Religion Will Cause The Death Of America As We Know It

by Ben Hoffman

Our country is on its last legs. We’re deep in debt and our political system is controlled by big money. Corporatism has taken over our representative democracy. Members of congress represent corporations more than they represent their constituents. We see that with the health insurance reform floundering in Congress right now. The majority of people want reform including a government option. Blue Dog Democrats are blocking its progress due to the influence of the insurance industry, but what’s worse, Republicans are blocking it for political gain.

So what does that have to do with religion? The Republican party is a religion to many. With religion, you must be willing to accept things on faith alone, and that’s what right-wingers do. They claim Obama has run up huge deficits because that’s what they are told. The fact is, it was Bush’s budget that set record deficits. His final fiscal year ended in October and that’s what we’ve been hearing about, but since Obama is president, he’s getting blamed.

Right-wingers look for ways to blame Democrats for the collapse of our economy. They blame the speeches representatives made for the irresponsible lending practices of banks. They blame Barney Franks for blocking bills to reign in Fannie and Freddie, even though Republicans controlled all branches of government. They blame the spending of Democrats for the huge debt, yet they never specify what spending caused it. They repeat the lie that tax cuts result in increased revenues even though that is a lie. Reagan and W. Bush were responsible for some 80% of the federal debt.

We hear it time and time again from right-wingers that Fox “news” is the only source for real facts. It’s a huge conspiracy, just like global warming. You can be sure that when one source claims a monopoly on the facts, they’re lying their asses off.

Some thirty percent of the U.S. population are religious extremists. They think it’s okay to murder abortion doctors and want religion to be incorporated into government. These people cannot be reasoned with and will vote for any candidate who claims to want to ban abortion. They’d vote for Charles Manson if he said he’d ban abortion. These people generally don’t value higher education. They’re the ones making up the bulk of the tea-baggers who were protesting during the summer, even though they had no idea what they were protesting.

Then you have the low information voters who’s opinions change with the prevailing winds. They make their decisions mainly from gut instinct. Their primary news source is probably the evening news where you get about ten minutes of news and the rest is just sports, weather, and blabber. They’re probably about 30% of the population, also.

There are also the authoritarian followers. These people are primarily right-wingers, but there are a few left-wingers. The right-wing authoritarian followers are the ones who get their opinions from Limbaugh, Beck, O’Reilly, Hannity, and others. I’m not sure who the left-wing authoritarian followers get their opinions from. The right-wing pundits make up their own facts to fit their opinions. Liberal pundits, like Olbermann, Mathews, and others usually discuss the facts that appear in the news.

And then you have the informed voters who generally vote for the best candidates and policies. It’s sad that these people don’t make up the majority of voters, but that’s the way it is and why it may result in the death of America as we know it.

What can be done? Affordable or even free college would completely change the direction of this country. An educated populace is a responsible populace. While not all educated people make pragmatic decisions, it does make a difference. We need people who value knowledge over faith.

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16 Comments to “Religion Will Cause The Death Of America As We Know It”

  1. Sadly, with the numbers of people in this country who believe the universe is only 6,000 years old, I don’t see the triumph of knowledge over faith coming anytime soon….

  2. Mr. Hoffman,

    It is interesting that many of the nation’s founders had strong religious beliefs. They had to. They took on the strongest country in the world, England, and founded the first representative Democracy of the modern era.

    You don’t set out on that uncertain path with out a religious faith and a lot of prayer.

    So do you Liberals believe in an after life?

    “Some thirty percent of the U.S. population are religious extremists. They think it’s okay to murder abortion doctors and want religion to be incorporated into government. These people cannot be reasoned with and will vote for any candidate who claims to want to ban abortion. They’d vote for Charles Manson if he said he’d ban abortion.”

    More than a slight exaggeration, don’t you think? Just why do you hate people who go to church?

    “Liberal pundits, like Olbermann, Mathews, and others usually discuss the facts that appear in the news.”

    Chris Mathews lost whatever regard he had for veracity, when his boss Jimmy Carter lost to Ronald Reagan. Now it is only about winning.

    Rachael Maddow is too stupid to know what a fact is.

    With Edward R. Idiot ( Olbermann ) self importance battles with a total disregard for accuracy as the dominate personality trait. He rivals President Obama himself in his tendency to muddy the waters of truth.

    • [It is interesting that many of the nation’s founders had strong religious beliefs.]

      That’s another common right-wing lie.

