A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. ~Shelby Foote

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Amen... Errr

Andrew Sullivan has been having a variety of interesting posts and takes on religion in general, and religion and politics in particular. This one jumped out at me today, because I think it's an important point, and a reason why fundamentalistic religions, of all stripes, are hard to reconcile with a free, open and democratic society. Because part and parcel of fundamentalist religions is to spread the Word, and to do so vigorously and vociferously. Even aggressively or violently.

And therein lies the problem. I do not have a problem with evangelicalism in general-- if you want to share your believes with others, good for you. But, when it goes beyond sharing-- persuading-- and becomes aggressive and/or violent, it is no longer acceptable.
Yes, it's crucially important, and it's why the framers of the Constitution made it so upfront that religion was to be left out of the governing sphere.

Sully: I think we leave it in the inside private world. Look: I believe that a man rose from the dead two millennia ago. Why am I not also "a delusional lunatic"? Cultic practices can be anathematized in a liberal democracy. Not religion.

Here's part of the issue. There's nothing, other than personal preference and familiarity, that differentiates a religion from a cult. People have tried, but it ends up being based on arbitrary standards. Therefore, you have to tolerate them all, or none. any other basis is.... irrational.

At this point, what prevents the guy who started the Flying Spaghetti Monster nonsense from establishing it as a religion? He's got mythos, a hierarchy, rites, a moral framework.

So how is it substantively different from any major religion? Plus it's got pirates.
Yar... I love pirates!
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