Published: Wednesday, Jan. 15 2014 12:00 a.m. MST
"Without the belief in something greater, there is a great tendency to
circumvent a given set of civil laws or standards because there would seem to be
no long-term consequences for your actions."New Hampshire is #1
in the nation for highest percentage of atheists. It has one of the lowest crime
rates in the nation. Neighboring Vermont is #2 in atheist percentage and also
has one of the lowest crime rates in the nation. So much for circumventing a
given set of civl laws...
I don't adhere to civil laws because I fear getting caught - I adhere to
civil laws because I value and respect my fellow humans and civil laws help
protect us as a society. I don't need a belief in an outside
source to tell me to respect the only planet humans have to live on. I don't need to fear eternal punishment or hope for eternal reward to
know it is important to care for others - I only need to know how it makes me
feel when others act towards me. If religion and a faith in God,
Goddess, gods, and/or goddesses makes your life better and more worthwhile, that
is excellent for you. But to discount me and my ability to lead a
"good" life simply because I don't seek inspiration from the same
source as you shows a narrow worldview. And within and among
religions there are a great many variances of belief and what exactly the higher
power you believe in requires. Additionally, based on world events
and prison populations, religious belief guarantees good behavior no more than a
lack of religious belief guarantees bad behavior.
"The absence of religious conviction requires thousands of laws in order to
maintain a safe and honorable society."So, are you saying that
those with "religious convictions" don't need lawa?How
about those on 911? Certainly THEY had "religious convictions"Lying, cheating and stealing are wrong. Not because "religion" tells
us so. They disrupt society. We need rules (laws) to facilitate a structured
and orderly society.Generally religion helps to reinforce those
rules. But then goes overboard in what appears to be the desire to control
others.Rules against murder make universal sense. Rules against
eating meat on Friday, drinking coffee or playing golf on Sunday? Not so
much.Good people don't need so many laws. That does not
require "religious conviction"
Well said, Jeff! One of the purposes of religion is to teach and define proper
behavior toward each other, ourselves and to God!
People who believe in God and religions are among the luckiest people in the
world. They are free from the angst and drudgery of thinking and analyzing the
cruel and difficult world we live in. Thus they have a mind free to explore the
universe and pursue the good things in life. But, if this be
true, why are they so concerned about the lives of others? I guess it's
only fair that they want the non-believers to abide by the religious laws
because the non-believers insist that everyone abide by the civil laws. And if
the laws conflict, which should prevail? Should civil business operations be
allowed to place the religious law above the civil law in the civil world?
How is "I better do the right thing now or I'll pay in eternity"
any different that acting merely out of "fear of getting caught"?People can and do find meaning and purpose without religion. People can
and do practice ethical and moral integrity without religion. So I would argue
that religion is not, in fact, the necessary ingredient here. It can act as an
aid to some, but it is not required.
Religious beliefs have led to many individuals in the USA trying to
"circumvent civil laws". Just take a look at the multitude of states
circumventing the Constitution with anti-marriage laws.So much for
religious moral superiority over plain-old morality.
Do we love and serve God because we fear His wrath, or, because we would like to
become as He is, full of love, full of compassion, full of empathy, full of
charity? Religion tells where we came from, why we are here on earth, and where
we will spend eternity. It guides us towards that which we can become - if we
let go of all things that would inhibit us.Man-made laws lack
understanding. There are those who want to force us to be godly. Force is not a
trait of godliness. In fact, force is the opposite of godliness. God invites
and Satan invites. Each of us determines whose invitation we will accept.The challenge of life is to overcome the flesh, meaning that we must
learn to control our thoughts, our feelings, our passions, our appetites, our
desires. Civil laws will not assist us. They promise only punishment. God
invites us to taste the fruit of charity. Government threatens to beat us into
submission. Which plan elevates the soul?Religion has the answers.
Government begs the question.
atl134-explain atheism and communism? The soviet union forcing
atheism? Please explain. Was there less crime there? KGB? Gulags? Please
Fine. Religion is (or can be) good. (Sometimes it isn't). But it is
ultimately a personal thing and something the government should not seek to
influence or implement.
Jeff, You don't have to have a religion to have a very fine
moral compass. Furthermore, religions' abuse of "fear" is
unparalleled. And how about the opposite? - a reward (heaven) as a requirement
for doing good? No, the people I trust the most to do the right things are
What were the morals in the Old Testament, from which modern Christianity has
sprung?I'll tell what they were, there really weren't any.
Slavery was acceptable. "Marriage" was more of a man owning a woman as
opposed to what it has become today.There are very little morals in the
Old Testament and there was certainly no civil rights in that society.
What does the 1st Amendment say about religion? "Congress shall make no law
respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise
thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech"Read it carefully.
Read it until you understand what it really says. Is there a clause that
separates government and religion? I don't see it. Government can promote
religion. Government cannot restrict prayers without infringing our right of
speech. Government cannot instruct us to remove memorials without inhibiting
our right of speech.Most of the uproar over government and religion
comes from those who will not read nor accept the clear and concise words of the
1st Amendment, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of
religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;".For
example, Congress shall not require the Catholic Church to fund contraceptives
because the Catholic Church is "an establishment" of religion and
"no contraceptives" is doctrine of the Catholic Church.Religion is complex if it is studied. It contains the answers to life.
Reading Cliff Notes on religion shortchanges the reader.God invites.
The Holy Spirit clarifies. The choice to listen remains with each of us.
If we eliminate religion, life loses all meaning! If there is no God, when we
die, the lights go out and we cease to exist which means everything we learned
in life, everything we experienced and everything we loved ceases to exist with
us and therefore our life had no meaning! If there is a God, then everything I
learned in my life, everything I experienced and everything I loved belongs to
me forever! I for one can not wrap my mind around the idea that I lived for no
reason, no purpose. That is impossible for me to believe. Therefore, I am
compelled to be a believer because the alternative is not comprehendible.
Mike Richards says:"What does the 1st Amendment say about
religion? "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of
religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of
speech""---YES! Please STOP trying to have
"congress" pass an establishment of YOUR religion!
Ranch. How about keeping YOUR religion, of lack of it, out of our Government?
Goes both ways doesn't it? What ever happened to the DOMA? Wasn't part
of YOUR religion was it? Why do I have to pay for your birth control and
abortions which is part of YOUR religion but not mine?
You are free, Jeff, to believe whatever you like. I am happy that your choices
bring you peace. Please allow others the same freedom.
Your letter is a masterpiece. Thank you for stating exactly how I feel in such
eloquent words. It is difficult for many people to understand your letter when
they have different definitions of religion, ethics and morality. "As for
me and my house,I will serve the Lord."
I see it like this...Civil law is the MINIMUM, Religous law is
the HIGHER law.In America, your free to drink, smoke, gamble,
drink coffee, and more.In the LDS Church, you are not.If
you are living your relgion, you are meeting the and exceeding the
minimiums.Let others be free to live life as they see fit, so
long as the meet our civil minimums.And Mike -- PLEASE stop
forcing everyone to live a Mormon lifestyle.How is that any different the
taliban and Sharia Law?
GZEWell spoken. When it comes to religon I know of only one fact. The
only ones who know for sure are the dead, and they're not talking. But, if
religon works for you, here on this earth, and it brings no harm to others, than
you should be free to embrace it.
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