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New Jersey firefighters sworn in on iPad Bible app

post #1 of 103
Thread Starter 
Last week, several Atlantic City firefighters took their oaths of office using not a physical Bible, as is tradition, but a Bible app on Apple's iPad.

According to a Friday report from NBC 40, officials had scheduled a ceremony to promote several Atlantic City Fire Department workers to Battalion Chief and Fire Captain, but upon commencing the proceedings it was noticed that no one had thought to bring a Bible to City Council Chambers.

ACFD Swear In
Atlantic City firefighters get sworn in on an iPad. | Source:NBC 40


One attendant, though, carried Apple's popular tablet computer along with him. The iPad owner pulled up ― or downloaded, as the report is not clear ― a Bible app. The firefighters then swore their oaths, each placing his hand on the iPad with the Bible app open.

post #2 of 103
OK, it's bad enough that government offices in a country that has separation of church and State swears in firefighters with a Bible, but using an electronic device as a substitute is ludicrous.

I'm sure that the Pope wouldn't consider an iPad (bible app or not) as sacred as the church's Bible.
post #3 of 103

Hope they watched the screen, all those touches and they could have ended up swearing on Angry Birds

post #4 of 103
Why not? You already have the "Jesus Phone".
post #5 of 103
Well, when the president himself has to swear on the Holy Bible...so much for the so-called separation.
post #6 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by Franck View Post

Well, when the president himself has to swear on the Holy Bible...so much for the so-called separation.
The president doesn't have to use a Bible, but they do it out of blind tradition.

I'm looking forward to elected officials who decline using the Bible and instead use a copy of the Constitution. And then see who complains...
post #7 of 103

So help you God?  So help us Jobs, um ah God.


Edited by tylerk36 - 2/10/13 at 6:36pm
An Apple man since 1977
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post #8 of 103
Ha--I see I'm not alone in my reaction. My first thought when I saw this was that the separation of church and state, wisely intended by the founders of this country, is now just a click of the Home button away!

Sadly, the 3-way alliance of religion, government, and mega-corporations is enforced by tradition and prejudice even more than by law. (Well, alliance is the wrong word, since one of those three is simply using the other two...)

This story reflects a change of tradition... but not QUITE the change that justice demands...
post #9 of 103
If I were religious, I'd find this disturbing at best, insulting at worst.

But as it is, I find it rather amusing. Now that SJ is up there somewhere, sorting out Moses' tablets and what not , I guess it should be OK. 1wink.gif
post #10 of 103

So many things to comment on, but I guess the main thing is that they didn't plan on using an iPad app - it was a last minute solution they put to use when nobody had a 'real' bible handy. From that perspective it sounds to me like a good quick solution so they could get the cerimony done and over with.

 

I wonder though if you aren't christian, do you have to or can you swear in on whatever tome is holy in your tradition? Book of Shadows for the wiccan firefighters? And if not then what is the point of swearing in on a holy book at all, if it's not holy to you?

 

Philosophically I'm also curious about how a bunch of words mass-produced, printed by machine on machine made paper, is 'more holy' than a digital representation of the same words displayed on a screen? Is the paper holier than the screen? I thought it was the content that was important, not what it's printed or displayed on.

 

Cheers!
 

post #11 of 103

iDo solemnly swear!

post #12 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomkarl View Post

OK, it's bad enough that government offices in a country that has separation of church and State swears in firefighters with a Bible, but using an electronic device as a substitute is ludicrous.

I'm sure that the Pope wouldn't consider an iPad (bible app or not) as sacred as the church's Bible.

Well, what's funny is that the Bible can't even be used in a court as evidence in a trial. It's just a book.  They should be using the Constitution and Billy of Rights and the book of laws that pertain to their specific industry.  For instance, CHP have to enforce Vehicle Laws, those laws, if printed, makes about a 1000 page book. The Bible?  That's just a book used in certain religions and even amongst those religions that use a Bible, they have different versions, so they can't even agree on which on to use.  Worthless document if you ask me. Too many contradictions, generalizations, false information, and mis-interpretations.  I've found one that I could argue about passages within the document being clearly written, and truthful.   It's just used as part of Religious cults to brainwash people.  That's all it really is.

post #13 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dlux View Post


The president doesn't have to use a Bible, but they do it out of blind tradition.

