126 1 min 9 yrs

Interesting if a tad depressing to read that America in 2013 has lots of Atheists, more Muslims, fewer Christians and Jews than in its history. If the demographic is the future, then what is the future of the USA?

“President Eisenhower once said that American government made no sense without religious faith “and I don’t care what it is”. (Understandable, perhaps, given that he was born a Mennonite, his mother was a Jehovah’s Witnesses, and he was eventually baptised as a Presbyterian – but not until 1953.) His vagueness about religious affiliation was in the spirit of the Founding Fathers, you could argue – but not even the Deist Jefferson would have been pleased to know that, in 2013, America’s fastest-growing religious  is “None” – that is, agnosticism shading into atheism.

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126 thoughts on “THE CHANGING FACE OF AMERICA…

  1. we are looking at the same fate as Britain.

    After the first of the year you will see an all out push for Amnesty for the illegals. That is what Obama has left to gift us over his next 3 years.

  2. Troll – you supported amnesty here some months ago!

    I brought up the fact that the benefiaries would want to bring their families in from Mexico ( or wherever ) and you said that you were in favor of that too!

    And that the borders should be secured after all the Amnesty Festival was complete.

    Very bad memory, unless you did a flip flop.

  3. your smoking something…. or I was.

    If you can find that thread I would love to read it. (seriously)

  4. Although if it had to do with really securing the border as in taking all the troops in say Germany out of there and spreading all those tanks along the mexican border I might have said it.

    Like to read the context.

  5. I won’t look for it now, but it was the one where I linked to a NY Times photo of an illegal Mexican woman wearing a hat speaking through her mother through a fence at the US Mexico border

    You said that the relatives should be allowed in, and the borders secured.

  6. //After the first of the year you will see an all out push for Amnesty for the illegals//

    ??? Are Hispanics generally atheists?

  7. What has amnesty support for illegals got to do with the religous identity of the American population ?

  8. yeah with that photo I would’ve said let them in. My position on the border has always been a wall from ocean to ocean but with very large gates.

    The majority of those that cross just want to do better for themselves, there are however a very violent and dangerous minority that need to be stopped.

    Colm don’t know what religion has to do with this either, but most hispanics are catholic and we can always use more.

  9. You went beyond amnesty!

    Amnesty is ” let them stay ”

    Beyond amnesty is ” let their ten relatives come in too ”

    That is a photo staged for maximum emotional impact. Beware.

  10. There are several US religious-related studies that have recently come out and a few more are scheduled for release soon. A point of distinction to keep in mind is that many people are confusing ‘atheism” with ” not identifying with a religious organization”.

  11. I think that there have always been many agnostics.

    It’s just now a lot more socially acceptable to say it.

    Atheism is just as much a faith as belief in God is, IMHO, maybe moreso.

  12. // don’t know what religion has to do with this either, but most hispanics are catholic and we can always use more.//

    OK, now I get it – the above was your way of saying: open the borders and let all those Catholic Hispanics flow in.

    Suffer the Chicas to come unto me, so to speak.

  13. No wish to spoil anybody’s Christmas
    (HO HO HO!)
    but what is happening in the USA as in the UK and the West generally, is the deliberate abandonment of the guiding principles, mostly but not all- the Judaeo/Christian ones.
    Now for those here who have no faith or a “woolly/warm/mushy/all inclusive faith” that might seem like a good thing.
    But as I see it that is like washing away the glue that holds the whole thing together, and then on what basis will future laws be based after we have thrown the old ones out?

    On the opinion of the majority?
    Inclusivity? A happy clappy love-in/coming together of all the disparate groups who will willingly put aside their values for the good of all?1
    Human Rights? – who decides what they shall be?
    An alternative religion? I think that’s quite likely, but whether Westerners will find those values palatable is questionable.

    What it does rather remind me of is the “Last days of the Roman Western Empire” There is a process that has to take place now as then, but I think most don’t realise the significance of the little changes until the actual countdown commences.
    Happy Christmas! 🙂

  14. There is an increase in Hispanics going the Evangelical route and away from Catholicism in recent years though I suspect the new pope may affect that trend to some extent — even if temporarily.

    A few months ago I had emergency surgery…last rites came up…I really had to think about whether I still identified as a Catholic…it’s much easier to tick off ‘not affiliated with any church/organized religion’…than facing the question in a potentially life/death situation 🙂

    Re: atheism being a religion…as someone said recently…”is ‘not playing tennis’ a sport”; “is ‘not collecting stamps’, a hobby?” Not sure if the study cited in this blog is the one I’m thinking of but one of the studies being quoted a lot lately is based on counting cars in church/temple/mosques’ parking lots. Others are self-reporting.

