I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the
president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where
no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference; and where no man is denied public office
merely because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.
I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish; where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials; and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.
Biblical text should not be interpreted as properly literal, but rather as metaphorical, if it contradicts what we know from
science and our God-given reason.
(Augustine of Hippo, De Genesi ad literam 1:19-20, Chapt. 19 , De Genesi ad literam, 2:9)
Saint Augustine (354-430 A.D.)
The bible explains how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go.
Galileo Galilei (1616)
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
Man is a Religious Animal. He is the only Religious Animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion - several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself then cuts his throat if his theology isn't straight.
Hundreds of professional and amateur scientists actually believe that the Bible pretends to teach science. This is a good deal like assuming that there must be authentic religious dogma in the binomial theorem.
Georges Lemaître (1933) Roman Catholic priest and Scientist (who first proposed the Big Bang after analyzing the mathematics behind Einstein's General Theory of Relativity)
Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.
Fundamentalism is the blind lunge towards oversimplification.
George Steiner (Philosopher)
Ours is a time of space telescopes, electron microscopes, supercomputers, and the worldwide web. This is not a time for parsing lessons given to a few goat herders, tent makers and camel drivers.
Rev. Michael Dowd, "Thank God for Evolution!"
Theists are convinced God exists; philosophers are convinced God does not exist; Deists are skeptics sitting between the two extremes.
This is a composite quote. The first two segments come from Edward Gibbon (1737-1794). The third segment came from Leo Damrosch
Europeans learned during the 30 Years War (1618-1648)1 that religion and politics don't mix. In fact, it was the principal of religious freedom2 that was the basis for ideas which created the United States of America. So, I'm confused when:
The world will never have peace until there is a protestant-style reformation in all religions which will enable people to take back control of their churches from zealots and extremists. Every citizen must strive to ignore anyone (religious or otherwise) who instigates war or martyrdom. We also must be wary of any religious person with "political ambitions" or "ties to people with political ambitions" (you probably think I am referring to some Islamic Imams and Clerics but American Christians like Jerry Falwell also spring to mind)Subscripts:
After the 9/11 attacks on New York in 2001, I read three books on Islam as well as Islamic History to attempt to understand Islam's principles. While contemporary Muslims usually refer to Mohamed only as a prophet, he was also a politician as well as a military general. This perspective sheds new light on Muslim discontent which obviously extends beyond religion into theocracy.
Most Muslims consider any Quran not written in Arabic to be profane translations. This means that imams and clerics not able to read Arabic must turn to the hadiths (non-Arabic translations are allowed) which number between 4000 and 8000. Demanding that the primary holy text stay in the original language is reminiscent of pre-protestant Christianity demanding that the Bible stay in Latin (even though the original old testament scrolls were only available in mostly Hebrew or Aramaic, and the new testament scrolls only in Greek)
Next, I read three books on Christianity which rendered me equally confused. Mention "the big schism in Christianity" and most modern people with think "Catholic vs. Protestant" rather than "Eastern Orthodox vs. Roman Catholic"
A very simple summary involves the Trinity (a word never found in the
bible) which is derived from the evolution of the Nicene Creed
(publicly recited in churches as an affirmation of what the attendees believe) which first appeared in 325 A.D. The Trinity
controversy begins with the insertion of the Filioque in 451 A.D. at the First Ecumenical Council at Chalcedon making Jesus literally
divine. In a theocratic power play in 1054 (was this religious or
political?) the Roman Catholic church excommunicated Christian churches who did not accept Filioque which resulted in a spit
between Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox. If the Greek church is labeled "orthodoxy" (straight thinking) then the Roman Catholic doctrine, and everything descended from it (Anglicans,
Baptists, Calvinists, Lutherans, Methodists, and Pentecostals to only name six of many), are "heretical"
Food-for-thought: many protestants scoff at the catholic practice of "praying to Mary" but if belief in the divinity of Jesus is heretical, then "praying to Jesus" should also be discouraged. As far as I can tell, the Muslim world prays to Allah rather than Mohammad which may be more correct (especially if Allah is just another name for God)
Our Modern World
of enlightenment was kicked off by Europeans like Spinoza
(1632-1637) who laid the groundwork for the 18th century Enlightenment
and modern biblical criticism (an open minded scholarly study
and investigation of biblical writings seeking to make discerning judgments about these writings). For most of Europe, this put
an end to governments recognizing "superstition" and supporting acts like "witch burning". Roman Catholics behaved badly with
the inquisitions until Napoleon put a stop to the last one (of five) in
Spain. Spinoza's enlightenment continued in 18th and 19th century Europe where many more original bible manuscripts (scrolls)
were acquired then compared with ancient historical records and found to be changed or just
quote: this school reached its apogee with the influential synthesis of Julius Wellhausen (1844-1918) in the 1870s, at which point it seemed to many that the Bible had at last been fully explained as a human document.
