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David Hegg: Our freedom of speech is being taken away

Posted: June 15, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: June 15, 2014 2:00 a.m.
 

One of our most necessary freedoms as Americans is the freedom of speech, as protected in the Bill of Rights. Yet, today, while much is being shouted and written supporting this prized privilege, the fact is the freedom to speak is being taken away.

I’m talking about the cultural phenomenon called debate. Given that issues in an ever-changing culture will arise with the potential for deep societal division, debate is necessary as the vehicle for an informed populace. Debates are where issues are intentionally granted the floor as proponents of various views throw out their best arguments with the understanding that their back and forth nature provides the public the opportunity to determine which view should hold sway.

But today debate is being marginalized, ridiculed, and stifled by those who refuse to tolerate opposing views. And yes, I said tolerate, and I use it in its original meaning of “putting up with those we think are wrong.” Tolerance presupposes disagreement, and speaks to the advisability of granting our opponents the right to be heard, regardless of how wrong we may feel them to be.

But those who have worked hard to redefine “tolerance” have done a masterful job. Tolerance is now equivalent to acceptance. To disagree on an issue is now paramount to prejudice or worse. And the upstart of all this is that real, robust debate on issues of social and political importance is becoming a thing of the past out of fear that opposition to a cultural trend will cost you your job, and perhaps your freedom.

Consequently, we as a public are deprived of the best arguments in favor of traditional marriage, intelligent design as a possible answer for our very existence, the existence of God, and a whole host of other issues. If the growing army of secular, materialistic elitists has its way none of these issues will ever be given proper consideration. The freedom to speak about the evidence supporting countercultural views is being taken away in astounding ways.

The latest cover of Time magazine presents yet another area that should be open to spirited debate. It is the issue of trangenderism. The fact is that those wishing to change the physical properties of their birth gender do so primarily based on a subjective feeling that the gender assigned them by the process of conception and growth in the womb is all wrong. My greatest concern here, besides the obvious relegation of God’s creative purposes to the trash bin, is that there are already laws and mandates being prepared that will force citizens to consider the subjective as a better grounds of reality than the objective evidence of the body. Based on a person’s feelings about their gender, we may have to allow a boy to use the girls’ restroom in our school, for example. But once we grant that one person’s feelings create the public’s reality we’re in huge trouble.

And perhaps equally troubling, it is already considered hate speech by many to state that those engaging in surgeries to alter the physical appearance of their sexual apparatus are just flat out wrong. I believe we owe those we oppose the tolerance that flows from an understanding that all life is valuable. But this tolerance reserves the right to speak firmly against the faulty reasoning, and negative consequences that flow from an intrinsically wrong belief system.

So there you have it. The nation in which free speech has always been considered a bedrock essential to freedom is the same nation that is now heaping reprisal on any who dare debate issues of social importance. But, if we look closely at our history, it was debate that hammered out the values that form the foundation of our democracy.

Point and counterpoint are not our enemies. Our enemy is the idea that only one view can be tolerated, which really isn’t tolerance at all. May God bless the America where opinions are valued, opposition is tolerated, and truth wins the day.

David Hegg is a senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church and a Santa Clarita resident. “Ethically Speaking” runs Sundays in The Signal.

Comments

stevehw: Posted: June 15, 2014 9:45 a.m.

Here's what Jesus said about transgendered people:


BrianBaker: Posted: June 15, 2014 9:52 a.m.

"Transgendered"?

To paraphrase the Capital One commercial, "What's in YOUR undies?"


therightstuff: Posted: June 15, 2014 2:17 p.m.

Here's what Jesus said about global warming:


tech: Posted: June 15, 2014 2:53 p.m.

Here's what Jesus said about mobile OS user experience:


tech: Posted: June 15, 2014 2:54 p.m.

Here's what Jesus said about Coke vs Pepsi:


tech: Posted: June 15, 2014 2:55 p.m.

Here's what Jesus said about changing your oil every 3,000 miles:


BrianBaker: Posted: June 15, 2014 3:57 p.m.

Hahahaha!


stevehw: Posted: June 15, 2014 4:48 p.m.

Careful there...your bigotry is showing again.


BrianBaker: Posted: June 15, 2014 5:24 p.m.

Really?

Wouldn't that be God's "bigotry"?

He's the one who loaded all our undies with actual genitals.

If He wanted to create something that's actually a "transgender", wouldn't he have loaded the tighty-whiteys with something that contains both sets of "organs", or neither set, or something completely different?


LOL!

Thanks for your contribution there, stevie. You're my perfect straight man.

Oh... wait... can I say "straight" man?




Hahahahaha.
.
.
--edited.


Indy: Posted: June 15, 2014 7:26 p.m.

Therightstuff wrote: Here's what Jesus said about global warming:

Indy: The poster makes a good point in that at the time of the Bible being written, people thought the ‘earth was flat’.

Thus, the knowledge of our world was very very very small and the development of science had really just begun.

But today we have the modern technology that the Bible writers couldn’t have understood or comprehended with their limited knowledge.

The basic human parables contained in the Bible are no doubt similar to ours of the modern era but many of the ideas of ancient people are simply not applicable to the modern world.

