I was making an oblique reference to the idea of "chivalry", with regards to my earlier post. Buying girls drinks is just an example; men are also expected to pay for dinner during a date, for example. Personally, I don't do this and any girl who complains about it can go fuck herself; I just associate with girls who don't care. I think people should adopt a similar attitude towards preferential treatment as far as religious beliefs go (as impractical as this may be at times).
Originally Posted by Fat Deck Knight
Morality requires religious belief. Without an absolute morality that demands fealty to a power greater than yourself all you will have left is a burning desire to control other people, for there is no built-in mechanism to stop you. There is no check on the individual's self-absorbed, ever-shifting concept of right and wrong. Humanity is incredibly cunning and opportunistic, it's why we became apex predator long ago. Without that understanding, without the discipline to harness that instinctive drive, all that is left is a self-satisfied narcissism with an endless hunger to perfect everything around it.
America is unique in the world as the first nation to be founded on the principle that government derives its power from the people, not over them. It is a system that demands even the agents of the government bow before God as the authority which they too must obey. It explicitly states that those government agents are not actors on behalf of God like the divine right kings, but rather stewards who exist to serve a moral and righteous people.
That last bit by the way is from Benjamin Franklin, who said that the Constitution is only for a moral and righteous people. The acknowledgment of God is fundamental to how the world operates with the United States as the apex power for the last century. America without the God doesn't exist, because God is the source of all rights. There can be no discussion of unalienable rights without acknowledging they are sourced in a higher authority than government. Government does not grant rights, it is supposed to secure them. When it does not, it is not a government worth having.
God is central to the notion of unalienable rights, and the Founders are mentioned because they were the first to recognize this in writing and apply it as their principle of governance. Ever since that day America has fought off the world's greatest empire at the time and even brought a civil war upon itself, all based on those fundamental principles. Both the nation and its principles survived. To this day those principles instruct American policy, if you need verification look at what Wikileaks published. Americans truly believe the principle of fundamental human rights are universal, and even with inept and contemptible leaders the concept is powerful enough to shine through despite the imperfect humans surrounding and implementing it.
Oh my dear god there are so many things wrong here.
First of all, I am astounded that, in this day and age, someone can make the argument that the notion of morality is inseparable from belief in God. Tell me, is your belief in God the only thing preventing you from going out and living like you're in a Grand Theft Auto game? If so, that speaks to personal issues, not to a generalized system of human ethics.
As a non-religious person, my basis of morality is "don't do anything that will hurt either myself or others". Other people have their own basis of morality, and theirs may even conflict with mine. And you know what? That's perfectly fine.
Moral conflicts are healthy, because while we cannot determine who is "right" (a word that has no objective meaning with respect to ethics), we can determine whose argument is better supported, or more applicable to a given culture; it is entirely possible to have a moral society without any sort of belief in a higher power, just as it is possible to have an immoral society despite belief in a higher power. Asserting that the absence of god necessitates a selfish, anarchistic system of ethics (let's skip over the fact that you never mentioned why this was a bad thing...) is absurdly ignorant.
This is slightly tangential, but one of the interesting things I always notice about religious arguments against science is that it "keeps changing". I find it interesting that you level the same "criticism" at a relativistic moral system...
You go on to assert that America is the first nation founded on Republican principles, when a cursory glance at human history would reveal that this is just not true. What, you think the founders made this shit up? Philosophers have been debating the idea of natural law for ages, and there have indeed been societies based around that idea. You can go as far back as Plato (who wrote...The Republic) and find that this idea was partially or entirely implemented in the civilizations of the time.
Anyway, you mention that "government does not grant rights, it secures them". No one is arguing against this. The point of contention is where these rights come from. You contend that it comes from a higher power. I contend that it comes from the social will or natural will, i.e. the people's view of what every person fundamentally deserves, or should deserve. This is why I can say something like "every person has a fundamental right to healthcare" and you can disagree; if we were assuming that God was the one granting these rights, the discussion would revolve around "well I think this" "god says you're wrong" "no god says YOU'RE wrong" and it would not be healthy or productive in any way.
As to the final part of the thing I quoted...Jefferson is very careful to say that rights are derived from "nature". Not God. Nature. I'd advise you to pay attention to that distinction. Hint: It has to do with the idea of a deistic or pantheistic God, versus your idea of a Christian God.