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Author Topic: Oklahoma Vs. Satan  (Read 2278 times)

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Offline Valthazar

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Re: Oklahoma Vs. Satan
« Reply #50 on: December 18, 2013, 08:12:52 PM »
When something like religion is in place, the majority tends to ignore the minority. They even have a tendency to think that their religion is the only one that deserves to be acknowledged and followed. I know this because I listen to my parents rant and rave how every person who worships other than christianity should be shipped out of this country because 'by God America is a christian nation!'

Try to understand the underlying message of what your parents are saying, instead of only hearing their extreme, knee-jerk sentiments.

The US ranks #1 when it comes to charitable donating, fund-raising, volunteerism, and importance given to civic duties.  Whether you want to acknowledge it or not, Christianity has played a large role in America's moral ethos and culture, and for much of the 20th century, it has served as a powerful means of subtly bridging a diverse immigrant population into a unified, distinctly non-religious American culture of civic participation and moral responsibility.  Even today, many Asian immigrants convert to Christianity to have a community for social, emotional, and financial support, while they are transitioning to American life.

However, I think it goes without saying that none of those traits are exclusive to Christianity - far from it.  I am a Hindu myself, and I am extremely involved in my community, and try to help others as much as possible.  However, I know I value these traits because I grew up in the United States.  I also know that if I go to other countries in the world - even among very educated demographics - that their cultures are completely devoid of this concept of fund-raising, and volunteerism.  Try going to India, and starting a 1-2 rupee donation campaign among the middle class there to reduce hunger in their country - you'll be laughed out before you start in most cases.  There certainly are campaigns there, but that culture of giving just isn't as entrenched as it is in the United States, and it is difficult to convey without you visiting those countries directly.

We take a lot of things for granted here in the US - values that are slowly eroding.  As someone who has lived in the US, Europe, and Asia, I can tell you for a fact that many of the tenets of our culture (such as the idea of viewing everyone as an individual - regardless of their class or status), originally find their roots in Christian ideals. 

I 100% agree with you that there should be a separation of Church and State, as well as religious freedom.  But denying ourselves that much of our culture can be rooted in Christianity, is only convincing ourselves of something that is untrue.

What your parents are expressing, is a very poorly-worded effort of conveying how many individuals have completely forgotten the values that America was built on.  Christianity has many, many flaws, just like other religions.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2013, 08:20:53 PM by ValthazarElite »

Offline Sabby

Re: Oklahoma Vs. Satan
« Reply #51 on: December 18, 2013, 08:36:35 PM »
Are those values really Christian values, or were they values held by Christians in early American history? That's a fairly important distinction to make. The fact that charity and giving and such are important to American culture and that America has been predominantly Christian doesn't necessarily demonstrate causation. I'd say it's more of a correlative thing.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: Oklahoma Vs. Satan
« Reply #52 on: December 18, 2013, 08:39:59 PM »
Are those values really Christian values, or were they values held by Christians in early American history? That's a fairly important distinction to make. The fact that charity and giving and such are important to American culture and that America has been predominantly Christian doesn't necessarily demonstrate causation. I'd say it's more of a correlative thing.

They were values held by Christians in early American history - that were justified through their interpretation of Christianity - that have shaped our society today.  I was not trying to support the religion of Christianity in my post.  I was only responding to Iniquitous Opheliac's parents' statement that "America is a Christian nation."  It's a very overzealous statement, I think we can all agree, but culturally, there is a kernel of truth to it.

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Re: Oklahoma Vs. Satan
« Reply #53 on: December 18, 2013, 08:43:39 PM »
Are those values really Christian values, or were they values held by Christians in early American history? That's a fairly important distinction to make. The fact that charity and giving and such are important to American culture and that America has been predominantly Christian doesn't necessarily demonstrate causation. I'd say it's more of a correlative thing.
It doesn't mean there isn't though or that there is no overlap. America has never been a Christian country in the sense many think of it, but it is a culture significantly influenced by Christianity.