So indeed, ancient people’s couldn’t have imagined the ability of humans today to build ‘monster machines’ that mine coal, or drill in 5,000 deep water or drill tens of thousands of feet below the earth surface to capture oil and gas.

Nor could they understand ‘basic chemistry’ beyond perhaps fire, earth, air and water.

So to insinuate that Jesus could have addressed climate change is simply not the case.


tech: Posted: June 15, 2014 8:03 p.m.

Indy, you exhibit a consistent lack of intellect that's reflected in your inability to recognize humor.

I'll break it down for you. The humorous posts reflect that Jesus didn't say anything about a myriad of topics.

As to your "Flat Earth" assertion:

"He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in." - Isaiah 40:22

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myth_of_the_Flat_Earth

For someone who professes modernity, you spout a plethora of mythology.


ricketzz: Posted: June 16, 2014 6:33 a.m.

A person should not have to live a messed up life because someone else is afraid of insulting an imaginary and jealous cloud being.

Tech, when was the last time you watched Spencer Tracy and Frederick March having this chat?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZWAtY2vShM


tech: Posted: June 16, 2014 8:15 a.m.

Ricketzz, your post is misdirected towards me. I was providing historical context to dispel Indy's mythology.


stevehw: Posted: June 16, 2014 10:15 a.m.

"Point and counterpoint are not our enemies. "

True. *Ignorance* is the "enemy" (if you want to call it that). Ignorance like thinking a magical sky ghost waved his noodly appendage and mysteriously created the world.

"we as a public are deprived of the best arguments in favor of traditional marriage, intelligent design as a possible answer for our very existence, the existence of God, and a whole host of other issues."

Nobody is being deprived of anything. And to top it off, there really ARE no good arguments for "traditional marriage" other than "my religion says that's the way it has to be". Or for ID, other than the same "my religion says that's the way it was". Or the existence of God, other than "that's what I believe".

And isn't Hegg free to spout all the non-factual stuff he wants to every Sunday in his church?

That he wants to promote intolerance is his right, of course. Just don't expect us to treat his bigoted views with any respect.


17trillion: Posted: June 16, 2014 10:36 a.m.

Isn't it odd how much liberals embrace people who think they should have a vagina instead of a penis or vice versa and yet mock anyone who thinks there is a higher power as being delusional?

Which is more absurd:

I think I'll be a woman today instead of a man because my penis and lack of breasts is doing me irreparable harm.

There are things science can't explain so I choose to believe in a higher power than man.

I think it's obvious which statement is more loony and I'm an atheist.


stevehw: Posted: June 16, 2014 10:59 a.m.

"There are things science can't explain so I choose to believe in a higher power than man."

Precisely. Ignorance. "I don't understand this, therefore, it's magic."

"I think it's obvious which statement is more loony and I'm an atheist. "

Ummmm...you believe in a "higher power", but you're an atheist? You do know the definition of "atheist", right?


17trillion: Posted: June 16, 2014 11:17 a.m.

Can you read Steve? I said "which statement is more absurd". If I said Hitler was great or cancer is the best, which is more absurd, that wouldn't necessarily mean I embrace Hitler or cancer. I do NOT believe in a higher power but I think if I did it would be far less absurd than me wanting a vagina and breasts just because I "feel" like a woman. Sheesh, it's no wonder people can't speak with you given your frequent lack of comprehension.

Do I know the definition of an atheist? Give me a break.....


therightstuff: Posted: June 16, 2014 11:29 a.m.

"""Ignorance like thinking a magical sky ghost waved his noodly appendage and mysteriously created the world."""

Right. Because if dead matter is left alone, it does not deteriorate or decompose, it actually becomes much more complex. Geez...talk about ignorance.


therightstuff: Posted: June 16, 2014 11:32 a.m.

"""And isn't Hegg free to spout all the non-factual stuff he wants to every Sunday in his church?"""

It is not factual because....Steve's religion says it is.


Lotus8: Posted: June 16, 2014 11:35 a.m.

You are really not presenting this in the proper light. REMI provides modeling software that is used by its paying customers (consulting firms, government agencies, universities, etc.) to assess the impact of certain actions such as a new business hiring 100 employees in a city or a new tax being implemented. REMI doesn't do the study, its customers play with the model's inputs and then come up with a set of inputs that get the model to put out a result that they then publicize. We don't really know the exact inputs used by whomever came up with these results so that we can assess how realistic those are, yet you are selling this here as some authoritative study that is concrete evidence of the genius of the proposed program.

People who create surveys can craft questions in order to get a better result that they then take public. In the same way, the validity of the inputs to the REMI model can likewise be tweaked.

Just thought it necessary to clear that up.


Lotus8: Posted: June 16, 2014 11:40 a.m.

sorry...the stupid site posted this on the wrong article...carry on...


stevehw: Posted: June 16, 2014 11:41 a.m.

17...You're right, I misread your post. My apologies.

TRS...again demonstrating complete ignorance of even the basics of evolution (not to mention cosmology).


stevehw: Posted: June 16, 2014 11:43 a.m.

'"""And isn't Hegg free to spout all the non-factual stuff he wants to every Sunday in his church?"""

It is not factual because....Steve's religion says it is.'

No, it's not factual because it's not based on facts. (I'm sure we'll here the old canard about "science is a religion" again now).


therightstuff: Posted: June 16, 2014 12:51 p.m.

