If you're like me, you're a bit tired of hearing this question, and really tired of answering it.

I was just watching an old Bill Maher clip when he once again reminded me that (at least on his good days) if there were any gods anywhere, he could be a contender.

There was a rather strange question he read, "How do you think an atheist president would affect foreign policy in the US?"

Bill said "Well, atheists tend to be ethicists. We don't think goodness should be anything but for the sake of itself. We don't think our ass is going to get saved because we have faith. We have to actually make our ethics in this world. So I would think it would be good."

It might be a short answer, but it sure makes the point.

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I'm not sure an atheist president would change things that much. Much of people's politics really has little to do with religion.

Would an atheist be less military? Not necessarily. The US military excesses of the past decades were about political power and global influence, not religion.

>The US military excesses of the past decades were about political power and global influence, not religion.

Not ostensibly anyway, but some of the perpetrators of the war in Iraq are true believers in Armageddon, which they believe will be triggered by a war in the Middle East and which they can't wait to have happen because then you-know-who is coming back to take every girl and boy to heaven. Well, (Republicans and straight ones anyway.)

The christianized Republican Party has worked so hard to make a half-black Obama ineffective, won't they work at least that hard to make an atheist president ineffective?

Religion IS political; it's about controlling people's behavior in all aspects of their lives.  And picking their pockets legally while they do it.

Yeah, religion is a behavior control system and a wealth redistribution system.

Just like politics.

Keeping them separate is kind of cruel to Republicans, isn't it?

Religion is political, just as marriage is political. They both involve power over instead of power with. And as Felaine stated, they both involve money. 

Just as the principle was to have a government of, by and for the people, so the principle of marriage ought to be one of equal partnership in the decision making aspect of a relationship. Of course, people have different needs and ways to contribute. Individuals have different rights and responsibilities simply because our bodies have different functions. 

Whether religion or marriage, both ought to be a resource for flourishing of the relationships and the individuals.  

Whether religion or marriage, both ought to be a resource for flourishing of the relationships and the individuals. 

Joan, I agree wholeheartedly

I also remember, from my years in Catholic schools, being told that circumstances in this life are unimportant because this life is but preparation for a future life.

Kids don't know the luxury enjoyed by those in the RC hierarchy.

At about the time I was quitting Catholicism, an elderly Catholic woman told me that men who enter the priesthood "give up so much".

I replied that they enjoy many benefits and she refused to believe me.

The lie had become a necessary belief. Had she lost a boyfriend to the priesthood?

A Tom - >being told that circumstances in this life are unimportant because this life is but preparation for a future life.

Yes, this cheery line from an obscene purple pamphlet you may remember from rituals of lent is indelibly burned into what passes for my brain:

I will scorch, scathe and punish myself in this world that I may be happy in the next.

Lovely thought to indoctrinate children with, isn't it? God and the Marquis de Sade have a lot in common.

Yeah.

The Church takes people who need therapy and gives them roomsful of children.

That's rotten to the core.

I agree, or a sense of having to submit, or, the need to dominate. 

When a person needs help because of some problem or conflict in his or her life, the very worst thing they can do is go to a person who believes in a higher power. Exactly the wrong message leads them into more depression and anxiety. 

Just think of the message that is given to a person in trouble. The message is what I call the "Passive Gospel": yield, pray, obey, turn the other cheek, forgive, submit, acquiesce, serve others, sacrifice yourself, deny yourself ... and on and on. These words imply dependence, passivity, subordination, and service. 

When a person is in trouble it may because they want to dominant in a relationship that is strained by power struggles. Some may want to control, again, a destructive goal. Many use aggression to resolves conflicts, which is nothing more than delaying the problem solution. 

A person may want to be dependent when they are perfectly capable of being self-sufficient. Others use manipulation to gain power, some use sabotage. These only add problems to the already simmering pot of unhappiness. 

The best solutions and the ones that hold up over time are when the facts come to light, when there are no illusions, when a problem is clearly defined. No blaming, or accusing, or criticizing. Just name the problem in concrete, specific terms. If the problem involves a relationship, there needs to be clarity on both party's part that they want to find a solution. Many times, especially when there are values clashes, the best option is to go separate ways. There may be a cost to leaving, just as there may be a cost to staying. Evaluate the pros and cons of staying or leaving. Then get on with the process of creating the kind of life one prefers.  

^^^ This! ^^^

As Ann Landers famously asks, "Are you better off with him or without him?"

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