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Posted by Harvey on November 6, 2002 18:34:26 UTC

***The second response was to a question about whether the story of Jesus informed the First Amendment, and I maintain that, while it may have had some influence, the primary influences were the direct oppresion of a distant King.***

I think the direct causal agent was what happening in the world at the time, however the liberties and equalities taught in Christianity has a causal role in a more general sense.

***By definition a belief in God is a religous belief.***

It depends on whose definition. Is Stephen Hawking's use of the term a religious definition?

***Further, if you adopt the definition of "God as philosophy" then you both contradict any argument that the U.S. is a christian or religous country...***

I don't think the U.S. is a Christian nation, I think it is a nation that was founded and has been inhabited by a majority of Christians. As a result, Christian ideals, morality, direction, etc, are all naturally having a Christian tilt. With the influx of Asians and other populations, as well as the growth of secularism, we are seeing a move toward a less Christian tilt.

***and argue against the adoption of any particular philosophy through legislation.***

I think a particular philosophy is endorsed or denied in legislation, unless it is in violation to our judicial documents. In that case, a particular law endorsing a particular philosophy can be struck down as law. Also, freedom of speech (first amendment) protects the free speech of other philosophical views.

*** You can't argue for the adoption of "Christian" legislation and maintain that "god is only a philosophy." It doesn't work.***

I argue for whatever goes as long as it is in conformance to the laws of the land. Christian moralists who want to sway the laws of the land are free to do so as long as they are in conformance to the founding documents (i.e., the Supreme Court interprets it that way).

If Christians, Buddhists, atheists, agnostics, etc want the government to endorse a particular philosophical view by wording a law in a certain fashion, and if it doesn't violate the founding documents, then it is okay for the government to do so if they have a majority vote. This is democracy. We elect politicians that share our ideology, and we expect them to shape our ideals into law. This has been the way, currently is the way, and will be the way (hopefully) that the U.S. and other democracies have been operating.

***Either "God" is a religous term and it violates the Establishment clause, or it is a philosophical terms and the country is NOT dependent on any religious guidance.***

That's right. The country is not dependent on any religious guidance only in so far as the people choose that route. If the majority want to be influenced by atheism, they have that right. If the majority want to be influenced by libertarianism, they have that right. If the majority want to be influenced by existentialism, they have that right. If the majority want to be influenced by Christianity, they have that right. The only right they do not have is to violate the founding documents.

Warm regards, Harv

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