Poor Steve, he hates it when the same logic he uses to pre-judge others is turned on him but it's fun to watch.

Rather than try to explain how he believes dead matter becomes more complex if left to itself, he just spews personal insults. And no, true science is not religion - just your personal 'brand' of science consisting of dumb-luck theories.

Some believe the computer I'm posting on was created. Some believe it built itself. Which is the canard? Which would require more faith?

You don't have to answer. We know.


stevehw: Posted: June 16, 2014 1:10 p.m.

" dead matter becomes more complex if left to itself,"

IF left to itself. Which it's not. Go look outside. See that big glowing thing in the sky? Modern scientists call that "the sun" and have figured out that it gives off energy which things on this planet can use.


stevehw: Posted: June 16, 2014 1:18 p.m.

"Some believe the computer I'm posting on was created. Some believe it built itself. Which is the canard? Which would require more faith?"

Not a valid analogy to evolution. Evolution proceeds via changes to existing structures, not from assembly of individual components.


therightstuff: Posted: June 16, 2014 5:22 p.m.

"""IF left to itself. Which it's not."""

Right...it had to be given life from somewhere. This is where red-faced evolutionists jump off the bus with the excuse..."uhhhh....we never said where life came from, only how think it might have evolved." So laughable!

"""Not a valid analogy to evolution."""

Right again. Comparing a simple computer to the incredible human body makes the dumb-luck theory of evolution require even MORE faith. At some point you need to be honest with yourself.


hopeful: Posted: June 16, 2014 6:16 p.m.

stevenhw wrote: "True. *Ignorance* is the "enemy" (if you want to call it that). Ignorance like thinking a magical sky ghost waved his noodly appendage and mysteriously created the world."

What I don't understand is how you think you are being tolerant or less hateful than the ones you accuse? How is your claim that EVERYONE, who believes in God is "ignorant" any less-hateful than someone saying that homosexuality is a choice that shouldn't be officially recognized or sanctioned?


stevehw: Posted: June 16, 2014 6:56 p.m.

Once again, *Evolution* doesn't make any claims about how life began. It never has. It's not an "excuse" any more than any other scientific discipline not making a claim outside of its own arena.

There *are* many hypotheses on how life began, and its an active area of scientific investigation. One thing is for sure, though...it didn't happen by magic, which is what your argument is. Basically, you're saying that because we currently don't *know* how life began, it must have been magic. Then you take it a step further, and assert that because we don't *know* how life began, Evolution (which deals with the evolution of life *after* it began) must be wrong, because...well, there's no logical connection there.

So let's see...I'm right that your analogy is invalid, and somehow that means...what, exactly?

Lastly...this "dumb-luck" idea you have is about as wrong as can be. Evolution is *not* random, but you're too stuck on believing in magic to understand why that's the case, anyway.

And that's part of the problem I have with religion...it *completely* closes peoples' minds to the use of rationality, reason and logical thought, and makes them replace it with myth, superstition and irrationality.


hopeful: Posted: June 16, 2014 7:27 p.m.

So, what you are saying, stevenhw, is that I MUST accept that God didn't create the earth because you say so (or atheist scientists say so, without any proof), otherwise, if I don't accept this, I am ignorant.

That is NO different than me saying that you are ignorant because you believe that people are born gay (no proof), that homosexuality isn't a choice (no proof), and because of that, your "inherent rights" are being denied because you or your gay friends aren't accepted and you are denied the "right" to marry based solely on YOUR beliefs (no proof).

Granted, I have already publicly stated numerous times on this site that I agree that you should have the same rights as I have, but you just can't extend that same respect to me, or others who believe in God. Instead you spread YOUR hate and bigotry, without seeing your own hypocrisy.

big·ot·ry: noun
bigoted attitudes; intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself.

in·tol·er·ance:
noun
unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behavior that differ from one's own.
"a struggle against religious intolerance"


stevehw: Posted: June 16, 2014 7:57 p.m.

" what you are saying, stevenhw, is that I MUST accept that God didn't create the earth because you say so (or atheist scientists say so, without any proof), otherwise, if I don't accept this, I am ignorant."

I'm saying that science (it doesn't matter if the scientists are atheists, devout Christians, Buddhists, whatever), the most rigorous method of investigating the natural world ever developed, relying on observations, rational thought, critique and reason, has an explanation for the formation of the solar system (you did mention "the earth", so let's stick to that) which is consistent with observation, data, physics, etc., and doesn't rely on magic.

So when you just say "that's wrong!", and your alternative "explanation" is "magic!"...yes, that's ignorant in my opinion.

Believe *anything you want*, that's your right. Just don't use *your* beliefs to impose your ideas on others (yours isn't the only religion, you know...it's entirely possible that yours is 100% wrong).


stevehw: Posted: June 16, 2014 7:59 p.m.

" you believe that people are born gay (no proof), that homosexuality isn't a choice (no proof), "

Were you born straight, or did you make a choice?


tech: Posted: June 16, 2014 8:40 p.m.

I wouldn't ignore biology, Steve. Mammalian reproduction is heterosexual.


therightstuff: Posted: June 16, 2014 8:43 p.m.

