I can't decide if I prefer the candidate for President who says we should consider all the facts before deciding when to withdraw troops from Iraq or the one who says we should consider all the facts before deciding when to withdraw troops from Iraq.

On a marginally related note, I can't help wondering whether McCain and Obama are both closet atheists. My hunch is that they are.

McCain is famously quiet about his faith, which is strange for a Republican candidate. And you have to wonder what five years in a prison camp does to your belief, assuming his buddies who didn't make it out were praying too. My hunch is that he's not a believer.

Obama came to Christianity about the same time he realized it was useful to his future ambitions. He seems like a pragmatist to me. The majority of people at his education level aren't believers. My hunch is that he isn't a believer either.

I won't quibble if you disagree. It's just a feeling I get by watching how they operate and how they present themselves. The truth will never be known. What's your hunch?
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Jul 30, 2008
Has anyone seen this article about Obama's prayer?

Jul 30, 2008
As humans I believe we judge actions of individuals as to their level of Faith or Religion. What else are we to judge? Their words? Politicians have a multitude of actions (and words) that make us question if they have Faith. I don't think anyone is mentally able to have a Faithful life and be a politician. I think they'd spontaneously combust!

And as far as those who think it is wrong to speculate about someones Faith...well, normally I'd say they were right. However, we are discussing the next leader of the free world. I would like to think that we'd have a leader that believes in a higher power the same as the vast majority of us.
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 30, 2008
Michael Kinsley once said something like this: an American politician would rather burn in Hell than admit to being an atheist.
Jul 30, 2008
"The majority of people at his education level aren't believers. "

Huh?!?! According to http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/washington/news.aspx?id=95811, the vast majority of even well educated people believe in God. And if you add in the "I don't believe in God, but I do believe in a universal spirit/higher power" element, you are getting close to 90%. I don't care if you don't believe. I don't care if McCain and Obama sacrifice sheep in their backyards to the Celtic god Ohyuvgotobekydingme, but I do care about reporting information correctly.
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 30, 2008
For those interested in knowing, rather than just speculating - regarding McCain's faith

Prayer: "I Was Sustained in Times of Trial"

I was finding that prayer helped. It wasn't a question of asking for superhuman strength or for God to strike the North Vietnamese dead. It was asking for moral and physical courage, for guidance and wisdom to do the right thing. I asked for comfort when I was in pain, and sometimes I received relief. I was sustained in many times of trial.

source: http://www.usnews.com/articles/news/2008/01/28/john-mccain-prisoner-of-war-a-first-person-account.html?PageNr=1
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 30, 2008
Scott, you should listen to the EconTalk podcast on the economics of religion. GMU economist Larry Iannaccone studies the economics of religion and claims there are no major demographic differences between the religious and the nonreligious.
Jul 30, 2008
Religion is one more way evil humans to scam gullible humans. They take advantage of the weaknesses of simple-minded.

Religion is a form of approved bigotry.
Jul 30, 2008
I've never met anyone that could convince me that they had real faith in God. Most people just say they are believers because they want it to be true, or think that it is the popular opinion, but they don't really act like they really believe.

I thought that Mother Teresa might be a true believer, but now we know she doubted her faith. also.

I do believe that we will never know all the answers.
Jul 30, 2008
The masses find it true.
The enlightened find it false.
The rulers find it useful.
+10 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 30, 2008
Although the president takes the oath of office with his hand on a bible, we are basically a secular nation. I don't care what religion the president believes in, I want him to do what is right for the country. You know, that whole 'Uphold and defend the Constitution' thing.....

We are not electing a pope.
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Jul 30, 2008
The only "verifiable" reason to believe that Obama is a "closet Muslim," MJHerlihy, is that liars spew lies that idiots believe, but way to push that meme. You got Johnny McMaverick's lumpy back, and I'm sure he'd be proud of you.

Meanwhile, it's pathetic that the nation has been dragged down to a level that professed Christianity is a job requirement for President. In truth, it's no more of a requirement than, say, having been a POW, but they both sure have some sizzle.

How they intend to handle global climate issues, dwindling energy supplies, our place in the world, and the Judiciary are the things I wish more people were interested in, rather than how strong their beliefs are about !$%*!$%* that may or may not exist.
Jul 30, 2008
Only 4% of Ph.D.s are religious? That's going to be news to my bible study group. At least half of us have a Ph.D. and most of the rest are either looking to get one or got an M.S. Did this study cover the bible belt or was it more regional? Seriously, the more you look at the universe, the more it looks like it was set up to support life, like some kind of cosmic fishbowl.
As for McCain losing his faith in a prison camp, how can you know what that kind of terror will do to a man unless you both the man and the terror intimately. I pray none of us has to experience the kind of suffering McCain went through for his country.
Having said that, I worry that his camp is still fighting Vietnam, or perhaps WW2. When they talk about a "surrender date" I think of somebody turning over his sword on an aircraft carrier. That's just not how the war on terror is going to end.
Jul 30, 2008
I thought the choice was between "Get all the facts before deciding WHEN to withdraw troops" and "Get all the facts before decicing WHETHER to withdraw troops".