 

It would be political suicide not to.  

     197619842014  

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     197619842014  

     Where were you when the hammer flew?  

 

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post #14 of 103
No officials in government should swear on a holy book in any form. They should swear on the Constitution, period.

And besides the Constitution clearly states that no religious oath shall be required.
post #15 of 103
We have the separation of church and state. Not religion and state.

The firefighters weren't all required to be Presbyterian or something. That would be a church/state issue.
post #16 of 103
I find this hilarious, but at the same time it makes you think. The idea of placing your hand on the Bible is so that you won't lie (as no one could ever lie and put their hand on a Bible! Lol) It doesn't mean anything for those who are not Christian, so why do they still do it?
Politics follow those old traditions and its so hard to break from them. Unfortunately, we need to. I think once our baby boomers die off we will have a younger more willing generation who will see past the old traditions and move to something more modern
post #17 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by netrox View Post

No officials in government should swear on a holy book in any form. They should swear on the Constitution, period.

And besides the Constitution clearly states that no religious oath shall be required.

Franklin Pierce was the sole exception to using the bible. He affirmed rather than swore and used a law book rather than the bible.

While there should certainly not be a requirement that a Bible be used, it is recognized that Presidents are human and have their own beliefs. The Constitution calls for an oath of office. I don't see anything wrong with administering that in a way that the President finds meaningful.

I do object to required religious requirements in the government. For example, there is a prayer at the inauguration which has no place there. Congress has an official chaplain and starts activities with prayer. That should also be abolished.


As for using an iPad rather than a paper bible, I don't see the objection. The oldest parts of the bible were not written down for many generations - and were first written on papyrus, I would assume. They would have been written in ancient Hebrew or other Middle Eastern language. I fail to see how putting the bible onto an electronic device demeans it any more than the multiple translations it has gone through and the distortions added by each succeeding generation.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
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post #18 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atashi View Post

I wonder though if you aren't christian, do you have to or can you swear in on whatever tome is holy in your tradition? Book of Shadows for the wiccan firefighters? And if not then what is the point of swearing in on a holy book at all, if it's not holy to you?

 

 

 

Quakers have long had a religious objection to swearing and oathing.  It has long been established that they be allowed to "affirm" what is traditionally "sworn" and do so without a bible.  I am quite certain that people of other faiths or no faiths have that same option, though many people just go with the flow.

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post #19 of 103

Quote:

Originally Posted by 1984 View Post
It would be political suicide not to.  

 

We can dare to dream.

post #20 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dunks View Post

Quote:

We can dare to dream.

I find it interesting that those who are atheists also have a belief system that they can't also can't prove as proving the absence of something is usually impossible. Faith is defined as complete trust or confidence in something. If you believe there is no god then you have faith in the lack of this existence without any such proof and yet many atheists will say they do not have an unverifiable belief system. Many religions at least offer miracles, writings, and artifacts that they believe are proof. It's not good science but at least it's better than the complete absence as proof.

I define myself as agnostic. I don't say there is or isn't a god. I literally proclaim that I am without the knowledge nor the ability to know if there is or isn't a god as defined by any religion I'm aware of. I see that as the only way to be scientific about it.

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post #21 of 103
The Bible app? You mean the one next to the Koran app?
I think it's a great idea as long as iBooks has a copy of Christpher Hitchens' "God is not Great" in it
post #22 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I find it interesting that those who are atheists also have a belief system that they can't also can't prove
Here we go 1rolleyes.gif

Atheism is the lack of theism. We don't believe in Zeus. We don't believe in leprechauns. We don't believe in astrology. We don't believe in superstition.

We live normal lives informed by reason and critical thinking. If someone else wants to insert a belief in god into it then that is entirely their own doing, not the doing of atheists.