    There is that movement started by British comedians (I think) where atheists gather to have services but the ‘G’ word isn’t mentioned (it’s probably been discussed here). Large groups of nonbelievers gather, hold hands, sing Beatles songs, and talk about/arrange to do good works in the community.

  15. Saying that there definitely is no god implies a knowledge that humans can’t possibly possess, and that they can’t even begin the process of proving.

  16. Oh and since the Founding Fathers are mentioned here…it’s the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party! “What measures will the ministry take? Will they punish us? How? By quartering troops upon us? By annulling our charter? By laying on more duties? by restraining our trade? By sacrifice of individuals? Or how?” asked the future president John Adams.

  17. As I get older
    -whilst remaining remarkably handsome and insufferably charming-
    I become more of the opinion that life is not an accident it is a journey.
    When we are young and reasonably well adjusted with no major life traumas, we are listening to and obeying the urges of our body and the excitements of the unknown and the untasted pleasures before us.
    Once we have explored those things, perhaps raised a family, experienced a few heartbreaks and broken relationships we build ourselves a worldview that we think fits the facts. It might have an agnostic base, or atheist, or even a religious one, or none at all.
    But we tend to use that worldview to justify what we have done, what we are or what we have become. We desperately crave acceptance and love and being valued, so we seek out those of like minds and reassure ourselves that we’ve got it sussed.
    “My/our view is the right one” and we laugh and excuse our failings or lapses, amending our viewpoint as necessary.
    But as time slips by and our mortality becomes more apparent, or family and friends become ill or die, our confidence falters and we face the great unknown usually alone.

    I like those Catholics you mentioned have chosen the path of faith. One day I shall either face God with my faith and give an account of myself, or there will be nothing. But if the way of faith, of wanting to be more like Jesus makes me a better person anyway, what will I have lost?
    This time of year is a good time for reflection.

  18. ” If the demographic is the future, then what is the future of the USA?”

    WIth liberals in charge, America will look more and more like the EU.

  19. If the EU is Germany, rich, confident, good job prospects, strong social safety nets for its citizens – why then that would be a vast improvement in the quality of life for Americans!

    If its Greece, not so much.

  20. //WIth liberals in charge, America will look more and more like the EU.//

    But what are you going to do with all the Black Americans?

  21. “Very bad memory, unless you did a flip flop.”

    Why follow this observationabove , Phantom, with accusation? Why not just ask Troll to clarify his position?

    Accusing and insisting on old thread research and documentation appears like an effort to discredit – not an effort to edify. This kind of exercise (which you engage in frequently on this site) feels like a Media Matters trolling exercise to me – dull, mean-spirited and highly partisan. Last time I looked at a thread – a couple of days ago – you were linking to Troll’s personal site in an effort to discredit him.

    Are you trying to discredit Troll? or, are you interested in his position?

  22. huh? Black America is America. E Pluribus Unum.

    I encourage everyone American to research limited constitutional government solutions and stop embracing last century’s Marxist-based paradigm.

  23. I have clarified his position for him.

    And I didn’t ask for documentation – I have a steel trap recollection of the prior conversation, and even of the photo that was part of it.

    He’s for amnesty sometimes and he’s against amnesty at other times.

    People are often like that.

  24. Sorry, Phantom, but it’s very clear that you are not interested in Troll’s position. You are interested in discrediting him.

    You play “rope a dope” continually on these threads and it is tiresome, uninspiring. It’s also dishonest because you pretend that you are objective and interested in all sides when clearly you are not.

  25. Patty is right. You’re either an American or you’re not. It is the catering for “suffix Americans” that is hastening the destruction of America.

  26. If God is all powerful surely he can keep this trend from happening….

    The nation has from its inception wisely refused to insist upon the establishment of a state religion and has enjoyed the contributions of atheists, deists and agnostics. Thank God for that.

  27. If God is all powerful surely he can keep this trend from happening….

    Then what would be the point of free will, O Wise One??
    As I see it racial cultural identity within one’s own territory i.e. nationalism is the best way. Once you try to promote multiculturalism of any kind without also insisting upon a unifying code of law and expectation, you will eventually disintegrate. That is why “suffix America”, the acceptance of different types of Americans is causing even more problems. All civilisations eventually weaken and collapse; it is the way of things. But to move from “One Nation under God” to “Recognising and protecting our Differences” only accelerates that process.

  28. I’ve said where I am on amnesty – NO.

    I’ve said where I am on ” family reunification ” after amnesty – NO.

    I have pointed out that Troll has been both for both of them and against both of them, depending on the day, or even in this one thread, today.

    Is it ” mean ” to point out glaring inconsistencies?

    This is why I say that you Tea Party guys are all over the place. You don’t know what you stand for on anything, despite all the highfalutin talk about the Constitution and all of that. It’s all bullshit.

