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Secretary of State John Kerry says religious freedom 'is a birthright of every human being'

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  • friendlybear Glendale, AZ
    May 24, 2013 2:27 p.m.

    That is an interesting choice of words. It is the "birthright of every human being". But unfortunately not every human being has the right to be born in order to practice that right.

  • brokenclay Chandler, AZ
    May 24, 2013 8:00 a.m.

    Just to be clear, I myself am an evangelical; I would also claim knowledge that you would deem unknowable. Indeed, a difference in epistemologies, as you note, is a key divergence between naturalists and supernaturalists.

    My point in quoting Russell, perhaps one of the most brilliant atheist philosophers of the 20th century (after Anthony Flew, perhaps), is that the most correspondent form of atheism will have a nihilistic flavor, because that philosophy most closely matches an atheistic reality. Anything beyond this is artificial and contrived. Whether you die free or enslaved in atheism is irrelevant.

    I would challenge you to push the bounds on your assumption that transcendental knowledge is not possible. Of course it's not possible if you define your epistemology to exclude it right from the start. The only way to avoid artificiality in our beliefs is to align them with reality, and if there is indeed an eternal Creator who spoke, belief in him would be the only non-contrived philosophy out there.

    One book I began reading recently is Craig Keener's Miracles. I would recommend it to you as a testimony of the in-breaking of the Kingdom into the modern world.

  • Claudio Springville, Ut
    May 23, 2013 5:32 p.m.

    SC Fan,

    I did not say what you just insinuated I said. What I said is quite clear. Please refrain from telling others what I have said. It seems to be a habit of yours to alter what I said to match what you wish I had said in some attempt to malign me. I would appreciate an apology, though I won't hold my breath.

  • SCfan clearfield, UT
    May 23, 2013 4:12 p.m.

    Claudio

    So are you saying that those countries have the freedom of religion and tolerance that we have in America? If so then you must have been living in the palace of some shiek, because if you are found to have a Bible in those countries, it can be head rolling time.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    May 23, 2013 3:54 p.m.

    @brokenclay – “Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built." -Bertrand Russell”

    Brilliant quote and I appreciate your commentary as well… surprised?

    And perhaps you’re right, that all our contrivances are artificial, but how many religious people do you know who will admit this? And this is the crux of my argument against religion – that it is the most hubristic contrivance of all because it claims absolute certainty about things one cannot possibly know. And this is almost always followed by totalitarianism with the seers and prophets ruling the believers (and non-believers if they acquire enough power).

    But to me the most interesting question resulting from this acknowledgment is, “how can we then go on to have happy and even joyful lives?” And despite your attempts to lump me in with ideologies that are the antithesis of freedom and happiness, I want those things (and believe they are found in and fully compatible with secular humanism) as much as any religious ecstatic who has been transported to the 3rd heaven.

    Peace brother…

  • brokenclay Chandler, AZ
    May 23, 2013 2:29 p.m.

    "That man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; . . . that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins-- all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built." -Bertrand Russell

    Secular humanism is a philosophy no less artificial than the religions and philosophies you criticize, including your philosophical brothers the communists. Anyone who ignores Russell here is stuck in fantasy and make-believe. You, too, will pass into non-existence. Your significance is contrived.

  • Owl Salt Lake City, UT
    May 22, 2013 5:17 p.m.

    Heretic,
    "Personally, I think that many religious folks lie, exaggerate, etc.
    Which is why I don't value opinions of religion folks very much."
    You've also accurately identified why religious people don't value your opinion.

  • Claudio Springville, Ut
    May 22, 2013 4:11 p.m.

    Re: SCFan

    I lived in the Middle East for 5 years. Saudi Arabia for 2, Turkey for 2, Jordan for 1. I am certain I have plenty perspective to give my opinion on the issue. Thanks for your concern.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    May 22, 2013 3:23 p.m.

    @brokenclay – “Any atheist who isn't a nihilist has his head in the sand.”

    What an amazingly ill informed comment… and I wonder if you are aware of how many non-believers throughout history you have insulted? From Socrates to Shakespeare to some of the Founding Fathers to the majority of today’s scientists, to the growing number of people today who can no longer buy the legion of superstitious silliness an even immorality (disguised as piety) found in the sacred books of religion.

