PDA

View Full Version : Separation of Church and State



Goughfather
25-08-2004, 06:19 PM
What I meant is that my support for what I see as full seperation of church and state is not affected by any arguments concerning the past history of such ideas. I threw that in in anticipation of Goughfather jumping in with his usual line on that question. I like to save people effort.

The number of non-sequiters and strawperson arguments in this thread convinces me that responding to the primary question at hand is not worth the effort. The question of "separation of Church and State" is however, something that I am very much interested in. Perhaps Kevin, it may be expedient to move this subject to a new thread so as to avoid a meaningful argument being diluted with the trailer park scholarship we see above.

From what I remember about our past conversations about the separation of Church and State, we agree about the principle at stake, but disagree upon the ramifications of such a concept. In my argument I referred to Section 116 of the Australian Constitution and the ruling in Ex rel Black v Commonwealth (1981) 146 CLR 559, also known as the "DOGS Case". My argument, rightly or wrongly, was based upon legal considerations. Your argument, rightly or wrongly adopted a more pragmatic perspective, independent of the legal principles of separation of Church and State.

Perhaps I should reiterate that as a Baptist, I firmly believe in a Church and State that is clearly demarcated. Personally, I have profound problems with Fred Nile's "Christian Democratic Party" and will not even deliver my preferences to the CDP in principle. I feel the CDP merges Church and State far too closely, undermining both parties in the process.

Finally, remember that the principle of separation of Church and State works both ways. The State is protected from theocracy, but at the same time, the government cannot thrust itself upon the affairs of the Church. The purpose therein is that people may freely exercise their religion, or lack of religion. This does not protect people from any public discourse of any particular religion, or religion in general.

Kevin Bonham
26-08-2004, 02:33 AM
This is quite topical at the moment as the NSW Teachers Federation today announced a new constitutional challenge to private school funding based around claims of government funding being used specifically for religious instruction. It has given Mark Latham an enormous headache as this is a potential wedge issue for Howard, and Latham seemed most irritated by it on the news tonight. Would be very interested in your comments about this case and whether it has any hope.


From what I remember about our past conversations about the separation of Church and State, we agree about the principle at stake, but disagree upon the ramifications of such a concept. In my argument I referred to Section 116 of the Australian Constitution and the ruling in Ex rel Black v Commonwealth (1981) 146 CLR 559, also known as the "DOGS Case". My argument, rightly or wrongly, was based upon legal considerations. Your argument, rightly or wrongly adopted a more pragmatic perspective, independent of the legal principles of separation of Church and State.

That's right. Coming from a political/philosophical background, my approach is to try to work out what I would like the law to be, and then deal with the question of how you get there later. At times this means that what I support could - in practice - require a constitutional amendment at least, for the sake of only a fairly minor change compared to existing practice.

I think my position last time was that I supported government funding to private schools only on the condition that they did not have compulsory religious instruction/observance (incl. creationism outside comparative religious studies), irrespective of who that instruction/observance was funded by. As we've discussed previously, this is a fair bit more radical than what is in s.116, esp. as interpreted in the case you mention. (For those curious, no, it has nothing to do with dogs - I've done a bit of crash reading on this.)


Perhaps I should reiterate that as a Baptist, I firmly believe in a Church and State that is clearly demarcated. Personally, I have profound problems with Fred Nile's "Christian Democratic Party" and will not even deliver my preferences to the CDP in principle. I feel the CDP merges Church and State far too closely, undermining both parties in the process.

:clap: I imagine that if some of the most extreme atheist groups ever formed political parties I would be concerned about them doing the same thing in reverse and take a similar attitude ... in part because the same kind of attitude far too easily spreads to other subject matters once it is adopted once. However, atheists who go as far in the opposite direction as Nile or even Howard go in theirs are quite uncommon creatures.


Finally, remember that the principle of separation of Church and State works both ways. The State is protected from theocracy, but at the same time, the government cannot thrust itself upon the affairs of the Church. The purpose therein is that people may freely exercise their religion, or lack of religion. This does not protect people from any public discourse of any particular religion, or religion in general.

In general I agree with this - cases where it gets tricky involve strange far-right "religions" that try to pass off hate speech or accumulation of weapons as part of their faith. I actually prefer ridicule to legislation as a method for dealing with the former but it is not quite so easy to laugh at a gun. Religions need to stay within the secular law if they want the state to leave them alone. (All sounds very simple in principle but when you get into anti-discrimination law - a field my partner has worked in - it becomes a lot messier).

Cat
26-08-2004, 12:10 PM
The Church should mind its business, Australia is doing very well as it is! The current governors of our State, that is Kerry Packer, Rupert Murdoch, Pfizer, major Multi-National Corporate interest , the Military and the Mafia are all tried and trusted, and we can be sure they are acting in the National Interest. And how could we doubt the credentials of our beloved leader, George Bush, or that our government at the Pentagon have anything but our National Security at heart?

What we have is democracy, and we don't want any two-bit do good good-doers interfering with the well-oiled wheels of our State. If I have any criticism than perhaps we have too many tears of Government. Lets get rid of State and Federal Government and run everything from the Pentagon. Oh, I forgot, we're already doing that, that's what the FTA's for, silly me!

Oepty
26-08-2004, 04:57 PM
I have said this before, and I will repeat. I believe in absolute seperation of Church from the state. Just like an athiest has no place in a church, a christian has no place in being part of government. This means I don't think that John Howard who claims to be a Christian I think should be in government. I also think that parties like Fred Niles and the Family First party that is growing from SA are doing the wrong thing.

For those who don't no the Family First party started in SA before the last state election and won an upper house seat. The member is (former?) Pastor Andrew Evans of the Paradise Community Church which is an Assemblies of God church and the church Australian Idol winner Guy Sebastian attends. Andrew Evan's son is now head pastor of the church. They will be running candidates in 60 lower house seats and Senate candidates in all states. They are given a reasonable change of claiming the last Senate seat here in SA. The recently being the first Australian polictical party to elect an aboriginal as leader. She, I can't remember her name, was quoted in this mornings paper as saying that is was a coincidence that all of their candidates have religious backgrounds.

Scott

arosar
26-08-2004, 05:09 PM
I have said this before, and I will repeat. I believe in absolute seperation of Church from the state.

Good, but . . .


Just like an athiest has no place in a church, a christian has no place in being part of government.

This is not necessary. There's no reason why an elected christian or some other religionist couldn't be secular in discharging his public duties. Anyway, your idea is impractical as we would effectively discriminate against large sections of the citizenry.

Yet I agree, "parties" with a manifestly religious platform should not be permitted. They cannot possibly serve the wider good.

AR

Goughfather
26-08-2004, 06:46 PM
This is quite topical at the moment as the NSW Teachers Federation today announced a new constitutional challenge to private school funding based around claims of government funding being used specifically for religious instruction. It has given Mark Latham an enormous headache as this is a potential wedge issue for Howard, and Latham seemed most irritated by it on the news tonight. Would be very interested in your comments about this case and whether it has any hope.

This is particularly interesting, considering the recent emphasis on "values" (whatever that might mean) in education. Not surprising, however, considering that the NSW Teachers Federation is your archetypal leftist movement. As you say, it seems like an issue that Howard could and will use as a wedge issue, painting the picture of an elitist movement at odds with what he considers (for the sake of expedience) to be "mainstream Australia". Indeed, this challenge seems to be no different to the original DOGS case. While the High Court has the power to reverse their own precedent, they would do so at their own peril. Furthermore, the High Court is currently stacked with conservative judges.


I imagine that if some of the most extreme atheist groups ever formed political parties I would be concerned about them doing the same thing in reverse and take a similar attitude ... in part because the same kind of attitude far too easily spreads to other subject matters once it is adopted once. However, atheists who go as far in the opposite direction as Nile or even Howard go in theirs are quite uncommon creatures.

Indeed, as you suggest, the restriction of certain religious practice, a la France would contravene Section 116 of the Australian Constitution. I know that there was a Christian group entitled "Saltshakers", who were concerned that recent changes to Victorian State legislation posed a threat to the right of Christians (or those of other religious faiths) to openly speak about religion in the workplace. I'm not sure how real this threat was, but it's something well worth investigating.

I know it sounds obvious, but Nile and Howard are much different politicians. Nile appeals to a limited, but sizable constituency, alienating himself from the majority in the process. Howard more often than not plays the role of popularist, alienating only those groups which are not worth capturing as a constituency i.e. refugees, intellectuals, environmentalists, etc. Howard is much too politically astute to tow the line of a particular religion, opting instead to talk about such vaguaries as "traditional family values" and the like. Ironically, it is the crudeness of such thinking that provides the appeal to "ordinary Australian", who despise anything the least bit "intellectual".


In general I agree with this - cases where it gets tricky involve strange far-right "religions" that try to pass off hate speech or accumulation of weapons as part of their faith. I actually prefer ridicule to legislation as a method for dealing with the former but it is not quite so easy to laugh at a gun. Religions need to stay within the secular law if they want the state to leave them alone. (All sounds very simple in principle but when you get into anti-discrimination law - a field my partner has worked in - it becomes a lot messier).

Obviously, as you recognise, the issue of free speech is incredibly complicated. It is the constitutionally entrenched right of free speech in the US that gives groups like the KKK relative impunity. (Meanwhile, non-citizens such as David Hicks and Mohammad Habib do not enjoy such freedoms.) The is always a delicate balance between the freedom of the individual and the intervention of the state to be maintained. Too far in one direction and you have fascism. Too far in the other and you have anarchy. Note also the social contract theory espoused by such thinkers as Locke, Hobbes and Rousseau who maintain that by choosing to enter into a society and being protected by the legal institution therein, one chooses to forego certain individual liberties.

The crux of contemporary liberalism as espoused by John-Stuart Mill recognises the right of the individual to act as he or she wishes regardless of the morality of the action, insofar as the individual does not infringe upon the rights of other individuals within the state. However, as Mill stated, an individual who has been offended by something that someone has said has not been deprived of his or her rights. Where does an "offensive statement" become a statement which should be regarded as criminal? I don't know where to draw the line, but perhaps you have some kind of governing guideline?

