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Secular Government = Democide
Posted: 26 September 2006 06:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]  
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waltercat forgot to log in again.  :oops:

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What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

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Posted: 26 September 2006 06:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]  
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I was actually going to respond to all of this in depth. I’ve decided to be much more brief.

Twaddle!

How typical.

Your response reveals the total collapse of response capacity of so called Champions of Reason.  As soon as they get backed into a corner, the first thing they abandon is Reason and Reasonable dialogue. Some alarm goes off inside their minds and it triggers unreasonable reactions.

“Twaddle” indeed!

I will go head to head any day with a secularist and use Reason to hold up a mirror to the irrationality of their positions.

Why is it that so called Champions of Reason are so blind and unable to defend basic principles of civil society? Because they have arrogated to themselves the monopoly on Truth.  This is why us Faith and Reason folk can run rings around you all! And it is also why we are winning elections and defending civilization from the hoards of barbarians who pilliage in the name their god Reason!

Come now, I know you can be a better Evangelical Humanist than that!!!

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Posted: 26 September 2006 06:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]  
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Now, I will respond to your twaddle with much more thought than it deserves, and much more than you gave to me.

ice try, but your explaination is abstract, unrooted in human experience, and doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.

The concrete origin of human rights begins with Judaism and Genesis. For the first time in history we see a new idea about God and about Man. God is good, not a fickle tyrant, and God made everything, including Man as good (i.e. in accord with God’s nature). Then specifically, God made Man in “God’s image and likeness.”

My explanation is deeply rooted in human experience. “I am a human. I have needs that must be satisified if I am to survive and prosper. The same is true of everyone else who is human.” Nothing could be more deeply rooted than that in human experience. Nothing could be more concrete and less abstract. And it holds up to scrutiny perfectly, because it is absolutely clear and unobfuscated.

If you are going to tell me that humans had no rights before Genesis, I’m going to have to ask you to explain yourself. Whether you like it or not, humans were around before either of the Jewish gods (YHWH or Elohim). If they are a created thing, then this same god is responsible for them, too, and they had the same rights. Since you deny that, I have to assume that my version of the origin of human rights is superior, since it applies to those humans who existed before your mythological creation, all the way back to the real origins of the species.

Regardless of whether or not you believe this account to be true, you can not ignore that this account of God’s Nature and Man’s Nature is totally unique in History. All contemporary creation accounts have God as Master and Man as slave.

Do you actually read the stuff you write, or do you just hit “Submit?” Man has been writing accounts of himself and his gods since long before genesis. You might try Gilgamesh, for starters. Written long before Genesis, and contains a lot of the stuff that would later show up in Genesis. Like the flood, just for starters.

Now, second, let me point out that when god is “master” and man is “slave” as you so succinctly put it, man has absolutely no rights whatever, and your entire argument falls apart at that point. I could and should stop bothering to reply to you, since you’ve so cleverly hoist yourself on your own petard, but heck, it’s getting interesting.

This is where the concept of human rights has its origin - not abstractly, but concretely in human experience and history.

The concept of a Human Right, is the idea that human beings have an inherent dignity which others have a duty to recognize. A rights and duties go together.

What concept of “human rights” did it take for the Hebrews to kill all the adult Midianites, their animals and then their male children, and finally drag their virgin daughters off, shave their hair, lock them up for 30 days then marry them and have their way with them? Did the Midianites not “have an inherent dignity which others have a duty to recognize?” Or perhaps they weren’t “human?”

You really should try reading the actual Bible some day. The abridged version they give you in Sunday school omits some of the very best parts!

What you are describing is a kind of social contract theory where men must live together and get along so they invent a system of rights to manage that interaction. However, this theory makes the State the arbitor of rights, i.e. the creator and author. Because who is going to define those rights and who is going to enforce them? As you wrote, “we had better ... respect” those rights. In this statement, it implies a punishment or consequence for violating the duty to acknowledge other’s rights. The problem with your theory is that it doesn’t accord with the development of Rights, and it doesn’t offer an adequate defense of Rights before the power of the State. What the State can give, the State can take away . . . and indeed EVERY secularist State massacred its own citizens as a matter of social policy.