  29. It is again noted that the first amnesty for illegals, the one done by Ronald Reagan, did not fix any of our problems. They only made them worse.

  30. Agit8ed – The Third Reich agreed with you, though they didn’t last so long despite embracing a rather vivid sense of nationalism.

  31. //“President Eisenhower once said that American government made no sense without religious faith “and I don’t care what it is”.//

    That must be one of the most stupid statements ever made by an American president, and, boy, there’s some tough competition for that honour.

    He thinks it’s better to believe that the earth was created by aliens and is flat and resting on a series of tortoises
    than not to believe that.

  32. Noel – Out of context perhaps, but the quote is from an exchange he had with a Russian General and was used more of a contract with the Soviet atheism. As you can see from the exchange above, religion itself isn’t really the topic here, rather the hysteria as to what type of religion might be involved. Also the political use of the charge of atheism (allegedly brought about by those damn liberals) as opposed to any real effort to advance religion itself.

  33. Agit8ed – The Third Reich agreed with you, though they didn’t last so long despite embracing a rather vivid sense of nationalism.

    But we are talking about America: “One Nation under God” not extreme nationalism as in fascism.
    My definition of nationalism is a group of people united by a common language, a unifying code of laws and ethics, one economy and one infrastructure catering for all; who are proud of their country and if they do think it’s the best country don’t want to invade other countries in order to impose their culture on others.

  34. // the quote is from an exchange he had with a Russian Genera//

    Just read up about him. He was a man of action and principle, it appears. Made a good job of ending segregation in the US armed forces.

  35. and ‘righteous’stuff..
    I do apologise if it sounds self righteous. I assume that’s what you meant? I don’t mean to sound so, but if you believe something about the great questions of life, and (so far) no one (even the greatest minds gathered here on ATW) has intellectually persuaded you that what you believe is either nonsense or relative or simply an alternative, then perhaps that’s what it sounds like.

  36. Agit8ed – The One Nation Under God came into being by incorporation into the Pledge of Allegiance in 1950’s (Old Ike signed it in himself).

    There is no reason why an atheist or agnostic couldn’t fit within your definition even if you are mingling piety and patriotism.

  37. The One Nation Under God came into being by incorporation into the Pledge of Allegiance in 1950′s (Old Ike signed it in himself).
    “Mr. Speaker, I think Mr. Docherty hit the nail squarely on the head. One of the most fundamental differences between us and the Communists is our belief in God.”

    http://www.wallbuilders.com/libissuesarticles.asp?id=105586

    Interesting, but that doesn’t I think negate the truth that once you start believing that freedom of belief means the removal of any dominant religious belief, you open the door to accepting all forms of belief. As I said earlier the glue that the edifice is built will inevitably collapse.
    So a tolerant unifying religion or philosophy which undergirds the whole can accept and make allowances for varying beliefs and practices, but once all those differences are given equal status (inclusivity and diversity) then eventually instability occurs until a strong enough creed takes over.

  38. Agit8ed – The acceptance of varying beliefs and practices has a history of more than 200 years.

  39. Agit8ed – The acceptance of varying beliefs and practices has a history of more than 200 years.
    Yes of course, but what made that possible and what underwrote it?
    For example did the Pilgrim Fathers establish colonies in the New World to escape Christianity or to practice it in freedom? Has Christianity been the undergirding principle guiding America and her values or was it Judaism? Or Islam?
    Would an Islamic America for example give others the same degree of freedom of thought?
    It seems to me that you miss the underlying point. No nation can flourish without something which is strong enough to bind disparate communities together as one. By asserting that all things are equal and of equal authority, you destroy/neutralise the unifying factor.

  40. Agit8ed – No one is saying all things are in fact equal, rather that they are treated equally under the law. It has been working for the most part for over 200 years.

  41. It has been working for the most part for over 200 years.

    I will ask you again:
    “WHY has it worked?”

  42. The principle is the law, and that attitude, that assumption came from where?
    Things don’t happen in a vacuum, and principles are not the result of spontaneous generation.
    Example: Judaic law is based on the Torah which claims to be a revelation from God to Moses.
    And Islamic law is based on the Koran, which came through an angel to Mohammed.

  43. The principle came from the experience of intolerance at the hands of other Christians. The founding fathers knew that the best way to insure no sect would triumph was to permit all to exist. Their mutual distrust of each other would prevent one particular branch from gaining ascendancy, thus allowing freedom for all.

    Even among the Founding Fathers there were those who were less enamored of religious freedom (John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was anti-Catholic). But the most common belief was to establish a nation based on the principle that the government was to give no sanction to bigotry if I may paraphrase George Washington.

  44. Phantom

    I think that there have always been many agnostics.