Steve: """"And that's part of the problem I have with religion...it *completely* closes peoples' minds to the use of rationality, reason and logical thought"""

And that's part of the problem I have with evolution...it *completely* closes peoples' minds to the use of rationality, reason and logical thought.

I've put my faith in intelligent design. You've put your faith in matter evolving from nothing. Which sounds more rational, reasonable or logical?

You can't explain how life began so it must have happened entirely by itself. How is this not magic? (This is the part where you default to the canard that your scientists are smarter than my scientists)


hopeful: Posted: June 16, 2014 8:58 p.m.

stevenhw wrote: "Believe *anything you want*, that's your right. Just don't use *your* beliefs to impose your ideas on others (yours isn't the only religion, you know...it's entirely possible that yours is 100% wrong)."

I don't use my beliefs to impose on others, nor do I call people, who don't believe as I do, ignorant. Unlike you, I keep an open mind, and I am rational, reasonable and logical. That is one, among other differences between you and me...I am tolerant and try to love others as I am called to do.


stevehw: Posted: June 17, 2014 9:23 p.m.

trs...make up your mind. Do you want to talk evolution, abiogenesis, or cosmology? Because you *continually* get the three all mixed up.

When you figure out which one you want to discuss, let me know.

hopeful...keeping an open mind is not the same as believing in magic, which is all that a belief in "intelligent design" (aka, creationism) is. If someone said to you that they believe the earth is flat, or that bigfoot exists, or UFOs are abducting people and experimenting on them, do you think that "keeping an open mind" to their ideas is rational?

This is a variant on the "teach the controversy" claim. In *science*, there IS NO CONTROVERSY over evolution. None. It'd be like saying "teach the controversy about relativity" (or electromagnetism, or quantum mechanics, or heliocentrism).


stevehw: Posted: June 17, 2014 9:25 p.m.

"You've put your faith in matter evolving from nothing."

(Aside from the usual misuse of the word "faith"), what if I told you that matter can and does, in fact, arise from nothing?


hopeful: Posted: June 17, 2014 9:54 p.m.

stevenhw wrote: "hopeful...keeping an open mind is not the same as believing in magic, which is all that a belief in "intelligent design" (aka, creationism) is."

For someone, who professes to be intelligent, rational, and logical, I am surprised you can't grasp the idea of tolerance. You, of all people, should understand that tolerance doesn't necessarily mean that you agree, or must believe the same way someone else does. However, someone, who is tolerant accepts that others believe differently than they do. A tolerant person respects others, and a tolerant person does not mock the beliefs of others.

If you want people to be tolerant of your beliefs, then I suggest you try to be tolerant of theirs. At this point, you have proven yourself to be just an intolerant and bigoted as those you accuse.


stevehw: Posted: June 17, 2014 10:19 p.m.

Let me ask you this...do you believe that you should tolerate, with equal reverence, any and all viewpoints and beliefs?


ricketzz: Posted: June 17, 2014 6:27 a.m.

People who get hung up talking about gay sex over and over might as well be wearing an "I have sexual identity issues" t-shirt.


hopeful: Posted: June 17, 2014 8:01 a.m.

stevenhw wrote: "Let me ask you this...do you believe that you should tolerate, with equal reverence, any and all viewpoints and beliefs?"

I am not the one calling others ignorant, intolerant or bigoted. I am also not the one criticizing others for doing the exact same thing I do.

I believe strongly in our Constitution that states, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Therefore, I believe that as long as one person or group is not intruding on the rights of another person or group, then all should live according to their own personal set of beliefs. Naturally, I will not always agree with and embrace everyone else's choices and lifestyle, just like you don't agree with and embrace my choices and lifestyle. However, I do not think my beliefs should dictate how everyone else must live, nor do I believe your beliefs should dictate how everyone lives.


stevehw: Posted: June 17, 2014 8:33 a.m.

You didn't answer my question...do you believe that YOU should tolerate, with equal reverence, ANY and ALL viewpoints and beliefs.

I didn't ask about you living according to your personal beliefs, or whether someone's choices would "intrude" on your rights.

I asked about *beliefs* and *viewpoints*.

To follow up on your last paragraph, though, and perhaps turn it on its head...how do you feel about beliefs which someone *does* try to impose on others, such as putting their religion in public schools, or opposing marriage equality for others because of their religion?


stevehw: Posted: June 17, 2014 8:49 a.m.

BTW...that's the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution.


17trillion: Posted: June 17, 2014 8:51 a.m.

"opposing marriage equality for others because of their religion?"

Opposition can only impose upon you if you allow it to. That is your choice.


stevehw: Posted: June 17, 2014 8:52 a.m.

WHAT? You mean those laws are only imposed if we "allow" them to? Funny, I always thought you had to obey the law even if you disagreed with it.


hopeful: Posted: June 17, 2014 9:06 a.m.

stevenhw wrote: "You didn't answer my question...do you believe that YOU should tolerate, with equal reverence, ANY and ALL viewpoints and beliefs."

I did answer your question, and I do tolerate other beliefs. I have answered this many times on this site, and I have been one of the religious conservatives on this site arguing FOR your rights to marry.

stevenhw wrote: "how do you feel about beliefs which someone *does* try to impose on others, such as putting their religion in public schools, or opposing marriage equality for others because of their religion?"

