The U.S.A is not a Christian nation (Well... semantics)

This statement and its opposite have been dragged and discussed probably to death. But rarely I've heard the people advocating a more secular country mention the Treaty of Tripoli. Sure in the constitution it says something along the lines that the U.S shouldn't favor one religion from another. But that's the point the other side contends, that it's not quite clear that the founding fathers didn't want the U.S. to be a Christian nation, and so on.
 
I know this isn't a super innovative or revolutionary discovery, but to myself this Treaty of Tripoli is more than enough proof to keep (or rather steer) the United States of America as a secular country. 
 
The creationists, they can keep their theories in their church, public schools that want to preach dangerously religious morals should stick to Sunday school. Let's steer clear of things that affiliate us in one way or another to any one religion. 
Although I'm an atheist, I'm not saying that religion should just disappear from the country. Forcing anything of that sort would go against what makes this country what it is. Forcing a religion on the public is also equally wrong.
  
The date of this document is 1797.


Article 11: As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion...


 
387 Comments
388 Comments
Posted by artofwar420

This statement and its opposite have been dragged and discussed probably to death. But rarely I've heard the people advocating a more secular country mention the Treaty of Tripoli. Sure in the constitution it says something along the lines that the U.S shouldn't favor one religion from another. But that's the point the other side contends, that it's not quite clear that the founding fathers didn't want the U.S. to be a Christian nation, and so on.
 
I know this isn't a super innovative or revolutionary discovery, but to myself this Treaty of Tripoli is more than enough proof to keep (or rather steer) the United States of America as a secular country. 
 
The creationists, they can keep their theories in their church, public schools that want to preach dangerously religious morals should stick to Sunday school. Let's steer clear of things that affiliate us in one way or another to any one religion. 
Although I'm an atheist, I'm not saying that religion should just disappear from the country. Forcing anything of that sort would go against what makes this country what it is. Forcing a religion on the public is also equally wrong.
  
The date of this document is 1797.


Article 11: As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion...


 
Posted by Keyser_Soze

It's a nation of Christians, not a Christian nation per se, there's a big difference. Legally it derives a lot of its laws from the Bible but it does not follow the Bible in all matters. There is enough separation of Church and State in the US for anyone plainly to see that it is NOT a Christian nation. Many people like to see it as one, simply because they want to believe that conferring a Christian nation status on the US gives it more legitimacy in its affairs, deriving their right from the Bible.

Posted by super_machine

Establishing the US as an official christian nation would make it a Theocracy. I'm pretty sure thats not what the founding fathers had in mind. Also society would turn to chaos since the laws would be based on irrational beliefs that have no relevance to contemporary thinking. A bunch of guys in Afganistan also though it would be a good idea to enforce religion as law, and look how well that turned out.

Edited by EdIsCool

As most of the founding fathers were at least agnostic if not athiest then its unlikely that they planned to set up  a theocracy.

Edited by super_machine
@EdIsCool said:

" As most of the founding fathers were at least agnostic if not athiest then its unlikely that they planned to set up  a theocracy. "

Yeah, A great quote by Thomas Paine sums it up pretty well.
 
 " I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.

 All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit. ."
 
Age of Reason, 1794
Posted by artofwar420
@EdIsCool said:
" As most of the founding fathers were at least agnostic if not athiest then its unlikely that they planned to set up  a theocracy. "
Exactly, and yet quite a lot of people keep insisting that it is.
Posted by Gmanall

 Everything is founded on some religion(I consider atheism to be a religion). I do not think that Christians should force it in people but there is a difference between praying in school and saying that God is the only answer. Nowadays if you are a teacher you have to take off your christen hat and put on a atheist hat and I think that is no good.

Posted by EdIsCool

There should be no religion or religous education in schools until the pupils are at least 13-14 anything else is indoctriantion.