    And please realize that Atheist is simply a word we use to describe people who don’t believe things on bad or no evidence (i.e., are not disposed to take things on faith).

    The fact that we have a word for this is strange in and of itself, since we don’t have words for non-astrologers are non-alchemists.

    And to say an atheist is by definition a communist or Maoist or any other “ist” is a total non-sequitur. All those so-called philosophies were steeped in dogmatism and irrationality, except they were directed towards a person or ideology rather than religion (as was typical).

    They were the antithesis of secular humanism…

  • brokenclay Chandler, AZ
    May 22, 2013 1:41 p.m.

    It's striking to me that all but one of the countries mentioned (Burma) are either Islamic or Atheist. Those who trumpet the benevolence and even-handedness of the irreligious, while maligning the intolerance of the religious, are far too short-sighted in forgetting the 20th century scourge of Communism. Own up to your philosophies. Any atheist who isn't a nihilist has his head in the sand.

  • SCfan clearfield, UT
    May 22, 2013 1:03 p.m.

    Claudio

    We in the U.S. are not even close to any kind of oppression against Muslims or anyone else compared to the Muslim countries in the Middle-East. Get some perspective please.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    May 22, 2013 12:45 p.m.

    bandersen:
    "Jesus invited all to come to Him, without compulsion, without retribution, without anger.
    He sent His chosen leaders to do likewise. "

    ...and during the inquisition his chosen representatives invited all to come to him or die being tortured in Christs name.
    There was also this incident in southern Utah near a meadow where people were just doing the lords work.
    To long ago? How about Christ's representative - Fred Phelps Sr. of the Westboro Baptist Church?

    Core values intact?

    Christ taught many good things, to bad so many who claim to represent him don't/didn't really listen.

    Personally, I think that many religious folks lie, exaggerate, etc.
    Which is why I don't value opinions of religion folks very much.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    May 22, 2013 8:44 a.m.

    @bandersen

    You do realize that most of the followers of the other religions of the world are just as certain as you are that someday “all will know that Allah is God” or that “Brahman (God) and Atman (us) are one” or that any of hundreds of precepts particular to one’s own religion is the “true path” that all will come to know… someday.

    Curious… why would God allow such a diversity of religions if only one of them was the true religion? And does it ever strike you just how lucky you were to be born into a family/culture that just happened to have “the truth?” I mean it’s fantastic that you “hit the celestial lottery” but it sure is a shame for the billions born into Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or other families that they have to spend so much of their time being immersed in false teachings through no apparent fault of their own.
    God’s ways are indeed mysterious…

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    May 21, 2013 11:32 p.m.

    Skeptic: Your wrong! Old time religion is anything but dying! The values, whether in an organized format, or by itself, is not dying. P.S. In my neighborhood and in my family I see anything but fear and charlatans. My kids know what is real and what isn't, whether an ipad or a book. The real truth urges them on to more, not less!

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    May 21, 2013 9:14 p.m.

    Tyler: That's an easy question. Jesus said he was 'the way, the truth, and light!' His was the only way. Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that He is the Christ, the only one capable to redeem man from the fall of Adam till the end of times. That being said, the Christian religion believes that all men, from the aboriginal pigmy in Africa to the man sitting next to God Himself, is capable of learning and coming to Christ one step at a time. All the great religions and people of the world are susceptible to His light and knowledge, including those you mentioned. All will eventually come to Christ.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    May 21, 2013 7:58 p.m.

    Electronics is the new religion, ask any eight year old with an ipad;or anyone on Facebook. The old time religion is dying, too many dictators and charlatans. People have lost fear and interest.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    May 21, 2013 6:42 p.m.

    Ultra Bob,

    You have accurately described the far left,

    they seek to control everyone, and their personal lives, their, businesses, their schools, and their children, the local community, their lands, their cars, and so and so on.

    Not sure why you love one controller but hate the other.

    -
    -
    I find it odd that Kerry speaks a birthright of religious freedom,

    yet the Obama administration doesn't recognize the religious freedom a German family wants send them back Germany where their children will be taken away from them and forced a secular education on them.

    But the left are always hypocrites, say one thing while doing another.

  • Johnny Moser Thayne, WY
    May 21, 2013 6:38 p.m.

