2014, Year Of “The Common Good”?

John Kennedy said,  Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your courntry.  I recall that as a stunning reflection of idealistic values at the time.

President Obama said atheists shared with religious people a desire to serve the common good.  That was the first time anyone can remember a President saying something positive about atheists.

Now, Pope Francis has joined the common good team.  For the first time, his Christmas day message included an ad lib remark that atheists and the faithful should unite in seeking the common good.

Although we all know there will be some disagreement as to what is meant by the “common good”, there is more to be gained by seeking it than labeling some groups as sinners.  In the past, remarks attributed to President Bush One said atheists are not patriotic citizens.  Demonizing of atheists and gays by political and religious leaders alike have not contributed to finding ideals all parts of society can agree on.

The common good also could be introduced into the abortion issue.  If all parties could agree the health and welfare of mothers is important and that unwanted pregnancies are to be avoided, everyone could work toward the same goal, reducing abortions.

Sin is the obstacle to uniting around a common good.  When one set of people believes there is such a thing as sin, is certain it knows what that is and wants it codified into laws, we’re at an impass.


36 Responses

  1. Henry

    Jon:“…there is more to be gained by seeking it than labeling some groups as sinners.”
    Some? How about all?

    Jon:“Demonizing of atheists and gays by political and religious leaders alike have not contributed to finding ideals all parts of society can agree on.”

    So how are we supposed to work side-by-side with you, Jon sorting cans, when you constantly demonize Christians?

    1. Henry 12:31 “So how are we supposed to work side-by-side with you, Jon, sorting cans, when you constantly demonize Christians?”

      If you have ever sorted cans, Henry, you would never have heard me domonizing Christians. I do some demonizing of people who take tax ductions for donating cans of “food” that are five years old and/or bulge on the ends.

  2. I am always amazed that Christians attack and vilify atheists with self-satisfied justification but are shocked, shocked when atheists respond, not with attacks but with facts pointing that out. On a freethinkers website no less. Give me a break.

  3. H.P.Drifter

    I feel like I should come from Missouri the “Show Me” state. I have heard a lot of speeches in my life time, with Zero results. Sounds good but will anything really change, I doubt it. Neither of those two guys write their own speeches. This is fact.

  4. entech

    Just a few hours till the end of the year down here, temperature hovering around 70 with bright sunshine (sorry gloat, gloat – the devil made me say it 😆 ), your temperatures seem to be pretty negative about now. This could explain some of the vehemence (and content) of some new posters, their brains are frozen and they have to jump and shout to stay alive.

    Have you heard that New Zealand the land that gave you Ray Comfort is the place with the most advanced Biblical interpretation ever.
    Leviticus 20:13 says, “If a man lies with another man they should be stoned.” taking this literally, on the same day, they legalised Marihuana and Gay Marriage.

    No more jokes I do hope next year is better for everyone than the year just past, If you had a good year you have a better one to look forward to. To a real year of the common good.

    For Henry that should probably say, “Hopefully a better year is something to which you may look forward”.

    1. Wolfy32

      Thank you Entech, And the same to you! When time slows for no man or woman, may time offer many blessings upon you this new year!

    2. Happy New Year to you as well! Although I did read this morning that a small percentage of Americans think that on Jan. 1 the United States will become 2014 years old. A testament to the success of home-schooling no doubt.

      1. Wanna B Sure

        Rather, I think a testament to the ignorance and narcissism of today’s “moderns”. One only has to watch Jay Leno on the street asking the most basic questions on any subject. Even school teachers and college students can’t answer questions on basic subjects. There have been many examples over the years. When they don’t know the difference between the war of independence and the civil war, the Magna Carta or the Declaration of Independence was signed by Martin Luther King Jr. And if memory serves, the Viet Nam war was between the North and South. But they know every star in sit-coms, or who makes what perfume. The more fashionable they are, the dumber they are. It’s a disgrace, it’s secular, and it is across much of society.

        1. Wolfy32

          Wanna… I ask you to consider though.. What skill do I have if I know what the vietnam war was or who signed the declaration of independance? How does that affect me now or in the future. I personally couldn’t care less about name brand perfumes or who’s on what sitcom, however, what’s the point of me knowing historical facts? They’re pretty pointless in terms of how those facts affect me today or tomorrow.

