If I may be so bold #4

BryanThompson's picture

--I have lived in Peachtree City since 1984, and attended many graduation ceremonies. Today I was at the University of West Georgia, and thought about this 21st century that these young adults will form, and which will form them in turn.
--One of the most striking parts of the ceremony was the "moment of silence". There was a time when this would have been a prayer, probably by a Christian
clergyman, asking God's blessing upon the new graduates. That time is past, and it leads me to speculate about the 21st century, which I believe will be influenced by religion as no century ever has.
--Religion....ah so hard to define. For my purpose here I will make three observations about religion.
--First, there is a religion that does not recognize the supernatural. This religion has humanistic tenants, such as the one observed in the commencement ceremony today. You may believe as you wish, but you may NOT in government funded public ceremonies recognize, speak about, or thank any supernatural deity, even in general terms.
-- The student speakers, in fact, risked censure for the few references they made. The government employees of course made no references.
--The religion of the non supernatural is only barely tolerant of other religions. Those who support this view would severely limit the expression of those who believe in the supernatural, restricting their expressions to homes and churches. Indeed they would criminalize many public expressions of belief, which today they have only succeeded in stifling.
--Second there is a relgion that contains within its main tenants commands for dominating political power over the entire earth. This religion would go further than the religion of secular humanism; it would persecute those of other religions.
--The political system this religion would set up would forbid, by law, even speaking about any other religion. You would be a second class citizen, paying a special tax, if you were a member of another religion, and would be officially subject to discrimination.
--Those of this religion who chose to leave it for another religion would be abducted, given three days to consider their choice (under physical and psycological duress) and if they chose to hold to their new faith, executed. Those of another religion who prosylitized would also be subject to execution.
--The court system they would set up is not based on common law, prececent, or any constitution. The law is subject to interpretation only by religious authorities.
--Third is a religion that seeks to reconcile man to God. This religion contains within it a moral code. In America we have chosen to codify the moral teachings of this religion into our laws, but the political system under which that codification occurred was not controlled by the religious leaders of the day.
--Although members of this religion may participate in politics, the religion itself does not seek to hold the power of the state. You might remember hearing a quote, "Render unto Caesar
what is Caesar's; and unto God what is God's."
--This final religion allows individual choice. There is no desire to judge or punish any for their beliefs, as that responsiblity is left to the supernatural. If you seek God, he will find you; if you don't, that is your choice, you will answer for it.
--In each of the three types of religions you will find much variation and even conflicting ideas. In fact you will find actual conflict and violence from time to time over the centuries both between the types, and within them.
--The 21st century, however, seems poised to host a far greater scale of conflict, with potentially devastating
results. Somehow I wonder how much the young adults I saw graduate today know of these coming conflicts, and how much they care.
--It is important because their
individual relgious beliefs will influence the political decisions they make, what ideas they will vote to support, and how they will conduct their lives and business.
--You could conceivably come up with any number of ways to categorize religions. My view perhaps is overly simplistic. 1) Deny the supernatural and forbid publc expression
2) Impose your religion upon the world and govern politically through your religious leaders
3) Allow individuals to choose their beliefs, and as long as they do not through force or fraud, deprive others of their life, property, or liberty, allow them to express their beliefs.
--Perhaps it is better if those young adults of today do not think of these things. Their time of joy in early adulthood is upon them. Marriage, careers, children await them.
--Let us, the old people, think of these dire things. Perhaps sometime we might get a chance to point out dangers that we, through long experience see. Perhaps it will help.

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yardman5508's picture
Submitted by yardman5508 on Fri, 12/21/2007 - 8:33am.

pray tell, of these three do you adhere to, if I might be so bold? Keep the faith.

Democracy is not a spectator sport!

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