Why shouldn’t religion be taught in schools?

Political secularists have thus far been successful in preventing religion from crossing the threshold of our public schools.  There needs to be, they say, a separation of church and state.  We can’t be having our students discussing one of the most important queries a person could ever consider: does God exist?  But why not?  How one answers this question has a significant impact on how they interpret the world around them.

I too would be skeptical of and hesitant to permit doctrinal teachings of particular religions.  I don’t know that I’d trust a government run public school system to fairly represent any of the world’s major religions.  However, I don’t think taking on the umbrella issue of whether a generic theism could be true would be too corruptible.

The proposition, God exists, is either true or false and can be investigated.  And I think it ought to be investigated.

Of course, all sides would dispute the manner in which the proposition was discussed.  There will always be someone to object to what consider a bias.  That’s understandable.  But I don’t think the issue should be avoided in the fashion it is currently.

Comments

  1. “The proposition, God exists, is either true or false and can be investigated. ”
    The proposition is false. The issue is settled. God does not exist.
    Any more questions?

    • Yes I have questions.

      What are the evidences and arguments that point to your assertion tjat the proposition is false?

      If you reached that conclusion by way of reason with a rationale then that means you have considered arguments and evidences for your assertion that “God exists” is false. If you cannot offer arguments and evidences then your assertion that it’s false is just that, an unsubstantiated assertion.

      I await your evidence.

      • Cheesey says:

        John Barron, If anyone were too put evidence in front of you the list would go on, the same vice versa. You are obviously uneducated on the topic which you are obviously trying to point in your direction contradicting, when you yourself have no arguments. What do you have to say about the Epicurus triangle (if you believe in the 3 things)? Red shift? can you come up with an explanation for those? (not saying they’re the best arguments against)

    • U SUCK HE DOES EXIST

  2. paynehollow says:

    John, I have no problem philosophically with the idea of eight year olds or 17 year olds talking about the question, “Does God exist?” any more than I have a problem in theory with 8 or 17 year old’s discussing, “What is the Right answer to abortion or marriage for gay folk?” In theory.

    In practice, those are pretty big discussions certainly for an 8 year old and even for a 17 year old. If grown adults have a hard time talking about these ideas in a dispassionate, respectful manner, what will that be like in the classroom?

    And in what class setting would this question arise? To what end would it be discussed? What is the lesson plan? Are teachers advising students on the “right” answer? How does it fit into the core curriculum of reading, writing and math?

    Perhaps in a philosophy class, this might be an appropriate setting. Probably not in a 3rd grade math class, though.

    ~Dan

  3. I’ve seen what public education has done to documented history, twisting and distorting facts to fit their prejudices. I don’t want to see what they can do to the Bible.

    • Doug, thats why I dont think I’d want schools delving into each religion either. But to just ask and try to answer — even as a thought exercise — if God exists couldnt be too bad

  4. I think you answered your own question when you stated “all sides would dispute the manner in which the proposition was discussed”.

    Religious people would constantly complain about how their beliefs are being misrepresented or characterized.

    Contrary to how information is delivered in the church, our schools should be teaching how to think instead of what to think.

    It’s obvious that many believers would object to their child being too critical of their own religion because of something they heard in school.

    • Z

      I agree. Thats why I think a more general theism/deism discussion would be better than specifics.

      Im not even necessarily argying that it should take place. More so that the aversion isnt necessary.

  5. I think religion is a topic that should be part of any educational program – it’s not the schools place to teach children any particular religion (unless it is a religious school, such as Canada’s Catholic school system, at which point, that’s often part of why parents send them there), but religion has always been an inseperable part of people’s lives and the events of history. The idea that religion can be labelled and boxed and kept out of the public sphere is thoroughly modern, culturally specific, and logically impossible. Our religious beliefs (including opposition to religion) is part of who we are and forms our world view.

    Having said that, schools are pretty terrible at teaching kids anything; especially our agenda driven modern schools, so I wouldn’t particularly want any school teaching religion.

    But then, that’s just one of the many reasons we home schooled our kids.

  6. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to have a discussion about a deity without delving into any specific religious beliefs.

    Regardless of how that discussion takes place, there will always be those who are critical of the education system as a whole and look at anything they do as a failure.

  7. I wonder how it actually took place in the past. When most, if not all, of our major universities were founded, they were founded (mostly) by ministers and one needed a good working understanding of Scripture to study there. Grade school level used the Bible to teach reading and spelling, using religious words, stories and concepts to that end. What I don’t know for sure is that there was any requirement that upon graduation, one had to believe what one was taught. It would be difficult to prove that everyone who came out of that system of education lived out their lives as Christians. The ability to choose what one believes is not compromised by the teaching of any subject, but by the ability to observe and analyze for one’s self the evidence in support of the subject in question. We can observe and prove to ourselves that putting two apples together in a group with two other apples results in one having four apples. Thus it would be ridiculous to believe that 2+2 does NOT equal four. To the extent that one comes away from religious teaching believing in the existence of any god would largely depend on the quantity and quality of evidence and how one analyzes that evidence for one’s self.

    The only real problem comes in as a result of irrational and, quite frankly, superstitious fears of non-believers and their warped perceptions of the motivations and intentions of believers. They believe kids will come to believe silliness, such as the earth being flat, which the Church never truly preached as fact, or that the sun revolves around the earth. In short, that believers are anti-science, which is also untrue and, in my opinion, unprovable.

    Also unprovable would be the notion that merely discussing the possibility of the existence of a god, even the Christian God, would indicate an establishment of religion. It does not. Only an act of Congress can do that. Teaching that God exists, and providing for debate involving evidence pro and con can only establish a wider understanding of which side of the question is more likely. If the result of this objective pursuit is that the entirety of the American population comes to believe with certainty that a god exists, even the Christian God, it only would mean that the entire population agrees, not that a specific religion, not even Christianity in a general sense, has been established as a national religion by which our laws must be crafted and our people abide.

  8. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    Grade school level used the Bible to teach reading and spelling, using religious words, stories and concepts to that end.

    I’m old enough that I remember having a teacher in about 1970 in Kentucky who still led the class in a very Christian prayer every day. I think she was about the last one to do so, at least in Louisville.

    And if you didn’t believe in prayer in general or her particular type of prayer? You had better be quiet about it or she’d paddle you. And you certainly wouldn’t speak or make noise during her prayer, or a paddling would come for that.

    The thing is, from a practical point of view, I have to doubt that conservative Christians would want to see this enacted and enforced in our schools. Who’s going to be teaching these kids about God? The Buddhist math teacher? The atheist gym teacher? The Quaker English teacher? The radically liberal new age history teacher?

    You can bet that the only way many conservative Christians (and many others) would approve of someone teaching a class about God would be if they agreed with that teachers’ curriculum and ideas. Who’s going to decide what ideas about God would be taught? Will you force teachers to teach something they don’t believe? How effective will that be?

    The idea – even if you thought it was a good idea – is just not tenable. Any such teacher and class would be a lightning rod of criticism from some group or the other.

    ~Dan

  9. One more thing regarding objections to the notion. The unbeliever is simply afraid of a majority of people coming to adjust their views of morality and/or right and wrong based on the majority coming to believe in the existence of a god, and by those views being adjusted, believers would be unlikely to support legislation that conflicts with the ramifications for us with the existence of a god being so certain. That is to say, restrictions or regulations on certain behaviors would likely interfere with behaviors a non-believer might choose to enjoy, such as pornography for example. More people believing might lead to a review of legislation and SCOTUS decisions that stretched the meaning of Constitutional issues beyond the original intent of the founders. Pornography is not an example of free speech, since free speech rights were related to speaking out against governmental authority, and the freedom to speak one’s mind on such things, not nudie pictures.

    The fear of the non-believer stems from what it means to the culture to have the majority having standards of virtue and character that transcend that which our base natures compel. Things like Roe v Wade would never have come to pass had the overall belief in God been more solid throughout the culture at that time, and thus, the need for that law would also have been lessened by virtue of a nation that lives according to a belief system that puts self control over self indulgence. The lack of belief in God gives license to self indulgence. A majority of strong believers is a hedge against self indulgence. It would be likely that the notion of what constitutes a “good girl” would revert to one who is chaste and fewer “bad girls” would not be conducive to the self indulgent. Much of what our culture has become and the ills it suffers is a direct result in the culture moving from a belief in a god and the push to deny public reference to religious based notions of morality. Yet, there has been nothing to fill the void and the consequences only worsen.

    • Wow, Marshall – I see that you represent a common and misplaced viewpoint of many Christians.

      The unbeliever is simply afraid of a majority of people coming to adjust their views of morality…

      and

      … behaviors a non-believer might choose to enjoy, such as pornography…

      and

      The lack of belief in God gives license to self indulgence.

      You sound like non-believers are not capable of being moral and only non-believers view pornography and engage in self-indulgent behavior.

      This is why communication between believers and non-believers is difficult.

      • No. Communication breaks down when people don’t ask for clarifications. So I will clarify here, that non-believers include those who claim belief, but their faith isn’t strong enough to overcome their baser impulses. Yet, when a culture leans toward one view, as it once did regarding, say, promiscuous girls being less than ideal for bringing home to Momma, it influences the overall sense of morality and it becomes the accepted sense. Believers, as is no surprise to believers themselves, are victims of their own human natures just as non-believers are. But a culture that has no fear of God in the public square, supports an individual’s own intent to practice self-control.

        As to morality, we’ve had the discussion before regarding how solidly a non-believer feels compelled to adhere to any standard of behavior. I won’t go into that debate here.

  10. paynehollow says:

    Marshall, I’d say that is an awfully shallow and ridiculously unfair caricature of non-theists. The non-theists and agnostics I know are as moral or more so than many believers I know. They – and religious liberty types, like the traditional baptists and anabaptists – oppose teachers teaching “God” for reasons of religious liberty, not for reasons of hedonism.

    ~Dan

    • There’s no threat to religious liberty by having religion taught in schools. It’s a baseless fear and quite irrational. This is especially true for anyone who proclaims they are capable of making their own moral decisions.

      • paynehollow says:

        There is a difference between having classes about world religions (ie, one in which we learn that the Christian bible has two divisions – OT, NT – is made up of 66 books – except for those traditions that have more, and believe X, Y and Z… that Christians are made up of Protestants and Catholics, etc, etc… the facts surrounding Christianity, and Judaism, and Islam, etc) and one where religion is taught, as in promoted – “here’s the Christian evangelical teachings, it’s the one that makes most sense and is accepted by most “real” Christians…”

        One is legal and I have no problem with. The other is an infringement on religious liberty.