          If I knew who signed the declaration of independance would that change my life dramatically today or tomorrow? Will knowing how to do basic addition and subtraction change my life today or tomorrow? Will learning how to code SQL or manage projects or knowing how business theory help me today or tomorrow? Yeah, most likely. in today’s volatile economy jobs come and go like the wind, I need skills and knowledge that serve me today and tomorrow… Unless I’m going to be a history teacher… Then yes, I need to know the facts of yesterday…

          1. Wolfy 32 5:31 “What skill do I have if I know…”

            That’s the age old question, what should young people, or, anyone else know? We hear it is math/science over and over. That doesn’t teach them to be good citizens, or even good technicians if they need to design something useful for people. I, myself, don’t thing people need to remember dates and names, maybe because I have trouble with this myself.

          2. Wanna B Sure

            Think about it. Is your world inward, or outward, and to what degree. Broad or shallow. It should be self evident. The less one understands, the less one will appreciate (comprehend) anything. Connectiveness provides opportunity.

          3. Wanna B Sure

            No one can be expert in everything. However it is good to know (appreciate) one’s weak points, and how to compensate. For example; I have never been good at, or liked bookkeeping/accounting. I am aware though that you can either hire a bookkeeper or marry one who has those skills. How many people here do their own tax returns. Everyone has particular skills and weak areas. The point is to recognize them.

        2. Wolfy32

          I agree with you on this:
          “Think about it. Is your world inward, or outward, and to what degree. Broad or shallow. It should be self evident. The less one understands, the less one will appreciate (comprehend) anything. Connectiveness provides opportunity.”

          And to Jon’s point, if we have skills that do not improve our community, then, what are we contributing if anything?

          1. Wanna B Sure

            I don’t necessarily think individual skills that don’t contribute or improve our community are useless. Consider the bagpipe on the Standing Rock. You can have skills no one else may appreciate.

          2. Wolfy32 6:40 Perhaps it’s no longer the case, but several years ago, CEO’s and Division Managers were each asked what disciplines made the best employees. The Division Managers said degrees in the technical areas they supervised. CEO’s said liberal arts, because it gave them people a longer and broader perspective. We don’t hear much these days about that debate.

          3. Wanna B Sure

            Jon; However, to get technical degrees, there are usually general subject courses required in addition to specific technologies.

          4. Wanna B Sure

            Correct. Even “technical colleges” have general requirements aside from chosen fields, but complimentary. Not necessarily in depth as a full blown “liberal arts” degree, never the less, there. There’s more to making pancakes at “Pancake school”.

          5. Wanna 8:38 I’d only add that the requirements to “broaden” a students knowledge and encounters outside his/her major have always been under attack inside universities and are much more narrow today than they were when I was rookie faculty member.

          6. Wanna B Sure

            Sorry to hear that. Or is it that the majors are so much more complex that there isn’t room for a more “liberal” (in the classic sense) education?

          7. Wanna 10:27 “Or is it that the majors are so much more comples there isn’t room for a more liberal education?”

            Perhaps there is a little of that–more demands in technical fields. But, it’s also the way positions are handed out around a university. The college of engineering where I taught had a general education requirement for social science. Students took it from a social science department. Then, the College of Engineering figured out a way for the course to be taught in their college, adding a faculty slot. There are plenty of engineers who can teach such a course, but it would be often, I believe, at least a little different than if taught in another college. The College of Business was doing the something similar.

          8. Wolfy32

            I Teach at a local university as an adjunct professor within the IT categories of classes. I can say that, the hardest part is that IT is such a broad spectrom subject that, no matter what class I teach, it’s hard to get the fundamentals in and prepare the students for the real world. I feel many times like I fall short because, this class is just a tip of the Ice berg. There’s a million combinations that the class could be used for… e.g. A computer networking course could be used to become a Microsoft server admin or an Accounting software helpdesk technician. Each would have their own specializations…. Obviously other classes would compliment the subject, but I really feel students are unprepared by colleges for the real world jobs of today…. At least for the decent paying jobs!!

      2. Henry

        nr:“A testament to the success of home-schooling no doubt.”

        Rather, a testament to the dumbing down of our schools starting approximately in the 1960’s. Here is more or less what an eighth grader used to have to know:
        Many current college educated people could not pass this test. Maybe some home schoolers (the type that always win the national spelling bee) could pass it. By the way, our family has not relied on home schooling other than the normal homework and home religious education that takes place.

        1. entech

          Sixties sounds about right Henry, trying to imagine Morris’ The Genesis Flood as a school text ? the forming of the CRS and Institute for Creation were all about that time. So that would have been about the time they started to push cretinism as valid. According to you they are succeeding.