I suspect that most polititians would at best be,CAPE Christians (Christmas, Advent, Palm sunday and Easter), if going to church weekly wasn't part of the job requirements.

Jul 30, 2008
There are many who feel that Obama is a closet Muslim, for verifiable reasons. I’m surprised that no one has mentioned that here.

As for McCain and his time at the Hanoi Hilton, I can’t say but I have heard this.

I have met and even talked to two other POW’s from that time. I was surprised to find that they were both very level headed fellows. I asked the one I knew better why it was that he wasn’t nuts, as I thought it would have driven me crazy to go through what he had? He said that he wasn’t all that sure that he wasn’t, and that indeed many of his fellow guests had gone nuts, but that they didn’t make it home again.
-2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 30, 2008
Religion is just another marketing tool for politicians, much like the words "conservative" and "liberal" which have been stripped of most of their meaning.

Politics and the things it can influence are not likely to capture the imagination of the spiritual-minded especially in what appears to be the final decline of western civilization.

What we really need on the political scene is a good prophet of doom. But that person would never stand a chance because they'd be bad for business.
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 30, 2008
Based on recent polls and compiled evidence Obama is most likely a follower of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

+5 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 30, 2008
Faith is just too much of a personal issue for anyone to even begin to have any clue about what other people really believe in.

I, for one, have been reading this blog for a good while now and sometimes get this huch that you are about two minutes away from becoming a Catholic... but that is just because you tend to ask really similar questions to the ones Jesuits tend to ask. (I was raised in a Catholic school of Ignatian denomination... and, believe me, no kidding, sometimes you sound like a Jesuit.. feel free to laugh about it, but seriously, sometimes is just weird.)

Anyways. I guess it is not really about what they say they are, but about comparing their actions to what they claim to believe in. That is the meassure of a person of principle.

McCain suffered torture and has oppenly declared that he is against it, even though the line of his party was more into the "it depends on the situation" thing. I respect him for that. He also told car factory workers that they had to move on because those jobs were not coming back. Not what the tipical politician would say. Was pro surge even when that was unpopular because he believed it would work. (he stood for what he believed was right, I am not saying he was right or wrong, just that he acted according to what he says he believes)

Obama is a very smart orator. He is charming and even good looking. Opposed the war when it wasn`t that popular to oppose it. He should get credit for that. Otherwise I don`t really know much about him except for the fact that he attended some church for 20 years without ever really knowing anything that was being said there (at least that`s his story). And then he quit when it was convenient for him to do so.

Oh, by the way, you asked this "you have to wonder what five years in a prison camp does to your belief"

I wonder about that too. I am just not sure that becoming an atheist is the only possible and/or rational outcome. It would be interesting to have an honest answer (not a politician answer) to that question by McCain himself.

-4 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 30, 2008
Bush, Romney, and the other rep candidate guy, are clearly the religious nuts.
Your hunt about McCain and Obama is right, they are convinient Christian, they are not believers. And it's a good thing.
New generations learn more about science, they will eventually abandon religion, except cases when their families force it down on them, but even then, they wont be true believer.
Religion will eventually fade out in industrial societies, and in Socialist and Communist countries.

-2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 30, 2008
To Algonad (from a godless scum :) )

There is statistics that show - the higher is a person on an education ladder - chance that he/she is religious drops in geometrical progression.

Amongst the highest ranking scientists in US only 4 percent are religious (NB - the survey I am quoting did not include some social science professionals, e.g - historians and some others).
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 30, 2008
hehe. I bet a beehive will begin in here with unrelated discussions, if there is God. :)
First of all, I pray your hunch is correct.

Second - I got similar hunch after this: http://web.israelinsider.com/Articles/Politics/13021.htm
Even on Hotel paper. In order not to be mixed up with some neighbouring note 'Kill all the Arabs, give us back the Holy land and then Americans can go to hell'.

On McCaine - don't know, your point is good, but who knows what could happen to the system of beliefs in a cruel captivity.

One British spy had been held for five years, surviving on rice and with nothing to read but Capital by Marx. Came back and became double spy for Soviets, for started to believe in bright future of Communism. Sorry - forgot the name, read his autobiography few years ago.
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