    It’s just now a lot more socially acceptable to say it.

    Atheism is just as much a faith as belief in God is, IMHO, maybe moreso.

    The words atheism and agnosticism have had their meanings twisted over the years. I still hold by the original meanings which are;
    atheism, a lack of belief in a god or gods. (Not the belief they definitely don’t exist.) and agnosticism, if a deity is it provable or not.
    Most atheists like myself do not say God doesn’t exist, just that there is no proof a God does exist. We have no religious faith in a deity.
    Even Richard Dawkins has this view of God.

    Phantom

    Saying that there definitely is no god implies a knowledge that humans can’t possibly possess, and that they can’t even begin the process of proving.

    I don’t need (or have to) prove a negative Phantom. The onus of proof is on those making the (positive) claim.

  45. I would hope that whoever displaces whites in the US also displaces this old fart:

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/12/15/senators-mccain-murphy-join-massive-ukraine-anti-government-protest-threaten/

    U.S. Senators John McCain and Chris Murphy joined around 200,000 anti-government protesters in the central square of Ukraine’s capital Sunday, threatening sanctions against the government of President Viktor Yanukovych if authorities use more violence to disperse demonstrators.

    “We … want to make it clear to Russia and Vladimir Putin that interference in the affairs of Ukraine is not acceptable to the United States”

    said Senator McCain whilst interfering in the internal affairs of Ukraine.

    I ask those on ATW who can still think freely to consider what would happen if senior politicians from Ukraine were to join ‘Occupy’ demos in the US.

  46. The test, I’d say, is whether or not you would believe something if it were not told in a religious context, i.e. are you applying the same readiness to believe and disbelieve as you apply to other things in your everyday life.

    If you make an exception for some religion, you have faith. An atheist on the other hand is someone who simply applies the same reasoning and level of credulity to all similar claims he encounters.

    If someone told you that the universe was created by, say, aliens as a kind of experiment, and you’d better believe that because he read it in a book and you’ll be punished terribly if you don’t, none of us – believers and atheists alike – would believe him.
    The atheist also doesn’t believe any similar claims, whereas the man of faith disbelieves them all except the ones told by his own religion.

  47. Mahons,

    Actually, there is no “need” to prove the existence of God either.

    Exactly. That’s why it’s called faith!

  48. Whatever the merit or lack thereof of atheism or faith is not really the concern here. The concern of the Post is not with belief, but rather with appearance – hence the title the changing face of America instead of the changing faith of America.

    Boil it down and it has as much to do with Christianity as a piece of chewing gum.

  49. //but rather with appearance – hence the title the changing face of America instead of the changing faith of America.//

    !!

  50. The changing face of America will still be America even if it does end up looking like the Bride of Wildenstein 😉

  51. Noel Cunningham, on December 16th, 2013 at 1:59 PM Said:

    // don’t know what religion has to do with this either, but most hispanics are catholic and we can always use more.//

    OK, now I get it – the above was your way of saying: open the borders and let all those Catholic Hispanics flow in.

    Suffer the Chicas to come unto me, so to speak.

    Noel I have to admit that is actually very good, thanks for the laugh.

    Did ya ever leave a thread to come back to something completely different…..

    Screw the atheists, no one really gives a crap about what they believe or not. They’re just a pack of litigious commies that we have grown to tolerate way to much.

    If you don’t believe in some form of higher spiritual power your a heathen bastard that should be made ridicule of rather than allowances for. Who cares about them really except for themselves.

    As for the face of America I defy you to actually describe it. Considering that it’s make up comes from every region of the earth it has always been fluid even if the one put forward as seen by the world was that of some WASP that has never been our face. It has shifted constantly over the past two centuries only outsiders would honestly even conceive of trying to put a face rather than a nature on it.

    Which ever ethnic group is at a crest may tint the colors of face what always wins is the character of the nation it’s ideals and morals.

    The American ones of family, god and business always win out in the long run. We may take diversions here and there, but it always comes back to the fact that we know there is nothing we can’t do if we focus and work hard. No goal that can’t be achieved.

    No one is locked at birth by anything, our shackles are the ones we forge for ourselves as we live. Truly any man can be a millionaire and any man can be President. Any man can also be a failure and a bum leaching off of others. It’s all our own individual choices.

    In the short history of our nation we have already had both greater rises and falls than the rest of you combined. This time is no different. America is at a point of fall we have allowed idiots to place the chains of their warped views of right and wrong onto the group. Deviant is what these people preach to embrace and they have proven they can not be trusted with power.

    You people lack the faith that the majority of Americans have in ourselves and each other. “Why do we fall? To learn to pick ourselves up.”

    In ten years time you’ll all be 100 years behind us once again, but don’t worry we’ll carry you along.

