mr. Waters asks exactly the right questions. The truths they elicit will cost the denial that sustains the case that is illegitimate. Unfortunately, that’d be the case for ceremonial God language, which rests on feeling good about ourselves not on truth.The truth is we’re “One nation under the Constitution” or, if you want, “One nation under the Bill of Rights”. Too mundane? Not on your life! If evangelicals’ kids pledged one of those, they’d be more likely to grow up to respect those documents, unlike too many of their parents.

  • bevjims1

    Agapn9 wrote: “More to point Atheism believes that there is no God – it tries to base its belief on logic but has so far only been able to throw a lot of hot air at the ontological, teleological, and cosmological arguments – of which I centered on joint causes portion of it – which has been shown to be valid – whether it is sound or not can be argued to Doomsday but it is valid.”It is valid for you since, like the argument, other causes are not considered and a God is taken as fact. Once you start with wrong assumptions anything is possible.And atheists to not “believe” there is no God anymore than you do not “believe” there is no Vishnu or any of the thousands of other gods. Or do you have that many beliefs?

  • plywaski1

    The common case law of United States allowed, for many decades, that religionists may affirm the truth of their judicial statements in lieu of an oath on their God in order not to violate their religious principles. More recently (among other cases) the right of atheists to affirm in lieu of an oath was upheld in Plywacki v. United States, 107 F. Supp. 593 (1952), rev’d 205 F. 2d 423 (9th Cir. 1953); this reversed, on the government’s confession of error, the District Court’s refusal to naturalize an atheist.The insidiousness and danger of religion, religiousness and religiosity into US governmental functions and operations threatens not only the US Constitution but also the ability of divinity-believers to know that when they worship or speak of their God, they do so WITHOUT any edicts or pressure from their government, since such statements of faith are NOT required of them; thus (and only thus!) they do so of their own free will!

  • CCNL

    Even atheists have some kind of “god(s)” and/or “goddess(es)”.Choices: the “Yahwehers”, the “Zeusers”, the “Allahers”, the “Jehovahers”, the “Mother Naturers”, the “Suners”, the “Krishna-Vasudevaers”, the “Vishnuers”, the Hariers, the “Shaktiers”, the “Thorers”, the “Universers”, the “Quetzalcoatlers”, the “Tezcatlipocaers”, the “Apolloers”, the “Marsers”, the “Faunaers”, the “Caesarers”, the “Kennedyers”, the “Clintoners”, etc. BO’s “gods” and “goddesses” are the members of the Immoral Majority who put him in the “Blood” House i.e. the 70 + million voting “mothers and fathers” of 35+ million aborted womb-babies slaughtered since 1973 at a rate of ~one million/year.

  • observer12

    In reality, the oath is not at issue. No one would be giving it a second thought if it weren’t for religionists’ tireless attempts to push their theocratic agenda. As matters stand, vigilance is called for, in all matters, including the oath.

  • agapn9

    Vishnu, Thor, or Zeus can easily be explained as anthropomorphic projections. And Atheists like Feuerbach tend to think that the God of the believer is like a big anthropomorphic projection.However, once an atheist like Bertrand Russell actually understands what christians, muslims, and jews define God to be then they usually fall back into being agnostics. However, if they are seriously interested in knowing the truth instead of defending their “turf” then some of them like Russell end up admitting that one of more of the logical arguments for God’s existence hold considerable weight. For Russell it was the ontological argument that he kept him up at night until he finally admitted it might be true.

  • mhoust

    The atheist suit against the inclusion of religious figures, and the phrase, “So help me God” in the oath is totally without merit.The Supreme court ruled that the inauguration oath was purely ceremonial in nature and that the incluse of the phrase was to merely freflect the solemnity of the occasion.Frankly, that statement is a bunch of bunk. The 1st Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” What the damn fool atheists have missed is the prohibition against prohibiting exercise of religion. The final decision as to the inclusion, exclusion, or phrasing of the last part of the oath rests not with Congress, the Supreme Court, the Constitution, the administrator, or the master of ceremonies. The final decision rests with the person taking the oath.So help me God.

  • cohenj2

    Spidermean2: “There is only one book which has predicted correctly everything that is happening today. That is the Christian Bible. There is actually no need for a Pascal wager coz the Bible is 100 percent accurate.”The bible also says that humans came before dinosaurs, that every single animal species got on a massive boat to survive a flood, and that the earth was created in 7 days. Carbon dating shows that, in fact, there were millions of species on this planet prior to human existence…The other two points I mentioned are too ridiculous to even acknowledge or debate.I’ll respond with your quote, “Use your head.”

  • bevjims1

    agapn9 pondered: Vishnu, Thor, or Zeus can easily be explained as anthropomorphic projections. And Atheists like Feuerbach tend to think that the God of the believer is like a big anthropomorphic projection. Or beliefs are equated to fantasies like Unicorns. However, once an atheist like Bertrand Russell actually understands what christians, muslims, and jews define God to be then they usually fall back into being agnostics. However, if they are seriously interested in knowing the truth instead of defending their “turf” then some of them like Russell end up admitting that one of more of the logical arguments for God’s existence hold considerable weight.”You might want to consider this from Russell in 1949:He is not basing his agnosticism on a positive argument for God’s existence, he is basing it on the same argument allowing for any sort of God or omnipotent being, and so it is no proof of God. agapn9 pondered: “For Russell it was the ontological argument that he kept him up at night until he finally admitted it might be true.”Based on his writings he, as with many others such as Kant, rejected the ontological argument as circular. But what is clear is Russell rejected religion:”Religion is based, I think, primarily and mainly upon fear. It is partly the terror of the unknown and partly, as I have said, the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes. [...] A good world needs knowledge, kindliness, and courage; it does not need a regretful hankering after the past or a fettering of the free intelligence by the words uttered long ago by ignorant men.” —Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects

  • CCNL

    Off topic: Paganplace noted: “Fact is, though, the (gay marriage ban) amendment itself is Unconstitutional, and won’t stand.”And her reason for thinking this is?Gay “marriage”/sexual activity is properly defined as yucky, mutual masturbation. It would fail completely in any court review as heterosexual marriage.

  • bevjims1

    spidermean2 wrote: “There is only one book which has predicted correctly everything that is happening today. That is the Christian Bible. There is actually no need for a Pascal wager coz the Bible is 100 percent accurate.”Then could you explain how kangaroos hopped off the ark after the flood and hopped to Australia? Or maybe how the Kiwis, flightless birds, walked to New Zealand from the ark? Can you find the answers in your 100% correct bible or will you resort to making stuff up again?

  • CCNL

    And BO will really be saying, “so help me Immoral Majority”!!!!And please note Nature or Nature’s God is the #1 taker of everyone’s life. That gives some rational for killing the unborn or those suffering from dementia, mental disease or Alzheimer’s or anyone who might inconvenience your life??? We constantly battle the forces of nature. We do not succumb to these forces by eliminating defenseless children!!!!!

  • Paganplace

    ” agapn9 “Vishnu, Thor, or Zeus can easily be explained as anthropomorphic projections. And Atheists like Feuerbach tend to think that the God of the believer is like a big anthropomorphic projection.So, Christian, you actually agree with ‘Atheist’ reasoning completely, as long as your own basis for authority isn’t subjected to the same standards when you want to use your religion to have your way over others?Unicorns, btw, actually became a ‘Christ symbol’ in medieval times, though the meaning of the legend is older still. If you want to start saying what’s ‘real,’ well, by all means, let’s looks at your rituals and claims to governmental power.

  • elife1975

    Deluded nutjob said: That gives some rational for killing the unborn or those suffering from dementia, mental disease or Alzheimer’s or anyone who might inconvenience your life???Wait, doesn’t the state of TX execute the mentally ill? One of our presidents was from there, wasn’t he? George somethingorother. He was a bible thumper too. Hey nutjob, shouldn’t you be stalking abortion doctors about now? Psycho.

  • bevjims1

    CCNL wrote: “And please note Nature or Nature’s God is the #1 taker of everyone’s life.”I’ll note that as *your* belief based on an ancient religion.CCNL wrote: “That gives some rational for killing the unborn or those suffering from dementia, mental disease or Alzheimer’s or anyone who might inconvenience your life???”No. What is your point here?CCNL wrote: “We constantly battle the forces of nature. We do not succumb to these forces by eliminating defenseless children!!!!!”Who is eliminating defenseless children? … Oh, this must be about abortion. Sorry, I’m not taking the bait.

  • AThagoras

    ourselves_alone wrote: Nonsense. Atheists do not make a willful decision not to believe (at least not the ones I know). I don’t believe in anything for which there is no evidence. Do you believe in Thor? Do you make a willful decision not to believe in Thor? Of course not. To make you believe in Thor, someone would have to provide you with some credible evidence that Thor exists. My position is exactly the same with respect to the Christian God (and all others).Actually there is more evidence for the existence of Thor than there is for the Abrahamic God, it’s just that now we have better explanations for things. We now know that thunder is not evidence for the existence of Thor. Similar arguments can be made for the “evidence” that people provide for the Christian God.

  • Paganplace

    I mean, hey, CCNL: Maybe you could figure the US Government, if not ‘creation’ is about something a little more than someone else keeping your hands out of your pants for you we could be getting on with something constructive. Unzip. Go nuts. Adults are talking, here.

  • agapn9

    To be fair pagan place – you don’t have to be religious to perform rituals. Atheists seem to have as many of them as anyone else. As far as power over someone I haven’t asked for anything have I? So who is fantasizing you or me?

  • zbvhs

    Atheism is a religion as is theism in its various forms. Why then should the courts or the Constitution favor atheist complaints or beliefs in view of the fact that the majority of citizens in this country are believers?

  • Paganplace

    ” agapn9 “To be fair pagan place – you don’t have to be religious to perform rituals. Atheists seem to have as many of them as anyone else.”Some rituals are purely social, which is in fact the entire defense of invocations of ‘God’ in ceremonies such as this in the first place. Sure, atheists can do that. *I* can look at an Obama and go, ‘Hey, this guy is praying, great.’ Its when others come along and claim it *means* I or an atheist am not an equal citizen of the United States of America where your *demands* for public piety get problematic. “As far as power over someone I haven’t asked for anything have I? So who is fantasizing you or me?”Would you like to take a walk in a pair of well-used moccasins?

  • Paganplace

    I mean, hey, Agapn, I don’t have a big surplus of respect for those who define themselves by wither belief or *disbelief* in your God or your book. You’re both trying to ‘prove’ people should take your sh** when they’re hurting. Cause some words make it ‘OK.’ Jibba jabba.

  • elife1975

    You said: “Atheism is a religion as is theism in its various forms.”So if Atheism is a religion, and christianity is a religion, so on and so forth, who’s right? And if you say “I am.” you do realize you’re committing one of the 7 deadly sins, right?

  • Paganplace

    Basically, I think monotheists and atheist-monotheists ought to just *get a room.*The both of youse are basing your world around thinking what you or I believe is the big thing that *matters.*

  • Paganplace

    I mean, let’s be frank. Monotheism *invented* the idea that disbelieving in someone else’s god was useful, important, or worth killing over. Nothing to do with faith. All about talk.

  • charlesbakerharris

    Chops2 and Motekeeper: Stop posting. You’re doing actually-intelligent atheists a disservice. Anyone who quotes Sam Harris without realizing/acknowledging that he’s an oversimplifying, cherrypicking tool is an idiot, and anyone who can’t construct a sentence without tripping over themselves only gets in the way of a discussion.

  • youngj1

    This law suit is silliness. The phrases “under God” or “so help me God” are not religion specific but generic references to a celestial power. While I understand that atheists ay take offense at the mention of God in any official government setting this is a waste of money and time.If this were such a pressing priority for this gentleman why has he not pursued it during off years? Brining it up only when an inaugration is imminent demostrates that this is a publicity stunt and nothing more. As with the ruckus about who speaks at these events and why this too is much ado about nothing that will die a deserving death on the fires of history. One phrase, one speaker, one event does not define an administration and “so help me God” will not dictate the course of the nation.

  • AThagoras

    Chops2 wrote:That’s not a sensible reason for accepting the theory of evolution. I hope you were being sarcastic.Why not accept it because it is one of the best supported theories that science has ever produced? Evolution, just like gravity, is an observable fact. It has been observed in many ways, directly and indirectly.The THEORY of evolution is a scientific theory that explains a very large and growing collection of FACTS. Evolution is also a mathematical truth. It is the result of some really simple probability theory. The basis of the theory of evolution is simply that those living things that have traits that make them more likely to survive and reproduce are more likely to survive and reproduce and pass those traits on. It’s really that obvious and simple. If it wasn’t for religious biases, no educated person should have any reason not to accept evolution as a fact.People accept quantum theory as factual without understanding it. But people don’t accept the theory of evolution as factual purely because of religous biases. The most common argument I hear against evolution goes roughly like: “I don’t understand how life on earth could have evolved, therefore God did it.” Not a valid argument for several reasons.

  • Sacha2

    “So help me God”…Most people do not even pay attention to what they are saying when they say these words.These kinds of sentences should be taken out of official statements …(and others,too)

  • Bunkai1

    I totally disagree with the views of athiests and agnostics, but I will defend their right to their views and opinions.God is simply a term we use to say “How does that happen and why does it happen at that time.” The beautiful stories we read in the Bible are attempts to help us understand what is not very easy. It is difficult for me to believe that a man holding a stick made the Red Sea part in two. Science has studied this and has shown various theories on how this could have happened. The point is, it happened at a very tramatic time, what caused that, I haven’t a clue.My point is “Tis’ better to have and not need, than to need and not have.” When you die and if there is a possibility that you go to “heaven,” and you are not prepared, then, at the most inopportune time you will understand that there is the “other place.”What ever decisions you make about your spiritual health, it’s your choice. For me, I’m am dressing for where I am going, not for where I’m at!

  • Chops2

    ATHAGORUS 2:I think u misunderstood my evolution statement, I agree with u its basically a scientific fact, I was trying to point out that many theists are afraid of evolution or totally deny it (unlike gravity) becuase it is a threat to the story of Genesis i.e. that it disproves it.I should have phrased it better.And Charles Barker Harris:Its better than sounding like Spidey and calling everyone an idiot.

  • bevjims1

    Agapn9 wrote: “The big bang theory ends the argument concerning an infinite series, knocks out the ancient Greek notion that the universe just is. And points out that if there is a God He would have the attributes of the God of Abraham.”I’m not sure where your logic is saying that the Big Bang causes God to have the attributes of the God of Abraham. Did you just make that up?There are a a few interesting theories around about what caused the big bang. Few think it just “happened”. Some consider our universe to be a mere speck compared to what is actually out there. There is a theory involving branes, planes of reality that have some components of our universe, say time and space and matter and energy. When these branes collide these dimensions and aspects of the branes combine. As the collision continues, the universe expands. A recent observation found the universe is not quite symmetrical, with more energy on one side than the other. This would point to the big bang not being symmetrical. A singularity cannot expand within a vacuum and not be symmetrical, so this points to some other condition, such as another universe, from which ours expanded from. Anyway, I just wanted to point out that the big bang is not the end of scientific thought on the origin of the universe and scientific observations and theories are leading scientists toward what appear to be conditions before the big bang. If this is found to be correct, there was not a beginning, just a new start, and the infinite series is back in vogue.Also, if one accepts that a God created the universe, there still is the sticky issue as to whether He cares about people on this small blue planet, or was He just happy the big bang went off properly? This is what a Diest would believe, that God did his thing and we’re on our own, with no one to pray to.

