Debating the role of faith in the community

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  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    Dec. 21, 2010 9:24 a.m.

    re: cactusflats | 4:38 p.m. Dec. 19, 2010

    Add common sense & moderation and you are on to something.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    Dec. 20, 2010 7:46 p.m.

    @Bill in Nebraska

    The implicit assumption that God's wishes and agenda cannot be compromised takes the rights of others away. People may bring values and ideas derived from religious belief systems to the table, but the decisions cannot be PURELY religious in nature and still remain truly democratic. This does not take away your right to practice your religion or remove your freedom of speech. Freedom from religion does not mean, as some mistakenly seem to claim, being free from seeing religion in society. No one has the right not to see churches, religious expression, and other examples of religious belief in our nation. What freedom from religion does mean, however, is the freedom from the rules and dogmas of other peoples religious beliefs so that we can be free to follow the demands of our own conscience, whether they take a religious form or not. Thus, we have both freedom of religion and freedom from religion because they are two sides of the same coin.

    I guess you support a theocracy though...with your religion at the forefront controlling society and it's okay with you that other people's rights are trampled in the process.

  • LaughingOutLoudAtYou WEST JORDAN, UTAH
    Dec. 20, 2010 3:22 p.m.


  • Eli Lovington Summertime Provo, UT
    Dec. 20, 2010 12:25 p.m.

    "You look at the world through rose colored glasses and see only what you want to see."

    You're projecting. You're the one who is seeing only what you want to see, who is interpreting events through the lenses of your preconceptions. You see that the girl was healed, and that people prayed for her, so you're convinced that it must have been the prayers that saved her. As for the soldiers - your explanation of the events is no more plausible than that offered by Charlie - however, your interpretation confirms that which you have already assumed, so you go with that one.

    I would say something about correlation not being equal to causation and relate the story of the rock that keeps tigers away, but I think you know those things already and are choosing to ignore them.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Dec. 20, 2010 11:56 a.m.

    To Joggle and others:

    Yes, you are taking my right of Freedom of Religion away from me. You state that religion is only to be preached in the homes and places of Worship but not on the streets or in public discourses. You state like others that it has no place in politics except your definition. That is removing my Freedom to Practice what I preach. You will take my freedom of speech away from me as long as it doesn't agree with you.

    So yes, that is exactly what you are doing.

    Charlie you don't understand faith at all. You look at the world through rose colored glasses and see only what you want to see. It was the prayers of those in the congregation and their combined faith that healed the young girl. It was faith that allowed those men to look at others beyond just enemies. It was their belief in a higher being than just man that conquers the fears of man.

    The things the LDS Church stands for and against are the responsibility of all to hold. Whether you agree or not is irrelevant to me.

  • charlie91342 Sylmar, CA
    Dec. 20, 2010 11:35 a.m.

    re - BobP | 8:46 a.m

    "The atheists seem disappointed that the Constitution give Amweicans freedom of religion, NOT freedom from religion."

    actually it DOES give americans freedom from religion, more so than it provides you with freedom of religion. In fact, it is a fact that my freedom from religion outways your freedom of religion. Ask any court (or city hall in Texas with no 10 commandments, or no crosses on the side of the road, etc).

    you simply do not understand what "freedom from religion" means.

  • charlie91342 Sylmar, CA
    Dec. 20, 2010 10:52 a.m.

    re - Bill in Nebraska | 5:27 p.m

    it was not faith that saved the girl. It was her ability to heal. You think a hundred prayers saved her. That is your belief. It doesn't make it true.

    The soldiers getting along in the house and not killing each other was not faith. It was the time spent together allowing them to see their "enemy" was just like them.

    you let your religion explain everything. That is simply how you wish to see it. And that is your right. Just like hunter/gatherers used gods to explain the weather, etc. it wasn't true and yet they believed. so you are in good long-standing company.

    happy holidays.

  • charlie91342 Sylmar, CA
    Dec. 20, 2010 10:43 a.m.

    the story states "No matter what denomination a person belongs to, religion acts as the best tutor of democratic dispositions."

    I would strongly disagree. In fact, I find that religions constantly attempt to force their opinions, beliefs, and morals onto everyone, including those that don't share the same opinion or beliefs.

  • AZRods Maricopa, AZ
    Dec. 20, 2010 10:17 a.m.

    Sad atheists, jumping on every religious article to vent and complain how religion encroaches on their empty lives.

  • firstamendment Lehi, UT
    Dec. 20, 2010 9:52 a.m.

    As usual, I disagree with the anti-religious critics who seem to feel a need to attack religion at every opportunity, and perhaps only read the DN to do so. While people tend to be religious, and thus religious people have wars and etc, yet, if we were to follow the peaceful loving teachings of Jesus, Buddha, etc, the world would have peace.
    20th Century anti-religious movements murdered far more than religious movements.

    Even Hitler, often painted as a Christian, but truly his unnatural selection and attacks on religious people were science based, mingled with his own intellectual inventions, working within Christian culture etc.