  52. “Two centuries ago, a former European colony decided to catch up with Europe. It succeeded so well that the United States of America became a monster, in which the taints, the sickness and the inhumanity of Europe have grown to appalling dimensions”
    ― Frantz Fanon

  53. Fanon continued:

    Comrades, have we not other work to do than to create a third Europe? The West saw itself as a spiritual adventure. It is in the name of the spirit, in the name of the spirit of Europe, that Europe has made her encroachments, that she has justified her crimes and legitimized the slavery in which she holds four-fifths of humanity.
    […]
    So, comrades, let us not pay tribute to Europe by creating states, institutions and societies which draw their inspiration from her.

  54. Fanton was so appalled by the United States he came here for medical treatment. Like many of the professional left he made his money blaming the West where freedom existed and ignoring Communist horrors which visited deliberate agony upon millions. To his credit he fought against the fascist Nazis regime, to his discredit he failed to recognize that Communism resulted in the other side of the same totalitarian coin wherever it was established.

    Reality was something the professional left ignored through most of the 20th Century.

  55. The document that “sets the table” for the US Constitution is the Declaration of Independence.

    The Declaration of Independence states that our rights come from God, not government:

    “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, the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…”

    If our rights came from Government, then Government can take our right away from us but they come from God, and no human being can take them from us.

  56. Human beings have rights taken away from them all the time, without any particular intervention by The Almighty. If you don’t believe that ask the slaves in America in 1776.

  57. Of course, Mahons. That’s not the point.

    Governments don’t have the right to take away my Rights, my Right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. These rights are inalienable.

    But of course governments take away these rights all the time and this is why our forefathers fought a Revolution.

  58. Perhaps I should have clarified: “no human being can morally justify taking our inalienable rights from us.”

    Regarding slavery – slavery is immoral and we fought a Civil War over this point.

  59. //our rights come from God, not government: //

    Rights come from neither God nor government, but from the people themselves.

  60. “Two centuries ago, a former European colony decided to catch up with Europe. It succeeded so well that the United States of America became a monster, in which the taints, the sickness and the inhumanity of Europe have grown to appalling dimensions”
    ― Frantz Fanon

    Petrkin,
    You surely don’t agree with him? I had you down as intelligent.

    Comrades, have we not other work to do than to create a third Europe?

    Surely life experience would have taught him (and you, by now) that there are no perfect people, and there will never be a world where wealth and resources are distributed fairly so that men become good, because it is imperfect men who determine that distribution.
    The reality is that the only way your idealistic(actually elitist) dream could be realised is by force of arms and violence.

  61. Troll,
    You grumpy old Irish/American gun seller!
    We agree on something yet again.
    This is getting worrying. It’s not supposed to happen!
    I do believe that these “true communists” are elitists.
    They live in a fantasy world decrying the evils of the wicked, oppressive, exploitative West, whilst quaffing glasses of Chateau Neuf Du Pape,
    because although it’s a product of capitalism it is after all, red in colour…..

  62. Communism is the fairy tale ideal, man is a corrupt animal tempered only by God and Laws

    Interesting that you mention fairy tales & God in the same sentence.

    (And no, this is NOT an attack on Christianity nor is it an attempt to compare it to a fairy tale it’s an observation that one of the major tenets of international belief is based on a story which can’t be proven)

    It shows that we believe what we are conditioned to believe.

  63. no one is an act of faith. The other is an act of ignorance.

    The difference between having faith in Christianity and having faith in Communism has been shown with time which is the better to believe in.

    Communism has been tried in various versions and in every instance the results are misery, exploitation, and failure. Christianity has had it’s dark moments but over all even an observer that has no faith has to by judging the evidence find it to be admirable and a successful doctrine for living.

  64. Even if that was meant for Troll I’ll take it on please Paul.

    The most important things cannot be proven, they are all ultimately believed through inference and faith.
    Biblical Creation: no man alive today witnessed it.
    Abiogenesis: ditto.
    Evolution: a plausible theory for the development and adaptation of species -nothing more.

    So when it really comes down to it we all take up a position of faith (and I make a distinction between faith and religion, because I don’t believe in religion) and we all look for evidence to prove or at least defend that position, as I posted here..
    Agit8ed, on December 16th, 2013 at 2:52 PM Said:

    At the end of the day we either attempt to live our lives according to some exterior or interior code of behaviour, or perhaps we live for the moment, (and as someone said recently – I think in a film) they don’t care anyway.
    So people of Christian faith (forget denominations) really do believe in Jesus and want to be more like him and serve him in their daily lives, or they don’t believe anything at all, or they believe in another religion. or a political philosophy.
    It doesn’t matter.
    All that matters is if after death we find there is a God and He is going to ask us how and what basis we lived our lives, what do we say?
    So all the time the earth remains as it is, no ultimate proof.

