Thursday, June 12, 2008

Faith Based Leadership = FAIL

I'll try to keep this relatively short.

Not because I respect your time or think you have a short attention span, but because I got me a half slab of baby backs warming up in the oven. [they were delicious...nom nom nom nom!]

I'm starting to think we need one, basic, litmus test for elected officials at all levels.

"Would you describe yourself as 'a person of faith' who believes in God?"

If the answer is Yes, then they are disqualified from running for any elected office, from dog catcher (actually I've never lived anywhere that people elected dog catchers, or any other Animal Control type people...I'm just sayin'...) to POTUS.

I know that seems harsh. But here is why I think it's not only justified, but critical.

It all comes down to faith.

The definition of faith is "belief without evidence". A person of faith is able to take a concept that is taught to them by someone else, and just believe it. They don't have to have it proved to them. They don't need any evidence. They just accept and "know that it's true" because they "feel it in their heart" or "know it in their gut". In the most extreme cases, they believe it because "God spoke to them" or they "were touched by the Holy Spirit".

Carl Sagan (when speaking about UFOs and alien visitations) once said (paraphrasing) "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence".

If some one is able to believe an "extraordinary claim" like this...

...then they can probably believe much less extraordinary claims with no evidence whatsoever. Because they "just know it".

Claims like Iraq being a threat to America. Claims like Iraq having Weapons of Mass Destruction. Claims like the idea that we would be greeted by the Iraqis as librators. Claims like the idea that we can force a free and democratic middle east into existence by invading countries, killing people and breaking things.

I'd like a president who, when presented with an extraordinary claim, like "making rich people richer, helps poor people" would question that bold assertion.

Hypothetical President: "A rising tide only lifts all boats if everybody has a boat. If the tide is rising, and you ain't got no boat...wouldn't you drown?"

That would be a good question to ask.

Here are a whole lot of people smarter than me saying the same thing a whole lot better than me.

Keep people who believe in "God" out of politics. They are too gullible to be in charge

Elect scientific athiests. If you can find any willing to put up with the bullshit long enough to campaign and win.

A doubtful proposition, but worth the search.


emawkc said...

You have convinced me, XO. Based on this post, there's no way in hell I'll be voting for Barack Obama now.

Shane said...

You are disqualifying 98% of the world. Including Albert Einstein, all the founding fathers (who put that little "In God We Trust" phrase on our currency), and many other extremely brilliant people.

People who know God don't necessarily bring him into politics. The current president does, but many others did not. And I imagine you can't find proof of an atheist in the White House ever. And even an old man like you would argue that there have been at least ONE or TWO good presidents in history.

Xavier Onassis said...

shane - I'm afraid you are wrong about Einstein. Did you not read about this letter?

In the letter, according to the A.P. account, he wrote that “the word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish.”

As for his fellow Jews, he said that Judaism, like all other religions, was “an incarnation of the most childish superstitions.”

I also question that 98% figure.

I don't want someone with access to the largest nuclear arsenal in the world to have "faith" in any thing.

I want them basing every single decision they make on facts, empirical evidence, truth and logic.

Primitive superstitions and "gut feelings" have no place in a postion that powerful.

Bush's dearly held belief in the 2nd Coming of Jesus is absolutely no different what so ever than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's belief in the return of the Hidden Imam.

They are both batshit crazy and have no business leading a country.

Doc said...

we've been in Taos for the last couple of weeks -and plan on staying here for at least 2 more weeks- loafing, drinking, eating, sleeping, generally unwinding and having a good time.

i haven't posted anything to my blog in that time frame and don't intend to do so until i come back.

i have followed a few blogs in google reader, but have mostly gigled myself silly over posts. until, sadly, this one:

"You are disqualifying 98% of the world. Including Albert Einstein, all the founding fathers (who put that little "In God We Trust" phrase on our currency)..."


Einstein wavered in his early years about the existence of a supernatural being, but in his later years was firmly agnostic if not outright athesitic: do the research and you will discover this is true.

The founding fathers/motto bit is one of those 'common sense' lies: the original, official motto of the U.S. was P Pluribus Unum ("from many, one") and was approved for use on the Great Seal of the United States in 1782. Indeed it still appears on coins and currency, and was widely considered the national motto de facto. It took the Red Scare/Communism/Pod People mania in this country in the 50s, foisted off on American's by the likes of Joe McCarthy, to get that little ditty stamped on our money. 1956, to be exact. And there was a rather large hue and cry about it.

As well there should have been.