    Founding American Fathers were religious people, and understood how crucial it is to protect religious rights. Im not saying we have to have prayers in school (although no one was offended in my Utah HS when a passionate prayer was given (Catholic), but even in Muslim Countries (Egypt) Christmas symbols are placed in public parks etc. In America these rights are taken by people too easily offended by the faith of others.

  • BobP Port Alice, B.C.
    Dec. 20, 2010 8:46 a.m.

    The atheists seem disappointed that the Constitution give Amweicans freedom of religion, NOT freedom from religion.

  • Northern Logan, UT
    Dec. 20, 2010 12:00 a.m.

    The Right to not be offended is not in the constitution. If my religion offends you, im sorry that your willing to carry that extra baggage around. But Im not going to give it a second thought.

    The separation of church and state is also NOT mentioned in the constitution.

    What is mentioned is the government cannot interfere with my right to worship how I please.
    You can all worship how you please also.

  • wrz SLC, Utah
    Dec. 19, 2010 11:52 p.m.


    "History shows us that religion is one of the most divisive and undemocratic forces in the world. Religious wars, persecution of gays, the inquisition, suppression of womens rights, censorship, blocking of scientific ideas..."

    If it wasn't religion causing the above, it would be something else. Religion is largely man-made. And man can find other ways and means to accomplish the dastardly conditions you list. So, stop blaming religion.

  • TucsonUte Phoenix, Arizona
    Dec. 19, 2010 11:00 p.m.

    I will never forget the local vicar showing up at my son's public school in England during Christmas of 2003 to give a Christmas message to the kids. Our nation has it so wrong in so many ways. People get too offended, too easily in the USA..political correctness is a horrible thing.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 10:21 p.m.

    Bill in Nebraska,

    There you go AGAIN....making FALSE assumptions and accusation concerning me! That attitude is what divides! Where did I say I wished to take away your religious rights? I support your right to worship and believe as you please and I would hope that you support my right to believe as I please as well as my right not to worship. When religion crosses boundaries and infringes upon my rights then I have a right to protest. Religion and government ARE NOT the same entity. Religion does not have a right to dominate society. Are your religious rights more important than my secular rights? Religion DOMINATES society in many ways....yet it always seems that the religious are crying about losing their religious rights when they can still worship, pray, and believe what they want. The point of social or political secularism is to have social or political institutions be independent of religious institutions.

    Just try to imagine your religion were not in power and that a different religious group were trying to do to the law things you disagree with just as yours is doing in many peoples' eyes right now.

  • Sorry Charlie! SLC, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 9:39 p.m.

    At the editors: Huh? The whole article and all the editorials in today's paper are focused on the importance of religion and the one comment you choose as an editor's choice is the comment that says we need to limit religions we disagree with? Really? That comment is in direct opposition to the theme of the entire editorial section - do you not believe what has been written in these articles? Why would you choose that as the comment to recommend?

  • Bubble SLC, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 9:35 p.m.

    @ cactusflats: "The faith that causes bigotry, hatred, and war is not faith at all. It might be associated with a particular expression or profession of religious dogma, but we need to separate actual faith defined by humility in the face of God (often said "God-fearing") from the expression of a particular religion."

    This sounds as if you are suggesting that we should only allow some faiths to have a role in the community.

    Who gets to be the arbiter of what is actual faith that is deserving of protection and what is not?

  • Candide Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 8:33 p.m.

    The author of the article mentions that "religion acts as the best tutor of democratic dispositions". I couldn't disagree more. History shows us that religion is one of the mose divisive and undemocratic forces in the world. Religious wars, persecution of gays, the inquisition, suppression of womens rights, censorship, blocking of scientific ideas...the list of undemocratic religious principles is a long one. Secular democracy is the only thing that keeps religious fanatacism at bay. Our Constitution is based on the ideals of the Enlightenment where laws are based on reason and not religion.

  • Mithrandir Tupelo, MS
    Dec. 19, 2010 7:47 p.m.

    What is the point of this article? It appears to be that everyone ought to be religious because religious people are more democratic and altruistic. Nevermind whether democracy (mob rule) or altruism (otherism or self immolation for others) are actually virtuous.

    This article could have been just as meaningful if it had surveyed the benefits to society of choosing a favorite sports team, any team, so long as you are a sports fan.

    Sorry folks, religion per se is not a virtue unto itself. And it is not a virtue unto the community.

    A meaningful article would have surveyed principles that when followed by individuals result in happiness and lead to a peaceful and prosperous community. Religion is not a principle. It has principles within it and if those principles are good, good will come of it, and if they are bad, evil will come of it. And true principles can be identified and followed and the consequences enjoyed whether one is religious or not.

    The religious controversy at Christmas time stems from one blatantly false and evil principle: public property. If buses and city buildings were private, private individuals would determine the decore and peace would prevail.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    Dec. 19, 2010 6:45 p.m.