Offline Sabby

Re: Oklahoma Vs. Satan
« Reply #54 on: December 18, 2013, 08:44:31 PM »
Agreed, I'm just pointing out that until the Separation of Church and State is removed, it's an entirely irrelevant kernel to the current discussion.

Offline Tairis

Re: Oklahoma Vs. Satan
« Reply #55 on: December 18, 2013, 09:09:38 PM »
I 100% agree with you that there should be a separation of Church and State, as well as religious freedom.  But denying ourselves that much of our culture can be rooted in Christianity, is only convincing ourselves of something that is untrue.

What your parents are expressing, is a very poorly-worded effort of conveying how many individuals have completely forgotten the values that America was built on.  Christianity has many, many flaws, just like other religions.

Sorry, but that argument doesn't hold water with me. This is the exact same argument that comes up every time a Christian advocate organization wants to get their way while trying to ignore separation of church and state. We do not owe Christianity some kind of cultural debt. As a religion it has influenced the modern world to a staggering degree, that doesn't mean it gets a free pass. It's a language of trying to make a 'compromise' when really one side only wants to get their way.

We are not 'losing our morals' or having them eroded by secularism. Statistically violent crime, property crime, all have been steadily decreasing for nearly 20 years now. US citizens can and still do give millions upon millions of dollars to charity. The idea that this generation just isn't as 'moral' as the previous is the same refrain that is heard by ever successive generation. The greatest generation said it about the kids and their rock and roll. The baby boomers said it about their kids and disco. Generation X is saying that Generation Y is self-entitled, lazy... etc etc.

It's an argument that is designed to make people afraid. "If we don't respect X then we'll just be barbarians again!"... "We owe Y for our history, we have to let it take precedence." It plays to every human beings fear of change.

The essence of the United States was not built on the Bible, it was built on individual freedom. That has been the most powerful single driving force in our evolution as a country. It's why we expanded (destructively so) as the years went by as each person tried to get their 'american dream'. It's why more than any other nation in the world the United States is obsessed with cars because they represent the freedom to go anywhere, anytime without restriction. It's why we created a Bill of Rights that enshrined free speech as its single most important tenant. It's why we, as a cultural, cannot stand to be told what to do.

It shows in everything from our music, to our literature, to our television. The message is always the same: one individual matters. They can make a difference.

Giving credit to Christianity for so much of our morals and character is like giving all the credit for an exquisite meal to the tools it was cooked with and the cutlery it was served on instead of the actual chef who made it. Maybe that chef wouldn't have been able to make the exact meal with different tools but the food, the recipe, the technique belongs to them. Not to his frying pan.

Also even taking it at face value doesn't that actually mean we should be putting more cultural stock in Judasim that Christianity is built on top of as the middle abrahamic faith? Not to mention that Europe by far has a much longer and more entrenched history with organized Christianity than the United States, yet you seem to imply that the religion is the reason for the trait of American altruism?
« Last Edit: December 18, 2013, 09:12:11 PM by Tairis »

Offline Valthazar

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Re: Oklahoma Vs. Satan
« Reply #56 on: December 18, 2013, 09:34:45 PM »
Tairis, you have totally misunderstood my point.  I'll quote the lines in my post you probably missed:

Christianity has many, many flaws, just like other religions.

I was not trying to support the religion of Christianity in my post.

I never said anything about crime, so I am not sure how that came into the discussion.  The value differences I was referring to were not even regarding generational American differences.  I was speaking more with regard to demographic changes in the United States. 

Simply taking someone from another country, and putting them in the US, doesn't automatically make them an American.  Being an American - regardless of which country someone is from - is the result of sharing some common principles that unite all of us together.  For example, I think we would agree that one important value as an American, is to respect all individuals regardless of their ethnic background.  As self-evident and obvious as that seems, you would be surprised how devoid this value is in many other countries.

