Our Constitution granted each and every one of us the freedom to believe or not believe as we decide. That protection applies to all of us. When one group has decided by some form of spiritual osmosis that their version of the unverifiable and occasionally insane has been decreed to be the new Law, and thus their political mission is to ensure that is so, then it is up to the rest of us to put that crazy back where it belongs: away from public influence.
WHAT REAL LAWS ARE FOR
The government is not persecuting anyone or any religious group when it prevents them from trying to run the lives of others. Religious conservatives yearn to tell others what to do and to make their theology the supreme law of the land. The state can’t help them with this; indeed, it has an obligation to protect the rights of others by ensuring that this does not happen.
The so-called ‘religious freedom’ measures do have a religious intent, they do favor one religious group over another, and they do not primarily serve secular purposes. Instead, these laws serve as a way to reestablish equilibrium for those Christians whose religious beliefs and identities are challenged by LGBTQ people and laws that support non-discrimination. These Christians have used the state to advance their own religion over the civil and human rights of others. As [theologian E. Y.] Mullins noted, this is not religious liberty but religious coercion.
Most perplexing, however, is the extent to which Christian fragility leads some Christians to violate larger principles of Christian faith in order to regain the equilibrium of Christian privilege.
For those presumably seeking to live the noblest and holiest of noble and holy lives in fealty to the Supremest of Supreme Beings, is there any chance at all that in the interest of societal well-being, they might consider the possibility that their Deity would be pleased as punch if they contemplated a somewhat less vigorous approach to participation in the community of man? More of us might prosper and find more peace than we’re capable of at this time, what with fending off assaults from the fearful, fact-averse, hostile, and self-righteous chosen ones.
HOW ABOUT THIS APPROACH?
If they are so certain of their beliefs and the rewards they are earning at every step of the way, why not enjoy their heavenly trip here among us and let we heathens suffer the consequences of our awful and empty lives? Besides, we’re not exactly setting any records for proselytizing on behalf of our choices and beliefs. We would just prefer that they behave as we choose to: believe or not, but either way, no cramming of edicts down anyone’s throats, and no judgments about personal matters which are clearly none of anyone else’s business.
Although the conveniences of manufacturing one’s interpretations of ancient documents crafted by cave dwellers while proclaiming Special Knowledge is a fine tactic in serving one’s own interests—consequences to the rest be damned—the faithful would be better served by pressing the “Pause” button on fear-mongering and asking themselves if better choices might be available. Optimistic, but better than caving in to the nonsense.
If a large contingent of fellow inhabitants on this planet are content to live their lives with a modicum of peace, joy, prosperity, and the occasional extended kindness and compassion to others without being burdened by an insistence that they must first believe the not-to-be-believed, then why not let them bear the risk of being wrong? Shouldn’t the energies and efforts of these passionate followers be better utilized than by just keeping the faithful faithful [with appropriate measures of anxiety ladled out as needed]?
Why does it come as such a surprise to so many that many others are disinclined to believe the unbelievable and/or to live their lives on a requirement that they must adhere to a parade of illogical, contradictory, and often mean-spirited rules? We’re willing to take our chances. Aren’t they?
Don’t want your religious beliefs questioned? Then don’t impose them on others. When push comes to shove, real religious freedom can be just as simple as that.
This is the final scheduled Life Will Answer post of 2016. I’ll post if/as needed until I’m back later in January with more discussions on the Left v. Right conflicts, Peak Oil, this Religion & Politics topic, and the continuing examination of what Life Will Answer means.
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Enjoy the holidays & Happy New Year
~ My Photo: Zion National Park © 08.25.07
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In 2014, I published an eBook entitled Life Will Answer. It’s an exploration of life, religion, and the tenuous connection one has with the other—at least as has been defined to date by the various theologies of past and present-day believers.
I don’t pretend to be a religious scholar. I am at best a casual observer of some religion-based behaviors, but given that I have also authored a book discussing those matters, perhaps that makes me more than a casual observer.
A fundamental point of the book is that Life has been established to honor and answer the choices each and all of us make—whatever they are and however they may be judged by the standards and guidelines we as a society have established. I do not accept the notion that there is a God or another Deity of choice offering wildly arbitrary thumbs-ups and thumbs-downs, or that this Deity has edicts we’re free to abide by or not (although if we don’t there will be hell to pay).
I wrote that book on the premise that there is more to this life than the narrow-minded, conflicting, and occasionally dangerous notions various religions offer. Given the large number of them each claiming passionate followers, it’s absurd for any collection of humans to insist that their Deity assures them It is the One and Only. Countless Peers and their own loyal adherents take issue with that.
Every day we are witness to the absurdities—and too often, the atrocities—committed in the name of some Deity or another by adherents convinced that they and they alone are privy to the guidance and dictates of that One and Only. There is little room, if any, for reason, logic, or rational thought. The absence of an intelligent component guiding their beliefs and conduct—replaced as it as by fears and justifications untethered from reality—carries its own set of consequences.
Are we really to believe that we’re all commanded or obliged to above all else obey and honor and worship one Supreme Being [among many]? How stultifying! This Magnificence is so needy and weak that It needs us to do things to satisfy It? Hello!? How did It manage to survive all those billions of years without us?!
Magical thinking is not a shield to the inevitable harm which results when irrational and mindless behaviors collide with reason and fact. We have some choices to make, and a future to concern ourselves with.
Re-establishing this blog is my own contribution to wiser problem-solving than what seems to be the norm. Too many are in position where their delusions carry heavy and needless consequences to all of us.