18th century caricature-engraving of Robespierre guillotining the executioner after having guillotined everyone else in France. [public domain / Wikimedia Commons] The “enlightened” so-called”progressive” folks who supposedly worshiped the “goddess of reason” executed many Catholics, including, e.g., Antoine Lavoisier, the father of chemistry (no luxurious house arrest for him, as with Galileo). Who’s to say this couldn’t happen again in the future, coming from our new secular overlords, triumphant (and triumphalistic) almost everywhere in culture and jurisprudence? Ol’ Robespierre hated the Catholic Church and lost his own head (i.e., literally) by the same brutal methods he championed, on 28 July 1794.
This was a rather free-wheeling, informal discussion that occurred in the combox for my post, Defending God (The Atheist Blame Game). I’ll use my usual color-coding system for other contributors to the dialogue besides myself. They all seem to be atheists or agnostics.
* * * * *
You have a right to believe. You do not have a right to push it down peoples throats.
Please cease the “pushing down throats” rhetoric pronto. I have no patience for that. I’m here writing, giving my opinions, which is still possible in America, at least for a while longer. No one is forced to read or believe it. It’s all voluntary. It’s called the “exchange of ideas.”
But I’m sure forced to accept same-sex “marriage” these days, ain’t I, because one “Catholic” Justice said I have to: joining the four predictable liberal / secular votes. And my public tax dollars are financing the gory tortures and genocide of Planned Barrenhood.
When I say, “Pushing down throats”, I in no way mean your blog or you right to do so. What I mean is the intrusions into schools, government, and my front door. Christianity is everywhere due to the majority of believers in the US and the Bibles command to spread the word, and often time is presented in places that are completely inappropriate.
As for Abortion and Gay Marriage, those are not religious issues. Well, they aren’t to the secular community. Just because you or the Christian community make it a religious matter doesn’t give it any special consideration. It is a product of our society, and something to be decided by America as a whole. Oh, and before you declare marriage a Christian thing, it was a part of Hinduism a thousand years before the first Bible was ever printed. At this point, religious marriage and secular marriage are two different things. You do not need to marry anyone that doesn’t fit your idea, but they are welcome to have the state do it so they get the legal benefits that go with it.
My point (replying to yours) was that I am much more “forced” to do things against my will in many ways, today, than you are as an atheist. If anyone has reason to complain about legal or cultural compulsion these days, it’s us Christians. You guys have gotten mostly victories with your usual judicial fiat method (usually against the expressed will of the people), for 50 years now.
YOU personally are NOT being forced into doing anything at all. You may now live in a country where other people are being allowed to do things that you don’t agree with. That’s life. You don’t have to marry another man. You don’t have to get an abortion. You don’t have to use birth control. But this country is now heading in the direction of allowing each person the ability to choose to do what they want to do. What’s wrong with that?
I don’t like broccoli, but I have never said that I am being FORCED to like broccoli because stores in this country are now allowed to openly sell broccoli.
Meanwhile atheists are “forced” to say things which they do not believe such as “One Nation Under God”, they are/were “Forced” to not be able to buy alcohol on Sundays. In some states you can not hold public office unless you are a believer. Atheists have been fired from their jobs simply because their bosses found out they were atheists. The list goes on.
This is clearly untrue. As mentioned, we are now forced to accept same-sex “marriages.” Surely you’ve heard about these silly cases of bakers being forced to make cakes for such weddings.
In Canada (I am American), one can hardly oppose the radical homosexual agenda at all (even from pulpits, I hear) without being accused of a “hate crime.”
We are forced to support abortion with our tax dollars. Nuns and Catholic hospitals are being forced to provide contraception, etc. That mandate was part of Obamacare, and it was pushed through by deception, with Catholic Democratic lawmakers like our own Michigan congressman Bart Stupak (dupes / “useful idiots”) being deliberately deceived by President Obama, so they would vote for Obamacare. He played them like a violin.
If you do not want to make a cake, you do not have to be a baker.
I don’t live in Canada either, so I can not comment on their legal system (I don’t even know that much about it). It doesn’t affect how we do things here.
Well, government funding of abortion goes outside of religion. I don’t necessarily agree with that.