  • WWWexler

    Regardless of how you define any deity, religion has no place in public life. It’s clear that the phrase “under God” in the Pledge and “so help me God” in the oath of office are a violation of the First Amendment Establishment Clause. At least it’s clear to anyone who looks at it objectively. This ESTABLISHES a monotheistic “God” by including a mention of it in official government proceedings.As a practicing agnostic, I don’t give a flip about what other people’s religion is as long as they keep it clean out of public policy. That includes government functions. However upsetting this pledge is to atheists, if they want to rally around an issue they ought to be making it Obama’s promise to “expand” the “Faith based initiative”. This is an issue where there is some traction to be had. Trying to reason with American superstitious fools about making their kids pledge fealty to a nation “under God” is going nowhere. Whenever I say the pledge, I either leave it out or loudly say “Thor, the Thunder God”.-Wexler

  • AThagoras

    I’m seeing a whole lot of complete philosophical nonsense being spouted here.First cause arguments based on whether or not there is an infinite chain of causes, people defending the ontological argument etc. I’ll address those two.1. There is no way to know if there is or is not a first cause.There may be infinitely many causes. There could be a finite cyclic chain of causes. There could be a complex fractal system of causes. There are many possibilities. WE SIMPLY DON’T KNOW. Physics may provide some light on this subject, but the jury is still out, and ultimately our physics could be an approximation of something else that we can’t measure. The simplistic notion of the Big Bang is not the end of the story. If physics claims that there is a singularity, I’m convinced that their maths is wrong. When the theory of relativity and quantum theory are fully merged, we will know what really happened at the Big Bang and whether or not there was some cause that “preceded” it. The current consensus seems to be that universes can create other universes.Even if there is no FIRST cause, we can’t avoid the BIG QUESTION: Why does anything exist? You still have to explain the existence of the whole chain of causes – whatever they may be.I don’t think there is any answer to the BIG QUESTION. I don’t think even God could not answer that question. If God exists, why does God exist? Where did It come from? Nobody could ever know why something exists rather than nothing.2. The ontological argument is complete nonsense and has been shown to be such by many people. It is based on confusion between things we can imagine and things that exist. You can’t logically deduce properties of things that exist (that we have not experienced) by considering what we are capable of imagining.Why I’m a naturalist:To invent a God that we can’t observe, and for which there is no reliable evidence, does not serve to explain anything. People have always used God(s) to explain anything that they don’t understand (e.g. the ID movement) – and the assumption has been proven wrong over and over again. I’ll believe that God exists if and when there is some credible evidence for that proposition.If you’ve got some CREDIBLE evidence for the existence of God, I’m keen to hear it. If not, please keep your Gods out of government.

  • sirach

    The words “so help me God” are not part of the oath. Until 1933, the person administering the oath read it, and the president simply said, “I do. So help me God.” Washington made the addition because it was traditional, and simply because he chose to. (JQAdams didn’t add it because he chose not to.) FDR was on the radio and wanted the nation to hear him speak the words of the oath, so he had the CJ speak the words line by line, which he would then repeat. The CJ did not include the words “so help me God” because they’re not in the oath, and FDR forgot to add them.

  • sirach

    In the wordiness of my last post, I never made the point I started out to make, which is that forbidding the president to add the words is to forbid free speech, since adding them is up to him. With other officials, for whom the words are prescribed, it’s another matter.

  • cdlumpkin

    The question remains, why this law suit now? Why not anytime after January 20 2009? The answer may well be that those bringing suit wish to push their religion, or lack thereunto, in the place of others. This is the religion of self promotion. This is wanting to get one’s name in the paper. If one chooses not to believe in a deity, the Constitution seems to allow such. The newly elected President saying “so help me God” is not pushing his religious beliefs on anyone, the atheist is still allowed his/her view. By denying the newly elected President the right to express his/her self in affirmation of his/her beliefs is pushing one belief system (atheism) on the newly elected President, which is an attempt to establish religion or lack of religion on that person – clearly unconstitutional. The atheist has rights, but among them is not the right establish their “belief system” as the official “belief system” for the nation. Elect an atheist, and allow that person to end their oath with “so help myself” or whatever — let them put their hand on whatever. We did not elect an atheist this time and President-elect Obama never hid his Christianity. We elected him with our eyes open. If Mitt Romney had been elected he would have the constitutional right to place his hand on the Bible or the Book of Mormon, and doing so would not force any of us to accept or reject either. If poster Wexler above gets elected President of he United States, it is alright to end the oath with “so help me Thor.” It will not change our religious beliefs at all. It is our Constitution and we sticking with it and we should stick by it.

  • hmaulden

    I am an American Christian. I believe references to God have no place in official US government ceremonies. It’s disrespectful to non-believers. (Unless you care to craft a broader invocation to acknowledge believers in ALL gods and non-believers, too.)Secondly, it’s wrong, bad, and dangerous for government — to take on the mantle of Righteousness. All Christians should realize this if they read the NT. Look at the track record of the last 8 years.Most importantly, it’s wrong and dangerous for Christian religions and all religions. In the past 8 years, Right-wing christians’ government activities have led to real-world disasters (Iraq, Katrina), gutted christianity of its declining reputation/respect and its real mission, and diminished christianity in the eyes of non-christians. It’s a real “turn off” to non-Christians and I believe it would be a turn off to Jesus.There are two Kingdoms, fellow christians. Join one. Join the other. Can’t join both. Different rules apply.The New Testament and the Constitution. Read ‘em.Real Christians should be funding Mr. Michael Newdow. At least we should be thanking him for his efforts on Our behalf.

  • momj47

    I’m not an atheist, but I find those words offensive, not only for public officials, but for any oath any citizen might have to take. Why should I have to swear to God, any god, to help me tell the truth or defend my country. We could make those words optional, and a citizen could be allowed to swear to a God (or no god) they wish, using any appropriate sacred text. And if this can’t be done well, (and probably won’t be by a lot of small-minded politicians) then those words should be eliminated from every oath a citizen might have to make, as well as from our currency.

  • AThagoras

    Sorry, in my last post, I meant to say:

  • jclark3

    BUNKAI1 wrote:I totally disagree with the views of athiests and agnostics, but I will defend their right to their views and opinions.God is simply a term we use to say “How does that happen and why does it happen at that time.” The beautiful stories we read in the Bible are attempts to help us understand what is not very easy. It is difficult for me to believe that a man holding a stick made the Red Sea part in two. Science has studied this and has shown various theories on how this could have happened. The point is, it happened at a very tramatic time, what caused that, I haven’t a clue.Response: Have you actually read the Bible? There may in your view be some beautiful stories but there are also stories of the basest sort– women being rapped and cut into pieces etc. MOre to the point, science will never “explain” the parting of the Red Sea because this story is (as most of the Bible) a myth, just like the earlier Sumarian myths that formed the basis for most of the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament). ALso the Red Sea was actually the Reid Sea (Red was a mistranslation) and it probably referred to a smaller body of water. The chariots got stuck in the mud, the Bible says, not washed away as depected in the children’s versions of this myth.Please Please keep you religion out of my government.

  • dmrunique

    Oh, well. If atheists have a problem, that’s THEIR problem. Live with it. Obama is a Christian and he isn’t pushing his faith on anyone else, but he has a right to have a minister present. If, oneday, an atheist becomes President, he/she can do as they please. Until then, grin and bear it.

  • anniekegeel

    Why not give the people taking the oath (or making the promise) the opportunity to choose for themselves which variant they prefer?In my country (The Netherlands) people who take office can decide on two options:OrYou promise allegiance to the Queen and end with ‘That I do promise’.In that way non-religious people are not pressured in stating something they do not believe in.

  • familynet

    Do they have a right to complain or feel offended?Do they have a legal argument that might win?The legal rulings are strictly against them.Their point was not to expect a legal victory, but to stir conversation, pro and against them. Since my posting is about #182 with certainly more people to soon post, I think that they got what they wanted.

  • zbvhs

    Atheism cannot have an objective basis. A formal, objective (i.e., scientific) proof of God’s existence – or nonexistence – cannot be written. This goes all the way back to Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason in which he wrote, We can make no statement regarding the metaphysical (or supernatural) because we have no way of experiencing it. Jesus of Nazareth said, God is spirit. The word in Koiné Greek is pneuma, which carries the allegorical connotation of a gentle zephyr breeze barely rustling the leaves of a tree. Beyond that, we have no idea what spirit is or what God’s supernatural realm might be. We call it Heaven but know nothing more about it. We can’t make a spirit detector or a meta-telescope to look into supernatural realms and therefore have no way of testing a proof of God’s existence. Science is therefore agnostic.Explanations of the supernatural arise from subjective religious belief. Nothing in the natural realm proves or disproves anything in the supernatural realm. It follows that atheism is a belief – or anti-belief – system, which places it in the realm of religion. If the Constitution prohibits favoring religion, then it also prohibits favoring anti-religion. Atheist complaints therefore have no basis. If majority rules, then religious expression in governmental affairs should favor the majority religious beliefs of the American people with due restraint out of respect for minority non-believers.

  • hildutus

    Read your history. Read how the early Christians protested when required to say a few harmless words to Zeus or to the genius of the Emperor. They even martyred themselves while Roman judges tried to get them off by suggesting they just say some meaningless word or throw a little incense on a fire (what harm in that?).

  • halbert1

    Just gonna throw this out there…I believe “under God” is a phrase that was voluntarily added by George Washington at the end of his oath of office. Since then it has been the choice of each individual President-elect to use those words at the end of the oath. I believe one other President did not say it.I could be wrong though.

  • knivesanddemons

    As an atheist, I would think that “So help me God” because it makes your religion appear diluted and weak if one has to swear to it. If you have conviction and you believe, isn’t that enough? Why swear to it? It neither proves you will do as you say or negates it. I don’t trust that anyone is going to adhere to what they claim simply because they throw God in there. As an atheist, I can say that I have more conviction than almost any religious person I know. Too bad none of your Gods care about any of that.

  • US-conscience

    Do the words “So help me God” have any meaning at all ? Absolutely, they do indeed establish and confer that theism, and in fact Christianity, was without a doubt the Truth held in mind and heart of those men who established this country and in this country that was established. It means that you are swearing an oath first and foremost before the God (of the Bible) who created Heaven and Earth and will call each person to stand before Him and give an account for every idle word they have said. The God under whom true justice is assured and all that is done in secret will be brought to the light. Is this in jeapordy of being undone ? Absolutely, this country is no longer a Christian nation and is teetering on the verge of being an Atheistic nation. Even those majority who claim to be “Religious” live as practical atheists. This countries morals has become an oxy-moron. Abortion is a right and homosexuality is defended. Right is now wrong and up is now down. We need to realize there is a difference between discrimination and righteous judgement, between tolerance and willful amorality.

  • lepidopteryx

    spidermean2 :

  • lepidopteryx

    We elected a Chief Executive, not a High Priest.The oath is spelled out in the Constitution – use the oath as written. The Constitution also does not allow for the use of a scriptural anthology for the purpose of the oath.

  • AThagoras

    Thanks for the clarification chops.Don’t be intimidated by Charles Barker Harris.Sam Harris (is he a relative?) is one of the best speakers I have ever encountered. I’ve never heard anyone that can express himself so clearly and precisely as Sam Harris. I agree that he does pick and choose his facts and I don’t always agree with his conclusions, but I am a big fan of Sam Harris. His logic is flawless and I admire him for his courage and honesty. He is not afraid to criticise atheists when he thinks it is appropriate.

  • spidermean2

    This is a lawsuit coming from the BRAINLESS. This nation should have no time entertaining IDIOTS.Use your brains. Use your brains. Here is a SCIENTIFIC FACT. Any discussion about atheism does not make sense anymore due to this irrefutable fact :Intelligence can produce (dumb and smart) objects but NO dumb object/s can produce intelligence.In other words, if we try to rewind creation and and look for the beginning of things, we would end up finding INTELLIGENCE as the MAIN SOURCE of creation.From hereon, the discussion should be “who or what is that Intelligence?Any discussion about atheism is just a waste of time. It’s not scientific, therefore it is FICTIONAL. Let’s create a fictional blog if they want to insist to discuss it.

  • MPatalinjug

    Yonkers, New YorkThose atheists who vigorously oppose the inclusion of the phrase “under God: in the U.S. President’s inaugural oath are right.Without the offending phrase, the inaugural oath is adequate and just fine. With it, the inaugural oath violates the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution which builds a firewall between church [religion] and state.While it is true that “The Supreme Court ruled more than two decades ago that such public ‘acknowedgments’ of God are ceremonial, not theological, and serve ‘the legitimate secular purposes of solemnizing public occasions, expressing confidence in the future, and encouraging the recognition of what is worthy of appreciation in society’”–there is NOW a need to revisit this ruling because if is based on error.No. 1: Public ‘acknowedgments’ of God are not merely ‘ceremonial’ as the Supreme Court wrongly asserts. They are ‘theological’ because the concept “God” is patently and unambiguously theological.No, 2: Public ‘acknowledgments’ of God do not really “serve ‘the legitimate secular purposes of solemnizing public occasions.’” To the contrary, they degrade and denigrate them because the “God” entity or being is in reality nothing more than the figment of the imagination of the religious–and the inaugural oath happens to be a very serious secular business.No. 3: Public ‘acknowledgments’ of God do not actually encourage “the recognition of what is worthy of appreciation in society.” What really are “worthy of appreciation in society” are facts, the truth as revealed by empirical evidence, honesty, objectivity, fairness and justice–and not such fictional entities as gods, angels, demons and a “God.”Mariano Patalinjug

  • krankyman

    Athagoras:”And I was pointing out that you were arguing against a claim that no atheist makes.”Every atheist makes that claim. By the very definition of the word the atheist claims to have absolute assurance there is no god.Only a person who has absolute knowledge can make such a claim.Therefore every atheist makes that claim whether they so state explicitly or not.Atheist: “One who disbelieves or denies the existence of God or gods.”Agnostic: “a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience.”Thus if someone tells you they are an atheist yet claims they do not have absolute knowledge on the issue then they are an agnostic and not an atheist.Again, the essential qualification for an atheist is the absolute knowledge that there is no god.Refer to the original post but absolute knowledge is an attribute of a god. Thus the atheist claims to possess qualities on par with a god.Whether a atheist explicitly claims absolute knowledge is irrelevant. The very fact that a person advances the argument of atheism indicates their claim to absolute knowledge; if they do not claim such certain knowledge then they would be agnostic and not atheistic.

  • spidermean2

    “Then why don’t men have ovaries as well?”Think first before you ask questions. That’s the reason people become dumb. Let your brain work first before you let other people’s brain work for you. Evolutionists are dumb because they let other people think for them.

