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Saturday, March 08, 2003

Superstition-Interesting e-mail that Josh Claybourn posted on the Pledge of Allegiance. I'm not a big fan of the Pledge, for it makes the reciter pledge lordship to a piece of cloth, but I do think it's constitutional. Other incidents of generic theism, such as the "In God We Trust" on our currency, have passed constitutional muster. Here's the key part of the e-mail.
The Pledge forces a minority -- atheists -- to profess belief in a religious position that they do not adhere to. Now let's turn the tables. Suppose atheists are in the majority, and Christians are a small persecuted minority. Would it be Constitutionally permissible to force schoolchildren to recite a pledge that says
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, free of superstitious belief in supernatural beings, with liberty and justice for all.
If your answer is "yes", then you are at least intellectually honest.
First of all, as commenters to Josh's post point out, students can opt out, although that puts them in the position of being the odd ducks. However, Believe it or not, I wouldn't mind a country "free of superstitious belief in supernatural beings." Let's pull out the dictionary definition of superstitious.
of, relating to, or swayed by superstition
That then begs to see the definition of superstition (cue up Stevie Wonder)
1 a : a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation b : an irrational abject attitude of mind toward the supernatural, nature, or God resulting from superstition 2 : a notion maintained despite evidence to the contrary
Ask yourself these questions. Is your faith based on ignorance? Nope. I think unbelief is based more on ignorance, for it ignores a supernatural realm that has solid, albeit anecdotal, evidence for it. Is your faith based on fear of the unknown? Motivated by, possibly, but not based on. Is your faith based on trust in magic or chance? Don't think so. In fact, the atheist's evolutionary theory's the one that's based on dumb luck. Is your faith based on a false conception of causation? To a naturalist, it would be, but they preclude evidence to prove their theory wrong. Is your faith an irrational abject attitude of mind toward God? I don't think that would apply to most bloggers here. Most of us have a rational, well-thought-out, set of reasons for following God. OK, here's the atheist's Hail Mary, Is your faith a notion maintained despite evidence to the contrary? Here, cram that evidence for evolution down your throat. However, that evidence doesn't discount the equal evidence of a guy who claimed to be God incarnate raising from the dead; it wasn't refuted at the time and He continues to change lives today. At minimum, the meme of Jesus can change lives for the better today. Believing in that meme doesn't seem irrational, thus faith in God and his Son doesn't meet the Merriam-Webster definition of superstitious .

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