  65. The most important things cannot be proven, they are all ultimately believed through inference and faith

    There is no logical argument against the ‘faith’ argument because faith, the belief in something which cannot be proven, is in itself illogical.

    Troll, if there was a body count as a result of Communism & Christianity of the years I’d suggest that the number would be pretty similar.

    Theroretically Christianity is an admirable doctrine to base one’s life on, Communism has it’s merits too. It’s then interpretation by man of the respective doctrines which causes problems.

  66. “Theroretically Christianity is an admirable doctrine to base one’s life on, Communism has it’s merits too.

    It’s the interpretation by man of the respective doctrines which causes problems.”

    Absolutely.
    But as the Troll says historically there are no great advertisements for Communism. Even in Israel the communes I knew have mostly gone.

    Religion as in Christianity was in the years of the Roman Empire more about power and control than about a personal relationship with God (which curiously enough Jesus Christ said he had come to make possible).

  67. I would argue your numbers, but probably not in the way you’d expect.

    I put to you the base concepts of the two faiths (because they are both faiths)

    Christianity: You give your fellow man aid when he needs it, because it is the right thing to do.

    Communism: You take what you need from your fellow man because you are entitled to it.

    Those are the base parameters of the two faiths. Which is better?

  68. But as the Troll says historically there are no great advertisements for Communism

    The same couldn’t be said about Christianity Agi? (why did the founding fathers go to the Americas?)

    Those are the base parameters of the two faiths. Which is better?

    I believe your second deinition to be fundamentally flawed.

  69. elaborate on why it’s flawed.

    You can’t debate something without knowing where and why our opinions differ

  70. Believing that citizens of a state / nation should own and control the resources of that state / nation isn’t (taking) ‘what you need from your fellow man because you are entitled to it’

  71. ah but that is not how it is practiced. In every communist environment the state seizes products, resources, and wealth from those that have developed them and give it to those they choose.

    You can not defend the ideal of communism, you have to judge it on the reality of the facts on how it is applied.

  72. Paul,

    The same couldn’t be said about Christianity Agi? (why did the founding fathers go to the Americas?)

    I said earlier,
    Religion as in Christianity was in the years of the Roman Empire

    more about power and control than about a personal relationship with God

    (which curiously enough Jesus Christ said he had come to make possible).

    I think in one sense the mediaeval church has as much blood on its hands as say Islam, as both had stopped being faiths and turned into enforced ideologies. (Although to be more accurate Islam stated out as a conquering faith and Christianity was given the Great (swordless) Commission:

    “Matthew 28:18-20
    Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

  73. Paul

    Oh yes it does.

    Many millions of people own farms, and businesses small and large. They own these physical things, and they also own intellectual peoperty, for stories they write or things that they invent.

    If the state confiscates these things, that’s stealing. And by de motivating producers and inventors, it only delivers poverty to a population – see Cuba, pre Deng China, etc.

  74. But that is not how it is practiced

    Likewise with Christianity, e.g. the Christianity of the Spanish Inquisition cannot be compared with the Christianity of the travelling Irish monk academics as the ‘Communism’ of Stalin cannot be compared with the Communism of Tito.

    Hence my original ‘It’s the interpretation by man of the respective doctrines which causes problems’

    Phantom, who said anything about confiscation? I’ll concede that private bsinesses creating private profits from public resources should be replaced by national companies.

  75. If the state confiscates these things, that’s stealing.

    Absolutely.
    Whether by election or imposition, the State is only a collection of either well meaning or ruthless men.

  76. National companies are very often inefficient, and are really hard to reform.

    State companies are among the reasons that places like Egypt are perpetually poor, why Venezuela is a complete disaster despite its oil.

    No state company grows into Apple or Samsung or even Exxon.

    You need the creative destruction that only comes with capitalism and private industry.

  77. creative destruction?

    Man is inquisitive, creative and resourceful.
    State communism tends to crush those qualities, and Capitalism tends to go to excess.
    Like I said, there is something seriously wrong with mankind!

  78. Capitalism which operates under a system of rules and law is the greatest engine of growth and prosperity that the world has known.

    Mankind is fine, so long as you have a good system.

  79. Capitalism is the driving force behind liberal democracy which has historically been the form of government of the free. Communism, as it has ever been practiced, has brought economic ruin and repression wherever it has been established.

    Anyone who disagrees was absent from school on the day they mentioned the 20th Century.

  80. There are no utopias – communist, libertarian, any of that. They make for nice stories, but they words don’t work in the real world where we live.

  81. mairin2

    Human altruism does tend to be parochial, and people do often act as if they ascribe significantly greater moral worth to kin, kith and countryman. The trouble with this understanding of morality is that it cannot be the whole picture, or even most of it.

