Saturday, January 9, 2010

Judeo-Christian rubbish

Received in email:

We are all familiar with the claim that the United States was founded on "Judeo-Christian" principles.

I supopose this is true, if you are talking about slavery, genocide (vs. Native Americans), and subordination of women. All have deep Judeo-Christian roots and were instrumental in the development of the USA.

However, it is not true if you are talking about democracy, philosophy, geometry, the stage drama, the field of history, the alphabet, concrete, and the architecture found in so many of our government buildings, museums and universities (e.g., the Capitol, Supreme Court, University of Virginia, Metropolitan Museum of Art, etc). These were all developed in pagan Greece and Rome centurires before Christianity displaced the deities of Mount Olympus.

It is not true if you consider the powerful influence of pagan Roman Law on Western jurisprudence, including that of the USA, to this very day.

It is not true if you consider the existence of a body called the Senate, which does not come from the Bible but from pagan Rome, which borrowed the idea from the pagan Etruscans.

It is not true if you consider that in the early years of the USA, it was common to immortalize prominent men like Washington with Roman style busts replete with laurels.

It is not true if you consider the immense influence of non-Christian Enlightenment thinkers such as Locke, Montesquieu, Paine, Hume and Diderot on many of the Founders, especially Jefferson, Franklin and Madison.

It is not true if you consider that complete absence of democratic governments in Europe in the 1,500 years that elapsed between the establishment of Christianity as the official religon of the Roman Empire and the drafting of the Declaration of Independence.

It is not true if you consider that Great Britain, the nation we fought for eight long years to achieve independence, rightly considered its monarchical and aristocratic form of government to be based on bliblical principles.

It is not true if you consider the harsh criticism of Christianity and the "Holy Bible" by so many of the Founders, including the author of the Declaration of Independence and "The Father of the Constitution".

It is not true when you consider that that The Treaty of Tripoli, signed in 1797 by John Adams and passed unanimously by the Senate, explicity states that the government of the United States "is in no sense founded on the Christian religion".

It is not true if you consider that there were no references to a deity on our national currency until the 20th Century.

It is not true if you consider that the harshest critics of the Founding Fathers and the constitutional government they created were not atheists, but prominent members of the Christian clergy, who rightly pointed out that the foundation of our national government was "unChristian" and provided no privileged place for the Protestant churches.

It is not true if you consider that when the Constitution of the Confederate States of America was drafted in 1861, the Southern delegates placed "God" in their preamble to contrast it with the "godless" U.S. Constitution. That godly preamble was immediately followed by the clauses protecting the holy institution of slavery in pertuity.

The roots of our country are Greco-Roman and European Enlightenment. What we have achieved in in spite of "Judeo-Christian" civilization, and not because of it.

Let's not be afraid to point this out.

-- Dennis Middlebrooks
FANNY (Freethinking Activist Non-Believing New Yorkers



  1. I have an Irish friend who named his child Oscar. This is a character in Irish mythology but several friends have pointed out to him that Oscar seems to be a popular hispanic name. We meet lots of hispanic kids named Oscar at the park but he insists that the roots of the name are Irish. Can the name, Oscar, be both Irish and Hispanic? Does it matter?
    I'm thristy, I'm going to get a drink of water.

  2. As long as Oscar doesn't mind and doesn't insist through conniving or brute force that Oscar is the one true way ... nope, it doesn't matter a bit.

  3. Every day we read of new claims made about this or that in our newspapers.

    Every night we consign those papers to the trash.

    Every year some advocate of the people, or other,
    makes new claims about this or that;
    and every prior claim is consigned to the dustbin of history.

    "This too, will pass."

  4. Jurgen Habermas (atheist and perhaps the greatest living philosopher): For the normative self-understanding of modernity, Christianity has functioned as more than just a precursor or catalyst. Universalistic egalitarianism, from which sprang the ideals of freedom and a collective life in solidarity, the autonomous conduct of life and emancipation, the individual morality of conscience, human rights and democracy, is the direct legacy of the Judaic ethic of justice and the Christian ethic of love.

    I hear Dennis deonating bombs in the distance but reality seems to be far from his target.

  5. Hi All,

    Here's part of the story anyway:

    "Oscar is a male name used in a few Western European countries. In England, the name means "god spear" or "god's angel" from the Old English name Osgar, from os ("god") and gar ("spear or knight"). The Old Norse cognate was the name Asgeir which is made up from the elements as ("god") and geir ("spear"). The corresponding German name form is Ansgar, which is known by the missionary and Saint Ansgar, the so-called Apostle of the North. In Irish legends, Oscar was the son of Oisín and grandson of Fionn Mac Cumhail. He strangles his enemies with his Greek flaming spear chains, which he used to strangle Cairbre. This name was the Gaelic Oscara, meaning "deer lover."

    Another possible link to mainland Europe - Spain - the New World:

    "This name was popularized in continental Europe by the works of the 18th-century Scottish poet James Macpherson. Napolean was an admirer of Macpherson, and he suggested Oscar as the second middle name of his godson, who eventually became king of Sweden as Oscar I."



  6. ...The top quote is from the Wikipedia article on the name 'Oscar', the second from here:

    Toodle pip,


  7. I don't find the holes in the reasoning interesing (seems on par with the forwards I received about Obama being a Muslim that wasn't born in the US and about as worthy of my time) but that you wanted to post something of this caliber is curious. I suppose we all have to project our shadow somewhere.

  8. Your shadow and mine, Anonymous.