As we have discussed numerous times on this site, I think it is wrong for one person and their beliefs to dictate how others must live. That is why I support your right to marry. Now, regarding religion in public schools, if you give me a specific instance in which you see that a particular religion is being pushed on others, I can comment on that, but I haven't seen how religion is being pushed on students in public schools. In fact, when I was a college student, I saw the exact opposite when my American History Professor went on a 20 minute atheist rant, mocking and belittling anyone who would believe in God.


17trillion: Posted: June 17, 2014 9:09 a.m.

Assuming I oppose gay marriage, how does this alter your life one way or the other? If my opposition to this changes your life, then that's your problem. To oppose a law does not equate to ignoring it. I oppose Obama but he's still the president.


stevehw: Posted: June 17, 2014 9:21 a.m.

"Now, regarding religion in public schools, if you give me a specific instance in which you see that a particular religion is being pushed on others, I can comment on that"

Lane v Sabine Parish


hopeful: Posted: June 17, 2014 9:41 a.m.

stevehw: "Lane v Sabine Parish"

I agree 100% with the ACLU in this case, and I think it is appalling that a teacher would bully a child in that way.


stevehw: Posted: June 17, 2014 9:47 a.m.

"Assuming I oppose gay marriage, how does this alter your life one way or the other? If my opposition to this changes your life, then that's your problem. To oppose a law does not equate to ignoring it. "

When it's opposed by religions which then codify their beliefs in law, that's pretty effective at "altering" other peoples' lives, wouldn't you say?


stevehw: Posted: June 17, 2014 9:53 a.m.

Anderson v Chesterfield County School District

I can come up with these cases ALL DAY LONG.


hopeful: Posted: June 17, 2014 10:01 a.m.

stevehw: "Anderson v Chesterfield County School District. I can come up with these cases ALL DAY LONG."

So what is your point? I answered your questions, did you not like my answers or something? You might be able to come up with cases ALL DAY LONG, and if they are like the first case you mentioned, then my answer will be the same.


therightstuff: Posted: June 17, 2014 10:07 a.m.

"""trs...make up your mind. Do you want to talk evolution, abiogenesis, or cosmology? Because you *continually* get the three all mixed up."""

Pretty lame defense, Steve, even for you. However, I'm happy to debate all of your faith positions any time and on any level.


stevehw: Posted: June 17, 2014 10:14 a.m.

hopeful...and what about all the attempts to get creationism taught in science classes? Isn't THAT pushing religion on students?

trs...nice dodge. You didn't answer my question. We'll start with that. What if I told you that matter can and does arise from nothing, all the time?

This is basic physics, and fundamental to certain aspects of cosmology.

What would you say?


therightstuff: Posted: June 17, 2014 10:16 a.m.

hopeful: """So what is your point?"""

Ahhh, great question for Steve. I've been in search of this for a couple years now so if you figure it out, please let me know. Steve is a very typical and predictable atheist. He has no point other than to argue. Guys like Steve think it's important that other people know what they DON'T believe in which I find highly entertaining. They also like to use big words to make you think they're smarter than you so you'll back down in a debate. I think they teach that schtick at Atheist Debating School. The truth is, they're using faith just like everyone else. The only difference is they either don't have the intellectual integrity to admit it or they are truly clueless. In Steve's case, I think it's a little of both.


stevehw: Posted: June 17, 2014 10:16 a.m.

"I agree 100% with the ACLU in this case, and I think it is appalling that a teacher would bully a child in that way. "

Even if the child wasn't bullied or mistreated as he was, you agree that religion should not be taught or promoted in a public school, right?


stevehw: Posted: June 17, 2014 10:31 a.m.

My point was quite simple. Hopeful said

"I don't use my beliefs to impose on others"

I just wanted to find out if that's actually true or not, because it's a common *statement*, but far less often actually the case (anti-marriage equality being but one example; creationism in schools is another one).


stevehw: Posted: June 17, 2014 10:33 a.m.

"I'm happy to debate all of your faith positions any time and on any level. "

Followed immediately by a full paragraph of nothing but character attacks. Hardly "debate" on *any* level.


hopeful: Posted: June 17, 2014 1:53 p.m.

stevehw wrote: "Even if the child wasn't bullied or mistreated as he was, you agree that religion should not be taught or promoted in a public school, right?"

This is a loaded question and one in which there is no one right answer. In some cases, religion must be taught. For instance, when 6th grade students are being taught ancient history, there is no way to teach that subject appropriately without discussing Jewish, Muslim, Christian, along with other religious beliefs, within the context of the subject matter.

I do believe that public schools should not promote one religion over another, if that is what you are asking.


stevehw: Posted: June 17, 2014 2:08 p.m.

That's not the sort of teaching religion we're talking about, and I'm certain you know that. Teaching about history of religion, comparative religion, religion in art, etc., is not the issue. That's always been perfectly legal and constitutional, as I'm sure you're aware.

I'm asking about teaching (promoting) a religion. Do you agree that religion should not be taught/promoted in public schools?

E.g., let's take a real case, where the teacher's manual says personnel are to "embrace every opportunity to inculcate, by precept and example, the practice of every Christian virtue."


hopeful: Posted: June 17, 2014 2:13 p.m.

stevehw wrote: "hopeful...and what about all the attempts to get creationism taught in science classes? Isn't THAT pushing religion on students?"

