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Thread: Marc9000 vs. Electrolyte-- Christian Nation

  1. #1
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    Marc9000 vs. Electrolyte-- Christian Nation

    4Forums is very pleased to announce a formal debate between marc9000 and electrolyte in regard to the following:

    Resolved: All basic principles in the U.S. Constitution are Christian in nature.

    The judges for this debate are unkerpaulie, Steeeeve, and E. Mutz. Their decisions are final.

    A 3500 word limit per post will be observed. Opponent's quotes are not included in the count. A 5/4 post structure will be observed. Marc will take the affirmative and thus be allowed 5 posts; Electrolyte will have 4 posts for the negative.

    Both contestants have agreed to a 7 day time limit between consecutive posts. Each is free to post earlier if so desired.

    Once the debate nears an end, I will notify the judges of my personal email address. Judges, please email your decisions to that address, and once I have received all three responses I will post the results.

    A thread will be set up shortly in Ringside for all non-participants to share comments, ideas, and tactics. Please look for it in the sub forum below.

    Best of luck to both marc and electrolyte. I, like many others I'm sure, am looking forward to an informative and spirited debate.
    - Which is worse--ignorance or apathy? For my part, I don't know and I don't care. -

  2. #2
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    Thanks to all who read and follow this debate, and special thanks to the four officials and my opponent, for their time and effort.
    ___________________________________________

    "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ." ~ Patrick Henry

    "As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion" . ~ Treaty of Tripoli

    Both of the above historic statements can’t be right. The fact is, neither of them are right. The foundings of the US are somewhere in between those two statements. The first century of US existence showed that selected Christian principles would establish US prosperity, not as completely secular nor completely Christian, but as a Godly republic marked by religious pluralism. In the thread from the religion forum that sparked this debate, I made these statements.

    Was the U.S. founded on Christianity? NO
    Does the U.S Constitution establish a Christian nation? NO
    Is the U.S. a nation that was founded on Christian principles? YES
    The resolution “All basic principles in the U.S. constitution are Christian in nature” is not an extreme claim. If the basic principles in the US founding are all Christian in nature, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it contains all Christian principles that exist, any more than a bucket full of water does not contain all water that exists.

    When it comes to human activity, Christianity is about two things

    A) Love the Lord thy God

    B) Love thy neighbor as thyself

    While these can and do often relate to each other, they don’t necessarily always relate to each other. Man does not apply them proportionately. It can be said that a few European kings of the 17th and 18th century did a much better job of loving God than they did their fellow man, and of course many atheists often love their neighbors as themselves. . So there is no automatic correlation between how man relates to God, and how he relates to his fellow man.


    While the US was not founded ON a common ethnicity, language, or religion that could be taken for granted as a source of identity, it was founded BY a common people. The following paragraph of Federalist paper number 2 makes that clear;


    With equal pleasure I have as often taken notice that Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people--a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs, and who, by their joint counsels, arms, and efforts, fighting side by side throughout a long and bloody war, have nobly established general liberty and independence.
    http://www.foundingfathers.info/fede...pers/fed02.htm

    Again, it’s important to note that while the US founding principles weren’t RESTRICTED TO a common people, they were FOUNDED BY a common people. This Christian principle of unselfishness, of not restricting their countrys’ founding on only themselves, is largely what has made the U.S. Constitution unique, and successful.


    Though they were a common people, the founders were a diverse group when it came to beliefs concerning “Love the Lord thy God” – any adherence to a particular set of religious doctrines. They despised religious tyranny, yet greatly valued the virtue and morality of “Love thy neighbor as thyself” – virtue and morality that much, if not most of the Bible taught them. Thomas Jefferson edited his own Bible, cutting out subjects and references to faith, enough to convince many that he was not a Christian. If he didn’t believe strongly in the parts of the Bible that he left in, the virtue and morality of Christianity, he wouldn’t have gone to the trouble to do this editing job of his.


    Considering Jeffersons Bible, George Washingtons thanksgiving proclamation, James Madisons Presbyterian upbringing, John Jays devout Christianity, and countless other facts and quotes about them and all the other founding fathers, it’s not surprising that the Bible was by far their most referred to source for how to structure this democratic – republican form of government that has survived longer than any other;

    The University of Houston political science professors set out to determine the origins and influences on our Constitution. They collected 15000 writings, condensed them down into 3154 significant and important writings. The task took them 10 years. The 3 men quoted most often are: Blackstone 12 times, Montesquieu 4 times, and John Locke 16 times. The book most often quoted from lathe Bible. with 34% direct references. and 00% secondary references. Deuteronomy was the most often quoted book of the Bible.
    http://home.flash.net/~gregball/godly_am.htm


    The Constitution and the Bill of Rights are brief, but the detailed analysis of ideals of justice, the general welfare, and the rights of individuals are contained in what largely led up to them, the Federalist Papers. An overall summary of the Federalist Papers is that the primary political motive of man is selfish, and that men – whether acting individually or collectively – are selfish and only imperfectly rational. Isaiah 33; 22 says “For the Lord is our judge; the Lord is our lawgiver; the Lord is our king…” - it’s no coincidence that the constitution contains three separate divisions for; judging (Supreme court and inferior courts), lawgiving (Congress) and king (president) The checks and balances, the separation of powers, that are much of what the Constitution is about, is patterned after the Christian doctrine that men are sinners, and that the only possibility of good government lay in mans capacity to devise several political institutions that would police each other.


    Jeremiah 17; 9 says “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure, who can understand it?” Romans 3; 23 says “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. Only two Biblical examples of many – one Old Testament and one New Testament – that show men to be imperfect.


    The concept of freedom and liberty are found throughout the Bible. Starting with Deuteronomy (mentioned above as the most referenced book of the Bible by the founders), we see the concept of settling new land, (chapter 1;8) not being afraid of any man, (chapter 1;17) and in chapter 4; 6 “observing [decrees and laws] carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people”.


    From Leviticus 25; 10, “Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants.

    2nd Corinthians 3; 17 “ Now the Lord is the spirit, and where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

    Freedom not only to LIVE free, but to REJECT the word of the Lord. Jeremiah 6; 19 “they have rejected”, 8; 9 “….”since they have rejected the word of the Lord”. Mark 7; 8 “..you have let go of the commands of God…”


    It makes perfect sense that Godly men would use Christian guidelines and history to establish a country of religious freedom, without mentioning Christianity, or restricting people any more than God did, in terms of allowing the freedom to disobey any one Christian denomination, or all of Christianity, if their intent was to avoid religious tyranny. Avoiding religious tyranny, or any tyranny, was one of their greatest passions, in the formation of a new government. It was inspired by their argument with the British government – the argument about first principles. They questioned exactly where power came from, and who defined rights between kings and subjects. The opposition to the idea that ruling power stair-stepped from any god, to a king or monarch, and then to common people, was the one thing that united the founding fathers, in spite of whatever differences may have existed in their personal beliefs. Thomas Jeffersons immortal words about unalienable rights coming from our creator as written in the Declaration of Independence were a common bond among them, there are simply no records of detailed opposition to it, among themselves or of that eras public-at-large, claims that rights originate anywhere else.


    This link gives an overall look of the religious beliefs of most notable U.S. founders. While deism was not an organized religion, it can be applied to some founders, in varying ways. George Washington was considered a “Christian deist” by many historians, while Thomas Paine was a non-Christian deist. As the founders, and most people today, consider religion to be a personal matter, attaching the Deist label to many founders is speculative at best. It probably fit Jefferson and Franklin well, but to apply it to Madison and Washington is very questionable. Not one founder was clearly established as an atheist – not one.


    Considering the founders common background as described in Federalist #2, and considering their documented Biblical references, there is no question that their concept of a creator never included all creators ever devised by all previous world religions, or all those devised today, “mother natures”, “spaghetti monsters” and the like. The conception of a Creator was then, and is now, specific only to a tiny handful of the world religions. The conception of the creator described by Jefferson, Madison, and others, and applied to their vision of individual freedom, their vision of mans selfish nature etc, narrows it to only two - Judaism and its offspring, Christianity. The general Christian background of the majority of founders is made clear by the reference in Article One, Section Seven of the Constitution. When setting standards for how laws are passed – setting time limits for interaction between president and congress, the following statement appears;

    If any bill shall not be returned by the President within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him…….
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article...s_Constitution

    The “Sundays excepted” statement clearly shows basic Christian thought in lawmaking, and general government activity.


    The most notable thing about the Jewish-Christian conception of the relation between the Creator and his human subjects is that, without government interference, it allows for three things at once: the freedom of the individual conscience; second, a freedom ordered to law and social unity; and, third, a comfortable pluralism, in which diverse communities live in unity, with the free exercise of conscience. This is an original conception, a new idea for government without precedent on the face of the earth. And it proved itself very well for the next 150 years. In the first 100 years particularly, there were several US Supreme Court decisions that made all the more clear that opposition to established religion is not opposition to religion in general. Separation of church and state, IS an opposition to religion in general, as it is being defined today. It does exist in a constitution, but not the U.S. constitution. It’s found in the Soviet Constitution, article 52.


    (2) In the USSR, the church is separated from the state, and the school from the church.
    http://members.tripod.com/Sludge/ussr.htm


    The socialism, communism, and redistribution of wealth of that constitution are not Christian principles. No mention of “Sunday” in the USSR Constitution.


    As prompted by my opponent, I’ll probably go into more detail about 19th century court decisions, and of course “separation of church and state” as this debate progresses.


    As time marches further and further away from the founding of the U.S., differences of opinion seem to grow about the intent of the framers, particularly in the last 60 years – Christian principles vs. secularism. Time does not change actual history. As this debate moves along, I’ll continue to represent actual history, and show clear correlation between Christian principles and the U.S. Constitution.
    Why is it that our children can't read a Bible in school, but they can in prison?

  3. #3
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    Part I: Introduction
    I would first like to thank the 4forums staff for hosting this debate. Additional thanks go to our moderator and judges, and particular thanks go to marc not only for allowing me the opportunity to participate but also for his patience and civility in deciding specifics.

    In this debate, marc will be attempting to show that “all basic principles in the U.S. Constitution are Christian in nature.” The matter of which principles are basic and the matter of how one defines “Christian in nature” will each be argued within this debate.

    Because marc has chosen to include the descriptor “all” in the resolution, my position would be confirmed upon the establishment of merely a single “basic principle” as not “Christian in nature.” However, before I can attempt to show such, the meaning of the resolution itself must be established.

    Part II: Internal Components
    A. Basic Principles
    I am not a historian, nor am I a lawyer. Most of my time is spent concerning sciences other than the social and the political. Basic principles, however, would be the largest, simplest Constitutional ideas – say, those that would be mentioned in a thirty-minute crash course on the Constitution.

    Let us consider Constitutional topics that are mentioned in the popular press on a regular basis. While the recent political dissent in this country has possibly resulted in more of said topics being addressed by the media, such discussion only strengthens the argument that these principles are a cornerstone of the United States government, especially when the controversy involves the rejection or violation of a principle. We can therefore use this criterion for a more defined – though certainly not all-inclusive – list of “basic principles.”

    Additionally, it is reasonable to consider the amendments to the Constitution as part of the document. In fact, the history of the ratification of the Constitution tells us that many states refused to support the document in its originally distributed form: they required a Bill of Rights similar to that in England. The amendments are, after all, changes that have been deemed necessary and – according to Article V of the Constitution – become “[p]art of this Constitution.” marc himself addresses the Bill of Rights in his opening statement and, furthermore, foresees the topic of amendments arising and promises to address them should they indeed be mentioned. It is therefore apparently agreed that amendments not only are an official part of the Constitution but also contain basic principles.

    Additionally, I have the option of simply agreeing with the “basicity” of any principle marc chooses to forward, or I can argue that marc has chosen a principle peripheral to the main points of the Constitution.

    B. “Christian in Nature”
    The second internal part of this debate is the meaning of “Christian in nature.” Although we have established that the meaning of this phrase for the purpose of this debate is not “included due to the principle's Christianity,” marc acknowledged in the debate preparation that the phrase implies – at the very least – a parallel in the Bible.

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    Quote Originally Posted by electrolyte
    I'm going to guess that by "both" you mean both paralleled in and uncontradicted by the Bible, not the above and part of the debate. [...]
    By "both", I meant "have a parallel in" and are part of the debate. .... I didn't really notice "contradict" - I can't have the word "uncontradicted", it gets too close to opinions of denominations.
    Despite marc's claim above, mere “parallel in” is hardly sufficient for establishing a principle as Christian in nature. For example, if I jump for joy, and the Bible includes a story of somebody jumping for joy, one could say that my action has a parallel in the Bible... yet it would be rather meaningless to say that my action was “Christian in nature.” Such an interpretation leads to an incredibly impotent and vacuous position: the same logic could be used to designate that action as Taoist, or Buddhist, or – quite frankly – atheistic. No, “Christian in nature” must refer to having significant parallel in the Bible, and it must not be so generic as to merit a title of “X in nature” where X can be several philosophies, especially irreligious ones. While this doesn't require extensive discussion or some minimum number of mentions, a passing reference or the rare vague passage does not suffice.

    In fact, not only does a simple parallel not suffice, neither does a mere significant parallel in some story. A principle that is “Christian in nature” must be encouraged, promoted, or otherwise endorsed by the Bible. This is more a consequence of the word principle than it is a requirement of being “Christian in nature.” While one might argue that a walk through the woods is “Little Red Riding Hoodian” in nature, presenting such a walk as a Little Red Riding Hoodian principle is nonsensical. It may be possible to argue for principle behind bringing food, company, and happiness to an old woman, but an affirmant would be required to tie this inseparably to the walk through the woods in order to establish the travel method itself as a principle or component thereof.

    Furthermore, a significant contradiction within the Bible is (at the very least) a red flag as to the authenticity of an idea as a Christian principle. I am sure that were I to reference any of multiple instances of divine slaughter of people in the Bible, marc's claim would be that divine kindness is abundant in the Bible, too. But this criterion allows for both unjustified genocide and overflowing godly love to be “Christian in nature”; for both “A” and “not A” to qualify as Christian surely shows that such a distinction is pointless.

    Let us demonstrate the need for a substantive meaning with an analogous example. Consider a black marker. Is the ink in said marker “red in nature”? Completely ignoring (meta)physical arguments about color as an inherent property versus mere reflection of radiation, separating the constituents of the black ink allows one to see clearly the red pigments. But one can also clearly see purple, blue, green, and yellow pigments. As purple, blue, green, and yellow are decidedly “not-red,” there is much more not-red characteristic within the black ink than there is red characteristic. When considering the black marking as a whole, there is decidedly more black (i.e. not-red) character than there is red character, and black is generally distinct from and different from red. Therefore it is disingenuous to say that the black ink is “red in nature.”

    In summary, I submit that for anything to be a principle “Christian in nature,” it must meet each of the following independent criteria:
    1. It must have significant parallels or extensive mention in the Bible.
    2. It must be reasonably distinct from widespread, non-Christian or irreligious ideas.
    3. It must be endorsed or encouraged by the Bible.
    4. It must not be significantly contradicted by the Bible.

    Part III: Response to Internal Components of marc's Opening Response
    Foreword:
    Because these internal components of the debate have enormous impact on the interpretation of the resolution, and because marc will have one more post than will I to support his position, I will break somewhat with standard debate practice of composing an opening solely of my position and instead briefly respond to marc's addressing these components.

    A. Basic Principles
    While I am not simply agreeing that marc's designation of which principles are “basic” is the designation that should be used in this debate, he does provide us with what apparently will be his subset of principles which he will be considering basic:

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    The Constitution and the Bill of Rights are brief, but the detailed analysis of ideals of justice, the general welfare, and the rights of individuals are contained in what largely led up to them, the Federalist Papers.
    Regardless of the fact that the Federalist Papers were published after the completion of the Constitution and encouraged the ratification of it based on its content, it appears that marc has chosen these three main topics as an umbrella for the “basic principles” of the Constitution:
    1. justice
    2. general welfare
    3. rights of individuals
    Although it is unclear precisely what marc might mean by “justice,” I agree that the creation of a judicial system by the Constitution amounts to an espousal for exacting justice as a basic principle. On the other hand, I have absolutely no clue what marc means by “general welfare,” nor the reason it should be considered a basic principle. marc seems to imply that the Constitution protects man from man because man is imperfect and politically (and otherwise) selfish, but how these apply to “general welfare” is probably generally addressed within rights of individuals, another topic I agree could be legitimately discussed at length during this debate.

    Strangely, there are other topics that marc himself brings up that fit only into a very wide interpretation of these three principles. marc has mentioned separation of powers, checks and balances, and freedoms. While I would argue that each of these three things has been instrumental in creating and maintaining the United States as we know it, and therefore qualify as basic principles, only one, “freedoms,” clearly fit into his list of main topics; if marc wants to designate additional ideas as basic and adhere to this list of three, he needs to demonstrate why each idea qualifies. I also ask that the meaning of “general welfare” be explained in the case that any idea is purported to fall within its bounds.

    B. “Christian in Nature”
    marc designates two main ideas regarding the “Christianity” of human activity. These are:
    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    A) Love the Lord thy God
    B) Love thy neighbor as thyself
    marc goes on to correctly point out that though there can be overlap, there is no necessary correlation. That is, showing that one but not the other is addressed in a basic principle is not an effective counter to the idea that that principle is Christian. On the other hand, a principle's failure to meet either of these standards, seemingly by marc's own designation, renders a principle as outside the purview of the Christianity of human nature. In addition, any principle that violates one of these must therefore also be an indicator of the non-Christianity of that principle: Should a person somehow find a way to uphold a principle that both honors God and punishes a neighbor unjustly, or vice versa, that principle fails marc's qualifications.

    However, marc has provided no factors by which we can determine whether an activity or principle does conform to loving God or to loving one's neighbor as oneself. In lieu of any argumentation from marc regarding this question, I will rely upon what is probably standard interpretation: Loving God is doing what God prescribes in the Bible, and loving one's neighbor will be a the general golden rule: do unto others and you would have done unto you, or – the original version – do not unto others what you would not have done unto you.

    Unfortunately, this is still subjective, given differing interpretations of scripture and differing opinions on what people might like have done or not done unto them. Worse, it is still insufficient. If an atheist were to “go forth and multiply,” would this be a decidedly “Christian” behavior because God gives this command? Surely the atheist had absolutely no regard for this Christian idea of doing what God would like, but marc's criteria allows us to designate an atheist's desire and decision to have a child as Christian in nature. Again, this is ridiculous, unless the phrase has so little meaning as to be completely impotent.

    It appears that marc's criteria, as presented, fall short of being effective descriptors of Christian nature.

    Part IV: On the Christian Nature of Basic Principles
    A. Overview
    It is my task in this debate to show that not all of the basic principles of the United States Constitution are Christian in nature. This can be accomplished merely by providing a single example of a basic principle that is not Christian in nature. Before my examples begin, we must clarify precisely what is sought.

    My preferred method for determining whether a Constitutional principle is basic or not is outlined above. While we are still yet to see a clear elucidation of my opponent's criteria, he has provided a small set of principles from which we can proceed. Also above is my list of criteria for determining a principle as “Christian in nature.” While my opponent will no doubt argue for a very liberal meaning of the latter, we must apply reasonable scrutiny to any assignment of the descriptor “Christian.” However, because the debate terms leave this aspect up to the judges, I must select a wide variety of what I believe to be non-Christian principles such that judges' disagreements to my designations doesn't lead to a completely disjointed debate. While this shotgun, “Gish Gallop” approach is generally not highly respectable, the debate terms as insisted upon by my opponent do not forbid it and essentially require it. I will, therefore, be presenting a number of principles and a description of why I believe each one fails to qualify as support for the resolution.

    B. Examples
    I will begin not only with the most basic of the basic, but I will tackle examples submitted by marc and show that even his first choices of examples are not legitimately “Christian.”

    1. Representative Government
    marc himself brings this principle forward as an example of one taken from scripture:
    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    ... it’s not surprising that the Bible was by far their most referred to source for how to structure this democratic – republican form of government ...
    However, the Bible doesn't at all promote a representative form of government. Quite the contrary, actually, even as shown by marc's own selection of verses. According to the Bible, God endorses the monarchies of King Solomon and King David, the latter being an “angel of God.” Generally speaking, the God of the Bible seems to encourage forms of government that give supreme power to a single man and belittle the input of the citizenry. In fact, there is no support for a representative governments in the Bible.
    Regarding a unifying idea of the Founders, marc continues,
    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    The opposition to the idea that ruling power stair-stepped from any god, to a king or monarch, and then to common people...
    While I will certainly not argue with the notion that most of the Founding Fathers did not believe that a monarch's power was derived directly from God, this belief is completely coincident with Biblical principles. What marc is describing is the “divine right of kings,” and it is so called because it is a form of government allegedly preferred by God. It is pushed – for example – in the Old Testament when God designates the royal lineage of Judah, and again when Samuel declares that Saul is God's chosen leader. The Bible's references to divine right of kings was used time and time again throughout history, demonstrating that the principle of representative government is contradicted by the Bible.
    marc further opens the door to this discussion with the following statement:
    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    Isaiah 33; 22 says “For the Lord is our judge; the Lord is our lawgiver; the Lord is our king…” - it’s no coincidence that the constitution contains three separate divisions for; judging (Supreme court and inferior courts), lawgiving (Congress) and king (president)
    I will address the issue of separation of powers separately; here, I will challenge marc's argument that the Bible's reference to “king” is analogous to the Presidency as outlined in the Constitution. As mentioned before, the Constitution sets up an executive branch where the President's actions are at least somewhat delegated by constituents: the President cannot pass laws by himself, the President cannot declare war, the President is subject to impeachment and removal for wrongdoing. The President is not a monarch. None of these things is true about a king as described in the Bible. Kings whose power is allegedly derived directly from God claim the power to do whatever they want. In this case, Isaiah 33:22 is clearly not saying that our leader will be selected by and ultimately directed by citizens; no, the leader is the sky king himself, who has ultimate power. This is not only distinct from but also completely contrary to the representative government that is established by the Constitution.

    2. Separation of Powers
    From marc's above citation of Isaiah 33:22, we can clearly see that the Bible explains powers, but no separation whatsoever. Even if we were to concede that the Founders got the idea for separation of powers from the Bible – which I most certainly am not – this verse explains that these three main powers aren't separated one bit: they all lie with God. That is to say, the Bible declares that a single entity, God, decides our fates, decides our laws, and is worthy of our honor. This, again, is not represented in Constitution: the legislative branch decides the laws, the executive branch enforces the laws, and the judicial branch interprets the laws and metes out disciplinary action. marc has not only failed to show that separation of powers has a Biblical origin – or even a Biblical endorsement – but he has presented a citation to the contrary: that separation of powers is contrary to Biblical teachings.

    3. Freedom of Religion
    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    The concept of freedom and liberty are found throughout the Bible. [....] Freedom not only to LIVE free, but to REJECT the word of the Lord. Jeremiah 6; 19 “they have rejected”, 8; 9 “….”since they have rejected the word of the Lord”. Mark 7; 8 “..you have let go of the commands of God…”
    marc argues that the Bible supports religious freedom, but nothing could be further from the truth, and once again we can see this using marc's own Biblical selections.
    It is worth explicitly noting that marc concedes that the freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment include the citizens' rights to choose to reject God. The amendment protects those citizens from prohibition of free exercise of their religion, so – legally – there can be no punishment for any person based solely on their religious beliefs. If we look at Jeremiah 6, however, which marc conveniently edited for his purposes, we see a much different story:
    Jer 6
    19Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it.
    20To what purpose cometh there to me incense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country? your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto me.
    21Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will lay stumblingblocks before this people, and the fathers and the sons together shall fall upon them; the neighbour and his friend shall perish.
    The Christian God is so incredibly offended by freedom of religion – whenever that freedom doesn't result in His being worshipped and obeyed – that He brings evil upon and kills the infidels. He even ruins the fruit of their thoughts.
    If one were to read Jeremiah 8 and Mark 7 as marc cites, one would see that the Bible is not a good source of fair treatment of dissenting religious opinion. Jeremiah 8 is God saying that he'll punish those who reject him. Mark 7 explains (at length) what terrible people those who reject God's commandments are. Again, this is not in accordance with the principles established by the Constitution. In fact, this is another case of the Bible being in direct disagreement with Constitutional principles. Enforcing marc's number one Christian rule of loving God is completely antithetical to the First Amendment.

    Part V. Conclusion
    In this post, I have established a basic outline for determining which principles of the Constitution can be considered basic. It appears that this will be a minor component of this debate.
    I have also provided and justified a set of criteria for determining whether a principle can legitimately be described as “Christian in nature.” I have shown that marc's bilateral criteria are neither accurate nor sufficient for making this determination.
    Regarding the main content of the debate, I have selected three of marc's own examples of Constitutional principles that are allegedly of Christian nature and shown that all three are not only not of Christian nature but are contrary to it.

    Although word count has limited me to those three examples, I will present more in my next submission, including (but not limited to) freedom of speech, the judiciary system, the Sixth Amendment, the Eighth Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment, and the three-fifths clause. However, there are a number of marc's fallacies that should be addressed:
    A.
    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    As this debate moves along, I’ll continue to represent actual history...
    First, marc's “actual history” is not. The Henry quote is a fake¹, there is no such thing as “Christian Deism” (one is either a Christian or a Deist), and Jefferson was “a sect by [him]self.”² Second, these facts are beside the point, as the beliefs, upbringings, and activities of the Founding Fathers are at best tangential to this debate.
    B. The debate does not concern whether some Biblical principles are allegedly represented in the Constitution. marc at times seems to be arguing that he can correlate Christian ideas with ideas within the Constitution, but he is not showing that all principles therein are Christian.
    C. marc has referred to wording of documents other than the Constitution. Even though Jefferson's original draft of the Declaration didn't refer to a Creator³, this debate concerns only the Constitution.
    D. marc has made a number of unsupported assertions, namely that Constitutional ideas came from Bible verses. One example is that checks and balances arose from the idea that mankind if selfish and imperfect. Merely asserting that Constitutional principle X arose from Biblical statement Y is not sufficient, especially when marc is appealing to a very roundabout manner of reasoning. I challenge marc to provide the logical connections or citations in order to support his assertions.

    Citations:
    1. http://www.geocities.com/peterrobert...cs/PHenry.html
    2. http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/etcbin...age?id=JCE7251
    3. http://www.let.rug.nl/~usa/D/1776-18...ence/doitj.htm

    OpenOffice Writer word count: 3450
    Organic chemistry is the chemistry of carbon compounds. Biochemistry is the chemistry of carbon compounds that crawl.

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    Quote Originally Posted by electrolyte View Post
    [b]In this debate, marc will be attempting to show that “all basic principles in the U.S. Constitution are Christian in nature.” The matter of which principles are basic and the matter of how one defines “Christian in nature” will each be argued within this debate.

    Because marc has chosen to include the descriptor “all” in the resolution, my position would be confirmed upon the establishment of merely a single “basic principle” as not “Christian in nature.” However, before I can attempt to show such, the meaning of the resolution itself must be established.
    The word "all" is your friend - the word "basic" is my friend.

    Part II: Internal Components
    A. Basic Principles
    I am not a historian, nor am I a lawyer. Most of my time is spent concerning sciences other than the social and the political. Basic principles, however, would be the largest, simplest Constitutional ideas – say, those that would be mentioned in a thirty-minute crash course on the Constitution.

    Let us consider Constitutional topics that are mentioned in the popular press on a regular basis. While the recent political dissent in this country has possibly resulted in more of said topics being addressed by the media, such discussion only strengthens the argument that these principles are a cornerstone of the United States government, especially when the controversy involves the rejection or violation of a principle. We can therefore use this criterion for a more defined – though certainly not all-inclusive – list of “basic principles.”

    Current media discussions about constitutional application to political topics of the day aren’t likely to give anyone a definition of basic principles of the constitution. When these discussions arise in the popular press it is almost always because of a conflict between two (often well funded) political special interests. Even in strictly educational discussions, or non-funded, ‘fun’ ones such as this, it can easily turn into a founding-father-quote-mining contest, often using out of context quotes, or treaties or court decisions completely unrelated to the original constitutional principles. A common one of those would be “separation of church and state”, an 1802 metaphor from an informal letter that was resurrected from the dustbin of history and inserted into a court decision 145 years later. Another one would be the Treaty of Tripoli, which states that the U.S. was “in no sense” founded on the Christian religion. It is almost always out of context, because its purpose wasn’t to summarize the US constitution, it was to appease a Muslim nation, for trade purposes. When its phrase “in NO sense” is laid beside the actual Constitutional words “except Sundays”, an acknowledgement of the fourth Christian Commandment, it is obviously 100% false. The fact that more truthful means weren’t used to convince another nation that the US had no religious restrictions that would prevent secular trade is disturbing, but such is politics I suppose. It’s definitely not the last time something similar has been done by the federal government.

    The best way to get a 30 minute (or a few hours) crash course on basic constitutional principles, would be to get completely away from todays popular press - political discussions involving a multi trillion dollar government and all its associated special interests, and carefully read every word of the Constitution itself, and the actual history that goes with it. Joseph Story, a Supreme Court Justice from the early 1800’s, was appointed by President James Madison.

    http://www.belcherfoundation.org/jos..._and_state.htm


    Sections 985 thru 991 give his concise yet detailed interpretations about the relation of religion and government, as he interpreted the Constitution that was largely written by the president who appointed him. I won’t c/p it all, but here are a few notable statements from it;


    The promulgation of the great doctrines of religion; the being, and attributes, and providence of one Almighty God; the responsibility to him for all our actions, founded upon moral freedom and accountability; a future state of rewards and punishments; the cultivation of all the personal, social, and benevolent virtues; --- these never can be a matter of indifference in any well ordered community. It is, indeed, difficult to conceive, how any civilized society can well exist without them. And at all events, it is impossible for those, who believe in the truth of Christianity, as a divine revelation, to doubt, that it is the especial duty of government to foster, and encourage it among all the citizens and subjects. This is a point wholly distinct from that of the right of private judgment in matters of religion, and of the freedom of public worship according to the dictates of one's own conscience.
    And

    Probably at the time of the adoption of the constitution, and of the amendment to it, now under consideration, the general, if not the universal, sentiment in America was, that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the state, so far as it is not incompatible with the private rights of conscience, and the freedom of religious worship. An attempt to level all religions, and to make it a matter of state policy to hold all in utter indifference, would have created universal disapprobation, if not universal indignation.
    Is “an attempt to level all religions, and to make it a matter of state policy to hold all in utter indifference” your position in this debate? Has it been the position of Americans United for Separation of Church and State since they organized in 1947?


    The above Joseph Story commentaries are from the early part of the 19th century - 1833. Advancing 59 years to the later part of the 19th century, we find the Supreme court decision in Holy Trinity Church vs. U.S.,which is partly summarized as follows;

    There is no dissonance in these declarations. There is a universal language pervading them all, having one meaning. They affirm and reaffirm that this is a religious nation. These are not individual sayings, declarations of private persons. They are organic utterances. They speak the voice of the entire people. While because of a general recognition of this truth the question has seldom been presented to the courts, yet we find that in Updegraph v. Comm., 11 Serg. & R. 394, 400, it was decided that, "Christianity, general Christianity, is, and always has been, a part of the common law of Pennsylvania; * * * not Christianity with an established church and tithes and spiritual courts, but Christianity with liberty of conscience to all men." And in People v. Ruggles, 8 Johns. 290, 294, 295, Chancellor KENT, the great commentator on American law, speaking as chief justice of the supreme court of New York, said: "The people of this state, in common with the people of this country, profess the general doctrines of Christianity as the rule of their faith and practice; and to scandalize the author of those doctrines in not only, in a religious point of view, extremely impious, but, even in respect to the obligations due to society, is a gross violation of decency and good order. * * * The free, equal, and undisturbed enjoyment of religious opinion, whatever it may be, and free and decent discussions on any religious [143 U.S. 457, 471] subject, is granted and secured; but to revile, with malicious and blasphemous contempt, the religion professed by almost the whole community is an abuse of that right. Nor are we bound by any expressions in the constitution, as some have strangely supposed, either not to punish at all, or to punish indiscriminately the like attacks upon the religion of Mahomet or of the Grand Lama; and for this plain reason that the case assumes that we are a Christian people, and the morality of the country is deeply ingrafted upon Christianity, and not upon the doctrines or worship of those impostors." And in the famous case of Vidal v. Girard's Ex'rs, 2 How. 127, 198, this court, while sustaining the will of Mr. Girard, with its provisions for the creation of a college into which no minister should be permitted to enter, observed: "it is also said, and truly, that the Christian religion is a part of the common law of Pennsylvania."
    If we pass beyond these matters to a view of American life, as expressed by its laws, its business, its customs, and its society, we find everywhere a clear recognition of the same truth. Among other matters note the following: The form of oath universally prevailing, concluding with an appeal to the Almighty; the custom of opening sessions of all deliberative bodies and most conventions with prayer; the prefatory words of all wills, "In the name of God, amen;" the laws respecting the observance of the Sabbath, with the general cessation of all secular business, and the closing of courts, legislatures, and other similar public assemblies on that day; the churches and church organizations which abound in every city, town, and hamlet; the multitude of charitable organizations existing everywhere under Christian auspices; the gigantic missionary associations, with general support, and aiming to establish Christian missions in every quarter of the globe. These and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation. In the face of all these, shall it be believed that a congress of the United States intended to make it a misdemeanor for a church of this country to contract for the services of a Christian minister residing in another nation?
    http://members.aol.com/TestOath/HolyTrinityOp1-2.htm

    Is it your position that 20th and 21st century America knows more about constitutional principles than did 19th century America?


    Quote Originally Posted by electrolyte
    [snip] In summary, I submit that for anything to be a principle “Christian in nature,” it must meet each of the following independent criteria:
    1. It must have significant parallels or extensive mention in the Bible.
    2. It must be reasonably distinct from widespread, non-Christian or irreligious ideas.
    3. It must be endorsed or encouraged by the Bible.
    4. It must not be significantly contradicted by the Bible.

    I basically agree, but with your vague words like “significant”, and “reasonably” I’m sure we’re not going to completely agree on it. It will be up to the reader to decide.


    Regardless of the fact that the Federalist Papers were published after the completion of the Constitution and encouraged the ratification of it based on its content, it appears that marc has chosen these three main topics as an umbrella for the “basic principles” of the Constitution:
    1. justice
    2. general welfare
    3. rights of individuals
    Although it is unclear precisely what marc might mean by “justice,” I agree that the creation of a judicial system by the Constitution amounts to an espousal for exacting justice as a basic principle. On the other hand, I have absolutely no clue what marc means by “general welfare,” nor the reason it should be considered a basic principle. marc seems to imply that the Constitution protects man from man because man is imperfect and politically (and otherwise) selfish, but how these apply to “general welfare” is probably generally addressed within rights of individuals, another topic I agree could be legitimately discussed at length during this debate.
    Those three things, and others are found in the preamble of the Constitution, with “blessings of liberty” synonymous with “rights of individuals. The preamble reads like this;


    “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the Blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

    Quote Originally Posted by electrolyte
    Strangely, there are other topics that marc himself brings up that fit only into a very wide interpretation of these three principles. marc has mentioned separation of powers, checks and balances, and freedoms. While I would argue that each of these three things has been instrumental in creating and maintaining the United States as we know it, and therefore qualify as basic principles, only one, “freedoms,” clearly fit into his list of main topics; if marc wants to designate additional ideas as basic and adhere to this list of three, he needs to demonstrate why each idea qualifies. I also ask that the meaning of “general welfare” be explained in the case that any idea is purported to fall within its bounds.
    These are all Christian in nature because perfect unions, justice, domestic tranquility, defense, general welfare, and blessings of liberty are all topics of the Bible, and thought of by Christ as good things. If the preamble read like….. the Humanist Manefesto for example, with its put-downs and mistrust of religion, then they would not be Christian principles.

    The preamble contains aims, or goals, all Christian in nature, and separation of powers / checks and balances are a means (also Christian in nature) of carrying them out.

    Concerning “general welfare”, examples are in Article one, section eight of the Constitution. Congressional power to regulate commerce, coin money, post roads, raise and support armies, etc. These are not basic principles, they are minor details.

    [snip] Unfortunately, this is still subjective, given differing interpretations of scripture and differing opinions on what people might like have done or not done unto them. Worse, it is still insufficient. If an atheist were to “go forth and multiply,” would this be a decidedly “Christian” behavior because God gives this command? Surely the atheist had absolutely no regard for this Christian idea of doing what God would like, but marc's criteria allows us to designate an atheist's desire and decision to have a child as Christian in nature. Again, this is ridiculous, unless the phrase has so little meaning as to be completely impotent.
    Having children is a natural instinct. There are many natural things that animals do, or that humans do that are instinctive, or immediately self gratifying. Things that are taught in the Bible, that benefit another, or ones self, and aren’t immediately gratifying can qualify as Christian principles. Many are claimed to not be Christian principles because they are claimed to be the result of natural logic and reason, and that can be a source of controversy. Atheism can claim any Christian principle it wants as its own deduction of logic and reason, and how acceptable it is has to be discussed on an individual basis. It’s clear to me that more Christian principles are claimed to be secular logic and reason in this day and age, than they were at the time of the founding of the US. A secular public may today claim that much of the successful principle in the US founding was logical in a secular way, because we have historical evidence that it worked very well, but the secular public at the time of the founding may not have considered it logical then, because they had no experience with it. As I worded it in my first post; “[the US constitution] was “an original conception, a new idea for government without precedent on the face of the earth.”


    I will address the issue of separation of powers separately; here, I will challenge marc's argument that the Bible's reference to “king” is analogous to the Presidency as outlined in the Constitution. As mentioned before, the Constitution sets up an executive branch where the President's actions are at least somewhat delegated by constituents: the President cannot pass laws by himself, the President cannot declare war, the President is subject to impeachment and removal for wrongdoing. The President is not a monarch. None of these things is true about a king as described in the Bible. Kings whose power is allegedly derived directly from God claim the power to do whatever they want. In this case, Isaiah 33:22 is clearly not saying that our leader will be selected by and ultimately directed by citizens; no, the leader is the sky king himself, who has ultimate power. This is not only distinct from but also completely contrary to the representative government that is established by the Constitution.
    You’re taking examples of the earliest Biblical history and applying them to 18th century Christianity. It was roughly 1000 years from King David’s time to Christ’s time. The 18th century Christian religion of Calvinism shows that Christianity did in fact promote a representative form of government.

    While religious and civil liberty have no organic connection, they nevertheless have a very strong affinity for each other; and where one is lacking the other will not long endure. History is eloquent in declaring that on a people's religion ever depends their freedom or their bondage. It is a matter of supreme importance what doctrines they believe, what principles they adopt: for these must serve as the basis upon which the superstructure of their lives and their government rests. Calvinism was revolutionary. It taught the natural equality of men, and its essential tendency was to destroy all distinctions of rank and all claims to superiority which rested upon wealth or vested privilege. The liberty-loving soul of the Calvinist has made him a crusader against those artificial distinctions which raise some men above others.
    Politically, Calvinism has been the chief source of modern republican government. Calvinism and republicanism are related to each other as cause and effect; and where a people are possessed of the former, the latter will soon be developed. Calvin himself held that the Church, under God, was a spiritual republic; and certainly he was a republican in theory.
    Also;
    These principles were, firstly that the will of the people was the one legitimate source of the power of the rulers; secondly, that the power was most properly delegated by the people, to their rulers, by means of elections, in which every adult man might exercise the right of suffrage; thirdly, that in ecclesiastical government, the clergy and laity were entitled to an equal and co-ordinate authority; and fourthly that between the Church and State, no alliance, or mutual dependence, or other definite relation, necessarily or properly existed.”
    http://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a397351b419af.htm

    I only copy/pasted two highlights, the whole link explains it completely.

    2. Separation of Powers
    From marc's above citation of Isaiah 33:22, we can clearly see that the Bible explains powers, but no separation whatsoever. Even if we were to concede that the Founders got the idea for separation of powers from the Bible – which I most certainly am not – this verse explains that these three main powers aren't separated one bit: they all lie with God. That is to say, the Bible declares that a single entity, God, decides our fates, decides our laws, and is worthy of our honor. This, again, is not represented in Constitution: the legislative branch decides the laws, the executive branch enforces the laws, and the judicial branch interprets the laws and metes out disciplinary action. marc has not only failed to show that separation of powers has a Biblical origin – or even a Biblical endorsement – but he has presented a citation to the contrary: that separation of powers is contrary to Biblical teachings.
    Of all the founders, James Madison was called the father of the Constitution, undoubtedly the most influential writer of the the document. Before entering public life as a Virginia state delegate in 1776, he attended The College of New Jersey (later to become Princeton university), whose founders and faculty members were all deeply commited Christians. His main Princeton mentor was John Witherspoon, who was a Presbyterian minister as well as the president of the university, and would later sign both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The personal closeness of Witherspoon and Madison is beyond serious dispute.


    Madison learned much more from President Witherspoon than just to value liberty and to endorse revolution. Under Witherspoon's tutelage he read a range of literature that deeply influenced his post-revolutionary thinking. One such text was Memoirs of the Cardinal de Retz, 1723 which tells of the swirling riots and political maneuvers in France during the period 1648-1652. Throughout the text, de Retz urged prudence, a shrewd calculation of consequences, a willingness to admit mistakes, and the ability to use power, or the appearance of power, effectively. These precepts guided Madison's thought fundamentally throughout his long public career.
    In summary, Madison's education at Princeton furnished him, from the wisdom of Greece and Rome, a lifelong realism about human nature, a comprehensive concept of political obligation, and an instinctive admiration of patience, prudence, and moderation. From the Christian tradition, he inherited a sense of the prime importance of conscience, a strict personal morality, an understanding of human dignity as well as depravity, and a conviction that vital religion could contribute importantly to the general welfare. From Locke, he learned that to be fully human, men had to be free, and that to be free, they had in some way to take part in their government' (Ketcham 1994, 50).
    http://www.thelockeinstitute.org/jou..._v2_n1_p4.html

    As above, I only copy/pasted the more relevant part of the link - the entire link page is a worthwhile read.

    Importance of conscience, strict personal morality, understanding of human dignity, these are basic Christian principles that are outlined in the goals of the preamble of the constitution.


    Quote Originally Posted by electrolyte
    [snip] The Christian God is so incredibly offended by freedom of religion – whenever that freedom doesn't result in His being worshipped and obeyed – that He brings evil upon and kills the infidels. He even ruins the fruit of their thoughts.
    If one were to read Jeremiah 8 and Mark 7 as marc cites, one would see that the Bible is not a good source of fair treatment of dissenting religious opinion. Jeremiah 8 is God saying that he'll punish those who reject him. Mark 7 explains (at length) what terrible people those who reject God's commandments are. Again, this is not in accordance with the principles established by the Constitution. In fact, this is another case of the Bible being in direct disagreement with Constitutional principles. Enforcing marc's number one Christian rule of loving God is completely antithetical to the First Amendment.
    This was covered in the above link about Calvinism, perfectly compatible with the founders obvious disinterest in attempting to play God, replace God, or compete with God. Rendering unto Caesar what is Caesars, and to God what is Gods. What God allows and what he approves of are two entirely different things. The world would be nothing like it is without free will, and Christianity believes God has a plan for it, that fits with a free will of man. That's not a denominational claim, that's a general Christian claim.

    Part V. Conclusion
    In this post, I have established a basic outline for determining which principles of the Constitution can be considered basic. It appears that this will be a minor component of this debate.
    I have also provided and justified a set of criteria for determining whether a principle can legitimately be described as “Christian in nature.” I have shown that marc's bilateral criteria are neither accurate nor sufficient for making this determination.
    Regarding the main content of the debate, I have selected three of marc's own examples of Constitutional principles that are allegedly of Christian nature and shown that all three are not only not of Christian nature but are contrary to it.
    I believe I met all your challanges to me, though your post seemed to be a somewhat confusing blend of responding to me and appealing to judging. If I didn't sort them out to suit you, you can let me know. I'm not interested in direct appealing to judges at this early stage of the debate.

    Although word count has limited me to those three examples, I will present more in my next submission, including (but not limited to) freedom of speech, the judiciary system, the Sixth Amendment, the Eighth Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment, and the three-fifths clause. However, there are a number of marc's fallacies that should be addressed:
    A.
    First, marc's “actual history” is not. The Henry quote is a fake¹,

    The Henry quote is in dispute. Certain political interests wish it to be fake, probably not so much for what it says, but to discredit those who claim it to be true. There is a real possibility that it was only known by word-of-mouth, and when enough witnesses die, some very real things are not possible to prove. It’s not important to me however, since as I said, I don’t endorse it. I don’t claim alliance in any way with some Christian organizations who attempt to re-write US history to try to offset atheist organization attempts to re-write it in opposing ways.


    there is no such thing as “Christian Deism” (one is either a Christian or a Deist), and Jefferson was “a sect by [him]self.”²

    I wish that were true, if it was I believe most all of the Deist label that’s increasingly applied to the founders could be put to rest once and for all. But at least one serious historian (David Holmes) makes a profound distinction between Christian Deists and non-Christian Deists. In this brief summary of a Holmes book, I think it’s clear that he tries to make an honest attempt to study and project American history in a neutral way.


    Holmes acknowledges that "an examination of history cannot capture the inner faith of any man" but argues that it's possible to use external criteria to place the Founders into one of three general religious groupings: Non-Christian deists, Christian deists and orthodox Christians. In his chapter "A Layperson's Guide to Distinguishing a Deist From an Orthodox Christian," Holmes outlines four criteria for determining in which category an individual should go: church attendance, approach to sacraments or ordinances, level of religious activity and religious language.
    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/...s/3857639.html


    Quote Originally Posted by electrolyte
    Second, these facts are beside the point, as the beliefs, upbringings, and activities of the Founding Fathers are at best tangential to this debate.

    I disagree. If we’re examining the principles that a written document contains, the beliefs, upbringings, and activities of it’s writers are of utmost importance. As we constantly see from the disputes over the first and second amendments alone, even the simplest wording doesn’t always produce consensus. Some people don’t believe the second amendment allows the general population to possess guns, and some people find the word “separation” in the first amendment.

    B. The debate does not concern whether some Biblical principles are allegedly represented in the Constitution. marc at times seems to be arguing that he can correlate Christian ideas with ideas within the Constitution, but he is not showing that all principles therein are Christian.
    C. marc has referred to wording of documents other than the Constitution. Even though Jefferson's original draft of the Declaration didn't refer to a Creator³, this debate concerns only the Constitution.
    D. marc has made a number of unsupported assertions, namely that Constitutional ideas came from Bible verses. One example is that checks and balances arose from the idea that mankind if selfish and imperfect. Merely asserting that Constitutional principle X arose from Biblical statement Y is not sufficient, especially when marc is appealing to a very roundabout manner of reasoning. I challenge marc to provide the logical connections or citations in order to support his assertions.
    My methods are more roundabout than emotional glances at things like the Treaty of Tripoli, I’ll admit. When taking into consideration James Madison’s education at Princeton at an important developmental stage of his life, we find his intent for the constitution in some of the Federalist papers makes perfect sense. In number 55, he states that “there is a degree of depravity in mankind which requires a certain degree of circumspection and distrust” – in number 51 he recommends a governmental structure designed to “pit ambition against ambition”, in 37 he worries that the “infirmities and depravities of the human character” make it extremely difficult for even well meaning citizens to tame “mutual jealousies”, or reconcile “discordant opinions”, and in 10 he warns that “enlightened statesmen” dedicated to “the public good and private rights” will be rare because “self love” even among the wisest and most well intentioned souls can trump “opinions” and “passions” and because the human tendency to “vex and oppress each other” is “sown in the nature of man”.

    These principles in NO WAY conform to any non-Christian government, past or present.

    When re-writers of history desperately try to convert Madison into a Deist with their quote mining, he is in almost every case taking exception to a certain religious leader, or denomination, not the Christian religion in general.

    For a government to be principled in Christianity, is "a point wholly distinct" (Joseph Storys phrase) from a specific establishment of Christianity. This was so understood in the 19th century that it seldom made it to court cases. Today, it is so ignored and forgotten that it seldom makes it to court cases. Is this forgetfulness ignorance, or is it dishonesty?
    Why is it that our children can't read a Bible in school, but they can in prison?

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    To open my second post, I will continue with basic principles of the Constitution that are not Christian in nature. Although the spattering nature of topic presentation makes it somewhat difficult to group the components into discrete units without risking losing context, I will attempt to do so in order to clarify what is being addressed.

    Part I: On Basic Principles Christian in Nature (cont.)
    A. Freedom of Speech
    Another freedom protected by the First Amendment is that of speech. With the exception of libel and slander, even controversial and unpopular speech is protected from prosecution. But this is contrary to what we see in the Bible.
    Numbers 14 describes how God dooms all but two the Sinai-wandering millions to death without reaching the promised land, merely because they "murmured" against Him.
    Leviticus 24:10-16 tells of a boy who blasphemed God and cursed; God sentenced him to death by stoning.
    Then there's the ultimate unforgivable utterance, according to the Bible, which created an uproar with "The Blasphemy Challenge":
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark 3:29
    But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal
    damnation.
    Quote Originally Posted by Luke 12:10
    And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of
    man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that
    blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be
    forgiven.
    Because of these verses, Christians everywhere became upset because those people taking the challenge were allegedly permanently dooming themselves to an afterlife in hell, which would only be true if God punishes people for their mere words, even spoken in absence of any other person. These are clear violations of the First Amendment, found right in the book from which Christian principles come.

    B. The Judicial System
    Recall in marc's earlier failed attempt to address separation of powers that Christianity says that God has the ultimate power to judge.
    Jesus says in Matthew 7:1 regarding judging others, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged." John 8:15 says, "You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one." In Romans 14:10, Paul says that judging one's brother is futile because God does the ultimate judging. In 1 Corinthians 4, Paul explains that human judgement is meaningless to him; only God's judgement matters.
    However, Article III of the Constitution sets up a judiciary system that leaves nothing to God's judgement. It instead sets up an entire system based on human judgement, which the Bible belittles. Judgement by humans: basic Constitutional principle, contrary to Christian principle.
    Accordingly, the guarantees of the Sixth Amendment that relate to judicial proceedings also have no basis in the Bible. Nor, for that tmatter, does the Bible support the judicial implications of the Fifth Amendment.

    C. Cruel and Unusual Punishment
    The Eighth Amendment expressly forbids infliction of cruel and unusual punishment. But once again, this cannot be Biblical because the Bible promotes very disturbing punishments.
    Numbers 15:32-36 describes the result of gathering sticks on the sabbath: death. And this is not an example of people taking matters into their own hands. They did not know what to do until God told them that the man should be stoned to death. Clearly, there is no mandate for punishment of sabbath-breakers in the Constitution, but more importantly, should any prosecutor seek the death penalty for such behavior, that prosecutor would not only be laughed out of court but would probably also lose his or her job.
    Then we have the story of Lot, whose wife dared merely look back toward their hometown as they fled. For this action, God turned her into a pillar of salt. Sure, she was warned not to look back, and she did anyway, but even a super-strict American military doesn't punish disobeying a direct order with death. Why? Because that would be cruel and unjustifiably unusual... unless we use the Bible as our benchmark.
    Finally, we have the book of Job, which tells of how God put one man through terrible, insufferable anguish. The entire book tells of the awful things that God causes to happen to this person who had done nothing wrong, but God tortured him just to prove a point. Punishment for nothing, described for an entire Biblical book: antithetical to the Eighth Amendment.
    In no honest reading of the Bible can one say that it unambiguously supports this part of the Eighth Amendment. From the petty torture of Job to the description of the lack of penalty for beating one's slave to the point of being unable to rise for two days, the Bible is chock full of God's endorsement of atrocious cruelty.

    D. The Three-Fifths Clause and the Thirteenth Amendment
    The three-fifths clause is now moot due to the Thirteenth Amendment, but neither one of these has rationale based in the Bible. Numbers 1 describes a census, but slaves were not counted at all. Nowhere in the Bible does any form of the three-fifths clause arise.
    In the aftermath of the American Civil War, the people passed the Thirteenth Amendment, which prohibited slavery throughout the nation. Nowhere in the Bible is slavery forbidden; in fact, it is encouraged, even in the most despicable ways. Numbers 31 says that all captives are to be killed, unless they are virgin girls, in which case they should be kept by the kidnapper/plunderer for himself. Exodus 21:7 explains how a father is allowed to sell a daughter into slavery. The Bible sets out rules for how long certain slaves can be held, based on their ethnicity. Even in the New Testament do we see endorsement of slavery: Ephesians and Colossians tells slaves to obey their masters as they would obey God. Obey even the harsh masters, says 1 Peter. The Bible as a whole is pro-slavery, so the Thirteenth Amendment cannot be a Biblical Christian principle.

    Part II: Response to marc's Internal Topic Discussion
    A. Christian in Nature
    After a lot of unrelated bluster that will be discussed below, marc finally addresses a real debate topic when he "basically" agrees with my four criteria for determining whether a principle is "Christian in nature."
    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    I basically agree, but with your vague words like “significant”, and “reasonably” I’m sure we’re not going to completely agree on it. It will be up to the reader to decide.
    He has some issues with the word "significant," which was included to address the problem of passing references explained in my first post, and the word "reasonably," which I included simply to avoid implication of absolute distinction. Perhaps the degrees are a bit vague, but the general ideas have been established and accepted.

    B. Basic Principles
    marc's biggest objection seems to be my criteria for selecting which principles are basic. He adds a potshot at the Humanist Manifesto [strawman] for good measure. His argument is that all of the ideas in the Preamble are "Christian in nature," yet he doesn't show how any one of these meets the four criteria that he agreed are accurate for the purposes of this debate. marc continues his argument by saying that these Preamble topics are the basic principles, and the other topics in the Constitution are simply "means of carrying them out" and "minor details."

    But marc's own arguments do not follow from this reasoning. For example, marc acknowledges that the contents of the First Amendment are fair game for this debate, yet we clearly do not see any of the five freedoms guaranteed therein in the text of the Preamble. Further, marc has now mentioned in both of his posts the "Sundays excepted" clause. If marc can forward this clause as a basic principle Christian in nature, then even marc doesn't believe his own tight restrictions. Moreover, this clause can in no way be elucidated or predicted from any of the components of the Preamble, and -- were marc's assertion correct -- would have no place in this debate. But marc himself brought it up... twice. Clearly, marc's distinction between "basic" and not is too restrictive for a fair analysis of the Constitution.

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    The best way to get a 30 minute (or a few hours) crash course on basic constitutional principles, would be to get completely away from todays popular press - political discussions involving a multi trillion dollar government and all its associated special interests, and carefully read every word of the Constitution itself, and the actual history that goes with it. Joseph Story, a Supreme Court Justice from the early 1800’s, was appointed by President James Madison.
    But as we read the passages selected by marc, they do not support the resolution. The first passage merely espouses Story's belief that no Christian believes that the government isn't supposed to foster the Christian religion. In fact, the sections that marc names read more as Story's own view of what the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause mean, and they don't even address the resolution, let alone support it. marc has given no substantial reason to believe that Story's opinion means any more than quotes from Madison or Jefferson, or even than the wording of the clauses themselves.
    On the other hand, it opens the door for me to ask that -- if Story's story were really true -- why doesn't the Constitution actually do that? It doesn't even refer to a deity, let alone the Christian one, and it certainly doesn't promote belief in one or set up systems that promote belief in one. So, unless marc has some support, this doesn't help him.

    Even if one were to accept marc's restrictions of "basic principles" to only those topics mentioned in the Preamble, he still would not have shown that these meet the qualifications of "Christian in nature." He writes,
    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    Things that are taught in the Bible, that benefit another, or ones self, and aren’t immediately gratifying can qualify as Christian principles. Many are claimed to not be Christian principles because they are claimed to be the result of natural logic and reason, and that can be a source of controversy.
    marc has either missed or purposely ignored my earlier points. They are not claimed "not to be Christian principles because they are claimed to be the result of natural logic and reason"; they are claimed not to be Christian because that criterion leads to a vacuous meaning of the descriptor "Christian in nature." This was explained, at length, with examples in my opening post, and marc has agreed with the gist of my conclusions. And his very next statement explains why!
    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    Atheism can claim any Christian principle it wants as its own deduction of logic and reason, and how acceptable it is has to be discussed on an individual basis.
    If a markedly contrary philosophy such as atheism can lay equal claim to a principle, it is disingenuous to call it meaningfully Christian.
    marc goes on to argue that other philosophies have picked up on these allegedly "Christian" ideas, but that history shows that this was not the case in the late 1700s. He continues to make his case by stating,
    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    As I worded it in my first post; “[the US constitution] was “an original conception, a new idea for government without precedent on the face of the earth.”
    But marc's own citation about Madison belies this assertion, as will be shown below.

    C. Conclusion to Part II
    marc has forwarded an extremely limited criterion for establishing an principle as "basic." He has failed to support this sorting method with any reasonable argumentation whatsoever. In addition, his assertion that these principles are "Christian in nature" according to accepted criteria have not been met. marc's only attempt at doing so was merely to claim that the topics were "topics of the Bible, and thought of by Christ as good things." This sorting method was called out as fraudulent in my opening post, and my argument was by and large accepted by marc.

    Part III: Response to marc's Rebuttal
    A. Topics
    1. Representative Government

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    ... From the Christian tradition, [Madison] inherited a sense of the prime importance of conscience, a strict personal morality, an understanding of human dignity as well as depravity, and a conviction that vital religion could contribute importantly to the general welfare. From Locke, he learned that to be fully human, men had to be free, and that to be free, they had in some way to take part in their government' (Ketcham 1994, 50).
    With this passage, marc is pushing, among other things, Madison's religious background. Once again, the religious beliefs or upbringings of the Founding Fathers are irrelevant to whether the Constitutional principles meet the criteria of being Christian in nature. If someone who believes in the divinity of Jesus murders somebody, marc would surely not accept that the act of murder is Christian in nature... hence the absence of "was written by a person with Christian leanings" in the list of criteria accepted by marc as accurate.
    If we are to presume that Ketcham is correct, we see that Madison learned about true freedom not from the Bible, but from John Locke. If marc is going to argue that freedom is a basic principle, and if marc is going to present this citation that says that Madison gleaned the true meaning of freedom from Locke, then marc is acknowledging that Madison didn't care whether a representative government is Christian in nature or not and instead got the idea from a non-Biblical source. marc has failed to show any passages from the Bible that specifically promote a representative government; instead, he has only cherry-picked a couple of truncated passages that discuss the behavior of man and is trying to pass off these lines as promoting a certain form of government.
    As I pointed out in my opening post, the Bible itself has absolutely no support for a representative government. Although he has made assertions and insisted, marc has produced absolutely no evidence to the contrary. All he can provide is this:

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    When taking into consideration James Madison’s education at Princeton at an important developmental stage of his life, we find his intent for the constitution in some of the Federalist papers makes perfect sense. In number 55, he states that “there is a degree of depravity in mankind which requires a certain degree of circumspection and distrust” – in number 51 he recommends a governmental structure designed to “pit ambition against ambition”, in 37 he worries that the “infirmities and depravities of the human character” make it extremely difficult for even well meaning citizens to tame “mutual jealousies”, or reconcile “discordant opinions”, and in 10 he warns that “enlightened statesmen” dedicated to “the public good and private rights” will be rare because “self love” even among the wisest and most well intentioned souls can trump “opinions” and “passions” and because the human tendency to “vex and oppress each other” is “sown in the nature of man”.
    Notice that nowhere in this paragraph about Madison does marc make any argumentation that Madison's incorporation of these ideas have any actual relationship to Biblical principles. All we have is marc saying that principle A is in the Constitution, that the Bible has some words that might, if you try hard enough, just maybe make you think that there's a relationship. marc has
    claimed that some of these have extremely loose parallels showing Madison's Biblical leanings. But, from marc's own link, we see this:
    'I profess myself to have had a uniform zeal for republican government. If the honorable member, or any other person, conceives that my attachment to this system arises from a different source, he is greatly mistaken. From the first moment that my mind was capable of contemplating political subjects, I never till this moment, ceased wishing success to well regulated republican government. The establishment of such in America was my most ardent desire.' (James Madison, June 14, 1788: The Virginia Convention considering the ratification of the Constitution).
    In my last post, I challenged marc to provide the logical connections between Madison's views and Biblical principles, and he has failed to meet this challenge.

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    The 18th century Christian religion of Calvinism shows that Christianity did in fact promote a representative form of government.
    This is a frighteningly abrupt U-turn from somebody wanting to avoid getting into denominations, as marc claimed when settling on a resolution. Nevertheless, the question is not whether some sect of Christianity promoted representative government but whether the Bible promotes representative government according to our agreed upon criteria. It does not; it instead promotes systems of kings, some of whom are chosen by God Himself. marc has not disputed this point because there is no disputing this point.

    2. Separation of Powers
    Although marc pretends to have attempted to respond to my arguments regarding separation, he posts a quote about Madison and turns the discussion directly back to a different topic. marc has made no response to the fact that his own citation from Isaiah shows the opposite of separation of powers.

    3. Freedom of Religion
    Regarding the anti-Biblical protection of freedom of religion, marc states,
    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    This was covered in the above link about Calvinism, perfectly compatible with the founders obvious disinterest in attempting to play God, replace God, or compete with God.
    If this is covered, then marc needs to post it. One is not allowed to say, "the answer is somewhere on an incredibly long page that I've linked" and consider the matter sufficiently addressed. Shall the remainder of my posts consist solely of, "If you'll just search the internet, you'll find links to pages that say I'm right. The end."?

    marc continues,
    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    What God allows and what he approves of are two entirely different things. The world would be nothing like it is without free will, and Christianity believes God has a plan for it, that fits with a free will of man. That's not a denominational claim, that's a general Christian claim.
    I have not argued that God denies free will. What I have done is used marc's own examples of alleged support for the Constitutional principle of protected freedom of religion.
    In the case that there is any confusion, here are the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment:
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...
    marc claims to be championing freedom, be he is now making an argument that amounts to, "Yeah, so they have the freedom to reject God, but they chose to do so, so their penalty is death." marc cannot have it both ways. If it is not "approved" by God to reject Him, then protecting the right to reject Him is not Christian (and certainly not honoring God, as marc's original criterion stated). If it is approved by God to reject Him, then He should not punish those who do so with death. This is not a matter of free will; it is a matter of Christian principle. I have shown that marc's examples from the Bible describe how God punished people based on their religious choices. This is expressly forbidden in the Constitution but is found in the very book behind Christian principles.
    Even had marc's earlier observations about the Story citations been completely correct, Story still supports my point. He says that no person or government should have "the right to force the consciences of other men, or to punish them for worshipping God in the manner, which, they believe, their accountability to him requires." This disagrees with marc's own Biblical examples the treatment of those who reject God.
    marc could actually harp on Story's story all day long, but if marc pushes Story because Story knew Madison and Madison is the person upon whom we should be focusing, then we would be much better served by considering something Madison actually supported, and with fervor. Like this, from the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom¹:
    Be it enacted by the General Assembly, That no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.
    I think it is clear that actual Founding Fathers with actual input in the actual Constitutional clauses forbade the treatment described in the Bible.

    Part III: Fallacies
    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    The Henry quote is in dispute. Certain political interests wish it to be fake, probably not so much for what it says, but to discredit those who claim it to be true.
    I'm not sure what fantasy world marc is living in, but when a quote's authenticity is challenged, it's customary for the quote to be substantiated. marc apparently acknowledges that the quote cannot be found in Henry's writings and is claiming that the quote is perhaps authentic but spoken instead of written. This is absurd. He supplies not even one link that claims the quote is merely in dispute. If marc cannot confirm the authenticity of the quote, he should not have used it, and nobody should accept it as true.

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    But at least one serious historian (David Holmes) makes a profound distinction between Christian Deists and non-Christian Deists.
    As marc's link is dead, and he did not post what the criteria -- listed not by Holmes but by a reader -- actually mean, there is no way to evaluate this claim.

    Regarding the religion of the Founders, marc states,
    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    If we’re examining the principles that a written document contains, the beliefs, upbringings, and activities of it’s writers are of utmost importance. As we constantly see from the disputes over the first and second amendments alone, even the simplest wording doesn’t always produce consensus.
    I have not forwarded any components of the Constitution as support for my point unless the principles are clear. I have not argued about separation of church and state, nor have I argued about the Second Amendment. I have not brought up the Treaty with Tripoli, even though marc has done so twice. marc has not disagreed that the First Amendment protects citizens from negative treatment based on their religion. marc has not disagreed that the Constitution sets up a representative government. (Quite the opposite, actually: marc claims that the representative government set up by the Constitution is a brand new idea.) If marc feels that these essentially undisputed interpretations are erroneous, then he needs to present argumentation to that effect. Instead, he is complaining about discrepancies which have nothing to do with the arguments being made for this debate. That is, marc is appealing to a strawman in an attempt to... discuss another strawman.

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    Even in strictly educational discussions, or non-funded, ‘fun’ ones such as this, it can easily turn into a founding-father-quote-mining contest, often using out of context quotes, or treaties or court decisions completely unrelated to the original constitutional principles.
    marc is welcome to point this out whenever I rely on bogus quotes from founding fathers, treaties, or court decisions allegedly completely unrelated to original constitutional principles. However, one will note that in this debate I have made no references to court decisions, no references to treaties, and my only references to quotes of Founding Fathers prior to this post were (1) to point out that marc's quote from non-Founder Patrick Henry is a fake and (2) a contextually accurate quote from Jefferson to rebut marc's characterization of Jefferson's beliefs. marc is wailing away at a straw man.

    marc continues his rant against separation of church and state, namely the controversy that rages in the conservative community about the accuracy of the principle being applied. However, I have not appealed to the principle of separation of church and state. Again, marc is arguing against a straw man.

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    Is “an attempt to level all religions, and to make it a matter of state policy to hold all in utter indifference” your position in this debate?
    My position in this debate is that the resolution is false. marc is again arguing a point that has not been shown to have bearing on this debate. Nowhere do any of the Constitutional principles "attempt to level all religions." This is another straw man.

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    Is it your position that 20th and 21st century America knows more about constitutional principles than did 19th century America?
    My position was stated when the resolution was finalized. marc is yet again arguing against the straw man of court decisions.

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    These principles in NO WAY conform to any non-Christian government, past or present.
    This debate is not whether the U.S. government is a "Christian government" or not. The resolution is as worded. marc is once again arguing against a strawman.

    1: http://usinfo.state.gov/usa/infousa/...emocrac/42.htm

    OOo word count: 3423
    Organic chemistry is the chemistry of carbon compounds. Biochemistry is the chemistry of carbon compounds that crawl.

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    Quote Originally Posted by electrolyte View Post
    Another freedom protected by the First Amendment is that of speech. With the exception of libel and slander, even controversial and unpopular speech is protected from prosecution. But this is contrary to what we see in the Bible.
    [snip]
    Because of these verses, Christians everywhere became upset because those people taking the challenge were allegedly permanently dooming themselves to an afterlife in hell, which would only be true if God punishes people for their mere words, even spoken in absence of any other person. These are clear violations of the First Amendment, found right in the book from which Christian principles come.
    The Constitution was formed not in an attempt to repeat or mimic the past, but for application to the present (18th century) and for the future. The Christian views of most of the framers, and the population at large, influenced by Calvinism, made free speech an important part of the idea of non establishment of religion. As shown in my previous post, Calvinsim/Presbyterianism taught the natural equality of men – the relationship of religious and civil liberty. Free speech is a foundation of civil liberty.


    A brief overview of US population at the time of the founding;

    It is estimated that of the 3,000,000 Americans at the time of the American Revolution, 900,000 were of Scotch or Scotch-Irish origin, 600,000 were Puritan English, and 400,000 were German or Dutch Reformed. In addition to this the Episcopalians had a Calvinistic confession in their Thirty-nine Articles; and many French Huguenots also had come to this western world. Thus we see that about two-thirds of the colonial population had been trained in the school of Calvin. Never in the world's history had a nation been founded by such people as these. Furthermore these people came to America not primarily for commercial gain or advantage, but because of deep religious convictions. It seems that the religious persecutions in various European countries had been providentially used to select out the most progressive and enlightened people for the colonization of America. At any rate it is quite generally admitted that the English, Scotch, Germans, and Dutch have been the most masterful people of Europe. Let it be especially remembered that the Puritans, who formed the great bulk of the settlers in New England, brought with them a Calvinistic Protestantism, that they were truly devoted to the doctrines of the great Reformers, that they had an aversion for formalism and oppression whether in the Church or in the State, and that in New England Calvinism remained the ruling theology throughout the entire Colonial period.
    http://www.graceonlinelibrary.org/ar...id=70%7C%7C868

    The US population has multiplied by about 30 in the 200+ years since the revolution. That the decendents of the above 3 million don’t have the same stark recollection of their heritage – that more recent immigrants never knew it – that times and technology have changed, doesn’t change the Christian principles of the Constitution that were incorporated and approved by the population at the time the Constitution was written.

    “All men are created equal” was a basic doctrine of Calvinism, and a belief that royalty or other vested privilidge didn’t make one person or small group of peoples’ speech or anything else more relevant than another persons or group. A related aspect of Calvinism is outlined in Madisons mistrust of human intentions, that I showed in my previous post with his quotes from the Federalist papers. The overall Christian belief that deliberate human reason, only from certain humans, is too limited to undertake comprehensive social planning. That social planning can best happen by the uncontrolled (by humans) processes of personal liberty and free markets. That is the spirit of the Constitution, and it’s outlined in the preamble.

    The Christian principles of the US Constitution are obvious not only by what it establishes, but by what it does NOT establish.


    B. The Judicial System
    Recall in marc's earlier failed attempt to address separation of powers that Christianity says that God has the ultimate power to judge.
    Jesus says in Matthew 7:1 regarding judging others, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged." John 8:15 says, "You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one." In Romans 14:10, Paul says that judging one's brother is futile because God does the ultimate judging. In 1 Corinthians 4, Paul explains that human judgement is meaningless to him; only God's judgement matters.
    However, Article III of the Constitution sets up a judiciary system that leaves nothing to God's judgement. It instead sets up an entire system based on human judgement, which the Bible belittles. Judgement by humans: basic Constitutional principle, contrary to Christian principle.

    The ninth commandment addresses human judgment, it hardly belittles it. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” A basic, non denominational interpretation of it includes outright lying, false advertising, slander, as well as false testimony in court. One of the greatest assets a society can have is the desire to seek the truth. A basic Christian principle is truth. It is referred to throughout the Bible. Your very narrow cherry-picking of certain Bible passages doesn’t even contain the complete thought found only a few verses away, let alone an entire, basic view of Christianity. Matthew 7: 1 THRU 5;

    Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the same measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brothers eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, “let me take the speck out of your eye” when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brothers eye.
    That’s not a prohibition to judge, it’s an encouragement to do it correctly, carefully. They way the judiciary was set up in the Constitution, the “good behaviour”, “appointed by the president” aspects, - a pretty clear attempt to remove “planks – planks that the framers saw in the eyes of royalty, or established denominations of religion. Calvinism wasn’t an establishment, it was a guide.


    Concerning your reference to only Romans 14:10, let’s look at Romans 14:13;

    Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brothers way.
    Judgment as in careless, frivolous judgment. Keeping stumbling blocks and obstacles out of each others way is a basic constitutional principle.

    Quote Originally Posted by electrolyte
    Accordingly, the guarantees of the Sixth Amendment that relate to judicial proceedings also have no basis in the Bible. Nor, for that tmatter, does the Bible support the judicial implications of the Fifth Amendment.
    Sixth amendment, witnesses (9th commandment) and fifth amendment, “taken without just compensation” – STEALING (8th commandment)

    If you continue to claim that these aren’t Christian principles, surely you would have to admit that these principles came from somewhere. So far, you’ve made no attempt to show any alternatives to Christianity from where they could have arisen. Your neutral, no position stance can be somewhat effective in one-liner posts in open forums, but in a discussion of the length and structure of this one, I believe that in order for you to prevent me from proving the resolution you’re going to have to show alternative sources for those principles. Sources that history proves that the founders were exposed to, and familiar with.

    Quote Originally Posted by electrolyte
    In the aftermath of the American Civil War, the people passed the Thirteenth Amendment, which prohibited slavery throughout the nation. Nowhere in the Bible is slavery forbidden; in fact, it is encouraged, even in the most despicable ways. Numbers 31 says that all captives are to be killed, unless they are virgin girls, in which case they shall be kept by the kidnapper/plunderer for himself. Exodus 21:7 explains how a father is allowed to sell a daughter into slavery. The Bible sets out rules for how long certain slaves can be held, based on their ethnicity. Even in the New Testament do we see endorsement of slavery: Ephesians and Colossians tells slaves to obey their masters as they would obey God. Obey even the harsh masters, says 1 Peter. The Bible as a whole is pro-slavery, so the Thirteenth Amendment cannot be a Biblical Christian principle.

    Your first post stated these two things;

    Additionally, is is reasonable to consider the amendments to the constitution as part of the document.
    And, later in that post;

    Even though Jeffersons original draft of the Declaration didn’t refer to a creator, this debate only concerns the Constitution.
    But the final declaration did, after being approved by other founders. It referred to a creator, and it also stated that all men are created equal. These involve principle to a far greater extent than the 13th amendment, which didn’t come along until 74 years later. The fact is, the Declaration of Independence led to the Constitution, and the Constitution led to the Bill of Rights. It’s up to the reader to decide if you’re right – that this discussion should not include the Declaration, and yet should include all amendments, even those that came several generations after the original Bill of Rights.

    I don’t consider events that happened several generations after the Constitution went into effect to be basic principles of that Constitution.

    But as we read the passages selected by marc, they do not support the resolution. The first passage merely espouses Story's belief that no Christian believes that the government isn't supposed to foster the Christian religion. In fact, the sections that marc names read more as Story's own view of what the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause mean, and they don't even address the resolution, let alone support it.
    I intended that as a lead-in to supplement the c/p of the Holy Trinity Church v US court case that was right under it, which you didn’t address at all. What Story did was show a distinction between social virtues of Christianity, vs the right of private judgment / public worship of individuals. This was obvious all throughout 19th century court cases, and governmental action. The time period before separation of church and state was established in 1947, which caused that distinction to largely become forgotten by those with your position – those unaware of Christian principles in the Constitution.

    marc has given no substantial reason to believe that Story's opinion means any more than quotes from Madison or Jefferson, or even than the wording of the clauses themselves.
    On the other hand, it opens the door for me to ask that -- if Story's story were really true -- why doesn't the Constitution actually do that? It doesn't even refer to a deity, let alone the Christian one, and it certainly doesn't promote belief in one or set up systems that promote belief in one. So, unless marc has some support, this doesn't help him.

    It’s principles were based on the Deity described in the Declaration of Independence – the Christian one believed in by the vast majority of the 3,000,000 US population as shown above. It doesn’t promote belief or set up systems in one, and it didn’t prohibit all promotions of belief or set-up systems within states, until 1947. Certain modern court decisions have been able to change what the Constitution prohibits, by changing how it applies to the states. It took away freedom for social virtues of Christianity, but those virtues were there originally. McCollum v Board of Education, 1948 proclaimed certain voluntary religious activities unconstitutional; Engel v Vitale, 1962 struck down prayer in NY schools; Stone v Graham, 1980; removal of 10 Commandments displays on the walls of schools in Ky. All these were constitutional for the full previous 150 year time period.


    from my previous post;
    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    Atheism can claim any Christian principle it wants as its own deduction of logic and reason, and how acceptable is is has to be discussed on and individual basis.
    Quote Originally Posted by electrolyte
    If a markedly contrary philosophy such as atheism can lay equal claim to a principle, it is disingenuous to call it meaningfully Christian.

    Not if atheism was disingenuous in claiming it. It would depend on atheisms criteria for claiming it. Other than narrow, shallow mocking the Old Testament, you’ve made no atheist claims thus far.

    C. Conclusion to Part II
    marc has forwarded an extremely limited criterion for establishing an principle as "basic." He has failed to support this sorting method with any reasonable argumentation whatsoever. In addition, his assertion that these principles are "Christian in nature" according to accepted criteria have not been met. marc's only attempt at doing so was merely to claim that the topics were "topics of the Bible, and thought of by Christ as good things." This sorting method was called out as fraudulent in my opening post, and my argument was by and large accepted by marc.

    Your 4 criteria;
    It must have significant parallels or extensive mention in the Bible.
    It must be reasonably distinct from widespread, non Christian of irreligious ideas.
    It must be endorsed or encouraged by the Bible.
    It must not be significantly contradicted by the Bible.
    Preamble to US Constitution;
    We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our prosperity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the united states of America.

    Perfection – stressed as Gods nature, desired in humans in Christianity Matthew 5: 48 (many others)

    Justice – encouraged of humans in Christianity
    Isaiah 59:15 (also the ninth commandment)

    Tranquility – encouraged in Christian teachings (Beatitudes – Matthew 5:3) Philippians 4:8

    Defense – Luke 11:21

    Welfare, well being of humans – blessings of liberty, all basic Christian principles – the phrase “free will” is found in the Bible 16 times.

    These all go along with your criteria numbers 1, 3, and 4 very well. Number 2 is thus far not applicable – you’ve produced no widespread non Christian ideas, with historical references that prove the founders familiarity with them.

    Much of your argument so far consists of making no distinction between history and principle, as if principle would be some attempt to mimic history. The Constitution was about the present and future, not the past.





    Part III: Response to marc's Rebuttal
    A. Topics
    1. Representative Government


    Quote (Originally by marc9000)---
    ... From the Christian tradition, [Madison] inherited a sense of the prime importance of conscience, a strict personal morality, an understanding of human dignity as well as depravity, and a conviction that vital religion could contribute importantly to the general welfare. From Locke, he learned that to be fully human, men had to be free, and that to be free, they had in some way to take part in their government' (Ketcham 1994, 50).
    ---End Quote---
    With this passage, marc is pushing, among other things, Madison's religious background. Once again, the religious beliefs or upbringings of the Founding Fathers are irrelevant to whether the Constitutional principles meet the criteria of being Christian in nature.

    Principles have to have a source, especially the profound, basic principles of the Constitution. It’s not possible to derive principle from neutrality. If the basic principles aren’t Christian, then they have to come from some other religious belief or upbringing. Non-Christian Deism is the shallow claim for most in your position – I see you’re wisely staying away from that so far. Better for you to leave it blank than go there. But it’s still a huge blank.


    If we are to presume that Ketcham is correct, we see that Madison learned about true freedom not from the Bible, but from John Locke.

    It could have been a combination of the two. The use of one doesn’t completely cancel the other. John Locke was an enlightenment philosopher, but he wrote a.book called, “The reasonableness of Christianity” – that hardly separates him from Christianity.


    Notice that nowhere in this paragraph about Madison does marc make any argumentation that Madison's incorporation of these ideas have any actual relationship to Biblical principles.
    Madisons wording and phrasing; “ambition” depravities of the human character” mutual jealousies”, “sown in the nature of man” – Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. A basic Christian principle. Mistrust of human nature was a basic Constitutional principle that addressed how to deal with that imperfection, while seeking liberty.


    This is a frighteningly abrupt U-turn from somebody wanting to avoid getting into denominations, as marc claimed when settling on a resolution. Nevertheless, the question is not whether some sect of Christianity promoted representative government but whether the Bible promotes representative government according to our agreed upon criteria. It does not; it instead promotes systems of kings, some of whom are chosen by God Himself. marc has not disputed this point because there is no disputing this point.
    Christianity does not promote systems of kings. It doesn’t promote any system of government for the future. Calvinist Bible study, and 19th century education and way of life showed representative government to be an idea whose time had come. There is nothing frightening about one denomination promoting the idea of establishing equal footing for itself and other denominations. The Bible specifies no denomination, the Constitution specifies no denomination.

    from my previous post;
    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    This was covered in the above link about Calvinism, perfectly compatible with the founders obvious disinterest in attempting to play God, replace God, or compete with God.
    Quote Originally Posted by electrolyte
    If this is covered, then marc needs to post it. One is not allowed to say, "the answer is somewhere on an incredibly long page that I've linked" and consider the matter sufficiently addressed. Shall the remainder of my posts consist solely of, "If you'll just search the internet, you'll find links to pages that say I'm right. The end."?

    I did post it – it was linked and then COPY/PASTED IN A BRIEF, SPECIFIC WAY.

    marc claims to be championing freedom, be he is now making an argument that amounts to, "Yeah, so they have the freedom to reject God, but they chose to do so, so their penalty is death."
    My argument is about earthly, US government, from the 18th century to today. I’ve said nothing about Gods penalties - they are completely irrelevant.

    As marc's link is dead, and he did not post what the criteria -- listed not by Holmes but by a reader -- actually mean, there is no way to evaluate this claim.
    Its evaluation is very simple. The link works fine for me, but all that’s important is the paragraph that I copy/pasted. You made this claim in your first post;

    ….“there is no such thing as Christian Deism (one is either a Christian or Deist)…
    the c/p showed that you were incorrect. Deism was a broad, largely undefined belief system with no principle – trying to make it simple, narrow, well defined (principled) doesn’t change actual history.


    I have not forwarded any components of the Constitution as support for my point unless the principles are clear. I have not argued about separation of church and state, nor have I argued about the Second Amendment. I have not brought up the Treaty with Tripoli, even though marc has done so twice. marc has not disagreed that the First Amendment protects citizens from negative treatment based on their religion. marc has not disagreed that the Constitution sets up a representative government. (Quite the opposite, actually: marc claims that the representative government set up by the Constitution is a brand new idea.) If marc feels that these essentially undisputed interpretations are erroneous, then he needs to present argumentation to that effect. Instead, he is complaining about discrepancies which have nothing to do with the arguments being made for this debate. That is, marc is appealing to a strawman in an attempt to... discuss another strawman.
    One of your opening statements in this debate reads as follows;

    Let us consider Constitutional topics that are mentioned in the popular press on a regular basis.
    You now seem to have abandoned that consideration.

    This is a two position debate. I agree that you have largely avoided the Constitution, the separation of church and state, court decisions, the Declaration of Independence, etc. You have actually put fourth very little, so you may call most of what I say “strawman” if you like. But I have a resolution to prove. Your position that the basic principles of the Constitution are not Christian in nature is a claim that they came from somewhere else, a source that was “separate” from Christianity. If you can’t address that source and consequently we can’t discuss it, then I have no choice but to continue to examine founding principles “according to the sense of the terms and the intentions of the parties”. (Joseph Story) That is, the sense of the terms and the intentions of the parties at the time of their establishment. The changing of the terms and intentions of parties of today are where your position comes from. They bear no resemblance whatsoever to the Holy Trinity court case of 1892 that was a large part of my previous post, that you didn’t address. To logically analyze what was said in that decision, and how it relates to the resolution, this one sentence stands out;

    court decision
    “The people of this state, in common with the people of this country, profess the general doctrines of Christianity as the rule of their faith and practice; and to scandalize the author of those doctrines is not only, in a religious point of view, extremely impious, but, even in respect to the obligations due to society, is a gross violation of decency and good order.”
    In the attempts to separate the general doctrines of Christianity from government since 1947, those doctrines are made to look like they have always been very minor in the overall application of government. A little Bible reading in school, an occasional display of the ten commandments, “under God” in the pledge, tax exemption for religious organizations etc. But looking at the words “obligations”, “decency”, and “good order” it’s easy to see that subjects of religious nature are in many much larger governmental challenges and decisions. Subjects like abortion, redistribution of wealth, the environment, controversial sciences like cloning and stem cell research, the list is long. So much of these government decisions involve social visions that can't help but involve religion, and today as in the time of the founding the question of what humans are capable of seeing in these visions can be divided into two categories – those who believe that man is capable of comprehensive social planning, and those who do not. It is a basic Christian principle that man is not capable of comprehensive social planning – only God is. The Constitution did not authorize social planning. Concerning James Madisons disapproval of Congress appropriating $15,000 to assist some French refugees in 1792, he said;

    I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on the objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents."
    A main Christian principle of the Constitution is what it does NOT address. It leaves comprehensive social planning to God. It acknowledges that human reason has limits. The basic turning point for the application and effects of Christian principles came from the administration of Franklin D Roosevelt, and more specifically his court packing bill championed by his appointee Hugo Black, who was the main Supreme court justice behind separation of church and state in 1947.




    marc is welcome to point this out whenever I rely on bogus quotes from founding fathers, treaties, or court decisions allegedly completely unrelated to original constitutional principles.


    So far, you’ve relied mainly on haughty, atheistic mocking of Old Testament history, something that has nothing to do with Christian principle. The New Testament even makes that clear, in 1 Corinthians 10, 11;

    These things happened to them (those baptized into Moses) as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.
    Indications are that the founders took into consideration the example of history in the 1800 years after Christs time on earth. The education, trade, and human interaction of the 18th and 19th centuries may have been primitive compared to today, but Biblical times were also primitive compared to the 18th and 19th centuries. The “perfect union”, “domestic tranquility” etc of the preamble were ideologies whose time had come, according to the overwhelmingly Christian population at the time of the founding.

    Again, what is, and what is not in the Constitution are clear examples of Christian principles.
    Last edited by marc9000; 11-22-2007 at 11:19 AM. Reason: changed number erors of mine in "criteria"
    Why is it that our children can't read a Bible in school, but they can in prison?

  7. #7
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    Part I: Introduction
    For some reason, my earlier attempts to access marc's link regarding Holmes's book were met only with a 404 error. I can now access the page and read what marc has refused to post. On the page, we find:
    Holmes finds that most of the nation's early leaders, including its first five presidents, fall somewhere between Adams and Paine and can best be thought of as Christian deists.

    In his chapter on George Washington, for example, Holmes notes that Washington attended church, provided Christian chaplains for his army and believed that religion was the basis of all morality. There is no record, however, of Washington ever expressing his personal belief in the central tenets of the Christian faith. He did not take Communion or undergo confirmation, and his favored term for God was "Providence," though, as Holmes notes, "he sometimes appeared to have difficulty differentiating Providence from destiny." [bold added]
    Here, the reviewer is showing that Holmes considers Washington a "Christian Deist." However, the review explicitly says that there is no reason to believe that Washington believed any of the central tenets of Christianity. The fact that some deists think of their "natural religion" as a source of morality, or allow religious activities to be led by someone of the Christian faith, in no way distinguishes that deist as "Christian."
    marc replies,
    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    the c/p showed that you were incorrect. Deism was a broad, largely undefined belief system with no principle – trying to make it simple, narrow, well defined (principled) doesn’t change actual history. [emphasis original]
    The passage shows that marc is incorrect. These people held none of the basic tenets of Christianity, but marc wants to label them with the descriptor "Christian." Despite marc's claims of sticking to actual history and his accusations of my trying to change history, marc's revisionism is a gross attempt at skewing history. This is like saying that because Buddhism is a peaceful religion, a pacifist who is also a Jew (by belief, not ethnicity) is a Buddhist Jew. By marc's definition, my desire to allow people to practice their chosen religions in non-detrimental ways and my belief in morality from nature would make me "Christian," which I can assert I am definitely not. I accept no tenets of the Christian religion and marc wouldn't dare label me a Christian... unless I happened to be a Founding Father.

    I lead with this for my third post for two reasons: First, it would have been addressed in my previous post had I been able to access the material. Second, it is indicative of a disturbing pattern in marc's designation of what is "Christian." marc wants to pick and choose which things he’ll call Christian or not based not on the Bible but on his subjective interpretation of good or bad. But, as I've pointed out, this leads to such paradoxes as Christian non-Christians and Buddhist Jews. The resolution refers to principles "Christian in nature," not principles "adopted by some 'Christians' at some point in history." The fact that Christianity as a whole has been wishy-washy with some of its proposals has made it necessary to designate a meaningful, objective interpretation of the resolution, which are my four criteria that have been accepted by marc. Each has to do with the Bible, not some denominational idea that is practiced despite that idea's absence from the Bible. As marc himself objected to clarifying the resolution such that we would avoid denominational views, he should be held to this standard; a formal debate should not include willful, repeated violations of the terms agreed upon by the parties involved.

    I will again attempt to group our ever-spreading debate back into general topics. Although this results in some quotations being reordered, this allows for better addressing of points.

    Part II: Internal Components
    A. Constitution

    In this section, I will respond to marc’s repeated references to documents that are decidedly not the Constitution.
    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    But the final declaration did [mention a creator], after being approved by other founders.
    marc has conveniently failed to make the distinction that the group of people who signed the DoI was not the same group that wrote the Constitution.

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    It referred to a creator, and it also stated that all men are created equal. These involve principle to a far greater extent than the 13th amendment, which didn’t come along until 74 years later. The fact is, the Declaration of Independence led to the Constitution, and the Constitution led to the Bill of Rights. It’s up to the reader to decide if you’re right – that this discussion should not include the Declaration, and yet should include all amendments, even those that came several generations after the original Bill of Rights.
    marc is more than welcome to make the case that later Amendments shouldn't be considered, but the fact remains that the Constitution says that Amendments are a part of the Constitution. Additionally, if marc wants to try to causally tie the Constitution to the DoI, he may do so, but he's still stuck with the original wording of the Constitution, plus at least the first ten amendments. So far, marc has failed to present a convincing argument for the position that all basic principles therein are Christian in nature.

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    I don’t consider events that happened several generations after the Constitution went into effect to be basic principles of that Constitution.
    I don’t consider documents that aren’t a part of the Constitution (like the DoI) a part of the Constitution.

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    It’s [sic] principles were based on the Deity described in the Declaration of Independence – the Christian one believed in by the vast majority of the 3,000,000 US population as shown above.
    If you say it enough, maybe people will believe you, right? We're not discussing the DoI. Even if we were, the Deist Founders were not referring to the Christian God because they didn't believe in the Christian God.

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    What Story did was show a distinction between social virtues of Christianity, vs the right of private judgment / public worship of individuals.
    Story is entitled to his opinion, but your reason for presenting Story as an authority was his relationship to Madison, an actual authority. I posted what Madison himself had to say; why have you ignored the actual authority, marc?

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    I intended that as a lead-in to supplement the c/p of the Holy Trinity Church v US court case that was right under it, which you didn’t address at all.
    And I didn't have to. It is hilarious that you have been railing against "fraudulent" court findings and bitching about ones that even you say are irrelevant to the Constitution due to their dates, while I have forwarded not one and you're whining that I haven't addressed one of yours.

    B. Basic Principles
    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    Preamble to US Constitution;[snip]
    marc is once again trying to assert that the only "basic principles" are those found in the Preamble. marc apparently believes that repeating nonsense makes it more believable, but I will remind him of how ludicrous this position is.
    Were the Preamble the only text of the Constitution, the United States would have absolutely no foundation for a government. Does the Preamble even explain what a "more perfect union" is? How will the Constitution establish that justice? Why have the rest of the Constitution if this establishes all of the important stuff?
    Let us recall marc's first post, where he brought up, unencouraged and unenticed, topics that are not part of the Preamble. He discussed freedom of religion. He discussed the "Sundays excepted" clause. He brought up separation of church and state, and opened the door for debate over the amendments. marc has since tried to claim that these are just "details" that are not basic principles, but these "details" are essential to the workings of the government. marc retreated to this feeble position only after my first response wherein I laid out a damning list of basic principles that he has been unable to satisfactorily defend. In fact, nowhere in his first post did marc mention the Preamble; he instead relied upon referring to the Federalist Papers. He has failed to explain the relationship of “Sundays excepted” clause to any part of the Preamble, yet he continued to use this example even after hastily retreating to his new, purposely impotent position. The timing of this position’s emergence, however, remains the telling fact. marc had several weeks to ponder, contemplate, and write an opening statement that argued for his point in precisely the way he wanted. He chose three ideas from the Federalist Papers, posted, and changed his approach after my response. Had this been the best, most reasonable approach, marc should have taken it from the beginning.

    C. Origin of Principles
    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    If you continue to claim that these aren’t Christian principles, surely you would have to admit that these principles came from somewhere. So far, you’ve made no attempt to show any alternatives to Christianity from where they could have arisen. Your neutral, no position stance can be somewhat effective in one-liner posts in open forums, but in a discussion of the length and structure of this one, I believe that in order for you to prevent me from proving the resolution you’re going to have to show alternative sources for those principles.
    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    If you can’t address that source and consequently we can’t discuss it, then I have no choice but to continue to examine founding principles “according to the sense of the terms and the intentions of the parties”. (Joseph Story)
    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    These all go along with your criteria numbers 1, 3, and 4 very well. Number 2 is thus far not applicable – you’ve produced no widespread non Christian ideas, with historical references that prove the founders familiarity with them.
    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    If the basic principles aren’t Christian, then they have to come from some other religious belief or upbringing.
    marc keeps pounding away at a strawman. There is no reason to believe that all ideas must originate from some religion. The representative government of the Iroquois had some influence on the founders, independent of religion. Ideas of justice and defense did not originate with the Bible or with Christianity, and for marc to imply otherwise is outrageous. Nobody is foolish enough to positively claim that laws against stealing did not exist before the book of Genesis. The code of Hammurabi predates Jesus by nearly 1800 years; one could certainly argue that even this rough form of law was an attempt to establish justice and ensure domestic tranquility. Buddhism and Confucianism arose centuries before Jesus, yet they teach ethics, civility, and peace. Whether the Founding Fathers got their ideas from these philosophies is moot; marc is in no position to demand that we believe that these brilliant men were incapable of thinking for themselves or having ideas not based on existing philosophies. This debate is not whether the ideas originated with Christianity; and marc should be glad, because he'd lose that debate quickly.
    The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature: and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an æra in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had any interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the inspiration of heaven, any more than those at work upon ships or houses, or labouring in merchandize or agriculture: it will for ever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.¹
    --John Adams
    marc further claims that my second criterion hasn't come into play, but I have pointed it out as a critical issue in every one of my posts. Blatant examples like inter-religion ideas and Buddhist Jews have been mentioned repeatedly, but marc's only attempt at circumventing this problem has been to pretend that I've not done my part in this debate and hope the judges agree. I have challenged him to show the actual links he alleges are true, and he has still failed to do so. marc has the affirmative position, marc gets the extra post, so the burden of proof is upon marc.

    D. Christian Nature
    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    “All men are created equal” was a basic doctrine of Calvinism, and a belief that royalty or other vested privilidge didn’t make one person or small group of peoples’ speech or anything else more relevant than another persons or group.
    If marc wants this to be true, then I'll have to argue that Calvinism was a terrible, heathen denomination of Christianity, because these things have nothing to do with the Bible. I have provided examples of the Christian God's endorsement of monarchies. marc has not denied that these exist. I have mentioned where the Bible encourages involuntary slavery, which is an absurd contradiction to the idea that all men are created equal (which is not a part of the Constitution). In the Bible verse before the one that allows a master to beat his slave without penalty should the slave suffer for a day or two, the Bible says that the master pay only a fine for beating the slave to death, despite the fact that the law of the land was an eye for an eye, a life for a life. The Bible makes no designation of "all men are created equal," so even if it were true that Calvinism promoted this, it is not "Christian in nature" as agreed upon by marc.

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    Not if atheism was disingenuous in claiming it. It would depend on atheisms criteria for claiming it. Other than narrow, shallow mocking the Old Testament, you’ve made no atheist claims thus far.
    It's not my position in this debate to make "atheist claims." I also could have claimed that Buddhism, or Confucianism, or Taoism holds these views. The bottom line is that the fact that these claims are so widespread – and were before the rise of Christianity – negates any meaningful label of "Christian in nature." They weren't derived from Christian principles. They didn't originate in the Bible. They are instead "common," and picked up by many religions, one of which might happen to be Christianity.

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    Madisons wording and phrasing; “ambition” depravities of the human character” mutual jealousies”, “sown in the nature of man” – Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. A basic Christian principle.
    marc is still appealing to ignorance. Would I be incapable of recognizing that man is imperfect if I didn't read a passage in the Bible implying such? No. This is ridiculous. Did Buddhism and Confucianism fail to recognize failures of men hundreds of years before Jesus? No. Did Hammurabi's code exist in spite of Hammurabi's belief that men are always entirely blameless? No. All marc has done is shown a widespread understanding espoused by Madison, slapped a couple of Bible verses alongside it, and declared Madison's viewpoint to be shaped by the Bible. As I have shown above, this is woefully insufficient.

    If marc feels that he can defend the assertion that the parts of the Preamble are Christian in nature by making a case for the Christian nature of the “details,” then the opposite should be equally as good an indicator: It is unreasonable to ignore instances where the “details” are clearly non-Christian (or even anti-Christian) in nature. When there appears to be some of both, one of two conclusions can be reached. Either we can be sure that a principle has some parallel with Christian nature but is not uncontradicted by it – in which case it fails to meet the accepted criteria – or the nature of the “details” is not a useful indicator of nature. However, the latter leaves us nothing but the vague smattering of general ideas in the Preamble that are certainly not unique or original to the Bible. As marc has originated and continued the discussion of the details, he must be arguing the former, in which case he has not produced sufficient reason to believe that every one of these meets the criteria.

    For example, in argument that "defense" is a Christian principle, marc cites Luke 11:21, which mentions arms, armor and safety, but the chapter also says that he who isn't with Jesus won't fare so well. In fact, Luke 6 tells us to turn the other cheek in invitation of another strike and to let a person take even more than that for which he came. Matthew 5:39 says not to resist an "evil" person at all! The only "defense" being advocated here is spiritual belief, which is certainly not the kind of defense the Framers meant.

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    So far, you’ve relied mainly on haughty, atheistic mocking of Old Testament history, something that has nothing to do with Christian principle. The New Testament even makes that clear, in 1 Corinthians 10, 11;
    I’ve used several examples from the Bible because it is the only objective representation of Christianity that is available. You want “Christian principle” to have “nothing to do with” the Old Testament, which makes no sense. Is it the word of the Christian God or not? Either it is and is valid, or it isn’t and we have no reason to believe anything from the Bible. Picking and choosing is denominational, which you said you wanted to avoid.
    But, just for kicks, I have referred to the New Testament (Gospels and 1 Corinthians(!)); you responded to it by citing the Old Testament (commandments). For you to now claim that the Old Testament is peripheral to Christian principle simply makes it easier for me to expose the fact that you are picking and choosing -- but worse, your picking and choosing changes with time depending on your needs.

    Part III: Examples
    A. The First Amendment: Freedoms of Religion and Speech
    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    The Constitution was formed not in an attempt to repeat or mimic the past, but for application to the present (18th century) and for the future. The Christian views of most of the framers, and the population at large, influenced by Calvinism, made free speech an important part of the idea of non establishment of religion. As shown in my previous post, Calvinsim/Presbyterianism taught the natural equality of men – the relationship of religious and civil liberty. Free speech is a foundation of civil liberty.
    Calvinism was an explicitly religious doctrine. It cannot promote freedom of religion.
    “[T]he fundamental principle of Calvinism ... lies in a profound apprehension of God in his majesty, with the inevitably accompanying poignant realization of the exact nature of the relation sustained to him by the creature as such, and particularly by the sinful creature.” (link)
    Wikipedia lists the five points of Calvinism. Freedom of speech is not one of them. More importantly, though, freedom of speech is not encouraged in the Bible, no matter how much smokescreen and equivocation marc provides. Instead, as previously explained, the Bible sets punishments for certain spoken words, and the only unforgivable act according to the Bible is an utterace that is protected by the First Amendment's freedom of speech. marc hasn't a leg to stand on: Freedom of speech is a basic Constitutional principle that has no basis in the Bible or Christian nature and is in fact contradicted instead.

    In regards to freedom of religion, marc says,
    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    My argument is about earthly, US government, from the 18th century to today. I’ve said nothing about Gods [sic] penalties - they are completely irrelevant.
    Here marc knows that he's in trouble and tries to sidestep the issue. The Constitution says that no penalties may be placed upon people due to their religious beliefs. The Bible contradicts this statute; it specifically describes penalties for holding a different religious view. Exodus 22 lays out laws and penalties for men on Earth, and verse 20 says that those who sacrifice to other gods should be destroyed.
    marc's argument is that God can penalize. If God Himself will "bring evil" upon people (Jer 6), then unless God is being un-Christian, this penalty must be Christian. The Constitution forbids such penalty. The Constitution is forbidding a Christian principle, not enforcing one; it cannot be Christian in nature.

    marc picked "rights of individuals" as one of his "basic principles" of the Constitution, even in his non-descript first post, but nowhere in the Bible do we find either of these two examples as we do in the Constitution. They're simply not there, and marc hasn't even tried to argue that they are.

    B. Divine Right of Kings
    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    Christianity does not promote systems of kings.
    Again, marc swings away at this claim, but he has failed to produce any substantive response to the divine right of kings or to specific instances of God's choosing kings to reign over people. While marc might believe this claim, the Bible clearly states otherwise. Notice that marc is not denying that the Bible promotes this, he is appealing only to his view of Christianity.

    C. Judicial System
    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    The ninth commandment addresses human judgment, it hardly belittles it. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” A basic, non denominational interpretation of it includes outright lying, false advertising, slander, as well as false testimony in court.
    While marc's reading of the ninth commandment may lead him to believe that the Bible doesn't belittle human judgment, and despite the fact that 1 Corinthians strongly suggests otherwise,
    1 Corinthians 4:3-5
    I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.
    ... marc has missed the entire point. "A judicial system executed by humans: basic Constitutional principle, not found anywhere in the Bible." Nowhere does the Bible set up any sort of judicial system remotely like that described in Article III.

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    Sixth amendment, witnesses (9th commandment) and fifth amendment, “taken without just compensation” – STEALING (8th commandment)
    What about the witnesses, marc? Does the ninth commandment guarantee the right of the accused to confront their accusers? Does it ensure a fair and speedy trial? Does it ensure the right to a lawyer? Where are these guarantees, marc? The Bible does none of these things. When the Bible describes God's punishment of a person's descendants for multiple generations based on just that one person's discretions, how does that support the Due Process Clause in the Fifth Amendment, or the Eighth's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment? How are these not contradicted by the stories of Lot and Job? These are questions that you need to answer, marc, because I'm not finding them in the Bible anywhere.

    Part IV: Conclusion
    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    Much of your argument so far consists of making no distinction between history and principle, as if principle would be some attempt to mimic history. The Constitution was about the present and future, not the past.
    More rubbish. I have mentioned numerous basic principles of the Constitution that are not Biblical in nature. marc is the one trying to appeal to history (DoI and court cases). I'm perfectly happy sticking to the Constitution and the Bible. God's rule for selling one's daughter into slavery and for the lack of punishment for viciously beating a slave are not "history," they are Godly principles found right in the Bible. Short of marc's actually countering my arguments, the best he's doing is making an argument that "Christian" principles have little to do with the Bible.

    It is quite interesting to note that the discussion leading up to this debate had marc forwarding the argument that the United States was set up with a secondary goal of promoting the Christian religion, yet -- when the bar is set much lower for the purposes of this debate -- the arguments marc is setting forth here are even more impotent and meaningless. We've seen backtracking on which principles are basic, we've seen acceptance of criteria for labeling as "Christian" and immediate disregard for and distancing from those criteria, we've seen appeals to topics purposely rejected in the debate setup, bogus quotes from non-Founders, nonsensical attributions of religious beliefs, repeated references to documents other than the Constitution, continued harping on court cases that have nothing to do with the resolution, and soapbox proclamations of unrelated persecution allegations and skewed history from someone who claimed to promote real history. The goal of discussing the nature of the principles of the Constitution has instead evolved mostly into arguing which principles are "basic" and what it means to be "Christian in nature," and this has happened because a straightforward, fair determination of these factors leads to a conclusion regarding the main goal that leaves little to doubt.

    1: Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, 1787: http://www.constitution.org/jadams/ja1_pre.htm

    OOo word count: 3441
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by electrolyte View Post
    I lead with this for my third post for two reasons: First, it would have been addressed in my previous post had I been able to access the material. Second, it is indicative of a disturbing pattern in marc's designation of what is "Christian." marc wants to pick and choose which things he’ll call Christian or not based not on the Bible but on his subjective interpretation of good or bad. But, as I've pointed out, this leads to such paradoxes as Christian non-Christians and Buddhist Jews. The resolution refers to principles "Christian in nature," not principles "adopted by some 'Christians' at some point in history." The fact that Christianity as a whole has been wishy-washy with some of its proposals has made it necessary to designate a meaningful, objective interpretation of the resolution, which are my four criteria that have been accepted by marc. Each has to do with the Bible, not some denominational idea that is practiced despite that idea's absence from the Bible. As marc himself objected to clarifying the resolution such that we would avoid denominational views, he should be held to this standard; a formal debate should not include willful, repeated violations of the terms agreed upon by the parties involved.
    This goes back to my earlier reference to the way Jefferson edited his Bible to suit his beliefs. In the case of some founders, and in the case of what I’ve been saying, it isn’t wishy washy at all. Those few (very few) founders who were skeptical of certian aspects of Christianity including the divinity and resurrection of Jesus, the rituals of Holy Communion etc. had no issue with most all of the behavior aspects of Christianity, which involve how humans treat each other (love thy neighbor, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, all men are created equal, etc) Virtue and ethics. These things are seldom disputed among denominations, weren’t disputed by the founders, and were (are) often disputed by other belief systems, be they other religions foreign to those who populated the US at the time of the revolution, or humanism / atheism.

    marc has conveniently failed to make the distinction that the group of people who signed the DoI was not the same group that wrote the Constitution.
    There’s actually not much of a distinction – the two documents are closely related. Several men signed both; James Wilson, Roger Sherman, George Read, Robert Morris, George Clymer, Benjamin Franklin. In 20th and 21st century education, Franklin seems to be the only real recognizable name, even though Wilson and Sherman were much more prominent founders, as I’ll go into more detail below. (Wilson, Sherman, Morris, and Clymer were all Christians)

    marc is more than welcome to make the case that later Amendments shouldn't be considered, but the fact remains that the Constitution says that Amendments are a part of the Constitution. Additionally, if marc wants to try to causally tie the Constitution to the DoI, he may do so, but he's still stuck with the original wording of the Constitution, plus at least the first ten amendments. So far, marc has failed to present a convincing argument for the position that all basic principles therein are Christian in nature.
    Article VII of the Constitution FIRMLY ties the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution.

    Done in convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven and of the independence of the United States of America the twelfth.
    9-17-1787 – twelve years after 7-4-1776, the date of the signing of the Declaration. 7-4-1776 is the date referred to throughout history, on all important documents, as the beginning of current US government. 7/4 is a national holiday, 9/17 is not. Since 1947, secularists like yourself have been trying to UNTIE the Declaration from the Constitution.

    The National Lawyers Association takes the position that there is a legal connection or relationship between the Declaration and the Constitution based, in part, on the following:

    A.Our Founding Fathers intended for the Declaration to be the
    foundation for the Government that was being established.

    B.The language in the Declaration of Independence itself makes it
    clear that it is to be a vital and necessary part of the government.

    C.The language in the Constitution acknowledges its legal
    connection or relationship with the Declaration.

    D.The Declaration has been referenced by various federal courts in hundreds
    of decisions including several decisions by the United States Supreme Court.

    E. Legislation by Congress admitting states into the union acknowledges
    and confirms that the principles set forth in the Declaration constitute
    the foundation of the government of America.

    The National Lawyers Association takes the position that the practical effect of the legal connection or relationship between the Declaration and the Constitution is that the Constitution is to be interpreted in the light of the principles set forth in the Declaration.
    nla link

    The Constitution neither abolished nor replaced what the Declaration had established, it only provided more specific details of how the US Government would operate under the principles set fourth in the Declaration. They both have basic principles and they both have minor details.


    Quote Originally Posted by electrolyte
    Story is entitled to his opinion, but your reason for presenting Story as an authority was his relationship to Madison, an actual authority. I posted what Madison himself had to say; why have you ignored the actual authority, marc?
    Because of this statement in my second post;

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    Even in strictly educational discussions, or non-funded, ‘fun’ ones such as this, it can easily turn into a founding-father-quote-mining contest, often using out of context quotes, or treaties or court decisions completely unrelated to the original constitutional principles.

    My reason for presenting Story was because his comments were IN context – a Supreme court justice, close to the generation that wrote and ratified the Constitution, giving an interpretation of the constitution. In your quote mine, Madison was addressing the republican form of government only. Madison also said this;

    "A watchful eye must be kept on ourselves lest while we are building ideal monuments of Renown and Bliss here we neglect to have our names enrolled in the Annals of Heaven."
    Madison

    The problem with quote mining contests is that they can take up a lot of space, and seldom be convincing for either side, because of so many variables. You force me into it however, so it’s something that must be done in this debate. Most people with your position of “they didn’t believe in the Christian God” confine their quoting only to Jefferson, Madison, and Adams, and forget other founders like;

    Samuel Adams;
    The right to freedom being the gift of the Almighty...The rights of the colonists as Christians...may be best understood by reading and carefully studying the institutions of The Great Law Giver and Head of the Christian Church, which are to be found clearly written and promulgated in the New Testament.”

    Alexander Hamilton;

    "I now offer you the outline of the plan they have suggested. Let an association be formed to be denominated 'The Christian Constitutional Society,' its object to be first: The support of the Christian religion. Second: The support of the United States.

    “I have carefully examined the evidences of the Christian religion, and if I was sitting as a juror upon its authenticity I would unhesitatingly give my verdict in its favor. I can prove its truth as clearly as any proposition ever submitted to the mind of man.”

    John Hancock
    "RESOLVED, That it be, and hereby is recommended to the good People of this Colony of all Denominations, that THURSDAY the Eleventh Day of May next be set apart as a Day of Public Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer...to confess the sins...to implore the Forgiveness of all our Transgression...and a blessing on the Husbandry, Manufactures, and other lawful Employments of this People; and especially that the union of the American Colonies in Defense of their Rights (for hitherto we desire to thank Almighty GOD) may be preserved and confirmed....And that AMERICA may soon behold a gracious Interposition of Heaven."By Order of the [Massachusetts] Provincial Congress, John Hancock, President.”


    John Jay “I do not recollect to have had more than two conversations with atheists about their tenents. The first was this: I was at a large party, of which were several of that description. They spoke freely and contemptuously of religion. I took no part in the conversation. In the course of it, one of them asked me if I believed in Christ? I answered that I did, and that I thanked God that I did."
    http://www.faithofourfathers.net/index.html

    You’ve provided no indication whatsoever that anyone who “spoke freely and contemptuously of religion” had anything to do with the Constitution of the US.

    John Marshall "The American population is entirely Christian, and with us Christianity and Religion are identified. It would be strange indeed, if with such a people, our institutions did not presuppose Christianity, and did not often refer to it, and exhibit relations with it."

    George Mason
    "My soul I resign into the hands of my Almighty Creator, whose tender mercies are all over His works, who hateth nothing that He hath made, and to the justice and wisdom of whose dispensations I willingly and cheerfully submit, humbly hoping from His unbounded mercy and benevolence, through the merits of my blessed Savior, a remission of my sins".

    Benjaman Rush
    "Let the children...be carefully instructed in the principles and obligations of the Christian religion. This is the most essential part of education. The great enemy of the salvation of man, in my opinion, never invented a more effectual means of extirpating Christianity from the world than by persuading mankind that it was improper to read the Bible at schools."

    Patrick Henry;
    “Amongst other strange things said of me, I hear it is said by the deists that I am one of the number; and indeed, that some good people think I am no Christian. This thought gives me much more pain than the appellation of Tory; because I think religion of infinitely higher importance than politics; and I find much cause to reproach myself that I have lived so long, and have given no decided and public proofs of my being a Christian. But, indeed, my dear child, this is a character which I prize far above all this world has, or can boast.”
    It’s interesting that you have (two or more times) called Patrick Henry a (non founder) This link (a separation of church and state site) put together a pretty detailed criteria (see the chart) for indicating who the most prominent founders were. Nothing like this can be perfect, as they acknowledge, but it does give some interesting results. James Madison is at the top as expected, but every secularists favorite, Thomas Jefferson isn't second or third, he's....19th!! Notice your “non founder” Patrick Henry is only two places below Jefferson. But who was second, third, fourth, behind only Madison?


    Second, Roger Sherman “I believe that there is one only living and tru God, existing in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, the same in substance, equal in power and glory. That the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are a revelation from God, and a complete rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy Him.”

    Third, James Wilson "Human law must rest its authority ultimately upon the authority of that law which is divine. . . . Far from being rivals or enemies, religion and law are twin sisters, friends, and mutual assistants. Indeed, these two sciences run into each other."

    Fourth, Rufus King "The law established by the Creator, which has existed from the beginning, extends over the whole globe, is everywhere and at all times binding upon mankind. This is the law of God by which He makes His way known to man and is paramount to all human control."
    And the last one on the list;

    Noah Webster The religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and His Apostles. . . . This is genuine Christianity and to this we owe our free constitutions of government.
    Other notables about this list of prominence;

    John Adams was even lower than Jefferson, 23rd.

    Joseph Story, who you implied to not be an actual authority, was 28th.

    Thomas Paine, another favorite of todays secularists, didn’t make the list.





    And I didn't have to. [respond to the Holy Trinity v US court case] It is hilarious that you have been railing against "fraudulent" court findings and bitching about ones that even you say are irrelevant to the Constitution due to their dates, while I have forwarded not one and you're whining that I haven't addressed one of yours.
    I believe you had to. Repeating again the summary of that case;

    If we pass beyond these matters to a view of American life, as expressed by its laws, its business, its customs, and its society, we find everywhere a clear recognition of the same truth. Among other matters note the following: The form of oath universally prevailing, concluding with an appeal to the Almighty; the custom of opening sessions of all deliberative bodies and most conventions with prayer; the prefatory words of all wills, "In the name of God, amen;" the laws respecting the observance of the Sabbath, with the general cessation of all secular business, and the closing of courts, legislatures, and other similar public assemblies on that day; the churches and church organizations which abound in every city, town, and hamlet; the multitude of charitable organizations existing everywhere under Christian auspices; the gigantic missionary associations, with general support, and aiming to establish Christian missions in every quarter of the globe. These and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation.
    This was written about 100 years after the establishment of the US Constitution. This is simply the way it was in 19th century America. 20th, and now 21st century America has largely forgotten it, but that doesn’t mean it never existed. There are simple, historical reasons that it has been forgotten. The starter was Darwinism, gaining more and more enthusiastic support as the years went by through the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Though it happened in England, the Piltdown man hoax (a half man, half ape skull) lasted from 1912 to 1953, and its implications spread throughout America for those 41 years, until it was exposed as a complete fraud. Over five hundred historical dissertations were written concerning this skull during that time. This hoax was alive and well during the administration of FDR during the great depression, and FDR’s court packing bill, referenced in my last post that you didn’t address, was the result of Supreme court justices in the 30’s properly interpreting the Constitution to block much of the socialism that he wanted to put forward. It was his court appointees that gave us the main turning point in forgetting our actual history, and that was the “Separation of Church and State”. There were practically no references to this “separation” idiom before 1947, and after 1947 it happens hundreds of times each year, in the Supreme court and lower courts all across the country.


    marc is once again trying to assert that the only "basic principles" are those found in the Preamble.
    I don’t know where you get the word “only” – I have been putting forward basic principles throughout the debate. I’ll summarize it all at the end of this post.


    marc keeps pounding away at a strawman. There is no reason to believe that all ideas must originate from some religion.
    I never said they did, I said religion or upbringing. Humanism/atheism. When I brought them up earlier, you called them strawmen as well. Basic principles had to come from the Christian religion, another religion, or some form of humanism/atheism. You don’t claim any of the three? You take no interest whatsoever in where they DID come from, you’re just PASSIONATE about where they DID NOT come from? That simply does not make sense.

    The representative government of the Iroquois had some influence on the founders, independent of religion. Ideas of justice and defense did not originate with the Bible or with Christianity, and for marc to imply otherwise is outrageous. Nobody is foolish enough to positively claim that laws against stealing did not exist before the book of Genesis. The code of Hammurabi predates Jesus by nearly 1800 years; one could certainly argue that even this rough form of law was an attempt to establish justice and ensure domestic tranquility. Buddhism and Confucianism arose centuries before Jesus, yet they teach ethics, civility, and peace. Whether the Founding Fathers got their ideas from these philosophies is moot;
    No it’s not moot, and it’s very important if you can’t show any historical ties to your above philosophies to the founders backgrounds and upbringing. I can and have shown Christian ties to the founders backgrounds. I’ve shown quotes from prominent founders that specifically refer to Christianity. Can you show quotes from them where they referred to Buddhism, or Confucianism?

    marc is in no position to demand that we believe that these brilliant men were incapable of thinking for themselves or having ideas not based on existing philosophies.
    Thinking for ones self and having ideas not based on existing philosophies has happened often in the case of new inventions, technological breakthroughs, etc. Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Eli Whitney, Henry Ford, could be examples. The difference between them and the founders is that they had to carry their ideas forward alone until they were proven – ideas not based on existing philosophies don’t get widespread support from others until they are proven. The idea of liberty, limited government and separation of powers wouldn’t have gotten such widespread support from so many people, without a unifying philosophy, that of Christianity.

    Quote Originally Posted by electrolyte
    (John Adams)The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature: and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an æra in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had any interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the inspiration of heaven, any more than those at work upon ships or houses, or labouring in merchandize or agriculture: it will for ever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.¹
    --John Adams



    And here’s more from Adams;

    On April 18, 1775, a British soldier ordered him, John Hancock, and others to “disperse in the name of George the Sovereign King of England. Adams responded to him;

    “We recognize no sovereign but God, and no king but Jesus!”

    In a letter to Thomas Jefferson dated June 28, 1813, he said;

    "The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity"

    As I said above, quote mining can take up a lot of space, largely because Christianity has lots more quotes to choose from. The reason is simple, the recorded quotes of the founders were positive towards Christianity a lot more than they were negative to it. Unfortunately, a lot of the non-Christian quotes come from when the founders were retired and getting on in years, and getting a little cranky and crotchety in their old age. Their accomplishments weren’t an overnight success, it’s safe to say that none of them lived to see how well it all actually worked.

    Quote Originally Posted by electrolyte
    If marc wants this to be true, then I'll have to argue that Calvinism was a terrible, heathen denomination of Christianity, because these things have nothing to do with the Bible. I have provided examples of the Christian God's endorsement of monarchies. marc has not denied that these exist. I have mentioned where the Bible encourages involuntary slavery, which is an absurd contradiction to the idea that all men are created equal (which is not a part of the Constitution). In the Bible verse before the one that allows a master to beat his slave without penalty should the slave suffer for a day or two, the Bible says that the master pay only a fine for beating the slave to death, despite the fact that the law of the land was an eye for an eye, a life for a life. The Bible makes no designation of "all men are created equal," so even if it were true that Calvinism promoted this, it is not "Christian in nature" as agreed upon by marc.
    The Calvinists of the day knew far more about the Bible than you do, so that may very well make it Christian in nature. As I noted in my last post, the Bible refers to free will 16 times.


    marc is still appealing to ignorance. Would I be incapable of recognizing that man is imperfect if I didn't read a passage in the Bible implying such? No. This is ridiculous. Did Buddhism and Confucianism fail to recognize failures of men hundreds of years before Jesus? No. Did Hammurabi's code exist in spite of Hammurabi's belief that men are always entirely blameless? No. All marc has done is shown a widespread understanding espoused by Madison, slapped a couple of Bible verses alongside it, and declared Madison's viewpoint to be shaped by the Bible. As I have shown above, this is woefully insufficient.

    Not when it’s combined with Madisons education and background, and the Christian views of other prominent founders. Not when you can’t show ANY of the founders backgrounds to have any ties with Buddhism, Confucianism, or Taoism. Not when Federalist #2 shows that the founders and general population come from “the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs, and who, by their joint counsels, arms, and efforts, fighting side by side throughout a long and bloody war, have nobly established general liberty and independence.”


    If marc feels that he can defend the assertion that the parts of the Preamble are Christian in nature by making a case for the Christian nature of the “details,” then the opposite should be equally as good an indicator: It is unreasonable to ignore instances where the “details” are clearly non-Christian (or even anti-Christian) in nature.
    What details in the Constitution are anti-Christian in nature?


    For example, in argument that "defense" is a Christian principle, marc cites Luke 11:21, which mentions arms, armor and safety, but the chapter also says that he who isn't with Jesus won't fare so well. In fact, Luke 6 tells us to turn the other cheek in invitation of another strike and to let a person take even more than that for which he came. Matthew 5:39 says not to resist an "evil" person at all! The only "defense" being advocated here is spiritual belief, which is certainly not the kind of defense the Framers meant.
    As I pointed out in the previous post, from 1 Corinthians 10; “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us…"

    Israel’s history serves as a historical application for Christianity. Israel had to defend itself, as described in the books of Joshua and 2 Kings. When combined with a verse like Luke 11:21;

    “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe."

    It’s a case where a Christian teaching, combined with Old Testament history, leads to a conclusion about defense. There is no indication that there was a huge debate over the constitutional requirements to “raise and support armies”, and “provide and maintain a navy” like there would be in a secular founding. That is obvious in the heavily secular opposition to the US military that we see in the news today. There is no basis for strong defense in secularism.

    I’ve used several examples from the Bible because it is the only objective representation of Christianity that is available. You want “Christian principle” to have “nothing to do with” the Old Testament, which makes no sense. Is it the word of the Christian God or not? Either it is and is valid, or it isn’t and we have no reason to believe anything from the Bible. Picking and choosing is denominational, which you said you wanted to avoid.
    But, just for kicks, I have referred to the New Testament (Gospels and 1 Corinthians(!)); you responded to it by citing the Old Testament (commandments). For you to now claim that the Old Testament is peripheral to Christian principle simply makes it easier for me to expose the fact that you are picking and choosing -- but worse, your picking and choosing changes with time depending on your needs.
    Christianity is about New Testament teachings. They can harmonize, or they can conflict with, human events in Old Testament history. In each case, the Old Testament is valuable, either as an example how to behave, or how not to behave. As above, the defense issue would be an example of how TO behave. Your many examples of Old Testament “atrocious cruelty” conflict with Christian teachings concerning behavior for the present and future. Without that PAST atrocious cruelty, Christian teachings wouldn’t have the historical lessons and references that they have.

    You can call Christian decisions to apply, or avoid Old Testament activity “picking and choosing” if you want, but it’s actually my (and the founders) ability to distinguish between lessons of history, and recommendations for behavior.


    Quote Originally Posted by electrolyte
    Calvinism was an explicitly religious doctrine. It cannot promote freedom of religion.
    “[T]he fundamental principle of Calvinism ... lies in a profound apprehension of God in his majesty, with the inevitably accompanying poignant realization of the exact nature of the relation sustained to him by the creature as such, and particularly by the sinful creature.” (link)
    Wikipedia lists the five points of Calvinism. Freedom of speech is not one of them. More importantly, though, freedom of speech is not encouraged in the Bible, no matter how much smokescreen and equivocation marc provides. Instead, as previously explained, the Bible sets punishments for certain spoken words, and the only unforgivable act according to the Bible is an utterace that is protected by the First Amendment's freedom of speech. marc hasn't a leg to stand on: Freedom of speech is a basic Constitutional principle that has no basis in the Bible or Christian nature and is in fact contradicted instead.
    From your link;

    The [five] points therefore function as a summary of the differences between Calvinism and Arminianism but not as a complete summation of Calvin's writings or of the theology of the Reformed churches in general.
    So the five points of Calvinism are not intended as a complete summation – there is more to Calvinism, and there is more to Christianity. From my earlier link;

    Calvinism was revolutionary. It taught the natural equality of men, and its essential tendency was to destroy all distinctions of rank and all claims to superiority which rested upon wealth or vested privilege. The liberty-loving soul of the Calvinist has made him a crusader against those artificial distinctions which raise some men above others.
    The only reason to suppress free speech would be if the suppressor(s) felt a superior rank or privilege to those whose speech he/they were suppressing.

    1 Corinthians: 9 says much about being free.

    “Am I not free………For it is written in the law of Moses: Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain. Is it about oxen that God is concerned? Surely he says this for us, doesn’t he? ……..though I am free and belong to no man…….
    Free speech is obviously a Christian principle.



    In regards to freedom of religion, marc says,

    "My argument is about earthly, US government, from the 18th century to today. I've said nothing about Gods [sic] penalties - they are completely irrelevant."

    Here marc knows that he's in trouble and tries to sidestep the issue. The Constitution says that no penalties may be placed upon people due to their religious beliefs. The Bible contradicts this statute; it specifically describes penalties for holding a different religious view. Exodus 22 lays out laws and penalties for men on Earth, and verse 20 says that those who sacrifice to other gods should be destroyed.
    marc's argument is that God can penalize. If God Himself will "bring evil" upon people (Jer 6), then unless God is being un-Christian, this penalty must be Christian. The Constitution forbids such penalty. The Constitution is forbidding a Christian principle, not enforcing one; it cannot be Christian in nature.

    marc picked "rights of individuals" as one of his "basic principles" of the Constitution, even in his non-descript first post, but nowhere in the Bible do we find either of these two examples as we do in the Constitution. They're simply not there, and marc hasn't even tried to argue that they are.
    AGAIN, the phrase "free will" is found in the Bible 16 times. You continue to make no effort to distinguish between human history and principle.

    What about the witnesses, marc? Does the ninth commandment guarantee the right of the accused to confront their accusers? Does it ensure a fair and speedy trial? Does it ensure the right to a lawyer? Where are these guarantees, marc?
    They are very minor details.

    More rubbish. I have mentioned numerous basic principles of the Constitution that are not Biblical in nature. marc is the one trying to appeal to history (DoI and court cases).
    Now you’re not even making the distinction between the history of the Constitution / Declaration, and the Biblical history thousands of years before Christ.

    It is quite interesting to note that the discussion leading up to this debate had marc forwarding the argument that the United States was set up with a secondary goal of promoting the Christian religion, yet -- when the bar is set much lower for the purposes of this debate -- the arguments marc is setting forth here are even more impotent and meaningless. We've seen backtracking on which principles are basic, we've seen acceptance of criteria for labeling as "Christian" and immediate disregard for and distancing from those criteria, we've seen appeals to topics purposely rejected in the debate setup, bogus quotes from non-Founders, nonsensical attributions of religious beliefs, repeated references to documents other than the Constitution, continued harping on court cases that have nothing to do with the resolution, and soapbox proclamations of unrelated persecution allegations and skewed history from someone who claimed to promote real history. The goal of discussing the nature of the principles of the Constitution has instead evolved mostly into arguing which principles are "basic" and what it means to be "Christian in nature," and this has happened because a straightforward, fair determination of these factors leads to a conclusion regarding the main goal that leaves little to doubt.

    The basic Constitutional Christian principles that I’ve put forward in this debate can be categorized into four groups; What the Constitution recognizes (imperfection of humans) what its goals are (domestic tranquility, blessings of liberty, a more perfect union, general welfare) what it establishes (justice, defense, unselfishness, exclusion of Sundays from some government business) and what it does not establish (social engineering –stumbling blocks)

    It’s not debatable that it contains those things. I’ve linked them all to Christianity, and you haven’t linked them to anything else.
    Why is it that our children can't read a Bible in school, but they can in prison?

  9. #9
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    Part I: Rebuttal
    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    Article VII of the Constitution FIRMLY ties the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution.
    Merely by mentioning when the Declaration was signed? This is ludicrous, but if marc wants to add all of the principles in the Declaration to his list of principles that he has to prove to be Christian, that's only more work for him.

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    My reason for presenting Story was because his comments were IN context – a Supreme court justice, close to the generation that wrote and ratified the Constitution, giving an interpretation of the constitution.
    I fail to see why someone who wasn't involved in the writing of the Constitution gets to be a reliable source because he was a SCOTUS Justice of the era, but a President who was extremely involved can't be used as a source because he was involved!

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    In your quote mine, Madison was addressing the republican form of government only.
    marc calls my citation a quote mine, but it's a quote discussing the right to religious freedom from a document entitled The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. How this can possibly be seen as taken out of context is astonishing.

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    You’ve provided no indication whatsoever that anyone who “spoke freely and contemptuously of religion” had anything to do with the Constitution of the US.
    That's not my responsibility in this debate, but I'll do so below. The burden is yours, and it is is to show that the basic principles in the Constitution are Christian. My opposition to murder happens to coincide with what you claim is a Christian principle, but that doesn't make me Christian.

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    This link (a separation of church and state site) put together a pretty detailed criteria (see the chart) for indicating who the most prominent founders were.
    It defines "founders" extremely loosely for the purposes of this debate. A person could have had nothing to do with the writing of the Constitution and have met nobody who did and still end up on the list. But the real irony is this statement:

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    Thomas Paine, another favorite of todays secularists, didn’t make the list.
    Yet Paine's Common Sense was instrumental in both convincing colonists that a change was necessary and... proposing a framework for a Constitution! And Paine was very outspoken against religion; he rejected Christianity in virtually every aspect, yet he came up with major parts of how the Constitution is set up, especially representation (that aforementioned topic that is discussed nowhere in the Bible).

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    I believe you had to [address the Holy Trinity decision.
    You acknowledge that this is from 100 years after the Constitution and want me to address it, but you won't address the civil rights amendments because they're from too many years after the establishment of the Constitution: less than 90 years. This is special pleading.

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    There is no reason to believe that all ideas must originate from some religion.
    I never said they did, I said religion or upbringing. Humanism/atheism... Basic principles had to come from the Christian religion, another religion, or some form of humanism/atheism.
    marc has still provided no reason to believe that all ideas must originate from some religion or upbringing. My previous argument still holds.

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    ... it’s very important if you can’t show any historical ties to your above philosophies to the founders backgrounds and upbringing.
    I've shown using historical sources that your insinuations are indefensible: these "Christian" principles preexisted Christianity, therefore the principles did not originate from Christianity.

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    marc is in no position to demand that we believe that these brilliant men were incapable of thinking for themselves or having ideas not based on existing philosophies.
    Thinking for ones self and having ideas not based on existing philosophies has happened often in the case of new inventions, technological breakthroughs, etc. Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Eli Whitney, Henry Ford, could be examples. The difference between them and the founders is that they had to carry their ideas forward alone until they were proven – ideas not based on existing philosophies don’t get widespread support from others until they are proven. The idea of liberty, limited government and separation of powers wouldn’t have gotten such widespread support from so many people, without a unifying philosophy, that of Christianity.
    Even if marc's reasoning were true, it is more logical to consider that "unifying philosophy" to be the desire for freedom. These people didn't spontaneously attain their religious beliefs, regardless of what they were, in the middle 1770s. On the other hand, real progress started being made after Paine's Common Sense was published...

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    And here’s more from Adams; [snip]
    Unlike marc's, my quotation is actually addressing the subject of the debate, namely the the principles of the government. marc has completely failed to respond to the fact that Adams -- despite the fact that he was a Christian, according to marc -- stated in no unclear terms that religion did not play a part in the formation of the government. This is particularly damning to marc's argument because -- if Adams really injected Christian religion into the Constitution because he thought that was the right thing to do -- why would he lie about it?.

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    The Calvinists of the day knew far more about the Bible than you do, so that may very well make it Christian in nature.
    marc just insists that Calvinists were great representatives of Christianity. Let's look at Calvinism:
    Most savagely of all were punished any offenders whose behaviour challenged Calvin's political and spiritual infallibility. A man who publicly protested against the reformer's doctrine of predestination was mercilessly flogged at all the crossways of the city and then expelled. A bookprinter who, in his cups, had railed at Calvin was sentenced to have his tongue perforated with a red-hot iron before being expelled from the city. Jacques Gruet was racked and then executed merely for having called Calvin a hypocrite. Each offence, even the most paltry, was carefully entered in the records of the Consistory so that the private life of every citizen could unfailingly be held up against him in evidence.¹
    So Calvin tortured and killed people for speaking out against him and for questioning his religious doctrine. marc's preferred representatives of true Christianity support my point.

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    Not when you can’t show ANY of the founders backgrounds to have any ties with Buddhism, Confucianism, or Taoism.
    marc completely avoids my point. Noticing that humans aren't perfect isn't dependent upon any religion. Slapping a Bible verse alongside common knowledge doesn't make that knowledge "Christian" or dependent upon Christianity.

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    It’s a case where a Christian teaching, combined with Old Testament history, leads to a conclusion about defense.
    History in general leads to a more important conclusion about defense: it predates Christianity. Saying that the Founders thought defense important because it's passingly mentioned in the Bible is preposterous.

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    Christianity is about New Testament teachings. They can harmonize, or they can conflict with, human events in Old Testament history. In each case, the Old Testament is valuable, either as an example how to behave, or how not to behave.
    This is more special pleading. According to marc, Christianity picks and chooses what parts of "God's word" from the Old Testament are good. Christianity asserts that there is but one God, and that the God of the Old Testament is the God of Christianity. For marc now to claim that the acts of God in the OT to be examples of "how not to behave" only proves my point about the wishy-washiness of marc's brand of Christianity.

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    The only reason to suppress free speech would be if the suppressor(s) felt a superior rank or privilege to those whose speech he/they were suppressing.
    Regardless of "reason," Calvin muzzled, tortured, and executed people for their words and beliefs despite not being elected. That's four strikes against your favorite example of Christian principles: representative government, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and banning of cruel and unusual punishment.

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    The Calvinists of the day knew far more about the Bible than you do, so that may very well make it Christian in nature.
    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    Free speech is obviously a Christian principle.
    But the Calvinists, who "knew far more about the Bible," forbade freedom of speech. If it were obvious, then this wouldn't be true, and you'd have been able to present an even remotely compelling case.

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    AGAIN, the phrase "free will" is found in the Bible 16 times.
    Phraseology is not the important thing in this debate, principle is. The Constitution forbids penalty for exercising some aspects of free will, but Christianity does no such thing, and neither did your pet Calvinism.

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    The basic Constitutional Christian principles that I’ve put forward in this debate can be categorized into four groups; What the Constitution recognizes (imperfection of humans) what its goals are (domestic tranquility, blessings of liberty, a more perfect union, general welfare) what it establishes (justice, defense, unselfishness, exclusion of Sundays from some government business) and what it does not establish (social engineering –stumbling blocks)
    Regarding "imperfection of humans," I have already argued that this is no more a Christian principle than anything else. I have argued that it is ridiculous to presume that a person cannot realize that mankind is imperfect if he or she did not read it in a religious book first; it can be gleaned merely from observing with no a priori knowledge of any philosophy. I have argued that this is clear based on simple history: laws addressing misbehavior of man predate the Bible and philosophies that encourage people to strive for bettering themselves predate the Bible.

    Regarding "goals" of the Constitution, ideas such as "domestic tranquility" and "general welfare" are no more Christian than they are anything else. These are general ideas that existed in governments long before the Constitution and in history long before Christianity.

    Again, with "establishments," marc simply provides a list of nonspecific ideas that are widespread and not original to Christianity. Hammurabi's Code was an attempt to establish both justice and domestic tranquility. Calling "defense" a Christian principle would require that the notion of defending oneself was unheard of 2000 years ago, but history again tells us that this is not the case. Indeed, I have shown that the Bible makes more effort insisting that one not resist aggression.

    marc has continually been pushing the "Sundays excepted" clause of the Constitution. This is a single clause excepting Sunday only from being counted against the President's allotted time for vetoing a bill. This is the only mention. Had the Founders been promoting observation of the sabbath, they would have applied this to more than a single event which is better explained by something as simple as travel: if the President were away from the Capital and required several days' travel to return, yet was not able to secure transportation due to people who do observe the sabbath, that day would not be counted against the President. (Many states had laws prohibiting travel on Sundays.²)
    Notice that this clause doesn't forbid the President from vetoing on a Sunday, so the Constitution is in no way promoting the observation of a sabbath day. If the President were an Orthodox Jew and refused to veto a bill on a Saturday, that Saturday would count as a day, but the following Sunday would not; for someone of any religion observing a sabbath day, this clause simply provides them a net day of sabbath credit.

    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    It’s not debatable that it contains those things. I’ve linked them all to Christianity, and you haven’t linked them to anything else.
    I'm not debating that the Constitution contains these things. marc may think that he's "linked them all to Christianity," but he has done so only in a way that allows each of them to be linked to countless other things that are certainly not Christianity, many of which are philosophically contrary to Christianity.

    Part II: Summary
    As this is my final post, I will summarize my position, the main points of the debate, and why the judges should be more compelled by my arguments.

    A: Overview
    It has been marc's task in this debate to show that "all basic principles in the U.S. Constitution are Christian in nature." The terms of the debate required that determining which principles are "basic" and that establishing the meaning of "Christian in nature" be internal subjects of the debate.

    B: Internal Components
    1. Basic Principles of the Constitution
    a. Basic Principles

    marc has failed to produce a coherent argument for establishing which principles of the Constitution should be considered "basic." His original argument was to look to the Federalist Papers. But marc didn't stop there; instead, he cherry-picked the "Sundays excepted" clause from the text of the Constitution to argue that basic principles supported observing the sabbath. He continued with freedom of religion and discussing separation of church and state, acknowledging that the rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights should be considered basic principles (even though some of the Federalist Papers encouraged ratification without a Bill of Rights).
    Only after my first response did marc change his tune: suddenly the only principles that qualify as "basic" are those general ones found in the Preamble. But this is contrary to marc's opening post, where he expounded upon ideas that had no link whatsoever to the ideas found in the Preamble. marc had no response to my objection to this in his third post, in which he simply repeated that the Preamble was the source of basic principles. By his fourth post, marc had turned the debate almost completely to the second internal component of the debate.
    It was marc's responsibility to establish a reasonable set of principles that can be considered "basic" for the purposes of this debate. While he got close in his first post, the remainder of his posts actually contradicted the general overview that he originally outlined. The fact that this happened only after my opening statement had made it clear that he would have a steep uphill climb using that set suggests that his own preferred set -- the most reasonable one by his original standards -- has been defeated.

    b. of the Constitution
    marc has repeatedly tried to use phrases from the Declaration of Independence, court cases, and quotations to argue that ideas are Christian. marc has absurdly tried to "tie" the Declaration to the Constitution by showing that the Constitution mentions the year the Declaration was signed. The resolution clearly addresses the principles that are actually found in the Constitution.

    2. Christian Principles
    As the affirmant, it was marc's responsibility to present a satisfactory demarcation of which principles are Christian. Although he attempted to do so, my first post made it clear that his attempt was insufficient: besides being ridiculously generic, marc provided no way to determine whether an activity met his criteria. I instead presented my own criteria, complete with reasoning, and marc accepted these criteria as reasonable, even referring to them later in claiming that his examples fit some of my criteria.
    Each of marc's examples have unfailingly fallen to at least one of these criteria. In many cases, he has presented a mere cherry-picked verse that vaguely and passingly references a topic, then proceeds to insist that this topic is therefore "linked" to Christianity; for example, a mention of armor in the Bible cannot reasonably be believed to be impetus for designing a system of defense. In some cases, topics are located nowhere in the Bible, and marc has had to appeal to denominational beliefs because the topic is neither endorsed nor encouraged. Many of the principles in the Constitution are actually contradicted by the Bible; for example, the Bible tells us that people will be stoned and "destroyed" for certain speech or believing different religions. In fact, the only unforgivable sin mentioned in the Bible is a mere utterance that is protected from persecution and prosecution by the Constitution.
    The criterion that marc's arguments failed most, however, was number two. It is imperative that a "Christian" principle be truly Christian, not generic. marc stated,
    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000
    Atheism can claim any Christian principle it wants as its own deduction of logic and reason, and how acceptable it is has to be discussed on an individual basis.
    If a markedly contrary philosophy such as atheism can lay equal claim to a principle, it is disingenuous to call it meaningfully Christian. marc's only reply was to challenge the validity of some (non-Christian) philosophy's claim to that principle and then to change the subject to my lack of presenting any atheistic claims. I have shown that many of the ideas that marc claims to be Christian are held by several philosophies, not just a single one, and that those philosophies predate Christianity, so those philosophies cannot have "stolen" Christian ideas. In fact, sometimes it was the other way around. For example, to assert that "defense" is a certifiable Christian principle, then "Christian principles" were around long, long before any of the tenets of Christianity. This is absurd.

    marc's failure to present any reasonable criteria contrary to mine and his acceptance of my criteria make it clear that these should establish the demarcation of Christian vs. non-Christian for the purposes of judging this debate

    C. On the Christian Nature of Basic Principles
    As marc chose to include the word "all" in the resolution, his burden is enormous. Should marc fail to show the Christian nature of even a single basic principle, he has failed to adequately support the resolution.
    Contrastly, I need show merely one basic principle that is not Christian in nature in order to defend my position. I believe I have provided several examples of such, and marc has been unable to satisfactorily defend his side against them.

    1. Representative Government
    I have shown that the Bible endorses systems of kings and have argued that nowhere does the Bible support representative government. marc's only response to this point was to argue that Calvinism, a denomination of Christianity, does. But nowhere does he support this assertion; Calvin was not elected and instead simply took charge of Geneva, establishing what was essentially a theocracy controlled by himself and a collection of church elders³. While a representative government provides an avenue of change for citizens, Calvin executed or banished those who questioned his beliefs, decisions, and authority.¹

    2. Separation of Powers
    marc's own citation from Isaiah shows that separation of powers is contrary to Christian principle: the verse says that God has each power that is spread amongst the three branches of government that are established by the Constitution. Nowhere do we find argumentation in the Bible for the actual separation that we find in the Constitution.

    3. Freedom of Religion
    As marc used this example himself, it should clearly be considered a basic principle. The First Amendment protects the right of people to practice their preferred religion without any form of authoritative or legal punishment. marc's best examples of this in the Bible were actually instances where people chose to reject God and were punished because of it, which is completely opposite the First Amendment. I proceeded to give more examples of punishment from authority based on religious deviation from the Christian norm; marc's counters were lacking: He appealed to Calvinism -- but Calvinism was a religious doctrine and is by definition (and practice¹) not supportive of freedom of religion -- and he used special pleading to distance Christianity from Biblical atrocities. Only through fallacy can marc make the case that freedom of religion is a Christian principle.

    4. Freedom of Speech
    Because freedom of religion can be acknowledged as a basic principle, so can freedom of speech. Nowhere in the Bible do we see promotion of such an idea. The Bible instead contains examples of punishment for speech, such as condemnation to hell for blaspheming the holy spirit or being sentenced to death for cursing one's parent. The Constitution expressly forbids the punishment for these actions.
    marc's most fervent attempt to attribute this principle to Christianity was to appeal to Calvinism. marc insists that Calvinism was civil and responsible, endorsing the freedom of everyone. But this is not what Calvin taught based on his religion: history shows¹ that Calvin was a tortuous oppressor when it came to speech he didn't like. Clearly, if Calvinism had anything to do with Calvin himself, marc's defense is no defense: freedom of speech is not a Christian principle.

    5. The Judicial System
    The Constitution sets up an elaborate system for the courts, including a plethora of protections of those accused of crimes. The Bible has no provisions for court systems and no protection of the rights of the accused. Although marc tried to "link" the provisions of the Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the Bible, he addressed only two of the several, and when asked to elaborate on the others, he dismissed them as "very minor details." These "very minor details" are more examples of principles significant enough to be in the Bill of Rights -- which was a necessary part of ratification -- but marc didn't show their Christian nature.

    6. Prohibition of Cruel and Unusual Punishment
    The Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment of lawbreakers. It is acknowledged that torture is certainly forbidden, and minor crimes will not elicit the death penalty in the U.S. But this is not the case in the Bible: for mere sabbath-breaking, the penalty is death. The Bible specifies that it is fine for a man to beat his slave so badly that the slave cannot rise for two days. The Inquisition is notorious for its interesting torture devices created and used in the name of Christianity. Even marc's favorite example of Calvinism was chock full of torturous punishment. To argue that Christianity prohibits cruel and unusual punishment is to completely ignore both the Bible and recorded history.

    D. Fallacies
    marc has provided numerous lines of argumentation in his attempts to discredit my position. I have shown that none of them are sufficient. However, it is worth pointing out some of his fallacious arguments. Unfortunately, word count prevents me from listing all of them.
    • marc provided a bogus quote and insisted without evidence that its authenticity is in dispute.
    • He repeatedly attacked the Everson decision even though it has played no part in my arguments.
    • He attacked the strawmen of communism, socialism, atheism, humanism, and secularism, none of which are pertinent to the subject at hand.
    • He attacked the strawman of my not presenting "atheist arguments." My position does not require that I forward any atheistic arguments, or even anti-Christian ones; my position addresses the nature of the basic principles of the Constitution.
    • He referred to documents other than the Constitution, even though the resolution limits the debate to those principles found in the Constitution.
    • He engaged in special pleading, picking and choosing which parts of the Bible he wants to acknowledge, including hand-waving away the Old Testament while referring to parts of the Old Testament.
    • He engaged in special pleading in rejecting the provisions of the Civil Rights Amendments as basic because they came too long after ratification but wanting me to address the Holy Trinity decision that came even later.
    • He engaged in special pleading when, after insisting in the debate setup that we not delve into denominations, he appealed to denominational practices and beliefs. This is particularly egregious because it is a violation of the arrangement upon which the debate terms were decided.
    • He improperly appealed to authority in pushing Story because of his relationship to Madison and instead belittled Madison's own words.
    • He argued that the personal religious beliefs of some founders are sufficient to determine as Biblical the origin of ideas that went into the Constitution, a non-sequitur.
    • He presented a false dilemma in the argument that principles must come from either a religion or an upbringing. Ideas are not dependent upon either.


    E. Conclusion
    I have presented a collection of principles that I argue are contrary to Christian principles. marc has failed to counter any of my arguments and has therefore failed to show that those principles are Christian in nature. In fact, marc was unable to provide compelling reason that any of his own examples are Christian in nature by any reasonable definition. Virtually all of marc's arguments fall prey to an important criterion that he accepted: non-genericness. marc draws weak links between the Constitution and the Bible and argues that that link makes a principle Christian in nature, but this method would also "establish" that principle as one of any number of non- or anti-Christian ideas. This is clearly insufficient. marc's position remains unaffirmed.

    Thanks to marc, 4forums, and judges.

    1: http://schismata.com/html/calvin.html
    2: http://candst.tripod.com/tnppage/arg10b.htm
    3: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Ca...eformed_Geneva

    OOo word count: 3500
    Organic chemistry is the chemistry of carbon compounds. Biochemistry is the chemistry of carbon compounds that crawl.

  10. #10
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    Originally Posted by marc9000
    Article VII of the Constitution FIRMLY ties the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution.
    Quote Originally Posted by electrolyte
    Merely by mentioning when the Declaration was signed? This is ludicrous, but if marc wants to add all of the principles in the Declaration to his list of principles that he has to prove to be Christian, that's only more work for him.
    That mention encourages STUDY, not hasty generalizations. Study that can come to this conclusion;

    “The National Lawyers Association takes the position that the practical effect of the legal connection or relationship between the Declaration and the Constitution is that the Constitution is to be interpreted in the light of the principles set forth in the Declaration.”


    Originally Posted by marc9000
    My reason for presenting Story was because his comments were IN context – a Supreme court justice, close to the generation that wrote and ratified the Constitution, giving an interpretation of the constitution.
    Quote Originally Posted by electrolyte
    I fail to see why someone who wasn't involved in the writing of the Constitution gets to be a reliable source because he was a SCOTUS Justice of the era, but a President who was extremely involved can't be used as a source because he was involved!
    I never said Madison can’t be used as a source, but a cherry picked quote mine of his from a state issue doesn’t necessarily sum up his entire view of the Constitution. Madison was extremely involved, but he wasn’t the only one. His words;

    "You give me a credit to which I have no claim in calling me "the writer of the Constitution of the United States." This was not, like the fabled Goddess of Wisdom, the offspring of a single brain. It ought to be regarded as the work of many heads and many hands. "
    James Madison, letter to William Cogswell, March 10, 1834
    http://www.marksquotes.com/Founding-...son/index6.htm
    (6th one down)

    Story, as a Supreme Court Justice of the day had the job of analyzing the work of those many heads and many hands, a few decades after its establishment. Story was not a cherry pick – his was an overall summary. He was close enough, yet distant enough, and quite qualified to provide an overall summary of the Constitution like no other.


    Quote Originally Posted by electrolyte
    marc calls my citation a quote mine, but it's a quote discussing the right to religious freedom from a document entitled The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. How this can possibly be seen as taken out of context is astonishing.
    It’s not astonishing at all if you understand American history. Established churches in states flourished for many years under the constitution – placing denominations on equal footing IN STATE GOVERNMENTS was a slow process. In Virginia, the Church of England (the Anglican church) was the only established denomination, even though members of other denominations (Baptists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Quakers, etc. ) outnumbered them. It was to rectify this inequality, to disestablish one church and place all denominations on equal footing, that inspired Madison to write these words. What he (and Jefferson) accomplished in Virginia – equal denominational protection - had already occurred in several other states. The reason the Virginia statute is so popular is because it involved Jefferson and Madison – two of the four or five favorite founders of history revisionists, the easiest to quote mine in favor of anti-Christian revision.


    Originally Posted by marc9000
    This link (a separation of church and state site) put together a pretty detailed criteria (see the chart) for indicating who the most prominent founders were.
    Quote Originally Posted by electrolyte
    It defines "founders" extremely loosely for the purposes of this debate. A person could have had nothing to do with the writing of the Constitution and have met nobody who did and still end up on the list.
    You’ve provided no resources to back that up; I’m afraid you haven’t shown enough knowledge of US foundations to attempt to disregard the exhaustive research that obviously went into the formation of that list. Proof of that is your attempt to make the Constitution stand completely alone, as if it has nothing to do with other founding documents, like the Declaration, or Federalist papers. And here is yet more proof;


    Yet Paine's Common Sense was instrumental in both convincing colonists that a change was necessary and... proposing a framework for a Constitution!
    No link? My previous link (the table of prominent founders) and the following link say you’re re-writing history.

    After American independence had been won, Paine played no part in the establishment of the new republic. Instead, he busied himself trying to invent a smokeless candle and devising an iron bridge.
    http://www.historyguide.org/intellect/paine.html

    Paine and his pamphlet, Common sense, had something to do with the revolution, but not with government structure. During the writing and ratification of the Constitution, he was in England and France – it was there, in 1793, he wrote his largely anti-Christian “Age of Reason” which was in no way influential in US foundations (since it was written well after the US Constitution was established. He finally did return to the US in 1802, and was largely unwelcome because of “Age of Reason” and died as an outcast. The opinions of other founders, and the general population, of him and his “Age of Reason”, was summed up quite well by John Adams;

    The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue equity and humanity, let the Blackguard [scoundrel, rogue] Paine say what he will.
    http://members.aol.com/TestOath/deism.htm

    I’m not saying Paine was a nobody - he could be considered an intellectual, and can be considered one of over 200 founders of the US. But the constant trouble and poverty he found himself in more often than not indicated that he had little in common with other founders, certainly the more prominent founders on the above prominence list.


    Quote Originally Posted by electrolyte
    You acknowledge that this is from 100 years after the Constitution and want me to address it, but you won't address the civil rights amendments because they're from too many years after the establishment of the Constitution: less than 90 years. This is special pleading.
    The Holy Trinity decision was 100 years after, but it addressed the originality of the Constitution / foundation. Civil rights amendments were changes.


    Even if marc's reasoning were true, it is more logical to consider that "unifying philosophy" to be the desire for freedom. These people didn't spontaneously attain their religious beliefs, regardless of what they were, in the middle 1770s. On the other hand, real progress started being made after Paine's Common Sense was published...
    They didn’t spontaneously attain them, they brought them from Europe. From my earlier link;

    “Furthermore these people came to America not primarily for commercial gain or advantage, but because of deep religious convictions. It seems that the religious persecutions in various European countries had been providentially used to select out the most progressive and enlightened people for the colonization of America.”


    marc completely avoids my point. Noticing that humans aren't perfect isn't dependent upon any religion. Slapping a Bible verse alongside common knowledge doesn't make that knowledge "Christian" or dependent upon Christianity.
    It’s not common knowledge that humans including leaders, are imperfect. It is not today, and was not then, clearly proclaimed as Christianity always has. You won’t see the humanist manifesto or communist manifesto saying anything negative about their leaders. Because of ever increasing humanist influence, we’re seeing less and less recognition of human imperfection – as stressed by Madison in the Federalist papers - in todays scientific studies and history education. Madison didn't exclude himself from human imperfection like elite humanists do.

    Originally Posted by marc9000
    It’s a case where a Christian teaching, combined with Old Testament history, leads to a conclusion about defense.
    Quote Originally Posted by electrolyte
    History in general leads to a more important conclusion about defense: it predates Christianity. Saying that the Founders thought defense important because it's passingly mentioned in the Bible is preposterous.
    It’s preposterous to claim that because something has both Christian roots and secular roots, that it can’t possibly have anything to do with Christianity. Crucifixion is central to Christianity, yet it didn’t originate with Christianity, and Christ wasn’t the first, or the last person crucified.

    Defense without aggression, as in conquering territory, was quite unique to the US at that time. Most other countries of the day had a military largely for aggression, or had very little military. Even today, the US would have very little military, if anti-Christians had their political way. The Constitutional specification of a navy, in that era (the 18th century) showed an unusual, strong requirement for defense. Many successful countries of yesterday and today have very little defense, compared to even the early 20th century US.

    Regarding "imperfection of humans," I have already argued that this is no more a Christian principle than anything else. I have argued that it is ridiculous to presume that a person cannot realize that mankind is imperfect if he or she did not read it in a religious book first; it can be gleaned merely from observing with no a priori knowledge of any philosophy. I have argued that this is clear based on simple history: laws addressing misbehavior of man predate the Bible and philosophies that encourage people to strive for bettering themselves predate the Bible.
    The difference is that Christianity recognizes ALL humans as imperfect, in a somewhat equal way, enough for the founders to make the statement “all men are created equal”. Other philosophies recognize human imperfection, but only as applied to the general population, not themselves or leaders. The misbehavior of certain humans or groups, is addressed less and less in recent decades as US Government institutions and bureaucracies continue to grow and grow. Erosions of LIBERTY, a basic Constitutional principle. If peoples money is confiscated to support more and more government to better them, they don’t have liberty.


    As marc chose to include the word "all" in the resolution, his burden is enormous.
    I chose it because it was the only way to get you to this debate format. Wording technicalities have been largely used since the early 20th century to advance “separation of church and state”. You’re obviously more concerned with word technicalities and victories than you are with finding out what the truth is. Will I have any regrets on what words I chose depending on the judges decisions? Not hardly.





    SUMMARY;

    The basic Constitutional Christian principles that I’ve put forward in this debate can be categorized into four groups; What the Constitution recognizes (imperfection of humans) what its goals are (domestic tranquility, blessings of liberty, a more perfect union, general welfare) what it establishes (justice, defense, unselfishness, exclusion of Sundays from some government business) and what it does not establish (social engineering – stumbling blocks)

    In this day and age, the resolution “All basic principles in the US Constitution are Christian in nature”, at first glance looks like a difficult resolution to prove, but as this debate showed, there simply was no other source for the original principles. Christianity was by far the major belief system of the founders and the general population at the time of the revolution, and only Christian thought could have arranged them in their final, accepted order. It was an assertive list of guidelines, blended with NO social engineering. My reference in my first post to the University of Houston political science professors research, (that the Bible was the founders most often quoted book) and my third post reference to the US population at the time (English, Scotch, German, Dutch) being largely Christian, led to this statement in my third post;

    Originally posted by marc9000 The US population has multiplied by about 30 in the 200+ years since the revolution. That the descendants of the above 3 million don’t have the same stark recollection of their heritage – that more recent immigrants never knew it – that times and technology have changed, doesn’t change the Christian principles of the Constitution that were incorporated and approved by the population at the time the Constitution was written.
    This was my question from my fourth post, which my opponent didn’t address;

    Originally posted by marc9000 You take no interest whatsoever in where they [principles] did come from, you’re just passionate about where they did not come from? That simply does not make sense.
    Opposition has to be inspired by something. My opponent has brought fourth many beliefs other than Christianity, yet does not commit to any of them. His position can be effective because it’s hard to observe – it actually isn’t even there. Any attempt of mine to question or focus on any anti-Christian arguments simply caused him to call it strawman, then quickly switch to something else. His position is obviously current day humanism, which does not contain the imperfect nature of humans that the founding of the US, a main Constitutional principle does. Humanism states;

    Today man's larger understanding of the universe, his scientific achievements, and deeper appreciation of brotherhood, have created a situation which requires a new statement of the means and purposes of religion.
    http://www.americanhumanist.org/about/manifesto1.html

    This claims an ever diminishing imperfection of man, an eventual complete nullification of my earlier Federalist paper quotes about what is “sown in the nature of humans”. (federalist number 10) Nothing in history shows that a “larger understanding” by certain humans will promote liberty among general populations.

    My opponents biggest accomplishment in this debate by far, was his ability to max out his word limits, in an attempt to confound and confuse. He almost completely referred to me in the third person, as if he wasn’t actually debating me, he was just talking about me from some superior position. His several personal jabs - his “[sic]”s by my minor grammatical errors (while committing a few of his own) go along with the one logical fallacy that I believe trumps (summarizes and combines) most of the others – the attempt to ‘use emotionally loaded words to sway the audience's sentiments instead of their minds. Many emotions can be useful: anger, spite, condescension, and so on.’ He showed plenty of all three.

    My opponent used up many of his word limits by constantly confusing history with principle. Principle is a comprehensive and fundamental law, a conclusion based on a combination of several things, including history. Principle is not an attempted copy of history, it’s a comprehensive conclusion, of which history can play a part, both positively and negatively.

    His most notable false statements that were completely exposed in this debate, with links, were as follows;

    "I don’t consider documents that aren’t a part of the Constitution (like the DoI) a part of the Constitution."

    "...the Deist Founders were not referring to the Christian God because they didn't believe in the Christian God."

    "Yet Paine's Common Sense was instrumental in both convincing colonists that a change was necessary and... proposing a framework for a Constitution!"
    My opponent mis-represented both Christianity and US history in this debate. They are two entirely different things of course – Christianity has been mis-represented for 2000 years. It’s a worldview thing, and not much more about it applies to this debate. But the misrepresentation of US history is much more recent, and much more serious in terms of the future of the US. As Woodrow Wilson, the 28th president of the US said;

    "A nation which does not remember what it was yesterday, does not know what it is today, nor what it is trying to do. We are trying to do a futile thing if we do not know where we came from or what we have been about.... America was born a Christian nation. America was born to exemplify that devotion to the tenets of righteousness which are derived from the revelations of Holy Scripture."
    http://catholiceducation.org/article...cs/pg0040.html

    Some of that lack of memory is dishonest, and some of it is ignorance. It’s a domino effect – as more and more school children are dumbed-down concerning American history, even in the unlikely event that the dishonesty can decrease, the problem will continue to increase. US Christians often lament that “untouchable” Supreme Court judges are the problem, or that our liberal, unionized education system is the problem. They are controlled by the elected politicians, and the elected politicians are controlled by the public. As we continue to forget what we were yesterday, one thing is for sure; It’s the fault of the people and no one else.

    When John McCain said that “…since this nation was founded primarily on Christian principles”, he was responded to by anti-Christian groups in a similar way that my opponent responded to me in this debate.

    http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/...=ib_topstories

    If anti-Christians believe that the current “larger understanding” requires a “NEW statement of the means and purposes of religion” then they need to argue it on the basis of that larger understanding, and not try to dishonestly re-write history to speed the process, fill gaps, or otherwise cheapen Christianity in the US.


    That’s all folks! Thanks for reading.

    Marc
    Why is it that our children can't read a Bible in school, but they can in prison?

  11. #11
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    Thank you both electrolyte and marc9000.

    I've PMed the judges to begin their deliberations. The plan is to post them simultaneously. I can imagine this will take some time. Patience is what is on the menu now.

    A reminder that Ringside is open and comments are appreciated.
    - Which is worse--ignorance or apathy? For my part, I don't know and I don't care. -

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    All three judges have weighed in. Here are their decisions in the order received.

    E Mutz:

    I would like to compliment the participants for their efforts in this debate. I have a new found respect for previous debate judges as I found that I had 78 pages of text to review for my final analysis.

    My two key measures of success in this debate were the resolution and the criteria established within the debate to determine what is “Christian in Nature”.

    Resolved: All basic principles in the U.S. Constitution are Christian in nature.

    Electrolyte posited and Marc accepted the following criteria for determining if a principle is “Christian in Nature”.

    1. It must have significant parallels or extensive mention in the Bible.
    2. It must be reasonably distinct from widespread, non-Christian or irreligious ideas.
    3. It must be endorsed or encouraged by the Bible.
    4. It must not be significantly contradicted by the Bible.

    Thus, as framed by the resolution and agreed upon by the participants, all basic principles must pass the above criteria.

    Of these, the second principle was the most problematic for Marc as Electrolyte noted in his conclusion:

    Virtually all of marc's arguments fall prey to an important criterion that he accepted: non-genericness. marc draws weak links between the Constitution and the Bible and argues that that link makes a principle Christian in nature, but this method would also "establish" that principle as one of any number of non- or anti-Christian ideas. This is clearly insufficient. marc's position remains unaffirmed.

    Although it was not my belief that the DOI was connected to the Constitution, Marc made the most substantiated claim; therefore, I accepted his view over Electrolyte’s for the context of this debate. All this did; however, was provide Marc the additional burden of proving the “Christian Nature” of the DOI, a needless burden that expended a great deal of hand wringing.

    Concerning the preamble of the Constitution, Marc noted:

    “These are all Christian in nature because perfect unions, justice, domestic tranquility, defense, general welfare, and blessings of liberty are all topics of the Bible, and thought of by Christ as good things.”

    In my judgment, Marc did not explain how these principles are “Christian in Nature” rather; he noted that Christ would consider these “good things”. If anything, this compounded Marc’s problem as the pre-existence of these things (necessary for Christ to approve them) rather argues against these things being “Christian in nature” under Criterion #2.

    A great deal of effort was expended debating the religious beliefs of the Founders. I saw this as irrelevant to the Resolution. I am a Christian. That does not make this paragraph “Christian in nature” simply because it was written by a Christian.

    In my view, Marc never successfully established Criterion #2, that these ideas are reasonably distinct from “widespread, non-Christian or irreligious ideas”. He notes that these ideas are mentioned in the Bible, but does not demonstrate how these ideas are distinct. Electrolyte made this point clear early on and was not burdened by the resolution with establishing a source for these basic principles despite Marc’s insistence that he do so.

    Once Criterion #2 was agreed to all Electrolyte needed to do was provide example one of the basic principles whose origins were clearly not specific to Christianity. He provided the example of the Hammurabic code as an answer to the Christian Nature of Justice.

    In my opinion, not one basic principle of the Constitution was established to be Christian in Nature viz a viz the four principles. I make this observation as a Christian.

    Winner: Electrolyte
    __________________________________________________ ______________

    unkerpaulie:

    very good debate overall, i am impressed with the structure of the debate, the first 2 posts shows how much these formal debates has evolved. it started to digress a little but overall it was very good. here's the breakdown as i see it

    electrolyte
    pros: powerful start, excellent work with the definitions. his 4 criteria for what made up a christian principle were right on, except i didnt fully agree with 2, because a christian principle that is followed by non-christians is still, imo, a christian principle. his identification of the burden of proof was also dead on: he was only required to show that ONE basic principle was a non-christian principle, and that would have resolved the debate

    cons: electrolyte struggled with the distinction between christian and biblical. christianity didnt emerge until after jesus' time, which was essentially the new testament and onwards. also, christianity overturned many old testament ideas, so there is a distinction between them that cannot be overlooked. as i stated above in his 4 criteria, electrolyte also falsely asserted that a principle followed by atheist made it a non-christian principle. this is not the case, but marc didnt capitalize on this. i was also annoyed by electrolyte's style of agression and mild antagonism as a debating tactic, rather than debating with reasoning and evidence

    strongest arguments: 1. freedom of religion is a basic principle which is definitely non-christian. he should have hammered this home, but he did highlight this. 2. the bible, as well as christianity, advocates a political system of sovereignty, not democracy. this is another principle that is in direct disagreement to christianity


    marc9000
    pros: i like the way he refined his position throughout the debate and stayed focused to his main points. his debate surrounded and developed around his central argument which ill go over in a minute

    cons: he got caught up in a struggle distinguishing between calvinism and christianity. also i felt he wasnt proactive about properly identifying what the basic prinicples in the constitution were

    best arguments: the fact that the founding fathers, and most of the american population at the time, were almost unanimously christians or of religions derived from christianity. this fact would surely affect the content and context of the constitution

    final verdict: i would judge that the debate was resolved in electrolyte's favor. the basic principle of freedom of religion and plurality is definitely a non-christian principle, and while electrolyte didnt drive this home emphatically enough, i would say that the point stands and the debate is resolved

    __________________________________________________ _____________

    Steeeeve:

    The resolution was that “all basic principles in the US Constitution are Christian in nature”. I think from the very beginning this was an impossible resolution to argue and this was proven in the debate.

    While I believe Marc did much better than I could imagine in the debate, I do feel Marc made a few key mistakes of which the biggest was letting Electrolyte establish the principles which are basic and how to determine if they are Christian in nature. This needed to be established by Marc at first to ensure the debate focuses on that instead of Electrolyte wanted. Other than that, Marc had many good points and actually displayed the most interesting fact to me which was the chart showing who was the most influential when it came to our founding (http://members.tripod.com/~candst/tnppage/quote1.htm). For all the glory Jefferson gets, it appears he wasn’t as big of a founder as one might think. In the end, Marc had no chance at proving this or even giving a reasonable argument because it is something that can’t be proven or disproven sufficiently. The reason for this is because the constitution sets up a government as opposed to preaching about God. If say person X has a Christian background and that morality influences every decision then would be it be easy to prove that person X did his job to the best of his ability because it is a Christian value? I think it would be rather impossible to show this even if true. At the same time I doubt you could prove no Christian principals influenced the constitution. Electrolyte claimed this in the last post but I failed to see where the argument had any real merit.


    With regards to Electrolytes posts, I think Electrolyte did a good job of framing the debate the way Electrolyte wanted which made Marc more on the defensive and less likely to make a relevant point. Electrolyte proved to have good tactics and information to back up positions and, for the most part, well reasoned arguments. I was disappointed that Electrolyte seemed to have a more hostile tone in the debate (I admit Marc did at some points) as there is no need to say a poster “lives in a fantasy world”, for example, or something along those lines. There seems to be a growing trend of these personal attacks on this forum and I was hoping it would stay out of the formal debates. In the end, Electrolyte did what was needed to win and Marc couldn’t overcome the overwhelmingly high burden placed by the resolution.


    I appreciate getting the opportunity to judge this debate and I hope you two will remain positive debaters who will continue to use the Formal Debate forums. I also would like to stress that the decision in this formal debate by no means establishes a right and wrong answer on the subject; it only establishes who debated better given the resolution. Thanks everyone and have a Merry Christmas (and Christmas is Christian in nature haha).



    Winner: Electrolyte
    __________________________________________________ ____________

    Thank you to all participants for fulfilling your obligations.

    billsco
    - Which is worse--ignorance or apathy? For my part, I don't know and I don't care. -

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
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    Thanks to all involved for their time.

    I know that many posters here look at the results of these debates as a “success vs. failure”, 100% to 0%, win vs. loss, and that’s fine, but I don’t look at it that way. (the fact that I’ve now lost four may have something to do with that ) I really do think this is an excellent structure for someone to make a case for something they really believe in, and I think it makes for a unique read. Anyone from Ann Coulter to Richard Dawkins can write a book, and it’s only one persons viewpoint that dictates the entire flow of what’s said. I think the back and fourth nature of this 5/4 post structure can inspire a readers thought several levels higher than a book with 100 times more words.

    All my resolutions have been tough simply because it was the only way I could get opponents. I really love to assert something politically incorrect and see what I can do with it. I’ll do 20 more of these if I can find enough opponents, judges, and subjects. Subjects shouldn’t be a problem – there are politically incorrect views today that were uncontroversial mainstream thought only a few decades ago. The US is changing fast - the very real possibility of Bill Clinton spending 8 more years in the Whitehouse is proof of that.

    Happy Holidays to all

    Marc
    Why is it that our children can't read a Bible in school, but they can in prison?

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