    Great link!
    I haven’t ever seen a website like that outside of Christian apologetics.I will definitely bookmark that one.
    So as you know I believe as humans we are tribal and have a lot in common with primate societies. You see it all around you. I believe goodness and good behaviour/sanctions is practiced amongst people of the same group, and it has meaning for that group because they all understand how the group operates and what the core values are.
    I think where faith is differently motivated and expressed is that the believer wants to do good things and change because a) through some kind of revelation
    (I shall call it ‘being born again’ and really annoy the ATW scorners and sceptics)
    they have recognised their sinfulness and failure to live up to their own expectations. They have then taken hold of the forgiveness offered by God through Jesus Christ in a deeply personal way(as opposed to abstract) and going further,
    also believed that God has placed His Holy Spirit within them to begin a work of personal, emotional and moral regeneration. That’s the really great thing about faith. Your intellect is convinced of the reasonableness of the Christian message. Your conscience is convicted of sinfulness and rebellion against God, your spirit aches for forgiveness and acceptance. Organised/denominational religion doesn’t come into it, although it may have played a part in bringing an individual to this point.
    So whilst I found that article almost like meat and drink to me, I would say that the Christian is both changed and guided by God’s Holy Spirit into good works,and that is what motivates them.

    I’ll go back and have another read!

  82. There are a few articles there that touch on several of the topics recently/often discussed on ATW. And like here, the following comments to articles can be arrogant at best but no worse than here… 🙂 Enjoy!

  83. comments to articles can be arrogant at best but no worse than here…

    Arrogant?
    Arrogant?!

    Surely no arrogance displayed on ATW… 😉

  84. Here’s another fun article on human perfection/failure: “The design of a superior kind of human being – healthier, stronger, smarter, more handsome, more enduring – seems to be in the works…Utopias may look like celebrations of human perfection, but read in reverse they are just spectacular admissions of failure, imperfection and embarrassment…And yet it is crucial that we keep dreaming and weaving utopias. If it weren’t for some dreamers, we would live in a much uglier world today.”

  85. Whats a public resource?

    Oil reserves, mineral deposits etc should be.

    This would be similar to my way of thinking:

    Democratic Programme

    There are no utopias – communist, libertarian

    Agreed although capatilist should also be tacked onto the end of the list.

  86. Paul – certainly one can tack capitalist on a list on non-utopias. But then capitalist can be on a list of free countries, however imperfect. One can not tack Communist on the list of free countries, as the communists have always exploited and repressed the common people (odd considering it is the common people they claim to champion).

  87. // But then capitalist can be on a list of free countries, however imperfect.//

    Too many capitalist countries have been unfree for there to be any real correlation there IMO. In Communist countries, practically nobody is free; but the countries with the greatest inequality of freedom have mostly, if not all, been capitalist. Freedom aösp isn’t just freedom to move or to express your political opinions; for many people really in trouble, freedom from hunger is probably more important.

  88. Noel – No one was shot trying to escape from West Berlin into East Berlin. In Communist countries, when the state policy was not deliberately or negligently causing famine, people perhaps had just enough to eat. But the disparity between the Party Elite and the common people in terms of every day basic necessities was always far greater in Communist nations.

    I should also have qualified my comment to indicate that I referred to liberal democracies based on a capitalist economy as oppose to mere capitalist countries.

  89. Ireland was under a capitalist system in the 1840s and 50s, when half its population was wiped out. Russia under the Czars was the same, which is the main reason its people tried Communism. Captalist India for most of its history knew almost nothing but recurrent famine, the direst poverty and disease and lack of education.
    Many very successful countries have also tempered capitalism with socialist legislation.

    All of which suggests that the solution is liberal democracy, as you say, but with with strong legislation to reduce inequality. Without these, Capitalism can be disasterous.

  90. People may be equal in terms of their humanity, but they certainly aren’t when it comes to talent, intelligence, artistic ability and drive.
    Capitalism releases that potential, State capitalism smothers it.
    Therefore there will be some who don’t do well because of inability or perhaps laziness. Ideally a compassionate Capitalist society will find ways to ensure all are fairly rewarded for their work, but all must also contribute by working.

  91. We declare in the words of the Irish Republican Proclamation the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies to be indefeasible, and in the language of our first President. Pádraíg Mac Phiarais, we declare that the Nation’s sovereignty extends not only to all men and women of the Nation, but to all its material possessions, the Nation’s soil and all its resources, all the wealth and all the wealth-producing processes within the Nation, and with him we reaffirm that all right to private property must be subordinated to the public right and welfare.

    Paul
    Was that lifted from Pol Pot’s manifesto?