I believe science should be taught in science classes. However, when discussing the creation of the world, there is nothing wrong with a science teacher explaining that while some people believe God created the earth, the class discussion will revolve around scientific theories and possible explanations because the students are in a science class. If a student then tries to discuss his or her faith or belief that God created the earth, the teacher can respectfully suggest that the student discuss that with his or her parents or religious leader, but then repeat that because the class is a science class, they must stick with scientific theories.

Now, from what you have pointed out, there are some public teachers that are trying to impose their views on their students. I have already agreed that it is wrong of them to do that. Unfortunately, you seem to only see it as a problem with Christian teachers, but it happens the other way around too. Are you just as upset when atheist teachers try to impose their beliefs on students? Are you just as upset when liberal teachers try to impose their political beliefs on their students?


stevehw: Posted: June 17, 2014 2:21 p.m.

" Are you just as upset when atheist teachers try to impose their beliefs on students?"

Yes, believe it or not. It's not appropriate to teach either belief or non-belief in a *public* school.

I would be interested in seeing citations to actual incidents of this.

"Are you just as upset when liberal teachers try to impose their political beliefs on their students? "

Well, it depends...is it a political science class? At what grade? High school? College? Grad school?

Believe it or not, I had some seriously right-wing professors in a few courses (American Military History comes immediately to mind). But they were very open to dialogue and debate, and never denigrated the opposing view or person (quite unlike what we see from a lot of people here).


stevehw: Posted: June 17, 2014 2:23 p.m.

" there is nothing wrong with a science teacher explaining that while some people believe God created the earth, the class discussion will revolve around scientific theories and possible explanations because the students are in a science class."

So do you believe that intelligent design should *not* be taught as a possible explanation?

You didn't *quite* answer my question. I just want to be crystal clear in understanding your position.


hopeful: Posted: June 17, 2014 2:24 p.m.

stevehw wrote: "E.g., let's take a real case, where the teacher's manual says personnel are to "embrace every opportunity to inculcate, by precept and example, the practice of every Christian virtue."

I would have thought by now that you would know my answer from all the postings I have made on this subject. But to make it as clear as possible for you, NO, public school teachers should not try to "inculcate" or try to persuade students to believe how the teacher believes.

No public school student (including college-age students) should be forced to listen to their teacher's religious, anti-religious, political, social, or other personal beliefs.


stevehw: Posted: June 17, 2014 3:06 p.m.

"No public school student (including college-age students) should be forced to listen to their teacher's religious, anti-religious, political, social, or other personal beliefs. "

I'm generally in agreement with you for public schools through the high school level. I disagree when it comes to college students, for a few reasons: 1. Academic freedom should allow them to discuss their beliefs with students, 2. In many fields, their beliefs are related to their research interests, so they are part of the discussion itself, 3. college students can generally be considered more mature and *should be* by that age capable of reasoning about the professor's beliefs, 4. college is not required, and many classes are electives, so there are a lot of ways to avoid hearing what a professor has to say if you don't like it.

The biggest two arguments from my perspective are the age and maturity (in theory) of the students by the time they reach college, and the concept of academic freedom in a university setting.


stevehw: Posted: June 17, 2014 3:07 p.m.

I'll give this another shot, in the hopes that you're not purposefully avoiding answering:

So do you believe that intelligent design should *not* be taught as a possible explanation?


hopeful: Posted: June 17, 2014 3:52 p.m.

stevehw wrote: "I'm generally in agreement with you for public schools through the high school level. I disagree when it comes to college students, for a few reasons"

I disagree with you when it comes to college-age students for a few reasons.

1) I personally was subjected to a professor's rant that came out of the blue, and was not prompted by any content or subject matter discussed in the class. There was NO way to know ahead of time, and there was No way to not be forced to listen to his rant, short of walking out of the class at that time. If I chose to walk out, my grade could have potentially be affected, and as an "A" student, that was not something I was willing to consider.

2) Throughout my college days, I learned very quickly that I had to write from one prospective to please my professor, even if I didn't believe the same way. When my son went off to college, I warned him about the same thing, but like most kids, he didn't believe me until he got his first "F" for writing from a politically conservative stance. Granted, even if he didn't heed my warning, he should have known better once he read these comments about the assignment from his professor: " The United States Presidential election of 2008 was held on November 4, 2008. This election determined that Senator Barack Obama received the majority of votes...This was such an exciting time to be an American voter! Everyone felt like his/her vote was going to count: a single vote meant something. Our voices were heard...So now is your chance to pay attention to the world at large and to pay attention to President Obama...

3) I don't think any student should have to listen to his or her professor's personal beliefs...do you honestly think it would be right for a gay college student to have to listen to a professor rant against homosexuality? College is a place to learn and explore, but anyone with authority (teacher in this case) should not try to impose their own personal beliefs on their blind-sided students.


Stevehw wrote: "So do you believe that intelligent design should *not* be taught as a possible explanation?"

I already answered that question (see my comment at 2:13 pm above). Of course, if you need me to add, what I believe is a redundant word to make it easier for you to comprehend what I said, here you go: "the class discussion will revolve around scientific theories and possible [scientific] explanations because the students are in a science class.


stevehw: Posted: June 17, 2014 8:23 p.m.