Belief in the supernationl ought to disqualify anyone from any public service job that directs or sets policy for any other human.


Le Grand Lapin said...

I'm with you, XO.

shane, you're in over your head.

Einstein my ass. In his words:

"It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.

The founding fathers were largely noncommittal about religion, especially Christianity. They were much more concerned about making money and not having to pay taxes. In 1864, Congress added "In God We Trust", not the old guys in 1776. The motto got real traction under McCarthyism in the repressive and fear-mongering '50s as a reaction to the Red Threat. It didn't become the official motto until 1956. A lot of parallels to today's fear of terrorists. You're too young to truly understand, shane. I think you had to be there.

Abraham Lincoln once said: "The Bible is not my book, and Christianity is not my religion. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma." Didn't he live in the White House? Was he a good president?

One example doesn't make an argument, but it's better than
repeating old, stale myths.

Shane said...

The 98% is the percentage of the world that believes in a power greater than themselves.

I'm just saying I think that reason and faith can co-exist. Unfortunately, the folks who are classified as "faith politicians" haven't cast a great light on those of us that pray, but also use reason to make decisions.

Anonymous said...

So you want a computer to be the next president................... curious to know when having faith became something less than desirable and the current trend/fad of being faithless 'cool'.

God Bless You and have a safe weekend.

Poodles said...


Satyavati devi dasi said...

Lord.. (pun?) are we going to go here again?

I'd be a good president. Seriously. I would.

There's issues with whoever you bring into office.

Personally, I don't care what religion someone is, but just like in any job, unless you're a chaplain, you need to keep your religion out of it.

If it's at all influencing you, which, if you're at all sincere about your beliefs, you need to keep your happy ass shut about it.

I don't believe that just because a person has religious beliefs that should be a disqualification any more than that atheism should be a disqualification. On whatever grounds anyone wants to make up.

Stereotypes suck. Just because I have religious beliefs doesn't mean I wouldn't be a good president. Just because you don't doesn't mean you wouldn't either.

Let's get past this.

You Rang said...

I don't think "faith" should disqualify someone.

I do think it should be a huge detriment to them being elected, and they should be mocked mercilessly in TV campaign commericials for not having the ability to discern what is real and what isn't. I mean, it ok for a three year old to "believe" in stories. Adults shouldn't.

Of course, thats part of the problem with this "born again" age we are in. Too many "three year olds" in public office.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

If anything, find out at least what it is people are believing in and determine how that might influence them.

You can pretty much bet that if you elect a Buddhist, you're not going to war.

If you elect a Jain, you're definitely not going to war, and you can look for legislation that's going to preserve life.

Have you ever seen either a Jain or a Buddhist go to war? Look at the Tibetans enduring use and abuse more or less since the 1700's and peacefully just carrying on with their lives (for the most part) while the Chinese overrun them and dismantle their whole culture.

If you elect Oral Roberts he will spend four years explaining that God is going to strike him down unless he raises taxes to get more money.

If you elect me, believe me, the last thing you'll have to worry about is my faith. I have a lot of other issues that will impact my administration a hundred times more strongly.

The whole point is that everybody believes in something. We have so been over this before. Remember?

'Evidence' is based on what data we are able to collect on a subject at a given time. If data collection methods improve (eg, mass spectrometer vs naked eye) over time, the data we are able to collect may change and actually may invalidate previous hypotheses. This does happen. Which is why most of the 'facts' of the universe, or at least a good deal of them, are actually 'theories' because they can't be definitively proven. So the ability to accept the invalidation of a 'fact' previously accepted as truth is part of the scientific process.

Getting back to the point: people believe things based on whatever basis they choose: whether they believe 'evidence' that may eventually be modified or overturned based on future data collection and interpretation by those people deemed to be 'authorities' in their chosen fields of theoretical physics, genetics, whatever... or they may hold religious/spiritual beliefs based on those people deemed to be authorities in their chosen fields.

The point is, you're accepting authority. If someone at MIT makes an announcement that they've seen XYZ in the electron microscope and that it means ABC, we either believe them or we don't. We personally have no idea what any of that shit in the microphotograph is or means. So we have to take their word for it.

If someone explains to me that the universe was created thus and so because here is the literature that explains it, and here is the provenance of said literature, I either believe it or I don't. I either accept it as an authority or I don't.

The point, which we have already beaten mostly to death in a previous argument, is that everyone believes in something. You can call it whatever you want, but in the end, the essence of it is the same.

Hence the notion of disqualifying or mocking someone for believing in something is just fallacious and actually silly.

Love ya.
Mean it.