  • JeffRandom

    Either inserting or deleting “So help me God” into the Presidential oath is nothing to fight over and I have to wonder about those who do.That said – Spidermean2 wrote “Intelligence can produce (dumb and smart) objects but NO dumb object/s can produce intelligence.” This is not true. Read up on neural networks, the annual Turing test, and so on. You also might consider the neuron itself.

  • spidermean2

    JeffRandom wrote “This is not true. Read up on neural networks”.You don’t know what you’re talking about. Think when you read.

  • Fei_Hu

    Main Page | About Under God | Archives | RSS FeedAtheists Annoyed by Inaugural OathInterlarding? Rick Warren is a big guy but he’s not that big. Of course, attorneys for atheist Michael Newdow and other plaintiffs were using the term metaphorically, arguing that mixing (interlarding: to insert something foreign into) petitions to God and other “explicitly religious dogma” into the secular ceremony violates the Constitution.Reaction to the suit ranges from annoyance to ridicule. “Newdow’s lawsuit over the inauguration is a lot like the streaker at the Super Bowl: a pale, self-absorbed distraction. And anybody who looks at it carefully can see there’s not much there,” said Scott Walter, executive director of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.I suspect there’d be a lot more sympathy for the suit if Obama had invited a Muslim cleric and a Wiccan priestess to deliver the inaugural invocation and benediction, rather than well-known Christian clergy Rick Warren and Joseph Lowery. Or if Chief Justice John Roberts was planning to ask Obama to close his oath of office with the words “So help me Jesus” instead of “So help me God.”And I suspect the lawsuit would have generated less condescension if it had been filed by the Freedom Forum or the National Council of Churches, rather than two dozen atheist and humanist individuals and groups led by the infamous Newdow, best known for his lawsuits challenging the interlarding of the Pledge of Allegiance with the phrase “under God.”The Constitution protects minority rights, not minority sensibilities. Newdow and company filed similar lawsuits before the 2001 and 2005 inaugurations, to no avail. The Supreme Court ruled more than two decades ago that such public “acknowledgments” of God are ceremonial, not theological, and serve “the legitimate secular purposes of solemnizing public occasions, expressing confidence in the future, and encouraging the recognition of what is worthy of appreciation in society.” But just because this lawsuit will be dismissed doesn’t mean we should be dismissive of some of the important points made and questions raised by the plaintiffs:In explaining the Establishment Clause, the Supreme Court has stated, “[t]he touchstone for our analysis is the principle that the ‘First Amendment mandates governmental neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion.’” It is clearly not neutral when the government places “so help me God” in its oaths or sponsors prayers to God, knowing that some individuals believe that God does not exist. If not, do the words “so help me God” mean anything at all?—————–Note: U.S. Dist. Judge Reggie B. Walton has scheduled a hearing on the matter Jan. 15. Email This Post | Del.icio.us | Digg | FacebookPosted by David Waters on January 5, 2009 3:47 PM Comments (195)You don’t know what you’re talking about. Think when you read.January 7, 2009 9:08 AM | Report Offensive Comment Posted on January 7, 2009 09:08 JeffRandom : That said – Spidermean2 wrote “Intelligence can produce (dumb and smart) objects but NO dumb object/s can produce intelligence.” This is not true. Read up on neural networks, the annual Turing test, and so on. You also might consider the neuron itself.January 7, 2009 8:57 AM | Report Offensive Comment ==================================Fei Hu

  • Fei_Hu

    That said – Spidermean2 wrote “Intelligence can produce (dumb and smart) objects but NO dumb object/s can produce intelligence.” This is not true. Read up on neural networks, the annual Turing test, and so on. You also might consider the neuron itself.January 7, 2009 8:57 AM | Report Offensive Comment ==================================Fei HuSORRY FOR THE OVER COPY…

  • Fei_Hu

    Posted on January 7, 2009 06:20 Sacha2 : These kinds of sentences should be taken out of official statements …(and others,too)Fei Hu

  • ajackson3

    The article ask if atheist have a case to have words like “so help me God” and “under God” removed from swearing in ceremonies and national anthems. Only if Americans decide to throw out the morals and values that have HELPED to make the country a leader in the world politically and economically. As a Christian, I believe America has prospered in spite of its wrong doings (slavery, social injustice, manipulation of other countries, George Bush, etc.) because the nation as a whole believes in God. Praying before major events, major changes, major decisions is wise. Those prayers are to seek divine counsel from God above, to provide guidance for those making the decisions so that the decision that is made is good for the nation and good for the world. In my humble, yet totally accurate opinion, America should continue to give thanks to God and seek his guidance if America wants to continue to have a strong standing in this world. Not a sermon, just something to think about.

  • AThagoras

    zbvhs wrote: Almost no belief can have an entirely objective basis, but atheism can be based on objective knowledge.zbvhs also wrote:True, except a “formal” proof and a “scientific” proof are not the same thing.Most of our technology is based on science. It is based on careful observation of the world in which we live. In that sense, it is objectively based, but science rarely “proves” anything in the sense of formal proofs. When people say “You can’t prove that God does or does not exist.” That’s true but pretty meaningless.In the same sense, I can base my belief that God does not exist on objective knowledge. I know that people invent Gods. I know that people have dreams and hallucinations. I know that people exaggerate and I know that people don’t remember things accurately. I know that most claims made by most religions have been wrong (BTW, this CAN be formally proven from the claims made by the realigions because they contradict each other!). This objective knowledge leads me to be sceptical about claims that violate the laws of physics unless there is good evidence to the contrary. So far I have not seen any reliable evidence that anything ever violates the known laws of physics. This includes miracles, virgin births, resurrections, ghosts, ESP, minds without brains, etc. I spent a lot of years believing in all of those things and I spent a lot of years looking for proof of any of them. I didn’t find any. Instead I found a lot of confused and deluded people, and others who take advantage of those people, which convinced me that the supernatural exists only in people’s minds.I can’t prove that God doesn’t exist, but it would be relatively easy for God to prove (at least in the scientific sense) to us that He does exist. So far it hasn’t happened. The Bible is not proof, any more than the Book of Morman, the Quoran, the Baghavad Gita, or the “miracles” performed by Sai Baba. If God wanted us to know that He exists it would be absolutely trivial for Him to convince each and every one of us. It does not make any logical (or moral) sense for Him to reveal himself to some of us and not to others or to play hide and seek with us like Christians would have us believe.On the balance of probabilities (based on objective knowledge) I conclude that Gods are an invention of humankind. To me there seems to be so much evidence of that that the existence of any God is about as likely as the moon being made of cheese. I think any honest scientist would conclude the same if he/she could put aside the religious indoctrination that distorts their thinking.

  • jedrothwell1

    As an atheist I say this is a trivial matter. If Obama wants to swear to God, he should. If he wants Warren to offer a prayer, that’s fine too. We have HUGE problems to deal with in this country. We should not waste time worrying about unimportant stuff like this.

  • bevjims1

    lepidopteryx asked: “Then why don’t men have ovaries as well?”The testicles and ovaries are derived from the same tissues of the fetus. Sex hormones determine whether the tissue becomes a testicle or an ovary. So, to make it simple, men and women both have nipples and ovaries/testicles. You might also find it interesting that men have breast tissue, enough for men to get breast cancer, though its rare.

  • bjlopez1130

    You know with the way our country is right now the last thing we need to do is take God out of anything. We need God. It is when we try to take him out of things that things happen to our country. You atheist are not the one who are being sworn in. Barack Obama a Christian man who believes in God is. The majority of this country believes in God. You are a minority. While that is your right not to believe in God. We respect that. However in this country the majority is what rules, wins. That is what democracy is about.

  • elife1975

    One must exist to have intelligence, since it is gained through the acquisition of knowledge. Where was this knowledge acquired? Who created the knowledge? And once again, who created your creator? Spidey, you continue to mindlessly argue your stance while failing to argue at all. Continuously spewing your idiotic non sequiturs is no way to make your point, if it can be called such.

  • Whisperin

    I know of no atheist who wishes there were no god. I believe most atheists would welcome proof of a “god”, but lacking that, accept what is observable. Here are some quotes to ponder, my favorite being “An atheist never burned anyone at the stake.” (Annonymous)”It appears to me (whether rightly or wrongly) that direct arguments against christianity and theism produce hardly any effect on the public; and freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men’s minds which follows from the advance of science.” [Darwin] “I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own — a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotism.” [Einstein] “Faith means not wanting to know what is true.” [Nietzsche] “I cannot believe in the immortality of the soul…. No, all this talk of an existence for us, as individuals, beyond the grave is wrong. It is born of our tenacity of life – our desire to go on living … our dread of coming to an end.” [Edison] “The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma.” [Lincoln] “Religion is a byproduct of fear. For much of human history, it may have been a necessary evil, but why was it more evil than necessary? Isn’t killing people in the name of God a pretty good definition of insanity?” [Arthur C. Clarke] “Religions are all alike – founded upon fables and mythologies.” [Thomas Jefferson] “Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile.” [Kurt Vonnegut] “Religion is based . . . mainly on fear . . . fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death. Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand. . . . My own view on religion is that of Lucretius. I regard it as a disease born of fear and as a source of untold misery to the human race.” [Bertrand Russell]

  • JoeMcD

    I suppose that, if those who worship logic truly and honestly insist on pursuing their campaign to its “logical” end, then we must also throw out the very document that they claim as the fundamental truth upon which they base their theories, i.e., the U.S. Constitution. The founders of this country made it abundantly clear that they firmly believed that their efforts in crafting the Constitution were inspired and guided by the very God that the nons now wish to supplant. Imagine where this country would be had the founders instead relied upon “logic” to steer their quills! Heaven forbid! ;-)JoeMac

  • spidermean2

    ” So how did God come to be if He is intelligent and nothing came before Him? “What a dumb question. Read this again please but this time try to understand it:Intelligence can produce (dumb and smart) objects but NO dumb object/s can produce intelligence.In other words, if we try to rewind creation and and look for the beginning of things, we would end up finding INTELLIGENCE as the MAIN SOURCE of creation.The SOURCE means NOTHING can come before it.

  • bevjims1

    krankyman wrote: “I accept your challenge. My resume includes the study of chemistry, physics, statics, dynamics, fluid dynamics, Calculus (including differential equations), and other scientific endeavors. All at a college level at a major US university. And you?”The same classes you note plus: quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, analytical geometry, biochemistry, astronomy, economics, oceanography, digital design, anatomy and computer science, all at undergraduate and graduate levels at a major university. krankyman alsowrote: “By the very definition of the word the atheist claims to have absolute assurance there is no god. Only a person who has absolute knowledge can make such a claim.”By that logic what are your views toward the existence of the Hindu gods, such as Vishnu (I’m assuming you are not Hindu)? Are you an “atheist” when it comes to Vishnu, an “agnostic”, or a “believer”, since these seem to be the only allowed views within your logic. Maybe you could begin to understand the point of view of an atheist by understanding that an atheist believes in one less god than you do. God to an atheist is equivalent to Vishnu to you.

  • elife1975

    I’m curious about a couple of other points as well, and maybe some of you could provide clarity:1. During gestation, humans temporarily develop gills and prehensile tails, only to lose them as the fetus matures. Why is abortion considered the destruction of a human when it’s actually more like Aquaman or Swamp Thing? Ha, ha.2. Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons? Does the christian god have a belly button?

  • jpn02

    Here are some quotes to ponder, my favorite being “An atheist never burned anyone at the stake.” (Annonymous)–They have sent people to the Gulag though…

  • badspeelar

    halbert1 wrote: I could be wrong though.”Actually it was Reagan.And I think this is a pretty trivial matter and a waste of judicial time and effort. There are more pressing matters in the world to contend with right now than what Obama chooses to say or not say at his inauguration.

  • bevjims1

    zbvhs wrote: “Atheism cannot have an objective basis. A formal, objective (i.e., scientific) proof of God’s existence – or nonexistence – cannot be written.”Though many believers try to prove God’s existence through various means, no atheist tries to prove God’s non-existence. They know that proving a negative is impossible. Nor is the onus on the atheist to prove anything since it is those who make a claim that should make the proof, which they cannot.zbvhs wrote: “Explanations of the supernatural arise from subjective religious belief. Nothing in the natural realm proves or disproves anything in the supernatural realm. It follows that atheism is a belief – or anti-belief – system, which places it in the realm of religion.”So if you do not believe in the Roman gods, or Hindu gods, or umpteen thousands of other gods humanity has produced, does that mean you have umpteen thousands of anti-beliefs and therefore have that many religions? Your logic is silly. Non-belief is not belief in the non-existence of a god. Your premise is false.zbvhs wrote: “If the Constitution prohibits favoring religion, then it also prohibits favoring anti-religion. Atheist complaints therefore have no basis.”There is no such thing as “anti-religion”, unless you mean the opposite of belief, which is no belief. No belief has no basis, no foundation. How can something with no foundation be considered a religion? Who maintains it? Where are its scriptures maintained. You logic again is silly, unless for example you would like to explain one of your religions that believes there is no god named Thor.zbvhs wrote: “If majority rules, then religious expression in governmental affairs should favor the majority religious beliefs of the American people with due restraint out of respect for minority non-believers.”Read the Constitution, especially the part prohibiting the establishment of religion. Majority rules but not over people’s rights as outlined in the Constitution, or have you never heard of a law or resolution voted for by a majority being ruled unconstitutional? Your attempts at logic and knowledge of the Constitution seem limited. Read some more, starting with the Constitution, then take a good course in logic. Anti-belief is a religion indeed…

  • ravitchn

    If someone taking an oath wishes to say “so help me God” no one, not the state or anyone else can stop him.

  • ravitchn

    But you cannot force someone taking an oath to say “so help me God.”

  • northmind

    They do have a case. The word “swear” is a religious one. They should be allowed to say “promise”. They should as well have the option not to take the oath of office with their right hand on the Bible, but on the Constitution. And “So help me God” should also be optional.

  • bevjims1

    bjlopez1130 wrote: “The majority of this country believes in God. You are a minority. While that is your right not to believe in God. We respect that. However in this country the majority is what rules, wins. That is what democracy is about.”But it is not what America is about, it is not what this republic is about and it certainly is not what the Constitution is about. The Constitution provides for two things: Majority rule through democracy AND minority rights via the Constitution. So for example muslims, a minority, cannot be legislated against. The Constitution grants them a right to their religious practice even if a vote was made to make that religion illegal. The Constitution also states that the government cannot establish a religion. It does not matter what the majority wants, the Constitution prohibits it. Read the Constitution before talking about majority rule winning. Taking God out of American government does not take God out of America. It keeps both religion and government strong. Putting religion into government not only violates the Constitution but weakens government, as we have seen as the Bush administration used religious tests to pass/veto legislation and execute/ignore laws.Or to better understand this, what will you do if one day America is a minority christian country. Should that happen will you demand your rights or will you let majority rule and win?

  • squier13

    JOEMCD @ 10:01AM: “The founders of this country made it abundantly clear that they firmly believed that their efforts in crafting the Constitution were inspired and guided by the very God that the nons now wish to supplant.”********************************You are aware that the Constitution does not include the words “God” “Bible” “Jesus Christ” and the word “religious” only once to say “No religious test shall ever be required for office.” Or maybe you have not studied that document, after all.