I am also not sure how what I am saying is supposed to make anyone afraid?  All I'm saying is that culture is driven heavily by religion.  I don't even think Christianity is the best solution, but historically, it has been the main method used to bind a very diverse group of immigrants - many of whom weren't Christian to begin with.  I explicitly stated that I support the separation of Church and State, as well as religious freedom. 

My main point in all of this, is we need certain basic principles that bind us as a society.  Christianity is probably not appropriate in today's age - you are right.  But having a Christian symbol, a Satanic symbol, a Hindu symbol, and a Muslim symbol in front of our government building is creating more isolation than unification. 

If not religion, then perhaps it is time to develop a new document, outlining a shared set of principles we can all agree on.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2013, 09:38:39 PM by ValthazarElite »

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Re: Oklahoma Vs. Satan
« Reply #57 on: December 18, 2013, 09:42:16 PM »
If not religion, then perhaps it is time to develop a new document, outlining a shared set of principles we can all agree on.

We the people, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, and ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our prosperity do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: Oklahoma Vs. Satan
« Reply #58 on: December 18, 2013, 09:47:05 PM »
We the people, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, and ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our prosperity do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The Constitution represents the legal basis of the United States.  I was referring to a non-government cultural code of ethics/morals, that the vast majority of us can all agree on - a role that individual religion has traditionally fulfilled.

Basically, rather than religion, more of a "contemporary values" document - just something that can unify a very diverse country in the 21st century, along with individual religions.

Currently, we still have the president and other politicians take an oath on the Bible by default as our reassurance for them carrying out their job responsibilities.  I find this very out-of-touch given today's American demographic.  Our solution to this has been to have exceptions to the rule take an oath on their own religious text.  But the purpose of an oath itself is lost if most people can't even relate to it - which is why a more contemporary, culturally-based, non-religious document might be necessary.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2013, 10:01:29 PM by ValthazarElite »

Offline Tairis

Re: Oklahoma Vs. Satan
« Reply #59 on: December 18, 2013, 11:37:08 PM »
Tairis, you have totally misunderstood my point.  I'll quote the lines in my post you probably missed:

I never said anything about crime, so I am not sure how that came into the discussion.  The value differences I was referring to were not even regarding generational American differences.  I was speaking more with regard to demographic changes in the United States. 

You might not be trying to support Christianity yourself, but the argument that you're putting forward is one I've seen time and time again from those that do. It's the same one that's used to justify the unconstitutional religion bias that is rife in much of the southern US where I've spent my entire life.

I mention crime and the like because you are talking about eroding values. When someone is talking about values they generally mean the whole selection. Honesty, hardwork, respect, etc etc. And it's again the same language and the same argument used by the religious supporters to explain why we 'need' their religion in our lives.

Otherwise what 'values' are you talking about? If you mean the 'melting pot' effect... the truth is that's never been as true as we've made it seem. It's why we have Chinatown and the like. I've always liked the analogy that American isn't a melting pot, we're a salad. The pieces are all distinct, but combined right they work together well.

Quote
Simply taking someone from another country, and putting them in the US, doesn't automatically make them an American.  Being an American - regardless of which country someone is from - is the result of sharing some common principles that unite all of us together.  For example, I think we would agree that one important value as an American, is to respect all individuals regardless of their ethnic background.  As self-evident and obvious as that seems, you would be surprised how devoid this value is in many other countries.

I am also not sure how what I am saying is supposed to make anyone afraid?  All I'm saying is that culture is driven heavily by religion.  I don't even think Christianity is the best solution, but historically, it has been the main method used to bind a very diverse group of immigrants - many of whom weren't Christian to begin with.  I explicitly stated that I support the separation of Church and State, as well as religious freedom. 

My main point in all of this, is we need certain basic principles that bind us as a society.  Christianity is probably not appropriate in today's age - you are right.  But having a Christian symbol, a Satanic symbol, a Hindu symbol, and a Muslim symbol in front of our government building is creating more isolation than unification. 

If not religion, then perhaps it is time to develop a new document, outlining a shared set of principles we can all agree on.