        Are you only advocating the notion of teaching ABOUT various religious traditions, dispassionately and objectively? No big deal, that happens and most of us don’t have a problem with it. It’s when you use language like “we’re going to TEACH YOU religion,” as opposed to “teach ABOUT the various traditions, from a historical aspect,” that people concerned with religious liberty will object.

        And not because we “fear” a particular tradition, but simply because it’s a threat to religious liberty. As an anabaptist, I do not WANT a school “teaching” anabaptism. Teach ABOUT it, along with other religions, that’s fine. Students of history know that when a state starts embracing one tradition over another, it is a recipe for corruption of both the state AND the church. For the sake of MY church, I do not want the state promoting or endorsing it.

        ~Dan

  11. paynehollow says:

    Marshall, if I was teaching again, would you want me teaching the kids about God? Would you prescribe to teachers like me a curriculum that I must follow? Who would create and approve of the curriculum? The Southern Baptists (the conservative ones)? The Pope?

    I don’t think you’re thinking through the problems of this suggestion, even if ideally you think it’s a good idea.

    ~Dan

  12. Is it not enough that you can teach your children in church and in the home? If not, why?
    Is it not enough to have multitudes of private religious schools? If not, why?

    Is it not enough that we don’t teach non-theism to your Sunday school class? If not, why?

    Where would you draw the line John? Who would choose what to teach, and how, about the Abrahamic belief systems?

    Further, considering your constant disdain for the mechanism that is public education, do you now argue that they handle the seemingly endless nuances and contradictions of your beliefs? You guys can’t agree on anything outside your own narrow interpretation of the good book.

    BTW your proposition about the existence of your god, requires “YOU” to prove the claim, not I, no matter how many times you you repeat otherwise.

  13. Dan,

    I would not want you teaching any kid anything. Your views are especially suspect regardless of the topic. The idea of you teaching at all is appalling. Is that good enough for a response for your question?

    I don’t need to consider exceptions for a point to stand as valid. Just as I acknowledge that too many Christians are less than Christians should be, so too do I acknowledge that there are non-believers who act in a very Christian manner despite their disbelief. So nice of you to once again stray from the point in order to demonize.

    What John is saying is public schools discussing the existence of a god at all. If we were to simply do that, it would be of great value as it, like so much that should be regarding how our kids are taught, leads to greater understanding of what is most likely true to whatever extent we are capable. Where’s the down side to this? There is none that I can see if the discussion is kept open to all real possibilities. But there are downsides for those who do not want to alter their belief systems, in the same way you don’t want to alter yours. For such people, the truth sucks and is extremely inconvenient.

    But some of us have no fear of truth, even if the truth is indeed inconvenient for us. Thus, if discussion of God in schools led to the discovery that God does not exist, so be it.

  14. Nash,

    Untwist your panties. It is never enough for truth to be restricted to one venue. Truth is too important for that. Our acknowledgement or rejection of truth has too great an impact for that. By allowing such discussions in public schools, we have even greater possibilities of coming to discover just what the truth is on such topics. You may insist there is no god, but you apparently don’t have the courage to have that belief tested objectively. We do, for we do not fear the truth. Yeah, we might be disappointed to discover our beliefs are total crap, but if indeed it is, we benefit by the discovery. Now, we can do anything we want just like you.

    Multitudes of religious schools benefit those who wish to delve in detail into the nuances of a specific denominational belief system. That serves those who believe in God. It does nothing for the general position on whether or not any god exists. Two very different issues. And since such churches and schools are specific to those who already believe and to exactly how their belief manifests (denominations), there is no reciprocal obligation to force them to teach an atheist point of view. However, to that point, know that the subject is broached far more often that you apparently thing it does. Once again, not every fears truth.

    “Who would choose what to teach, and how, about the Abrahamic belief systems?”

    My reading of John’s post clearly indicated he wasn’t calling for a specific religion to be taught, but only that the existence of God, or any god, is a worthy topic for any public school who claims to seek, discover and impart the truth.

    “You guys can’t agree on anything outside your own narrow interpretation of the good book.”

    Most Christian denominations share more in agreement than they do disagreement. Most disagreement that led to denominational separation is either on very minor points of the faith or, just as often if not more so, things like church polity.

    “BTW your proposition about the existence of your god, requires “YOU” to prove the claim, not I, no matter how many times you you repeat otherwise.”

    Willing to engage anywhere, including within the public school system. But that isn’t what is really sought here, if I’m understanding John’s point correctly. Rather, it is simply the general discussion of the existence of a Supreme Being, which would have to include all the arguments and evidence for and against. Even if it was simply to educate students as to why some believe and others don’t is a worthy topic of discussion from which much can be learned as regards why people behave as they do. There’s no downside.

    • Would your jesus comment on my panties?

      1) You have no truth? You just think you have truth, a truth that so far is unprovable, as most inane supernatural claims are.

      2) I named two venues not one. On my watch you will not be teaching any of your so called truth in a public school. But absolutely feel free to brain wash “your” kids at a church of your choosing or at home.

      3) Feel free to test my courage with your “objective means and ways. We non believers have waiting thousands of years for your claims to be objectively validated, I can wait another day or two I guess.

      4) Great job skirting additional questions spurned by John’s initial post.

      5) Willing to engage? Where is your god? Prove its existence.

      I await your objective proofs.

  15. @marshalart,
    I guess you don’t seem to understand that your “truth” is not as widely accepted as you may think. Again, like many Christians, you think your belief is the standard and anyone who does not agree with it is just rejecting the “truth”, whether they’re a non-believer or follower of another religion.

    As for your continuing cracks against so-called accountability to your deity, are you afraid of an eternity in hell for your behavior? Aren’t you promised a paradise in heaven for just accepting Christ? Sounds like there’s no accountability there.

  16. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    Rather, it is simply the general discussion of the existence of a Supreme Being

    Again, where? What subject? Who’s going to teach? Are you advocating this for grade school students? Taught by Theologians? Atheists?

    The suggestion raises many problematic (for you) questions that remain unanswered.

  17. Hello John,
    You ask, “What are the evidences and arguments that point to your assertion tjat the proposition is false? ”
    You ask easy questions, John. I would respond to the above question in the following manner:
    All the arguments utilized on behalf of the proposition “Yahweh exist” are equally effective when used on behalf of the propositions: “Allah exist”, “Baal exist”, “Zeus exist”, “Ganesh exist” and so forth.
    An argument which proves too much happens to prove nothing at all. Therefore the nonexistence of all of these other gods is sufficient evidence to prove that Yahweh does not exist.

    • This response does not answer the question. its poor reasoning to say that because others are bad at making a case, therefore your view is by fiat correct.

      What is your argument and evidence? I’ll give you one more try at it.

      By not offering an argument or evidence exposes you as holding your view for flacid and unintellectual reasons.

      • “Flacid and unintellectual”?
        Seriously? We get one more chance to disprove your presupposition from the positive, without any evidence at all?

        You have both Aristotle and Socrates rolling in their graves.

        • Nash, David gets one more chance, which he’s exhausted. When you come in here so bold and condescending, you must back up your attitude with strong argument and evidence.

          I dont presuppose God’s existence either, I havent always been a theist or a Christian.

  18. paynehollow says:

    The thing is, fellas, you can’t prove a negative. We can’t prove unicorns don’t exist, that martians don’t exist or that Robin Hood didn’t exist. We can say, “I find insufficient reason to have any reason to think that these exist… I see no evidence to support the claim,” Or, conversely, “I do find sufficient reason to believe X exists, even though I have no way of proving it objectively,” but you can’t prove something doesn’t exist.

    At a guess, that’s probably what David is trying to say.

    ~Dan

    • Dan. You can prove a negative. One way is demonstrating that the thing posited is impossible to exist.

      Ask an astronomer if theres a planet between venus and earth.

      • “I dont presuppose God’s existence either, I havent always been a theist or a Christian”.

        Just because you used to be something other than a christian, is in no way proof of a god.

        And why not prove the existence of your god from the positive, since you have so much proof and evidence, instead of convincing yourself that the deductive method includes non believers disproving from the negative?

  19. Hello John Barron,

    You ask, “What is your argument and evidence? ”

    Okay, let’s try this again.

    Allah exist. Allah is the God of the Universe. Allah is the God of Abraham, Moses, Daniel, John the Baptist and Jesus. When a Christian prays to God the Christian, necessarily and inevitably, prays to Allah.

    Since you are a Christian and you happen to believe in God, you necessarily and unavoidably and inevitably believe in Allah.

    God exist therefore Allah exist.

    So you see we are in agreement about the existence of God. Isn’t it wonderful that we agree?

    • This is really idiotic. You are not making valid arguments here. The mere claim of one group is not evidence against the claim of another. It is merely a competing claim. BUT, for the purposes of this discussion and the question posed by the title of the post, which claim is likely to be true and which false would be a great learning exercise for any school to pursue. You up for it? I’m guessing you don’t have the stones.

      Did you go the Dan Trabue School of Analogy?

  20. paynehollow says:

    David, Christians in Arabic speaking countries would agree. Allah is just the Arabic word for God. For what it’s worth.

    John, Okay, maybe you can prove some negatives. I would guess that it’s generally possible to prove most negatives. Prove a unicorn doesn’t exist. Prove that the alien race Glorkons don’t exist.

    Dan

    • Its not as difficult as you think dan. Why dont you think about it for a little while

    • Christians in Arab speaking countries would likely NOT agree if they are students of history. From what I understand, and I could be mistaken here, “Allah” is the name for a particular god, the only one remaining after muhammed decided the others were of no value to him. It is the name of a moon god, which is why the moon is prominent in islam in the way the cross is in Christianity as a symbol.

      • paynehollow says:

        Christians in Arab-speaking Morocco do indeed refer to God as Allah. The word “Allah,” is God in Arabic.

        Do you think the Spanish should not refer to God as Dios?

        “Among former Muslims, many converts to Christianity commonly refer to God as “Allah.””

        http://christiananswers.net/q-eden/allah.html

        A minor quibble, just pointing out this reality.