  • elife1975

    You said:That was a case of the state replacing religion with their own political agenda. It was the ruling parties intent to replace peoples devotion to a higher power with their own political dogma, thereby swapping their beliefs in a god with mindless devotion to government. Our current leader chose to instead align himself with a god and use those who believe to also mindlessly bend to his will.

  • nosurprise2me

    Wow, these posts are way too intellectual for me. How about saying something like the Boy Scout oath…..oh, my bad…God is mentioned there too. Sorry.

  • bjlopez1130

    BEVJIMS 1You all seem to forget that this country was founded with God in mind. Now lately we keep trying to keep God out of things. Then we wonder when our country gets attacked or when things negative happen in this country why they happened and where was God then.You are entitled to your opinion and your beliefs or rather non belief.

  • Skowronek

    Field guide (part 2)3. Although they are chameleon-like in their ability to blend with their habitat, Trolls, like leopards, cannot change their spots. Every Troll has a telltale habit, some signature “issue”, that allows you to classify it. It could be a misspelled word, or a pet phrase, or even a favorite psychoanalyst. By observing the patterns, you will identify your Troll. When you do, remember to stun it, tag its ear for tracking purposes, and release it back into the wild. 4. Prepare yourself in advance to deal with the consequences of exposing a Troll. Trolls fear the sunlight and when cornered, will turn vicious very quickly. A Troll’s first line of defense is Denial. It will protest vigorously for a time, and with such innocence that you will be tempted to believe you were mistaken. Remain firm. The protests will become more and more passionate, but they will be abandoned eventually. The Troll will then attack the integrity of everyone in its environment. Concurrently, it will attempt to find a defender, someone who will deny the Troll’s Trollness and appeal to the goodwill of the community. Don’t be hoodwinked. The final Troll defense strategy is to Storm Off In A Huff and Promise to Never Return. The Troll may indeed leave the environment for a short time. But, having found a reliable food source, you can be sure he will return to his home territory when he feels the danger has passed.5. If your Troll infestation has become serious, remember the old adage, “Starve a Troll, Feed a Fever.” While Trolls are interesting to observe and such fun to feed, remember they are wild animals first and foremost. You do not want to acclimate them to living with humans, much as you would not want grizzly bears learning to raid your trash cans. There will be too many opportunities for dangerous encounters if they lose their fear of people. Your only recourse is to cut off their food supply. If they stop receiving Daily Attention, a Troll will make several attempts to elicit his desired response, but in time, he will move to more fertile pastures. Their natural habitat is abundant, and they are in no danger of extinction.Now, get out there and find those Trolls! They’re waiting for you!

  • signof4

    In my experience, there are two kinds of atheists: apathetic and hostile. Those that are apathetic atheists are more authentic I feel, because they don’t take offense that other people have religious beliefs. They are comfortable in their own skin and can live with religious expression in the public domain, as long as there is no active discrimination against them. Atheists that are openly hostile to public religious expression have deep-seated insecurities about religious faith–perhaps they had a negative experience associated with it, who knows? It’s hard not to see hostile atheists as thin-skinned and intolerant simply because they feel uncomfortable. These hostile atheists are forever confusing a contrived right “not to be offended” with freedom of religion.

  • JoeMcD

    squier13, I have studied the Constitution for years, and I have also studied the history of the drafting of the Constitution, with a particular emphasis and focus on the words and recollections of the principals directly engaged in the process. Perhaps you have not. You are, of course, entitled to ignore or even dismiss such readily available testimonials, which clearly lay out the context in which the Constitution emerged, but no amount of wishful thinking or argument will change the fact that the Founding Fathers felt inspired of and by God Himself to not only write the U.S. Constitution, but to lay the foundation of this country.JoeMac

  • squier13

    BJLOPEZ1130 @10:30am: “You all seem to forget that this country was founded with God in mind.”**********************The document that frames the American system of governance, the US Constitution, does not mention any gods. So it doesn’t follow that the Framers would neglect to mention a god if they had one “in mind” to govern the new country.

  • jcyr4

    While the words “God” and “Jesus” do not appear in the Constitution that does not mean that they were not present in it’s crafting. The Declaration of Independence has refrence to a “creator”. That by itself implies a superior being by whatever name we wish to call him/her.Newdow has brought this argument forward for something like the past 5 inaugurations. It had no merit then and it still has no merit now.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    ZbvhsAtheism is not a religion. It is merely a negative identifier; it is not necesarrily negative to be an atheist; it just runs counter to what is currently in vogue. It has no attributes of religion, and it is therefore quite a false and misleading thing to say that it is a religion.Also, there is no objective truth; there is only consensus of belief regarding what is probably true. There is settled consensus on Evolution, but there is not settled consensus on the existence of God.The fact that atheism exists is proof that there is no proof of the existence of God, for if the existence of God were proven, then no one would “believe” in God, but they would “know” God exists, and there would be no atheists.Also, majority does not rule. Electoral majorities are counted to choose many public officials, and a few other things; but most civil liberties are absolute, and do not depend on the caprice of the majority, who are not necessarily right for being a majority.

  • anyone1

    Just to be clear the “official” text of the Oath is:”I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”As taken verbatim from Article II Section 1 Paragraph 6.I see no hand on bible or god text.

  • pgbsan

    bjlopez1130 wrote: “The majority of this country believes in God. You are a minority. While that is your right not to believe in God. We respect that. However in this country the majority is what rules, wins. That is what democracy is about.”That is incorrect. America is not a true democracy; it is a republic with democratic elements. If it was a true democracy, there would only be a unicameral legislature (i.e., the House of Representatives) and every other government power would be subservient to that legislature. Such a form of democratic government has been tried before, in France after its Revolution, to disastrous results — the Great Terror, the guillotine, wars across Europe, and Napoleon.The majority does not rule in America, don’t ever think that is the case. The Constitution (theoretically) holds numerous safeguards protecting minority rights, from the Senate to the guarantee of an independent judiciary.

  • squier13

    JOEMCD @10:35am: “but no amount of wishful thinking or argument will change the fact that the Founding Fathers felt inspired of and by God Himself to not only write the U.S. Constitution.”*************************And no amount of wishful thinking will magically insert religionist propaganda into the US Constitution, which is devoid of sectarian mysticisms.

  • pgbsan

    jcyr4: “While the words “God” and “Jesus” do not appear in the Constitution that does not mean that they were not present in it’s crafting.”Fine, you can have “God” in the Constitution, and I can have the “right to privacy.” Fair?

  • jpn02

    elife1975 : “That was a case of the state replacing religion with their own political agenda. It was the ruling parties intent to replace peoples devotion to a higher power with their own political dogma, thereby swapping their beliefs in a god with mindless devotion to government. Our current leader chose to instead align himself with a god and use those who believe to also mindlessly bend to his will.”I suppose the point I was ultimately trying to make is that people can do a bad job at anything. Both athiesm and theism incorrectly applied and woven too closely into a political system. Simply removing religion (or attempting to do so) will not remove the potential for evil acts. The statement that an “an athiest never burned anyone at the stake” might be literally true, but itellectually and metaphorically false.

  • elife1975

    You said:I’m not sure about the rest of you folks, but my parents created me. The gave me life and the ability to exist, therefore they are my creator.

  • hyjanks

    Golly! And atheists are accused of intolerance! The problem with this polemic is that god has been infused for so long in our psyche that any attempt to dislodge him from public discourse is seen as the height of arrogance and stupidity.

  • Rixon1221

    The insertion of the phrase “So Help Me God” stems from tradition. When George Washington took the oath of office at Federal Hall in New York, it was Washington who added the phrase at the conclusion of the oath.

  • Skowronek

    You know, the Constitution was written with a group of people in mind, not just an individual. So we know that they agreed upon the wording, in general. We don’t know all the particulars. I imagine there was a great deal of argument and discussion. We do know that not all of the founders were theists though.In the end, it really doesn’t rock my world one way or the other. I’m not the one being sworn in. I imagine that it will be decided upon beforehand, not at the last minute.

  • ahashburn

    What’s wrong with replacing “so help me God” with “”so help me.”

  • jcyr4

    In addition, the Declaration of Independence uses the word “God” in the very first paragraph.Athiest often refer to the Bill of Rights and the first amendment which states, “Congress will make no law respecting and establishment of religion.” They wave this clause around and say “No God in government!”However, they appear to have stopped reading at that point because the VERY NEXT LINE, “or prohibiting free excercise thereof” pretty much says that it’s perfectly fine to have God present. Any scholor will tell you that the intent was to avoid creating a national religion such as the Anglican Church in Great Britain. It was never intended to block religion but to promote religious freedom.So, athiest, you have no legs to stand on.

  • elife1975

    Reply to jpn02:I see your point, but wouldn’t that be similar to arguing that because Stalin was a Russian, it’s Russians that sent people to the gulags? Or because many in Russia wore fuzzy hats, it’s the fuzzy hatted that sent people to the gulags? Their evils weren’t done in the name of Atheism, they were done in “protection” of the state. Conversely, much evil has been perpetrated specifically in the name of god.

  • bevjims1

    spidermean2 opined: “Intelligence can produce (dumb and smart) objects but NO dumb object/s can produce intelligence.”Do you have proof of this or is it just another thing you made up? Consider that hurricanes and tornadoes are self organized systems that come out of nothing.spidermean2 opined: “In other words, if we try to rewind creation and look for the beginning of things, we would end up finding INTELLIGENCE as the MAIN SOURCE of creation.”How does one find intelligence? Do we see God through telescopes? Does God come out in cosmic equations? Or is this just a belief based on nothing? You certainly prove that belief can come from nothing, that is for sure!spidermean2 opined: “The SOURCE means NOTHING can come before it.”That is an opinion. What scientists are finding as they examine both the equations based on cosmic observations and the cosmic background radiation is that the universe is not perfect and that could only have happened had the universe, or something else, existed before it came into existence. One theory is that another universe existed before ours. This is all still being researched, but at least those people are dealing with the facts and not hopeful beliefs in fairies told by ignorant people thousands of years ago. Since you are so hopeful for the end days spidey let me ask, what does it mean when Revelation 6:13 says that one of the signs will be: At the time Revelation was written stars were thought to be very close, sitting is a glass shell surrounding the earth. It was called the firmament. But today we know that stars are other suns, as big or bigger than than our own sun, and very far away. If all the stars in heaven, trillions upon trillions, fell to earth, it would certainly be something more that shooting stars which these ignorant people imagined. And this assumes a star could fall to earth, when the gravity of a star is millions of times stronger, so earth would fall into the star. But hey, that’s just details when it comes to blind belief in a book written by people who did not know the earth was round nor that stars were other suns, yet they somehow knew the future.

  • jcyr4

    Squier13Nice try, but it is all wrapped up together. When Newdow tries to claim that the Constitution forbids mention of God, we must go back to the crafter and their intent.For the most part, the Declaration and Constitution were crafted by the same group of people with the same purpose.Without the Declaration, we have no need for the Constitution. The two are married in that aspect.

  • luv2bikva

    The Bible is not required for the presidential oath of office any more than it is required to swear in court that you’ll tell the truth, etc.If “So Help Me G-d” is to be said by the oath taker, how is that an official establishment of religion? It’s not in the Constitution. It was originally an impromptu addition by a person who rightfully executed his freedom of religion (not freedom FROM religion) by invoking his diety in public. It happens all the time. He could say it under his breath, in a whisper, and no one would be offended. I believe, though, that it is inappropriate for the Chief Justice to prompt the oath taker to say those words.By the way, if a Jew or a Muslim were to take the oath of office, they would not “swear”, they would “affirm.” The founding fathers saw fit to make that inclusion in the wording of the oaths taking into account the diversity of religious and non-religious beliefs that laid the groundwork for the very freedoms being discussed in this thread.

  • comdien

    The Founding fathers were deists. Tom Paine, wrote the Age of Reason, attacking Christianity, he paid a heavy price by being forcibly exiled. Rioters were on hand in the 1800-1809 period when it was made public he might return. Thomas Jefferson, eventually moved to Unitarianism. At Monticello, they sell the Jefferson Bible. A Bible he made by cutting up the regular Bible. Franklin was a Quaker. Washington made statements that atheists might be good workers. The Revolution, the right to overthrow a government can be traced to John Locke. So this idea that the founding fathers were Christians is dead wrong.

  • philosoraptor

    Krankyman wrote:”You should note I was exposing the logical absurdity of the atheist’s argument.Those who study Logic and Critical Thinking know the logical proof for the existence of a god is one of the most elegant arguments in Western Civilization.The problem with atheism or the theory of the origin of species is one of post hoc ergo propter hoc; they wish there is no god therefore they construct theories to support their belief.Hardly scientific…”I feel ridiculous responding to such preposterous claims, but I just can’t resist:As someone who teaches university logic and critical thinking classes, let me not that it is patently false to say that any known argument for God is among the most elegant of known proofs. Supposing that we are restricting our attention to sound arguments, let me also not that the firm consensus among philosophers today is that none of the arguments for the existence of God is known to be sound. Presumably Krankyman is referring to the Ontological Argument–but anyone with even a passing acquaintance with that argument should know that the consensus is that it fails…though it’s complicated enough that the discussion of it remains open.Many theists, like Krankyman, apparently, falsely believe that it is easy to prove the existence of God, that we have already done so, and that, in fact, it is *obvious* that he exists. But none of these things is true. The very most the theist can claim is that the existence of the Abrahamic God has not been *dis*proven…though even that is not entirely clear, given the problem of evil.When Krankyman ads that evolution involves some sort of *post hoc ergo propter hoc* move, this makes it even clearer that he has no idea what he is talking about, despite his confident tone. There are problems with the neo-Darwinian synthesis, but no one thinks it rests on post hoc reasoning.One final point about some of the other comments here: to be an atheist does not require one to hold that the non-existence of God is certain, only that it is likely. The line between atheism and agnosticism is a fuzzy one, just like the line between agnosticism and theism. It’s not clear when one’s doubts about God become firm enough to make one an atheist–and it’s not clear when they become insubstantial enough to make one a theist.

  • spidermean2

    All atheists are dumb due to this scientific fact: Intelligence can produce (dumb and smart) objects but NO dumb object/s can produce intelligence.In other words, if we try to rewind creation and and look for the beginning of things, we would end up finding INTELLIGENCE as the MAIN SOURCE of creation.The SOURCE means NOTHING can come before it. Despite this scientific fact, they continue to be atheist coz they lack the ability to comprehend.

  • squier13

    JCYR4 @ 10:53am: “it is all wrapped up together.”************************Nice try, but not one single Supreme Court case can be found where the authority for the holding in that case was the Declaration of Independence.

