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Poll suggests 1 in 5 Americans cannot make simple factual assessments


Walsingham

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Equal before the law is the important idea, not god. It's a secular idea.

No it's not, it follows from the idea that all men are equal before God. Just like men are endowed with inalienable rights by their Creator, from Declaration of Independence.

 

I think you're missing the whole fact that the founding fathers were Deists and didn't speak of god in the literal, Christian sense.

"The universe is a yawning chasm, filled with emptiness and the puerile meanderings of sentience..." - Ulyaoth

 

"It is all that is left unsaid upon which tragedies are built." - Kreia

 

"I thought this forum was for Speculation & Discussion, not Speculation & Calling People Trolls." - lord of flies

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Christianity is the dominant western religion, doesn't mean that it contributed to modern society when in fact has done a lot to hinder it.

 

I speak as an atheist of the "I-don't-give-a-damn-about-anyone's-imaginary-friend" wing.

 

But you are very, very wrong here. You need, with respect, to go back and take a look at some medieval and renaissance history. Christianity was a core part of what became the separation of powers, it provided early cohesive glue in a pre-nationalist age, it looked after the poor and extolled virtues essential to the development of pre-industrial society and it was the cornerstone of educational provision and attainment.

 

It was also in parts venal and corrupt. All organised religions have a capacity for this in abundance. But Christianity before and after Luther was an important and in many ways positive feature of the ascent of Western civilization.

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Equal before the law is the important idea, not god. It's a secular idea.

No it's not, it follows from the idea that all men are equal before God. Just like men are endowed with inalienable rights by their Creator, from Declaration of Independence.

For many centuries, the Christian message of equality before God was more of a "don't stir the pot and seek redress of wrongs in this world, just trust that God will fix things when we're all dead." A powerful message to help preserve and reinforce heirarchical societal structures-- render unto Caesar and all that.

 

Hurl is right-- it wasn't until the Reformation and the Enlightenment that people started taking up the idea of secular equality in a serious manner. Some took this as an extension of equality before god (e.g., many Congregationalists in New England and Quakers in the middle colonies), but others did so out of a belief that god couldn't be trusted and that if Man wanted justice, he'd have to do it himself (e.g., the French enlightenment philosophers who guys like Jefferson and Madison read and emulated). The people we Americans lump together as "the Founding Fathers" included some from both camps.

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But secular equality came from the idea that all men are equal before God. I never claimed there was some kind of utopia that broke out as soon as Constantin converted. Nothing you're saying contradicts anything I've said.

"Moral indignation is a standard strategy for endowing the idiot with dignity." Marshall McLuhan

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But secular equality came from the idea that all men are equal before God.

 

Do you have any evidence to support that claim?

 

The problem I see with that is the Church did very little to address the inequalities in the secular world for centuries. As a historian, it is also going to be very difficult to track down the first concept of equality. It is an idea that has many different layers, social, legal, racial, and gender equality all have quite a bit of history, going back much further than the advent of Christianity.

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No, I'm generally aware of it but I'm not enough of a historian to make a cogent argument using historical evidence. The church didn't have to address the secular inequalities to maintain the idea as part of the culture. Eventually the idea of equality before the law took hold in the culture based on the older idea. I'm pretty sure the early abolitionists were Christians and based their opposition to slavery on the same idea.

 

Edit: In my brief search, I stumbled on this:

When Adam delved and Eve span, Who was then the gentleman?[3] From the beginning all men by nature were created alike, and our bondage or servitude came in by the unjust oppression of naughty men. For if God would have had any bondmen from the beginning, he would have appointed who should be bond, and who free. And therefore I exhort you to consider that now the time is come, appointed to us by God, in which ye may (if ye will) cast off the yoke of bondage, and recover liberty.[4]
from 1381. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Ball_(priest) Edited by Wrath of Dagon

"Moral indignation is a standard strategy for endowing the idiot with dignity." Marshall McLuhan

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Your last sentence there concerning abolitionist motivation indicates the sentiment with which I (and I assume some of the other posters) have issues in your argument. I can't say this is what you intended, but I read your posts as equating all morality with Christianity and that all moral or egalitarian movements throughout Western history have arisen from Christian philosophy/belief. I will not deny that Judeo-Christian influences are heavy in Western Civilization (the extent and value of those influences are a separate issue), but it is ridiculous and frankly religiocentric to assume that all moral objections or acts of "human goodness" derive from Christian principles.