    There is a difference between advocating your religious beliefs and tying to legislate them. That is where the minority get's hurt and certainly the history of the Mormons demonstrates that.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Dec. 19, 2010 6:26 p.m.

    Joggle it is that thinking that has put this country where it is today. It is pretty relevant that the founding fathers had a firm belief in God, just that they didn't concur with the different sects at the time. Many worshipped in their own manner but disagreed with it. The so called freedom from religion and the fact that many call for a separation of Church and State is really none existant in the Constitution.

    We have the right to worship as we want and dictate. Congress can pass no law to disagree with religion yet they passed a law prohibiting pologamy which was only practiced by one sect. Today that law would probably beheld as unconstitutional.

    The only separation of Church and State is that the government doesn't have the right to proclaim one religion over another, yet in all respects this is a Christian country by all definitions. The only difference from us and other countries is that we allow all religions to practice here without fear or condemnation, yet there are people like you who are willing and wanting to take that away from this country.

  • Northern Logan, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 6:18 p.m.

    "Two hands working and do more then 1000 hands grasped in prayer."

    Such a true statement after we are done praying its good to know that no other Church gives more time resources then those of the Latter day Saints, many hands make light work.

    So grateful for the LDS principle of welfare that help people become independent. Keep it up Mormons, you give so much and do so much for so many.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 5:50 p.m.

    This was obviously a time when America "embraced Christianity," but it's just as obvious that the nation had great difficultly when it came to self-governing and that Christianity utterly failed as a basis for agreement on even question of whether slavery was moral. To expect Christianity or any religion to do any better today when the diversity of religion generally and Christianity in particular is greater than ever before is to engage in willful blindness. The facts of American history make it absolutely clear that Christianity not only isn't necessary for self-government, but also that it's exacerbated at least as many situations as it's been used to help.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Dec. 19, 2010 5:27 p.m.

    To Atheist and others:

    Really two hands working can do more than 1000 grasped in prayer. Show your facts and I can give you where yours are complete failures.

    A doctor comes to a family and says that there is no hope for her daughter that they can do nothing to left they can do for her. Hundreds of people in the young girls congregation fast and pray for the little girl. She lives to fulfill a complete life.

    In a battlefield somewhere in Europe a group of German and American serviceman collectively reach a house for security. Once their the woman of the house says no guns or anything in the house. The evening passes as enemies eat, drink and sing of the holiday season that is taking place. By morning neither wants to fight the other so they go their separate ways. PEACE for them was a night together.

    There are more stories of these that I can relate. It is faith that brought them together. It is faith that can do more sometimes than any two people can. It is by faith that we KNOW God lives and loves us. It is faith that conquers fear.

  • cactusflats American Fork, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 4:38 p.m.

    The faith that causes bigotry, hatred, and war is not faith at all. It might be associated with a particular expression or profession of religious dogma, but we need to separate actual faith defined by humility in the face of God (often said "God-fearing") from the expression of a particular religion. More god-fearing sentiment in this country would help control selfishness and greed and promote family-oriented sacrifice-- behaviors we could use much more of these days.

  • TheAtheist slc, u
    Dec. 19, 2010 3:10 p.m.

    Faith and religion are the major driving factors of near all bigotry, hatred and war in the world.

    Two hands working and do more then 1000 hands grasped in prayer.

  • Christy Beaverton, OR
    Dec. 19, 2010 3:04 p.m.

    A person need not be 'religious' to be charitable, and to live their lives in a moral way. Some people realize that God lives through us in how we treat one another and that no one, nor any one 'religion' is better than the next. It's a constant struggle to be selfless, but in the end, to love one another, is all it's about.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 11:49 a.m.

    Religion or faith divides. It doesn't always unite people. You can see the divide in this article as it attempts to assert through mostly biased sources that faith is superior to other beliefs. The article itself reinforces sterotypes of those without faith. Religion can divide and segregate people, depending upon dogma. Many religions see "their way" as the only way and in doing that segregate themselves from others who believe differently from them.

    Spirituality is something everyone can have even atheists. In its most expansive sense, it could simply be taken to refer to any individual's particular quest to discover that which is held sacred personally. It doesn't even have to involve a god. That feeling of awe and wonder, that sense of a deep unity with the universe or cosmos such intuitions might lead to a traditional religious outlook on the world, or they might not. I think that people make the mistake of thinking that spirituality, in that sense, has anything to do with either religious doctrines or the supernatural. A focus on spirituality, then, might be the route to finally healing one of the most divisive rifts in Western society which is organized religion.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 10:29 a.m.

    It would be nice to have a genuine, thorough, fact-based "debate" on this subject.

    Genuine point-counterpoint, genuine examination of evidence, genuine cross-examination.

    A compelling case can be made that the "role" of religion in society is far less positive than this editorial is asserting.

    Is there any chance such an honest discussion along these lines could happen in the pages of this newspaper?

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 9:48 a.m.

    Faith divides us like nothing else can, when we bring it to the public square. It is a personal thing, but we have brought it forward as the standard by which we judge others. It ain't working.