Votes are based on beliefs

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The title for A.G. Blackmon’s Nov. 2 letter was “Not electing religious head.” Now my response is not directed to him personally, but it provides an opportunity to point out that religions vs. other ideologies is a false distinction. It is one that is also seen in “faith-based” and “secular” institutions, or a person of faith and one who is atheistic or agnostic.

Religion is merely one division of ideologies. For example, in several court cases the Supreme Court has declared atheism a religion. Theologian Paul Tillich has pointed out that communism, Nazism, and other “-isms” are religious. Michael Polanyi, a world-renowned chemist and philosopher, has shown with extensive documentation that all science, even the most “exact” science of physics, is based upon “personal belief” (his designation, not mine).

All politics are based upon personal ethics. All ethics are based upon personal beliefs. Some of these beliefs happen to be “religious.” In fact, 85-90 percent of the world’s population base their ethics on some identifiable religion. But the other 10-15 percent form their ethics with just as much “personal belief” – that is, “religion” – as the majority.

We all are arguing ideologies – all ideologies are personal beliefs, most of which are called “religious.” Some are not. But make no mistake about it, we elect people with beliefs – beliefs that are personal whether they are identifiably “religious” or not. These beliefs are sufficiently strong to cause economic prosperity or disaster, disease or health, life or death, etc.

So let’s not pretend that somehow religious and nonreligious convictions are different in method, derivation or power. We elect ideologues, all of whom could be accurately called religious heads! Perhaps we might take our elections more serious with this identity in mind.

Ed Payne, M.D.

Augusta

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burninater
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burninater 11/14/11 - 07:45 am
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Yes, there is a measure of

Yes, there is a measure of belief at the core of every intellectual system. For example, physics is based on the belief that mathematics accurately describes natural laws. Trying to put that belief on an equal level with a belief that we share in immortality by eating a god-child's flesh and drinking its blood is ridiculous to say the least.

I'm flying out of town today for work. I bet there's a pretty good chance that I will arrive at my destination if I trust my belief in physics and board a plane rather than stand outside my front door and pray for a miracle to whisk me away.

I would similarly hope that my elected representatives would share my ability to recognize that mere rhetoric does not put science and superstition on equal bases.

Fundamental_Arminian
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Fundamental_Arminian 11/14/11 - 08:54 am
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Once again, a good letter

Once again, a good letter from Dr. Payne, and it's so timely now that atheists are urging our military to include atheists and humanists among its chaplains (a wire service article about this appeared in the Religion section on Nov. 12). Yes, if atheistic chaplains are really needed to minister to the spiritual needs of other atheists, atheism is a religion. In a footnote to the decision on Torcaso v. Watkins, the Supreme Court did list atheism and secular humanism as two of several non-theistic religions.

TParty
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TParty 11/14/11 - 09:16 am
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Being an atheist is not a

Being an atheist is not a religion. A person who collect stamps would be a stamp collector, but what do you call a person who does not collect stamps? What about other hobbies people do not partake in?

If you define what religion is "Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe", then you can clearly see atheism is not a religion.

And religious and non-religious people are vastly different. One puts more stock in a supernatural power, derived from a book written thousands of years ago, in a language only a handful of people on this planet know how to speak or read and yet thinks those words are infallible to those who believe the words; and the other puts more stock in reality, fact based science of today- which is always being challenged by other scientists for their validity and accuracy.

Well said Burninator" with the 'I would similarly hope that my elected representatives would share my ability to recognize that mere rhetoric does not put science and superstition on equal bases.'

This is important to remember when leaders attempt to tailor our education system to fit their ideology, and impacts us in other ways (Like not being able to purchase alcohol on Sundays...).

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 11/14/11 - 09:32 am
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If you read the article at

If you read the article at this link , you'll see they have many if not all of the characteristics of religions organizations!

Here's an excerpt:

Members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the nation's largest group of atheists and agnostics, have gathered for a weekend of nonprayer breakfasts and raffles for God-free currency at the group's 30th annual convention, which began Friday.

Fundamental_Arminian
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Fundamental_Arminian 11/14/11 - 03:44 pm
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TParty, for your argument to

TParty, for your argument to work, your definition of religion must be accepted as an absolute. For First Amendment purposes, however, atheism is classified as a religion.

http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Atheism+and+religion

Please note that atheism, in its broadest sense, is an absence of theism or the lack of belief in one or more gods. But that's not the same as saying a system of beliefs and practices cannot be religious without the recognition of some kind of god. People can be as reverential about an ecosystem or a philosophy as they are about a deity. If there ever was a sacred cow, it's evolutionism.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 11/14/11 - 09:43 am
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And here's a story from The

And here's a story from The Blaze about atheists wanting official recognition as chaplains in the U.S. military. That's another sign they consider atheism their religion.

Here's a similar article from several months ago in the New York Times . Here's a quote from the article:

“Humanism fills the same role for atheists that Christianity does for Christians and Judaism does for Jews,” Jason Torpy said in an interview. “It answers questions of ultimate concern; it directs our values.”

Bizkit
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Bizkit 11/14/11 - 10:24 am
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Buddhism started by the

Buddhism started by the Buddha as a philosophy (he never entertained the concept of "god") but it grew into a religion. Science has its roots in alchemy and then religion but its precepts are based only on a NPOV and the application of the scientific method in studying natural phenomena (so it isn't inclusive of everything like love isn't a variable scientist can define or measure, but it isn't immune to bias either). Now the science of evolution does have a sect of ideologues that border on religious belief, but that is really against the scientific method. I agree that our ideology does influence our world view. Secular scientific- we are all just another animal and are restrained by the natural consequence of geologic and biologic events (earth can run itself). Faith based-we are unique, special sanctity, stewards of the earth (earth can't work without "God" and man). But I would argue that true ideologues are hamstringed into no further intellectual growh (even Christ said "seek" and ye shall find) and tend to mindless follow an agenda because they are right (so that trumps anything else). Example: Clinton was able to work with Rep because he isn't an ideologue, Obama is an ideologue so he can't "give or compromise" to work with Rep.

allhans
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allhans 11/14/11 - 01:35 pm
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It kind of depends on what

It kind of depends on what "is" "is"...To me religion is Christianity..the belief that my maker is the one and only God, our Creator.
Others can call it whatever they like.. It won't affect the religious beliefs of Judeo-Christians.

Taylor B
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Taylor B 11/15/11 - 02:05 pm
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Just let me buy beer on

Just let me buy beer on Sunday... sheesh.

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