Edited by artofwar420
@Gmanall: If you're teaching English, there should be no reason to try to stick in religious stuff, unless you're trying really hard. It's a public school, the government pays you to teach kids important stuff not your point of view in such divisive things.
Posted by Keyser_Soze
@EdIsCool said:
" There should be no religion or religous education in schools until the pupils are at least 13-14 anything else is indoctriantion. "
What morals and values should be taught to kids then? Or should they be separated from religion? In which case aren't you promoting a secular/atheist conception of the world onto these kids?
Posted by artofwar420
@Keyser_Soze: Morals are not intrinsic to religion.
Posted by Gmanall
@artofwar420 said:
" @Gmanall: If you're teaching English, there should be no reason to try to stick in religious stuff, unless you're trying really hard. "
  What about praying? I am not saying that it should be the goal of every teacher to fit in Christ were it does not belong. But for teachers to be banned from school for even saying that there might be a intelligent designer is horrible.   
Posted by Babble
@artofwar420 said:
" @Keyser_Soze: Morals are not intrinsic to religion. "
This needs to be repeated a thousand times.
Edited by ryanwho
@Keyser_Soze said:

" @EdIsCool said:

" There should be no religion or religous education in schools until the pupils are at least 13-14 anything else is indoctriantion. "
What morals and values should be taught to kids then? Or should they be separated from religion? In which case aren't you promoting a secular/atheist conception of the world onto these kids? "
God, you're all over the map of crazy. Public schools GOVERNMENT FUNDED should not have religious education for very obvious reasons, foremost being educators aren't in the business of teaching faith based lore. If you're interested in that, you go to a private school. This isn't complicated, its not some anti Christian agenda.
Posted by artofwar420
@Gmanall: It's not horrible it's science. Science is facts. Make believe theories should stay out of government funded schools, why? Because the country is not supposed to side with ANY religion.
Edited by Keyser_Soze
@artofwar420 said:

" @Keyser_Soze: Morals are not intrinsic to religion. "

Fine, but under what framework and conception would you conceive them by? Even a humanitarian understanding of morality is still a view you would be putting on children. All I'm saying is that "indoctrination" can come from a variety of sources and not just from religion.
Posted by artofwar420
@Keyser_Soze: It's like osmosis. We as a society have morals and points of view that change with the times, how do pass along this information? Ever heard of memes? Memes.
Edited by ryanwho

They shouldn't learn about Christianity for the same reason they shouldn't learn about aliens. Could it exist? Maybe. Proven? No. Just because there's no class on god existing doesn't mean there's a class on god not existing. Its something that's not brought up at all. Now if you have a problem with people choosing to pray in schools, that's different. Now you're stifling personal beliefs and customs and that would be taking a side.

Edited by Tiwi
@Keyser_Soze said:

" @EdIsCool said:

" There should be no religion or religous education in schools until the pupils are at least 13-14 anything else is indoctriantion. "

What morals and values should be taught to kids then? Or should they be separated from religion? In which case aren't you promoting a secular/atheist conception of the world onto these kids? "
 
   watch this to get some more info on morals
Posted by The_Tolman

people treat me differently for being an athiest. idk how many times people have said that stupid Dane Cook joke to me (what do you say to an athiest after they sneeze. also Dane Cook is in no way funny) but if i said anything about there religion they get extreamly mad.
Posted by Keyser_Soze
@artofwar420 said:
" @Keyser_Soze: It's like osmosis. We as a society have morals and points of view that change with the times, how do pass along this information? Ever heard of memes? Memes. "
So the morality and values we teach our children should be completely contingent upon what society accepts as acceptable at the time? In which case we're "indoctrinating" our children with societal values.
Posted by PeasForFees

All I can say
QA
Posted by artofwar420

Memes are analogous to genes, just replace genes with ideas. Memes are not just some internet thing.

Posted by Keyser_Soze
@ryanwho: @tiwi: No thanks, I don't need to see any internet drivel nor do I need to respond to people who when responding to a decent open question can't reply without making personal attacks. Good day sirs.
Posted by TwoOneFive

instead of sitting inside and thinking about this stupid shit all day, how about you go outside and enjoy the summer. for real, who gives a shit. live your life, if it bothers you that there are people out there who's opinions differ from your own about christianity in america, than you need to get a fucking life. sorry to be blunt.