In short, we have no supernatural "belief system" that needs to be proved or disproved. You're the one who brought it up.
post #23 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dlux View Post

Here we go 1rolleyes.gif

Atheism is the lack of theism. We don't believe in Zeus. We don't believe in leprechauns. We don't believe in astrology. We don't believe in superstition.

We live normal lives informed by reason and critical thinking. If someone else wants to insert a belief in god into it then that is entirely their own doing, not the doing of atheists.

In short, we have no "belief system" that needs to be proved or disproved. You're the one who brought it up.

You have an unwavering faith in the absence of god despite having no proof there is no god. That is a belief system. You can rattle off as many things as you want that you don't believe in but but it's still a belief that you can't prove and yet you adamently believe in.

If you honestly can't see how atheism is a belief in something that can't be prove then prove to me there is no god.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #24 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

You have an unwavering faith in the absence of god despite having no proof there is no god. That is a belief system.
Atheism is a belief system like 'Off' is a TV channel.


Quote:
You can rattle off as many things as you want that you don't believe in but but it's still a belief that you can't prove and yet you adamently believe in.
I'm not going to go down a semantic rat hole with you. If you want to bend the meaning of 'belief' to include everything that cannot be proven (including gravity and mathematical axioms), then you win. What an original argument.
post #25 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dlux View Post

Atheism is a belief system like 'Off' is a TV channel.
I'm not going to go down a semantic rat hole with you. If you want to bend the meaning of 'belief' to include everything that cannot be proven (including gravity and mathematical axioms), then you win. What an original argument.

The scientific method isn't about being original but being accurate. I completely support your wish to believe in something you can't possibly prove but it's not scientific. You are clearly impassioned by your beliefs I just hope you support others who hold a different unverifiable truth.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #26 of 103
I know I'm going to be panned, but here goes.
We are in the 21st century and we still pay homage to a book of fairy tales, be them extremely violent and contradictory.

Went to a small claims court, the liars swore on a bible, we didn't. We won. End of story.
post #27 of 103

And they say Apple's not a religion...boom! sworn in on an iPad.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #28 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dlux View Post

I'm looking forward to elected officials who decline using the Bible and instead use a copy of the Constitution. And then see who complains...

 

YES, a thousand times yes!   Ancient superstitions and mythology have no place in government, the duty of public officials is to uphold the federal and state constitutions.

APOSTROPHE: he's/she's/you're/it's
NO APOSTROPHE: his/hers/yours/its

Is this really so difficult?
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APOSTROPHE: he's/she's/you're/it's
NO APOSTROPHE: his/hers/yours/its

Is this really so difficult?
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post #29 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

The scientific method isn't about being original but being accurate. I completely support your wish to believe in something you can't possibly prove but it's not scientific.
Technically I am also an agnostic. I also label myself a humanist. But I have adopted the label atheist for two reasons. One is to help reclaim the word and give it proper meaning (A-theistic) and encourage other fence-sitters to not be afraid of the label. The other is politically-motivated. Theism is what's being asserted here - it's so pervasive in the US that people don't even question the beliefs that have been, in most cases, placed upon them by their parents and their parents' parents and so on. It is so universally accepted that to disavow it is actually stigmatizing. So rather than simply use the neutral 'agnostic', I choose the (imperfect) term 'atheist' to make a stance against those who wish to impose their religion upon the rest of us. (And impose they most certainly do, at an institutional level.)

And again, atheism is a denial of theism. You might as well also call me an a-Scientologist, an a-Santa Clausist, and so on. Do I have proof that any of an infinite number of supernatural claims are indeed untrue? No I do not. But neither should I have to. The burden of proof is upon those making supernatural claims, not those ignoring them.

Quote:
You are clearly impassioned by your beliefs I just hope you support others who have different confidence as to what is true for them.
People are certainly free to believe whatever they want, but I am under no obligation to support them. And indeed if those beliefs have negative consequences on others, I will criticize them, as should anyone else who wishes for human progress.
post #30 of 103

For those who claim there is no God, please observe the screen grab I made of an SMS that I received a couple of years ago on my brand new iPhone 4:

 

 

Case closed.