Your personal view isn't really promoting fear, but the argument as a whole? It is. Because of this sentence:

Quote
But having a Christian symbol, a Satanic symbol, a Hindu symbol, and a Muslim symbol in front of our government building is creating more isolation than unification. 

That's where the fear comes in. Because we say 'well if we put up everyone's symbols we're dividing people and we're taking away from our 'culture' because we're a 'Christian nation'... and it goes down hill from there. I'm not saying that you are trying to stir up fear. I'm saying that the argument that you're presenting about historical cultural influence is the exact same argument used by the hardline christian lobby to try and justify their agenda. And that's why I can't agree with it.

In all honesty we probably could use a new guiding principal... but how are you going to get that in place when people won't even agree to the in between step? That's kind of the point of this thread. It's taken decades just to make most institutions stop assuming everyone is one of the flavors of christianity. But even now people balk at the thought that some other religion should get to put up a statue/display/whatever that doesn't agree with 'their' religion.

So if the only way to get them to finally acknowledge that no, they don't get to have a set of religious documents on display in a public place is forcing them to take someone else's religion documents as well... even if they are likely just a publicity stunt? Then I say more power to them.

Quick Summation before I crash:

I fully understand that you're not supporting fundamentalism or the like, so please don't think that I'm under the wrong impression. Historically, factually... I agree with you totally. As anyone that has studied history can tell you the power of religion shapes entire cultures. I simply find that the argument should not be given merit (in the context of this discussion) because it's like enabling an addict: you know it doesn't mean that their religion is 'right', and I know it doesn't mean their religion is 'right'... but it doesn't stop them from perverting said argument to their own ends.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2013, 11:43:52 PM by Tairis »

Offline Valthazar

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Re: Oklahoma Vs. Satan
« Reply #60 on: December 19, 2013, 12:07:38 AM »
Otherwise what 'values' are you talking about? If you mean the 'melting pot' effect... the truth is that's never been as true as we've made it seem. It's why we have Chinatown and the like. I've always liked the analogy that American isn't a melting pot, we're a salad. The pieces are all distinct, but combined right they work together well.

That's probably a good way of describing the US over the past 3-4 decades.  It is a matter of opinion as to whether this trend of isolating oneself with one's sub-culture alone is beneficial or detrimental for us as a whole as Americans.  I am not so sure we can automatically assume that this is a recipe for working well together.  I have family friends who have no desire to interact outside their ethnic community, and have no desire to learn English.  It's an unrelated topic perhaps suited for another thread - but I am of the opinion that not having some form of shared principles is a negative.

In all honesty we probably could use a new guiding principal... but how are you going to get that in place when people won't even agree to the in between step? That's kind of the point of this thread. It's taken decades just to make most institutions stop assuming everyone is one of the flavors of christianity.But even now people balk at the thought that some other religion should get to put up a statue/display/whatever that doesn't agree with 'their' religion.

I can definitely understand how the Christian lobby has distorted this to no end.  My guess is that a new set of guiding ethics will naturally evolve over time.  It's inevitable at some point, considering we have such a heterogeneous population, with nothing besides the legal code holding us together.

You know those professional ethics codes they talk about at work?  My guess is that over time, we'll have things like that prevalent in our society, even in the public.  Not at all legally binding, of course - but just a culturally-valued set of guidelines we strive to live by.

But I'm sure you'll find protesters then arguing about how many of these principles are too familiar to Christianity, or Judaism, or any other religion.  And we're back to square one, and more nonsense like these Satanists.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2013, 12:09:07 AM by ValthazarElite »

Offline Sabby

Re: Oklahoma Vs. Satan
« Reply #61 on: December 19, 2013, 12:17:09 AM »
And we're back to square one, and more nonsense like these Satanists.

How is these Satanists practicing the same rights as the Christians nonsense?

Offline Valthazar

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Re: Oklahoma Vs. Satan
« Reply #62 on: December 19, 2013, 12:21:37 AM »
How is these Satanists practicing the same rights as the Christians nonsense?