          1. entech

            Rotten auto correct:
            I really meant to use one of your deliberate misspelling type things, I really did mean to say Cretinism not Creationism. (although I do think they are synonyms).

      3. entech

        Realist, thank you for the reciprocal greeting and good wishes. Your comment about some (small percentage) confuse the dating system used in most of the world as applying to applying to the U.S.A. is sad, it is sad that so many in the most advanced country in the world can be so insular. Long before Hong Kong returned to China I heard a middle aged American couple saying, “why are there all these British flags flying in an American Colony”? Ignorance like this is not, in my experience, as wide or as deep as many deriders would have us believe, still enough to be a concern.

        Intriguing follow on:
        Wanna says, “It’s a disgrace, it’s secular, and it is across much of society”, for an advanced country is true, not quite sure where secular comes in though. He also says, “No one can be expert in everything.”, while continuing, in his own inimitable fashion, to demonstrate that he is an exception.

        Wolfy, you are disappointing for a change, a wide general knowledge is the basis for everything. It gives a standard of comparison and correlation, diverse things can make more sense if relationships can be seen. Most importantly it provides a range of metaphorical hooks on which to hang new knowledge as it is acquired, to correlate it to things already known and increase the level of understanding.

        For a good article on this theme which includes an hour long interview with Tyson on Colbert Google “Neil deGrasse Tyson on Scientific Literacy, Education, and the Poetry of the Cosmos”

        Or for something short:

        1. Wanna B Sure

          Entech: You may not have noticed, but I am generally silent in areas not within my realm of knowledge.

          Re. “secular”; The examples I gave you are of a secular nature.

          You occasionally admit you don’t know everything, but your commentary quite often contradicts.

          Your following 3rd paragraph was my point.

          1. entech

            It’s a disgrace, it’s secular, and it is across much of society.
            Forgive my interpretation, I read this as saying that “secular” was the cause. There are many that put this down as a cause for everything from ingrown toenails up wards; you are not usually one of those.

            Know everything? I refer mainly to your predilection for going into the minutiae of a subject, the fine details of how the Southern Baptist Convention works could be an example, I have heard you go in to a young Catholic about how he is wrong. Some passing remark about a particular model of an early and its wheel nuts.
            That I am often verbose is true, sometimes I just get carried away sometimes I just put out my opinion hoping for a decent discussion that may prove my point or cause me to reconsider.

            In what way does my “following third paragraph” have any point relating to what you say? Wolfy was writing as if knowledge was only useful when it pertained to work. I was saying that a wide range of knowledge is useful in itself, that relationships and patterns help with understanding. Actually if you read a bit of what Wolfy does say, he does have a wide range of interests and thoughts.

          2. Wanna B Sure

            Read your 3rd paragraph——then my 6:20, and 6:32, and my 8:38. The connection should be obvious. If not explicit, implicit.

          3. Wanna B Sure

            The thread was on a slightly different, yet related topic, but the content was the same. You did however state it quite well, in relation to both.

          4. Wolfy32

            I say this not in a bragging way because it’s both a blessing and a curse… I’ve been told that I have a higher level awareness compared to the “average” person’s awareness. Most people ignore, dismiss, or don’t care about the mundane things in life, yet, I take note and ask questions or consider things that few others consider. I may ask a question about something and decide to go into indepth research of it instead of just accepting the first answer I’m given. I don’t do this for everything, but this has lead me to a broad knowledge of a lot of things.. (At a very surface level… ) The problem is with my memory.. Sometimes Things blend together and I merge facts and they become false facts that were true by themselves but, wrong. I believe a broad knowledge is useful and helps us make better decisions in our own lives..

            That said, I also believe that when it comes to profession, in my experience, without specialization, one can become a “jack of all trades” knowing a little about a lot of things, but no expert in anything. I’m finding this true of myself.. I’m a teacher, I’ve been a software / server administrator, a developer, now I’m a requirements analyst and a report developer (SQL). I’m seeking a Professional certification in Project management to eventually use all this diverse knowledge to manage projects.

            And to possibly teach in the project management field. Seeking to specialize by making my knowledge base the basis of my specialization.

            I don’t think colleges do enough to tell students hey, this general knowledge is great, it’ll help you make better personal decisions and find who you are as a person, but, you’ll need to specialize into what type of expert in your field you’re going to be….

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