Regards,
Goughfather

Goughfather
26-08-2004, 06:58 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottColliver
Just like an athiest has no place in a church, a christian has no place in being part of government.


This is not necessary. There's no reason why an elected christian or some other religionist couldn't be secular in discharging his public duties. Anyway, your idea is impractical as we would effectively discriminate against large sections of the citizenry.

Yet I agree, "parties" with a manifestly religious platform should not be permitted. They cannot possibly serve the wider good.

Well said, Amiel. In fact, to insist otherwise, as Scott does, is to directly contravene Section 116 of the Australian Constitution, which insists upon no religious test being implemented for public office. Religious belief, or lack of religious belief are to have no bearing upon one's credentials for public office. If you think about it, 100% of parliamentarians hold theistic, atheistic or agnostic stances!

Just on a tangent, what exactly do you mean when you say that an atheist should have no place within a church, Scott? Considering the judgmental attitudes that I often see towards non-Christians, I can understand why a non-Christian would want to have nothing to do with church. But shouldn't the church be an open, inclusive environment where all are welcome, regardless of race, colour or creed?

antichrist
26-08-2004, 07:06 PM
KB: I imagine that if some of the most extreme atheist groups ever formed political parties I would be concerned about them doing the same thing in reverse and take a similar attitude ... in part because the same kind of attitude far too easily spreads to other subject matters once it is adopted once. However, atheists who go as far in the opposite direction as Nile or even Howard go in theirs are quite uncommon creatures.

Reply
You are right but I can't help having a gloat when I see the cathedrals in Russia that were turned into museums against religion in Stalin's day. But the wheel has turned again.

When the Seventh Day Adventists were barred during WW11 due to their anti-conscription or pacifist stance, the only atheist group and a strong one at that, The Rationalist Assoc of NSW, let them use their premises for free as the exec. thought freedom of thought was more important. I think their premises were confiscated. The world turned upside downl -- the Bible was right after all.

antichrist
26-08-2004, 07:16 PM
[QUOTE=ScottColliver]I have said this before, and I will repeat. I believe in absolute seperation of Church from the state. Just like an athiest has no place in a church, a christian has no place in being part of government.

Reply:
Churches are full of atheists. Even many priests and ministers are atheists, only if they left they would not have a job, having no trade skills. There was a Monsenior(?) known as Jean Mesler (?) in France during the Inquisition days. He wrote a famous book against religion called (my ruddy memory) ...help me out KB.. "Supertition through the Ages" or something like that, a brilliant book. He hid one copy under his floor and left another copy with his good friend, the mayor. After is death the mayor had it published. He would have been put to death if released in his lifetime. It is still been published now, about 300 years after the event.

I met a young modern Catholic priest in the Philippines who was a great fan of Neitzsche, we had great conversations. I reakon he was close to been an atheist.

Cat
27-08-2004, 12:23 AM
Christianity is so emmeshed within our social fabric it will be some time before the Church and State completely separate and I say its a good thing too! Put it this way, it is inconcievable that an openly non-Christian politician could be elected as leader of any of the English speaking Western democracies. In some situations they may only be paying lip-service, attending religious memorials, etc - in others like Blair or Bush they are enthusiatically and madly Christian. We'll have a black, homo-sexual woman in the Whitehouse before we have a non-Christian president.

I don't know what Lathams personal views are, but he will be the dutiful Christian in public if he's elected. As I say, Christianity is our cultural logo and most of us wouldn't want it any other way.

Kevin Bonham
27-08-2004, 12:47 AM
Indeed, this challenge seems to be no different to the original DOGS case.

I found the press release (http://www.nswtf.org.au/media/latest/20040709_challenge.html) here and it looks more like a stunt or idle threat at this stage. Not a firm challenge but a statement that one would be investigated.


I know that there was a Christian group entitled "Saltshakers", who were concerned that recent changes to Victorian State legislation posed a threat to the right of Christians (or those of other religious faiths) to openly speak about religion in the workplace. I'm not sure how real this threat was, but it's something well worth investigating.

Saltshakers were concerned about what became the Victorian Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001.

The sections as passed read along these lines:

A person must not, on the ground of the religious belief of another person or class of persons, engage in conduct that incites hatred against, serious contempt for, or revulsion or severe ridicule of, that other person or class of persons.

(That's 8(1), there are similar wordings in the severe offence section).

There are exceptions including for conduct (incl. statement, discussion, publication or debate) engaged in reasonably and in good faith for "any genuine academic, artistic, scientific or religious purpose".

(The Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Act 1998, which I'm very familiar with for a range of reasons, omits "revulsion" and also omits "religious" from the list of exception purposes above. There have been suggestions some very extreme evangelists here risk prosecution, but no actual prosecutions over such an issue.)

According to Saltshakers, “seriously offend, insult or humiliate” was originally included in the mix but was removed.

(NB This is not relevant to the merits of their arguments but in my own dealings with Saltshakers, I've found them to be quite extreme and ranty, and quite weak at arguing their case. Most of those dealings have been with one Peter Stokes, mostly on Tasmanian gay rights issues.)


I know it sounds obvious, but Nile and Howard are much different politicians.

Agreed.


Howard is much too politically astute to tow the line of a particular religion, opting instead to talk about such vaguaries as "traditional family values" and the like. Ironically, it is the crudeness of such thinking that provides the appeal to "ordinary Australian", who despise anything the least bit "intellectual".

Agreed; I also think he aims to subtly shape the way that "ordinary Australians" view their own political identity, and steer it in a direction that is easier for him to pitch to.


Note also the social contract theory espoused by such thinkers as Locke, Hobbes and Rousseau who maintain that by choosing to enter into a society and being protected by the legal institution therein, one chooses to forego certain individual liberties.

This is a bit of a tangent but I am not a big fan of social-contract approaches to anything in political thought. Among their weaknesses:

* The notion that one chooses to enter a society is empirically false. One is born in a specific society complete with nationality restrictions.
* Because I'm not an objective moralist, I don't see how the social-contracter can hope to convince a freeloader not to freeload, except through violence (which because of the above, can't even be justified by reference to breach of contract - no contract ever existed.)
* Where attempts are made to flesh out exactly what the social contract should be, they are arbitrary at best, and often prone to all kinds of objections. Rawls' "veil of ignorance" is a good example of this - full of weak assumptions.

In terms of free speech I see it as simply a fact that within a fairly pluralist society, there are many restrictions on free speech that different groups support for different reasons. Many people agree with a relatively open approach and the idea of consistency of application, so I usually try to steer the debate in that sort of direction.


However, as Mill stated, an individual who has been offended by something that someone has said has not been deprived of his or her rights.

Yes. This is an extremely important point, especially when so many on either side of debates like this are prone to believe that strong criticism of their view is somehow a violation of their "right to an opinion". I notice that kind of fallacy a lot in religious debates.


Where does an "offensive statement" become a statement which should be regarded as criminal? I don't know where to draw the line, but perhaps you have some kind of governing guideline?

I also find this an extremely difficult question, especially because I am very wary of going too far in the "ban it" direction. I definitely think incitement to violence should be out (hardly a controversial position); beyond that I don't really have firm and final views.

Kevin Bonham
27-08-2004, 02:37 AM
Put it this way, it is inconcievable that an openly non-Christian politician could be elected as leader of any of the English speaking Western democracies.

Bob Hawke was openly "agnostic" (though I think this really meant "undecided"). And Bill Hayden, who could very conceivably have been PM but wasn't because Hawke rolled him, was openly atheist.

You can attend Christian religious ceremonies for the sake of appearances or respect for your friends who hold those views while being "openly non-Christian".


We'll have a black, homo-sexual woman in the Whitehouse before we have a non-Christian president.

True according to all polling, but among the English-speaking Western democracies, the USA is the only one I can think of that suffers this extreme aversion to electing atheists. In Aus, NZ, UK etc I don't see any reasons why an open atheist could never be elected PM. Typically in these countries there will be some atheists in parliament at any given time, whereas in the US the concept "atheist politician" barely exists.

Cat
27-08-2004, 08:48 AM
[QUOTE=Kevin Bonham]\

You can attend Christian religious ceremonies for the sake of appearances or respect for your friends who hold those views while being "openly non-Christian".

Sure, but the consequences of non-attendance are very damaging - look what happened to your Govenor. Sure it was Rememberance Day, but
the gravitas of the occasion was achieved within the context of Christian understanding, culture and ceremony.


True according to all polling, but among the English-speaking Western democracies, the USA is the only one I can think of that suffers this extreme aversion to electing atheists. In Aus, NZ, UK etc I don't see any reasons why an open atheist could never be elected PM. Typically in these countries there will be some atheists in parliament at any given time, whereas in the US the concept "atheist politician" barely exists.

Despite the UK seeming to be largely secular, it's institutions have deeply woven connections to the Christian establishment. A Catholic King, for example would not be acceptable. That the PM be a Christian in the UK would be considered an essential requirement, in terms of determining allegiances, loyalties, principles, etc. It would never be accepted there

arosar
27-08-2004, 11:13 AM
Hey Goughfather....seems like you're a bit of a constitutional lawyer (you did say you're an LLB, right?) I got a question. Being a foreign-born, am I able to run for PM some day? Or is it like the US where foreign born can't be prez?

AR

Rincewind
27-08-2004, 12:49 PM
Hey Goughfather....seems like you're a bit of a constitutional lawyer (you did say you're an LLB, right?) I got a question. Being a foreign-born, am I able to run for PM some day? Or is it like the US where foreign born can't be prez?

I'm no legal eagle but to quote, Shrek. You have the right, Donkey. What you lack, is the capacity. ;)

Kevin Bonham
27-08-2004, 11:30 PM
Sure, but the consequences of non-attendance are very damaging - look what happened to your Govenor. Sure it was Rememberance Day, but the gravitas of the occasion was achieved within the context of Christian understanding, culture and ceremony.

Butler's attitude to ceremonies was only a very small part of his "downfall". The major causes were a staff revolt ostensibly over his attempts to redefine the office to give his wife a major role (exactly what went on here is very murky, but three of them resigned at the same time), a foot-in-mouth remark by our bumbling Liberal Opposition Leader[1], a co-incidental revelation about the size of Butler's salary, and a nebulous beat-up by, as one person put it, "the little tabloid that could".

Even so, Butler - I believe quite cannily - milked the scandal for a $650K termination payout, making net earnings of a million dollars for ten months' work.

[1] Tasmania has two formal Oppositions, Liberal and Green. The chief Green bleater is formally known as "The Leader of the Greens Opposition".


Despite the UK seeming to be largely secular, it's institutions have deeply woven connections to the Christian establishment. A Catholic King, for example would not be acceptable. That the PM be a Christian in the UK would be considered an essential requirement, in terms of determining allegiances, loyalties, principles, etc. It would never be accepted there

I am not convinced, I think that if the people elect open atheists to their parliaments in reasonable numbers then the possibility is there for them to elect a non-believer as PM. Michael Foot (who is certainly openly atheist now, although I don't know about then) led Labour from 1980-1983, and while he was eventually crushed by Thatcher, the fact that a major party would even let an atheist (closet or open) lead it, does make me doubt what you are saying. Also, I greatly doubt that Ken Livingstone (current Mayor of London) worships any gods other than Marx and Engels.

Goughfather
27-08-2004, 11:40 PM
(NB This is not relevant to the merits of their arguments but in my own dealings with Saltshakers, I've found them to be quite extreme and ranty, and quite weak at arguing their case. Most of those dealings have been with one Peter Stokes, mostly on Tasmanian gay rights issues.)

For some inexplicable reason, I was placed upon their emailling list. Never really got involved with any kind of correspondence with them, since they seemed to take a rather alarmist position. To be fair however, I could see the potential for the deleted phrase “seriously offend, insult or humiliate” to be manipulated by those with an anti-religious agenda.


This is a bit of a tangent but I am not a big fan of social-contract approaches to anything in political thought.

I guess my point was that one cannot expect total autonomy when he has willingly sacrificed certain rights to the State in return for protection. Thus, the raison d'etre of the State is to preserve the individual, rather than to preserve his individual liberties. Good governance however, will also preserve the latter to the extent that the former is not compromised.


* The notion that one chooses to enter a society is empirically false. One is born in a specific society complete with nationality restrictions.

I guess your diehard Hobbesian apologist, as I am, would suggest that when one is born, he or she becomes a subject of the State, by virtue of the decision by his or her parents. When he or she reaches an age of accountability, he or she will choose to remain subject to the governance of the State, albeit tacitly.


* Because I'm not an objective moralist, I don't see how the social-contracter can hope to convince a freeloader not to freeload, except through violence (which because of the above, can't even be justified by reference to breach of contract - no contract ever existed.)

This is simply Austinian jurisprudence - the idea that the State is the "gunman writ large". Interestingly enough, adherents to the theory of social contract will agree with this perspective. That is, enter the state on my terms, or feel my wrath. Hobbesians would regard this as a choice, albeit an unpleasant one, and hence contractual.


* Where attempts are made to flesh out exactly what the social contract should be, they are arbitrary at best, and often prone to all kinds of objections. Rawls' "veil of ignorance" is a good example of this - full of weak assumptions.

Part of this can be attributed to the premises underlying the "State of Nature". It's obvious that two philosophers such as Hobbes and Rousseau hold different perspectives on pre-institutional society. Accordingly, they will differ somewhat in their perspective upon what the Social Contract is designed to achieve. Personally, I find Hobbes depiction of pre-civilised life being "nasty, brutish and short" as more compelling, but that's just me.

Kevin Bonham
28-08-2004, 01:25 AM
For some inexplicable reason, I was placed upon their emailling list. Never really got involved with any kind of correspondence with them, since they seemed to take a rather alarmist position. To be fair however, I could see the potential for the deleted phrase “seriously offend, insult or humiliate” to be manipulated by those with an anti-religious agenda.

I can see some potential there too. These laws have some pretty serious teeth as they are. I discovered this almost by accident once when I made a successful complaint about the presence of anti-gay websites on government-funded webspace for "community groups" related to "sexual health". It was the one-line passing reference to the Anti-Discrimination Act that ultimately did the trick, and not the pages of what I thought were far more important objections.


I guess my point was that one cannot expect total autonomy when he has willingly sacrificed certain rights to the State in return for protection.

Yes, whereas I would contend that the sacrifice is not "willing" - at least, not anymore. In the days of the classic social contract theorists, any Westerner who didn't like the society he was in could quite easily take off with a bunch of mates and carve out a new society in proverbial deepest darkest Africa. Indeed, some did just this, with varying results. With the whole habitable world split into nation-states and their territories, this has ceased to be an option and the only real way out is civil war.


This is simply Austinian jurisprudence - the idea that the State is the "gunman writ large". Interestingly enough, adherents to the theory of social contract will agree with this perspective. That is, enter the state on my terms, or feel my wrath. Hobbesians would regard this as a choice, albeit an unpleasant one, and hence contractual.

Yes, whereas I would go still further - "obey the state or feel its wrath" is just the way it is, and I don't regard it as a contract on that account. However, since the state chooses to treat it as a contract and enforce it as if it was one anyway, the only difference is that I don't see any moral obligation on the citizen to obey.

This doesn't mean I'm an anarchist, because the reality is that even while citizens are not morally obliged to obey, the vast majority will either think that they are or else see advantages (either for themselves or their causes) in obedience.


Part of this can be attributed to the premises underlying the "State of Nature". It's obvious that two philosophers such as Hobbes and Rousseau hold different perspectives on pre-institutional society. Accordingly, they will differ somewhat in their perspective upon what the Social Contract is designed to achieve. Personally, I find Hobbes depiction of pre-civilised life being "nasty, brutish and short" as more compelling, but that's just me.

Me too - I don't think Rousseau's view has as much going for it empirically.

Cat
28-08-2004, 07:49 AM
I am not convinced, I think that if the people elect open atheists to their parliaments in reasonable numbers then the possibility is there for them to elect a non-believer as PM. Michael Foot (who is certainly openly atheist now, although I don't know about then) led Labour from 1980-1983, and while he was eventually crushed by Thatcher, the fact that a major party would even let an atheist (closet or open) lead it, does make me doubt what you are saying. Also, I greatly doubt that Ken Livingstone (current Mayor of London) worships any gods other than Marx and Engels.

I agree, but even the brilliant but politically niave Michael Foot was astute enough to be ever-present at State Ceremonial Events, such as Royal Weddings at Westminster Abbey. The same goes for Red Ken.

As I and others have repeatedly pointed out, half the Anglican Synod are atheists but perform their religious ceremonials as dutifully as any believer.

Oepty
29-08-2004, 04:18 PM
Good, but . . .



This is not necessary. There's no reason why an elected christian or some other religionist couldn't be secular in discharging his public duties. Anyway, your idea is impractical as we would effectively discriminate against large sections of the citizenry.

Yet I agree, "parties" with a manifestly religious platform should not be permitted. They cannot possibly serve the wider good.

AR

Amiel. Sorry for being unclear. What I meant is I believe Christians should voluntarily chose not to be part of the polictical process, not that the process should stop them taking part

Scott

Oepty
29-08-2004, 04:23 PM
Well said, Amiel. In fact, to insist otherwise, as Scott does, is to directly contravene Section 116 of the Australian Constitution, which insists upon no religious test being implemented for public office. Religious belief, or lack of religious belief are to have no bearing upon one's credentials for public office. If you think about it, 100% of parliamentarians hold theistic, atheistic or agnostic stances!

Just on a tangent, what exactly do you mean when you say that an atheist should have no place within a church, Scott? Considering the judgmental attitudes that I often see towards non-Christians, I can understand why a non-Christian would want to have nothing to do with church. But shouldn't the church be an open, inclusive environment where all are welcome, regardless of race, colour or creed?

First of all see my answer to Amiel.
I mean that a person who is an athiest does not believe in a God which seems fundamental to all churchs. This means that a athiest should not really be a member of the church. As far as people changing their views and then joining the church. I have absolutely no problem with that, I mean isn't the responsibility of all Christians to preach. I did have in mind the fact you sometimes here stories about Bishops not believing in God. This is just rediculous and should not be allowed in my thinking
Scott

Goughfather
29-08-2004, 05:37 PM
Amiel. Sorry for being unclear. What I meant is I believe Christians should voluntarily chose not to be part of the polictical process, not that the process should stop them taking part

You're not a Jehovah's Witness by any chance, Scott? Your stance is remarkably similar.

I don't see any problem with Christians becoming involved with the political process. Indeed, I almost see such involvement as being an important responsibility in ensuring that the principles of democracy are upheld. As a constituent, it would be most irresponsible (though sadly, most common) for me to be ignorant about the political system and the issues which concern myself and the Australian population in general. It is when one becomes involved in the political system explicitly as a Christian, rather than simply a private citizen that one merges the important divide between Church and State. That is, I'm a politically active individual who also happens to be a Christian, not a politically active Christian.


I mean that a person who is an athiest does not believe in a God which seems fundamental to all churchs. This means that a athiest should not really be a member of the church. As far as people changing their views and then joining the church. I have absolutely no problem with that, I mean isn't the responsibility of all Christians to preach. I did have in mind the fact you sometimes here stories about Bishops not believing in God. This is just rediculous and should not be allowed in my thinking

This does not take into account the different between the laity and the clergy. I'm not suggesting that an individual with an atheistic worldview should be the elected leader, elder or deacon of a church. I am saying that an atheist should feel welcome to come and join in fellowship with other Christians, provided that they do so in a manner which does not undermine the community of a church. I went to a church in Canterbury, Sydney about a month ago and the minister there was only too pleased to tell me that his church was atypical, and contained those who have lost their faith, those who were agnostic and those who had felt disenfranchised from other churches. They come together in a loving and supportive environment, where no judgments (lamentably, a rarity in many cases) are made of each other.

You must remember, Scott, that we are all at different places in our existential search. Those who do not call themselves "Christian" should be made to feel welcome in churches, since they too are travelling on their own existential search, often from a different perspective than what "Christians" are. Instead of trying to prevent these individuals from attending churches, shouldn't you be glad that they are choosing to continue their search with us? I know I am.

Oepty
30-08-2004, 02:10 PM
You're not a Jehovah's Witness by any chance, Scott? Your stance is remarkably similar.

No I am not, although I would be considered by most mainstream Christians to be as much christian as they are.

[QUOTE=Goughfather]
I don't see any problem with Christians becoming involved with the political process. Indeed, I almost see such involvement as being an important responsibility in ensuring that the principles of democracy are upheld. As a constituent, it would be most irresponsible (though sadly, most common) for me to be ignorant about the political system and the issues which concern myself and the Australian population in general. It is when one becomes involved in the political system explicitly as a Christian, rather than simply a private citizen that one merges the important divide between Church and State. That is, I'm a politically active individual who also happens to be a Christian, not a politically active Christian.


Is Democarcy the ideal form of govenment?
Is Democarcy the type of government God will always want Australia to have?
Does God put in leadership positions of coutries people who He wants?

I have no special attraction to democracy. I don't think it is necessarily better than any other type of government. Even if it is slight better than the rest it still fails. The only difference might be by how much it fails. I am looking to a time after the Lord Jesus Christ returns and I believe will set up God's Kingdom here on earth. This in my view could happen anytime so to vote for someone else to be in charge of Australia would be against what I truly want. I also believe God will make who ever he wants Prime Minister of Australia. I do not know who that is, and I don't think God will necessarily put in charge of Australia the person who will best serve Australians. If I vote for somebody I might be voting against the person God wants and be going against God.



This does not take into account the different between the laity and the clergy. I'm not suggesting that an individual with an atheistic worldview should be the elected leader, elder or deacon of a church. I am saying that an atheist should feel welcome to come and join in fellowship with other Christians, provided that they do so in a manner which does not undermine the community of a church. I went to a church in Canterbury, Sydney about a month ago and the minister there was only too pleased to tell me that his church was atypical, and contained those who have lost their faith, those who were agnostic and those who had felt disenfranchised from other churches. They come together in a loving and supportive environment, where no judgments (lamentably, a rarity in many cases) are made of each other.

You must remember, Scott, that we are all at different places in our existential search. Those who do not call themselves "Christian" should be made to feel welcome in churches, since they too are travelling on their own existential search, often from a different perspective than what "Christians" are. Instead of trying to prevent these individuals from attending churches, shouldn't you be glad that they are choosing to continue their search with us? I know I am.

I think I need to explain a doctrinal basis for what I was saying. I believe that baptism is essential for salvation. It is after baptism a person because a member of the body of Christ as a believer and follower. If a person does not believe in God then baptism is useless and membership of the church is pointless. This is what I meant by athiests didn't belong in the church. As far as people attending a church to learn I am all for it. Also the church I go to does not have a clergy. Hopefully this has made my position clearer.

Scott

Goughfather
30-08-2004, 05:20 PM
Which church do you go to, if you don't mind my asking, Scott?

Oepty
30-08-2004, 05:40 PM
Goughfather. I have no problem answering that question, I am a Christadelphian. As far as I can remember no has ever asked me that question in all the time I have been on the various BB, from the very very old ones.
Scott

Goughfather
30-08-2004, 05:46 PM
Is Democarcy the ideal form of govenment?
Is Democarcy the type of government God will always want Australia to have?


You might find the following quote particularly poignant, which I think was originally attributed to Benjamin Disraeli:

"It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."
- Winston Churchill (1874-1965)


Does God put in leadership positions of coutries people who He wants?

Perhaps permissively, but this does not ameliorate our responsibility to become involved in the political process. Such fatalism would suggest that since God has foreordained the future, you need not get out of bed in the morning.


I am looking to a time after the Lord Jesus Christ returns and I believe will set up God's Kingdom here on earth. This in my view could happen anytime so to vote for someone else to be in charge of Australia would be against what I truly want.

Well, when that time comes, it comes. Until then, you should submit to the law of this country, which regards direct involvement in the democratic process. You need to obey the law of the country you live in, which regards voting not only as a privilege, but also as a responsibility you must undertake.


I also believe God will make who ever he wants Prime Minister of Australia. I do not know who that is, and I don't think God will necessarily put in charge of Australia the person who will best serve Australians. If I vote for somebody I might be voting against the person God wants and be going against God.

There is a distinction between God's "direct" and "permissive" will you seem to be missing. I'm entitled to vote for whoever I like. If however, the other party/candidate wins, I simply have to play by the umpire's decision, however much I may dislike the result.


I think I need to explain a doctrinal basis for what I was saying. I believe that baptism is essential for salvation. It is after baptism a person because a member of the body of Christ as a believer and follower. If a person does not believe in God then baptism is useless and membership of the church is pointless. This is what I meant by athiests didn't belong in the church. As far as people attending a church to learn I am all for it. Also the church I go to does not have a clergy. Hopefully this has made my position clearer.

To some extent. There does seem to be an unsettling elitism in your view, however.

Regards,
Goughfather

arosar
30-08-2004, 05:50 PM
Is Democarcy the ideal form of govenment?
Is Democarcy the type of government God will always want Australia to have?
Does God put in leadership positions of coutries people who He wants?

Stop asking stupid questions Scott!


I have no special attraction to democracy. I don't think it is necessarily better than any other type of government. Even if it is slight better than the rest it still fails. The only difference might be by how much it fails.

This is the problem with you over-educated types. Saying all sorts of fancy bullschit and not really saying anything at all. What form of goverment do you want then eh?


I am looking to a time after the Lord Jesus Christ returns and I believe will set up God's Kingdom here on earth. This in my view could happen anytime so to vote for someone else to be in charge of Australia would be against what I truly want. I also believe God will make who ever he wants Prime Minister of Australia. I do not know who that is, and I don't think God will necessarily put in charge of Australia the person who will best serve Australians. If I vote for somebody I might be voting against the person God wants and be going against God.

You're a friggin' scary bast.ard you know that? Mate, you're no different to a Taliban mullah lemme tell ya.

Listen here man - there's nothing wrong with being a devout christian (or devout whatever). But you, as a citizen, have certain civic duties that you can't just leave to faith. Waiting for Jesus Christ to make a comeback is all OK. In the mean time, there's the small matter of running a country.

You understand and appreciate any of this?

AR

Goughfather
30-08-2004, 05:51 PM
Goughfather. I have no problem answering that question, I am a Christadelphian. As far as I can remember no has ever asked me that question in all the time I have been on the various BB, from the very very old ones.
Scott

Ahh, that's okay then, just curious. For as long as I have been on the BB, I'd always thought that you were simply a run-of-the-mill conservative Evangelical.

Personally, I haven't had a great deal of contact with Christadelphians, but I do know a little bit about Christadelphian history and doctrine.

Oepty
31-08-2004, 02:24 PM
You might find the following quote particularly poignant, which I think was originally attributed to Benjamin Disraeli:

"It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."
- Winston Churchill (1874-1965)


I actually had this quote in mind when I wrote my post and I almost used it myself. I am not sure it is true. I mean has any democracy been as good as Israel was under King Solomon? I don't know the answer. Is democarcy the best form of human government? I don't know




Perhaps permissively, but this does not ameliorate our responsibility to become involved in the political process. Such fatalism would suggest that since God has foreordained the future, you need not get out of bed in the morning.

Well, when that time comes, it comes. Until then, you should submit to the law of this country, which regards direct involvement in the democratic process. You need to obey the law of the country you live in, which regards voting not only as a privilege, but also as a responsibility you must undertake.

There is a distinction between God's "direct" and "permissive" will you seem to be missing. I'm entitled to vote for whoever I like. If however, the other party/candidate wins, I simply have to play by the umpire's decision, however much I may dislike the result.


By not voting I am not breaking the laws of the land. The law although one to give an explaination as to why one did not vote. Saying you have a religous conviction against voting is seen as a legitimate excuse.
Having said this I wouldn't vote even if it was illegal for me not to. We should put what God wants ahead of human laws when they disagree.




To some extent. There does seem to be an unsettling elitism in your view, however.



Can you please explain this comment further. I am not sure what you are getting at.

Scott

arosar
31-08-2004, 02:31 PM
We should put what God wants ahead of human laws when they disagree.

You're a fundamentalist. That makes you a dangerous man.

AR

Oepty
31-08-2004, 02:36 PM
You're a friggin' scary bast.ard you know that? Mate, you're no different to a Taliban mullah lemme tell ya.

Listen here man - there's nothing wrong with being a devout christian (or devout whatever). But you, as a citizen, have certain civic duties that you can't just leave to faith. Waiting for Jesus Christ to make a comeback is all OK. In the mean time, there's the small matter of running a country.

You understand and appreciate any of this?

AR

Amiel there is one huge difference between what I have been expousing in this thread and what the Taliban did. I have been saying Christians should stay out of the political process, running coutries and the like. The Taliban took over Afghanistan and ruled it according to their strong religous principles. I am not trying to control your life, where as if you had lived in Afghanistan they certainly would have tried to control your life.

Scott

Oepty
31-08-2004, 02:40 PM
Also to add to the previous post. I am a citizin of Australia, that is very true, but to be quite frank it wouldn't make much difference to me if I wasn't. It is certainly not something cherish, my allegiance is with God not Australia.

arosar
31-08-2004, 03:08 PM
Amiel there is one huge difference between what I have been expousing in this thread and what the Taliban did.

True. But you're root fundamentalism is the same and has the same net effect: destructive of our political process. Just think. You wanna ban more than half the population from participating in politics. How dumb is that?

Like I said. You read too much about Christianity and you forget or overlook simple everyday things. Your head is right up in the friggin' clouds mate. You have no idea what it's like to be disenfranchised, ruled by a dictator, no democracy, etc, etc. You know nothing. I find your views insulting. You ought to be bloody ashamed of yourself.

AR

Rhubarb
31-08-2004, 03:41 PM
Is democarcy the best form of human government? I don't know

One of the reasons we secular types value democracy is that if a criminal or a moron or a madman or a dictator should find their way into power, we can eventually wake up and vote them out, without the need for a bloody revolution.

Of course, the average person's as dumb as a bag of hair, which explains, for example, why there's still a chance that an abject cretin like Dubya might get re-elected. [EDIT, probably should change "re-elected" to "another four years in power" as he wasn't elected in the first place, but criminally stole the election.]

Oepty
31-08-2004, 06:15 PM
True. But you're root fundamentalism is the same and has the same net effect: destructive of our political process. Just think. You wanna ban more than half the population from participating in politics. How dumb is that?

Like I said. You read too much about Christianity and you forget or overlook simple everyday things. Your head is right up in the friggin' clouds mate. You have no idea what it's like to be disenfranchised, ruled by a dictator, no democracy, etc, etc. You know nothing. I find your views insulting. You ought to be bloody ashamed of yourself.

AR

Amiel, I don't want to ban half of the population from voting.

You are right that I have never lived under another style of government. Democracy and capitalism does lead to a more comfortable society than most other types of government. I do though put it to you have a monarchy, with no other type of government, could perhaps produce similar level of success. It would not all the time because the power would probably just corrupt most people, a good chance including me. Perhaps I have been a bit off hand with my comments, sorry if they have offended you. The Phillipines certainly does not enjoy the comforts we do. I do not think people should live in poverty anywhere in the world. I also think extreme wealth is obsence and selfish. Why should they have everything and others have nothing? This unbalancing of society occurs in any type of government and that is why I say they all fail.

Scott

Oepty
31-08-2004, 06:24 PM
One of the reasons we secular types value democracy is that if a criminal or a moron or a madman or a dictator should find their way into power, we can eventually wake up and vote them out, without the need for a bloody revolution.

Of course, the average person's as dumb as a bag of hair, which explains, for example, why there's still a chance that an abject cretin like Dubya might get re-elected. [EDIT, probably should change "re-elected" to "another four years in power" as he wasn't elected in the first place, but criminally stole the election.]

Greg. I understand this. A lot of people want to have a say. They feel by having a say they are in control, things will be better. Things may well be better under a democracy, but in my view people are not really in control, God is. He has his plan with the earth and nothing man can do will stop it occurring.
As far as the issue with Bush goes, if he did steal the victory, and I am not sure whether he did what does it say about democracy. It obviously failed. If I am right Bush is in power because God wants him in power.

Scott

arosar
31-08-2004, 06:27 PM
Things may well be better under a democracy, but in my view people are not really in control, God is. He has his plan with the earth and nothing man can do will stop it occurring.
As far as the issue with Bush goes, if he did steal the victory, and I am not sure whether he did what does it say about democracy. It obviously failed. If I am right Bush is in power because God wants him in power.

Woulda you just bloody stop saying such ridiculous things?? Sheeesh!!! FMD.

AR

Oepty
31-08-2004, 06:31 PM
Amiel, What rediculous things? I don't think anything I wrote is rediculous. It makes perfect sense to me.

Scott

arosar
31-08-2004, 07:00 PM
Amiel, What rediculous things? I don't think anything I wrote is rediculous. It makes perfect sense to me.

Listen to me Scott. Allow me to educate you OK - cos your catechism is clearly very poor.

Just cos you're devoted to God doesn't mean you must turn your back on your civic, or if you like - more 'worldly', duties. You have your duties to God and you have your duties to your fellow citizens.

This is what is meant by the story about taxes. You give unto Caesar what is his, and to God what is God's.

Comprende? FMD mate, I dunno what they bloody teach you lot these days.

AR

PHAT
31-08-2004, 10:30 PM
If I am right Bush is in power because God wants him in power.

Oh, is that so? Then, God also wants pedophilia on the internet, starvation in Sudan and juvenile onset diabetes for a lucky door prize.

God? Love his work. ;)

Goughfather
01-09-2004, 12:19 AM
Just cos you're devoted to God doesn't mean you must turn your back on your civic, or if you like - more 'worldly', duties. You have your duties to God and you have your duties to your fellow citizens.

This is what is meant by the story about taxes. You give unto Caesar what is his, and to God what is God's.

Hear Hear, Amiel! In fact, many people suggest that declaration by Jesus was meant to establish a "two swords" principle - a division between Church and State. Pity it took Christendom 1500 years to catch on, and even then very inadequately.

Indeed, if I were East Timorese, I would be most disgusted at Scott's comments. Scott, think of how many thousands died trying to establish autonomy and democracy to the oppressed people of East Timor. Or about how many people risked their lives and their livelihood so that the East Timorese could be granted a sense of justice.

How many times does God espouse his love of justice in the Bible? And yet, by suggesting that democracy is somehow against the will of God, you deprive, or wish to deprive people of the justice that these people deserve? Your scant regard for the suffrage that we in Australia take for granted turns the suffering of the East Timorese into a joke. In doing so, you strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. Can't you see that by espousing your moral highground, you neglect the more important principles of love and justice.

Scott, your view of the will of God has the tendency of creating a fatalist mentality. Does it not occur that perhaps God gives you opportunities in your life, and that it is up to you to take them? One of the greatest gifts that God has given to humankind is the gift of responsibility. Of choice. So when the opportunity to have your imput into the democratic process arises, why then do you reject it?

Kevin Bonham
01-09-2004, 02:47 AM
I do though put it to you have a monarchy, with no other type of government, could perhaps produce similar level of success. It would not all the time because the power would probably just corrupt most people, a good chance including me.

The real problem is when you get a really bad monarch. In a system where power is absolute that means your system is absolutely bad, and as Greg points out, you need to have a violent revolution and throw the duffer out.

Look at the current situation with the Vatican and the Pope's health for an example of why systems that vest supreme power in one person are suspect. Worse, imagine having a pope or monarch with Alzheimer's.

Systems with lots of checks and balances are more secure.

Oepty
01-09-2004, 02:02 PM
Listen to me Scott. Allow me to educate you OK - cos your catechism is clearly very poor.

Just cos you're devoted to God doesn't mean you must turn your back on your civic, or if you like - more 'worldly', duties. You have your duties to God and you have your duties to your fellow citizens.

This is what is meant by the story about taxes. You give unto Caesar what is his, and to God what is God's.

Comprende? FMD mate, I dunno what they bloody teach you lot these days.

AR

Great work Amiel. This proves that Christians should pay taxes. When have I said otherwise? Of course a person has certain responsibilities to society. This includes living within the laws of the land where they don't disagree with God. As it is at the moment I can't think of one law of Australia that does this. The law says plenty of things are right that I think are wrong and perhaps ideally would be illegal, but because of societies freedom of religion there is nothing that stops me believing what I want. I am grateful for this, but if it was different and I stopped believing what kind of believer would I be?
Scott

arosar
01-09-2004, 02:12 PM
Great work Amiel. This proves that Christians should pay taxes.

You're a silly bugger, you know that?

So tell us this then. Does a devout christian, say one of those fancy Christawhateverthef**kyoucallem, have a place in Parliament?

AR

Oepty
01-09-2004, 02:31 PM
Hear Hear, Amiel! In fact, many people suggest that declaration by Jesus was meant to establish a "two swords" principle - a division between Church and State. Pity it took Christendom 1500 years to catch on, and even then very inadequately.
[\QUOTE]

Part of Jesus point hear is that everything is God's, so nothing really is ours. We only have what God is given so we should give it back to him by us serving Him with our whole life.

[QUOTE=Goughfather]
Indeed, if I were East Timorese, I would be most disgusted at Scott's comments. Scott, think of how many thousands died trying to establish autonomy and democracy to the oppressed people of East Timor. Or about how many people risked their lives and their livelihood so that the East Timorese could be granted a sense of justice.
[\QUOTE]

The idea that any country, under any system anywhere in this world is ruled in a completely just way is stupid. A Christian should be able to serve God no matter what their circumstances are.

[QUOTE=Goughfather]
How many times does God espouse his love of justice in the Bible? And yet, by suggesting that democracy is somehow against the will of God, you deprive, or wish to deprive people of the justice that these people deserve? Your scant regard for the suffrage that we in Australia take for granted turns the suffering of the East Timorese into a joke. In doing so, you strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. Can't you see that by espousing your moral highground, you neglect the more important principles of love and justice.


Goughfather. The time when there will the true justice God espouses is when His kingdom is set up on earth. To expect that justice now when humans rule the earth is wrong, it is impossible. I treat the sufferings of nobody a joke and i want noone to suffer, no one to die and that is one of the reasons why I long for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth. Goughfather, does Australia being a democracy stop people from suffering, does it stop people from dying, does it protect the enviroment, does it grant everyone happiness?
Democarcy fails to deliver in many ways, as does all types of government. THEY ALL ARE FAR FROM IDEAL THAT IS WHY I HAVE NO PARTICULAR LOVE OF THEM.



Scott, your view of the will of God has the tendency of creating a fatalist mentality. Does it not occur that perhaps God gives you opportunities in your life, and that it is up to you to take them? One of the greatest gifts that God has given to humankind is the gift of responsibility. Of choice. So when the opportunity to have your imput into the democratic process arises, why then do you reject it?

Goughfather, OF COURSE GOD GIVES ME OPPORTUNITIES TO SERVE HIM. One of the main ways to serve God and the main thing the Bible teaches believers to do is to preach the Gospel. That Jesus Christ died so that people can be saved. This, along with living our lives in a Godly fashion, should be the main focus of our lives, not how the country is run.
You can call my belief that God has a plan with earth, that He is carrying out that plan, that HE IS IN CONTROL fatalistic if you wish.
You can call my belief that God will sometime in the future set up his Kingdom upon the earth fatalistic.
This is what the Bible teaches will happen
Scott

arosar
01-09-2004, 02:54 PM
Goughfather, does Australia being a democracy stop people from suffering, does it stop people from dying, does it protect the enviroment, does it grant everyone happiness?
Democarcy fails to deliver in many ways, as does all types of government. THEY ALL ARE FAR FROM IDEAL THAT IS WHY I HAVE NO PARTICULAR LOVE OF THEM.

Stop saying such idiotic things OK!! You sound like a friggin' lunatic - no better than that Grand Prix priest mate. You are a disgrace and an insult to people without the freedoms you enjoy.

You said it yourself buddy - all types of government fail in many ways. OK, so what? We do the best we can and pick the best we can while we all wait for some bas.tard to come down and save us all. Don't you f**kin' get it?


This, along with living our lives in a Godly fashion, should be the main focus of our lives, not how the country is run.

Are you stupid? What's wrong with you? What the hell do you want us to do in the mean time then eh?

You say you're happy to pay taxes. What makes the collection of taxes happen? A bureuacracy. What is a bureaucracy Scott? How do you ensure that this bureaucracy behaves correctly? Your God got somethin' to say about that too?

Look here man. I want the name of that dumb pastor that's been rammin' this garbage into your nuggin'. I'm gonna have a bit of a word with him cos he's clearly brainwashing you mate.

AR

PHAT
01-09-2004, 03:57 PM
... but if it was different and I stopped believing what kind of believer would I be?

A wise one.

Alan Shore
01-09-2004, 04:37 PM
This, along with living our lives in a Godly fashion, should be the main focus of our lives, not how the country is run.

Just what is a 'godly fashion' though? As dictated by Jesus? As dictated by Paul? As dictated by Moses? By Kant? By Nietzsche? I think it comes down to how you yourself choose to interpret what you read. Yet the worst sort are those who call themselves 'believers' yet do not practice what they preach. You have to wonder why Protestants hate the book of James so much.. go check out James 2:26 and then read what Martin Luther himself has to say about the book, or even Paul, in Ephesians 2:8.

Kevin Bonham
01-09-2004, 06:03 PM
I've never seen Scott resort to capital letters before. Interesting how a fellow Christian seems to get him more fired up than all us horrible heathens.

Goughfather
01-09-2004, 06:07 PM
Goughfather. The time when there will the true justice God espouses is when His kingdom is set up on earth. To expect that justice now when humans rule the earth is wrong, it is impossible.

Granted, justice in its purest form does not, and indeed cannot exist. Yet to ensure justice is one of the highest callings of those who follow God:

"He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?"
-Micah 6:8

Justice is not simply an abstract eschatological concept. It's a command to be obeyed. Now.


I treat the sufferings of nobody a joke and i want noone to suffer, no one to die and that is one of the reasons why I long for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth.

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” - Edmund Burke

You are expected to exhibit justice in the here and now. When you speak of justice as something you long for, yet you do nothing about it, your actions betray your words. To express your contempt for democracy in the way that you have been doing is to disminish the efforts of those East Timorese who were willing to sacrifice their lives so that others could receive some kind of justice. They acted justly, while you refuse to. Who has the right to claim the moral highground?


Goughfather, does Australia being a democracy stop people from suffering, does it stop people from dying, does it protect the enviroment, does it grant everyone happiness?

I'd say that as a general rule, democracy has a far better record of succeeding in the above respects than any other system.


Goughfather, OF COURSE GOD GIVES ME OPPORTUNITIES TO SERVE HIM.

And yet the opportunity to exhibit and ensure justice does not come into this equation?


One of the main ways to serve God and the main thing the Bible teaches believers to do is to preach the Gospel. That Jesus Christ died so that people can be saved. This, along with living our lives in a Godly fashion, should be the main focus of our lives, not how the country is run.

When you preach the gospel without a sense of compassion and justice, your evangelistic endeavours will more likely than not be counterproductive.


You can call my belief that God has a plan with earth, that He is carrying out that plan, that HE IS IN CONTROL fatalistic if you wish.
You can call my belief that God will sometime in the future set up his Kingdom upon the earth fatalistic.

I'm not disputing that God is ultimately in control, nor that he has a plan. I'm simply saying that this fact does not give you the right to cast off your responsibility towards other human beings.

Regards,
Goughfather

Rhubarb
01-09-2004, 07:29 PM
As far as the issue with Bush goes, if he did steal the victory, and I am not sure whether he did what does it say about democracy. It obviously failed. If I am right Bush is in power because God wants him in power.

Yes, democracy certainly did fail in this case. Perhaps the incumbents are given too much power in the US to stack the Supreme Court. Perhaps the Democrats should have lived up to their name and fought harder for democracy - they reminded me of a kid who gets his lunch money stolen from the school bully, appeals to the teacher, finds the teacher giving the bully a pat on the back, and is then rendered speechless, unable to quite believe there could be such injustice in the world.

If you think your god put Bush in power, I would have to say your god is a nasty piece of work.

Oepty
02-09-2004, 03:14 PM
I've never seen Scott resort to capital letters before. Interesting how a fellow Christian seems to get him more fired up than all us horrible heathens.

I am sure I have before, you must have just missed it. I was rather upset at some of the things said. Especially that I would think peoples suffering were a joke, that was very offensive.

Scott

Oepty
02-09-2004, 03:17 PM
Just what is a 'godly fashion' though? As dictated by Jesus? As dictated by Paul? As dictated by Moses? By Kant? By Nietzsche? I think it comes down to how you yourself choose to interpret what you read. Yet the worst sort are those who call themselves 'believers' yet do not practice what they preach. You have to wonder why Protestants hate the book of James so much.. go check out James 2:26 and then read what Martin Luther himself has to say about the book, or even Paul, in Ephesians 2:8.

Godly fashion means living without sin, which is unfortunately impossible or to put another way living in the way God wants. Jesus did this perfectly and as his followers Christians should attempt to do the same.

I think Luther said something like, James shouldn't be the Bible, I guess that say more about him than the Bible.
Scott

Oepty
02-09-2004, 03:19 PM
Stop saying such idiotic things OK!! You sound like a friggin' lunatic - no better than that Grand Prix priest mate. You are a disgrace and an insult to people without the freedoms you enjoy.

You said it yourself buddy - all types of government fail in many ways. OK, so what? We do the best we can and pick the best we can while we all wait for some bas.tard to come down and save us all. Don't you f**kin' get it?



Are you stupid? What's wrong with you? What the hell do you want us to do in the mean time then eh?

You say you're happy to pay taxes. What makes the collection of taxes happen? A bureuacracy. What is a bureaucracy Scott? How do you ensure that this bureaucracy behaves correctly? Your God got somethin' to say about that too?

Look here man. I want the name of that dumb pastor that's been rammin' this garbage into your nuggin'. I'm gonna have a bit of a word with him cos he's clearly brainwashing you mate.

AR

Amiel.
I could repeat myself but I am not going to.
2 quick points though.

1. Don't blame the moon for how I act, I don't
2. Christadelphians are a lay community. i.e. no clergy.

Scott

Oepty
02-09-2004, 03:33 PM
Granted, justice in its purest form does not, and indeed cannot exist. Yet to ensure justice is one of the highest callings of those who follow God:

"He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?"
-Micah 6:8

Justice is not simply an abstract eschatological concept. It's a command to be obeyed. Now.



“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” - Edmund Burke

You are expected to exhibit justice in the here and now. When you speak of justice as something you long for, yet you do nothing about it, your actions betray your words. To express your contempt for democracy in the way that you have been doing is to disminish the efforts of those East Timorese who were willing to sacrifice their lives so that others could receive some kind of justice. They acted justly, while you refuse to. Who has the right to claim the moral highground?



I'd say that as a general rule, democracy has a far better record of succeeding in the above respects than any other system.



And yet the opportunity to exhibit and ensure justice does not come into this equation?



When you preach the gospel without a sense of compassion and justice, your evangelistic endeavours will more likely than not be counterproductive.



I'm not disputing that God is ultimately in control, nor that he has a plan. I'm simply saying that this fact does not give you the right to cast off your responsibility towards other human beings.

Regards,
Goughfather

Goughfather. My only comment is that you seem to be limiting the only way to exhibit justice is by voting in an election and fighting for democracy. If this is what you are saying then it is very limiting. If you are not then I am sorry for misunderstanding you. Being a just person is about a lot more than that.
Noah, Joseph (Mary's wife), Simeon, Joseph of Arimethea and Cornelius are all called just men in the Bible. I don't think they were called just because they fought for democracy or even because they ruled countries effectively.
I am not saying democracy is not the best form of human government, I don't know whether it is or not. As far as the East Timorese go, those who fought made there decision as to what the priorities were. I don't necessarily agree with it but it does not mean I would want them to suffer and die, of course I don't. As I said to Kevin I found the comment that I was treating their sufferings as joke very offensive and I did get a little carried away. I am sorry for this please forgive me for it.
Scott

P.S. I do have a question. Do you believe God will one day set up his kingdom on earth?

Oepty
02-09-2004, 03:38 PM
Yes, democracy certainly did fail in this case. Perhaps the incumbents are given too much power in the US to stack the Supreme Court. Perhaps the Democrats should have lived up to their name and fought harder for democracy - they reminded me of a kid who gets his lunch money stolen from the school bully, appeals to the teacher, finds the teacher giving the bully a pat on the back, and is then rendered speechless, unable to quite believe there could be such injustice in the world.

If you think your god put Bush in power, I would have to say your god is a nasty piece of work.

I think you know a heck of alot more about the situation from 2000 than I do so I really have no comments on the legallity or otherwise of Bush's election. You might very well be right.

God gives everyone free will, this means he is not responsible for what Bush does with the power he is given. It is a clear teaching of the Bible that God does give power to those who have it.

Scott

Goughfather
02-09-2004, 03:39 PM
I've never seen Scott resort to capital letters before. Interesting how a fellow Christian seems to get him more fired up than all us horrible heathens.

To be fair, Kevin, I am usually much more critical of my fellow believers than of anyone else. In fact, I'm currently writing a book which is incredibly critical of the institutional and corporate flaws in contemporary Christian culture. Of course, I undertake this project with an acute understanding of my own flaws and failings, knowing that I too fail to reach the high expectations that I have of myself and other Christians. However, I'd like to think that perhaps iron could sharpen iron and that by refusing to close ranks unnecessarily, we can bring the best out of each other and ourselves.

arosar
02-09-2004, 03:42 PM
1. Don't blame the moon for how I act, I don't


I don't mate. I blame your pastor and, most of all, you!

AR

arosar
02-09-2004, 04:06 PM
God gives everyone free will, this means he is not responsible for what Bush does with the power he is given.

You really are a confused puppy you know that?

You wrote this:


I also believe God will make who ever he wants Prime Minister of Australia. I do not know who that is, and I don't think God will necessarily put in charge of Australia the person who will best serve Australians. If I vote for somebody I might be voting against the person God wants and be going against God.

Then this, quite emphatically:


HE IS IN CONTROL

Just stick to chess man. You'll be a better person for it.

AR

antichrist
02-09-2004, 07:27 PM
You really are a confused puppy you know that?

You wrote this:



Then this, quite emphatically:



Just stick to chess man. You'll be a better person for it.

AR

Hey Scott,
You don't really believe what you are posting do you??
You just enjoy upsetting AR -- my mate who denieth me thrice

Oepty
02-09-2004, 07:53 PM
I don't mate. I blame your pastor and, most of all, you!

AR

Good. Then don't call me a lunatic. It means one struck by the moon. You obviously didn't read my second point. I HAVE NO PASTOR

Scott

PHAT
02-09-2004, 07:58 PM
I HAVE NO PASTOR

Scott

Forget having spag bol for dinner.

Oepty
02-09-2004, 08:05 PM
Amiel there is no contradiction with what I said.
Firstly I said God puts in charge of the nations who ever he wants, but he is does not control what they do after they are in charge. They have the free will to do whatever they want with the power they are given.

Goughfather do you disagree with what I am saying in this post?
If so Romans 13:1 and Daniel 5:21 support my claims in my view.
Scott

Oepty
02-09-2004, 08:09 PM
Hey Scott,
You don't really believe what you are posting do you??
You just enjoy upsetting AR -- my mate who denieth me thrice


Wrong, totally and absolutely wrong. I am not just baiting Amiel.

Oepty
02-09-2004, 08:11 PM
Forget having spag bol for dinner.

Okay, very funny. I have corrected the post

Oepty
02-09-2004, 08:18 PM
To be fair, Kevin, I am usually much more critical of my fellow believers than of anyone else. In fact, I'm currently writing a book which is incredibly critical of the institutional and corporate flaws in contemporary Christian culture. Of course, I undertake this project with an acute understanding of my own flaws and failings, knowing that I too fail to reach the high expectations that I have of myself and other Christians. However, I'd like to think that perhaps iron could sharpen iron and that by refusing to close ranks unnecessarily, we can bring the best out of each other and ourselves.

As I posted the premise of the post you are replying to is incorrect as is the conclusion.
I also am very aware I fail; fail very often. When I look at my life I see I have made many stupid decisions. I am no better than anybody else on this board in this way. I am just fortunate that I have been called of God, that He has forgiven me. I have nothing apart from what God has given me.
I thank you for being tough on me, I need correction and I admire people who have the courage to tell people where they go wrong. It helps no one to just ignore peoples failing, although it is the easy way out.

Scott

Alan Shore
02-09-2004, 08:25 PM
I thank you for being tough on me, I need correction and I admire people who have the courage to tell people where they go wrong. It helps no one to just ignore peoples failing, although it is the easy way out.

That's definitely one of the better things you've posted here. I've studied psychology so I'm much more understanding of what motivates people to behave in certain ways and can sympathise with how they may have arrived at such a behaviour. But to try to help is a noble thing when yes, it is easy to ignore, to get angry with them, to turn away and think of them as nothings when really, they are people too.

Goughfather
02-09-2004, 10:29 PM
Goughfather. My only comment is that you seem to be limiting the only way to exhibit justice is by voting in an election and fighting for democracy. If this is what you are saying then it is very limiting. If you are not then I am sorry for misunderstanding you. Being a just person is about a lot more than that.
Noah, Joseph (Mary's wife), Simeon, Joseph of Arimethea and Cornelius are all called just men in the Bible. I don't think they were called just because they fought for democracy or even because they ruled countries effectively.
I am not saying democracy is not the best form of human government, I don't know whether it is or not.

You are right in saying that the pursuit of democracy does not entail the sum total of justice. One can exhibit justice in a number of ways, as illustrated in the examples that you have given above. My problem with your perspective, however, is that while democracy is not the "be all and end all" of justice, it is with regard to political systems, the best mechanism we have for ensuring that justice is done. If we fail to actively support democratic principles, of which voting is a principle responsibility, we end up with a system less adept at ensuring justice than democracy.

I can understand your yearnings for God's Kingdom on Earth. However, in the present, we have to be pragmatic and make the best of the system that we have. By promoting democracy, at least in the short term, we ensure the preservation of a system which will comparitively speaking, promote more justice rather than less.


As far as the East Timorese go, those who fought made there decision as to what the priorities were.

Their priorities were to ensure that others could receive justice, a calling to which we, as Christians should likewise aspire towards. If we fail to pursue justice, the rest of our gospel is severely compromised. Justice is an indissolvable element of the gospel we both cherish.


I don't necessarily agree with it but it does not mean I would want them to suffer and die, of course I don't. As I said to Kevin I found the comment that I was treating their sufferings as joke very offensive and I did get a little carried away. I am sorry for this please forgive me for it.

No apology is necessary. I recognise that you do not regard the suffering and deaths of others as a joke. You are not a malicious person, and I'm sure that you view others with a sense of compassion. However, the implications of your contempt for democracy does however undermine those that gave their lives so that justice could be acheived for their fellow brothers and sisters.


P.S. I do have a question. Do you believe God will one day set up his kingdom on earth?

I do. However, I'm not entirely sure as to the shape that this may take. As a thoroughly pragmatic Christian, I rarely concern myself with eschatological considerations. I do however believe in a view known as "partially completed eschatology", with started with the beginning of Jesus' ministry, and will culminate after the apocalypse. The "Kingdom of God" is already here, and yet, in a sense, it isn't. Mystery, isn't it?


Firstly I said God puts in charge of the nations who ever he wants, but he is does not control what they do after they are in charge. They have the free will to do whatever they want with the power they are given.

Goughfather do you disagree with what I am saying in this post?
If so Romans 13:1 and Daniel 5:21 support my claims in my view.

Largely, although I would argue that God allows rulers to be placed in charge. While I could very well be wrong, the fact that God actually "wants" someone like George Bush as President of the USA and hence leader of the free world is indeed a scary thought. However, it did occur under the dominion of God's sovereign will, so in this respect, God permissively allowed this to occur.

Regards,
Goughfather

Alan Shore
03-09-2004, 07:18 AM
Largely, although I would argue that God allows rulers to be placed in charge. While I could very well be wrong, the fact that God actually "wants" someone like George Bush as President of the USA and hence leader of the free world is indeed a scary thought. However, it did occur under the dominion of God's sovereign will, so in this respect, God permissively allowed this to occur.

Forget Bush, consider Hitler, Idi Amin, Mugabe and an endless list. Much more scary to consider. Yet perhaps Luke 24:26 gives some insight into why the suffering is necessary: 'Was it not necessary for the messiah to suffer these things and then to enter his glory?' I believe it kind of fits as a theodicy to the problem of evil.

arosar
03-09-2004, 09:39 AM
They have the free will to do whatever they want with the power they are given.

Listen here mate, you're a confused little puppy. You are uncharitable to your fellow man - hence, I charge you of hypocrisy. You will surely be cast in the fires of hell come judgement day. I spit on your beliefs. I spit on your convictions.

Now a question: is there free will?

AR

Oepty
03-09-2004, 12:12 PM
You are right in saying that the pursuit of democracy does not entail the sum total of justice. One can exhibit justice in a number of ways, as illustrated in the examples that you have given above. My problem with your perspective, however, is that while democracy is not the "be all and end all" of justice, it is with regard to political systems, the best mechanism we have for ensuring that justice is done. If we fail to actively support democratic principles, of which voting is a principle responsibility, we end up with a system less adept at ensuring justice than democracy.

I can understand your yearnings for God's Kingdom on Earth. However, in the present, we have to be pragmatic and make the best of the system that we have. By promoting democracy, at least in the short term, we ensure the preservation of a system which will comparitively speaking, promote more justice rather than less.



Their priorities were to ensure that others could receive justice, a calling to which we, as Christians should likewise aspire towards. If we fail to pursue justice, the rest of our gospel is severely compromised. Justice is an indissolvable element of the gospel we both cherish.



No apology is necessary. I recognise that you do not regard the suffering and deaths of others as a joke. You are not a malicious person, and I'm sure that you view others with a sense of compassion. However, the implications of your contempt for democracy does however undermine those that gave their lives so that justice could be acheived for their fellow brothers and sisters.



I do. However, I'm not entirely sure as to the shape that this may take. As a thoroughly pragmatic Christian, I rarely concern myself with eschatological considerations. I do however believe in a view known as "partially completed eschatology", with started with the beginning of Jesus' ministry, and will culminate after the apocalypse. The "Kingdom of God" is already here, and yet, in a sense, it isn't. Mystery, isn't it?



Largely, although I would argue that God allows rulers to be placed in charge. While I could very well be wrong, the fact that God actually "wants" someone like George Bush as President of the USA and hence leader of the free world is indeed a scary thought. However, it did occur under the dominion of God's sovereign will, so in this respect, God permissively allowed this to occur.

Regards,
Goughfather

I just wrote up a long response to this and managed to accidently delete it. I have no time at the moment to rewrite it, sorry. I might not be able to get back to it until Monday.

Scott

arosar
29-09-2004, 01:07 PM
Where's that Scott fella? Hey mate, here's a site for you. Saw it on SBS last night: http://www.sojo.net/index.cfm

I direct you, especially, to this one: http://www.sojo.net/index.cfm?action=magazine.article&issue=soj0309&article=030910

AR

Kevin Bonham
29-09-2004, 06:40 PM
Scott has disabled his account and quit the BB. He gave no reason for leaving.

JGB
29-09-2004, 06:49 PM
Scott has disabled his account and quit the BB. He gave no reason for leaving.

