Atheism vs. Democracy

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by popefumanchu, Aug 10, 2004.

  1. popefumanchu
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    popefumanchu Member

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    Atheism is undemocratic because if there is no God, then where do rights come from? What gives anyone moral athority?
    Communism is the only form of government that an athiest can believe in.

    There, I did it right. Now give me a cookie.
     
  2. rtwngAvngr
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    rtwngAvngr Guest

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    Wow, popefumanchu, I dig your style. A wide open lob. A bomb to start things off. A wild assertion designed for maximum damage. Look out libs, Incoming!
     
  3. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    I would actually argue that in a society that was both officially atheistic and democratic, rights would stem from majority vote. For example, if a majority believed that abortion was immoral, it would be so; if, ten years later, they voted it as a moral act, it would then become so.
    In a communistic society, morals are dictated by the state, which in theory is the representative of the people, but in reality is nothing but the whims of the ruling class and bureaucracy. But I think an atheistic state could survive as a democracy.

    Not that any of the above would ever be valid, since there are such things as absolute values... but in theory, it could work.
     
  4. acludem
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    acludem VIP Member

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    Your original statement is absurd. The original concept of democracy existed BEFORE Christ and thus before Christianity. Moral authority given to a government is vested in that government by a group of people.

    Religion is not necessary for a Democratic government. Our Constitution was specifically written to be silent on religious matters, which our founders believed should be left to individuals.

    Communists are officially "atheist". That's because Communism effectively becomes the state religion. Morality comes from humanity. What force caused humanity to exist? I have my answer, you have yours. In a Democracy individuals are allowed to live life as they choose so long as they do not interfere with anyone else's right to live life as they choose.

    acludem
     
  5. Avatar4321
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    Avatar4321 Diamond Member Gold Supporting Member

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    This is exactly why Athiestic societies can never be free societies. If rights originate with the state, or even with the people, then logically the state and the people can rescind those rights.

    The United States is founded on the principle that God had given man certain rights. It is up to the people and the government to preserve those God given rights.
     
  6. acludem
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    I would argue that rights originate with the people. The people then, in exchange for protection (i.e. the military) and a legal system, invest in their government certain powers and responsibilities. This is the basic idea of John Locke's Contract Theory of Government, which heavily influenced the founders of our country.

    acludem
     
  7. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    I think Avatar has a great point. If rights originate with people, then the same people can give away those rights in a democracy. But if certain rights are "endowed by their Creator" (i.e. God-given), then they are not negotiable. This becomes the basis for the absolute rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
     
  8. Bullypulpit
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    Bullypulpit Senior Member

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    Prove your assertions. But you can't...And you won't...

    Rights are derived by from the cumulative experiences and consent, whether implicit or explicit, of the society they affect.

    Moral authority is also derived from the same source.

    As an atheist, I can only say that the democratic institutions we enjoy in this country, though flawed, are preferable and superior to those of ANY communist state. We need look no further than North Korea, the only remaining truly Stalinist state, and its miserable failure for proof of that pudding.
     
  9. popefumanchu
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    popefumanchu Member

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    "We hold these truths self-evident that all men are created equal and are endowed by their CREATOR with certain inalienable rights."
    Human beings, by their DIVINE nature, have certain rights. These cannot be taken away whether or not a government wishes to recognize them. To an atheist, man is nothing more than an animal, having no more rights than any other animal. Either all animals have the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," or none do. An athiest cannot logically exclude humanity and give it an arbitrary set of rights without extending those rights to all animals or perhaps even all lifeforms.

    If moral authority is derived from cumulative experiences and consent, then it is mutable to circumstances and history. In a free society with an atheist "morality", no one can impose thier morality on another because none is the "correct" one. All points are arguable and, therefore, moot. The fact that there is a basic and universal code of morality inside each human and throughout all successful civilized societies points to something greater than humanity which has set these rules. If there is nothing greater than humanity, and the government is the ultimate arbitrator, then the subjects of that government must abide by the morality of the state even if it tramples on thier rights (which do not exist). In such a system, democracy cannot exist.

    I agree. However, it is because communism is an atheist system where the government is the ultimate authority and all rights must be sacrificed for the good of the state that they fail due to the need for people to be free.

    Where does this need come from?
     
  10. Zhukov
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    Why not? Who says a demcracy has to be either moral or fair? Democracies, this one not excluded, can trapple your rights just as surely as any other form of governance.

    Point in fact:

    Communism is in theory a pure democracy, unlike our representative democracy.

    Therefore I would say your argument is backwards. Only in a purely atheist state could true democracy exist because in a society which held itself subservient to the ideals of a god, certain democratic whims of the populace would be off limits should those whims conflict with the desires of that society's diety.

    In fact, historicaly, religious oriented states have been strictly authoritarian, from Kings who ruled at the behest of a god, to Emperors who claimed they were descendants of gods, to Pharohs who purported to be gods.

    It is only recently that democracy has come into existence, I would say, in spite of religious conviction and the resulting religious authoritarianism, and though our country is founded on the principles of a particularly benevolent and tolerant strain of Christianity, that by no means makes a convincing argument that democracy can't exist without religion.

    As an atheist I completely disagree with every single one of these points.
     

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