It is not a theory that men must live together and get along. They actually have to, or find another planet. If they don’t get along, they kill each other. Yes, that can make the state, through laws, responsible for maintaining some control. Perhaps it may even make the state the arbiter (check your spelling) of certain rights. That is what democracy and constitutions are for—- to ensure that the state acts for the people, at the express consent of the people. The fact that there have been other forms of government that did not behave that way, that repressed people and removed their rights by force, does not signify. And in fact, it argues against you again. If your God had intended all men to have the rights you claim, then your God should not have permitted the enslavement of whole nations by vicious tyrants. How hard can it have been for a god worthy of the name to drop a safe on the bad guys?

And you are being just plain obtuse when you suggest that needing to respect the rights of others implies some sort of punishment. It does nothing of the kind. It means that if you don’t respect theirs, they won’t respect yours, and you lose. If you can kill somebody else, somebody can kill you. If you can steal from someone with impunity, they can take your stuff. If you can boff their woman, they can come and double boff your daughter.

If you respect them, there is every likelihood that they will respect you. Now, you might just go and look up the “Prisoner’s Dilemma” to see how this works. That should keep you from posting drivel for a while.

I’m frequently amazed at how illiterate secularists are when it comes to religion. They have lots of assumptions which have very little to do with reality. The above quote is a good example of this. Rights are not a gift from God, life, Creation the Faith are all gifts from God. Rights stem from our NATURE as God created us.

You are not going to confuse this illiterate secularist with that kind of sophistry. If God created us, and god created our nature, and our rights stem from our nature, then god is completely and totally accountable for our rights.

If you read Dei Verbum, you would discover that Catholics are not Biblical literalists. We don’t pour over the Bible looking for rights to enumberate! We read Scripture as a whole, not in contextless passages. Indeed, we don’t rely upon revelation alone, but on revelation AND Reason. To rely upon Reason alone, leads to blindness; to rely upon Faith alone, leads to fanaticism.

Your assertions above reveal your own illiteracy about religious Faith.

I’ve heard all of this before. I’ve read the mountains (and mountains and mountains, why does there need to be so much) of apologetics trying to explain all the evil, nonsense and contradiction in the Bible. It’s numbing. 
Here’s something to think about. Every year, thousands and thousands of innocent children are going to die of AIDS, or they will be orphaned by AIDS. Much of this could be prevented by the simple donning of a condom. The Catholic faith, reading scripture as a whole, thinks that’s a bad idea. That’s about all the Catholicism I need. But while we’re at it, go and take a wee gander at Pius IX and the Syllabus of Modern Errors. He read the scripture as a whole, too, as I understand it. He didn’t approve of democracy. He preferred the Papal States, in which the Pope King conferred whatever rights upon man that he decided were appropriate.

The body of human rights articulated in Catholic Social Teaching are the fruit of reflection on the meaning of the Whole of Scripture in the light of Reason.

See above. Enough of Catholic Social Teaching. By the way, I’m gay. You will understand if my applause for the social teachings of the RC are somewhat muted.


When you look carefully (as opposed to getting your history from the History Channel) as the evidence, you will find the myths about Catholicism to be just that myths.

You made reference to witches, so I thought you should know what honest historians have discovered about this.

Actually, I get my history from books, of which I have about 4,000. I don’t watch television very much. On the other hand, it doesn’t make you look all that clever to show me something from that other reliable source of valid information, a paganist site on the internet! By an author who hasn’t managed to get published! Historians don’t actually do much but write, so if they can’t get published…

There is something very unnatural and inhuman about the Secular Experiments in Government in the modern era. There is no exception.

I submit to you, it is because there is no “check” on the State. The State becomes the author of all human rights . . . indeed your own explaination of human rights confirms this.

So, this should be a simple question. What were you planning to put in place of the state? Perhaps His Holiness could take over again? Would you like that?

(Edited for clarity…EH)

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Posted: 01 October 2006 12:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]  
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The basis of human consciousness and self-awareness is that we evolved the ability to model and anticipate the actions of other intentional entities. This ability spans from the simple action of throwing a spear to where the deer will be, rather than where it is, to anticipating the actions and reactions of other human beings like ourselves, so that we can anticipate threats, form alliances, and even manipulate or resist manipulation by others. Out of this initial advance came the ability to create respresentations, express those representations in language, and create a representation of one’s self just as one could create a model of the intentions of other people. This self representation became ‘I’, self awareness, and we became conscious beings.