Posted by Keyser_Soze
@artofwar420 said:
" Memes are analogous to genes, just replace genes with ideas. Memes are not just some internet thing. "
I never said they were. What are you going on about? All I'm asking is that if you think morality is contingently based on societal values of the time, then all you're doing is placing what society holds acceptable onto Children? Do you agree with this assessment?
Posted by ryanwho
@Keyser_Soze said:
" @ryanwho: @tiwi: No thanks, I don't need to see any internet drivel nor do I need to respond to people who when responding to a decent open question can't reply without making personal attacks. Good day sirs. "
That's terribly petty of you but alright.
Edited by Babble
@Keyser_Soze said:

" @artofwar420 said:

" @Keyser_Soze: It's like osmosis. We as a society have morals and points of view that change with the times, how do pass along this information? Ever heard of memes? Memes. "
So the morality and values we teach our children should be completely contingent upon what society accepts as acceptable at the time? In which case we're "indoctrinating" our children with societal values. "
But religion teaches morals in a stable enviroment? Go read up on the Crusdaes. You'll find  any 'morales' were twisted, where killing became the way to heaven, rather then a sin.
Posted by skywing

Morality is a byproduct of evolution.  Humans evolved over time to learn to cooperate with non-close-kin, no other animal displays such qualities and as a product of this evolution our morality came to be. 
Morality was not created by religion, it generalized and incorperated into it. 
Good and bad people existed before 'the big 3' religions and they continue to exist after them too. 

I took a course in this topic at SUNY Stony Brook with Dr.Bingham 

Posted by Tiwi
@Keyser_Soze: I think you don't understand... it's a series devoted to answers for questions over issues which some Christians don't want to listen to.
like you with evolution. yes i remember you
Posted by artofwar420
@Keyser_Soze: I'm not doing it, it just happens. What one as a parent can do is try to be as progressive as possible, get ahead of the zeitgeist. That's the most we can do as individuals.
Posted by Keyser_Soze
@Babble said:
" @Keyser_Soze said:

" @artofwar420 said:

" @Keyser_Soze: It's like osmosis. We as a society have morals and points of view that change with the times, how do pass along this information? Ever heard of memes? Memes. "
So the morality and values we teach our children should be completely contingent upon what society accepts as acceptable at the time? In which case we're "indoctrinating" our children with societal values. "
But religion teaches morals in a stable enviroment? Go read up on the Crusdaes. You'll find  any 'morales' were twisted, where killing became the way to heaven, rather then a sin. "
I'm not questioning the fact that a Bible, Quran, Torah or whatever in the hands of one man can be worse than a bottle of whiskey in another. I'm just questioning the legitimacy of what should or should not be taught to children. If teaching religion in a classroom is indoctrination, then surely applying societal norms because they're societally accepted is just the same thing.
Posted by ryanwho
@skywing said:
" Morality is a byproduct of evolution.  Humans evolved over time to learn to cooperate with non-close-kin, no other animal displays such qualities and as a product of this evolution our morality came to be. Morality was not created by religion, it generalized and incorperated into it. Good and bad people existed before 'the big 3' religions and they continue to exist after them too. I took a course in this topic at SUNY Stony Brook with Dr.Bingham  "
At the base level, sure, but there are nuances unaccounted for in evolution. We were probably never meant to live in, say, a city, and our brains have yet to acclimate to such conditions and likewise adjusted morals. Back in the day, it made sense to fight your neighboring tribe because they were taking food that could be used on your own. How does the person with this notion embedded in their being reconcile something like a city? Well they don't, obviously, just look at various areas in the south.
So in that way our baser instincts haven't prepared us enough to peacefully exist in a modern world, and where there's room for nuance, people are going to look for dogma that puts the world in a state that they understand. But then the world changes yet more, and now they have dogma that's been superceded by the progress of society over time. And most people can't reconcile the idea that something like morality isn't static, it just doesn't feel right.
Posted by ryanwho
@Keyser_Soze said:
" @Babble said:
" @Keyser_Soze said:

" @artofwar420 said:

" @Keyser_Soze: It's like osmosis. We as a society have morals and points of view that change with the times, how do pass along this information? Ever heard of memes? Memes. "
So the morality and values we teach our children should be completely contingent upon what society accepts as acceptable at the time? In which case we're "indoctrinating" our children with societal values. "
But religion teaches morals in a stable enviroment? Go read up on the Crusdaes. You'll find  any 'morales' were twisted, where killing became the way to heaven, rather then a sin. "
I'm not questioning the fact that a Bible, Quran, Torah or whatever in the hands of one man can be worse than a bottle of whiskey in another. I'm just questioning the legitimacy of what should or should not be taught to children. If teaching religion in a classroom is indoctrination, then surely applying societal norms because they're societally accepted is just the same thing. "
Except societal norms aren't static, and religious dogma is, largely, so one is clearly more relevant to the modern world than the other. Shame you'll never read this.
Posted by EdIsCool
@Keyser_Soze said:
" @EdIsCool said:
" There should be no religion or religous education in schools until the pupils are at least 13-14 anything else is indoctriantion. "
What morals and values should be taught to kids then? Or should they be separated from religion? In which case aren't you promoting a secular/atheist conception of the world onto these kids? "
 
We are machines, survival machines built to protect and propagate our genes. Morality comes from a time in which we lived in small highly related groups.Where a large percentage of my genes were also in the people of my tribe.Hence from a gene's perspective helping a member of this small tribe increases the genes liklihood of being passes on and surviving.Now that we no longer live in such small highly related groups their is no benefit to our genes but the impulse lives on.
 
Also what we might call basic Christian values can be taught to the kids. But no sky fairy and no everlasting life.
@TwoOneFive said:
" instead of sitting inside and thinking about this stupid shit all day, how about you go outside and enjoy the summer. for real, who gives a shit. live your life, if it bothers you that there are people out there who's opinions differ from your own about christianity in america, than you need to get a fucking life. sorry to be blunt. "
Apathy is never the answer, discuss things, put your point of view out there and learn...its what the internet is for.
Otherwise Fox News can tell you a lot of stupid shit and you wont have any defence against it.
Posted by Keyser_Soze
@tiwi said:
" @Keyser_Soze: I think you don't understand... it's a series devoted to answers for questions over issues which some Christians don't want to listen to. like you with evolution. yes i remember you "
Awesome, someone remembers me. I don't have the time nor the patience to sit through that video or however many others there may be to refute God, or prove that evolution is the one true answer to all life and morality. I'm perfectly open to a debate on evolution, like last time, but sadly this topic isn't a debate on that, it's me asking a question of what morality and under what context we should teach our children, teaching children about religion at an early age is no more indoctrinating that teaching them there is no God, or morality should only be taught if it's societally acceptable.
Posted by ryanwho
@Keyser_Soze said:
" I don't have the time nor the patience "
Ignorance in a nutshell.
Posted by artofwar420
@Keyser_Soze: Well, one shouldn't tell kids there is or isn't a god. That's like telling them straight up that Santa Claus is not real.
Edited by Keyser_Soze
@ryanwho: But one could also argue quite easily that the fluctuation of societal norms, based on the group mentality of what society holds acceptable, is still very much a form of forcing a morality onto children. Just because it changes doesn't make it any more legitimate. One could also say that the relatively unchanging values of religion has been tried and tested and lasted through the ages. But again that doesn't mean it is "right", just because something changes or lasts a thousand years should be questioned, so your idea of societal values changing as conferring upon them some highler level legitmacy doesn't hold true.
Posted by Jayzilla

Watch, "EXPELLED" hosted by Ben Stein. You can stream it on your 360 via Netflix (Like how I kept this semi-game related?). I think it is a good documentary and it touches on some of this. 
 
Now for my opinion, The Treaty of Tripoli was submitted by a different government to the US Senate to look at. That's all. They wanted the US govt. to look at the treaty. IDK what this has to do with creationism as it pertains to the founding fathers. If you look at the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson talks about all men being created equally in respect to their CREATOR. You are right, he doesn't touch on a specific religion's god. But, it was publicly declared that it was by a CREATOR. sorry atheists, but that's just a fact that is in the declaration and the constitution. even if you got it changed in the supreme court, it wouldn't change what the founding fathers originally put in there PUBLICLY, no matter what some people thought they felt privately.