        ~Dan

  21. Hello Payne Hollow,
    You say, “David, Christians in Arabic speaking countries would agree. Allah is just the Arabic word for God. For what it’s worth. ”
    True enough for Christians in Arabic speaking lands but not so much for 100% of the Christians that I have encountered in English speaking lands who have universally declared that Allah is not God.
    If John Barron believes in Allah the issue is settled with finality and without further argument:
    Allah does exist.
    Once this agreement is reached we’ll move on to establishing the following proposition:
    Ganesh does exist.
    Doubtless the millions of Christians who happen to live in India will acknowledge that Yahweh and Ganesh and Jesus Christ are all names of God. Once they do so our argument can proceed to proof that Baal, Moloch and Chemosh exist since these are all names of God in various languages.
    The argument can proceed on these lines until John Barron expressly declares that a particular God does not exist. Then the conversation will become interesting and informative and just might lead to an argument.

  22. paynehollow says:

    Perhaps you are smarter than I. Go ahead and prove that unicorns don’t exist.

    ~Dan

  23. Nash,

    “Would your jesus comment on my panties?”

    Not in so many words. Why don’t you ask Him?

    Now to respond to your points:

    1. Not surprisingly, you miss the point. Mine was that discussions in schools regarding the existence of a supreme being is merely a search for truth of which believers have no fear. The pursuit of truth is a worthy endeavor for any school.

    2. If my belief of what is true is not true, I would have no trouble with being convinced of that through discussions presenting facts and evidence. To that end, I suspend any personal belief regarding what I believe is true to enter into the debate. You, apparently, cannot handle the possibility that what I believe is indeed true, so you crumble in a heap and accuse truth seekers of indoctrination and brainwashing. So very open minded of you.

    3. This discussion is not about evidence for or against the existence of God. It is about whether or not there is value or harm in teaching about the existence of God in public schools. I refer once again to the state of your panties.

    4. How ironic given the fact that you have yet to address the central question of John’s post.

    5. Not the topic of this discussion. Try paying attention.

    • Poor pathetic Marshall,

      You have no truth. Continuing to attempt to distill this unpersuasive argument of yours down to my level of bravery is quite entertaining. It has failed miserably, but it is entertaining.

      And I did address several reasons why not, already. Maybe your not paying attention.

      Your radicalized death cult excuse for a religion will not ever be taught anywhere except your church and home and a few hysterical excuses for higher education aka liberty “trying too hard ” university.

      You represent a minority within a minority. Why would such fringe beliefs “need” to be taught in the first place?

      • Nash,

        Thanks for the kind words. But if I have no truth, then there is still no problem by having the existence of God discussed in school. Think of the enlightenment that will be of benefit to the student body as those like yourself shred the evidence that exists regarding my radicalized death cult excuse for a religion.

        In the meantime, since you have still not provided any reason why the existence of God cannot be discussed, or even why religion shouldn’t be taught, it can be only fear that explains it. If you are so cock-sure that people like myself are wrong, then an objective and fearless look at the subject will expose that.

        One of my daughters attended Mizzou and I don’t know that too many rational people would regard that institution as a “hysterical excuse for higher education”. Yet, it, like so many major universities, have courses on the subject of world religions. No, really. It’s true.

        As to minorities within minorities, it is you that finds yourself in such a small group. I know other atheists who aren’t so fearful of discussions like this. But more to the point, I’m amongst the vast majority of people worldwide that believe in some from of deity. The only question there is how many believe strongly and which ones believe in the One that actually exists.

  24. zqtx,

    “I guess you don’t seem to understand that your “truth” is not as widely accepted as you may think.”

    I guess you don’t seem to understand that this isn’t a point I’m making here. But neither “my truth”,nor “your truth” exists. Only truth does. I do not see a problem with public schools engaging in the pursuit of truth, do you? There is a definitive answer to the question of whether or not God exists, even if determining that answer is beyond our ability. But I don’t fear the results of such a pursuit regardless of the outcome. While my lack of fear is admittedly due to the belief my position would be vindicated by such a pursuit, I do accept it could go the other way. Knowing the truth to the best of my ability makes it worth it.

    “…you think your belief is the standard and anyone who does not agree with it is just rejecting the “truth”…”

    I don’t disagree with this. But it misses the point, which is that I’m willing to lay it on the line and be proven wrong. You fear so badly that it is you who will be proven wrong and that is why the thought of such a discussion in public schools is so frightening to you. I get that. Seek help.

    ” are you afraid of an eternity in hell for your behavior?”

    No.

    “Aren’t you promised a paradise in heaven for just accepting Christ?”

    Yes, in the simplest of terms. Try studying the Bible for the details of just how this works.

    • Gee, marshalart, thank you for proving my point perfectly.

      You say unequivocally that you know the “truth” – you do not. You yourself even admit that determining the “God exists” question is beyond our ability to answer. The truth is we do not know. You just assume God exists until proven otherwise, whereas I hold the opposite position and do not accept the assertion without evidence.

      You say unequivocally that you know you’re going to heaven, regardless of your behavior with absolutely no fear of accountability to your deity since you accept Jesus. Yet you say non-believers choose not to believe in God or Jesus because they just don’t want the accountability.

      You’re either a hypocrite or an idiot – which is it?

      • Z,

        Now YOUR undies seem to be riding up on you. What’s with you guys getting all upset?
        “You say unequivocally that you know the “truth”…”

        Don’t think I’ve said that. Yeah, I believe I know the truth, sure. I’ll find out unequivocally in time.

        “You yourself even admit that determining the “God exists” question is beyond our ability to answer.”

        No. Don’t think I said that, either. Don’t you guys think it would be more efficient reading the comments over until you actually know what was said? MY comment was thus:

        There is a definitive answer to the question of whether or not God exists, even if determining that answer is beyond our ability.

        That doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Try sounding out the words.

        “You say unequivocally that you know you’re going to heaven, regardless of your behavior with absolutely no fear of accountability to your deity since you accept Jesus.”

        No. I did NOT say that.

        “You’re either a hypocrite or an idiot – which is it?”

        Clearly neither. Can’t say the same for you based on three statements above that are total misinterpretations of my position. Just to help you out, I’d suggest that if you ask me a question, you should regard my answer in relation to the actual manner in which the question was asked, and not alter it later as if you’ve discovered some inconsistency. That’s very dishonest.

  25. Dan,

    “Again, where? What subject? Who’s going to teach? Are you advocating this for grade school students? Taught by Theologians? Atheists?

    The suggestion raises many problematic (for you) questions that remain unanswered.”

    Not so problematic as you want it to be. But none of those questions matter until the initial question of “why not?” is answered. Your questions aren’t answers to that one. They’re diversionary. The details can all be addressed and the matter suspended until they are fleshed out, but one needs to address the central question first: Why shouldn’t religion be taught in schools? Everyone who has weighed in from a position of opposition has yet to address that question at all.

  26. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    none of those questions matter until the initial question of “why not?” is answered.

    These very questions POINT to one reason for Why Not. We shouldn’t do this because no one would agree on WHO should teach the class or WHAT should be taught in the class.

    There is no place for this topic in a normal math class, nor in an English class, nor in science, biology, anatomy, reading, etc. I could see the topic coming up as one topic of many in a philosophy class, but I’m not sure how common philosophy classes are in high schools (and, of course, they don’t exist in grade schools).

    You’d have to have some bureaucracy created especially for deciding Who gets to teach this class? and there would be endless bickering when it came time to decide and what the curriculum would be.

    Beyond all of which, our schools are overloaded with book-learning already, there’s just little time for a topic like this.

    If a school wanted to include the question as part of an open-ended World Religion or Philosophy class, I would have no problem with that. If the teacher was there to promote one specific ideology, I would have a problem with that.

    Dan

    • Dan, fundamentally speaking, whats different from our country’s founding where specifically Christianity was taught in schools without questioning?

    • No, Dan. Those questions might make such a course unfeasible, but they don’t answer why religion shouldn’t be taught. Basically your questions are tantamount to the excuse, “it’s too HARD!”

      • paynehollow says:

        The reason why ONE version of religion should not be taught in a diverse society is because you would have to CHOOSE one (and not just one like “Christianity,” but some particular flavor of Christianity, as you would not want my version taught to your kids, no doubt), and on what basis would you do that? How and why would you choose one faith tradition’s version of “God” to talk about? Why is there the need to do so?

        These are reasons why it should not be taught in normal classes. On the other hand, if you have a world history class and want to cover religions involved in a given historic era, that’s fine and that happens already, from a simple historic point of view. Or, if you have a philosophy class, that’s a place where one might talk about various philosophies as it relates to God or No God. But to pick and choose one flavor to promote? No, we should not do that for the reasons stated, for reasons of religious liberty. That is a good reason, Marshall.

        ~Dan

  27. paynehollow says:

    Yes, you’re probably correct on that point. 200 years ago, we were more homogenous and no one would object to one particular flavor of Christianity being taught in schools.

    But we’re not there today.

    Is what you’re saying is that you long to go back to the days when your particular flavor of Christianity could be taught in schools and no one would object?

    Do you recognize that this would not be rational or fair for every other flavor of belief and non-belief? On what basis would we establish one particular faith tradition as the state sanctioned one? The Majority religious opinion? Would it not trouble you to have a state-sanctioned religion?

    It would for me. EVEN IF the particular religious beliefs did not conflict with mine. We baptists and anabaptists have a long history of warning against going down that road. Religious liberty is too valuable to promote one flavor at the state level.

    ~Dan

    • Way to “read between the lines” Dan. Now go back, read the words I actually used, and dont interpret my comment the same way you interpret the bible.

      • Richard Nash says:

        Or the way you John, interpret the bible? You all interpret it. Isn’t that the consequence of just being a bipedal organism attempting to read a 1500 year old document?

        You can’t even sort out the doctrinal matters of your “proofs and evidence” amongst the few christians on this blog. Why would we allow you to teach such subjectively extrapolated material to kids in school?

        • Nash

          Unless youre familiar with dan and his “hermeneutical” methodology, youre going to be comming at my comment from a different perspective. He doesnt use objective standards, he submits everything to his sensibilities. Its a long story and mostly an in-house discussion.

          Its not that difficult to interpret. We know the vocabulary of the ancient Greek and Hebrew language. We know the definitions and word usages. We know the mechanics of the grammar. But then Dan comes along and says, “nevermind all that, lemme tell you what it really means”.