    China's constitution includes "the freedom of religious belief". Sounds pretty great but it isn't quite "religious freedom".

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 21, 2013 6:13 p.m.

    The fact that I do not believe religion does not mean that I hate religion. I appreciate the good that religion gives people as an enrichment and purpose. The only requirement for receiving that good is to believe.

    Being controlled by a force outside ourselves is being controlled whether it is voluntary or mandatory. And if you accept the good of religion you must also accept the control. Generally religions of God are able to control a person’s life to a much greater extent than mere governments of men.

    The reasons given for the control are hard for some us to accept and so we look at other possible motives that the outside force wants to control us. When I look at a church/religion I see a business operation. I see an organization that has a product to sell and a desire for a monopoly.

    My vision is simply the product of my imagination and I appreciate the freedom of religion to believe and to openly say what I believe. But I do not want to take that away from anyone else.

  • Andy Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 21, 2013 11:29 a.m.

    I'm fairly surprised by this forceful position in favor of religious freedom from the administration. Does his boss know about this statement? Will it be followed by funded policy initiatives?

    Hasn't our government worked to marginalize religions to reduce their influence on society?

  • Claudio Springville, Ut
    May 21, 2013 10:28 a.m.

    Re: Thinkin\' Man

    While I agree with your sentiment, I am sure those countries would reply that they will comply as soon as we stop trying to prevent the construction of mosques in our neighborhoods or profile Arab Americans trying to board a flight. We are hardly the beacon of religious freedom we think ourselves.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    May 21, 2013 10:16 a.m.

    @bandersen – “Jesus invited all to come to Him, without compulsion, without retribution, without anger.”

    And what does the Bible tell us will happen to those who chose otherwise or worse, believe another path is the way to God, Nirvana, Brahman, The Tao, etc.?

  • Claudio Springville, Ut
    May 21, 2013 10:16 a.m.

    Re: bandersen

    "Jesus invited all to come to Him, without compulsion, without retribution, without anger. He sent His chosen leaders to do likewise. Whoever thinks that that core principle has changed within any religion, is either ignorant of religious history, or has an ax to grind, neither of which is very dignified."

    So those people who follow religions that have no acknowledgment of Jesus are "ignorant" or otherwise "undignified?"

    And so shines the problem Ultra Bob delineated.

  • Midway Salt Lake City, UT
    May 21, 2013 9:04 a.m.

    @Ultra Bob

    "The greatest threat to freedom of religion comes from religions themselves. Not only does a religion seek control over it’s own members, it seeks to extend it’s membership to all."
    -----------

    Sigh.

    I can choose to be faithful, active, and make religion the most important thing in my life. Or I can leave my religion any time. I can choose to not come. I can choose to not participate. Or I can choose somewhere in between. I can do this easily. Many, many people come and go in a church.

    It is funny how so many religion-haters are telling us that religion is "controlling" their membership, yet so many of these religion-haters tell us that is the reason they left religion. Obviously there is a contradiction there - if religion is controlling things, yet they were able to freely leave, then obviously religion isn't controlling things.

    Personally, I think the "control" is from the critics who lie, exaggerate, etc. Which is why I don't value opinions of critics of religion very much.

  • Thinkin\' Man Rexburg, ID
    May 21, 2013 8:56 a.m.

    I hope Mr. Kerry will start pressuring countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, and other Muslim countries to allow full religious freedom. It's ridiculous how America picks and chooses which human rights we're outraged by.

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    May 21, 2013 8:55 a.m.

    Jesus invited all to come to Him, without compulsion, without retribution, without anger. He sent His chosen leaders to do likewise. Whoever thinks that that core principle has changed within any religion, is either ignorant of religious history, or has an ax to grind, neither of which is very dignified.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    May 21, 2013 8:35 a.m.

    I agree with Mr. Kerry. And, wow, is my idea of what true religion is different than yours. We're going to have some fun!

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 21, 2013 7:35 a.m.

    The greatest threat to freedom of religion comes from religions themselves. Not only does a religion seek control over it’s own members, it seeks to extend it’s membership to all.

    It is the desire for extending it’s control over others that drives much of the talk of freedom of religion and with the great power and influence of religions and churches, politicians will naturally ally themselves with their cause.