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Author Topic: Ike: "It takes no brains to be an atheist"
snopes
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Comment: There is an alleged quote by president DD Eisenhower to the
effect that:

"It takes no brains to be an atheist. Any stupid person can deny the
existence of a supernatural power because man's physical senses cannot
detect it. But there cannot be ignored the influence of conscience,
therespect we feel for the Moral Law, the mystery of first life ...or the
marvelous order in which the universe moves about us on this earth. All
these evidence the handiwork of the beneficent Deity. . . That Deity is
the God of the Bible and Jesus Christ, His Son."
DWIGHT EISENHOWER

I've Googled all over the place but can find no citations for this. Every
reference to the quote is on a christian website. Perhaps it is from an
autobiography or biography which I've not read?

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Malruhn
The "Was on Sale" Song


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I can see somebody making the observation... wrong, though it is.

To be able to deny the existance of a higher power when faced by some of the general crap we see (tsunamis, volcanos, earthquakes) and some of the wonder that is viewable (Grand Canyon, Milky Way, birth) - now THAT takes brains - and very strong faith.

And I didn't think Ike was that devout...

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Communication Attempt
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At www.brainyquote.com I found the following quote about atheists allegedly said by Eisenhower

quote:
An atheist is a man who watches a Notre Dame - Southern Methodist University game and doesn't care who wins.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

While it's not as bad as the OP quote,it still shows indifference towards atheist.

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Shades of Pale
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quote:
Originally posted by Malruhn:
To be able to deny the existance of a higher power...now THAT takes...very strong faith.

I edited this but grammatically this is what you said. (I took out extra phrases or clauses, but object/subject are all still the same.)

I will say one thing; it is common for Christians to claim (rightly, AFAIC) that it takes a lot of faith to be an atheist. You seemed to just acknowledge that. Is this what you meant to do?

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Bonnie
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It's OK, though, Eisenhower was talking about the French,

quote:
[From Clay Gowran, "Ike Sheds All Aloofness to Woo Delegates," The Chicago Daily Tribune; 9 June 1952; Pg. 3.]

Gen. Eisenhower put aside the last vestige of his five star aloofness yesterday and plunged into the job of courting any and all convention delegates who turned up at his headquarters with a "win or bust" enthusiasm.

Flushed with what he obviously considered at least a one count knockdown against a forces of Sen. Taft in the opening round of the convention, Ike abandoned the caution which he has always exhibited in the presence of newsmen and offered a scatter gun variety of statements thruout [sic] the day.

France -- a country totally removed from the present G.O.P. doings in Chicago -- came in for a drubbing from the general for reasons which mystified his audience. The blast against the nation in which he formerly resided as North Atlantic Treaty organization commander came as Ike asserted to Nebraska delegates that there is a need for a return to religion and deep honesty in all branches of government.

"One of the ways in which the French have gone so far astray is that they now brag that 50 per cent of them are either agnostics or atheists," Ike said. "It takes no brains to be an atheist. They have reached the point where their moral fiber has disintegrated."

The general offered no explanation of why he criticized France in this fashion.

quote:
[From, "Remark Called Casual," The New York Times; 11 July 1952; Pg. 10.]

CHICAGO, July 10 -- Officials in Eisenhower headquarters here have been embarrassed all week by the repercussions to General Eisenhower's critical remarks earlier this week about Frenchmen.

Many letters and telegrams have been sent to the general protesting this statement.

What the general said was that "one place where France has gone astray is that they have 50 percent of their people agnostics or atheists."

"It takes no brains to be an atheist," he added.

This was a casual remark made in a small gathering of delegates who came in to see General Eisenower Tuesday. One of the delegates had asked the general about his emphasis on the need for a spiritual revival in the nation.

He replied that he believed true democracy was the political expression of a religious concept of life and that unless we carried this spiritual and moral concept in to our political life the nation would surely decline.

He then pointed to France as one example of a nation that had been emphasized the concept of "reason" to the detriment of religious faith.

It was, however, a casual, and, the Eisenhower spokesmen now say, an unfortunate remark made without intent to injure the French.

Actually, I wasn't able to find the alleged quote in its entirety in any source. Still, there's evidence that in July, 1952 Eisenhower managed to indirectly malign the French people by implying that half of these countrymen had no brains.

Bonnie "J'aime bien Ike" Taylor

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Se non è vero, è ben trovato.

