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Warren on atheists

The day after interviewing Barack Obama and John McCain on the stage in his church, Rick Warren said this:

"I could not vote for an atheist because an atheist says, 'I don't need God,' " Warren said. "They're saying, 'I'm totally self-sufficient by [myself].' And nobody is self-sufficient to be president by themselves. It's too big a job."
LA Times

As for as I'm concerned, anyone is free to vote or not vote for someone based on any criteria. Our Constitution forbids any official religious test for office, but individuals can take religion under consideration if they think it's important. However, I have some problems with the way Warren justified his statement.

First, atheists don't say "I don't need God." We say that there is no such thing as God. We also don't say "I hate God," "I'm running from God," "I love to sin" or "I'm angry at religious people." I cannot hate or run from something that doesn't exist. The fact that Warren said this shows that he either doesn't understand atheism or refuses to take it seriously.

Second, he's right that the president needs help, but shouldn't that help come from knowledgeable human advisors? I think that a good president should listen to advice from trusted staff, trained experts, public opinion and even political rivals.

Third, how, exactly, does God help a person govern? Does he send intra-office memos? Does he call the president on a private line? Does he attend cabinet meetings? Does he speak to the president in dreams? How does it work? Wouldn't it be better if our president sought and took the advice of humans rather than trying to puzzle out the will of a silent God?

Fourth, for the last seven years we've had a president who claimed to be called and guided by God. I don't think that's going very well. In fact, I think that the delusion of God's favor has made President Bush especially arrogant and reckless. Because he thinks God is on his side, he is capable of ignoring good advice and going it alone. An atheist president would understand better than anyone that all we have is each other, and that we should take care of the earth, the only home we have.

7 comments

how, exactly, does God help a person govern? Does he send intra-office memos? Does he call the president on a private line?

LOL.

FWIW… I could and would vote for an atheist. I don’t think I disagree with a think in this post.


dave [Visitor] • http://www.mindfulmission.com08/19/08 @ 07:04

Dave, you are right, there are no thinks that I really disagree with either. (What does FWIW mean? I know I am a grumpy old man (who is not McCain) and I am now out of touch with the tubular slang)

I wish Xians would get the hell out of politics so they could focus on restoring creation/justice and not expect the governments to do it for us. I don’t wanna see a christian rome ruling the world


Henry Imler [Visitor] • http://hundiejo.com08/19/08 @ 07:33
dan [Member] • http://www.brendoman.com/08/19/08 @ 07:37

I refuse to vote for someone that doesn’t read the tea leaves.

I refuse to vote for someone that doesn’t follow their horoscope.

People like that believe they can do it all on their own, are islands unto themselves, have sad pathetic worthless lives, and too much time on their hands (Sunday morning, anyone?)


Brendon [Visitor] • http://www.techfreak.net08/19/08 @ 09:53

FWIW = for what it’s worth. Anything from Dave is worth a lot.

Umm… thanks.

And really Henry … you didn’t know what FWIW means? :)


dave [Visitor] • http://www.mindfulmission.com08/19/08 @ 12:38

Hey GWB listens to the voices in his head and his 8 years have turned out pretty good right?

errr… ummm… yeah.

Having a faith in a power larger than yourself is fine. DEPENDING on it is lame. I’m totally not into voting for someone who might say “Yeah this invisible unprovable thing in my head is like my total reality guide", which is not the same as voting for someone who has a belief system and understands that the job of an elected official is to govern a free people fairly.

PS: Dan contact me via email if you’re into doing googlemaps for profit. The next phase of my life will benefit from someone who can throw down some awesome googlemap and I heard from a European flower-power code junkie you’re da man.


EdB [Visitor] • http://wonderwinds.com08/20/08 @ 23:25

To your question: How exactly does God help a person govern? He can do that anyway he wants (he’s God) but he usually uses people. So, for example, the president would pray, and then “seek the advice of knowledgeable humans” and God would place them in his path. Or he could skip the pray part and just “seek the advise of knowledgeable humans” and maybe end up at the same result just by a long series of random chances that survived the perils of time. And maybe he could skip the pray part and end up at the same result because someone else prayed. Yes, God could send out an inter-office memo, or he could call the president, or attend a cabinet meeting or speak in a dream. But, unless he did that to you or me personally, most likely neither one of us would believe it (and I’m a christian!) so why even question it? I also am not happy with the job that Bush has done, but how do you know an atheist would do better. Either one is capable of screwing up.
I questioned the existence of God at one point in my life. I had just enough curiosity to pray one last prayer: “God if you’re real show me.” I was not willing to believe in something without having evidence to back it up. It had to work out logically in my mind and I needed to be able to give an account for what I believed. What God did was give me my own miracle. He gave me something that was farther and higher than anything this logical world could explain. My own parting of the red sea, so to speak. I actually experienced excorcising a demon from my dad. It’s a long story that I won’t get into here (I have it written in a word doc. if your interested I can send it). My point is not for you to believe because of my experience. There were plenty of other documented miracles before me that you probably don’t believe so why should you believe my experience. But, what you would believe is your own experience. I challenge you, before you totally give up the possibility of God, to ask him to show you if he is real. Maybe you have already done this. But if you haven’t, then you haven’t exhausted every resource.


Mama K [Visitor]• 09/14/08 @ 21:11

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