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Can We Just Skip the Election and Give This Man a Lifetime Term?

First, this speech is absolutely amazing — Barack Obama talks about religion reasonably, honestly, and candidly, consequences be damned. Second, I don’t know when this speech was delivered, but it does have a little something in common with this awesome rant delivered by President Bartlett a few years back on “The West Wing.”

Also: Barack — Can I be your Baby Momma?

| Comments (3)


Regarding the first video, I don't see how one could accept all that Obama says and still keep faith. As he said, religion fundamentally lacks compromise, so how can one bend one's faith without breaking it? If you can't trust one part of the bible (or whatever fables you subscribe to) how can you trust any of it? This gives me hope that maybe Obama is a secret atheist (At least some of the US government must be in this position) as this is almost the exact message often supported by the more outspoken atheists. Acknowledging this may not be as good as total destruction of religious belief, but it's definitely a step in the right direction.

religion fundamentally lacks compromise, so how can one bend one's faith without breaking it?

One can expect oneself to adhere strictly to certain religious rules, without expecting everyone else to follow the same rules. By the same token, a moral atheist can expect him/her-self to adhere to a certain code of behavior while recognizing that not everyone else will (or should) follow exactly the same code. A code that everyone is expected to follow must be justified in terms that make sense to (almost) everyone, so it is necessarily narrower and less prescriptive than a code that only needs to make sense to one person.

If you can't trust one part of the bible (or whatever fables you subscribe to) how can you trust any of it?

That's the wrong distinction, I think. As an individual, you may trust literally in every word of the Bible, but if you constrain your public actions (not to mention your input to public policy) to those that are acceptable to the public, you can still get along with your neighbors of other faiths. If you don't (like a modern-day Abraham), or if you insist on enacting your faith into public policy with no better justification than "it's [my interpretation of] God's word," you cannot get along with those neighbors.

I grew up with a very sour opinion of religion, but have gradually seen that it inspires not only bad behavior (e.g. pogroms, crusades, sectarian bombings) but good (e.g. charity, peacemaking, mercy, the rare "just war"). If someone happens to reach through his religious faith similar conclusions to those I've reached from an agnostic/atheist perspective, we can work together productively. I don't really care whether Obama is a real Christian or just playing one to get elected, if his policies are sound.

It's a while ago now, so probably no one will read it, but I couldn't help but respond anyway.

In regards to Steve's first paragraph, isn't that the main difference between a religious moral code and a secular one? Religious laws are supposed to be handed down by a deity, and therefore should be absolutely correct in all cases if said deity is supposed to be infallible. Secular morals are based on whatever personal the individual's priorities are, and are therefore entirely fallible.

It seems to me that most people who claim to be religious are really just playing at it. They seem to use whatever morality they personally decide on (or whatever the moral zeitgeist is at the time) and use their religion like a security blanket. I wouldn't necessarily have a problem with this, except that the influence of religion tends to cause these people's morality to lag a few years behind everyone else's, depending on the strength of their faith (I think changing views on homosexuality and abortion are good examples of this) and that religion is used to define in and out groups and can be used to incite mobs.

Also I just can't see how someone whose views on the big things are fundamentally anti-logic/reason can be expected to act logical in all things, as an ideal leader would.

Thanks for taking the time to reply to my comment by the way, it's nice to know I'm not just screaming into the ether.