Secular Views


CHRISTIAN RIGHT
FREETHINKERS
RELIGION


“Skepticism is the highest duty and blind faith the one unpardonable sin.” -- Thomas Henry Huxley, M.D., Essays on Controversial Questions (1889)


Secular

Freethinkers

Secular Coalition For America lobby group

Texas Secular Coalition

The Free Thought Project

"It is hard to believe that George W. Bush has ever read the works of George Orwell, but he seems, somehow, to have grasped a few Orwellian precepts. The lesson the President has learned best--and certainly the one that has been the most useful to him--is the axiom that if you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it. One of his Administration's current favorites is the whopper about America having been founded on Christian principles. Our nation was founded not on Christian principles but on Enlightenment ones...

"Our constitution makes no mention whatever of God. The omission was too obvious to have been anything but deliberate...

"In the eighty-five essays that make up The Federalist, God is mentioned only twice (both times by Madison, who uses the word, as Gore Vidal has remarked, in the "only heaven knows" sense). In the Declaration of Independence, He gets two brief nods: a reference to "the Laws of Nature and Nature's God," and the famous line about men being "endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights." More blatant official references to a deity date from long after the founding period: "In God We Trust" did not appear on our coinage until the Civil War, and "under God" was introduced into the Pledge of Allegiance during the McCarthy hysteria in 1954...

"IN 1797 our government concluded a "Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the United States of America and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli, or Barbary," now known simply as the Treaty of Tripoli. Article 11 of the treaqty contains these words:

"As the Government of the United States... is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion--as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquillity of Musselmen--and as the said State never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

"This document was endorsed by Secretary of State Timothy Pickering and President John Adams. It was then sent to the Senate for ratification; the vote was unanimous. It is worth pointing out that although this was the 339th time a recorded vote had been required by the Senate, it was only the third unanimous vote in the Senate's history. There is no record of debate or dissent...

The Founding Fathers were not religious men, and they fought hard to erect, in Thomas Jefferson's words, "a wall of separation between church and state."...

"...the key Founding Fathers were not Christians at all. Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and Tom Paine were deists... [as were] John Adams... George Washington and James Madison...

"Madison believed that "religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprize." He spoke of the "almost fifteen centuries" during which Christianity had been on trial: "What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution"...

"Tom Paine [was a] deist in the tradition of Voltaire... The Age of Reason, his virulent attack on Christianity. In it he railed against the "obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness" of the Old Testament, "a history of wickedness, that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind." The New Testament is less brutalizing but more absurd... a "fable"...

"...the Machiavellian principle that if one aspires to influence the masses, one must at least profess religious sentiments... "A man compounded of law and gospel is able to cheat a whole country with his religion and then destroy them under color of law"...

"...Jefferson... the Revelation of St. John he dismissed as "the ravings of a maniac."... [Jefferson] was a secular humanist... note his respect... for the sensibilities of the "infidel"...

"John Adams... "This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!"...

"Like Jefferson, every recent President has understood the necessity of at least paying lip service to the piety of most American voters... But there is a difference between offering this gesture of respect for majority beliefs and manipulating and pandering to the bigotry, prejudice and millennial fantasies of Christian extremists" (Brooke Allen. "Our Godless Constitution." The Nation, Feb. 21, 2005: 14-20).


“Faith and knowledge are related as the two scales of balance; when the one goes up, the other goes down. . . . The power of religious dogma, when inculcated early, is such as to stifle conscience, compassion, and finally every feeling of humanity. . . . For, as you know, religions are like glow worms; they shine only when it's dark. A certain amount of ignorance is the condition of all religions, the element in which alone they can exist. ” (Arthur Schopenhauer, Parerga and Paralipomena (1851), cited in http://www.ffrf.org/day/, 2-22-05).


"No institution in modern civilization is so tyrannical and so unjust to woman as is the Christian Church. It demands everything from her and gives her nothing in return.” (Josephine K. Henry, letter responding to Frances Willard's praise of the bible. Published in the Appendix of The Woman's Bible, 1897.)


“Toward no crimes have men shown themselves so cold-bloodedly cruel as in punishing differences of belief.” (James Russell Lowell, Literary Essays, Witchcraft, Vol. II, p. 374 (1891)).


“Gullibility and credulity are considered undesirable qualities in every department of human life--except religion. . . . Why are we praised by godly men for surrendering our 'godly gift' of reason when we cross their mental thresholds? . . . . Atheism strikes me as morally superior, as well as intellectually superior, to religion. Since it is obviously inconceivable that all religions can be right, the most reasonable conclusion is that they are all wrong.” (Christopher Hitchens, "The Lord and the Intellectuals," Harper's (July 1982), cited by James A. Haught in 2,000 Years of Disbelief (1996).)


Colby Glass, MLIS