What this means is that we are essentially social creatures, who have a strong empathy for others of our kind, and even for other animals. This empathy is the basis of human rights, expressed in what we now call the Golden Rule (which, though expressed in the Bible, predates it by millenia): Treat others as you would like to be treated. This is no more or less than the expression of an evolved capacity common to all human beings who are not stunted by development or upbringing. We understand each other as being like ourselves, and are affected (in the most literal sense of the word) by their pain, pleasure, sadness, or joy. In order for this bond to be broken, we must cease to see the other as human. This capacity for empathy is present even in many other mammals; we, as conscious beings, are able to codify it. As we continue to understand ourselves better, we improve upon the expression of it. Our current standard of human rights is a recent achievement, which is not reflected or prefigured in the bronze age values enshrined in the Bible.

But the root of it is and always has been in our genes, and survived there because it conferred a strong adaptive advantage. The ethics of the Bible is simply an earlier, more primitive, expression of this innate ability. I do not wish to harm others because I know they are like myself; I literally feel their pain, and share their joy. I support the codification of mutually supportive conduct because it works in my favour as well as everyone else’s, ensuring our safety, well-being, aid in the event of need, and the delight of peaceful human coexistence. This is all that morality and human rights require. I neither ask nor need more.

If you do not feel this human bond, and require the ministrations of a cosmic tyrant to hold you to civil conduct, then you have my pity—but not my respect.

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Posted: 02 October 2006 12:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]  
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[quote author=“Elentar”]But the root of it is and always has been in our genes, and survived there because it conferred a strong adaptive advantage. The ethics of the Bible is simply an earlier, more primitive, expression of this innate ability. I do not wish to harm others because I know they are like myself; I literally feel their pain, and share their joy. I support the codification of mutually supportive conduct because it works in my favour as well as everyone else’s, ensuring our safety, well-being, aid in the event of need, and the delight of peaceful human coexistence. This is all that morality and human rights require. I neither ask nor need more.

If you do not feel this human bond, and require the ministrations of a cosmic tyrant to hold you to civil conduct, then you have my pity—but not my respect.

Thank you, Elentar. Nicely stated.

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Posted: 02 October 2006 12:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]  
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The Creation account (taken together as a whole - objective and personalist) is UNIQUE. Take a look at the creation accounts which are contemporary to the Genesis account. The “truths” found in this account form the basis of our modern Human Rights system.

Why?

Because it presents something radically new and liberating about the Nature of God, the Nature of Creation and the Nature of Man.

To this day, you benefit from the fruit of this idea. This is not simply my opinion, it is the fact of the matter.

Further, without this concept, and without the concept of the Natural Law (again something which stems from our understanding of the Nature of God and Man), there can be no basis for condemning the crimes of the Nazis, nor can we justify Rosa Parks’ violation of the civil law as she did during the Civil Rights era.

It is only the Natural Law which gives meaning to these acts of Justice. Reason alone cannot do the job.

This is intellectual dishonesty, plain and simple.  To say that reason alone cannot give meaning/justification to the actions of Rosa Parks is patently incorrect.  To say that only through “our understanding of the Nature of GOD and Man” can there be a condemnation of the crimes of the Nazi’s show’s both an ignorance of the precepts of reason and the Biblical scripture, as well as an arrogance on the part of the “believer”.

Rosa Parks violation of civil law is easily justified by reason.  One only needs to reason that the laws Parks broke were immoral.  These laws legally permitted immoral actions, namely that an arbitrary group of people be treated in an inferior manner by another arbitrary group of people.  Why were these laws immoral?  The golden rule (which Elentar spoke of so elequently in the previous post) can be applied here.  (Again, the golden rule is not a concept that is unique to the scriptures of the religions of Abraham.)  I don’t want to be treated inferiorly by any individual or group of people, therefore, if I want to have any kind of moral ground to stand upon if such a thing happens to me, it is incumbent upon me that I not treat others with similar inequality.  Simply wanting a just and egalitarian society is enough—this can only happen if everyone respects this “golden rule”.  Indeed, if civil laws exist that are in contrast to this, it is my duty and obilgation as a rational, moral being to act out against them—not because an ancient text says I should do so.

As far as the example of the atrocities visited upon the Jews by the Nazis, the reasoning against such actions is quite similar.  Today it’s the Jews, but tomorrow it could be me (this is infact what happened—larger and larger numbers of people gradually found themselves falling into the catagory of “enemy” as Hitler defined the word). One can go even further by saying there is no possible good to society that can come out of a holocaust, or the segregation of a group of people to the back of the bus.  How does this benfit the world, in the larger sense of the the word “benefit”?  Again, you don’t need the scripture for this.  As a matter of fact, to argue that the Bible condemns actions such as genocide is disengenuous.  You need look no further than to God’s commands for his chosen people to eradicate the Cannanites to see this as incorrect.