If you value privacy you can now set DuckDuckGo as your default search engine in iOS and OS X.
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post #31 of 103
I don't see any problem in swearing on the bible, even if you're not Christian. It's just tradition, it doesn't mean you're promising to go to church every Sunday from now on. 
 
When you're taking on an office that's bigger than you (e.g. President, Prime Minister) it's appropriate to remind you of that fact, by lots of pomp and ceremony and tradition and history. You should be reminded of your predecessors, the history of the office, and be made to feel (in the pit of your stomach) the gravity of what you're about to take on. Possibly swearing on an iPad would ruin the effect a bit - maybe someone remember a bible next time, preferably an old one.
post #32 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dlux View Post

Technically I am also an agnostic.

I don't see how one can claim both. Saying you're agnostic and atheistic is the same as claim to be [input_religion] and agnostic. You either have faith that one unverifiable belief is correct or you choose to only believe in what you know.
Quote:
One is to help reclaim the word and give it proper meaning (A-theistic)...

To be clear, having a belief system does not mean you have a religious belief system. All religions are a belief system but not all belief systems are religious. This is why atheism is a belief system and not religion.
Quote:
So rather than simply use the neutral 'agnostic'...

I see nothing politically neutral or fence sitting about being agnostic. Are scientists being neutral when don't have an answer to a question? Imposing your feelings and desired outcome as fact is not science.
Quote:
Do I have proof that any of an infinite number of supernatural claims are indeed untrue? No I do not. But neither should I have to. The burden of proof is upon those making supernatural claims, not those ignoring them.

It is in no way the burden of anyone who believes in a religion to provide you or anyone else with proof. I certainly don't require you to offer proof to maintain your beliefs but if you claim that there is no god and try to present this as fact as opposed to simply stating this is what you believe to be true you put the burden of truth on yourself. Clearly you cannot present such a truth but you still believe it. That is faith.
Quote:
People are certainly free to believe whatever they want, but I am under no obligation to support them. And indeed if those beliefs have negative consequences on others, I will criticize them, as should anyone else who wishes for human progress.

There is a difference between supporting the freedom of belief and letting someone else's freedom impede your life, liberties and beliefs. Are you fine with politicians being religious? I disinterested with any religion on might hold and will judge the person on their deeds through as much empirical evidence as can be afforded to me.


PS: I believe there is biological life on other planets. I am not talking little green men in flying saucers with ray guns, but the word in life in general. I have no way of proving this — just as others who believe there is no other life in the Universe — but based on the vast number of stars, known stars with planets, and many other factors the odds seem high enough that some form of biological life would have been started outside this world, at some time in the past present or future. I also have faith that the odds in the Lottery are so bad that I'll never win so I don't play. I also have faith I'll walk up tomorrow and have prepared myself for the new week. I can't prove any of these will be true but they are still part of my belief system along with a seemingly infinite other things.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #33 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

I don't see any problem in swearing on the bible, even if you're not Christian. It's just tradition, it doesn't mean you're promising to go to church every Sunday from now on.

Surely it's obvious to any regular on this forum that I question everything. I have no problem with traditions but I am not a sentimental nor a traditionalist by nature.


Story time: A woman was preparing a roast for her dinner as she's done dozens of times before. Her husband comes in and asked, "Why do cut the ends off the roast and put them on the side of the pan?" The women replied, "Well that's how my mother already did it." Her curiosity piqued the woman called her mother and asked, "When making a roast why did cut the ends off and put them on the side of the pan?" Her mother replied, "That's the way my mother did it." The women then called her grandmother and asked her the same question to which she replied. "The pan was too small"
Edited by SolipsismX - 2/10/13 at 11:18pm

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #34 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I find it interesting that those who are atheists also have a belief system that they can't also can't prove as proving the absence of something is usually impossible.
Indeed. In fact Science and Religion don't interfere, as the scientific method states it only applies to things that can be physically measured, which leaves the supernatural outside of Science. This means you'll never be able to prove the absence of supernatural with the scientific method, or otherwise you'd be using it wrongly. At the same time, Religion, when truly practiced, adheres to Science in the things that can be physically measured.

Atheists who "just trust Science", are, well, having faith in something they cannot prove (they cannot prove any knowledge for themselves, they need to trust what others say). And you know, quite a few research papers have been proven in fraud, with researchers lying about the results in the paper...
post #35 of 103

This again.  Agnosticism and atheism describe different things and are not incompatible with each other.  Here's a handy chart.  Theism/atheism refers to the belief in deities or lack thereof.  Gnosticism/agnosticism refers to whether a claim is knowable or unknowable.  

 

Agnostic or Atheist

 

Agnostic atheists lack a belief in gods but don't make the positive claim that no god exists.  They just act as if no god exists just as you act as though no invisible neon yellow toaster that shits incorporeal waffles in your front yard exists.  There's no point to pay heed to either ridiculous notion.

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
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“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
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post #36 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I find it interesting that those who are atheists also have a belief system that they can't also can't prove as proving the absence of something is usually impossible. Faith is defined as complete trust or confidence in something. If you believe there is no god then you have faith in the lack of this existence without any such proof and yet many atheists will say they do not have an unverifiable belief system. Many religions at least offer miracles, writings, and artifacts that they believe are proof. It's not good science but at least it's better than the complete absence as proof.

I define myself as agnostic. I don't say there is or isn't a god. I literally proclaim that I am without the knowledge nor the ability to know if there is or isn't a god as defined by any religion I'm aware of. I see that as the only way to be scientific about it.

That's interesting, I refuse to catergorise myself as atheist as this implies the existent of some magical being.
I am not going to argue with those that hold a view that is not mine, as I will never win, its because I have to use logic and they don't have to. So a no win situation for me.
Edited by hfts - 2/11/13 at 12:08am
post #37 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by BR View Post

This again.  Agnosticism and atheism describe different things and are not incompatible with each other.  Here's a handy chart.  Theism/atheism refers to the belief in deities or lack thereof.  Gnosticism/agnosticism refers to whether a claim is knowable or unknowable.  

Agnostic%252520v%252520Gnostic%252520v%252520Atheist%252520v%252520Theist.png?imgmax=800

Agnostic atheists lack a belief in gods but don't make the positive claim that no god exists.  They just act as if no god exists just as you act as though no invisible neon yellow toaster that shits incorporeal waffles in your front yard exists.  There's no point to pay heed to either ridiculous notion.

I have a trillion dollar coin in my pocket, really I do. Prove that I don't.
post #38 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by hfts View Post


I have a trillion dollar coin in my pocket, really I do. Prove that I don't.

Unlikely.  So unlikely that I will behave as if you don't, despite not being able to have 100% certainty.  I'll just round from 99.9999999999999999999999999999% certainty up to 100% because I don't give a shit about your terrible claim and your fallacy of shifting the burden of proof.

 

Now, if you presented evidence that you actually had such a coin, I'm all eyes.  Of course, such an extraordinary claim requires extraordinary evidence.  Your move.

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
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“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
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post #39 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecs View Post

Indeed. In fact Science and Religion don't interfere, as the scientific method states it only applies to things that can be physically measured, which leaves the supernatural outside of Science. This means you'll never be able to prove the absence of supernatural with the scientific method, or otherwise you'd be using it wrongly. At the same time, Religion, when truly practiced, adheres to Science in the things that can be physically measured.

Atheists who "just trust Science", are, well, having faith in something they cannot prove (they cannot prove any knowledge for themselves, they need to trust what others say). And you know, quite a few research papers have been proven in fraud, with researchers lying about the results in the paper...

Are you serious?
As a scientist I can tell you that you are very wrong with the assumptions you have made.
Tell me where religion uses science to prove the existence of this so called all mighty being?
post #40 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dlux View Post


The president doesn't have to use a Bible, but they do it out of blind tradition.

I'm looking forward to elected officials who decline using the Bible and instead use a copy of the Constitution. And then see who complains...


Or the Holy Coran. Or, maybe, the Larousse Gastronomique, or the Kama Sutra.

Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

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Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

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