 

EDIT: You'll notice that the same article you linked describes John Ball as having no connection to the established church, being described as a "mad priest," and that as a result of the Peasant Revolution he helped spawn he was put on trial, then hung, drawn, and quartered before Richard II after which his head was stuck on a pike.

Edited by Archmonarch

And I find it kind of funny

I find it kind of sad

The dreams in which I'm dying

Are the best I've ever had

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Because I'm talking about Christianity and the ideas in it, and not the Church as an organization of privilege which was of course interested in maintaining the status quo. As to the rest of your post, you should not (and this applies to others) read any more into it than what I'm actually stating. My personal religious beliefs have nothing to do with it, I'm talking about history the way I understand it.

"Moral indignation is a standard strategy for endowing the idiot with dignity." Marshall McLuhan

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http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/MESO/CODE.HTM

 

this is in the bible?

 

weird...

 

edit: ok i just checked, it looks like this predates the bible... so wouldnt saying that our laws are based on this code mean that our laws are NOT bible based at all?

Edited by entrerix


Killing is kind of like playin' a basketball game. I am there. and the other player is there. and it's just the two of us. and I put the other player's body in my van. and I am the winner. - Nice Pete.

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The code of Hammurabi influenced Biblical law, just like Mesopotamian Legend of Galgamesh is very similar to the story of Noah. It says in the Bible Abraham came from Mesopotamia.

Edited by Wrath of Dagon

"Moral indignation is a standard strategy for endowing the idiot with dignity." Marshall McLuhan

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ok so western law is actually not bible based then? its based on mesopotamiam laws?


Killing is kind of like playin' a basketball game. I am there. and the other player is there. and it's just the two of us. and I put the other player's body in my van. and I am the winner. - Nice Pete.

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I thought I just explained the Biblical law is based on the Mesopotamian to an extent, and then Western law is based on the Biblical to an extent, but obviously had other influences and evolved over the years.

"Moral indignation is a standard strategy for endowing the idiot with dignity." Marshall McLuhan

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But secular equality came from the idea that all men are equal before God.

 

I think it's a bit of a stretch to state unequivocally that the idea that all mean are equal must come from the idea that all men are equal before God.

 

Personally it sounds like an unfalsifiable statement unless anyone here is able to demonstrate communities and/or cultures that believe in equality that are not Christian. I would not at all be surprised if there have been (or even currently is) cultures that believe in the idea of equality between people that have not been under the influence of Christian beliefs.

 

However, given that the Church specifically stated that kings were bestowed additional powers by God, I'm a bit skeptical that your assertion is actually the correct view of things. I wouldn't (at all!) be surprised if such messages from the Church became stronger when egalitarianism became more mainstream.

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The code of Hammurabi influenced Biblical law, just like Mesopotamian Legend of Galgamesh is very similar to the story of Noah. It says in the Bible Abraham came from Mesopotamia.

What you are referring to is the story that was going around the Mediterranean which made it's way to the Bible. The connection between the Bible and Western civilization comes about through the Romans and there isn't much of Roman law in western civilization. Most adopt constitutional law. Also, the Bible as it is now wasn't complete until the council of Nicea and many of the books were modified before they became canon. So it begs the question of which transfer has survived until today and has influenced modern law.

I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

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I'm pretty sure the early abolitionists were Christians and based their opposition to slavery on the same idea.