Although many people continued the enlightenment efforts of Spinoza, including John Locke (1632-1704) and David Hume (1711-1776) to only name two of many, Thomas Paine (1737-1809) is the name most citizens might recognize today. He wrote many things including "the importance of the separation between church and state" and "racial equality" (he proposed "abolishing slavery 100 years before Lincoln").
comment: Most of the American founding fathers were deists and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying (even if you heard it from the pulpit). If you don't believe me then you should start by first reading the Treaty of Tripoli which was ratified unanimously by the U.S. Senate on June 7, 1797 and signed into law by President John Adams on June 10, 1797.
quote: As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims],—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Muslim] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.After this treaty was published in ~ 200 newspapers it should be noted that there is no record of any public outrage of any kind.
Charles Darwin started out a Christian (he graduated with a degree
from Trinity College, Cambridge and was destined to be an Anglican Parson) he became a deist after questioning the
premature death of three of his ten children before publishing On
the Origin of the Species in 1859. Meanwhile, most Anglican Parsons and Deacons who read Darwin's book did not see it as
an attack on religion; they saw it as science's description of nature which had been put into motion by a prime-mover God.
But here is another view where some people say evolution is actually described in Genesis 1-24:
www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/interp/evolution.htmlNotice that he "brings forth" rather than "creates".
quote: And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree.
I now call myself a Desist who is convinced that all religions are completely man-made. Like literature, music and art, religion is just another human cultural expression and humanity would, most likely, be poorer without it. Since no rational person would ever "torture", "murder" or "go to war" over literature, music or art, then those who believe these activities are permitted in the name of religion need to be educated otherwise. No one will ever be able to prove (or disprove) the existence of God so there is little point in trying. Meanwhile arguing about the inaccuracies found in all religious writings makes me think that humanity's only hope is to keep personal religious beliefs private. This means we must all strive for a secular society.
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Deism [ dee-iz-uh m ] is the belief that reason and observation of the natural world are sufficient to determine the existence of God, accompanied with the rejection of revelation and authority as a source of religious knowledge. Deism gained prominence in the 17th and 18th centuries during the Age of Enlightenment—especially in Britain, France, Germany and America—among intellectuals raised as Christians who believed in one god, but found fault with organized religion and could not believe in supernatural events such as miracles, the inerrancy of scriptures, or the Trinity. Deism is derived from deus, the Latin word for god. The earliest known usage in print of the English term deist is 1621, and deism is first found in a 1675 dictionary. Deistic ideas influenced several leaders of the American and French Revolutions. Two main forms of deism currently exist: classical deism and modern deism.
quote: The Bible was not handed to mankind by God, nor was it dictated to human stenographers by God. It has nothing to do with God. In actuality, the Bible was VOTED to be the word of God by a group of men during the 4th century A.D. (after receiving a lot of financial support by the Roman emperor Constantine)
I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceedeth from the Father "and from the Son".
Who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified.