REVIEWING THE ACCURACY OF HAROLD ESTES CHARGES — UPDATED 12/25/2012

In 2012 we must make a big decision. Do we choose Socialism, do we choose to follow in the footsteps of our nation’s founders, or do we consider other options? Since there are over 300 million of us, and we will each make our own choice, we will probably choose a path that has no ideological purity. When tyrants do not rule, such is the nature of compromise.

Yet when old men look at where they are, they look back wondering how they got to that place. Then, even when they are soon to pass away, they look ahead. Therefore, Harold Estes wrote his letter, and I linked to it here and here (See PEARL HARBOR DAY).

When I linked to Estes letter, one commenter said that Estes grossly distorted our president’s words. Sadly, I do not think so. Yet the possibility is worth considering, and of course, somebody has. About.com has this article, Harold B. Estes Letter to Obama, for example. So let’s consider the matter here.

” We’re no longer a Christian nation

About.com posts ‘The President Without a Country’ by Pat Boone. That links to The president without a country by Pat Boone. Oddly, if you google Boone’s op-ed, “The president without a country” pat boone, About.com’s and Snope.com’s (here) articles pop up at the top of the search list. Like as not, since Boone’s article appears to predate Estes letter, Estes got this line from Pat Boone’s article.

However, this article, Obama: America is ‘no longer Christian’, actually addresses the source of this first quote.  So what is wrong with the quote. Some have left a few words out, supposedly with nefarious intent.  Here is the “complete” quote from Obama’s inaugural address.

We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth. (from here)

Or perhaps it is from an interview with a Christian broadcaster.

Whatever we once were, we’re no longer a Christian nation. At least not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, and a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers. (from here)

Supposedly, that “not just” makes everything okay.

”America is arrogant”

MediaMatters blames this one on a certain talk show host, Hannity truncated Obama quote to claim it was an example of “blame America first”. What is funny is that Hannity plays the portion of Obama’s speech he “quotes.” The “quote” comes from this line in one of Obama’s apology tour speeches.

In America, there’s a failure to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world. Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive. (from here and here)

”America is mean-spirited”

The quote comes from that time before Obama entered politics, when he was at Harvard.

“Hopefully, more and more people will begin to feel their story is somehow part of this larger story of how we’re going to reshape America in a way that is less mean-spirited and more generous,” Obama said. “I mean, I really hope to be part of a transformation of this country.”  (from here)

Here is a different version.

“We’re going to reshape America in a way that is less mean-spirited and more generous.” — May 1990, quoted in article while attending Harvard Law School (from here)

Of course, Michelle Obama shares similar views.

“America hasn’t lived up to her ideals”

With this “quote”, Estes apparently refers to another line in the Barack Obama apology tour.

And finally, just as America can never tolerate violence by extremists, we must never alter or forget our principles. Nine-eleven was an enormous trauma to our country. The fear and anger that it provoked was understandable, but in some cases, it led us to act contrary to our traditions and our ideals. We are taking concrete actions to change course. (from Barack Obama’s speech at Cairo University in Egypt, June 4, 2009)

Conclusion

Did Harold Estes grossly distort Obama’s words? Well, if you want to nitpick, I suppose he did. However, when I read the letter, I did not take the quotes as literal. I understood Obama would not be so stupid as to say exactly those words. In fact, without the help of Liberal Democrats, I would never be able to figure out exactly which words Estes misquoted.

Obama in fact:

  • Does not believe America is a Christian nation.
  • Has gone on what most Conservatives regard as apology tours. If he is not apologizing for our “arrogance”, what is he doing?
  • Is trying to transform our country and make it what he says is less mean-spirited.
  • Has spent all kinds of effort blaming his predecessor for one thing or another. I think it safe to say Democrats did not think George W. Bush lived up to their ideals.

There is a deliberate effort by the Obama administration to transform our nation. “Transform” is Barack Obama’s word for what he wants to do to America — to the American people. I can only speak for myself, but I do not think much of what Obama and Democratic Party wants America to become comports with Christian values. What Estes did is express his legitimate objections to Obama’s efforts to transform us. Nitpicking over “quotes” will not make those objections go away.

12/25/2012 Update

Of late, this year-old post has received a lot of traffic. It occurred to me wonder why. Reading the post again, I realized I had said nothing about Harold Estes. So I searched the Internet.

Hawaii Loses a Great Patriot – Harold B. Estes, U.S. Navy (ret.)

BY DUANE A. VACHON, PH.D. – Harold B. Estes and many of his peers are part of a generation that is known as “The Greatest Generation.”  Estes, a World War II veteran credited with helping bring the USS Missouri and Bowfin museums to Hawaii, and who gained Internet fame with a letter written to President Barack Obama telling him to “shape up and start acting like an American,” died Tuesday May 17, 2011. (continued here)

Read the report on Estes death. If you like video, here is another, Memorial service honors veteran and Navy League organizer Harold Estes. The man was more than just that one letter he wrote.

 

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About Citizen Tom

I am just an average citizen interested in promoting informed participation in the political process.
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81 Responses to REVIEWING THE ACCURACY OF HAROLD ESTES CHARGES — UPDATED 12/25/2012

  1. samiam60 says:

    Good Morning Tom and thank you for stepping in and making sense of those allegations against Mr. Estes on his letter. You have most certainly put it in its proper perspective and in doing so you have further honored this Great American Veteran and Patriots Harold Estes.

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  2. In my humble opinion, I think Conerstone Nation on PAN would welcome your excellent postings, Tom. Here is the link for your perusal:

    http://www.patriotactionnetwork.com/groups/cornerstone-of-the-nation/

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  3. Citizen Tom says:

    samiam60 – Thank you for the kind compliment.

    PARTNERING WITH EAGLES – I will check out the website. Thanks.

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  4. I don’t know anything about Harold Estes, but all one must do is listen to the President’s own words to make a judgment on whether he is fit to lead. That old quote about how an elderly lady might just have to take a pill instead of getting surgery, and the quote about how it’s good to spread the wealth around were both plenty for me. There’s been more of course, liberally sprinkled with that magical word “fair.”

    Cheers!
    Lin

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  5. Scout says:

    What do you mean when you use the term “Christian nation”? by some measures, I suppose the term is valid: e.g., more in the population identify themselves as “Christians” than as Jews, Muslims, Hindus, etc. But governmentally, the country was founded by very intelligent, far-sighted men who were determined that the government be a secular, not religious, enterprise and who took some pains to make that clear.

    Obama’s remarks seem to be going to changing demographics and the “not just” language is important. Without those words, he would run up against the numerical inaccuracy that there are more self-identified Christians than any other major religious group in this country. But he certainly is correct that we are not as homogenous religiously as we were 50, 100, 200 years ago. I’m not sure why anyone would even quibble with the remark in that context.

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    • Debora Riaz says:

      Thank you for taking the time to respond–I start worrying that too many people really didn’t pay attention in history class. During the election I asked this question: Those of you who want “your country back,” which country is that? Which part is disappearing, which part is being taken? Only one person had enough nerve to actually answer, and his answer wasn’t anything that could be pinned on Obama specifically. At least he did try. The America I worry about losing is the one that advertises having enough room for everyone, even though historically it had enough room for Irish, Italian,Dutch, German, Chinese immigrants only as long as major infrastructure was being built with the benefit of getting to come to America being the larger part of their payment..and I am not going to recite our entire history here.

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      • Citizen Tom says:

        Debora – Thank you for visiting and commenting.

        I have no idea what history class you are talking about, but odds are it is in a government-run school.

        Let’s consider how what you just said matches up with reality. You want enough room for everyone? We have an entire world, and those who wish to preserve the unique cultural heritage of this nation have every right to make the attempt. That begins by passing on our heritage to our children. Government-run schools get in the way.

        What is characteristic of our nation’s historic creed are God-given rights life, liberty, and property. You don’t like those rights? If you do not, then perhaps it is because you like “rights” to health care, an education, your share of the redistributed wealth, and so forth. The only problem with the latter rights is that those “rights” require that our government enslave productive people to pay the bill. What Obama is not doing is leaving room for those people who want to be rewarded for an honest day’s work. That’s why our economy is stagnating.

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        • Steven McKnight says:

          Stretching to make a point — especially one that is contextually obtuse — is hazardous business, particularly when made atop a soapbox that leans so far to the right.

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        • slick says:

          what school is not goverment run? religous school?

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  6. Citizen Tom says:

    Scout – Pastor explains what it means for America to be a Christian nation here, http://citizentom.com/2009/07/05/not-a-christian-nation/.

    Since you seem interest, I suppose others are as well. So I provided a list of the posts on subject of “Christian nation” below.

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  7. Scout says:

    I’ll try to get time to listen to the link over the holidays, Tom. Again, however, I think one can make the case that people who self-identify as “Christian” are the largest religiously defined demographic group in the country (and, according to recent reports, the world). One can also make the case that religious principles shaped the views of the Founders. But the phrase “Christian Nation” requires careful use in that it does not, and cannot under the Constitution, imply that the national Government is anything but a secular, religion-neutral, structure. So I’ll spot people the use of the phrase Christian nation if they are talking about census-type data, but continue to resist, out of great respect for the Founders, the implication that the federal government partakes of any aspect of a religious organization. Obama was not our first President to expressly make the point that the United States is not a Christian nation. And, in the context in which he made the point (as well as the context that the same point was made in the late 18th Century) he was completely correct. The fuss over the remarks is essentially just election cycle politicking directed at a particular voting target group.

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  8. Citizen Tom says:

    Scout – Really not interested in arguing semantics, and Harold Estes letter is not about semantics. It is about the mess the people who run our country are making of it.

    When we talk about this being a Christian nation, we need not debate either the shades of differences in the meanings of words or population demographics. What concerns us is Christian values, what we believe about God — what we believe God wants from us. To say the United States is a Christian nation is to say that it was founded upon Christian teachings and values.

    When we look at the Constitution, it is true that we do not see the word God. Yet the very reason for the absence of that word is Christian. Note that each state constitution recognizes God’s sovereignty (http://www.truthorfiction.com/rumors/g/god-constitutions.htm). The citizens of each of the first thirteen original cherished religious freedom and their right to worship as they believed proper. So they denied the Federal Government the power to interfere with a God-given right, the freedom to worship God according to our own understanding.

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    • The Doctor says:

      They also denied the federal government the ability to encourage any form of worship dont forget that part of the amendment had in it 2 clauses

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    • Debora Riaz says:

      Actually, semantics are the only thing we need to debate–not Mr. Estes’, but those of anyone who speaks for the entire nation.

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  9. Scout says:

    I can’t follow your comment. It seems to offer platitudes instead of engaging with me on this discussion. Let’s stipulate that we are both in favour of religious freedom. The government can keep its nose out of our church business, thank you very much.

    There is much in Christian principles that is compatible with the human dignity elements of our founding documents. But there is also much in our founding documents that reflects a non-religious ethos of the Enlightenment, particularly as posited by thinkers of the day in England, France and Scotland, who had little use for the Christianity of their times and places being transported into a governmental context.

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  10. Citizen Tom says:

    Scout – I have to stipulate that we are both in favour of religious freedom? Why is that a requirement? Are you or I the subject of this discussion?

    Our problems is the fact that our government is in fact doing things which it has no business doing. That includes what amounts to the religious indoctrination of our nation’s children.

    Your last paragraph goes to the point of the discussion, but you fail to support it with anything specific. Before you trot off to do so, let me suggest how I will counter.

    http://citizentom.com/2007/04/10/christianity-and-western-civilization/

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  11. Scout says:

    I share your opposition to prayers in public schools.

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  12. Scout says:

    Of course, we were both referring to prayers led or imposed by the government. I prayed in school all the time and no one ever gave me a hard time. Of course, they were unworthy prayers that were deservedly ignored.

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  13. Citizen Tom says:

    Scout – School prayer ended when? When I spoke of “religious indoctrination”, I suspect you chose to misunderstand what I meant. Nonetheless, it may be you were not just trying to be cute. So I will give you the benefit of the doubt.

    May I once again suggest http://citizentom.com/2007/04/10/christianity-and-western-civilization/? You may find it helps to put this paragraph in context.

    As an interested observer and a grassroots participant in politics, I have constantly been drawn back to the Christian religion. What all the most advanced and most stable nations in the world today share in common is a Christian heritage. As Himmelfarb demonstrates, Christian teachings work. As a product of a government education, I had, however, learned religion did not make reasonable sense. So I had difficulty reconciling what I had been taught with what I had latter learned from experience and from own reading.

    Now consider a few questions.

    • Do you share my opposition to government owned and operated schools?
    • Do you share my enthusiasm for school choice and teachers chosen by parents?
    • Do you see the desperate need for Christian education and the many obstructions posed by government owned and operated schools?

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  14. Scout says:

    I thought I had responded earlier, but it apparently went flying off in the ether. I’ll try again, but it probably won’t be as entertaining as my first effort:

    No, I don’t share your opposition to public schools. I think public education has been a source of strength to the Nation over most of its history. It’s in a rather shabby state these days, and I hope it improves, but I feel it should be a bedrock principle that we, as citizens, invest in providing a free basic education to everyone.

    Yes, I share your enthusiasm for school choice, including home schooling (assuming parents are qualified to teach the subjects they are providing instruction in). I would qualify that, however, by saying that most parents (I include myself in this) are not qualified to select teachers in many disciplines. So, for example, I probably would not be a good judge of a calculus teacher for my children. I assume that’s not the kind of choice you’re talking about, but given some of the looseness of expression I’ve seen here, perhaps you do mean that sort of thing.

    Yes, the need for Christian education is extreme. You would not believe some of the amazingly ignorant things I have heard professed Christians say about the history and fundamentals of their faith. That teaching should occur in Churches and at home. I don’t think government-owned/operated schools have any business getting near that subject and would protest vehemently if they tried. And I have never heard of any obstructions to Christian education being imposed by public schools. As long as that type of instruction takes place where it should take place – in churches and homes – I don’t see where public schools have anything to do with it.

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  15. Citizen Tom says:

    Scout –

    I don’t think government-owned/operated schools have any business getting near that subject and would protest vehemently if they tried. And I have never heard of any obstructions to Christian education being imposed by public schools.

    I suppose you do not think government should teach children about Christianity, but I don’t think you object to government instilling a negative attitude towards religion. I don’t think you object to the value system instilled by government run schools.

    Because children most of their waking hours in school, that is where their learn how to deal with issues of right and wrong. Because children spend most of their waking hours in school, most of the adults they model are picked by the government. Thus, government owned and operated schools provides special interest groups the opportunity to indoctrinate children.

    Because schooling is so important, parents should be responsible for the education of children.

    http://citizentom.com/2010/08/11/do-you-want-to-nationalize-our-education-system/

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  16. Scout says:

    Well, I guess I agree that parents are important role models. And, I have said that, assuming they are qualified to adequately teach the subjects they are teaching, I support parents teaching children at home (my father had a gift for mathematics and was a far better teacher than most of my math teachers in public school). By contrast, he would have been a lousy French teacher ( he didn’t speak a word of it), and would have had no business trying to instruct me or my siblings in that subject.

    Of course I have a problem with government campaigning against religions (Christian or others), either in the public schools or elsewhere. Does this happen? If so, I support putting a halt to it.

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  17. Citizen Tom says:

    Scout – Here is another word for you to add to you expertise, disingenuous.

    Disingenuous \Dis`in*gen”u*ous\, a.
    1. Not noble; unbecoming true honor or dignity; mean;
    unworthy; as, disingenuous conduct or schemes.

    2. Not ingenuous; wanting in noble candor or frankness; not
    frank or open; uncandid; unworthily or meanly artful.

    So disingenuous as not to confess them [faults].
    –Pope.

    Have a Merry Christmas!

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  18. Scout says:

    I’ve encountered the word previously, but have no idea how it relates to the post or the comments.

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  19. Scout says:

    CT- you ask my opinions on three particular subjects, all of which relate to domestic issues, and I give you my answers. Suddenly Caesar walks into the room. Why? His appearance here is as abrupt as it was in the other thread.

    I was reading something last week about the Stalinist period in the Soviet Union where the writer observed that one of the earmarks of Stalinism was that expression of political views very quickly stopped being about the content of the opinion, and, instead, became an attack on the personality and motives of the person who expressed the opinion. I see that happen with some frequency in blogdom. This makes me think that the observation about Stalinism might have also been describing some sort of human universal truth.

    To get us back on topic: I don’t share your opposition to government schools; I share your enthusiasm for a broad range of choice in school options, including home schooling, if I may extrapolate from your comments to think that you think that HS can be a good thing. I qualify this a bit by saying that it is important that the parent be competent to instruct in the subject matter. Finally, I agree that there is a tremendous need for improved Christian education at all levels (adults and children) and think that Churches and families are the only place where that kind of instruction should take place. Let’s leave Caesar and criticisms of my personal traits out of it (although, like most people, I certainly can improve myself in many ways). These views are sincere and the best I can muster in the context of your queries.

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  20. Citizen Tom says:

    Scout – Perhaps you did not read this comment.

    http://citizentom.com/2011/12/23/when-will-we-try-to-put-an-end-to-such-deceit/#comment-23562

    Anyway, I repeat. Disingenuous. When I observed how you choose to debate, I only intended to point out what you are doing, dancing around the subject. Is that actually one of your personal traits? If so, I am sorry.

    You argue school-choice as if the only alternative is homeschooling. You presume the government has more rights and competence in this matter than the parents. That is disingenuous.

    We buy all kinds of things without being experts. Look at your house, your car, the electronics you own, your grocery list — how much do you know about any of that? You know what you want, and you can compare the alternatives. If parents cannot find schools for their children for their children without being experts in education, how does it help to put the government in charge? Politicians are experts in running grossly over-sized school systems?

    All politicians can do is hire their own favorite “experts”. They can eliminate competition. What politicians have done is politicize and usurp a choice that rightly should be the responsibility and under the authority of parents.

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    • The Doctor says:

      That is not disingenuous at all. It is in fact true that someone who has spent years studying history will be more qualified to expound on the subject than someone who spent years studying chemical engineering. I would never seek to correct an auto mechanic on how my car works because that is HIS area of expertise, just as mine is people in general, psychology, political science, sociology etc.

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      • Citizen Tom says:

        What is “that”? Are you suggesting that government officials, because they are “experts”, are more qualified than parents to decide what children should learn? Assuming that is what you mean, here is a quote you may wish to consider.

        He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future. — Adolf Hitler, speech at the Reichsparteitag, 1935

        Given “that” I think would rather let parents, who tend to have much more concern for the welfare of their children’s souls (rather than power), decide what their children should learn.

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  21. Scout says:

    I view home schooling as only one example of “school choice”, Tom. I said that before. You just don’t read carefully. This seems to be a chronic problem for you.

    We both seem to be fans of maximum educational choice, so I’m not sure why this is causing continuing debate. I have added that I do have issues with teacher competency in some settings, particularly home schooling, but I think the concept is valid and that it, in many cases, provides a superior product to the curriculum mess that seems to afflict so much of the public school system. My impression is that there are a lot of choices available now to parents, certainly many more than was the case when I was a child. So I am not sure what your complaint is about alternative schooling. It seems to be thriving. Alas, part of that upturn in choice is attributable to the all to frequent decline in standards in public schools. Nonetheless, it strikes me that choice in alternative schools is not lacking.

    In any event, my opinions on the subject could be mistaken, or poorly formed, or unaware of certain other data. But they are not “disingenuous.” I’m not sure why you would use that word unless you don’t understand it.

    The Caesar thing is really eluding me. I went back to look at the comment you refer to, and it just doesn’t make sense to me in the context of some nutty blogger at another site who applied the term “treason” to the current President. I find no similarities between Mr. G. J. Caesar (or G.I. Caesar, if one uses the Roman alphabet of the time) of yore and the current president. De Gaulle and perhaps some of the South American dictators who came out of the military on sheer force of personality (Peron, perhaps?) might be analogous to Caesar’s arc, but Obama seems like the farthest thing from it to me. So if you want me to engage seriously on the Obama/Caesar compare-and-contrast front, please elaborate a bit on why you think they are related. I’ll do my best to close for discussion on that once I understand it. Right now, all I can offer is a furrowed brow.

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  22. Citizen Tom says:

    Scout – I think your comment a masterpiece of dancing around the subject. In particular, I find this passage disingenuous.

    My impression is that there are a lot of choices available now to parents, certainly many more than was the case when I was a child. So I am not sure what your complaint is about alternative schooling. It seems to be thriving. Alas, part of that upturn in choice is attributable to the all to frequent decline in standards in public schools. Nonetheless, it strikes me that choice in alternative schools is not lacking.

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  23. Scout says:

    It might help to tell me what the subject is that I’m dancing around.

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  24. Scout says:

    Because I thought my responses to your three queries were quite direct. If not, it indicates to me that you perceive there to be a “subject” that you can discern and that I cannot.

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  25. David says:

    Interesting…

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    • Citizen Tom says:

      Thank you, but I am curious. This post is a year old. Now it is getting more hits in a day than it ever got. What stimulated your interest?

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      • C47Man says:

        The Harold Estes letter has gone a bit viral again recently, and so people looking for background on his quotes are finding this article. Good write-up, it was exactly what I was looking for! I also just read through your argument with Scout by the way, and I hope you realize now that you were the one dancing around the subject and being disingenuous towards the end there. Scout did a pretty good job of trying to address your concerns and advance the debate.

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        • Citizen Tom says:

          Thank you for your comment.

          With respect to my discussion with Scout, was I dancing, was I just explaining myself poorly, or do some people just refuse to understand?

          When the people who founded this nation referred to it as a Christian nation, what were they talking about? As the The Doctor observed above, with respect to the establishment of religion, the first amendmend has two clauses.

          Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

          At first, the first amendment applied only to the Federal Government, but most state governments adopted it, and latter, the Supreme Court insisted that the Federal Government enforce freedom of religion.

          The problem is defining what freedom of religion means. Some people confuse freedom of religion with freedom from religion. Others think freedom of worship is sufficient. What I believe constitutes freedom of religion is the right to live as one conscience dictates. That is Christian concept.

          The Constitution makes no mention of God, but the Constitution is not our nation’s founding document. The Constitution is important, but it merely defines the structure of our government, not our nation’s creed — what we believe. What we believe, we celebrate on Independence Day, and our Declaration does speak of God.

          When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

          We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. (continued here)

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  26. C47Man says:

    Alright… so? I didn’t say anything about which side I was on, and I didn’t assert any position. All I was saying is that you were consistently the one who wouldn’t respond to Scout’s points. Instead, you would bring up a new topic or revert to one that had already been laid out earlier. I’m not saying you are wrong about anything. I’m saying that you don’t know how to carry a debate.

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  27. Mamma Panda says:

    This was an honorable man’s opinion, it does not need to be relevant to you or I, simply an opinion, but deep down he must have gotten something right to make so many people take a second look. Obama has yet to finish his first full term for Mr. Estes to write this type of heated letter, which should have been an indication of badly Obama was failing America as President and now we are approaching his second term, and it pains me to say things are going to get worst with the Fiscal Cliff and ObamaCare. May God bless Mr. Estes for writing a great warning piece.

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    • Citizen Tom says:

      Mamma Panda – Thank you for you comment. May our Lord bless you and yours in the New Year.

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    • gmatt says:

      Estes may have lived an honorable life but that does not excuse him from repeating Fox News lies and half-truths. Almost every complaint was politically distorted. Why did he choose to believe and repeat them?

      I may not agree with everything this president chooses to do or say but the political distortions that we have had to endure from DC and Fox News are getting old. Obama was likely reelected partly because so many people were essentially saying ‘ENOUGH!’.

      Obviously, Mr. Estes bought into those talking points and placed a great deal of faith in the comments of Sean Hannity and the misquotes of many others without doing his own due diligence to learn more about the quotes he misrepresented in his own letter to Obama. That doesn’t make Estes a bad person but neither is he correct. So if he places naive faith in the words of snake-oil salesmen like Hannity, Estes deserves a share of the criticism.

      Estes promotes the old mis-beliefs and assumptions that many still do, that we are a ‘christian’ nation. Our founding fathers would disagree with him. Estes repeats the very limited words from speeches that would suggest that Obama hates and apologizes for America.

      We all love sweet old men but nobody has a right to repeat the words of others. Furthermore, he has no right to expect blind acceptance from others simply because he blindly accepts the words of others.

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    • gmatt says:

      Must have gotten something right to get so many responses?! Are you naive or just kidding? Based on that line of reasoning, someone could stand up in the middle of the town square and shout that all people with brown eyes are that way because they are full of poo and the truth in that comment would be deemed more accurate as more people react by disagreeing!

      This is the same flawed reasoning that Mr. Estes applied when he blindly repeated half truths and lies that he heard in his Fox News-clouded mind. ‘Well, I saw it on the interweb so it must be true!’….LOL!

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  28. Citizen Jamie says:

    The American people have spoken and have voted the President into office again for a second term. He (Mr. Estes) may have been an honorable man but it was just one man’s opinion. The people have spoken! May God bless our President and our wonderful country.

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    • gmatt says:

      I agree, Citizen Jamie. We should remember that Mr. Estes was from a generation that embraced separation of races. During his time in the armed forces, black soldiers were greatly limited to mess hall duties and it was considered a risky and daring move to create black regiments for combat duty. I suspect that many old folks still harbor misgivings about desegregation and Obama represents the ultimate breach of our social and cultural traditions. Hence, you hear so much now about ‘the good old days’.

      Like

    • Citizen Tom says:

      Whether Mr. Estes is right or wrong does not matter?

      Elections may be the best way to choose leaders, but sometimes elections work poorly. When we the people vote, and we put put someone in elected office, we do not necessarily choose the best person or the right person. We choose the most popular person. Whether we choose a good person depends upon God’s grace and our own motivations when we vote.

      How did Barack Obama win election. He promised to redistribute the wealth. That is, Obama promised to steal money from the “rich” and give that money to the people who voted for him. That’s not something an honorable man would do.

      Like

  29. Citizen Jamie says:

    ….and that’s your opinion….

    Like

  30. Citizen Jamie says:

    I meant your opinion of the president not your opinion of what you think socialism is. Good day.
    Maybe you should go back and kindly read your article.

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    • Citizen Tom says:

      Citizen Jamie — Here is how this post starts.

      In 2012 we must make a big decision. Do we choose Socialism, do we choose to follow in the footsteps of our nation’s founders, or do we consider other options? Since there are over 300 million of us, and we will each make our own choice, we will probably choose a path that has no ideological purity. When tyrants do not rule, such is the nature of compromise.

      Even though I live near Washington D.C., I don’t know Barack Obama. I have never met the man. As far I know, Harold Estes never met Obama either. What concerned Estes and still concerns me is how Obama wants to transform our nation.

      Like

  31. alfundo says:

    so, is this god that is mentioned in the Declaration of Independence and in state constitutions Christian? or does he have Greek ancestry? Egyptian? There are plenty of gods to choose from. Nowhere is Christ mentioned. We have never been a Christian nation. When God is referred to in these documents, I believe they were referring to the maker, the age old, go to guy when you need supernatural powers.

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    • Citizen Tom says:

      alfundo – We celebrate Independence Day, not Constitution Day, for a reason. The Declaration provides our nation’s creed. The idea that we have God-given rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness comes from the Christian foundations of this nation.

      The founders structured our government with a Christian understanding of the fallen character of man. They understood man as a fallen creature, subject to temptation. So they created a government that distributed power and subjected those with power to checks and balances. Moreover, the founders themselves praised the Bible as necessary to the moral health of our people and the stability of our republic.

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  32. alfundo says:

    disingenuous

    Like

  33. alfundo says:

    I’m still waiting for you to take off your tap dancing shoes and stick to the question. What god is being referred to? True most of the founding fathers were believers but that does not make this a Christian nation. What does Independence Day or Constitution day have to do with the question posed.

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    • Citizen Tom says:

      alfundo –

      True most of the founding fathers were believers but that does not make this a Christian nation.

      With the statement above, you have already conceded the argument. You just don’t realize it.

      Consider this question. Doesn’t what we believe make a difference in our behavior? Look around the world. Doesn’t what the people in various nations believe affect the way they govern themselves?

      At the time of our nation’s founding, the peoples across the world had even more starkly different beliefs than we do today. If Christians actually do believe the Bible is God’s Word, how would that fact make a difference in their lives? What made the government of 18th century American so utterly unique?

      Did the Americans who founded this nation read, understand and believe what is in the Bible. If YOU BELIEVE and CAN SAY they did, then why do you have to ask what God is being referred to? What is it that you want to believe that makes it so hard for you to accept what should be an obvious truth?

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  34. alfundo says:

    Tom, the bible is the most immoral book i have ever read. If you need a fear of burning in hell to persuade you to do what is right, this makes you a scared person, not one that is morally superior. Anything not to offend the magic sky pixies. I believe, like I stated above, that the god referred to is the singular, old school, sky pixie. If Christ had been mentioned in these documents then a host of supernatural beings come into play. Thanks for your time Tom.

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    • Citizen Tom says:

      alfundo – Either you have not read the Bible, or you have not made any serious effort to understand it.

      Here is an example. Slavery has existed throughout the recorded history of mankind. Then Christians decided to end slavery. Were those Christians opposed by Christians who claim the Bible condones slavery? Yes, but the Bible condemns slavery, and that is why slavery ended first in countries where Christians predominate.

      Even people who claim to be Christian can find “support” for whatever evil they want in the Bible. People do this sort of thing all the time. We this call this making excuses or rationalization. As I said before, what we believe makes a difference. If we believe first and foremost in serving ourselves, then we will believe whatever we want to believe.

      How do we avoid rationalizing evil? We humble ourselves before our Creator. Instead of serving our own pride, we serve our Creator. We do what the Bible says to do. We love God with all our heart and soul, and we love our neighbor as we love our self.

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      • Subject34512 says:

        CHRISTIANS decided to end slavery?!

        ROFLMFAO!
        Oh, that’s RICH!
        PRICELESS!
        PMSL!

        Dear gods of Earth, Air and Water!
        Bought into the brainwashing, much?
        Go read the “Making The World Safe For Hypocrisy” blog. First page – Founding Fathers, will do. That American has a much better grip on reality than you, lad.

        Like

        • Of course, Christians are the ones who ended slavery! When our Constitution was drafted and ratified, slavery was universal.

          But in Article I, Sec. 9, cl. 1, WE announced to the world that in 20 years time, WE would end the slave trade. James Madison wanted to end the “barbarism” and “unnatural traffic” in slaves immediately [Federalist Paper No. 42, 6th para]; but didn’t have the votes. Alexander Hamilton was one of the abolitionists of the time..

          England [a Christian country] very soon thereafter eliminated slavery [watch the excellent movie, “Amazing Grace”]. After, that slavery was abolished in one Christian country after another. Russia [a Christian Country] freed the serfs around 1861; our slaves were freed with the 13th Amendment (1865); and the march for emancipation of slaves continued in one Christian Country after another. The 19th century was the era of emancipation in all the Christian Countries.

          There is good information on this on the internet. You need only pry open that very closed mind of yours and see.

          Today, slavery exists for the most part only in islamic countries.
          And in the communist dictatorships.

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        • Subject34512 says:

          Yeah, sorry Publius, but Britain had more influence on ending the slavery trade than America.
          It was the Royal Navy that blockaded African and American ports, and captured American Slaving transports, freeing their captives.
          It was the Royal Navy that offered a bloody good wage to American slaves to join the service. To the consternation of the land-owners who suddenly had no cheap workforce.
          It was [mostly Southern State] Americans who stood whinging about losing profits and crops, and demanded action.

          Remind me again when America ended its apartheid?
          It’s still functioning? :o Really? In the 21st century, and all this progress made to being civilised, and they’re still 3rd-class “peoples”?

          You know the REAL reason for the rebellion in the 1770s? Not religious oppression. Not unfair taxes (which were repealed over a decade before! ;) ). Not any of the other propaganda crap fed to you since childhood.
          Britain abolished slavery. Total. In all its dominions. That scared your “founding fathers” so much, they decided to break away, and continue their slavery-powered money gathering.
          Have a read : It’s enlightening for those that don’t know the real story.

          http://mtwsfh.blogspot.co.uk/2007/12/lie-number-two-american-revolution.html

          Like

        • Citizen Tom says:

          Subject34512 – Since Publius Huldah has already quite capably addressed the substance of your comments, I will address the tone of your comments.

          When we compare the United States and the United Kingdom, we find both significant similarities and differences. Under the rule of the United Kingdom men established slavery in America, and men imported a large population of Blacks into America. Under the rule of the United States, the economy of slavery became entrenched in the South. Therefore, before that sin could be removed from this country, hundreds of thousands, mostly Christians died in a bitter civil war. Yet you apparently think that horrid struggle incidental and unworthy of mention. Instead, you amuse yourself with a rewritten history.

          Were Christians on both sides of conflict? Yes, and the Christians who owned slaves had to keep the slaves ignorant so they could pretend their slaves were somehow subhuman.

          Were the Christians in the North more saintly than those in the South? No, we all have our share of faults.

          Are Christians better than other people? All I know is that thanks to God Christians generally behave better towards their fellows than non-Christians. That is why slavery first ended in Christian nations.

          Anyway, you may as well cease the ridicule and the pretense at braying laughter. Neither is a substitute for knowledge or evidence. In fact, when you have to resort to such intimidation, that suggests you lack the confidence to calmly present your arguments.

          Like

  35. alfundo says:

    The fact that slavery is included and promoted by the bible should tell you it is not gods word. The bible provides guidelines in how to treat your slaves.

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    • Citizen Tom says:

      alfundo – The Bible was not written to us. The Bible was written long before people even considered the possibility that slavery was wrong.

      Yet the Bible was written for us. Because of what the Bible says, Christians condemned slavery and worked it to end.

      Read about the abolitionists. Read the Bible.

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  36. alfundo says:

    See, there you go again, substituting Christ for the god mentioned in the documents. Im interested in discussing that god. The common Christian god had a name, some call him Jehovah. No where is a god specified. There are hundreds. If we are truly a “Christian Nation” the Christian god would be specified. No, the founding fathers set us up as a secular nation on purpose.

    What god are they talking about? direct question to invalidate your position of America being a Christian nation. this is the reason i entered the conversation.

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    • Citizen Tom says:

      alfundo — Christians describe God as a trinity composed of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Jehovah speaks of the same God, but it reflects an Old Testament perspective.

      Why isn’t God mentioned in the Constitution? Why don’t our governing documents speak more about God? Why didn’t we establish a state religion, a theocracy? Christ Jesus specifically said His kingdom is not of this world. In His first coming, He did not assume political authority. Moreover, He it plain that to be saved we must have faith in Him. How would we force anyone to have faith in Jesus? We cannot, of course. Trying to do such a thing just encourages hypocrisy. That’s why a Christian government does not establish a state religion. Instead, a Christian government did something that astounded the 18th century world. A Christian government protected freedom of religion. That includes the freedom to follow the dictates of one’s own conscience.

      Like

  37. alfundo says:

    “Christians describe God as a trinity composed of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Jehovah speaks of the same God, but it reflects an Old Testament perspective.”

    Thank you. So the god referred to is a generic, one size fits all god.

    “Christian government does not establish a state religion.”

    Thank you, an oxymoron.

    So then, you agree we were never a “Christian nation”

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    • Citizen Tom says:

      alfundo – No. I don’t agree, but no one convinces another of anything. We either choose to accept the truth or we don’t.

      I suppose you think you are being funny, clowning; but attacking the beliefs of another — the refusal to even consider another point of view — is ultimately self destructive. Don’t you realize that when you tear down the people around you — instead of building them up — you are just destroying your self?

      No man is an island,
      Entire of itself.
      Each is a piece of the continent,
      A part of the main.
      If a clod be washed away by the sea,
      Europe is the less.
      As well as if a promontory were.
      As well as if a manor of thine own
      Or of thine friend’s were.
      Each man’s death diminishes me,
      For I am involved in mankind.
      Therefore, send not to know
      For whom the bell tolls,
      It tolls for thee.

      John Donne

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  38. alfundo says:

    Tom, I apologize if you believe I came here with the intent to put down another man’s beliefs. This was not my intent at all. I don’t refuse to see anothers point of view, often though, when confronted with an opposing view I try to learn the root of this view while steadfast asserting my position. It wasn’t until after I responded that I poked around your blog and realized your are just as stubborn as I am.

    Any cult that convinces one to give up his god given ability to reason is self destructive in nature. For once you believe the unbelievable the first domino has fallen. Why still hold fast to your Gods of the Holy Bible when the book itself contains so many factual errors. I cannot accept a belief system that asks me to ignore this part of Scripture, but focus on this part. It is rather convenient Christians have a kinder, gentler god vs that bastard in the Old Testament. Think outside the box Tom and accept the truth.

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    • Citizen Tom says:

      alfundo – The God of the Old Testament and the New Testament are one and the same. The Jews of the Old Testament were under a different dispensation. If you take the time to read the Book of Romans (one of the books of the Bible), you will get a better idea what that means.

      Source: Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary
      Dispensation
      (Gr. oikonomia, “management,” “economy”). (1.) The method or scheme according to which God carries out his purposes towards men is called a dispensation. There are usually reckoned three dispensations, the Patriarchal, the Mosaic or Jewish, and the Christian. (See COVENANT, Administration of.) These were so many stages in God’s unfolding of his purpose of grace toward men. The word is not found with this meaning in Scripture.

      (2.) A commission to preach the gospel (1 Cor. 9:17; Eph. 1:10; 3:2; Col. 1:25).

      Dispensations of Providence are providential events which affect men either in the way of mercy or of judgment.

      Why does the God of the Old Testament seem so harsh? The Bible was written to people who lived thousands of years ago. Unless you study the period history of each book of the Bible, some of the punishments will make no sense.

      When they worshipped idols, why was God so angry with the Canaanites and the Jews? Here is an example.

      http://www.crossroad.to/glossary/rpg/molech.htm

      We live in a free society where everyone is still able to study as they wish. Unfortunately, we have a government-run education system that works overtime to put secular blinders on us. I have taken mind off.

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  39. alfundo says:

    “alfundo – The Bible was not written to us.”

    “The Bible was written to people who lived thousands of years ago.”

    It seems you contradict yourself as regularly as the book you refer to. The god of your book ADMITS to other, competing gods. If he is the creator and strives for absolute power, why then did he create other gods?

    Like

  40. Citizen Tom says:

    alfundo – In a previous comment I said that the Bible was written for us, not to us. Apparently, I did not explain well enough. Here is the problem. When the Bible was written, neither of us were alive. So the people who wrote the Bible, even though they were inspired by God, did not write the Bible to us. They wrote to their contempories. However, because the Bible’s writers were inspired, the Word of God holds great meaning for us. You just have to read the Bible, study some history, and ask God to help you understand.

    Create other gods? I do not know what you are talking about, but I suppose if you read only one or two verses you can imagine the Bible says whatever you wish. Nonetheless, when you actually bother to study it, the Bible is quite clear. There is only one Creator. We created the other gods, and the Bible says those other gods are of no use to us.They cannot help us or save us from anything.

    What is the point of nitpicking? Can you find fault with the Bible? Not really, but our understanding is limited. So we can perceive wrongly, but with further study we slowly correct ourselves. That is why those who study the Bible the most have the greatest confidence in it. Can you find fault with me? Yes. I am a Christian; I already know I am imperfect. I have already admitted I need a savior, and that savior is Christ Jesus. He redeemed us all. Will you accept the gift of His sacrifice? That is the question that should concern you, but whether it does is up to you.

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  41. Kenneth Moss says:

    Tom, you assert that the US is a “Christian Nation” can you cite any legal presidence that upholds your claim? Or is this merely your opinion stated as FACT? I am guessing you are unfamiliar with article 11 of Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the United States of America and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli of Barbary of 1797? “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims],—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Mohammedan] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.” It was submitted to the Senate by President John Adams, receiving ratification unanimously from the U.S. Senate on June 7, 1797 and signed by Adams, taking effect as the law of the land on June 10, 1797. it was published in it’s entirety in newspapers nationwide and NO ONE PROTESTED it’s reference to the US as a non-Christian nation! Perhaps you are WRONG sir and our forefathers never envisioned a “Christian America” rather an America full of Christians, Jews, Muslims and what-have you all living together free to practice and believe as they wish without the government intervening. You want kids to have a “Christian education” you have every right to pay to send your children to one of those schools … just not on MY dime.

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    • Citizen Tom says:

      Kenneth – I am familiar with 11 of Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the United States of America and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli of Barbary of 1797.

      http://citizentom.com/2010/09/09/governor-christie-unvarnished/#comment-18387

      The founding document of the United States is the Declaration of Independence. That says our rights come from God, and that is why our Constitution says so little about God.

      Freedom of religion as practice in the United States is a Christian concept. Slavery ended first in Christian nations. You really think that an accident? Then I have to doubt that you have studied the Bible and history without bias.

      I really do not have high expectations of government. That is because I have read the Bible. Check out Ecclesiastes 5:8-9. Every human institution suffers corruption. It is naive to expect otherwise.

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  42. Pingback: WHAT WE SEE IN OUR NEIGHBORS DEPENDS UPON WHERE WE STAND | Citizen Tom

  43. John says:

    Communications Student (English is not my first language) Very interesting. the statements and the outcomes of your “debates”. As I read this I just thought on how we, humans, just like to disagree, and as a result, fight. Im not so much on the Christian faith living side, I so think the values that the scriptures teach are a very good way to live life, ultimately those religious ways refer to live a life in peace with oneself and others aswell. I dont believe in forcing anything into anyone. I get annoyed when teachers give religious oriented sermons in clases, except if they are making an objective point with the example. If the examples come from students, im ok with that since that promotes debate, learning and progress. As I do not know as much as many of you probably do about USA politics and political and religious history, I wouldnt feel confident enough to comment on this matter. I studied in a military academy in the USA, so besides the classes in my country about USA and the ones i took at the academy i couldnt say i know deep history of USA. I come from a catholic family, christian values were imparted to me by my family and I am an atheist, but i try to respect every religion, even if i cant understand why they do whatever they do. I take the best out of every religion i know about. We are corrupt, yes. And we all think we are right, yes.

    Like

    • Citizen Tom says:

      John – Thank you for your comment.

      I believe there is a certain amount of wisdom in what you say. I also think that much of what you say betrays your youth and a good understanding of the Bible.

      We all tend to think we are right. Because we have difficulty putting ourselves in other people’s shoes, we cannot easily empathize with other people. So the fact you do not feel it right to force your opinions on others shows both a respect for your own limitations and the rights of others.

      I was also raised in a Christian family. Like you I respected Christian beliefs, and I adopted Christian values. Nonetheless, I did not take this Jesus thing seriously. I did not know the Bible well enough, unfortunately.

      If you are an atheist, I doubt you have studied the Bible. In fact, I doubt you have given much serious thought to the subject of religion. What an atheist believes requires inherently more faith than what a theist believes. Whereas a theist may find it difficult to establish that God exists, the atheist has no conceivable way of proving God does not exist.

      Youth and ignorance are nothing to be ashamed of. Youth is not even a problem. Ignorance is a problem, but it is a correctable problem.

      Please check out Ravi Zacharias’ website: http://www.rzim.org/.

      Because i find them thoughtful, I enjoy listening to Zacharias’ radio broadcasts. Perhaps you will too. What I expect you will find particularly relevant is Zacharias’ skill in rebutting the arguments for atheism. In fact, his latest broadcasts are on that very subject.

      http://www.rzim.org/media/

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