If you are a doctor, you can’t ignore science to impose a specific flavor of morality on your patients. Doctors should be more interested in making sure they are healthy, than whether or not a patient is going to hell. They do not have the right to impose their beliefs on their patients or customers. I am not a fan of Obamacare, but it is not for that reason.
By your logic, a Muslim extremist doctor could impose some nasty decisions on a patient. Would you feel comfortable with that?
Legal rights prevents discrimination on several factors. You can no more refuse to bake a marriage cake to someone because of their ethnicity, nor because of their age, because of their religious beliefs, or any other protected class.
You then have a choice. Be a baker and follow the laws, or find a new line of work that doesn’t make you question your moral values.
You have to remember that religions come up with these “moral rules”. I, nor anyone else, have to put up with them just because you have a dusty old book.
You are forced to ACCEPT gay marriage, you are not FORCED TO MARRY ANOTHER MAN!!!!!! Stop saying that what other people are allowed to do affects YOU! Every person in the U.S. is “forced” to accept something they don’t like, whether it’s Gay Marriage, Nativity Scenes in Public Parks, Topless Dance Clubs, Starbucks, etc. This country is not called “Dave Armstrong’s” country.
What is wrong with allowing people the choice to do as they please?
It’s not that we have been forced to marry a same-sexed person (c’mon!, you’re capable of doing far better than this!), but that we are forced to perform actions that run contrary to our own conscience: thus, the example of bakers forced to bake these stupid “wedding” cakes.
Freedom of conscience would allow them to refuse on religious grounds. But now that is not the case (at least in some legal jurisdictions). And that’s “forced”; however you want to spin it. I gave several other examples, too.
That is better than the Atheist experience of the last 1950 years prior to that.
Joe I haven’t heard of priests having to marry gay couples against their wills.I haven’t made that argument. But it very well may soon be an issue of attempted coercion, the way things are rapidly going. And we Catholics (who actually accept Church teachings) will resist and will not (in accordance with our deeply-held beliefs) call evil good.
That’s not going to happen, and I think you know that. I think it has been ruled time and time again, the only bastion for discrimination is within the Church, so I believe you are safe there.
I don’t “know” that at all. Many stranger things have happened. Christians used to be eaten by lions in Rome, for entertainment.
I don’t expect that anytime soon, but I could see real pressure being put on Catholics as the retrograde Troglodytes, as proclaimed by the superior “Progressive” Society: the folks who have ushered in our manifest Utopia that we have now: as soon as this faction becomes powerful enough in numbers and influence to do it.
Repression and discrimination starts in prior attitudes and widespread feelings. We see how Christians are widely regarded by atheists now: even in my own threads at Patheos. Many utterly despise us. That sort of derision can easily translate into discrimination, coercion, and possibly at some point, outright persecution.
History often repeats itself. Since it is getting to the point where we have fewer and fewer moral disagreements with pagan Rome, its entirely conceivable that we could be treated as they treated the early Christians for almost 300 years.
Who would have thought in the age of Goethe and Beethoven, that Germany would exterminate many millions of Jews, Poles, and others (many of them Catholics) a little over 100 years later? Things can change very quickly. And that whole mess started, of course, with a massive propaganda campaign: mocking and slandering Jewish people.
We saw how quickly the “enlightened” fanatics in revolutionary France started killing people and attacking the Catholic Church (per my photo and caption above). Likewise, the Spanish revolutionaries in the 30s killed Catholics and attacked churches and statues of Christ, etc. Henry VIII switched on a dime in the 1530s and started wantonly slaughtering Catholics (often by hanging, drawing, and quartering). Christians (again, Catholics) are being slaughtered by the thousands right now in Syria, Iraq, the Sudan, and many other countries. The Russian Communists went right after the Orthodox priests, after 1917 (not far different from us in theology). We are often the target, because we don’t change with the whims and fashions and fads of the zeitgeist. That makes us become mightily unpopular.
So if radical secularists keep gaining more power, it’s quite likely that they’ll be coming after us with force and coercion, in some way (possibly even to the shedding of blood, in due course). It’s already starting.