Perhaps he will be back under a new name or 'alias', perhaps he is already here lurking? No one leaves here that easiliy. ;)

Rincewind
29-09-2004, 06:59 PM
Perhaps he will be back under a new name or 'alias', perhaps he is already here lurking? No one leaves here that easiliy. ;)

Don't be so sure. I get the impression he thought participation in the forum was bad for his spiritual well-being. His request was short, sharp and as Kevin said, unqualified.

Goughfather
30-09-2004, 05:57 PM
Which response was short and sharp?

Rincewind
30-09-2004, 09:22 PM
Which response was short and sharp?

Not repsonse, request. He asked to have his account removed and no correspondence as to reasons or encouragements to remain were entertained.

arosar
01-10-2004, 09:47 AM
One of youse blokes must have been very rude to him. Maybe that's why he left, eh? As for me, I was always giving Scott good life advice. :uhoh:

AR

ursogr8
01-10-2004, 09:56 AM
One of youse blokes must have been very rude to him. Maybe that's why he left, eh? As for me, I was always giving Scott good life advice. :uhoh:

AR

Good morning Amiel,
Who did you have in mind? :hmm:
starter

antichrist
01-10-2004, 10:44 AM
Don't be so sure. I get the impression he thought participation in the forum was bad for his spiritual well-being.

You don't mean my arguments were starting to get to him.

Rincewind
01-10-2004, 11:10 AM
You don't mean my arguments were starting to get to him.

As I said, he didn't elaborate. All we can do is respect his wishes not to associate with us.

arosar
01-10-2004, 11:18 AM
Maybe he's rocked up to some mountain somewhere and joined a christian cult.

AR

Kevin Bonham
01-10-2004, 06:15 PM
You don't mean my arguments were starting to get to him.

Whether he was felled by enemy or friendly fire remains unclear.

Lucena
01-10-2004, 11:25 PM
I think Luther said something like, James shouldn't be the Bible, I guess that say more about him than the Bible.
Scott

True and Luther later realised he had gone too far and changed his mind re James.

Lucena
01-10-2004, 11:34 PM
One of youse blokes must have been very rude to him. Maybe that's why he left, eh? As for me, I was always giving Scott good life advice. :uhoh:

AR

You're a real piece of work you know Amiel...

Lucena
01-10-2004, 11:55 PM
Whether he was felled by enemy or friendly fire remains unclear.


If I was subject to the stream of invective Amiel was directing at Scott I'd be tempted to leave too. The fact that Goughfather (friendly fire?) had a similar ideological position to Amiel possibly didn't help.


You really are a confused puppy you know that?.



Just stick to chess man.



Stop saying such idiotic things OK!! You sound like a friggin' lunatic - no better than that Grand Prix priest mate. You are a disgrace and an insult...


Are you stupid? What's wrong with you?...


You know nothing. I find your views insulting. You ought to be bloody ashamed of yourself.



You're a silly bugger, you know that?



You're a friggin' scary bast.ard you know that? Mate, you're no different to a Taliban mullah lemme tell ya.

And I almost forgot this little beauty...


Listen here mate, you're a confused little puppy. You are uncharitable to your fellow man - hence, I charge you of hypocrisy. You will surely be cast in the fires of hell come judgement day. I spit on your beliefs. I spit on your convictions.

Garvinator
02-10-2004, 12:04 AM
One of youse blokes must have been very rude to him. Maybe that's why he left, eh? As for me, I was always giving Scott good life advice. :uhoh:

AR
well not only has gareth given you a bashing in the latest gareth post, but also i remember your treatment of Scott in the mt buller threads. Combine all this together and i am not surprised he left.

Lucena
02-10-2004, 12:16 AM
well not only has gareth given you a bashing in the latest gareth post, but also i remember your treatment of Scott in the mt buller threads. Combine all this together and i am not surprised he left.I don't have any problems personally with Amiel but some of his language on this board comes across as mean-maybe its just his style of posting I dunno

Garvinator
02-10-2004, 12:22 AM
I don't have any problems personally with Amiel but some of his language on this board comes across as mean-maybe its just his style of posting I dunno
i wasnt saying you have a problem with amiel, was just commenting about the quotes amiel has posted about scott that you highlighted and also amiels comments about scott in the mt buller threads.

Lucena
02-10-2004, 12:38 AM
i wasnt saying you have a problem with amiel, was just commenting about the quotes amiel has posted about scott that you highlighted and also amiels comments about scott in the mt buller threads.

Yes I know I just wanted to clarify in case anyone thought I had a vendetta against Amiel

Rhubarb
02-10-2004, 02:15 AM
Reason Scott Collliver left=AR's flaming

Scott copped a serving from a wide range of people of differing beliefs, not just AR. That's what happens when you blindly preach fundamentalist dogma, imply that everyone else is going to hell, and even say there's no use fighting for things like democracy because everything is God's will anyway.

I should add, however, that Scott's updates on the SA chess scene will be sadly missed.

Rincewind
02-10-2004, 11:25 AM
I don't have any problems personally with Amiel but some of his language on this board comes across as mean-maybe its just his style of posting I dunno

He seems to get a bee in his bonnet with particular people for some reason and likes to think he is giving them both barrels. Of late it was Scott and still is Garvin. To my mind he does cross the line and say things which are genuinely insulting and deserves to get as good as he gives. Which is does from time to time.

Gal 6:8 The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction;

antichrist
02-10-2004, 05:47 PM
When I was a teen I had a mate like AR, same size too, every paynight we would go out, he would have his pint of courage, go to the the toilet, shoot his mouth off and return with a black eye.

arosar
03-10-2004, 02:52 PM
. . . shoot his mouth off and return with a black eye.

Yeah...cos he had a wimp of a friend like you eh mate?

AR

antichrist
04-10-2004, 11:33 AM
Yeah...cos he had a wimp of a friend like you eh mate?

AR
I refrain from handling things in the men's toilet, the other one is my forte.

Spiny Norman
09-10-2004, 12:23 PM
I have said this before, and I will repeat. I believe in absolute seperation of Church from the state. Just like an athiest has no place in a church, a christian has no place in being part of government.


... what exactly do you mean when you say that an atheist should have no place within a church, Scott? Considering the judgmental attitudes that I often see towards non-Christians, I can understand why a non-Christian would want to have nothing to do with church. But shouldn't the church be an open, inclusive environment where all are welcome, regardless of race, colour or creed?

In light of today's election activities, I thought I would have a read of this thread. Interesting points of view espoused.

I think Scott's statement, as written, doesn't make sense to me ... but maybe that's not what he meant?

I would have put it something like this:

"Just as a political party has no business running a church, a church has no business running a government"

But individuals can and should be involved. Churches should welcome anyone who is an honest participant, whether they believe or not. There should be no checks at the door to find out whether the person is "one of us, or one of them". But its true that an atheist has no business running a church. Church participants (in the normal/traditional sense of church participation) and atheists are at opposite ends of the spectrum. Similarly, a church participant probably has no business running the local chapter of the Skeptics Society.

Governments should welcome participation from all and sundry, most of the time anyway. Its what makes our country healthy. As an example, I am absolutely opposed to much of what the Greens propose in terms of policy. But its their right to say it, and if I prevent them from saying it I take away just a bit of my own liberty in the process. Then there are those elements that seek to participate in the process just in order to undermine it (e.g. anarchists). It would seem contradictory to me to see an anarchist run to become a member of parliament.

Some disclosures now: I am a Christian. I am active in my local Assemblies of God church (I'm an elder, and my wife is on the board). I work for the AOG church's national office as IT Manager. I am a member of the Liberal Party. I have no interest in and no association with Family First.

This led me to an interesting issue at work. Family First is making a bit of a run in the hope of winning senate seats and perhaps even holding the balance of power. Their pitch is that they are a family-focused party, which is fine. But there's an awful lot of church people involved with it. Maybe that's coincidence, since (by and large) church people are pretty family-focused too. Still, it troubles me greatly.

But during the week I received an email asking for support for Family First candidates on polling day, for things like handing out how-to-vote cards and the like. If this had been sent to me by an individual I would have simply responded with a "no thanks" and not thought any more of it. As it happened though, it was sent to the "all staff" mailing list ... so I interpreted it as an official communication from the organisation (because only selected individuals have the right to post to that list).

Well, I thought about it for a bit, and then I allowed myself to react. So I wrote an email to the sender, to my boss, with a copy to Personnel, and told them that they had no right to be bringing that into the workplace, that I had no intention of supporting Family First because I have major issues with the whole concept, and recommended that if they wanted to send any more emails like that I would show them how to remove MY name from the distribution list.

Haven't heard back yet ... but I imagine something will be said about it on Monday. I did subsequently talk to the individual who sent the email and it became clear that it wasn't intended to be "official", so my fears on that count proved to be unfounded.

Does anyone else have any similar experiences (perhaps work-related) where they feel that an organisation has brought undue pressure to bear on them in terms of the political process?

I do know of one fairly large company that once made the mistake of sending around an email encouraging people to vote for their local Labor candidate. An absolute howling row ensued and they had to retract the email and make an apology to the roughly 50% of staff they had just offended.

Garvinator
09-10-2004, 02:37 PM
Hello Frosty,

It looks like we are on the opposite ends of the political and religious scale. I am a devote athiest and also a greens voter. When it comes to family first, my first task voting today was to find the family first candidates in the house of reps and the senate and put them last. :whistle:

Spiny Norman
09-10-2004, 06:22 PM
Hello Frosty, It looks like we are on the opposite ends of the political and religious scale. I am a devote athiest and also a greens voter. When it comes to family first, my first task voting today was to find the family first candidates in the house of reps and the senate and put them last. :whistle:

Yeah, looks that way. I was handing out how-to-vote cards at a really quiet booth this arvo. The Greens guy had to leave early, so one of the Labor volunteers offered to hand out the Green cards for him (very civic minded I thought). He asked me if I wanted to wear a Greens badge, but I thought that probably would get me into trouble. As it turned out, the Labor volunteer handing out the Greens cards was actually a disaffected Liberal person who "didn't like John Howard" ... whole thing was hilarious. We all had a good time! :)

arosar
11-10-2004, 09:30 AM
We all had a good time! :)

That's one reason why I love this country. . .

AR