  • bevjims1

    bjlopez1130 wrote: “BEVJIMS 1 Wishful thinking! Just like this lawsuit! I doubts seriously that Christians will be in the minority in the future.”It was something for you to think about, not a prediction. If christians were in the minority would you as a christian still feel safe in America? If so, why?bjlopez1130 wrote: “You all seem to forget that this country was founded with God in mind.”Hmmm, well, God was well established in the colonies before the revolution. During that time you paid taxes to the state AND the church. If you did not you could be punished even if you were not a christian. The church was much more powerful in pre-revolutionary times. But of course it was just one church, the Anglican church, since it was the state religion of England. It is that state religion, and religion within government and governmental sponsorship of a religion that this nation was founded on. Read a little or go back to school. There was no fight during the revolution to bring God to this nation. The fight was to remove God in the form of the Anglican church from government.bjlopez1130 wrote: “Now lately we keep trying to keep God out of things. Then we wonder when our country gets attacked or when things negative happen in this country why they happened and where was God then.”So 911 was due to a lack of belief in God? You sound like you watch too much of the 700 club. Do you also believe Katrina was a result of a planned gay pride march in New Orleans?bjlopez1130 wrote: “You are entitled to your opinion and your beliefs or rather non belief. Agree to disagree.”I emphatically disagree and can confidently state your facts are wrong when it comes to the revolution, and your heart is cold when you call 911 God’s wrath.

  • jpn02

    elife1975:People went to the gulag for all sorts of reasons which in cases included the practice of religion.The stake and the gulag are both trees in the forrest. Looking at the forrest there are lots of reasons that people do bad things in the name of all sorts of things. I don’t think removing religion from the equation or some other element eliminates the bad elements of human nature. People with agenda’s and power tend to do bad things, whether it is in the name of athiesm or religion or the CCCP. I just found the statment that “an athiest never burned anyone at the stake” to be as stupid as “there are no athiests in foxholes”. Statements like that bring down the whole discussion.

  • skramsv

    If you are taking an oath and it gives you warm fuzzies or it will make you more likely to live up to your oath by saying ‘so help me god’ whilst your hand is on your bible, then more power to you.I would refuse to lay a hand on any religious book and would not ever say ‘so help me ‘. Thankfully, it is not required.

  • squier13

    Why don’t they put their right hands on the Constitution and swear they’ll defend/uphold it? Would it make sense to put your hand on a traffic ticket in church and swear you’ll uphold the bible? Seems like a goofy non sequitur to me.

  • Jerusalimight

    What a bunch of hot air.Atheists are a smaller minority in the US than Al Qaeda sympathizers.If the atheists get what they want, then the Moslems should be allowed to insert some language about how they want to destroy the US. After all, we cannot discriminate against them either.

  • agapn9

    To the professor who finds the ontological, cosmological, and teleological arguments unsound -please start with St. Thomas Aquinas’s cosmological argument of joint causes and show it to be unsound.The philosophical world is waiting to be astounded by your genius.

  • lennyp

    I don’t get it. The suit simply says the person swearing in should not say “so help me god.” If the person being sworn in wants to add it — as Washington did — they can. Make sense to me.What is so threatening to the theists that they can not accept that god=religion=god ergo god/religion should be separate from state. Would they feel the same if tradition was “so help me Zeus?) And, what’s with all the creationist babble in this conversation? Why is reality so threatening to these people?

  • squier13

    AGAPN9 @ 11:26am: -Please start with St. Thomas Aquinas’ cosmological argument of joint causes and show which god it proves.

  • chuieycuzca22

    Ok so maybe I am ignorant but wouldn’t it be the person making the oath to decide whether he/she wants to say “God” or not? If that person believes in God then he/she should have the right to say it because it is their beliefs and they are the one taking the oath. Why is everyone so touchy? Just as Christians are asked to tolerate muslims, atheists, buddists etc, why don’t Christians get the same courtesy? It does not offend me is a muslim says “Allah” in front of me. I respect the fact that it is their belief and they have every right to honor their faith, JUST AS CHRISTIANS do. If you don’t want to say “God” because you are atheist THEN DON’T. But don’t tell someone else what to say. This country has become so “me” oriented that everyone has to be recognized and eventually all this separatism is going to lead to a break in the nation. If people do not start learning how to live with each other and each other’s differences then how will we continue to be one united nation? You can’t please all the people all the time. Somewhere someone will be offended. In my opinion if they are not forcing you to say God or attend church then let it go.

  • John1263

    The words Under God are not part of the oath. Read the Constitution. It is just a tradition, started by Washington.

  • singlemom

    To chuieycuzca22 – Well said and my sentiments exactly!

  • elife1975

    Reply to jesusalmight:————I’m sorry, were the Atheists asking to “insert” something??? I must have read the wrong article. What was it that they were inserting? I’m curious.

  • stoneycurtis

    SPIDERMEAN2.this is incorrect. although I am a theist and so are the majority of astrophysicists that I know, simply put quantum physics can allow the whole to be greater than the sum of it’s parts, or put another way, in the quantum world less information can produce more information. let us not overlook that quantum theory is hugely successful. it gives us as example the transistor. the laser.You may also be disturbed to know that a number system in quantum mechanics indicating a creative gOD demands innumerable universes to accommodate all possible realities. So, the quantum number system supporting the existence of gOD demands that there is a universe where Jesus does not get crucified but everyone else does.suggested reading, ‘in search of devine reality’ by Lothar Schäfer. put on your thinking cap for this one. lolnow, it is true that the sciences, biology etc, have not caught up to quantum theory and the existence of gOD. however, your statement that complicated systems can only be born out of more complicated systems (systems with greater information) is incorrect.

  • agapn9

    Dear Squireyplease prove that St. Thomas Aquinas argument is unsound – you said you could now either fess up or shut up!

  • asoders22

    You don’t need a big discussion here about the existence of a god or the possible dumbness of theists or atheists respectively. God was not mentioned in the original oath and U.S.A. is officially secular. That’s all you need to know to understand that religious additions to the oath or the ceremony in itself is optional. Whether atheists are a minority or not is irrelevant. What I am wondering is whether an openly atheist candidate could win a presidential race. It seems impossible. But strange things happen – three years ago, nobody would believe a partially black man could win. Now one has.

  • bevjims1

    agapn9 wrote: “To the professor who finds the ontological, cosmological, and teleological arguments unsound -please start with St. Thomas Aquinas’s cosmological argument of joint causes and show it to be unsound.”First, you should understand that Aquinas acquired many of his ideas for his argument from Muslim philosophers trying to validate their God. Second, unlike most philosophers who start with an unknown and determine an answer, Aquinas starts with the answer, then looks for the cause to prove its existence. This morning I found a shoe beside my bed when I know it was in the closet last night. It could have been the dog, but since I need proof God exists, I’ll attribute it to God.Today scientists are drilling closer and closer to the origin not only of the universe but also of life. What will you do when the origin of the universe is determined and your future 7th grader grandchild is making life from nothing in a test tube in science class?

  • squier13

    AGAPN9 @ 11:48am:I never said it was unsound, I’m confused about which god the Aquinas argument proves.

  • Paganplace

    I don’t have a problem with Christians swearing by their own God in these ceremonies, but there are a couple of good reasons not to have it in the ceremony, as pointless as this lawsuit is in many ways. 1. Having it be taken as official tends to imply that people who do not swear by that God and book must be therefore less trustworthy. Particularly in the courts where Justice is supposed to be *blind* to these prejudices, this sort of thing immediately puts a ‘religious test’ in front of everything. That’s hardly equality for all.2. As we can see from the responses to this thread, these oaths and Bibles feed into the very sort of ‘Christian Nation’ ignorance that causes others to be marginalized in their own nation. I don’t think it should be a matter of taking something away from people who want to so swear, … but the more certain political elements of Christianity attack the separation of Church and State to abridge the rights of others, the more these ceremonies take on a threatening edge. The culture at large embracing more of a spirit of pluralism about these things is, I think, the best solution… something that’ll take time and some work. People should be able to swear by what *they* find sacred, and that should be respected for what it is. What would *really* help in this regard is for some of the Christian clergy who seem to get so much easy influence by claiming a sense of *entitlement* to political power over others to *change their tune* about how appropriate it is to run around *claiming* that superiority over others and entitlement to exclusive access to the halls of power. Some, of course, will continue to gleefully divide us for their own ends, but the real solution to things like this, I think, is some kind of mutual respect. Which is going to be hard, after what the ‘Religious’ (read conservative Christian) vote has done to this country over the past ten years. I can’t help but look back at this time with a great deal of disgust and anger: and people shouldn’t be surprised if a lot of folks who didn’t much care before are really cheesed off at this ‘Culture War’ and all the trappings of it. I’m still interested to see how Rick Warren is going to play this. Is he going to try to be part of healing the nation, or try to continue the ‘war?’ Frankly, it’s the arrogance, incompetence, and lust for power of those who wave Bibles and lead us into one disaster after another, ignoring all protest that mean, well, maybe some token form of protest about this is entirely appropriate, if, well, a token gesture.

  • elife1975

    “BO’s oath including “one nation under god” means only BO’s allegiance to the members of the Immoral Majority who put him in the “Blood” House i.e. the 70 + million voting “mothers and fathers” of 35+ million aborted womb-babies slaughtered since 1973 at a rate of ~one million/year. “

  • bevjims1

    CCNL wrote: “BO’s oath including “one nation under god” means only BO’s allegiance to the members of the Immoral Majority who put him in the “Blood” House i.e. the 70 + million voting “mothers and fathers” of 35+ million aborted womb-babies slaughtered since 1973 at a rate of ~one million/year.”Are womb-babies like wombats? And who do we blame for the womb-babies that are miscarried by their mothers, many of whom have no idea it happened? Not to mention the egg waiting to be fertilized each month but a headache prevents it? And those who practice the rhythm method and don’t have sex resulting in the egg dying? I’ll bet they voted for OB too!

  • bkhoward

    January 20, 2009 – “So help me God” will be uttered by Barack Obama as his hand is on God’s word, the Bible. Why are atheists annoyed? If God doesn’t exist and the Bible isn’t relevant to them, then what annoys them? Obama won’t be establishing a religion by expressing his commitment to upholding the office of the POTUS. If you don’t want “So help me God” to be said, then put an atheist in office. January 21, 2009 — no one will be writing about this until the next inauguration.

  • markinirvine

    “Jerusalimight wrote: … Atheists are a smaller minority in the US than Al Qaeda sympathizers.”I sincerely doubt the accuracy of this statement.

  • aussiebarry

    Kranky, As used in science, a theory is an explanation or model based on observation, experimentation, and reasoning, especially one that has been tested and confirmed as a general principle helping to explain and predict natural phenomena

  • krankyman

    Aussiebarry:”You are in just as much peril if any of the other countless religeons are right”…I certainly agree with you there mate unless, of course, I believe in the One, True God.I won’t know that for certainty until I go to the great beyond but if I am right, and the other religions are wrong then…”Yet I am not ashamed because I know whom I have believed and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day”

  • giniajim

    I must take issue with the notion that “so help me God” is ceremonial. It certainly isn’t when I say it, and I would hope that it isn’t when Barack Obama says it. And, we should note, “so help me God” is NOT part of the oath of office. It is added, if desired, by the oath-taker. If a Muslim is ever elected, he/she might choose to use the Arabic translation for God and say “so help me Allah”. If an atheist is elected, my guess is there would be no such sentence added. Its a non-issue.

  • bevjims1

    bkhoward wrote: “January 20, 2009 – “So help me God” will be uttered by Barack Obama as his hand is on God’s word, the Bible. Why are atheists annoyed? If God doesn’t exist and the Bible isn’t relevant to them, then what annoys them? Obama won’t be establishing a religion by expressing his commitment to upholding the office of the POTUS. If you don’t want “So help me God” to be said, then put an atheist in office. January 21, 2009 — no one will be writing about this until the next inauguration.”Or Obama could say “so help me Allah” while his hand is on a Koran. Atheists would be just as annoyed, but I think those who are supporting saying “so help me God” would be more annoyed. Why so if it is meaningless?

  • motekeeper

    I was a complete true Christian for 40 whole years! What happened??? I actually sat down and really read the actual Holy Bible! Lots of ugly stuff in there. The god in our bible killed a lot of innocent people, said slavery was cool, and that we can kill woman and children for different reasons! BUT, HE LOVES US!???? I then started thinking of all the other gods people from around the world believed in or still believe in. 100′s of different gods! I figured if I was born in a non-Christian country then I’d probably believe in a different god than the Judeo-Christian one. Think of all of the gods that have been proven not to be true? Zeus, Thor, Isis, etc…

  • arjay1

    joemcd: “I suppose that, if those who worship logic truly and honestly insist on pursuing their campaign to its “logical” end, then we must also throw out the very document that they claim as the fundamental truth upon which they base their theories, i.e., the U.S. Constitution. The founders of this country made it abundantly clear that they firmly believed that their efforts in crafting the Constitution were inspired and guided by the very God that the nons now wish to supplant. Imagine where this country would be had the founders instead relied upon “logic” to steer their quills! Heaven forbid! ;-)”You may be closer to the truth than you realize. De Tocqueville wrote about the formation of the Constitution and mentioned that even with some of America’s wisest citizens in constitutional assembly, the document’s ideas went beyond their collective perception. Many of the founders in their private memoirs mentioned that in their debates about provisions in the Constitution that this or that concept ‘came to them’ as appropriate for inclusion, even though there had been no previous precedent for it in European governing . But note that the ONLY reference to God in the Constitution is ‘the year of our Lord” in its signing, a common dating practice. Just suppose the you remove the term ‘God’ as they did and used some term like ‘the Force’ which describes an energy field that unites all conscious beings under a Covenant? You might never be able to define ‘The Force’ in material, four dimensional terms but that doesn’t mean you aren’t participating in it for a positive or negative progression of an epistemological field. Such a Constitutional Covenant might easily have had provisions that allowed it to transcend time (three check and balance branches) and space (advanced countries on Earth now have constitutional covenants) and several provisions that indicate an intelligent design in this Covenant. In that context, you could easily interchange ‘so help me God’ and ‘with the help of Creation’ without changing the Covenant for any individual.If the Constitution is the last Covenant created, why would mere terms of older Covenants be all that relevant or even supersede this one? Imagine where the country goes when that Covenant is broken by its renunciation ; one out of every ten Americans were killed, maimed, or spiritually destroyed during the Civil War. This lawsuit under discussion isn’t renouncing a Covenant, but suggesting that an extreme minority has more ‘rights’ than members of the Covenant is an inversion of ‘the Force’ that created it.

  • krankyman

    AussieBarry:”Kranky, As used in science, a theory is an explanation or model based on observation, experimentation, and reasoning, especially one that has been tested and confirmed as a general principle helping to explain and predict natural phenomena”I believe your definition goes too far.One definition of Theory is “a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.”When Theory is “actual fact” it becomes law. Until then it is still “conjectural”.My point on the Theory of Evolution. Over a hundred years on, thousands of hours of study and experimentation, yet it is still “conjectural” and not “reporting matters of actual fact”; otherwise it would be the Law of Evolution.Thus Science itself refuses to recognize this theory as law.Yet many, including many posters here, treat it as actual fact. That position is fallacious.That’s okay if one were dealing with the urban legend of the Mentos but in matters of eternity a bit more serious…I have no problem with it as a possible explanation for some phenomenon but as the explanation for the Origin of the Species?As Robert Frost said “..there is something sending up the sun. It is this backwards motion towards the source…”

  • adrienne_najjar

    We need to get this “god” nonsense out of the public lexicon. Enough already with this mumbo jumbo baloney. There is no god, so get used to it.

