Comments about ‘Letter: A case for religion’

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Published: Wednesday, Jan. 15 2014 12:00 a.m. MST

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Salt Lake City, UT

"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...

Salt Lake City, Utah

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.

Far East USA, SC

"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"

Thid Barker
Victor, ID

Well said, Jeff! One of the purposes of religion is to teach and define proper behavior toward each other, ourselves and to God!

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

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?

Karen R.
Houston, TX

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.

Here, UT

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.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

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.

Murray, Utah


explain atheism and communism? The soviet union forcing atheism? Please explain. Was there less crime there? KGB? Gulags? Please explain.

Springville, UT

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.

Castle Valley, Utah


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 atheists.

Ernest T. Bass
Bountiful, UT

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.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

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.

Thid Barker
Victor, ID

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.

Here, UT

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!

Hayden, ID

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.

Sense Maker

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."

Open Minded Mormon
Everett, 00

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?

salt lake city, UT

Well 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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