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Forum Post: OccupyTheConstitution Freedom of Religion

Posted 7 years ago on Jan. 1, 2012, 12:44 p.m. EST by A3Admin (0)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

The notion of "Freedom of Religion" in relation to the Constitution comes from the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion". Most people believe that the first amendment "guarantees" the right to FREEDOM OF RELIGION. The problem is, people have a grossly idealized image of the word "freedom". They believe such a thing can actually exist. IT CAN'T. Read that again. Our "idealized" notion of FREEDOM can not exist! As soon as one human wants to do something another does not want to do, and they have to do it in the same place, freedom goes out the window. As soon as one religion establishes a "thou shalt" which does not agree with a "thou shalt NOT" of another religion in the same location, the possibility of freedom in society breaks down.

For example, if members of religion "A" believe all other people who do not believe religion "A" doctrines are "heathens" and must be killed, then there is NO possibility of Freedom for anyone as long as there is one other religion in their vicinity. Or, if members of religion "A" believe that ALL people in a society must say one of THEIR prayers to THEIR god every day, or the people of religion "A" will be subject to punishment from THEIR god, then freedom is again lost for any part of the society not in their clan. This is a VERY big problem. Why? Because our country is home to over a THOUSAND religious doctrines! And most of those doctrines don't tolerate other beliefs!

I've also heard it stated many times, "can't each person just keep their religion to themselves?" This sounds reasonable at first. But again, it falls apart in practice. The reason is, most religious beliefs REQUIRE "social action" in some form. So people might hold some beliefs inside their heads. But any of those beliefs that require social action create a conflict with others who don't hold the same beliefs.

Now bring in the PROBLEM of religious moderates. Right, I used the word "problem". Religious moderates, while helping to reduce violence and conflict, also create a large CREDIBILITY problem for religion. In order to reduce violence, they have to either deny some of the passages in their doctrines or bend the meanings so much that using logic to understand the doctrines becomes meaningless.

To be sure, religious freedom is a very serious and difficult problem.

The goal of this discussion page is to get ideas from people about how they think "freedom of religion" can be LOGICALLY achieved? The approach in the Constitution is an obvious failure. One way I've approached this exercise is to imagine being a ruler, who has no personal religious belief, but has the responsibility to try to maintain peace among a thousand different religions. ( Which of course is the actual problem the Constitution was supposed to solve. )

(This post is part of a collection of posts aimed at launching a new process called the National Opinion Collection System (NOCS). For more information on the process, see http://occupywallst.org/forum/occupytheconstitution-introduction/ )



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[-] 1 points by grapes (5232) 7 years ago

Religion IS a FUNDAMENTAL and IMPORTANT part of human existence historically (just look at how much religious strife there was and still is). However, we must tame its exercise to avoid its worse effects (religious hatred, discrimination, persecution, genocides, etc.) WITHOUT discarding its better effects (religious motivations, energy, convictions, charities, education, etc.). I see the solution lies in the universal enactment of the belief that the freedom of religion must be subject to humanistic values that everyone can agree with. Religious beliefs must become non-absolute and conditional, subject to revisions after repeated questioning and re-verification of their veracity (somewhat like the talmudic tradition). The humanistic values can include life, joy, empathy for the conditions of fellow human beings, etc. (perhaps something akin to what Christ offers as "fruits" of the spirit). Perhaps we should all try to transcend religions by escaping from the curse of the dichotomy that separated the spiritual realm from the physical realm. We can avoid the friction from re-absorbing the spiritual realm into the physical realm by pushing as hard as we can WITHOUT losing sight of our humanistic values. We should push hard and patiently for paradise on earth, without breaking our humanistic values; not some paradise in the "next life" because EVERYTHING is physical including religions as the ones without believers count for nothing. Patience is required because incremental progress is more desirable for not breaking too much. As they say, Rome was not built in a day but that does NOT mean that we cannot put our piece of cobblestone in the street. If we realize that we CAN transcend our physical bodies through our consciousness surviving in others, we will be able to become patient. What are we but consciousness? I see my keyboard and computer mouse become my new appendages. Do they make me more me? If I lose my hands and can change things with a blink of my eye, does the loss make me less me? Can I upload my consciousness and be backed up? Does Claude Shannon's theorem mean that "I" can attain arbitrarily low rate of error when "I" am communicated to the future to approach immortality?

[-] 1 points by OccupyYourBrain (1) 7 years ago

How is this complicated? Practice your religion all you want, but once you attempt to commit an act which either infringes on my right to practice OR NOT PRACTICE my religion, or causes me harm in any way, then you are in violation of our secular laws. So what if some religions hold doctrines that involve people outside of that religion, such as the examples in your second paragraph. Either those zealot freaks need to keep that shit to themselves, or our secular system of justice will deal with them.

Oh, wait that's right. I forgot the central tenet of you OWSers. FUCK THE POLICE. Amiright?