  • motekeeper

    AGAIN PLEASE…..Why do most of the super highly educated scientists (98 %!!!) KNOW for sure evolution is true and happened? Ask yourself now? ASK YOURSELF??? Why do they?

  • julie16

    Happily there are many of us who are god-free. The oath would certainly be more inclusive of all the

  • guytaur1

    The Founding Fathers were very wise in separating religion from government. Look at what mixing the two has got places like Iran.For this very reason a Religious reference in an oath of office does violate this separation. It gives official government approval of the particular religion represented. I am an agnostic, but can also see where people who practise organized religion do feel it is alright to foist their views on others. Just ask the gay people about the Mormon church and its involvement with Prop 8.I am not a legal expert either. However I do not see what the difference is in not having a prayer in a school and this issue. After all “so help me God” is prayer.

  • thetravelingmasseur

    “so help me god”, “oh god”, “oh my god”, “ye gods”, “god damn it” and a lot of other godly epithets are tossed out all the time, I hear them 20 or more times a day when i’m around groups of people and not at all when i’m alone. Folks who call themselves christian don’t use the name of their god in vain, but in triviality. And that’s what it has become when attached to the inaugural oath of office: trivial … to all but a few. It might actually be a real part of his commitment for Obama. For Bush, well, his words were mostly great, but his actions made the words a lie … like the “so help me god” in his presidential oath.

  • chris15

    After George Bush took the oath of office, God helped him run this country into the ground? Why does God hate America?

  • aussiebarry

    Kranky,It does not matter what your definition of a theory is, what we are talking about is a scientific theory, which needs a scientific definition,A fact is something that is supported by unmistakeable evidence. For example, the Grand Canyon cuts through layers of different kinds of rock, such as the Coconino sandstone, Hermit shale, and Redwall limestone. These rock layers often contain fossils that are found only in certain layers. Those are the facts. It is a fact is that fossil skulls have been found that are intermediate in appearance between humans and modern apes. It is a fact that fossils have been found that are clearly intermediate in appearance between dinosaurs and birds. Facts may be interpreted in different ways by different individuals, but that doesn’t change the facts themselves.

  • NotBubba

    The Constitution says “freedom OF religion” not “freedom FROM religion”. So long as all faiths are respected, find and dandy. Anyone who chooses not to participate in a prayer or whatever is welcome to exercise that choice.This is the same group of “whack jobs” that try to ban the Pledge of Allegiance for the same phrase. Send us your money idiots as the back of your bills state “In God We Trust”. Don’t see any cash raining down, do you?

  • spidermean2

    motekeeper, they are not intelligent as you think they are. Actually, they are all idiots. Evolution is only right in certain aspects like how the universe started or developed or the so called MICRO evolution – a kind of evolution within the same specie.Everything else like Darwin’s theory is total stupidity. It’s a case of one person infecting other people who are not thinking properly.

  • US-conscience

    Do the words “So help me God” have any meaning at all ? Absolutely, they do indeed establish and confer that theism, and in fact Christianity, was without a doubt the Truth held in mind and heart of those men who established this country and in this country that was established. It means that you are swearing an oath first and foremost before the God (of the Bible) who created Heaven and Earth and will call each person to stand before Him and give an account for every idle word they have said. The God under whom true justice is assured and all that is done in secret will be brought to the light. We need to realize there is a difference between discrimination and righteous judgement, between tolerance and willful amorality.

  • dolph924

    Of course they have a point — but why on earth are they bothering with this? Do they feel compelled to keep folks from promoting Santa on TV? Do they feel compelled to make folks announce before all cartoons that they are just fiction? I would think that they have a better way to spend their time and money than this. What does it matter if folks make up a “god” and let’s face it, fellow atheists — most people in America DO believe in some “god” or another, even to the point of giving money to hucksters claiming to have an inside track to this “god’s” ear. It’s tough to grow up and be on your own and it’s just too nasty to expect others to all do it too. Let’s try to stay focused on issues where religion is REALLY pernicious, such as when it contradicts science and gets taught as if it had some legitimacy in schools.

  • raschumacher

    If the President-elect swore, “so help me Allah”, or “so help me Zeus”, or “so help me Flying Spaghetti Monster”, would you be offended? The question of whether such a phrase belongs anywhere in government is distinct from the question of whether any gods exist.

  • krankyman

    Bevjims1:You wrote “You have demonstrated you have no clue as to what “scientific” means.”I accept your challenge.My resume includes the study of chemistry, physics, statics, dynamics, fluid dynamics, Calculus (including differential equations), and other scientific endeavors. All at a college level at a major US university.And you?

  • TmH1

    chris15 : Why does God allow idiots like you to comment in forums like this – some things will just never be understood…

  • motekeeper

    I contend that most, if not all religion believers, have not read their religious books. Most have only scanned through them at best!On top of that, they all have only a very, very, basic (or nothing), understanding of the evolution of life on this planet.Believers please realize that there have been many, many, breakthroughs in our understanding of life’s origins and evolution on this planet which I take you are not aware of.Believers, how can you explain dinosaurs, cavemen, and all of the thousands of fossils found that are millions and even billions of years old?Think about it.

  • timbrusky1

    This nation was founded “Under God” and God is the whole reason for its very existance. To disparge God and remove him from any ceremony is to deny God’s influence in this nation’s creation. Sorry atheist, no cigar here.

  • Reader1000

    It seems to me that the one taking the oath has the right to modify it to best suit his or her philosophy/religion. If we ever elect an atheist, that person should be able to change the phrase to “so help me myself” or whatever. The religious should be able to say “so help me God,” per their choice. That seems like a First Amendment right to me. Certainly the President of the United States should be permitted the same Constitutional rights guaranteeing free speech as the rest of us, no?

  • jcyr4

    Squire,You are correct, however, my point was that without the Declaration, we would have NO Constitution.The atheistic argument is typically made using one of two arguments. First, the Constitution bans religion which the second part of the first amendment clearly shows is false. Or secondly, that the founding fathers didn’t believe in any God at all, which the reference to the Declaration also proves to be clearly false.Now, their can be some debate between the use of God; a distinct Christian diety; and god, the mere reference to a higher authority which would include ALL theist references. However, there is no doubt that the founding fathers believed in a God and wrote these documents with that in mind.

  • elife1975

    The fundamental argument is that so long as our nation continues to minimalize the educational needs of our children we will continue to breed the kind of ignorance demonstrated by spidey and others on this and other forums. It’s our intellectual failing as a country that gave birth to such vapidity, and which will continue to breed such feeblemindedness. It’s chilling to me and many others that adult citizens, licensed to drive, vote, and own weapons, still believe in a floating fairy who grants wishes and smites evildoers. Pathetic.

  • TmH1

    comdien : Nice try but again you didn’t actually take a history class did you. You cite a couple out of many of the Founding Fathers. The reality is that 88 (54.7%)of the Founding Fathers were Anglican, 30 (18%) Presbyterian, 27 Congregationalist (16.8%), 7 Quaker, 6 Dutch Reformed, 5 Lutheran, 3 Catholic, 3 Hugenot, 3 Unitarian, 2 Methodist, 1 Calvinist. Almost all of teh 188 signers were affiliated with Christianty. The numbers total over 188 because some actually advocated dual religious philosophies or changed from one religion to another – but they were still overwhelmingly Christian by anyone’s standards. So, all of you trying to say the Founding Fathers didn’t endorse Chritianity are absolutely WRONG!

  • Paganplace

    Frankly, just seeing more evidence here how using the Christian references makes a lot of people believe this country and the equality our Constitution promises… is only for Christians.Which is why, perhaps, this isn’t such a trivial issue after all. When your word is of lesser value in a court of law because of people talking like this, it becomes more than ceremonial.

  • bevjims1

    NotBubba wrote: “This is the same group of “whack jobs” that try to ban the Pledge of Allegiance for the same phrase. Send us your money idiots as the back of your bills state “In God We Trust”. Don’t see any cash raining down, do you?”You have it wrong. They tried to RESTORE the pledge after it had been altered in the 50s by having “under God” inserted into the original pledge. “In God We Trust” was added to money first in 1864 due to the national feeling that God was needed to heal the nation after the civil war. It was unconstitutionally made the national motto in 1957 since this motto is government establishing religion, but fear of the religious majority keeps anyone from changing it. Yes, tyranny of the majority exists. Imagine how bad it would be if our rights were not protected from these religious zealots who want to bring their God into my life and your life whether we want it or not. Their logic maintained slavery and the English church’s religion on the colonies. Americans fought and died to expunged this logic from this nation via the revolutionary and civil wars. How dare they challenge my patriotism when they put forth unAmerican values such as government establishing a religion though national mottos and pledges, which my children are forced to recite every day at school. If they want religion in government they should move to Tehran.

  • charlesbakerharris

    Motekeeper, if religious people widely discredited science the way that you stereotype us as doing, you’d have a case. But most of us don’t – my degree’s in physics, I believe the world is as old as science says it is, and I have no disconnect between that and my faith.You, on the other hand, seem to think that perpetuation of lame, uninformed stereotypes is what passes for intelligent conversation these days. Religious people are anything but universally stupid and ignorant, and many of us are quite well educated in the books that we studied (instead of skimmed). If you’re going to criticize religious people, you might do well to have at least a modicum of knowledge about us first. But you don’t, and it’s unfortunate that you took the time to post without a basic understanding of what and whom you were posting about. In short, don’t lambaste people with stupidities like “think about it” when you clearly haven’t bothered to think in the first place… or if you did try to think, it didn’t work very well.

  • motekeeper

    The biblical story of Jesus and Mary were stolen from Egyptian mythology! Don’t believe me??? Look up the ancient Egyptian story of Isis and Horus written thousands of years before Jesus supposedly even existed! Yep! Christian folks? Do you really know who, what, why, and for what reasons they invented the bible. The info is out there.

  • bevjims1

    zbvhs wrote: “One definition of religion is: a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with faith and order. Whether you call atheism unbelief or non-belief or absence of belief it must be still be supported by some philosophical order or structure that requires belief for acceptance. Atheism is a belief about God, which places it in the realm of religion. [...] As for Hindu gods, I can’t say whether they exist or not. Let’s just say I’ve found a God who is more believable.”Now wait a minute… You first say that non-belief in a god is a belief system, then ignore your non-belief (atheism) of the Hindu gods. By your definition you have at least two religions, a belief in God and a non-belief in the Hindu gods. Add the thousands of other gods you do not believe in and you have thousands of religious beliefs, Right?Add to this your definition that atheism is a religion and should not have a say in government when it comes to references to God. But that would include your atheism of the Hindu gods. Therefore by not allowing the Hindu gods into government, by not swearing oaths to them, by not praying to them before each session of Congress, by not putting their names on money and not adding their names in the pledge, your atheist belief system is superseding the religious beliefs of Hindus. So America should be required to put references to Hindu gods and all other gods on money and elsewhere in government. Do you see the insanity of your flawed logic by calling a non-belief a religion?

  • elife1975

    BEVJIMS1 and Daniel both hit the nail directly on the head. My buddy makes the same weak argument by claiming I’m the most religious person he knows because of my atheist activism. He does this for two reasons.It’s similar to the children’s “I know you are, but what am I” reaction in that it’s circular, childish and simple minded.

  • CCNL

    For those eyes that have not seen: BO will really be saying, “so help me Immoral Majority and thank you”!!!!

  • agapn9

    BeJims The Big Bang is a scientific theory, and as such stands or falls by its agreement with observations. But as a theory which addresses, or at least seems to address, the origins of reality, it has always been entangled with theological and philosophical implications. In the 1920s and ’30s almost every major cosmologist preferred an eternal universe, and several complained that the beginning of time implied by the Big Bang imported religious concepts into physics; this objection was later repeated by supporters of the steady state theory.This is from the Wiki and while the Big Crunch came before the Big Bang the Crunch was always considered a necessary part of the Bang.Scientists speculate that another Big Crunch may await the universe.Note the word theological coming from the two ancient greek words Theos and Logos – Theos means God and Logos means ration study of or science of as Biology is the study or life or the science of life. So Big Bang theory and accepted science as the WIKI points out has theological implications.

  • spidermean2

    bevjims1 “No one understands the meaning of religious freedom better than an atheist”.Again and again, I have said that atheists are dumb. The statement above is another example of their lack of logic. Who said there was/is religious freedom in atheist communists Russsia,China, Cuba, North Korea, etc? Atheists are dumb and that what makes them very dangerous.Doomsday is coming precisely because of their stupidity. If you think that religious extremists like Hamas are stupid, wait until you see these atheists do their act. I think it’s like comparing a tiny dog bite to a mad and hungry elephant sized crocodile bite –DUMB AND VERY DESTRUCTIVE.So atheists, please use your brains coz you endanger mankind. Stop being SO STUPID AND DUMB.

  • bevjims1

    agapn9 wrote: “The Big Bang is a scientific theory, and as such stands or falls by its agreement with observations. But as a theory which addresses, or at least seems to address, the origins of reality, it has always been entangled with theological and philosophical implications.”Er, no, it never entertained theological notions. Theologians certainly embraced it when the theory seemed to agree with a “let there be light” moment, but science never considered theological implications. It was based solely on observation of the expansion of the universe.agapn9 wrote: “In the 1920s and ’30s almost every major cosmologist preferred an eternal universe, and several complained that the beginning of time implied by the Big Bang imported religious concepts into physics; this objection was later repeated by supporters of the steady state theory.”The steady-state theory was the theory before the expansion of the universe was detailed by Hubble. There were some who held to the the old theory, as always happens, but observation eventually won them over. Note that today no scientist agrees with the steady state theory since it does not agree with accumulated observation. Funny how theologians never change their views based on observation.agapn9 wrote: “This is from the Wiki and while the Big Crunch came before the Big Bang the Crunch was always considered a necessary part of the Bang.”The big crunch was a theory proposed based on other observations, which turned out to be wrong, that the amount of matter, via gravity, would eventually slow down and reverse the expansion. However as more observations were made and the expansion found to be greater than originally observed, and now found to be accelerating, the idea of a big crunch has been invalidated. agapn9 wrote: “Scientists speculate that another Big Crunch may await the universe.” No, actually scientists have a few theories and only one, involving branes, has a crunch involved, but that theory is not very complete and most physicists do not give it too much validity. The Big Bang theory has that the universe will continue to expand and accelerate forever.agapn9 wrote: “Note the word theological coming from the two ancient greek words Theos and Logos – Theos means God and Logos means ration study of or science of as Biology is the study or life or the science of life. So Big Bang theory and accepted science as the WIKI points out has theological implications.”Oh I agree the Big Bang has theological implications, but only for the theologists. Funny how they grab onto any science that agrees with their theology but quickly dismiss other scientific theories, such as evolution, which disagree with their theology. But science runs on observation and not theology. agapn9 wrote: “Now most cosmologists favored an eternal universe in the 1930′s just like the ancient Greeks but reality seems to point to a theological moment. You don’t need to thank me for pointing all this out. And no I don’t make things up like you do.”Well, if the Big Bang points to a theological moment that must make the theologists very happy, but it is about the only scientific finding that is anywhere similar to theological dogma. If theologists readily accept the Big Bang, they should just as readily accept other scientific theory and observation, but theology is not science, and so they feel they have a right to pick and choose reality. Not science. It must live in reality. So you have a choice, to follow those who make up their own reality or to follow those who observe reality and explain it.