          • Richard Nash says:

            When you say “we” to whom are you referring? Certainly not every christian except Dan.

            Dan is not alone.You are not alone. And the list of “others” seems endless.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_denominations

            So again, if christians can’t agree on enough of the bible to allow for just a thousand denominations and/or sects, how could they agree on anything with more than 40k?

            Are the Coptics going to Heaven? The Swedeborgians? The Oneness Pentacostals? The christian identity members?

            How could you possibly begin to teach your version of christianity in a government run, secular agency, when all of these opposing tribes would want their version taught as well, or instead?

        • paynehollow says:

          John…

          He doesnt use objective standards, he submits everything to his sensibilities.

          Yes, I use my reason to interpret things the best I can and it is certainly MY opinion, not an objective standard. Just like you. Or do you think you have an objective standard. If so, what is it?

          ~Dan

        • paynehollow says:

          You READ Greek and Hebrew grammar, etc, or you read about it from others? If the latter, so do I. Does that make my interpretation objective? I think you would say, No, but if so, then why is it objective for you but not for me when we’re both referencing the same sorts of materials?

          Or wouldn’t it be fair to say that we’re both using our subjective opinions about unprovable matters?

          ~Dan

        • paynehollow says:

          So, then, we’re BOTH being objective, is that your point? Because if all it takes to be “objective” when it comes to interpreting the Bible is to rely upon original language textual clues, and we’re both doing that, then we’re both being objective.

          Where am I mistaken, John?

          You REALLY just can’t bring yourself to admit that your opinions about unprovable matters are your subjective opinions, can you? There’s no shame in admitting that opinions are subjective when we’re talking about unprovable interpretations and opinions, John. The only embarrassment would be in trying to suggest that somehow “WE” (ie, me and those who agree with me) are objective and factual while “THEY” (ie, those who disagree with me) are subjective and non-factual.

          You can’t have it both ways, John, at least I can’t see how you can.

          Dan

      • paynehollow says:

        I have no idea what you’re talking about, John. I was offering an opinion, I did not “interpret” your words to mean anything. I thought you had said “Dan, THAT’S what’s different from when our country was founded…” and didn’t realize it was a question. But I went on to answer your question. So, I’m not sure what you think I’ve “interpreted…” Feel free to tell me, if it matters.

        ~Dan

  28. paynehollow says:

    Sorry, I mistook your question for a statement. Try again…

    fundamentally speaking, whats different from our country’s founding where specifically Christianity was taught in schools without questioning?

    What’s different is that Christianity of a particular flavor represented the vast majority of the leadership – if not the population – at the time. It no longer does. We’re a more diverse society. On what basis would we choose one flavor of Christianity as the state-sanctioned/approved one? It’s not a good idea, seems to me.

    Dan

  29. Here are the basics of one of my favorite political/social philosophers, Thomas Jefferson, who had some hard fights, with christian zealots while in office and after:

    He makes 3 specific points that would seem to entirely undermine your position John, Can you find them? Or were you referring to some other founding fathers?

    For Jefferson, separation of church and state was a necessary reform of the religious “tyranny” whereby a religion received state endorsement, and those not of that religion were denied rights, and even punished.

    Following the Revolution, Jefferson played a leading role in the disestablishment of religion in Virginia. Previously as the established state church, the Anglican Church received tax support and no one could hold office who was not an Anglican. The Presbyterian, Baptist and Methodist churches did not receive tax support. As Jefferson wrote in his Notes on Virginia, pre-Revolutionary colonial law held that “if a person brought up a Christian denies the being of a God, or the Trinity …he is punishable on the first offense by incapacity to hold any office …; on the second by a disability to sue, to take any gift or legacy …, and by three year’ imprisonment.” Prospective officer-holders were required to swear that they did not believe in the central Roman Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation.

    In 1779 Jefferson proposed “The Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom”, which was adopted in 1786. Its goal was complete separation of church and state; it declared the opinions of men to be beyond the jurisdiction of the civil magistrate. He asserted that the mind is not subject to coercion, that civil rights have no dependence on religious opinions, and that the opinions of men are not the concern of civil government. This became one of the American charters of freedom. This elevated declaration of the freedom of the mind was hailed in Europe as “an example of legislative wisdom and liberality never before known”.[27]

    From 1784 to 1786, Jefferson and James Madison worked together to oppose Patrick Henry’s attempts to assess general taxes in Virginia to support churches. In 1786, the Virginia General Assembly passed Jefferson’s Bill for Religious Freedom, which he had first submitted in 1779. It was one of only three accomplishments he put in his epitaph. The law read:

    “ No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.[28] ”
    In his 1787 Notes on the State of Virginia, Jefferson stated:

    “ Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burned, tortured, fined and imprisoned. What has been the effect of this coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites; to support roguery and error all over the earth. … Our sister states of Pennsylvania and New York, however, have long subsisted without any establishment at all. The experiment was new and doubtful when they made it. It has answered beyond conception. They flourish infinitely. Religion is well supported; of various kinds, indeed, but all good enough; all sufficient to preserve peace and order: or if a sect arises, whose tenets would subvert morals, good sense has fair play, and reasons and laughs it out of doors, without suffering the state to be troubled with it. They do not hang more malefactors than we do. They are not more disturbed with religious dissensions. On the contrary, their harmony is unparalleled, and can be ascribed to nothing but their unbounded tolerance, because there is no other circumstance in which they differ from every nation on earth. They have made the happy discovery, that the way to silence religious disputes, is to take no notice of them. Let us too give this experiment fair play, and get rid, while we may, of those tyrannical laws.[29] ”
    Accusations of being an infidel[edit]
    During the 1800 presidential campaign, the New England Palladium wrote, “Should the infidel Jefferson be elected to the Presidency, the seal of death is that moment set on our holy religion, our churches will be prostrated, and some infamous ‘prostitute’, under the title of goddess of reason, will preside in the sanctuaries now devoted to the worship of the most High.”[30] Federalists attacked Jefferson as a “howling atheist” and infidel, claiming that his attraction to the religious and political extremism of the French Revolution disqualified him from public office.[31][32] At that time, calling a person an infidel could mean a number of things, including that they did not believe in God. It was an accusation commonly levelled at Deists, although they believe in a deity. It was also directed at those thought to be harming the Christian faith in which they were raised.

    While opposed to the institutions of organized religion, Jefferson consistently expressed his belief in God. For example, he invoked the notion of divine justice in 1782 in his opposition to slavery,[33] and invoked divine Providence in his second inaugural address.[34]

    Jefferson did not shrink from questioning the existence of God. In a 1787 letter to his nephew and ward, Peter Carr, who was at school, Jefferson offered the following advice:

    “ Fix Reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve the homage of reason than of blindfolded fear. … Do not be frightened from this inquiry by any fear of its consequences. If it end in a belief that there is no God, you will find incitements to virtue in the comfort and pleasantness you feel in its exercise and in the love of others which it will procure for you. — (Jefferson’s Works, Vol. ii., p. 217)[35] ”
    Following the 1800 campaign, Jefferson became more reluctant to have his religious opinions discussed in public. He often added requests at the end of personal letters discussing religion that his correspondents be discreet regarding its contents.[6]

    Separation of church and state[edit]
    Jefferson sought what he called a “wall of separation between Church and State”, which he believed was a principle expressed by the First Amendment. Jefferson’s phrase has been cited several times by the Supreme Court in its interpretation of the Establishment Clause, including in cases such as Reynolds v. United States (1878), Everson v. Board of Education (1947), and McCollum v. Board of Education (1948).

    In an 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptist Association, he wrote:

    “ Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”, thus building a wall of separation between church and State.[36] ”
    In Jefferson’s March 4, 1805, Drafts of Address of Second Inaugural he stated:

    “ In matters of religion, I have considered that its free exercise is placed by the constitution independent of the powers of the general government. I have therefore undertaken, on no occasion, to prescribe the religious exercises suited to it; but have left them, as the constitution found them, under the direction and discipline of state or church authorities acknowledged by the several religious societies.[37] ”
    Regarding the choice of some governments to regulate religion and thought, Jefferson stated:

    “ The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.[38] ”
    Deriving from this statement, Jefferson believed that the Government’s relationship with the Church should be indifferent, religion being neither persecuted nor given any special status.

    “ If anything pass in a religious meeting seditiously and contrary to the public peace, let it be punished in the same manner and no otherwise as it had happened in a fair or market[39] ”
    Though he did so as Governor of Virginia, during his Presidency Jefferson refused to issue proclamations calling for days of prayer and thanksgiving. In a letter to Samuel Miller dated January 23, 1808 Jefferson stated:

    “ But it is only proposed that I should recommend, not prescribe a day of fasting & prayer.[40] ”
    However, in Notes on the State of Virginia, Jefferson supported “a perpetual mission among the Indian tribes” by the Christian Brafferton institution, at least in the interest of anthropology,[41] As president, he sanctioned financial support for a priest and church for the Kaskaskia Indians, who were at the time already Christianized and baptized. Edwin Gaustad wrote that this was a pragmatic political move aimed at stabilizing relations with the Indian tribes.[42]

    Jefferson also publicly affirmed “acknowledging and adoring an overruling providence” by the nation in his First Inaugural Address[43] and in his Second Inaugural Address expressed his need of “the favor of that Being in whose hands we are, who led our fathers, as Israel of old”, and thus asked the nation “to join in supplications” with him to God.[44]

    Jefferson, Jesus, and the Bible[edit]
    Further information: Jefferson Bible
    Jefferson’s views on Jesus and the Bible were mixed, but were progressively far from what was and is largely considered orthodox in Christianity. Jefferson stated in a letter in 1819, “You say you are a Calvinist. I am not. I am of a sect by myself, as far as I know.”[45]

    On one hand Jefferson affirmed, “We all agree in the obligation of the moral precepts of Jesus, and nowhere will they be found delivered in greater purity than in his discourses”,[46] and that he was “sincerely attached to His doctrines in preference to all others”,[47] and that “the doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend all to the happiness of man”.[48] However, Jefferson considered much of the New Testament of the Bible to be false. In a letter to William Short in 1820, he expressed that his intent was to “place the character of Jesus in its true and high light, as no imposter himself”, but that he was not with Jesus “in all his doctrines”, Jefferson described many passages as “so much untruth, charlatanism and imposture”.[49] In the same letter Jefferson states he is separating “the gold from the dross”, and describes the “roguery of others of His disciples”, [50] calling this group a “band of dupes and impostors”, who wrote “palpable interpolations and falsifications”, with Paul being the “first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus”.[50]

    Jefferson also denied the divine inspiration of the Book of Revelation, describing it to Alexander Smyth in 1825 as “merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams”.[51] From his study of the Bible, Jefferson concluded that Jesus never claimed to be God.[52]

    In 1803 Jefferson composed a “Syllabus of an Estimate of the Merit of the Doctrines of Jesus” of the comparative merits of Christianity, after having read the pamphlet “Socrates and Jesus Compared” by the Materialist philosopher Dr. Joseph Priestley.[53] In this brief work Jefferson affirms Jesus’ “moral doctrines, relating to kindred & friends, were more pure & perfect than those of the most correct of the philosophers, and greatly more so than those of the Jews”, but asserts that “fragments only of what he did deliver have come to us mutilated, misstated, & often unintelligible”, and that “the question of his being a member of the Godhead, or in direct communication with it, claimed for him by some of his followers, and denied by others is foreign to the present view, which is merely an estimate of the intrinsic merit of his doctrines”.[54] He let only a few see it, including Benjamin Rush in 1803 and William Short in 1820. When Rush died in 1813, Jefferson asked the family to return the document to him.