What have you been forced to do? You can worship where you want. Pray where you want. You can not be imprisoned, taxed, or infringed on by the government.
The places where you feel your rights are being violated is when you tried to push your beliefs on someone else. To tell them who they can or can not marry, to put your icons in public places where diversity should be respected (different religious beliefs), and to influence or control government to pass pro-Christian laws (In God We Trust/Under God).
You are right. Since the cold war, the advent of Internet technology allows people to not be so shut off from other beliefs and cultures. I would say there is more conversion now than there ever has been (in all directions, between religions and to and from Atheism). There is also an increase in those that do not identify with religion.
Our culture is changing. Christianity does not have a hold of the American heart and soul anymore. This does not make your belief irrelevant, you just don’t have the leeway you may be used to in influencing public ethics.
America has been a secular nation for at least 50 years. We live in a moral sewer now. Everything’s going to hell in a handbasket, due to the wholesale rejection of legal and moral and religious tradition.
No one need take my biased word for that. The sociological statistics (non-Christian studies) are clear, and polls show a high percentage who think the country has gone awry and is headed in a disastrous direction. Families and marriages are broken and lives destroyed due to liberal radicalism, the sexual revolution, and the failed Great Society policies.
It’s time to give moral tradition a try again.
Well, I disagree that it has been secular for only that long (legally), but that is for a different discussion.
If you look back over the history of the US, we abolished slavery, we treat women as equals in the eyes of the law, and we are more diverse than we have ever been.
… and we are going the wrong direction? I can see your point if you are going by the Bible’s standards. I mean, by the Bible’s rights we should be able to own slaves, sell off our daughters, treat women like property, stone gays and unruly children to death and treat anything that isn’t Hebrew like it is the plague.
Yeah…. I can see how “low” we have gotten.
I agree that treatment of black people and women has improved greatly. Christians were in the forefront of both those movements; whether you look at early women’s rights advocates, like Susan B. Anthony, or the abolitionists or Lincoln, or Martin Luther King (Baptist pastor). So that ain’t “secular” stuff. It was mostly Christian-inspired.
They are treated much better (thank God). Meanwhile, 55 million babies have been murdered in their mother’s wombs. So what good is it overall if we learn to treat two large groups better and mercilessly slaughter exponentially more human beings before they see the light of day?
You say that is “progress” and “enlightenment” and tolerance? I say it is a moral sewer, making us the most wicked nation in the history of the world (as I have argued for 14 years now).
Nor is that merely “Bible standards.” Opposition to abortion goes back at least as far as the Hippocratic Oath, in pagan Greece, before Christianity existed.
Christians can come up with “secular stuff”. Some things fall in line with religious thinking, some things don’t, some things have nothing to do with religion.
I believe, based on the Bible, that someone could make a religious argument supporting the right to own slaves. Read up on the creation of the Southern Baptist Church.
I don’t agree with the fallacy that “55 million babies have been murdered..”, as they have to be defined as a baby for that statistic to make any sense. Repeating it over and over doesn’t change the definition.
We have terms for the stages of pregnancy and the development towards what will someday be a baby. Words like embryo, and fetus. While I understand your position, the question of when life starts is a controversial one. So you can not make me feel guilty for abortions that 1. I did not take part in. 2. Is not my body. 3. Is not defined as a living person in my eyes (more like a growing organ/attachment of the mother).
I only list that not to argue the position, but to show there is a obvious argument that opposes yours, so you can not make it a blanket statement that we live in an immoral society. There are TONS of things I would like to see better from my point of view and you can work towards making changes you feel are right, but you really shouldn’t demonize everyone that disagrees with you.
Strange how 50 years ago the U.S. changed the country’s motto to “In God We Trust”, and added the words “Under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance. According to you, ever since then, the country has gone downhill !!!
Yes it has, by any conceivable moral or sociological standard. We live in a hellhole now. You want to go into inner-city Detroit, where I grew up (or any inner-city of a large city) and tell me that things aren’t far worse than they were 50 years ago?
These things are self-evident. You may defend abortion, but you won’t defend a young black boy or girl being gunned down in broad daylight by some evil person passing by (almost always, statistically, another black person).