  • spidermean2

    At first, evolutionists tried to RESIST the big bang theory until their resistance highlighted how stupid they are. They have no choice but to accept it to avoid being tagged as stupid which they truly are.Thinking people has the ability to discern what is plausible. Believers think the big bang theory is plausible. It’s that simple. Evolutionists only accepted the theory because they have no choice. It was jammed on their throat coz they don’t have the ability to comprehend it by themselves. Secretly, what they want to propagate is the idiotic steady state theory.So if you want to be loved by evolutionists, make a dumb theory and they surely will embrace you.

  • bevjims1

    spidermean2 wrote: “At first, evolutionists tried to RESIST the big bang theory until their resistance highlighted how stupid they are. They have no choice but to accept it to avoid being tagged as stupid which they truly are.”Those who study evolution have no interest in cosmology. Do you think lawyers are interested in medicine and visa versa? So I’ll just put this in the “spidey made it up” category.spidermean2 wrote: “Thinking people has the ability to discern what is plausible. Believers think the big bang theory is plausible. It’s that simple.”But science is not about accepting what is plausible. Its about accepting what can be proven as fact, or accepting theories that make accurate predictions.spidermean2 wrote: “Evolutionists only accepted the theory because they have no choice. It was jammed on their throat coz they don’t have the ability to comprehend it by themselves.”You really don’t understand science, do you. Another for the “spidey made it up” bucket.spidermean2 wrote: “Secretly, what they want to propagate is the idiotic steady state theory.”Oh yes. Science is full of secret conspiracies, like the effort they went to to hide all those fossils that stupid scientists are digging up. What fools!spidermean2 wrote: “So if you want to be loved by evolutionists, make a dumb theory and they surely will embrace you.”Yea, those dumb evolutionists and their conspiracy to tell us we didn’t hunt dinosaurs. Its plausible after all, right? So what if a human and dino bone has never been discovered together. So what if you can extract DNA from human bones, but not dinosaur bones. Its still plausible if you just want to believe hard enough.

  • spidermean2

    Bevjims, you make a good fiction writer but not a scientist. You have answers to everything even if it defies logic. Hollywood needs you.You’d be sure I would watch your movies. Science fiction like spiderman and other Marvel super heroes are my favorites.There you could entertain people unlike in your field now where you make many people dumber.

  • AThagoras

    “Athagoras wrote: … the supernatural exists only in people’s minds.”zbvhs replied:It wasn’t an easy conclusion for me to reach. It took me more than ten years to reach that conclusion. I used to believe in the paranormal. I was totally convinced that paranormal phenomena exist for similar reasons to what you give.zbvhs wrote:I agree. I spent ten years reading books, talking to gurus, witches, yogis, monks, priests, UFO buffs etc. I wanted to devote my life to finding proof of the paranormal, but I was disappointed. There are a lot of convincing stories, but no hard evidence. On the other hand there are many very convincing stories that have been investigated and natural explanations have been found. That’s why I’m skeptical.On several occasions I was convinced that I had found evidence of something paranormal, but each time I either realized that I was fooling myself or further investigation revealed a natural explanation. I’ll give an example: Shortly after my father died, I found his bathroom door locked FROM THE INSIDE! I was freaked out. Further investigation revealed an explanation: I noticed that the wind would rattle the door. I rattled the door for about ten minutes and noticed that the latch tended to fall down into a locked position. If I had been less skeptical and not bothered to investigate further, I would have contributed yet another story to the collection of convincing stories about the supernatural. So I have experienced first hand how stories about the supernatural arise.I have good reasons for not believing in ghost stories and other paranormal stories. In ten years of investigation, I did not find a single instance of paranormal phenomena that could not have had a natural explanation. In your example, the kid might have seen a war movie and was copying things from the movie. With a bit of prompting from a parent and a little exaggeration on retelling, such stories can sound extremely convincing.A world that includes the supernatural is much more interesting than a world that doesn’t, but the hard evidence does not seem to be there. I think we should keep an open mind, but you can never be too skeptical. The natural world is much more fascinating and interesting than most people know, and studying the natural world is much more worthwhile and had produced vast benefits for mankind. I’m not aware of any useful knowledge that has come from studying the supernatural.Does this have anything to do with the oath? I think there are much more important things that atheists could be campaigning about than adding religious bits to the oath. On the other hand it is a high profile way to raise awareness about the US constitution and about the fact that atheists are citizens too and form a significant minority. Religion and belief in the supernatural are mostly harmless, but they become harmful when people ignore science and base their decisions on faith. This leads to children dying because their parents choose to pray for their children instead of getting medical attention. It leads to a population that is ignorant about basic biological facts. It leads to people ignoring problems like climate change because they think Jesus will solve all their problems for them. The oath is just one more example of how (one) religion has inserted itself into the public and political arenas. We are accustomed to religious ideas having special protection that they do not deserve. We are expected to show respect for religious ideas that would otherwise be ridiculed as ludicrous and obviously false. Having the government implicitly or explicitly endorse religion reinforces that protection.I don’t see any legal problem with Obama turning the oath into a quasi-religious ceremony as long as he’s not legally required to do it. But he is going against the spirit of the US constitution by choosing to do so and excluding a significant portion of the US population.Sorry for the long post. This thread is probably dead anyway.Regards,

  • anla1974

    Hey we are all given the right of free will. I respect everyone’s expression of it including their religious beliefs or decision not to believe in anything at all. It is all of our right, but it still doesn’t change what mankind has no power over. It is futile and of no threat. You all waste paper and time. God will always be God. Jesus will always be Jesus (He is on His throne) and it doesn’t matter what people think or say or try to do stop that. What’s really sad is that nothing is happening that isn’t written to happen already in God’s holy word. This God hating, anti-Christ sentiment—very old, not new and certainly not unexpected for the times or any time in the past, but especially not now. Jesus Himself did nothing but bring healing to people and reach beyond social barriers to bring love (love) and healing (physical and spiritual) to people. Yet this figure rather you believe in Him as a deity, just a man, or even a myth is so hated by individuals and even nations. No surprise when so much hate and love for hurting the helpless and anyone who is different from themselves lives in the hearts and minds of so many people. Jesus, a name that evil fears.

  • spidermean2

    How many times sould I suppose to post this for idiotic atheists to understand it :Intelligence can produce (dumb and smart) objects but NO dumb object/s can produce intelligence.In other words, if we try to rewind creation and and look for the beginning of things, we would end up finding INTELLIGENCE as the MAIN SOURCE of creation.The SOURCE means NOTHING can come before it. Despite this scientific fact, they continue to be atheist coz they lack the ability to comprehend.IDIOTS.

  • corrinecatherine1

    “The calendar says that April 1st is April Fools day. PSALM 14:1 states “The fool says in his heart, “that there is no God”. Thus, it is of the opinion that if the atheist says “there is no God, then he is a fool. Therefore, April 1st is his day.”

  • spidermean2

    All animals are SMARTER than any man-man humanoids. Humanoids only started to exist in OUR generation when man’s intelligence increased thru years of accumulation. The MORE intelligent animals existed long, long before. We all know who makes humanoids but does the idiots here know who made those MUCH MORE INTELLIGENT animals? NO intelligent living cells would come out from the ground without a higher intelligence behind it. VERY SIMPLE SCIENCE and yet IDIOTS can’t get it.

  • AThagoras

    Spidermean2 wrote:Spider,Biologists resisted the theory of evolution also. It was ridiculed by most scientists. Now almost every biologist accepts that evolution is a proven fact.Both the Big Bang and evolution are accepted by almost all scientists today because they are both supported by lots of evidence. Science is based on evidence, not theology.I almost never resort to personal insults no matter how stupid or narrow minded people are, but I feel the need to make a special exception here.Spidermean, instead of making a fool of yourself and proving to everyone what an arrogant, stupid ignorant jerk you are, why don’t you actually study some real science!Biologists are the people who actually spend every day studying how life works. There are thousands of them. If you want to know anything about how life works, you should ask a biologist. They tell us that biology does not make sense without the theory of evolution.Science works by proposing theories and then trying to disprove them. Scientists have been trying to disprove evolution for over 100 years. But evolution is an observable fact. All they have found is more and more evidence that supports the theory. If you think you are smarter than all of those biologists and think you know more than they do, you are an IGNORANT DELUDED MORON!There are now probably millions of facts that confirm the theory of evolution. E.g. here is just one fact that thoroughly disproves creationism. The theory of evolution suggests that we share a common ancestor with other great apes. All great apes apart from humans have 24 pairs of chromosomes. Humans have only 23 pairs. So the theory of evolution predicts that either we lost a chromosome (which would probably have been disastrous and so is very unlikely) or two chromosomes were fused in one of our ancestors. This prediction has been verified. Our chromosome no. 2 is a fusion of two chromosomes that correspond to two separate chromosomes in chimpanzees. This proves beyond any reasonable doubt that chimpanzees and humans have a common ancestor. There is other DNA evidence that is even stronger than that but would take longer to explain (e.g. the ERVs in our DNA and that of other primates).BTW, the theory of evolution is still a “theory” because we don’t know everything about how life evolved and we probably never will because it happened over billions of years. There will always be gaps in our knowledge. The theory is still being developed out as we learn more details, but there is no doubt that life evolves. Life is very complicated. We may never understand everything about life on earth. Just because YOU don’t understand how life evolved or how intelligence can arise from non-intelligent processes does not mean that it can’t or didn’t. It only means that you are either ignorant or stupid or both. All of the evidence indicates that it did.Regards,

  • bevjims1

    spidermean2 wrote: “How many times sould I suppose to post this for idiotic atheists to understand it…”Maybe you should just stop posting this. It makes no sense, is entirely made up, and sounds like a child pleading with adults that Santa DOES come down the chimney. So, I will respond accordingly by saying: Yes Spidey, when we look back in time we DO find intelligence. Feel better? Now its time for a nap.

  • spidermean2

    Honda invested lots of money and brains (intelligence) just to make their humanoid robot walk. YUP, just the act of walking needs a lot of intelligence. Consider the snake. I would bet that no atheist can make an artificial snake crawl and climb a tree, let alone catch a chicken.What are you waiting for atheist and evolutionist fools. Start working. Let’s see what evolution has taught you other than making you dumber.

  • bevjims1

    Spidey, a thinking person would ask how kangaroos hopped from the ark, after the great flood, to Australia, or how the kiwi, a flightless bird, walked to New Zealand after the flood. But I never hear this question come from you. Why?

  • spidermean2

    bevjims1 “It makes no sense, is entirely made up”How can atheists’ senseless brains detect or perceive something that has sense? That’s the reason why they are called fools or idiots. They are INCAPABLE of sensing any manifestations of intelligence.

  • spitze

    I am an “atheist” and I disagree with this lawsuit. Obama is a christian and its his right to have “under god” or whatever else he would like. Just as in a court you have a choice on what you would like to swear on.

  • bevjims1

    spidermean2 wrote: “How can atheists’ senseless brains detect or perceive something that has sense? That’s the reason why they are called fools or idiots. They are INCAPABLE of sensing any manifestations of intelligence.”I’ll ask again … how did the kangaroos hop from the ark to Australia?

  • spidermean2

    bevjims1, I don’t ask those questions because I’m a thinking person and based on my thoughts ( I could be wrong), they DID NOT hopped or walked to Australia. The bible cannot be and should not be interpreted literally 100%. It’s NOT a simple book for SIMPLE MINDS.If you have a simple mind, don’t read it coz it would just make you dumber just like what you are exhibiting now.

  • cdav531

    To spidermean2: Who created the intelligent being that you say created everything else? You argue all the intelligent creatures couldn’t have come from nothing yet the intelligent being who “designed” all this had to come from something even more intelligent, right? Look in the mirror before labeling someone else an “idiot.” And, by the way, I’d take you a tad more seriously if every one of your posts didn’t have at least one spelling or grammar mistake.

  • spidermean2

    Athagoras wrote “The theory of evolution suggests that we share a common ancestor with other great apes. “The theory is only applicable to you and your fellow evolutionist coz you guys are thinking worse than apes.How many times should I suppose to post this for idiots to understand it.Intelligence can produce (dumb and smart) objects but NO dumb object/s can produce intelligence.In other words, if we try to rewind creation and and look for the beginning of things, we would end up finding INTELLIGENCE as the MAIN SOURCE of creation.The SOURCE means NOTHING can come before it. The SOURCE means NOTHING can come before it. The SOURCE means NOTHING can come before it.Their idiotic evolution science is SO BLIND that it cannot see any minute inteligence present in nature. IDIOTS.

  • EnemyOfTheState

    I don’t see a problem if a believer wants to mention his or her god in an oath of office. I don’t agree with some who say an expression of a particular faith is a threat to religious liberty.I would have a different take on it if ‘so help me God’ morphed into ‘and may God strike my enemies and burn them in the everlasting fires of hell – amen.’ That might make for an awkward moment in mixed company.

  • spidermean2

    How many times should I suppose to post this for idiotic atheists to understand it :Intelligence can produce (dumb and smart) objects but NO dumb object/s can produce intelligence.In other words, if we try to rewind creation and and look for the beginning of things, we would end up finding INTELLIGENCE as the MAIN SOURCE of creation.The SOURCE means NOTHING can come before it. The SOURCE means NOTHING can come before it. The SOURCE means NOTHING can come before it. Despite this scientific fact, they continue to be atheist coz they lack the ability to comprehend.IDIOTS.

  • bevjims1

    spidermean2 wrote: “I don’t ask those questions because I’m a thinking person and based on my thoughts ( I could be wrong), they DID NOT hopped or walked to Australia.”Obviously, but the bible in Genesis says that all land dwelling animals were killed by the flood and the animals from the ark repopulated the earth. Its pretty specific. So for me this puts into question the bible’s veracity.spidermean2 wrote: “The bible cannot be and should not be interpreted literally 100%. It’s NOT a simple book for SIMPLE MINDS.”I see, so only special people can read it and understand it. That sort of makes sense considering the factual errors, the impossibilities such as kangaroos hopping from the ark to Australia, and the direct contradictions found in the bible. So why do you take any of the bible as truth? You seem to really like Revelation and mankind being doomed. But even there Christ himself says that the 2nd coming and the apocalypse will happen during the generation of the apostles, which ended 1900 years ago. Again, like in Genesis, Christ is very specific about the timing “before this generation passes”. So why would a smart guy like yourself read something they admit is not 100% literal and take from it specific predictions about today, when nothing in the bible specifies anything happening 2000 years later? Why would you consider some parts of the bible flawed yet completely trust other parts? Did the flood happen or is it a story? Did the apocalypse happen as Christ predicted or not? Will stars fall from heaven as revelation says will be a sign or is that impossible? Did Christ even walk this earth or is that less than 100% literal? You may think only you can read the bible and understand it but your mind is no different than mine or anyone else’s. To put yourself above the ability of others in being able to understand something is a mistake many arrogant people make. You speak of doomsday just around the corner and point to the bible as evidence, yet admit the bible is flawed. No engineer would take information and consider it valid from a flawed source, but you seem to do that happily while denigrating those who know better. I hope you are not designing bridges with your engineering “skills”. Maybe that one in Minneapolis?