Read the context it was written in. 

I was describing a non-religious shared principles document, similar to a professional code of ethics, that all of us as Americans would hopefully agree on - things like treating each other with respect, respecting people of different races, etc. 

My point was that there will always be some radical rogue groups - be it some Christians, Satanists - who will do whatever it takes to displace any concept of unity we try to cohesively develop as diverse Americans.

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Re: Oklahoma Vs. Satan
« Reply #63 on: December 19, 2013, 02:07:20 AM »
Read the context it was written in. 

I was describing a non-religious shared principles document, similar to a professional code of ethics, that all of us as Americans would hopefully agree on - things like treating each other with respect, respecting people of different races, etc. 

My point was that there will always be some radical rogue groups - be it some Christians, Satanists - who will do whatever it takes to displace any concept of unity we try to cohesively develop as diverse Americans.
The problem is even if that's the goal, some of us feel ostracized anyway. There are some elements of American society that still make people who are not white or Christian feel unwelcome. This country is not as united as people would like to believe. I don't believe in nationalism myself, but it would be nicer to see America live up to these ideas more often. Some radical groups (if you define radical purely as philosophy rather than engaging in violent actions) are trying to mend this. They're an extreme philosophical reaction to the divides that still exist here. I don't however support those who advocate for hurting others. The divide has been there for some time. These groups are simultaneously the cause and the symptoms.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: Oklahoma Vs. Satan
« Reply #64 on: December 25, 2013, 01:24:39 PM »
The problem is even if that's the goal, some of us feel ostracized anyway. There are some elements of American society that still make people who are not white or Christian feel unwelcome. This country is not as united as people would like to believe. I don't believe in nationalism myself, but it would be nicer to see America live up to these ideas more often. Some radical groups (if you define radical purely as philosophy rather than engaging in violent actions) are trying to mend this. They're an extreme philosophical reaction to the divides that still exist here. I don't however support those who advocate for hurting others. The divide has been there for some time. These groups are simultaneously the cause and the symptoms.

It goes both ways.  You're right, there are some elements that make people who are not white or Christian feel unwelcome, but at the same time, from their perspective, many Christians react with such nationalistic zeal because they also feel threatened by modern day mainstream American culture.

Recently, the VA hospital rejected Christmas cards for veterans that were written by 4th graders, because it has "Merry Christmas" written in them.
http://www.myfoxdfw.com/story/24293539/students-parents-upset-that-religious-christmas-cards-wont-go-to-north-texas-veterans

Religious issues like this are the least of my concerns, but you can easily understand why Christians feel under attack - just like minorities do in other cases.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2013, 01:28:27 PM by ValthazarElite »

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Re: Oklahoma Vs. Satan
« Reply #65 on: December 25, 2013, 04:10:06 PM »
I think some of them perceive the Vikings as kind of supermen, men who walked (or sailed) with destiny itself. And that kind of belief in your own lust and power would be, well, Satan's morals.

Just a quick note here, Vikings never quite saw themselves as anything other than normal. The Nordic cultures developed with a very distinct separation from the Southern and Eastern cultures, for very obvious geographical reasons, and thus had a different system of religious thinking than most people seem to think (That I saw from movies and TV series, anyways). They were very deeply religious, yes, but other than a deep fear of offending gods, as well as sacrifices and legends, they were very secular in their beliefs. I like to think of it as that, anyways, separating their religious life from the rest of it.

Such as how some vikings were hired to fight as some Muslim Caliph's bodyguards. They were told that they couldn't be hired unless they converted to Islam, and thus, they thought, it was more profitable to be a Muslim than to firmly adhere to Nordic religions. While many refused to accept what they saw as a 'weak' god, such as the Christian god, once they saw how powerful he was (or rather, how powerful the Catholic Church was, in a secular manner) They were a bit more eager to accept Christ as their savior, but again, it wasn't so much as a change in religion as, sort of absorbing Christ into their pantheon, as many Vikings were known to worship both Jesus and the old nordic gods...