    Also while living in the White House, Jefferson began to piece together his own version of the Gospels, with the first draft being “The Philosophy of Jesus of Nazareth…Being an Abridgement of the New Testament for the Use of the Indians, Unembarrased [uncomplicated] with Matters of Fact or Faith beyond the Level of their Comprehensions”. This was followed by a compilation titled, The LIFE AND MORALS OF JESUS OF NAZARETH: Extracted Textually from the Gospels Greek, Latin, French, and English, from which he omitted the virgin birth of Jesus, miracles attributed to Jesus, divinity, and the resurrection of Jesus – among many other teachings and events. He retained primarily Jesus’ moral philosophy, of which he approved, and also included the Second Coming, a future judgment, Heaven, Hell, and a few other supernatural events.

    This compilation was completed about 1820, but Jefferson did not make these works public, acknowledging “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth” existence only to a few friends.[55] This work was published after his death and became known as the Jefferson Bible.[9]

    Anti-clericalism, anti-mysticism, and anti-Calvinism[edit]
    Jefferson has been characterized as profoundly anticlerical, and his writing express a “sweeping condemnation of all clergymen everywhere”.[56] Jefferson’s residence in France just before the French Revolution left him deeply suspicious of Catholic priests and bishops as a force for reaction and ignorance. His later private letters indicate he was skeptical of too much interference by Catholic clergy in matters of civil government. He wrote in letters: “History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government”[57] and “In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own.”[58]

    “ May it [the French Revolution] be to the world, what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all), the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government.[59] ”
    Observing inter-denominational intolerance in the United States, he extended his skepticism to Protestant clergy. In an 1820 letter to William Short, Jefferson wrote: “the serious enemies are the priests of the different religious sects, to whose spells on the human mind its improvement is ominous.”[9] Upon the disestablishment of religion in Massachusetts, he wrote to John Adams: “I join you, therefore, in sincere congratulations that this den of the priesthood is at length broken up, and that a Protestant Popedom is no longer to disgrace the American history and character.”[60]

    In 1817 he wrote to John Adams:

    “ The Christian priesthood, finding the doctrines of Christ levelled to every understanding and too plain to need explanation, saw, in the mysticisms of Plato, Materials with which they might build up an artificial system which might, from its indistinctness, admit everlasting controversy, give employment for their order, and introduce it to profit, power, and preeminence. The doctrines which flowed from the lips of Jesus himself are within the comprehension of a child; but thousands of volumes have not yet explained the Platonisms engrafted on them: and for this obvious reason that nonsense can never be explained.[61] ”
    Jefferson intensely opposed Calvinism. He never ceased to denounce the “blasphemous absurdity of the five points of Calvin”, writing three years before his death to John Adams:

    “ His [Calvin’s] religion was demonism. If ever man worshiped a false God, he did. The being described in his five points is … a demon of malignant spirit. It would be more pardonable to believe in no God at all, than to blaspheme him by the atrocious attributes of Calvin.[62] ”
    Aaron Bancroft observed, “It is hard to say, which surpassed the other in boiling hatred of Calvinism, Jefferson or John Adams.”[63]

    • Nash

      There were hundreds of founding fathers. I find it awfully convenient that skeptics only choose to reference the same 3 or 4, and not the other 200.

      • Would you prefer to choose another? Maybe one with a more christian totalitarian bent? I find it convenient that you seem to be missing the fact that the Constitution mentions any gods exactly zero times.

        Why did the 3 or 4 win out over the 200?

        Do you prefer to dismiss Jefferson because he was a radical politically, and that by your definition, he is in Hell? Or are there other reasons that what he had to say about adopting a state religion are so easily disregarded?

    • Nash,

      Is that all you’ve got? That Jefferson had his own perspective on Christianity? So what? I noticed nothing in that whole comment posted that alters anything I believe about whether or not religion should be taught. Nothing about the suggestion has anything to do with forcing, by government fiat, a set of beliefs on anyone. In this same way, that is all Jefferson had ever had been saying with regards to “separation of church and state”. He was merely defending what the 1st Amendment was saying and that is crystal clear in everything you posted related to the issue. Conceding that, because no one is suggesting establishing anything more than a fearless search for truth, you have yet to provide any reason why religion should not be taught about in public schools.

      The use of Jefferson provides no sound argument against the proposition, because he did not fear it himself. He simply had issues with the way it was done by some people.

      No one here, for example, suggests that there should be religious litmus tests for elected anyone. But, that each person has his own litmus test is not the least bit frowned upon by Jefferson or anyone else. Indeed, you can find founders that would never vote for an atheist. So you spent a lot of time for nothing with your lengthy posting about a great guy with some flawed thinking.

      • Richard Nash says:

        Jefferson’s perspective? It seems radically different than yours Marshall. Jefferson is in Hell is he not?

        And to boot it would seem that these very few “flawed” perspectives won the day. What a bummer that your team lost…….I wonder why the zealots lost……….and continue to lose?

        Again, why didn’t the Constitution endorse through amendment the christian ideologies of the day?

        Wouldn’t your god be taking care of this problem on his own? Why has your god allowed for this to happen?

        • Nash

          Many of the states required office holders to be Christians. The federal government was seen differently.

          • Richard Nash says:

            Yes it was viewed differently? But why? If christianity was so important to the fabric of these guys, why did they go out of their way to make sure that it’s influence was mitigated? Why isn’t christianity, right now, taught as part of public education?

            • it was intended that states could do whatever they wanted, and that the federal government would not establish official religions. the reasoning was that if people didnt like one area’s way of doing things, they could move.

              It is like it is now because of a minute minority of people who complain to courts who interpret by penumbra.

              • Richard Nash says:

                But how and why did a minority of non christians or lazy christians in a “christian” nation built on christian principles pull the carpet out from underneath manifest destiny?

                What is the why? Why has your god allowed activist socialist judges to alter the course of the country since Marshall became the first?

  30. “Jefferson’s perspective? It seems radically different than yours Marshall.”

    And it bothers me no more than it would bother him for me to hold a different perspective. He agreed that we each are possessed of the right to do so.

    “Jefferson is in Hell is he not?”

    I have no way of knowing with any certainty at this point. I’ll know one way or the other when I get to heaven. You’ll know when you get to hell. Then we’ll both know.

    “And to boot it would seem that these very few “flawed” perspectives won the day.”

    It would seem so only to those who, like yourself, are so desperate for it to be so. But it didn’t carry the day for most on this list of founders The idea that no one Christian religion should rule the nation was not illogical to the founders in general than it is to any Christian who visits this blog. Yet most, if not all, found a devotion to God in private, manifested in how one lives publicly was also seen as logical back then. What’s more, despite the rejection of a religious litmus test for elective office, most everyone believed leaders should be among the best examples of a Christian that could be found. What you so foolishly misunderstand is that separation, especially as understood and explained by Jefferson, was merely the focus on the denying government any say in how one follows the dictates of his heart. But that does not mean that rules and laws that align with Christian teaching could not be enacted.

    “What a bummer that your team lost…….I wonder why the zealots lost……….and continue to lose?”

    Crime, STDs, suicides, drug and alcohol abuse, child and spousal abuse, abortion, sexual promiscuity and immorality…the nation is lost by the secular whiners’ suppression of religious influence. You look like a dork doing your end zone dance in celebration of your “victory”.

    “Again, why didn’t the Constitution endorse through amendment the christian ideologies of the day?”

    It didn’t need to. It allowed for the fact that this was already done through the individual states’ constitutions and laws. By not addressing it itself, the Constitution protected the individual ideologies of each state, everyone of which was Christian of some sort. Do you ever, like, read history, or just isolate those parts that can be used to appear to support your preferred beliefs?

    I don’t feel any need to worry about how God does His business. I trust that He knows what He’s doing. He is the Supreme Being, after all. He’s not totally dim.

    Here’s a bit more about how the founders felt about religious expression in public life, and since it’s on topic, here a really good piece about Jefferson’s creation of a university.

    The best part about the links I’ve provided, is that they provide, in context, the words of the founders based on their actual writings. But while they all agreed of the importance of Christian teaching and Christian understanding, what this post is about is why religion shouldn’t be taught in schools? Seemed perfectly OK with most, if not all, of the founders.

    • How is it with the wealth of Jeffersons writings, you have no opinion on where his soul is? How can you claim you know that Dan’s positions will take him to hell but not Jefferson?

      So you will continue to skip over the fact that the teaching of your Bronze Age gibberish in a public school would be un Constitutional? Why? Why isn’t your religion taught in public school? Why did your god discontinue that practice? Why did your team lose, and continue to lose? Are you seriously going to blame your pathetic lot in life on me? Or STD’S! What a sad commentary on your elitist position. How could a christian nation be felled by STD’s? I mean if I’m the minority, how did I have such an affect on the outcome of your zealot philosophy? Why did your god allow for it? You seem to have a lot of special interest spin, always know when other christians are wrong about how they practice their faith, plenty of presumptuous blathering about the secularists and all of their devilish ways, but you don’t know why your god has manufactured this exact construct? Hmmmmmmm…..