These are relatively simple moral anecdotes you have presented, Guest.  If one cannot use reason to come to these conclusions, and instead requires a collection of ancient texts, a real problem exists.  If one cannot get a moral understanding of these situations through reason, a book is not going to provide you or anyone else with an existential comprehension of why such actions (genocide, segregation) are wrong.  I truly feel for you.

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Posted: 02 October 2006 01:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]  
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Hello, Fritzy. Welcome. Sorry to respond to your first post with my disagreement, but I think you misapprehend the nature of reason, by which I mean pure logic.

To say that reason alone cannot give meaning/justification to the actions of Rosa Parks is patently incorrect.

Reason alone cannot “give meaning/justification to the actions of” anyone, just as mathematics could not do that. Reason plays a role, but not reason alone in justifying Rosa Parks’ action. She probably had premises and reasoning like this:
1. Some laws are unjust by standards that I accept.
2. Racial segregation laws are such laws.
3. Citizens have a right and perhaps a duty to defy laws that are unjust by their standards.
4. I am a citizen.
5. Therefore, I have a right to defy racial segregation laws.
Reason, or pure logic, establishes the conclusion, line 5, using the premises as assumed truths, but the premises are matters of fact (4) or morality (1, 2, and 3), not of reason. Claiming that someone’s moral standards are a product of pure reason is not tenable; it is the function of pure reason to be neutral with respect to any statement about reality or morality, just as mathematics is neutral on those matters.

Reason alone could establish this logical theorem:

If
Some laws are unjust by standards that I accept and
Racial segregation laws are such laws and
Citizens have a right to defy laws that are unjust by their standards and
I am a citizen
then
I have a right to defy racial segregation laws.

It would be an error though, to assume the premises are true just because they occur in a valid argument.

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Posted: 02 October 2006 04:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]  
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Further, without this concept, and without the concept of the Natural Law (again something which stems from our understanding of the Nature of God and Man), there can be no basis for condemning the crimes of the Nazis, nor can we justify Rosa Parks’ violation of the civil law as she did during the Civil Rights era.

Interesting you should use this line of “reasoning.”  If we were governed by biblical law, Rosa would have been strung up.  The bible, taken as a whole, supports slavery, even Jesus did in at least two places. 

If you follow the nature of God in the bible, you end up with the crimes of the Nazis and slavery.  The concepts of morality and ethics that govern civilized societies today are the product of three million years of evolution, not the product of some “nature of god and man.”  It’s really not that complicated, really, once you get the hang of it.

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Posted: 03 October 2006 12:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]  
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Is it reasonable to hold that all of histories ills were biblically based? Is it reasonable to think the secular elite, who pat themselves on their back daily in this forum for their compassion, would never have allowed such atrocities? If you answer yes to these questions then why were the movements against histories ills always religious in nature? Thomas Jefferson compares slavery to a wolf held by the ears yet he does not see how the country can let go (even more difficult is the fact that he is sleeping with his own slave). The abolitionists wer Christians, the early suffragists were Christians, the leaders of the civil rights movement were Christians. The first voices to speak up against fascism and communism were Christian. You tend to blame the Christians for not doing enough but it seems they are the only ones that do anything.

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Posted: 03 October 2006 12:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]  
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double post sorry about that

[ Edited: 03 October 2006 01:07 AM by ]
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Posted: 03 October 2006 01:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]  
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[quote author=“frankr”]The abolitionists wer Christians, the early suffragists were Christians, the leaders of the civil rights movement were Christians. The first voices to speak up against fascism and communism were Christian. You tend to blame the Christians for not doing enough but it seems they are the only ones that do anything.

Balder-flipping-dash! Self-serving twaddle!

If 90% of the people around you are (nominally) Christian, then it is pretty much guaranteed that 90% of the people doing pretty much anything (except going to Church) will be Christian. That includes helping the poor and killing their aunties for the inheritance. I don’t think Christians are any better or worse than anybody else on an individual basis. Same for Muslims, Jews, Jains and atheists. Folks is folks, and most act according to their own lights, except when, out of fear of social opprobrium, they refrain from acting at all.