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pinqy
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quote:
To be able to deny the existance of a higher power when faced by some of the general crap we see (tsunamis, volcanos, earthquakes) and some of the wonder that is viewable (Grand Canyon, Milky Way, birth) - now THAT takes brains - and very strong faith.

Huh? Why would it take faith to think that natural occurrences are natural occurrences? I'm not aware of anything about tsunamis, volcanos, earthquakes, grand conyon, milky way, birth, that would require a "higher power." I've never understood why people have to anthropomorphize things so that nothing amazing could happen without someone intentionally doing it.

pinqy

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dyfsunctional
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I've always been confused by the "how can you deny the existence of a higher power" arguments that don't go any further than that. Fine, you've got this feeling in your bones, but maybe the person you're witnessing to doesn't. I wish people on that side of the debate would take it to the next logical level and explain what exactly it is about a tsunami or the Grand Canyon or the face of a child that screams "God."

dyf "nice foxhole you've got here" sunctional

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Shadowduck
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I'd loosely agree with Dwight on this one - not believing the christian bible to be the word of a supreme being is pretty much a no-brainer! [lol]

Actually, the thing that gets me is the implication that it requires comparatively greater intelligence to be indoctrinated into the cult of your parent or guardian's choice from an early age...

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But of course, I could be wrong.

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noreen
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by Malruhn:
I can see somebody making the observation... wrong, though it is.

To be able to deny the existance of a higher power when faced by some of the general crap we see (tsunamis, volcanos, earthquakes) and some of the wonder that is viewable (Grand Canyon, Milky Way, birth) - now THAT takes brains - and very strong faith.

And I didn't think Ike was that devout...

It takes very strong faith to spell 'existence' correctly.

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Shadowduck
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quote:
Originally posted by noreen:
quote:
Originally posted by Malruhn:
I can see somebody making the observation... wrong, though it is.

To be able to deny the existance of a higher power when faced by some of the general crap we see (tsunamis, volcanos, earthquakes) and some of the wonder that is viewable (Grand Canyon, Milky Way, birth) - now THAT takes brains - and very strong faith.

And I didn't think Ike was that devout...

It takes very strong faith to spell 'existence' correctly.
I can't say I really see Malruhn's point, but criticising a typo doesn't seem to add much to the discussion.

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But of course, I could be wrong.

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pinqy
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I see a point, though I have no idea if it's what she intended. Noreen's claim of what takes faith is just as valid as Malruhn's.

pinqy

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Shadowduck
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Or just as invalid... I see what you're saying though, Pinqy.

Perhaps I'm just in misunderstanding mode with this thread so I'll stay out of it from here.

--------------------
But of course, I could be wrong.

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Shadowduck
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Waffles

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LeaflessMapleTree
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I think it's harder to be an athiest. If you believe that God is responsible for everything, then every time something bad or inexplicable happens, the answer is "God did it for a reason that is beyond human comprehension". I don't say that as a critisism, but rather as what I generally get as an answer when I ask such questions to quite religious people.

Now, if you believe that God does nothing, or that there is no God, you have to come up with an alternate answer of why or how something happened. Not necessarily a moral reason (i.e. why did innocent people die), but rather something like the evolutionary theory, or the big bang theory, instead of simply saying "God did it".

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dyfsunctional
I Saw Three Shipments


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And thus there are far more theists than atheists in the world. (The "do it or you'll spend an eternity in Hell" bit doesn't hurt much either!)

I'm not sure that either side could claim that their faith or lack thereof requires more work than the other. Yes, an atheist has to find worldly, proveable answers to life's little questions, all the while being prepared to change what they believe when new information becomes available. A theist, though, has to spend a lot more time, effort and sometimes money actually practicing their beliefs.

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JFB
Jingle Bell Hock


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The point is moot. It takes brains to reason and convince, but it doesn't take brains to believe anything.

Ike was right. He just didn't know why.

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Mr. Baggins
Deck the Malls


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"It takes no brains to be a skeptic. Any stupid person can deny the existence of the little underpants gnomes, because they always hide very quickly when you are about to surprise them. But there cannot be ignored the feeling of being stalked, the little giggles behind the furniture, the mistery of buying a 12-pack of boxer shorts on Monday and having just 4 pairs by Wednesday... or the marvelous way in which your drawers hold only one sock of each pair. All these evidence the handiwork of the little underpants gnomes... the gnomes that surely also stole the shorts from Jesus Christ (and from God, if he wore any)".

ANONYMOUS (and for good reason)

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