      So you and the majority of the founders lost this fight a long time ago. How? I mean if your’e the majority, how exactly is it that now you are fighting to have your insanity taught at home, church, and the government institution of public education?

      “Seemed” perfectly ok, so where is it?

      • “How is it with the wealth of Jeffersons writings, you have no opinion on where his soul is?”

        Why do you think I need to have such an opinion? Is it a particular obsession of yours?

        “How can you claim you know that Dan’s positions will take him to hell but not Jefferson?”

        i don’t claim to “know” anything of the sort. But there are indications through understanding the teachings of Scripture that would indicate it’s a strong possibility. Why? Is that a particular obsession of yours?

        “So you will continue to skip over the fact that the teaching of your Bronze Age gibberish in a public school would be un Constitutional?”

        The only gibberish, of any age, with which I come into contact is pretty much just yours and that of people like you. THAT would be prohibited simply because it’s gibberish, not unConstitutional.

        “Why isn’t your religion taught in public school? “

        Because whiny atheists complained and spineless judges and politicians acquiesced.

        “Why did your god discontinue that practice?”

        He’s not on the school board.

        “Why did your team lose, and continue to lose?”

        I’m not sure what you mean. The Bulls have a six game winning streak going right now. If you’re referring to the religion in the schools thing, see the above where I talk about whiny atheists and spineless judges and politicians.

        “Are you seriously going to blame your pathetic lot in life on me?”

        Three problems here:
        1. My lot in life is nowhere near pathetic.
        2. YOU are pathetic.
        3. As such you couldn’t have enough impact for me to consider blaming you. You apparently have a delusional and over-inflated sense of your self.

        “Or STD’S! What a sad commentary on your elitist position. How could a christian nation be felled by STD’s?”

        Your comprehension skills are sorely lacking. I’ll try to use only small words this time. Sound them out: Bad things happen when bad people do bad things. People devoted to God and the teachings of Christ do far fewer bad things the more devoted they are. When Jesus, or any religion pretty much, is freely discussed in any area where anyone feels compelled to bring it up, more people keep in mind the things they hear and learn and their behavior is altered for the better, even if only for a little while. When you suppress such teachings, behavior changes in the wrong direction. Both teams lose.

        “You seem to have a lot of special interest spin, always know when other christians are wrong about how they practice their faith, plenty of presumptuous blathering about the secularists and all of their devilish ways, but you don’t know why your god has manufactured this exact construct? Hmmmmmmm….”

        Is this supposed to be a clever “gotcha” moment for you? Are you looking to really sidetrack this discussion because you have no intelligent argument for prohibiting the teaching of religion in public school? That’s a rhetorical question. The answer is “yes”.

        “So you and the majority of the founders lost this fight a long time ago. How? I mean if your’e the majority, how exactly is it that now you are fighting to have your insanity taught at home, church, and the government institution of public education?”

        What “fight” did we lose a long time ago? Perhaps you are really as stupid as you present yourself to be, but clearly just because most people claim a belief in a deity doesn’t mean they all transcend their baser selves to live accordingly. I don’t monitor every person even within my sphere to know who lives the most Christian life. It isn’t even my job to do so and I never claimed it is. I can only encourage and make sure I keep my own nose clean.

        I would also point out that I haven’t supported the teaching of insanity, nor is this post devoted to the topic. If you can’t deal with the issue of a post, why do you even show up? Do you really WANT people to know how lacking you are? That’s so sad. No, little Ricky. We’re talking about teaching just the opposite. We’re talking about teaching what Jefferson regarded as the best set of teachings one could learn and live by. And this is a guy you think wasn’t a real believer in Christ as God. Indeed, I insist that absolutely no one need believe in God at all to greatly benefit by living according to the teachings of Scripture. Go ahead and take God totally out of the picture and you’d still have far less of all the ills I listed in my previous comment simply by all people living according to those teachings. You have taken God out of the picture, as have others, and still others don’t expend the effort to adhere to those teachings and the country is going to hell in a hand basket. You, stupidly think “MY SIDE” is losing. You’re an idiot. IF you’re a citizen of this country, YOU’RE a member of MY SIDE. WE are losing, you freakin’ idiot! It’s time you got your head out of your ass.

        • Richard Nash says:

          I notice marshall that the more specific the questions get, the less exacting your answers are.

          It seems that your default, when the going gets tough is, name calling. It’s ok though, you’re not alone, many christians do the same. Your whole post says nothing, and just shows how full of hot air you seem to be. There’s no need to be scared. Don’t let your fear of the actual answers force your head into the sand.

          The summary of the position of christianity not being taught in public seems to be: Whah, whah, atheists……. Romans 13:? orders you to follow the governments rules/laws because your god put it into place. How do you know you aren’t defying your god by trying to alter his plan? I mean the only way the ultra minority of atheists could have taken your country away from you is by the grace of god, right?

          Oh, BTW, you and I are not on the same side. The team I’m on has no simpleton default name calling position.

        • Nash,

          Oh, please. You accuse ME of name calling when your constant reference to people of faith is one level or another of complete condescension? Pot, meet kettle!

          More importantly, my default in this conversation is that you refuse to focus any attention on the question highlighted by the title of this post. I am looking to keep the discussion there, and have already responded to your diversions, such as your voluminous post about Jefferson, which also didn’t answer the question or demonstrate that you really care about Jefferson’s true positions. In short, “The summary of the position of christianity not being taught in public seems to be…” anything but that which answers the question.

          If you’re going to try to use Scripture against even a poor student of Scripture as myself, have at least enough SELF respect to use it properly. Nothing in Romans 13 denies the citizen the right and/or duty to lobby for change. Nothing in that chapter suggests that because God allowed any given person to rise to a position of power that such a person cannot be unseated by whatever process is put in place to achieve that goal. Indeed, even by your desperate and twisted misuse of the Chapter, our current government does indeed allow for replacing elected officials. And note, also that we have mostly elected officials and not monarchs.

          Now, getting back to your first sentence, I have no obligation to respond to anything at all. I most certainly have no obligation to regard questions from you in particular as if you decide the direction of the discussion. Your questions are diversionary. Should John submit a post where your off topic questions would be relevant, I may spend the time to educate you then. But here’s a tip for the meantime: if you think your question is relevant and worth anyone’s time and consideration, offer first an explanation why that would be so. Until then, answer the question of the post’s title.

          • Richard Nash says:

            I refer to religion in a negative way, yes. Your religion is an idea. It is not afforded any special place amongst the wealth of other ideas. This is a far cry from the constant petulant drivel that comes from you.

            Do unto others right? Why not practice what you preach?

            Romans 13: 1-71 Obey the government, for God is the one who put it there. All governments have been placed in power by God. 2 So those who refuse to obey the laws of the land are refusing to obey God, and punishment will follow. 3 For the authorities do not frighten people who are doing right, but they frighten those who do wrong. So do what they say, and you will get along well. 4 The authorities are sent by God to help you. But if you are doing something wrong, of course you should be afraid, for you will be punished. The authorities are established by God for that very purpose, to punish those who do wrong. 5 So you must obey the government for two reasons: to keep from being punished and to keep a clear conscience. 6 Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid so they can keep on doing the work God intended them to do. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and import duties, and give respect and honor to all to whom it is due.

            Hmm, “Obey the government”. The government says, via the whiny atheists (I guess your god does work in mysterious ways), that teaching religion in schools is a no go. Do you want your god to punish you for disobeying his construct?

            And again, no religion should be taught in school because it is morally and intellectually suspect. Why not teach students about all of the other impossible claims that have been cast aside as delusional psychosis as well?

  31. paynehollow says:

    I’m not sure of the timeline, but thanks in a pretty large part to the Baptists and other Christians of their ilk, there was a strong desire to NOT have any religion, even “my religion,” be the state religion, as a matter of religious liberty. That is, the fight against having religion involved at a governmental level was led largely by Christians who recognized that having the state involved in Christianity would run the risk of corrupting both church and state. See Roger Williams, et al.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Williams_%28theologian%29

    Dan

    • Dan,

      You apparently didn’t read any of the links I provided, but part of the point is that the desire to keep everyone free to live and worship as they please began with the Constitution’s restriction against a national religion and that sentiment eventually found its way into individual state philosophy as well. It could only have been through the efforts of Christians as there were just so many running the show on every level. In short, your link was redundant.

      However, none of that has any bearing teaching religion in schools as it does not establish a national, state, municipal or even neighborhood religion to which everyone must ascribe.

  32. It appears there is no one who supports prohibiting the teaching of religion in public schools that has a real argument to put forth.

  33. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    none of that has any bearing teaching religion in schools as it does not establish a national, state, municipal or even neighborhood religion to which everyone must ascribe.

    The argument IS this, Marshall. Again, try to answer the question put to you: HOW will we decide which person is going to be offering the class? Who is going to decide the curriculum? On what basis?

    As soon as you answer those questions, you have moved to establishing – at least at the school level and the school being run by the gov’t – an “approved” religion. “We can’t let Dan and his type teach the class, so his type of Christians are not approved. Nor can we let atheists teach the class, so that philosophy is not recognized by the state. No, it has to be something in the vain of modern conservative evangelicals, such as what you find at many Southern Baptist churches, etc… and these churches – no others – will be the ones that determine the curriculum: Not Muslims, not anabaptists, not agnostics… etc” As soon as you try to answer these questions, you have begun establishing “approved” state-sanctioned religious groups, at least at some level.

    That is the answer to the question, Marshall. We don’t allow it for reasons of religious liberty and that is a good reason.

    Go ahead, Marshall, answer those questions and see if you can do so without establishing a state-sanctioned group of religions.

    ~Dan

    • Dan,

      Your comment is more ludicrous than normal, even by the standards you’ve set for commentary. All the questions you ask are the “how” questions, none of which answer the question of “should”. It might prohibit the move in this way: “We believe in teaching religion in school, as we can think of no reason why it should not be, but we haven’t worked out the best way to do it. Thus, we’ve not implemented any such class.” But what you fail to keep in mind, or choose to ignore, is that religion is already taught in schools of higher learning of all sorts (as I said, my daughter took a course in world religions at Mizzou) without anyone’s grade being contingent upon adhering to any religion whatsoever.

      Now sure, there are some teachers that just aren’t suited for the task. YOU, for example, would be an especially horrid choice to teach such a class without rigid controls over your curriculum and methods. But that’s because you have such a poor understanding and inject so much personal preferences into verses and passages that do not say what you want them to say.

