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America was founded on pagan values!

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starroute Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-25-04 11:35 AM
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America was founded on pagan values!
Edited on Thu Nov-25-04 12:20 PM by starroute
There's been so much nonsense going around lately about America being based on Christian values, and it's all rung false to me, but I couldn't quite pinpoint why. But in the course of posting at the long "Declaration of Independence banned in public school" thread over at LBN, it suddenly hit me:

The fundamental value of America are democractic values, and democracy has not even the most remote basis in Christianity.

There are no democracies in the Bible. The early Christian churches were not democratic -- they followed rigid structures of top-down authority. The later Catholic Church was modeled on the Roman Empire, which had based itself on the old eastern despotisms.

The democratic traditions of Europe came entirely out of the most pagan areas, particularly those which were furthest from Rome, like England, the Netherlands, Germany, and Scandinavia. Iceland today has the oldest parliament in the world, and (as pointed out in a recent article here at DU) the New England town meeting which set the pattern for American democracy traces directly back to the Saxon folkmoot.

In America, the proto-democratic traditions of pagan Europe met up with the proto-democratic traditions of the Native Americans, particularly as expressed in the Iroquois Confederacy. It is this fruitful synthesis, and not anything remotely Christian, that was the basis of the new experiment in self-government that America represents.

The northern areas of Europe are also where the Protestant Reformation arose to challenge the centralized and hierarchic structures of the Catholic Church. There was no basis in traditional Christianity for having a thousand independent local churches -- that was a resurgence of pure pagan values. But it's hard to maintain a democratic form of organization side-by-side with a set of hierarchic, Father-knows-best church doctrines, so it's no surprise that many of the Protestant churches today are reverting to their authoritarian roots.

In summary, it is clear that in the conflict currently raging around us, those who love their country must be called upon to defend the ancient pagan traditions of democracy against the alien forces of despotism and oppression that seek to destroy it.
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Fovea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-25-04 11:39 AM
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1. Io Io Io Athene
It all starts with the Orestia, and the conversion from the God's punishment by the furies, to trial by jury, held sacred by the blessed ones. It is worth remembering, I think that the Blessed Ones ARE the Furies, in a benign aspect.
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Malva Zebrina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-25-04 11:48 AM
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2. The Iroquois Confederacy
Edited on Thu Nov-25-04 11:49 AM by Malva Zebrina
was much admired by Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and Sam Adams et al.

An argument could be made that this "democracy" of the five nations, was influential in the writing of the Consitution.

Keep in mind these native Americans were not Christians and they were here first after all.
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LiberalEsto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-25-04 11:57 AM
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3. Good points!
I've also read somewhere that the ancient Martian laws on which Roman, and subsequently British, law was based were pagan.

And don't forget, if it weren't for pagan Yule, people would not be celebrating Christmas as we know it today. The season, the tree, the feasting, the Yule log, and more all came from pagan traditions.
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jbm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-25-04 11:58 AM
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4. I have argued...
That the spiritual aspects of religions and philosophy are all based on liberal values, and that the country was based on those same assumptions. "All men are created equal" are not just fine sounding words. Those words sum up one of the originating assumptions that underlies liberalism itself. We are a liberal nation. Christianity is a liberal belief system. Our heroes have always been liberals. Our great thinkers have always thought liberal. The conservatives get to rise up occasionally but they never last long. Unfortunately they can do a tremendous amount of harm in a very short time.
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HawkerHurricane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-25-04 11:58 AM
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5. Many sources...
Athenian Democracy, where those who were male, free, and had plenty of spare time (ie, the wealthy) ran things.

The Roman Republic, where 'The People and Senate of Rome' ran things.

The Iroquis Confederation.

The Hus revolt in what is now Chzechlosovokia (Christian but not Catholic or modern Protestant).

But more than anything, they wanted to avoid the various religious wars that wracked and wrecked Europe... the 30 years war reduced Germany's population by 2/3rds (dead or fled)... the brutal wars in England over Cromwell and his legacy (Puritans were Cromwellians, upset that they no longer had the power to force others to obey thier religious beliefs...).

And I'm sure I missed some.
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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-25-04 12:02 PM
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6. Paul argued against the imperial structure of his day
Edited on Thu Nov-25-04 12:17 PM by papau
I suspect mainly because it did not deliver to the poor


curious how the Councils of Constance are no longer discussed.
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Selteri Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-25-04 12:20 PM
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7. Imperialism rarely cares
about anyone but the imerpialists in charge and their direct successors.

That's the reason that so many empires crumble the way they do, they overextend themselves, it's happened time and again.

RIP Japanese Empire, German Empire, Chinese Empire, English Empire, Holy Roman Empire,Mughal Empire, Roman Empire, Greek Empire (Alexander) Etcetera etcetera etcetera. The point is they all did the same thing, though at the way the Republicans are acting is very similar to the way the Roman Empire ensured it's demise.

It reached a critical mass point where the land controlled was more than they could handle when they were besieged, but the death nell was when Ceasar declared himself to be better than the rest of the people for the direction Rome was taking.Most of the people didn't care, half of those who did wree against and the other half were for.

The German Empires both fell, but the second one is the biggest lesson that the Bush administration has failed to learn from, they made war on two seperate fronts, attacking their staunchest allies as well as their greatest enemies.

Each of these empires also had one other great downfall, the extreme influence of a state sponsored religion. For Rome the Christians had taken over to an amazing level after a vey harsh roller Coaster Ride. In Germany the government was run by the ideology of the thousand year reich.

We've done the same, invading both Iraq and Afghanistan while treating the UN like our punching dummy. We've become an imperial empire where the rich are beginning to run the show. Now the question becomes, can we wrest control from this administration before Bush alters the constitution to declare himself Empire. Of course, we can't forget Carl Rove's word that he wanted the rEpublican rule to last 1000 years.

If one draws historical paralels with this administration it is obvious that they have empire building on the mind and will lead America down the same path...

May we only survive as well as England did rather than go through the turmoil and rebuilding that the Japanese and Germans had to go through in order to recover.

Each of these empires made the same fatal flaw, they overextended their reach and control.
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