  • EnemyOfTheState

    RE: “The SOURCE means NOTHING can come before it.It’s an assumption based on a particular religious tradition, developed centuries ago to try to justify religious myth using Aristotelian logic.

  • bevjims1

    spidermean2 proffered: “In other words, if we try to rewind creation and and look for the beginning of things, we would end up finding INTELLIGENCE as the MAIN SOURCE of creation.”But scientists have rewound creation using telescopes and quantum mechanics and what they find is a very big unstable black hole. I think God would not like you calling Him that. Better prepare for a difficult afterlife.

  • PattiFink1

    The mere fact that so very many of the posts here involve people of faith questioning the beliefs/rights of non-believers and getting into theological & scientific proof arguments screams just how much people of faith look down on non-believers as “less than” or unequal. If these arguing/proselytizing believers actually respected the religious freedom rights of non-believers, then the discussion here – every single post – would be focused on the legal & cultural implications of a POTUS incorporating symbols of faith into the inaugural ceremony.Some of the non-believer posts are just as belligerent toward believers. Hard to say “who started it” but that’s irrelevant. The attacks in both directions – whether in offense or defense of a particular religious or non-religious belief – are signs of crass disrespect for the rights of others.BTW, I’m a Christian. And one who is taken aback by the level of discourse here. The topic at hand is whether or not “so help me God” as part of the POTUS oath of office means anything in terms of bringing religious faith into a public state ceremony and the rights of anyone to do so, not whether there is/is not a God & proofs thereof or what the nature of that God might be. Proselytizing from either side is disrespectful to/from both sides — and completely irrelevant — definitely ill-placed on this thread, IMO. Every American has a right to believe as they wish. Period. No one “must” believe as another, and no one person’s belief system is superior to anyone else’s belief system. Period. THAT’s the meaning of “religious freedom” in America.

  • zbvhs

    DanielintheLionsDen said, Atheism is not a religion. … It has no attributes of religion … .But it does. One definition of religion is: a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with faith and order. Whether you call atheism unbelief or non-belief or absence of belief it must be still be supported by some philosophical order or structure that requires belief for acceptance. Atheism is a belief about God, which places it in the realm of religion.DLD also said, there is no objective truth.Objective truth is anything we can see, touch, or otherwise experience. Science is the disciplined and formalized process of discovering objective truth. The proofs we all did in high school geometry class were formal derivations that were done to prove an objective reality – that A and B are congruent, for example. These objective realities are unequivocally and absolutely true in the realm of human understanding. Albert Einstein derived a formal, objective proof that energy and matter are equivalent (e = mc**2). That truth is the basis for all of the nuclear power technology in use today.DLD also said, majority does not rule.This may be true in the case of something like slavery. It is not at all obvious, however, when you have two opposing belief systems, neither of which can prove absolutely that their position is the true one.bevjims1 wrote, no atheist tries to prove God’s non-existence.Richard Dawkins has written volumes attempting to prove his atheist philosophy. His conclusions are not absolute proofs, however. They are empirical or experiential in nature – acceptable to some but not everybody. In contrast, Einstein’s proof of the equivalence of matter and energy is unequivocal.Atheists must have some kind of philosophical framework. Without it, they would have no coherent basis for their beliefs.With respect to Roman gods, it’s pretty well understood that the ancient Roman or Greek gods were mythical or allegorical characters. As for Hindu gods, I can’t say whether they exist or not. Let’s just say I’ve found a God who is more believable.bevjims1 wrote: Non-belief is not belief in the non-existence of a god.What does this mean? Are you admitting to the possibility of God’s existence but refuse to accept it?bevjims1 wrote: There is no such thing as anti-religion .Strange, the law suit described above seems anti-religious in its intent.I have read the Constitution, including the amendments. I cannot see why the religious beliefs of unbelievers should supersede those of believers when it comes to implementation of the Constitution’s principles.Athagoras wrote: a formal proof and a scientific proof are not the same thing.But, “formal” and “scientific” go hand in hand. Science is a formalized, disciplined search for objective truth.Athagoras wrote: Most of our technology is based on science. It is based on careful observation of the world in which we live. In that sense, it is objectively based, but science rarely proves anything in the sense of formal proofs.That’s true for sciences in the field of Biology, which are largely observation-based (although modern genetics is opening the door for theoretical understanding of how living organisms work). People in the physical sciences, however, are quite often led to discoveries in the lab by theories worked out by formal processes of reasoning. That’s why people are so eager to see data coming out of the Large Hadron Collider.Athagoras wrote: … the supernatural exists only in people’s minds. I can see where this is an easy conclusion to reach. But there’s still this business of the paranormal. Ghost stories have been told around the world for centuries. Social groups world-wide have traditions about reincarnation. I remember seeing a thing on TV awhile back about a little boy about 3 years old who was fascinated by airplanes. His dad took him to an airport where he went about kicking tires and checking things like he was doing a pre-flight inspection. His dad asked him how he knew so much about airplanes and he said, “I used to fly a Corsair but it crashed.” The Corsair was a WWII fighter plane used by the Marines in the Pacific Theater. How would a three-year-old have known about a Corsair? Stories like this persist despite efforts to explain them away. I don’t think the supernatural can be dismissed out of hand.Athagoras wrote: I can’t prove that God doesn’t exist, but it would be relatively easy for God to prove (at least in the scientific sense) to us that He does exist.Maybe God has revealed himself and we just don’t know where to look. Jesus of Nazareth said, “God is love” and, “God is a spirit”. In the letter to the Galatians, the Apostle Paul wrote, “the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” Could be that God is in us and all around us and we’re not looking in the right places.People have apparently been using faith for a long time. The paintings and sculptures in the cave at Lascaux suggest an awareness of the supernatural 20 or more thousand years ago. The value and reality of faith in our development as human beings can’t be casually dismissed.

  • bevjims1

    Pattifink1 wrote: “THAT’s the meaning of “religious freedom” in America.”No one understands the meaning of religious freedom better than an atheist. The only ones attacking religious freedom are, surprisingly, the religious of the majority religion. But what I find of more concern when reading these posts is the lack of understanding of how our government functions, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. There has been more than one person who wrote that in American the majority rules so the majority religion can do what it wants in government. We all heard Sarah Palin, a nominee for one of the highest offices in the land, wrongfully describe the constitutional duties of the office she was seeking. This is scary. This level of ignorance allows people to think that religion and government should not only be allowed to mix, but that it should be required! If you read these posts you will see that most of the discussion focuses on straightening these people out. As for discussions with spidey, well, its just entertainment.

  • thetruth98

    First of all, there is not beating around the fact that the government IS acknowledging the existence of God by placing his name in oaths and the pledge. And if not “placing”, keeping. Part of US history or not, that argument has been null and void for a while. If South Park has spoofed it, it’s hold and laughable that anyone could be on the side of “history”. Remember? Their town flag was of a white man stomping on black slaves? And one side argued that they should keep the flag no matter who it offended or excluded because it represented “history”? It was the same argument for southern states wanting to keep the confederate flag up, no matter how many people it offended, it “represented their history”.Now hear this: Many people will tell you that the US was founded on “Christian morals”. That is only partly true. The country was founded on greed and wealth, above all, and then second by escape from religious persecution. ESCAPE from that. People came here because in their country, one religion ruled and they were being persecuted. Now look at the US. No matter which side you’re on, you have to admit that by the government endorsing one religion, it is rebuking all others. THAT is NOT what this country was founded on. History or not, people (lots of people) are offended by the gov’t backing a religion. They should keep out of it. Take all religious views out of politics. Personal choices are different. Obama can believe in God who cares, he has that right. But to have clergymen and prayers involved in something as (supposedly) secular as a swearing in of a new president is taking a step too far. Christians and any other hardcore religious people, you can’t be so narrow minded and say this is a “Christian country” and that the gov’t shouldn’t take that away from you. You don’t sound any better than African countries (my parents are Nigerian), that claim to be a certain religion and spit on others. Or those countries who band together under one tribe or group, and depreciate the live-styles of others. Get off your high horses and take the religion out of politics so others can live in peace without being forced to be the minority just so you can feel good about yourselves.

  • bevjims1

    CCNL, your post about love spells sounds very much like Pat Robertson’s show “The 700 Club”, except he promises to pray for you, not cast a spell, but what’s the difference? Both are attempts to use and direct spiritual powers humans themselves do not have.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    ZbvhsAtheism is not a belief about God. It is the absence of belief. The absence of belief requires ABSOLUTELY no philosophical reasoning. Atheism is not a religion because it has no central God-figure, or Gods, and nor oranization; it has no meeting places such as churchs or mosques; it has no rites such as funerals, or weddings; it has no prayers; it has no rituals; it has no scriptural or theological supports; it is just people who bypass all of that. Many antheists, whom you will never see here, more than don’t believe in God; they do not even care enough to argue about; it is a total non-issue.It is a deception to protray lack of interest in religion as, itself, some kind of religion. Also, that I would write these things does not really say anything about my own beliefs. I am not saying that I am an atheist; I am merely trying to correct this willful misinformation about atheism. Any atheist activism at all is one-hundres-pecent a reaction to religious persecution of atheists.

  • motekeeper

    I agree with ATHAGORAS.I contend that Spidy has no college education and is probably a clergyman in fact!

  • motekeeper

    “Athagoras wrote: I spent ten years reading books, talking to gurus, witches, yogis, monks, priests, UFO buffs etc.” Hey, hey, hey….! Don’t give up on UFOs, UFO’s are not considered supernatural. They would be natural beings like us except from a different planet. As far as evidence for UFO’s, there’s a lot of pictures and video. Also, I guess you haven’t seen all of the retired military guys going on Larry King Live lately? WOW! All of them are saying “cover up” 100%! These are many retired officers saying they have actually touched spacecraft from other worlds and have seen with their own eyes alien beings. Of course, I am still skeptical, but these guys are ex-coronels and majors! I can’t see why they would lie? I lot of these guys had control of nukes too. These guys are not mental cases. Can’t it, can it, be true? Do a video Google for “Larry King ufo”. Oh, and at least you read to find out about it rather than think you know it all already. That’s the difference between someone like you and I. Spidy is surely too lazy to pick up a book or do research on their own. Could it be that Spidy is actually a pre-teen? Hmmmm………? Nope! I’ll stick with junior clergyman.

  • Skowronek

    If your infestation has become serious, remember the old adage, “Starve a Tr0ll, Feed a Fever.”If they stop receiving Daily Attention, a Tr0ll will make several attempts to elicit his desired response, but in time, he will move to more fertile pastures. Their natural habitat is abundant, and they are in no danger of extinction.Now, get out there and find those Tr0lls! They’re waiting for you!

  • Skowronek

    More food for thought:Viruses Are Our FriendsSome of these little influenza bugs are retroviruses like HIV and feline leukemia.These viruses are RNA, and typically “reverse-transcribe” their RNA into DNA for integration into the host’s genome. When that happens, they snip the DNA and insert themselves surreptitiously into the host’s chromosome, where they lie dormant, sometimes for years, before activating. Later, they activate and begin making more RNA, which in turn inserts itself into the genome, until the entire cell basically falls apart. Then the RNA retroviruses are off to seek new, healthy cells for more viral adventures.But if the retrovirus doesn’t reactivate, this life cycle fails. While the infection is contained, the cell is left with inert viral sequences scattered throughout its genome. They can cause problems. The inert sequences may disrupt a key gene, for example, and uncontrolled replication may ensue-the beginning of cancer. Or it could spark an autoimmune disorder like multiple sclerosis, or exotic forms of painful, debilitating inflammatory disease. But often the retrovirus simply sits in the chromosome, inert and disregarded.Now consider inheritance. Sometimes, by a stroke of fate, the infected host is a sperm or egg cell, which becomes a child. That child has those inert viral sequences in every single cell of his body. If those sequences happen to lie near an allele (one member of a pair of genes) that becomes ubiquitous in the population through natural selection, then all members of the species will carry the same genetic “signature” in every cell of their body. These ghosts of infections past are called endogenous retroviruses, or more affectionately, ERVs.An ERV found in the same DNA location in two people provides powerful evidence, admissible in court, that they share a common ancestor. All humans share many ERVs in identical locations, which is no surprise. We all have common ancestors if one looks far enough back. But here’s where it gets interesting: Chimps and humans also have ERVs in common. If identical ERVs serve as evidence of relatedness in court, then ERVs are equally convincing evidence that chimps and humans are related!The human and chimp genomes have been sequenced over the last decade, and we’ve found a dozen separate ERVs (hundreds of repeats each) identical in both genomes, in exactly the same locations. When these sequences are checked for time of introduction, they indicate a common ancestor five to seven million years ago. That is consistent with other molecular divergence studies and the fossil record.Consider a repeat sequence of base pairs like an ERV-or any other nonfunctional DNA sequence for that matter-found in the same locations in the genome between two species. Geneticists have looked at shared sequences between humans and mice, and compared those to the shared sequences between humans and chimps. They found that in humans and chimps, the same mouse sequences have been overwritten, just like a new CD recorded over an old one. This is exactly what we’d expect if ancestors of chimps and humans diverged more recently than primates and rodents diverged.Creationists hate ERVs. They usually ignore them, or recursively label them “intelligent common design.” ERVs have no known function. They code for viral proteins used only by viruses. Even if these things did have a function to us, common descent (common ancestors) explains how they got where they are in both species. The odds against two species by sheer chance being identically infected are enormous: one in ten followed by a hundred zeros. You have a better chance of winning the lottery ten times in a row than of being infected by a dozen distinct ERVs in the same hundreds of locations in your genome as any other individual or creature.

  • motekeeper

    WHISPERIN WROTE:I agree. I am an atheist, but would love there to be a god (and afterlife!). I tried to believe, but common sense told me the bible could not be true. It’s written by bronze age man. The stories are stolen. Wake up and do some research. As weird as it may seem, we did evolve over millions of years. Think how long just 1 million years are and all the small changes that can happen over all that extremely long time.

  • arjay1

    To Athagoras:

  • AThagoras

    So there’s still a little life left in this thread.Thanks for posting Skowronek.Motekeeper and Whisperin,But if It turns out to be the Abrahamic God, we’re all screwed. Have you read the Bible? The Biblical God is a megalomaniacal psychopath – He makes Stalin look like a choirboy. I’m very glad the Bible is a work of fiction.The Deist God I can’t argue against. The scientific pantheist God I can agree with. The Taoist god is my personal favourite.

  • motekeeper

    I agree. The Holy Bible god wouldn’t be a good one at all!