Well, college courses are quite a bit different, and intellectual give-and-take should be expected. Of course, outright berating of a student or failure to engage in meaningful dialog shouldn't be accepted, and much of the discussion would depend on the course and the context there. Colleges and universities also have a number of methods of ensuring that doesn't happen or correcting it if it does. Is it perfect? No, but I think by and large, the United States post-secondary education system does a pretty good job of teaching people to think, reason, debate their point of view, etc.

Would it be appropriate for, say, a biology professor to start ranting about politics in class? No, of course not. But that's the reason there are student evaluations, annual reviews, etc.

As for the other portion...I guess I'm going to have to ask it outright, since you keep dancing around it, which indicates to me that you know where I'm going here and you're trying to avoid directly addressing it:

Do you believe that intelligent design (creationism) is scientific?


hopeful: Posted: June 17, 2014 8:54 p.m.

stevehw wrote: "As for the other portion...I guess I'm going to have to ask it outright, since you keep dancing around it, which indicates to me that you know where I'm going here and you're trying to avoid directly addressing it:
Do you believe that intelligent design (creationism) is scientific?"

Geeze, I can't believe that I have to keep stating my position in every which way here. I will try this one my time since you seem to be be having a hard time understanding what I have said multiple times here in many different ways...

I do NOT believe that "intelligent design" or "creationism" is scientific. Hello...one position relies on Faith in God, which can not be proven based on the scientific method, which deals with the natural or physical world. The other position relies on science and the scientific method to postulate, prove, or disprove scientific theories dealing with the physical or natural world. The two positions are mutually exclusive, and if you are having a hard time comprehending this answer, look at the definitions below.

A Definition of Science:

The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

A definition of Faith:

Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.


stevehw: Posted: June 18, 2014 9:27 p.m.

I wasn't having a hard time comprehending your answer *with regards to what science is*. I was trying to ascertain whether you believed intelligent design is scientific, which is what ID proponents continually claim so as to attempt to get it taught alongside evolution.

Since you don't believe it is scientific, and therefore shouldn't be taught in science class, we have your answer.

That's all I was getting at. You weren't explicitly stating that you thought ID was NOT science, and it appeared that you were avoiding stating that (which would imply that you did, in fact, believe it was and therefore *should* be taught as an "alternative" scientific explanation). That's all.


hopeful: Posted: June 18, 2014 9:55 p.m.

Believe it or not, stevehw, there are many of us Christ followers, who are intelligent and rational. What may surprise you is that for most of my life, I believed as you did; I was an atheist up until a huge pile of evidence surrounded me from many different directions to the point that I couldn't deny God's existence any longer. I understand and respect that you don't feel the same way I do, but I do hope that you would extend that same respect by trying be tolerant (even when you don't agree) about my beliefs, or the beliefs of others.


stevehw: Posted: June 18, 2014 10:28 p.m.

And I once believed as you do, until I reached the opposite conclusion :)

I respect your beliefs, and I particularly respect your position that they should not be enforced on others by the government. I also appreciate the considerate and polite tone of your posts. I'll do my best to reciprocate!


ricketzz: Posted: June 18, 2014 6:47 a.m.

"The Almighty Lecturer, by displaying the principles of science in the structure of the universe, has invited man to study and to imitation. It is as if He had said to the inhabitants of this globe that we call ours, 'I have made an earth for man to dwell upon, and I have rendered the starry heavens visible, to teach him science and the arts. He can now provide for his own comfort, and learn from my munificence to all to be kind to each other.'""
- Thomas Paine, Age of Reason, Part 1

"The age of ignorance commenced with the Christian system."
- Thomas Paine, Age of Reason, Part 1

"It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so express it, that mental lying has produced in society. When a man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind, as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not believe, he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime."
- Thomas Paine, Age of Reason, Part 1

http://www.deism.com/theageofreason.htm


Indy: Posted: June 19, 2014 7:03 p.m.

Tech wrote: Indy, you exhibit a consistent lack of intellect that's reflected in your inability to recognize humor . . . For someone who professes modernity, you spout a plethora of mythology.

Indy:
“The flat Earth theory was believed by many cultures around the world including Ancient Egyptian and Babylonian cultures as well as China up to the last few hundred years. The flat Earth theory states that the world is a flat disk rather than a sphere. As early as the fourth century B.C. however, philosophers and scientists realized that the Earth was actually a sphere. Aristotle was one Greek philosopher who advocated that Earth was a sphere. This debate has raged on in many cultures throughout the centuries. Now, some believe that most educated people since around the fourth century B.C. and on realized that the Earth was a sphere, and that the belief that the flat earth theory was widespread is just a myth that took root in the 19th century. It is now thought by many, including the Historical Association based in England, that Columbus did not believe the Earth was flat and that this story was merely a myth spread by Washington Irving in his book about Columbus.”

Read more: http://www.universetoday.com/48753/flat-earth-theory/#ixzz358mOhiyy

Or you can check this out: http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/flat/flateart.htm

Indy: The reality is that people back when the Bible was written perhaps couldn’t grasp much of what they saw . . . yet, many today still believe the Bible’s descriptions of things including the earth being around ‘several thousand years old’ is still put forth forcibly by the ‘true believers’.