And let me point out something else that figures deeply against your argument. To actually effect some change requires some power. This is usually political. Yet an atheist cannot get elected to high office in the U.S. I give you the example of a very great humanist, who spoke out everywhere against injustice of every kind, Robert G. Ingersoll. He ran for office, but his atheism worked against him. Even today, more than half of every person in the U.S., when asked in polls, say they would not vote for an atheist under any circumstances.

And that, friend, is mostly the Christians. A philosophy of universal love—- except for the people you hate.

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Posted: 03 October 2006 02:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]  
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I’m sorry maybe I was not clear. Not only were they Christians, they used Christianity as the reasoning behind their actions.

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Posted: 03 October 2006 02:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]  
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[quote author=“frankr”]I’m sorry maybe I was not clear. Not only were they Christians, they used Christianity as the reasoning behind their actions.

Well, of course they did… 98% of the people they were talking to were Christians! Most of the anti-slavery champions were liberal Quakers, who are the closest to Secular Humanists of any Christian sect.

Not that the Christian arguments did them a lot of good—the Bible, after all, does recognize slavery as legitimate, and the pro-slavery faction continue to cite the Bible as justification to this very day. Harper’s magazine recently printed exactly such a justification, taken from a children’s history book which was used in some southern states up until only four years ago.

Using Christianity to argue for human rights is a very risky strategy, since there is a whole book of material that can be cited as counterarguments. Still, when the whole country claims to be Christian, you’re best bet is to mention that handful of quotes that appear to support your case, and hope that everyone forgets the rest.

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Posted: 03 October 2006 02:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]  
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[quote author=“frankr”]Thomas Jefferson compares slavery to a wolf held by the ears yet he does not see how the country can let go (even more difficult is the fact that he is sleeping with his own slave). The abolitionists wer Christians, the early suffragists were Christians, the leaders of the civil rights movement were Christians.

Fair enough, but they were a Christian minority up against a Christian majority. This liberal Christian movement, like many since, focused like a laser on the model of Jesus, while most Christians of the day continued to use Paul and the old testament to justify slavery.

To quote Mark Twain:

“Our own conversion came at last. We began to stir against slavery. Hearts grew soft, here, there, and yonder. There was no place in the land where the seeker could not find some small budding sign of pitty for the slave. No place in all the land but one- the pulpit. It yielded at last; it always does. It fought a strong and stubborn fight, and then it did what it always does, joined the procession- at the tail end. Slavery fell. The slavery text remained; the practice changed, that was all”.

He goes on to address other immoral practices that are condoned or commanded in the Bible, but that have since been abandoned by the Christian world.

The point is that the Bible has just about anything in it, including good and bad theology. For better or for worse, Christians have about a 1500 year history of looking to it for guidance. Many times what they take from it is exactly what it says.

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Posted: 04 October 2006 05:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]  
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All I can contribute to this absurd title “Secular government=Democide” is that it is 100% sure that A) Religion would never have led to our form of modern democratic states in the western hemisphere and B) that if there were a religious government in one of our wonderful western democracies, it would inevitably lead to the end of Democracy.
It is very shocking to see how decadent we have become: We are not aware anymore of what we owe to the Enlightenment. The constitutional state, personal freedom, democratic governments, the Human Rights, the rights of minorities and the awareness of pluralism. All these great achievements of civilization were made possible AGAINST Religion and AGAINST the Christian church.
Democracies can only survive if thea are anthropocentric and not theocentric. They are only possible if they take into account the “Conditio Humana” and abstain from every form of absolutism and intolerant thinking.
Every religious person believes in THE TRUTH and that alone is enough to scare me. It is this fascistoid nucleus in every Religion, which is the most dangerous phenomenon. But religious people need exactly this form of intolerance to feel secure.
One should educate people to deal with freedom and not to deal with illusions that make them feel good. Religion aims to simplify the world metaphysically and morally and thereby HAS TO IGNORE the reality of this planet and the variety of human beings (As a gay man I know quite a bit about the “Moral values” of those religious people).

That is why I am so glad that there are people like Sam Harris who have the courage to speak out not only against fundamentalism, but against Religion as such. It is my conviction, that democracies can only prosper as long as religion is beeing kept in check. In other words, religion should not play any role in politics. But sadly, just a few intellectuals are courageous enough to be honest and admit that.

P.S. Excuse my English. It is not my mother tongue

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