      [Just why do you hate people who go to church?]

      Why do you have to spin everything?

      [Rachael Maddow is too stupid to know what a fact is.]

      Actually, she was a Rhodes scholar.

      [With Edward R. Idiot ( Olbermann ) self importance battles with a total disregard for accuracy as the dominate personality trait.]

      It’s funny. Right-wingers make that claim a lot but I never see any examples. Could it be just another right-wing lie?

      • I am always amazed how often I reference this particular comment. But, to add weight to Ben’s assertion about the religiosity of the founding fathers:

        “Hmmm…lets take a quick peek at some of what the founding fathers have said –

        Thomas Jefferson:

        “Is uniformity attainable? Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error
        all over the earth.” – Thomas Jefferson (Notes on Virginia, 1782; from George Seldes, ed., The Great Quotations, Secaucus, New Jersey: Citadel Press, 1983, p. 363.)

        John Adams:

        “As the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.” – (Treaty of Tripoli, 1797 – signed by President John Adams.)

        James Madison:

        “During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.” – James Madison (Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments, 1785.)

        Thomas Paine:

        “Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon, than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness, that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind.” – Thomas Paine (The Age of Reason, 1794-1795.)

        The founding fathers deserve to be commended they managed to construct a rational society despite the prescriptive delusional inanity that was prevalent at the time.

  3. Arbourist,

    You have posted some interesting quotes. I am ashamed to admit that I’m not familiar with any of them. History is one of my strong points. I have to say you are more of a challenge than I’m used to dealing with at least here. I will try to address two of the quotes from my own context of historical knowledge.

    Thomas Jefferson’s quote dealt with religious coercion. I don’t know, but my guess is that instead of being anti Christian or anti religion it was more a slam on the 2 dominate Christian Denominations of his time. The American Revolution was partly a war against the domination of The Church of England. The Roman Catholic Church only 2 centuries before Jefferson’s time had let loose the Inquisition of torture.

    John Adams was right, the US government was not founded on religious dogma. That does not mean that he or any other founders did not use religion to sustain them during the dark days of the founding. Also you will note that only a few years after Adams saying that the US had never entered in to any hostile act against a Mehomitan nation, President Jefferson engaged in very hostile acts against these same Mehomitan nations. Remember Stephen Decatur and the Barbary Pirates. America’s first strike back against Islamic terrorism.

    • Thomas Jefferson’s quote dealt with religious coercion.

      It does.

      I cannot opine on what the founders used to sustain them. However, what I can comment their writings and journals and other historical artifacts. Based on their writings it was their wish that the US was to be established with a strong divide between church and state, and primarily as a secular nation.

      The current incestuous relationship between church and state in the US is quite deplorable and certainly not the a part of the intentions of the founding fathers.

  4. Arbourist,

    “Based on their writings it was their wish that the US was to be established with a strong divide between church and state, and primarily as a secular nation.”

    Yet mention of God is not uncommon in the documents of the early American Government.

    “The current incestuous relationship between church and state in the US is quite deplorable and certainly not the a part of the intentions of the founding fathers.”

    I contend that the founders were not anti religious, or anti God. They certainly were desirous of the moral examples of the various Christian sects. What they were fearful of was domination by any one of these Churches. Again you have the European examples of Church and State being wedded. The Catholic Church in Spain and the Church of England in Britain.

    • Yes, religion has been the cause of many, many atrocities over mankind’s history. But if we were to make a list of the worst mass murderers in all of history, who would head the list? Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Pol Pot,… What do they have in common? They were not religious fanatics. They were left-leaning socialist/communist ideologues. They claimed to be for the people but as soon as they consolidated central authority, they went on to kill more people than all the religious zealots in history.

      So to single out religion as opposed to political beliefs seems very short-sighted and very, very hateful. I would have thought as Americans, we would not be so eager to stereotype people. We should judge people by their actions and not just their words. I don’t care if someone is religious or not. I don’t care if they are Republican or Democrat. I do care if they want to steal my rights and try to tell me how to run my life. That’s where the real danger of oppression and abuse lies.

      Also, as someone else pointed out to me recently, atheism is in some ways its own religion. It doesn’t believe in a traditional “Creator” but believes in a “non-Creator” so to speak. Science is its “God.” So to condemn “religion” without condemning atheists is very short-sighted. Atheists can be just as fanatical as religious fanatics. Again, I think we judge people by their actions, not their particular categorical “bucket.”