Posted by Druminator

I hate how religion divides people. Look at what it's doing to the fucking world.

Edited by artofwar420
@Jayzilla: Sigh. Expelled? Really? Reeeeaaally? Someone back me up here.
Posted by Keyser_Soze
@ryanwho said:
" @Keyser_Soze said:
" I don't have the time nor the patience "
Ignorance in a nutshell. "
This isn't a debate on evolution or creationists. Get the point? I'm merely asking under what context do you derive the "right" and "legitimacy" to teach children a certain morality, whether it's secular, atheist, religious or pastafarian.
Posted by artofwar420
@Keyser_Soze: It's as easy as asking yourself, what time do I eat? What time do I sleep? It just is.
Posted by EdIsCool

Children do not have the critical faculties to analyze what a teacher is telling them its just the truth.
So telling them something that has no evidence and you believe is true only becuase of where you were brought up is dangerous.
However teaching them verifiable facts (dont even tell them that this means that x is unlikely).And then at 13 or 14 bring in Billy Graham he'd be laughed outta town, maybe 2 or 3 would accept his message and thats the acceptable rate of religion having heard both sides. This gives the children a chance to examine religion critcally without being heavily biased as they are now.This bias results in people even when presented with evidence that Genesis is total rubbish(not saying you believe in it) take it literally, and even those who dont cast doubt on facts and choose an option for which there is no evidence except for their place of birth and their indoctrination

Posted by ryanwho

One thing I do support in Christianity is the liberal pagan mascotry of the two big holidays. Because I feel like there's something about children believing in this thing every bit as much as God or Jesus then telling them one day its all a myth is an exercise in character building. So in that way I'd prefer a child have to go through that over being told from the start there is no god, because they don't get to be a part of this ritual which ultimately leads them to questioning authority, which is a good thing to encourage in a free society if you want it to grow.

Posted by Keyser_Soze
@artofwar420 said:
" @Keyser_Soze: It's as easy as asking yourself, what time do I eat? What time do I sleep? It just is. "
Sorry but I don't see it. It isn't self evident to me, though you may argue there are some clearly self evident morals out there, not everything we get taught can fit under that banner.
Posted by skywing
@ryanwho: You make it sound like these problems are new to human beings.  "We" as in human beings have been living in communities for about 50,000 years.  It stands to reason that our own morality has evolved over time to incorperate these ideals.  Also how can it be assumed that we were never meant to live as we do, there is no blueprint that tells us what we can or cannot do.  If we didn't evolve to become the dominant species on the planet another would of. 
 
Peace among larger populations can only be established with proper communication and threat of force.  Threat of force is the great leveler when you look at nation states, think of the cold war as an example.  The very threat of ending the world stopped an all out war between the Soviet Union and the US.  If either country lacked the nuclear capabilities the other had one would of blown the other away.  There are several clear examples of this throught history where two nations failed to have superior weaponry over another and coexisted in relative peace.  As for the dogma you speak of, normal every day people do not have say in world policy.  Infact before the advent of better communication systems their central dogmas existed as a product of the state they grew in.  Obedience and social acceptance were what formed this among people of a general populus.   
  
I also think we are getting off topic here. 
The U.S. is not a christian nation, but far too many people believe it to be.  It dissapoints me, being a non-christian to have to deal with these people.
Posted by Discorsi

We were founded be Deists.  We never have been a Christian nation.  In fact "under god" in the pledge of allegiance really shouldn't be there.

Posted by artofwar420
@skywing: Well back to the topic, this thread demonstrates that religion is still deeply ingrained in people, that's fine. Who am I to say what you should believe. That's fine as individual beliefs, but let's not forget this country is for everyone, all creeds, non-creed... I think we should be past race and gender, but my point was that like Charlie in Persona 4, the U.S. should stay like zero, not just one persona but all personas.