Semi-political Tuesday

I love this country. Really I do. On the other hand:

The Chilean election makes me wonder when someone like that would ever be elected President or even Vice President in the U.S.--or, for that matter, even to the Senate.

By "like that" I don't mean a woman (both of "my" senators have that distinction, and I think we'll see a female U.S. president before I die).

I don't even mean a free-market socialist, although that's wildly unlikely.

Nope. What I mean is: She's an avowed agnostic.

Are there even any "unbelievers" in the House of Representatives?

Comments

"faithless-free zone" in profession

According to the religion oriented site Adherents.com, four representatives of the 109th Congress listed no religious affiliation, but did not claim to be atheist or agnostic. All the rest of the House and Senate members are professed Christians or Jews.The more official Congressional Research Service Report Membership of the 109th Congress: A Profile, says:

Most Members of the 109th Congress cite a specific religious affiliation. Protestants (Episcopalians, Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, and others) collectively constitute the majority religious affiliation of Members. However, Roman Catholics account for the largest single religious denomination. Other affiliations, such as Greek Orthodox, Jewish, Christian Scientist, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon), make up the balance.

They cite Congressional Quarterly, Inc., “Religions in the 109th,†CQ Today, vol. 40, no. 155, Nov. 4, 2004, p. 632. as their source.So it looks like your intuition is right - in terms of profession, no one in Congress publicly doubts whether there is a God, and most profess Christ as their savior.But looking at the wealth, weapons and unlimited state power they trust themselves to, I'd say they have ample opportunities to explore the implications of their faith more fully.

a country's personality

We've always been a nation of big dreamers and big dreams. To me that requires a belief in a higher power. I think it would be the end of America as we've known her if we ever got to the point where the majority was willing to follow someone who couldn't or wouldn't believe.

Re:a country's personality

The end of America? Pretty strong stuff.

You can't have big dreams if you're not religious? Nonsense (and, by my standards, intolerant, offensive nonsense).

What you're saying is the Religious Test is alive, well, and by your standards a necessary part of America. And that non-believers are, and should be, second-class citizens.

Re:a country's personality

Believing in a higher power is not the same as being religous. I don't go to church anymore but that has nothing to do with my faith.

The idea of something greater then ourselves is the source of all dreams. If the greatest dream you have is a dream of yourself how great can it be? As things in existence go we're not all that impressive.

Re:a country's personality

Who said anything about going to church? "Religious: relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity." Webster's Ninth New Collegiate; not one word about churchgoing.

You favor discrimination against those who do not (profess to) believe in [God? monotheism, or would multiple Gods be as good?]. Suddenly bringing churchoing into it is trying to shift the discussion.

The idea that your dreams either involve only yourself or involve a higher power involves one enormous leap. Most dreams for bettering the world, going (back) to the moon, restoring New Orleans, improving health in the third world, etc., etc., involve the combined efforts of thousands or millions of people.

Probably the end of the discussion because I travel without technology and there's a little shindig in San Antonio...

Re:a country's personality

Most dreams for bettering the world, going (back) to the moon, restoring New Orleans, improving health in the third world, etc., etc., involve the combined efforts of thousands or millions of people.

Yup. how many do you think are agnostic?

When most people use the word religous (regardless of the dictionary) its usually referring to some organized variety, especially when it comes to complaints about it. But yes, if an individual believes we exist simply by chance that's their right but I wouldn't trust them to lead a nation. Yes that's discrimination. Oh well.

See you Texas.

Re:"faithless-free zone" in profession

Leave it to Daniel to provide a complete and well-thought out analytical response to Walt's query. I particularly liked the last part of your comment, "But looking at the wealth, weapons and unlimited state power they trust themselves to, I'd say they have ample opportunities to explore the implications of their faith more fully." Thank you Daniel and thank you Walt.

Better an honest non-believer

But yes, if an individual believes we exist simply by chance that's their right but I wouldn't trust them to lead a nation. Yes that's discrimination. Oh well.

There are plenty of non-believers I'd rather have as President than many people in both parties who publicly profess their belief in Christ while showing no practical faith in either God's providence or his commands to take special care of the widow, orphan and alien in our midst.At worst, you get a nonbeliever who acts the same way our current politicians do, but the public perception of Christianity doesn't suffer for it. At best, you get someone committed to truth and evidence in public life - sort of like Carl Sagan and public policy is better for it.Professed faith is NO guarantee of trustworthiness. Just look at Robert Philip Hanssen, a conservative, church-going Catholic who sold us out to Russia. Or maybe self-professed Russian Orthodox Christian Vladimir Putin who is leading his country away from democracy.In this life, I'd much rather judge someone by his or her walk than talk. That's what we should do in the voting booth.

Re:Better an honest non-believer

If they're walking down athiest avenue I still ain't voting for them.

Re:Better an honest non-believer

Two more questions for you:1) Does it matter which god or gods a person believes in, as long as it is greater than oneself?2) What is it about religious belief that makes any religious person a better leader than any agnostic? I say agnostic, because I hold that pure atheism is a religion of its own. It implies that there is NO possibility of ANY god, not even a cosmic watchmaker who otherwise leaves creation alone. That to me is a statement without proof and thus a religious faith.

Re:Better an honest non-believer

1. Of course it matters. Someone who thinks the sun is Apollo's chariot is not playing with a full deck. And a Buddhist would automatically be a pacifist yes? Not a good quality for the leader of the free world.

2. An agnostic is someone who can't make up their mind. Also not a good quality for the leader of the free world.

Re:Better an honest non-believer

Boy, Greg, the world really is black and white, isn't it?

The possibility that an agnostic might honestly feel that it's impossible for a person to know whether there is or is not a God would never occur to you.

Or is it imperative that people "make up their minds" whether they have any basis to do so or not?

Never mind; I think I know the answer. If I just break life down into small enough chunks and ignore all ambiguities, I'll have the comfort of knowing that everything really is black and white. Too bad I'm too old and too set in my ways to adopt such a simplistic mindset.

(Daniel: I agree that atheism is a religion of sorts. It is a belief.)

Re:Better an honest non-believer

No the world isn't black and white but the question revolves around a specific situation. There are many people who are very late in life when they finally decide one way or the other and there are many people due to extreme circumstances who jump back and forth. But we're talking about how to view the President of the United States. Do I expect them to have all the answers? Absolutely not. But I expect them to be serious enough about who they are to have taken the time to reflect and then decide on what comes down to a very specfic question that is based entirely on faith. Is there a God? I'm not asking whether they're "dunkers or sprinklers" to quote the Beverly Hillbillies but just that one specific question. It doesn't speak badly of someone if they say they don't know, I'm just not going to vote for them for President.

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