      • [Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Pol Pot,… What do they have in common? They were not religious fanatics. They were left-leaning socialist/communist ideologues.]

        Hitler was a right-wing fascist, as were Mussolini and Franco.

      • Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Pol Pot,… What do they have in common?

        They were all authoritarian regimes, that would be the key factor.

        They claimed to be for the people but as soon as they consolidated central authority, they went on to kill more people than all the religious zealots in history.

        Dead is really dead. Categorizing religious vs. secular deaths is a non starter. One could make a case that Hitler was a Christian, and we could debate that back and forth. But it is not really the point.

        What I would consider to be more important is how can we avoid such atrocities in the future. Choosing between the 2000 year old’wisdom’ in magic books or ideas grounded in a rational depiction of reality…hmmm. I will choose the atheistic path every time.

        Also, as someone else pointed out to me recently, atheism is in some ways its own religion.

        And that person would be horribly wrong. Conflating atheism with religion is a wane attempt to redefine atheism with a theological lens. Similar attempts to define evolution as a belief is a common creationist tactic. I will let Calilasseia from RichardDawkins.net weigh in on this similar conflation (this excerpt from a cogent dissection of creationist nonsense):

        “[17] “You only believe in evolution because you hate god”.

        Anyone posting this particular piece of drivel, and make no mistake, it IS drivel, is quite frankly beneath deserving of a point of view. Erectors of this sub-amoeboid, cretinous, verminous, pestilential and thoroughly decerebrate cortical faeces are not considered to be worth the small amount of effort required to treat them with utter disdain, let alone the greater effort required to subject them to actual contempt.

        Aside from the fact that I have dealt with the “belief” bullshit in [16] above, and aside from the fact that I’ve dealt with the complete failure of supernaturalists to provide any evidence for their pet magic man back in [1] above (yes, you need a proper attention span if you’re going to engage in debate here), and as a corollary of this latter point, we’d like to know how one can “hate” an entity whose very existence has only ever been supported by vacuous apologetics instead of genuine evidence, this particular favourite meme of creationists is singularly retarded because it misses the whole point by several thousand light years. Allow me to remind you all once again, first that the critical thinkers do not regard “belief” as intellectually valid full stop, and that the critical thinkers accept the validity of evolution because REALITY supports it. THAT is what counts here, because it is what counts in professional scientific circles. You can whinge, moan, bitch and bleat all you like with respect to this moronic canard, but be advised that people who paid attention in classes at school regard this canard as one of the most utterly spastic pieces of apologetics in existence, and given the fulminating level of stupidity that has emanated from apologetics over the years, this makes the above canard rather special.”

        Allow me to remind you all once again, first that the critical thinkers do not regard “belief” as intellectually valid full stop, and that the critical thinkers accept the validity of evolution because REALITY supports it.

        I requote this little snippet because it is particular relevant to the assertion of ML106 that atheism and religion share similar characteristics. Patently, they do not. There is no belief persay, only a rational dedication to fact, which is light years away religion and its associated nonsense.

        So to condemn “religion” without condemning atheists is very short-sighted.

        This makes little sense in light of the fact that religion and atheism are not the same.

        Atheists can be just as fanatical as religious fanatics.

        Agreed, when people start acting fanatical, they are indeed acting more like overtly religious people. The disconnection with reality, the learned ignorance, the embrace of anti-rational stances are all attributes of the religious zealot.

      • The Nazi’s were the National Socialist German Worker’s Party. It devolved into a totalitarian regime just as Hayek would have predicted. Socialism and communism ultimately lead to totalitarian regimes as Hayek argued in “The Road to Serfdom.” Hitler was a fascist who came to power through the guise of socialism. And he may have been a Christian, but he never used that as a reason to start WW 2.

        To put Mussolini and Franco in the same breath as Stalin and Mao is was off. There really is no comparison.

        My point about how atheists can be just as fanatical as religious zealots can be seen by the Arbourist’s rant. So much anger.

        There are some similarities and there are some non-similarities between atheists and religious people. The point is not who is right or wrong. It’s whether which group uses their belief as an excuse to lord it over others and commit atrocities. Maybe the religious people are all wrong and there is no God. So what? If they are causing less harm, why feel such anger? Why do you feel it is your right to make people believe as you do? Why not anger at the socialist/communist fanatics who have murdered hundreds of millions of people?

        It is appropriate to condemn atheists as much as religious zealots because anyone who uses a belief system (whether you agree with them or not, whether it is based on “fact” or not) to oppress others is worthy of condemnation. Condemn people because of what they do, not what they believe.