      But that doesn’t preclude the very real possibility of a total atheist being incredibly well versed in what Christian teaching is all about. A Bart Ehrmann perhaps. And the lower the grade level, the more superficial the teaching so as to keep it simple for the tykes.

      And if by teaching religion we mean religion in general, touching on all the major religions, there is no possible threat of establishing anything. Yet still, there is no possible threat of establishment of religion even if every public school in the country taught only Christianity and from the perspective of one denomination. That every child should understand at least the basics of Christianity would go a long way toward their understanding of the founding of the country and why our Constitution was written as it was. So once again we come to the question of why not? How we do it comes later and if at that point no consensus arises, then we don’t do it. Fears of establishment are totally unfounded,since schools lack the power and authority to establish into law any religion.

  34. paynehollow says:

    Or consider this, Marshall: conservative religious types (at least of the sort that you approve of) are on the decline across the US in many places. If it comes to a democratic vote, your type of believer won’t be the one leading the class or determining the curriculum. Given that, do you still want the democratic process to pick certain religious groups for state approval to lead these classes?

    You’ve already given your answer to that – No, you don’t want people in my faith tradition/who believe as I do to lead these classes (ANY classes, you said, I believe!). So, it appears that YOU recognize the problem of a loss of religious liberty when it’s your loss being discussed. But you don’t appear to mind taking away others’ religious liberties – at least insofar as having a state-sanctioned religious class – as long as you keep yours. Am I mistaken?

    ~Dan

    • “Or consider this, Marshall: conservative religious types (at least of the sort that you approve of) are on the decline across the US in many places.”

      So you’d like to believe. But that changes like the seasons. People get more religious when bad things happen and less so when things are calm. Except for the truly devoted.

      But it wouldn’t come to a democratic vote except to decide whether or not religious instruction should take place at all. Teachers would, hopefully, would be selected on merit and their ability to teach religion well, much as we now, hopefully, select teachers of other subjects. Look again at my link on Jefferson’s establishment of the University of Virginia. Wasn’t such a tough prospect back then and it wouldn’t be now, short of anyone giving people like you the time of day.

      “No, you don’t want people in my faith tradition/who believe as I do to lead these classes (ANY classes, you said, I believe!).”

      Anyone who has really paid attention would see the merit of my argument against having Dan teach anything. I never said anyone of your faith tradition. I doubt you are an accurate representation of whatever it is you think your faith tradition is. My problem would be having DAN TRABUE teach kids anything and your inability to even properly understand such a clearly laid out point as above supports my position. YOU, Dan, would be a horrible choice, not “anabaptists” in general, because I would not judge any other anabaptist based on YOUR description of who they are and what they believe. I hope this clears up at least THIS incredible misconception of yours.

      And no, there is absolutely NO loss of religious liberty because even if ONLY Christianity was to be taught, even if ONLY a specific form of the Lutheran version was to be taught, there would be no pressure on any student to conform, to adhere, to be baptized as a Lutheran or anything like that in order to get a passing grade. From where does this irrational fear even come?

      We don’t concern ourselves with the political persuasion of social science teachers. They may indeed influence the kids to there perspective, but the kids aren’t required to vote the same way their teacher does when the time comes. Yet somehow, you think kids will be hypnotized to believe as the teacher does merely for daring to instruct the kids in the finer points of religion. Nonsense. And just like every other subject taught in every school in the nation, some teachers suck, some are great, some schools suck, some are great, some curricula suck, some are great.

      So, as I asked repeatedly of Nash, I again ask of you: Why shouldn’t religion be taught in public schools?

      • Marshall,
        Good call, I’ve actually done a fair amount of research on Anabaptist theology (such as it is) and there are a number of things (including the one that shall not be mentioned) where Dan is out of step with the faith tradition he claims.

        • paynehollow says:

          Off topic, but just to clarify:

          If you research anabaptists, you would know that anabaptists are on a spectrum. There is no ONE anabaptist tradition. Because we believe in religious liberty, we are open to others seeking to understand God as best they can. That being said, more progressive anabaptists such as myself do differ from many anabaptists – especially the more conservative Amish and Mennonite varieties – on the topic of marriage equity and, to some degree, on approaches to Biblical interpretation and, for some, the notion of the Penal Substitionary Theory of Atonement. Otherwise, I am firmly in the tradition of the spectrum of anabaptists.

          The stereotypical unifying themes of anabaptism are…

          * Radicalism (ie, trying to live lives like the early church, returning to the roots (radical) of the Christian church – ie, taking Jesus and the early church’s teachings pretty literally) – Kingdom of God living, communal living
          * Religious Liberty/separation of church and state
          * An alternative tradition (ie, neither Catholic nor Capital P “Protestant”)
          * A church of the poor
          * Pacifism
          * Simple living

          http://www.anabaptistnetwork.com/book/export/html/4

          All of which places me comfortably in the anabaptist tradition.

          An educational moment.

          ~Dan

          • Richard Nash says:

            Dan, Your’e doing it wrong. The zealots say your going to hell.

            On a daily basis I try to find the philosophical differences between the ever further leaning christian right in the US and the taliban……..

            It’s odd what happens to these Abrahamic groups when they contract  ever smaller, and become ever more radical in their beliefs.

            Fear can be scary when it’s supported by Bronze Age insanity.

        • paynehollow says:

          I say these are good men who are trying to do the right who just can’t get over their own cultural barriers. They want to do the right and follow God, seems to me, but in that very desire, they have become convinced that, on some topics, they can not be mistaken because, to be mistaken would be to say that God has failed at a massive level (see a recent post on my blog where I quote a conservative saying just that), and if GOD has failed, well, then life has no meaning for them.

          They are stuck between a rock (their own opinions which they conflate to be equivalent to God’s Word and fact) and a hard place (if their opinions are mistaken, then God has failed and life is meaningless).

          IF I were to do a little unprofessional psychological assessment. But that would be meaningless, I suppose.

          ~Dan

        • If you try to go to Dan’s blog and read his improper understanding of the conservative blogger in question, you will see I exposed his poor understanding of him like I so often expose his poor understanding of Scripture. As fully explained, the statement regarding Scripture and God being in question only exists by virtue of people like you insisting that what Scripture clearly states, in terms no honest person can misinterpret, is not so. We do NOT believe God and/or Scripture has failed. That’s the freakin’ point, and now you continue to lie about it after I explained it to you. You are wrong in your defense of homosexual behaviors BECAUSE what Scripture says about that and marriage and human sexuality is NOT ambiguous, mysterious or subject to varied interpretations of the type YOU wish were possible.

          “On a daily basis I try to find the philosophical differences between the ever further leaning christian right in the US and the taliban…….. “

          That you would posit that there is no difference between a faithful Christian and a devoted muslim shows that you have no idea about Christianity at all, and your perspectives surrounding religion and the existence of God, or any god, is not based on any serious investigation on your part.

  35. paynehollow says:

    “vein.”

  36. paynehollow says:

    Answered and answered again.

    As I repeatedly noted, though, I am fine with having a World Religions class, one that did not require a religious litmus test to teach (ie, that you have to subscribe to some belief system to teach).

    So, IF all you are talking about is having a world religion course to relatively objectively educate students about all religions, then I doubt that most people would care. These exist already. No big deal.

    I was not objecting to that notion (as I noted early on), but rather, the teaching of a particular version of religion. You were the one who said you objected to particular flavors of Christianity or other faith systems not being allowed to teach the class.

    If you were only speaking of the notion of covering world religions, then you could have simply agreed with me earlier when I pointed that out as an option. So, when I said…

    If a school wanted to include the question as part of an open-ended World Religion or Philosophy class, I would have no problem with that. If the teacher was there to promote one specific ideology, I would have a problem with that.

    You could have said, “Yeah, like that, Dan.” and then foregone all the gnashing of teeth and objecting to particular teachers because of their belief system being different than yours.

    As we live in a world where the reality is that there are a diversity of religions and non-religions (atheism, agnosticism), I’m fine with a course covering this reality. The objection is to a state sanctioning of one particular flavor of religions.

    One of my brothers, who is an atheist, has recently said the same thing to me. It pays to be informed of what’s out there.

    ~Dan

    • ” You were the one who said you objected to particular flavors of Christianity or other faith systems not being allowed to teach the class.”

      Really? Must have been some other Marshal Art, because I never said that. I never spoke in favor of or against a particular denomination at all. I don’t have a problem with a Methodist teaching Christianity, or an Anglican teaching Christianity, or a Roman Catholic teaching Christianity, because it there’s no requirement that a specific denomination be represented in any way to teach a course on Christianity. I refer once again to the link regarding Jefferson’s UoV. They sought only those professors qualified to teach. They didn’t worry about denomination.

      However, to teach islam or buddhism or any non-Christian religion makes no sense in a country founded by Christians with founding principles having flowed from Christianity (not necessarily all of them atheists, so watch those panties!). Christianity at least has some connection to American history that no other religion does. And despite the whiny arguments to the contrary, our concepts of right and wrong are based on Christian teaching. Understanding Christianity furthers an understanding of our country and why it works as it does (or no longer works as it once did). By doing so, there is no threat to issues of religious liberty. No one would be forced to accept Christianity as their own belief system, but understanding of it relates to so much that surrounded our founding and our laws and human behaviors. Such training does not require that anyone pray. Such training does not require that anyone attend services every Sunday. No baptizing is required. There is no religious liberty issue whatsoever, any more than one is required to align one’s self with a political party because politics is discussed in schools.

      So again, I’ve given reasons why teaching religion is a good idea (with this one focused on teaching Christianity and not merely the existence of God) and I still have not heard any reasons why we shouldn’t ever.

      • Richard Nash says:

        Marshall, you continue to use a university in Jefferson’s VA 200 years ago, as if it’s got some weight in this conversation.

        It doesn’t.

        • Oh, so NOW what Jefferson did and believed doesn’t matter. Got it. Things are much clearer now.

          • Richard Nash says:

            Your cherry picking, and you know it.

            Pathetic really, but whatever makes you feel better about yourself. Keep talking in gross generalizations. Some of us are paying attention.

      • I see, Richie. You list a whole bunch of Jefferson stuff in hopes of persuading that Jefferson backs your position, and I’m cherry picking. Sure.