 

And some of the most vehement supporters of slavery were also church-going Christians and their Pastors/Priests.

 

 

Because I'm talking about Christianity and the ideas in it...

 

Traditionally it had been argued, and still is argued by some fringe sects, that the "Curse of Ham" from Genesis 9:25-27* justified the enslavement of Africans (saying that Canaan had settled in Africa and that the darker skin pigment was the mark of the curse).

 

;)

 

 

 

*

Genesis 9:25-27 (New International Version)

 

25 he said,

"Cursed be Canaan!

The lowest of slaves

will he be to his brothers."

 

26 He also said,

"Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem!

May Canaan be the slave of Shem.

 

27 May God extend the territory of Japheth;

may Japheth live in the tents of Shem,

and may Canaan be his slave."

Edited by Deadly_Nightshade

"A little inaccuracy sometimes saves a ton of explanation."
-H. H. Munro

 

"Geez. It's like we lost some sort of bet and ended up saddled with a bunch of terrible new posters on this forum."

-Hurlshot

 

 

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I'll have to check your quotes when I get home. The way I understand it Canaan is Palestine, and Canaanites were the people who lived there before the Hebrew invasion (a lot of historians actually believe Hebrews were Canaanites). In any case, I wasn't claiming that a lot of Christians didn't support slavery, only that the equality of men before God was the argument against slavery used by early abolitionists.

"Moral indignation is a standard strategy for endowing the idiot with dignity." Marshall McLuhan

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People also claim that Obama is an Arab. I can understand being unhappy with his policies, but it's possible to critisize them without making Obama out to be something he's not.

 

Bush did much to ruin international cooperation by pretending to want to 'play by the rules' and then just doing what he wanted when it didn't pan out the way he hoped. The allegory with the Roman empire... no that doesn't really work now does it. The Romans didn't need to be diplomats, they invaded to spread their culture and influence. Bush would have been an excellent Caesar, not bad one.

 

I tend to disagree. Augustus might have conquered territories and held the Senate in his fist, but he also strengthened Rome's infrastructure through improving its road system and tax structure, supported culture and the arts, continued to make nations tributaries instead of outright conquering them so the Empire wasn't overextended, and made peace with the Persian empire.

 

Alternatively, how as the war in Iraq benefited America? Caesars were pragmatic creatures and if one sent an army out, it was to gather land, slaves, goods, etc. I

Edited by Maria Caliban

"When is this out. I can't wait to play it so I can talk at length about how bad it is." - Gorgon.

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Is that your rule, or is there some reason it can't be both?

 

Historians make a serious and systematic study of the past and attempt to use the knowledge they gain to help explain human nature and contemporary affairs.

 

Philosophers offer views and theories on profound questions.

 

There is a large difference between the two. For one thing, as a philosopher it is acceptable that you have already formed your theory before weighing evidence. It is also acceptable that you are answering a question as vague as "What is the root of equality?"

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What would then happen once the cheap labor dries up, though?

 

Methinks immigration is a problem that requires a deeper solution than "deport the bastards and stop them from coming back." We've got ourselves into a bit of a pickle - we don't want our tax money to support those who don't pay taxes, but we do want the cheap labor those same people provide.

 

The immigration debate is very old in America. Illegal Chinese workers made our railroads. For a long time, there was gnashing and wailing of teeth about how Eastern European immigrants were pouring into the country and diluting the American culture with their funny languages and strange customs. Give it another 80 years, and Mexican immigrants will be considered fine, but there will be laws about letting too many of those dirty Canadians into the country.

 

 

GD, you're simply making your own case worse. This is precisely the problem with basing curency on gold rather than the market. Gold itself is only worth whatever the market says. It's not a dichotomy.

 

People trust metal. Silver would do just as good, as would platinum, or even steel. It

Edited by Maria Caliban

"When is this out. I can't wait to play it so I can talk at length about how bad it is." - Gorgon.

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