An essay with quotes by Jefferson and Madison, the Protestant origin of the word secular, and more that may be helpful when talking to theists.
Also, lots of essays, short clips, and ideas in the subject areas that comprise a college education.
I found the essay interesting but noted that the first sentence gave an existence to god by using the term "against god." It's strange that so many in our country even today think that people came to this continent because "that mean old king would not let them worship god."
It gets complicated when people use quotes of Jefferson and Madison to prove that they did believe in a god despite Jefferson's book. Believers today cherry pick things of those days just like they cherry pick their book. This is why certain websites are taboo and we are told we are "taking things out of context" when the proof of the words are right there before you. Deism was the thinking man's religion as our country was founded, and I've even seen people misquote Thomas Paine. Surely these men believed.
What went wrong in a basic sense is that "goddammit. my parents, grandparents, and their parents did not live and die for nothing." Either we make everyone a fool, or we acknowledge that they are "up there looking down on us" right now even though we saw one of them put into the ground just last week.
It's hard to admit that ideas held for centuries could be wrong, especially when they involve an afterlife. Nobody wants to die.
Either we make everyone a fool, or....
Michael, I think it more just and more humane to make everyone a victim of the preying you mentioned in another post.
Tom, I was ad libing it there trying to answer as I thought a theist would. They believe because it would be foolish not to when so many before them believed also.
Another either-or, Michael.
Either you learn how to ad lib or I learn how to recognize ad libbing.:)
Michael, the term "against god" drew my attention too.
I wondered if the essay would assay(!) to take me where the GOP's xians want to take America. I was relieved that it made no such attempt.
I agree, Tom. It's hard to be against something that you cannot prove exists.
Still, I wonder about their motivations. They didn't want to be lorded over by tyranical distant kings and their forces, or by foreign corporations. They didn't want to be lorded over by popes or priests.
Daniel, I don't wonder about the founders' motivations. Some of them wanted the western lands (the Appalachians) that England was reserving for the natives. Separating from England would and did make those lands available for speculation, settlement and profit taking.
The founders' motives don't differ a lot from the motives of our political leaders. Their means, feigning outrage at taxation without representation, also don't differ a lot from the means of our political leaders.
What went wrong? I suspect we underestimated the desire of the church not to have to suffer any form of cognitive dissonance when confronted with opposing beliefs or lack thereof. They don't like disagreement, nor do they tolerate those who reject their belief system in toto. The best way to relieve themselves of this dissonance is to make everyone else like them.
The problem, of course, is that with people like us around, that isn't going to happen.
While some of the early founders were skeptical, many were religious secularists -- people who had a religion but wanted a secular government to avoid one religion getting power. This was the primary reason for the religious component of the 1st amendment.
It's a mistake to consider the early nation as decidedly Christian (as some do) but also a mistake to consider it part of a philosophically non theistic movement.