    “In 1975, when the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, fell, Pol Pot took immediate control. The party plan was to eliminate capitalism from the country of Cambodia. When Pol Pot gained control of Cambodia, this was when the citizens of Cambodia discovered that their life was going to completely change.”

  92. Here’s another fun article on human perfection/failure:

    Thank’s mairin2. I will look at it tomorrow. Don’t you just love this stuff? Having worked quite a lot with the old, the young and the severely handicapped I find this stuff quite fascinating.

  93. Noel – yes ,I agree that without safeguards and restrictions unregulated Capitalism can be a disaster.

  94. We don’t have – and have never had – completely unregulated capitalism – it does not exist. And no, we have never seen perfect socialism, either.

    What we have seen is that too many government regulations and directives – even the best intentioned – crushes enterprise whereas freedom to choose and function leads to prosperity.

    America is was prosperous because of freedom – not because of government edicts.

    The Soviets were impoverished thanks to central command/control – not because of capitalism.

  95. Back in the mid ’70s I spent three weeks in the USSR and Bulgaria and Hungary.
    It was grim, it was scary and everyone we met was obsessed with western goods and dollars.

    But as has been said,

    without safeguards and restrictions unregulated Capitalism can be a disaster.

    It’s just that most people in the world seem to believe that’s a risk worth taking.

    Although the current US administration seems to be trying to minimise that possibility…

  96. “without safeguards and restrictions unregulated Capitalism can be a disaster.”

    what exactly does this mean?

    imo, it is simply a general fear mongering argument implying that somehow the evil profit-driven capitalist will rape and pillage the innocent villager. it’s not a real argument.

    If you like, argue against monopoly (which stops free markets from being “free”) or argue against crony capitalism, so alive and well and thriving in Washington DC today.

    but quit fear mongering with bogus arguments against capitalism by implying that somehow less government today is going to result in no regulation or no supposed safeguards.

  97. // by implying that somehow less government today is going to result in no regulation or no supposed safeguards.//

    Patty, there was less government and less regulation in the 1920s and 30s, and that fact was one of the reasons for the Wall St Crash, the Depression, the Dustbowl disaster, massive pollution, destitution, displacement of millions of Americans etc.

  98. Was that lifted from Pol Pot’s manifesto

    Hardly as it was written some fifty years before the Khmer Rouge but perhapse you could ask your former political party, The Conservatives, as Margaret Thatcher’s administration supported them.

    One can not tack Communist on the list of free countries

    That depends one what your definition of a free country is Mahons.

    To repeat myself again:

    Theroretically Christianity is an admirable doctrine to base one’s life on, Communism has it’s merits too. It’s then interpretation by man of the respective doctrines which causes problems

  99. Setting aside the stock market – which is more akin to gambling than investment,and was especially speculative during the Roaring 20’s – you can’t blame America’s economic problems on free market capitalism.

    But, you can blame the Soviet Union’s economic collapse on its Marxist inspired command and control economy.

  100. “without safeguards and restrictions unregulated Capitalism can be a disaster.”

    what exactly does this mean?

    It means that, without rules, the business world will at times

    Pollute

    Not Make Provisions for Workers Injured on the Job or not provide Unemployment benefits for those who are laid off

    Not Provide for A Minimally Safe Workplace

    Sell Food and Drugs That Are Unsafe

    Deceive Consumers

    Etc

    There can be many other examples.

    All these problems existed until government action addressed them. If the EPA / OSHA / FDA / Workers Comp laws were repealed, the abuses would come right back in a minute. But you knew that.

    Other things such as universal tax supported public schooling and Social Security, are other things that private industry would not and could not provide, and which have served the country very well.

  101. Hardly as it was written some fifty years before the Khmer Rouge

    That was a cheap jibe anyway Paul, for which I sincerely apologise, but that manifesto of yours seems/sounds like a Marxist declaration. If you think that there will be enough idealistic men of integrity who won’t be tempted by kickbacks, bribes and offers of “promotion”, you are seriously naive.

    It’s then interpretation by man of the respective doctrines which causes problems

    True.

  102. Paul – Human frailty effects all man made doctrines and institutions. But if one can’t bring oneself to admit that Communism where it gained control was a terrible thing for the people under its totalitarianism then why comment here? Surely one should be looking for a North Korean blog instead of a Northern Ireland blog.

  103. http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/12/15/in-praise-of-failure/?_r=0

    So, allow me to make a case for the importance of failure!

    mairin2,
    There is a lot in that article that a Christian would understand and identify with.
    A Christian would say that by accepting/admitting their wilfulness,weakness and failure to God, they can then receive His gift of forgiveness. By the indwelling of the Holy Spirit they can then become open to the process of healing and wholeness and serving an imperfect world, whilst waiting for the world that is to come.
    Good article.

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