      • [The Nazi’s were the National Socialist German Worker’s Party.]

        Right-wingers often erroneously make that claim. If you knew anything about National Socialism or the Nazis you’d know they had nothing to do with socialism as we know it.

      • Ben, according to traditional categorization, fascism would fall on the far right. A few points to note though: Nazism actually incorporated elements of both traditional right and left ideology. Right-left alone may not be sufficient to categorize nazism. One source I’ve seen doesn’t categorize nazism or fasism along right-left but along an authoritarian/libertarian axis. Right/left was categorized along a communist/neo-liberalism axis under a two-axis system (vs the traditional one-axis right-left simplified view). Categorizations are not always clean. Another writer says:

        “Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist movement was, as the name clearly says, a party of the left. While not explicitly Marxist-Leninist, National Socialism accepted the essentials of that worldview while adding Germanic racial supremacism to the mix. This is not the place to lay this out in detail, but it is part of the historical record. Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism includes the best recent treatment of the subject. Thus it was not astonishing that in 1939 Hitler and Stalin found ample common interests to establish an alliance, nor did it astonish that Communist Party members in the West almost unanimously took up support for Nazi Germany. The alliance simply recognized the ideological kinship between the two.

        “Then in 1941, Hitler turned on his fellow socialist and invaded the Soviet Union. How was Stalin to explain or rationalize this turnabout? What ideological signboard could he put around Hitler’s neck that would make sense in the Soviet political context? Certainly Stalin could not let it appear he had been duped by a fellow socialist, nor could he allow Hitler to give socialism a bad name. The solution was to label the bad guys, Hitler and the Nazis, as polar opposites of the good guys, Stalin and the Communists. Fascism – a leftist, socialist doctrine – was abruptly and absurdly labeled a phenomenon of the extreme right.”

        We could debate on and on but to no useful end. So maybe nazism was not the clearest-cut example if we want to use a simplified right-left axis. So let’s look at a clearer example. Arguably the two worst offenders of mankind in all of history were Stalin and Mao. There is little doubt they were communists and atheists.

        So, there were abhorrent people on both sides of the political and religious spectrum. To pick on people on the right or to pick on religious people without acknowledging that the left and the atheists are no better is intellectually dishonest especially when looking at the history of the 20th century.

        I think there is enough intolerance and bigotry (as we’ve seen on some posts here) in the world without trying to lump people into convenient stereotypes which may not be the most relevant. Judge people for how they act and not what they believe. I know religious people who are true to their beliefs. I also know religious people who are the worst hypocrites. By the same token, I know atheists who are as amoral as they come. I also know atheists who have hearts of gold. I would think that the same applies to people you know.

        To assume that criticisms only apply to one side and not the other (i.e. only one side is true and infallible) is very short-sided and dangerous because it just breeds further intolerance and bigotry.

      • [“Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist movement was, as the name clearly says, a party of the left.]

        As the “name clearly says?” The other major party at the time was the Democratic Socialists. So I guess they had the left vs. the left.

        No, National Socialist party was a right-wing fascist party. What is right-wing about it? They used extreme nationalism, aggressive foreign policy, corporatism, as well as single party rule and authoritarianism.

        But back to the topic of religion. Don’t forget the Spanish Inquisition!

  5. My point about how atheists can be just as fanatical as religious zealots can be seen by the Arbourist’s rant. So much anger.

    Well if you would stop attempting to draw false equivalences my responses would be less strident.

    Why do you feel it is your right to make people believe as you do?

    Umm…never done that. I’m not sure how you are attributing that back to me, or atheism in general. Proselytizing is usually reserved for followers of magic books.

  6. Mr. Hoffman,

    “Hitler was a right-wing fascist, as were Mussolini and Franco.”

    Yes, but did he go to Church? He certainly did not use the Church as a tool for Governing. Mussolini and Franco I have no idea about.

    The Bolsheviks were definitely anti religion. They saw the Russian Orthodox Church as part of the power structure of the Czarist regime that they overthrew. They actually were right about that. The only time I can recall Stalin and the boys relenting was when the Nazis were in the heart of Russia and Religion was used to help rally the peasant soldiers.

    At any rate Socialism is generally atheist because Religion is looked upon as a competitor of State ideology. Capitalist societies are more neutral towards Religion, while Monarchies tend to incorporate established Religions as partners.

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