In any event, the point is that if you base your views on beliefs and not science, you’re not helping anyone . . .


Indy: Posted: June 19, 2014 7:08 p.m.

Therightstuff WROTE: Poor Steve, he hates it when the same logic he uses to pre-judge others is turned on him but it's fun to watch.

Rather than try to explain how he believes dead matter becomes more complex if left to itself, he just spews personal insults. And no, true science is not religion - just your personal 'brand' of science consisting of dumb-luck theories.

Indy: The reality is that ‘matter’ that eventually evolved to a ‘life state’ wasn’t ‘left to itself’.

The ‘forces of nature’ that were present created the environment for life.

Religious believers on the other hand, rather than address this science, are satisfied with the ancient peoples that wrote the Bible . . . even if those folks had little or no real knowledge of science or the universe for that matter.


Indy: Posted: June 19, 2014 7:12 p.m.

Hopeful wrote: stevenhw wrote: "True. *Ignorance* is the "enemy" (if you want to call it that). Ignorance like thinking a magical sky ghost waved his noodly appendage and mysteriously created the world."

What I don't understand is how you think you are being tolerant or less hateful than the ones you accuse? How is your claim that EVERYONE, who believes in God is "ignorant" any less-hateful than someone saying that homosexuality is a choice that shouldn't be officially recognized or sanctioned?

Indy: I agree that stevehw can get a little over the top with the verbiage . . . but the reality is that religion is ‘belief’ based not reality based that comes from science.

You’re still free to believe whatever you want . . . the only caveat I have is that we don’t base ‘public policy’ on beliefs but things that are ‘reproducible’. In other words, have been ‘demonstrated’ to work.

We still have ‘freedom of religion’ in the US that is guaranteed by the Constitution . . .


tech: Posted: June 21, 2014 10:05 a.m.

Indy: The reality is that people back when the Bible was written perhaps couldn’t grasp much of what they saw . . .

Per my link with multiple cites, it was understood the Earth was spherical from the 3rd Century BC and possibly earlier. All the people of antiquity weren't simple rustics as you posit. Nor were their IQs less than modern humans. --edited.


Indy: Posted: June 21, 2014 8:00 p.m.

Tech wrote: Indy: The reality is that people back when the Bible was written perhaps couldn’t grasp much of what they saw . . .

Per my link with multiple cites, it was understood the Earth was spherical from the 3rd Century BC and possibly earlier. All the people of antiquity weren't simple rustics as you posit. Nor were their IQs less than modern humans. --edited.

Indy: In a backhanded manner, you make the case for ‘intellectual superiority’ for the few over the interest of the many . . . did you mean to do that?


tech: Posted: June 22, 2014 10:59 p.m.

Indy: In a backhanded manner, you make the case for ‘intellectual superiority’ for the few over the interest of the many . . . did you mean to do that?

No, nor did I.

Information is hyper-distributed today. It further validates an informed free society that operates locally rather than the dystopic centrally planned rule by technocrats that you frequently advocate. --edited.


ricketzz: Posted: June 22, 2014 8:02 a.m.

" The Sun, as before said, being the centre, the planet or world
nearest the Sun is Mercury; his distance from the Sun is thirty-four
million miles, and he moves round in a circle always at that
distance from the Sun, as a top may be supposed to spin round in the
track in which a horse goes in a mill. The second world is Venus;
she is fifty-seven million miles distant from the Sun, and
consequently moves round in a circle much greater than that of
Mercury. The third world is this that we inhabit, and which is
eighty-eight million miles distant from the Sun, and consequently
moves round in a circle greater than that of Venus. The fourth world
is Mars; he is distant from the Sun one hundred and thirty-four
million miles, and consequently moves round in a circle greater than
that of our earth. The fifth is Jupiter; he is distant from the Sun
five hundred and fifty-seven million miles, and consequently moves
round in a circle greater than that of Mars. The sixth world is
Saturn; he is distant from the Sun seven hundred and sixty-three
million miles, and consequently moves round in a circle that surrounds
the circles, or orbits, of all the other worlds or planets.

The space, therefore, in the air, or in the immensity of space,
that our solar system takes up for the several worlds to perform their
revolutions in round the Sun, is of the extent in a straight line of
the whole diameter of the orbit or circle, in which Saturn moves round
the Sun, which being double his distance from the Sun, is fifteen
hundred and twenty-six million miles and its circular extent is nearly
five thousand million, and its globular contents is almost three
thousand five hundred million times three thousand five hundred
million square miles." Thomas Paine 17945


tech: Posted: June 23, 2014 8:37 p.m.

An interesting quote from Paine I hadn't previously read, ricketzz.


ricketzz: Posted: June 24, 2014 6:10 a.m.

My somewhat uninformed (I am a rustic after all) opinion is that people were much smarter 200 years ago than they are today. Tom Paine spoke as clearly and plainly as anyone we'd like to hang with. Jefferson used really big words and complicated structure; it is suspected he suffered from Asperger's Disorder. Most people talked like Paine, not Jefferson.

Thomas Edison lamented the erasure of Paine from the Founding Fathers, blamed it on religious bigots.

http://thomas-paine-friends.org/edison-essay-on-paine.html



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