  37. paynehollow says:

    No, Marshall. You’ve offered your opinion that ONE version of ONE religion should be taught. But you are excluding other religions. Why? Because “at least has some connection to American history that no other religion does.”

    Oh really? And what is your measure for a faith tradition having some connection to American history?

    Is the faith traditions of the Native peoples who were here when Europeans started coming not count as a connection? Does the faith traditions of the many non-Christian-specific Theists – including the founders – not count? Does the faith traditions of the many settlers from across the globe not count as a connection?

    Are you claiming that the faith traditions that SHOULD be taught are only those of the majority religion? And when you’re no longer the majority religion, will you still push for this?

    This is a matter of religious liberty. You DON’T want merely to have the option of teaching a world religions sort of class, you want a specifically Christian, specifically modern conservative evangelical-friendly, it would appear.

    I’m confused. First you appeared to ONLY want those who agreed with your faith tradition (my faith tradition and those who believe as I do would not be hired by you, according to your earlier comments). Then you appeared to have backed off to merely advocating a world religions type of class, not a conservative Christian-only class.

    Now, it appears you’re back to advocating one faith tradition (not one denomination, mind you, but only a faith tradition that is conservative evangelical friendly). What do you mean by ” to teach islam or buddhism or any non-Christian religion makes no sense in a country founded by Christians”?

    Religious liberty demands that we don’t promote and isolate one religion over the others at a gov’t level.

    THAT is why we shouldn’t do the “Conservative Christian-friendly only” class you now appear to be advocating.

    Answered yet again,

    Dan

    • “You’ve offered your opinion that ONE version of ONE religion should be taught. “

      You do realize that anyone can, like I did, go back and re-read every comment I’ve posted to this thread, don’t you? I’ve done one of the following:

      –I’ve suggested discussion of the existence of a deity in public schools.
      –I’ve suggested the teaching of Christianity.

      Where in that do you find “ONE version of ONE religion”? Both are quite general in scope. Are you trying to provide indict yourself as a liar?

      “But you are excluding other religions. Why? Because “at least has some connection to American history that no other religion does.””

      …which makes it a legitimate reason to focus on Christianity as opposed to religions of any kind. There’s value in understanding the religious beliefs of those that founded the nation in which the students live.

      “And what is your measure for a faith tradition having some connection to American history?”

      Stupid question, especially given the links I’ve provided, each of which contains a clue or two for your perusal. If you don’t understand the connection between the faith of our founders and the creation of the nation, then you would benefit by such religion classes. (Probably not given your incredibly poor reasoning skills)

      “Is the faith traditions of the Native peoples who were here when Europeans started coming not count as a connection?”

      No. They did not form this nation. Did you ever take an American history course?

      “Does the faith traditions of the many non-Christian-specific Theists – including the founders – not count?”

      Which is the “non-Christian-specific Theist” religion to which you refer here? But to answer your general question, I respond with a general “No”. You would have to show how any tenet of ANY non-Christian faith played any role in the founding. I submit that, even for those who were deists and atheists, the Christian faith tradition had profound impact on the way they thought. It was the predominant influence on morality of the time, and it frankly still is today in this country.

      “Does the faith traditions of the many settlers from across the globe not count as a connection?”

      What percentage of those many settlers were non-Christian and what impact did their traditions have on the founding? I’ll wait here.

      “Are you claiming that the faith traditions that SHOULD be taught are only those of the majority religion?”

      I’m claiming that the Christian tradition, despite the denomination of any particular state or group, was THE faith tradition that had the greatest and most profound impact on the founding of this country. Even the few deists, like Franklin and perhaps Jefferson, spoke highly of it. It is indisputable except to revisionists.

      “You DON’T want merely to have the option of teaching a world religions sort of class, you want a specifically Christian, specifically modern conservative evangelical-friendly, it would appear.”

      It only appears that way to you. Like I said, anyone can re-read my comments on this thread and find no evidence that I’m calling for anything specific. Would I balk at a teaching of true Christianity of they type you refuse to follow? Not at all. But I haven’t made such a call. I would expect discussions to touch on such things, but not as a standard focus of the curriculum. So maybe you could stop trying to misrepresent my position and instead discuss the topic honestly. You know…with grace and humility.

      “I’m confused.” See? You can be honest! Did it hurt? ” First you appeared to ONLY want those who agreed with your faith tradition (my faith tradition and those who believe as I do would not be hired by you, according to your earlier comments).”

      I addressed this lie already, but I don’t mind repeating the truth. I said, quite specifically, that I don’t want YOU, DAN TRABUE FROM KENTUCKY to teach any kid anything because of YOU, DAN TRABUE FROM KENTUCKY have proven yourself to lack understanding and the ability to reason. That doesn’t make for a good teacher in my opinion. In short, you are too full of shit to risk putting you before any child (I grieve for your own).

      “What do you mean by ” to teach islam or buddhism or any non-Christian religion makes no sense in a country founded by Christians”?”

      The answer is in your question (as well as the full context whence you pulled that quote)…Christianity played a role in the founding that those other religions didn’t. At least you finally asked a clarifying question, regardless of how inane.

      “Religious liberty demands that we don’t promote and isolate one religion over the others at a gov’t level.”

      Well then it’s a damned good thing that doesn’t happen by the mere teaching of Christianity in public schools. And by the way, public schools aren’t government.

      “THAT is why we shouldn’t do the “Conservative Christian-friendly only” class you now appear to be advocating.”

      And once again, Sparky, I didn’t advocate anything so specific at all. But I think I understand that you recognize that the truest interpretation of Scripture is the same as what I follow. But I wasn’t advocating specifically that. There’s just no way to teach Christianity in a non-biased manner without it being understood the way conservative Christians understand it. For it to appeal to you, the class would have to inject the same socialistic, morally bankrupt nonsense you do. But that’s another topic for another debate. I’m just talking about teaching Christianity in a general sense, much like Jefferson did at the U of V. Christianity taught by a variety of people of different denominations should their quality as teachers result in such a gathering.

      If you’ve answered anything, it is questions that have not been asked. You haven’t given any reason that religion shouldn’t be taught, but simply made assertions that I exposed as the inanities they are. You’re fear-mongering just as Nash was doing and for the same reason. You fear the truth. I get that. Seek help.

      • paynehollow says:

        Marshall, you are a bigot. Your words indicate someone who is ill-informed about history and the role in our history of people from ALL faith traditions and non-faith traditions and, generally, people who disagree with your particular opinions about what God wants. Your words testify to this.

        Fortunately, you and your ilk have lost this fight. You’ve exposed yourselves for the closed-minded bigots you are and people are rightly writing you all off as irrelevant and pitiable.

        And my kids have turned out great, thank you. We have an excellent relationship and they are wise, generous, rational and not prone to the sort of fear-based, small-minded bigotry of the sort you demonstrate.

        When you realize, hopefully – maybe 10 or 20 years from now – that you and your type have been written off to the same junkpile of history that the anti-miscegenationists and flat earthers have landed in – someone with ideas that are pitied and laughed at – I truly hope that maybe you can repent from your arrogant approach to dealing with others and the god-like place you try to elevate your opinions.

        Good luck.

        Dan

        • Thank you for the kind wishes. But you haven’t come close to proving bigotry on my part. You’ve only put forth that lie because your attempt, such as it is, to block the suggestion of teaching religion in schools is empty and baseless. I’ve responded to each of your “critiques”, such as they are, and you’ve given no counter to them. For example, you mention other “non-Christian theists” and I asked for examples of who they might be, what sort of religion or denomination you reference and in what way have any of them impacted the founding. Apparently you must have been just talking out your ass expecting me to reverse my position because of it. Apparently you felt confident you wouldn’t be held to account for bringing it up. Calling me a bigot, without basis, doesn’t get it done.

          So, like with Nash, I again ask why bother posting any comments if not to engage the central question “Why shouldn’t religion be taught in schools?”

          Now here’s the truly sad part of your last comment: You think that if I was the last person on earth to feel as I do, and all else pitied and laughed at my ideas, that because of THAT I must repent and believe as YOU DO? REALLY? So, if I was the last person on earth to believe in the risen Christ, I should cast off that belief because the whole world thought otherwise? Truth by vote doesn’t work for me, Dan. I require more than simply what “most people” think. And if most people think like you, I’d be feeling pretty good about being fortunate to be THE last guy with any sense. I would praise God that I could be that last guy who hasn’t cast off the truth simply because it wasn’t popular.

          You see, little Danny, I only elevate my opinions to where they belong based on the evidence that supports them. If you think that is a god-like place, then thank you. But you have no evidence I’m doing that, either.

          As for your kids, I truly hope and pray they have indeed turned out well, but I wouldn’t wager on it based on your report, considering your difficulty in dealing with reality. I still grieve for them.

          Finally, I have provided evidence for my positions on history that come from the pens of those who lived it. So if my understanding is wrong, I would expect you have some evidence to counter mine. But like so much, you merely assert your objection and ignore the evidence I provided. I’m guessing you didn’t look at any of it. You often don’t look at the evidence you provide US, so I wouldn’t be surprised. If you wish to show how any of my previous comments indicate bigotry, I’m up for a laugh. Bring it.

  38. paynehollow says:

    There is no religious liberty issue whatsoever, any more than one is required to align one’s self with a political party because politics is discussed in schools.

    Indeed. But, if only ONE party were advocated at schools and the gov’t said, “to teach the GOP or Libertarian or any other non-Democratic party makes no sense in a country founded by those who value democracy…,” we would all rightfully object.

    ~Dan

    • You think Democrats value democracy? That’s rich. But you do know that we are not a democracy, right? And the good schools teach that we are a republic. You know, ONE political ideology over all others. I hope you don’t get the vapors.

      It is deceitful to presume that teaching Christianity is equal to promoting it. One needn’t promote it to teach it. In fact, some, like Nash for example, could teach it to show how, in his fevered imaginings, it’s lunacy. I’m suggesting it be taught so student understand better the founding given the influence of Christianity on the founders and the people of the time. To suggest it played no role is to teach falsehood about how the nation came to be. Your whole whine about religious liberty indicates clearly you have a poor understanding of what the term means.

    • I would also suggest that for anyone to whine about religious liberty concerns while insisting one must provide one’s property or talents for sale in the celebration of a behavior in direct conflict with one’s religious beliefs is an indication of hypocrisy, deceit or both.

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