Site Meter Ogre's Politics & Views: Politics and Religion

I was reading a generally libertarian leaning forum the other day when I happened upon a poll. Yes, I understand this is an internet poll and it's mostly libertarians that were responding to the poll -- but still the results seemed rather odd to me. The poll question was:

Are Faith-Based Religions Needed Anymore?

Straightforward question, but without defining "need," you could go lots of ways with this one. The author of the poll did, giving you the following options as answers:
Yes, faith-based religions have uses that are applicable to modern society (and can be mostly helpful to the cause of liberty)

Yes, faith-based religions have uses that are applicable to modern society (but can be mostly destructive to the cause of liberty)

No, faith based religions are outdated and not needed in an age of science and reason (and can be mostly destructive to the cause of liberty)

No, faith based religions are outdated and not needed in an age of science and reason (but can be mostly helpful to the cause of liberty)

Now the answer options themselves seemed to show a very strong bias in the poll-writer's mind. I might note it's the same bias that seems to pervade much of society today, even showing up in things like Sid Meier's Civilization game -- that science is superior to religion.

I certainly know and understand science and their feelings on religion. Many scientists today honestly believe that they are God. They do not believe in anything they cannot see and touch with their own hands. They believe that they can define the entire world around us and that anyone who dares to disagree with them is just a simpleton and a moron. I just don't understand why more people don't simply point out the Flat-Earth scientists to quickly dispel any rumors that science is utterly infallible -- as they seem to think. But that's not my point of this post.

Instead, I looked at the results of the poll. Again, there's only a few people who have answered it, and most self-identify as libertarians, anarchists, or at the least, people who support freedom. The #1 selected answer, with just short of 60% of the people favoring it, was "No, faith based religions are outdated and not needed in an age of science and reason (and can be mostly destructive to the cause of liberty)."

I'm rather surprised. I could understand many of this type of person who selected the last option (that religion was not needed, but can help liberty), but I did not expect that option. I think that viewpoint of many in the libertarian movement is one reason the movement is not making any progress these days. Most libertarians appear to be taking the position that not only is religion nothing but stupid people who are too dumb to comprehend science, but they're also people who don't like freedom! They couldn't be more wrong.

The author of the poll uses rather strange logic to claim that religions aren't needed any more. He basically says that since all religions conflict with one another that they're all wrong. And he makes today's current moral equivalence argument to claim that the teachings of Jesus Christ are identical to legends of the earth being carried on a turtle's back. The author is clearly VERY closed-minded on such things and will not soon be convinced to open his mind to other possibilities.

Next, the author declares that all religion is destructive to freedom because Jewish law is strict and the Catholic church once defended the divine right of kings. Then he really goes off the deep end:

Think about the mindset of religious people. Most Christians and Muslims believe if you don't follow their religion or their morality that you will burn in hell for eternity or a long time. It would be rather selfish to not force your fellow man to follow "God's laws", wouldn't it?

Did anyone else notice that GIANT leap of faith he took there (despite him hating any sort of faith in a previous paragraph)? He went from having the mindset of one religious person following God's commands to that person forcing others to follow God's commands. I don't know a single Christian that wants to force anyone else to follow God's commands. Of course, I cannot say the same for the Muslim religion.

Again, the author makes another huge leap that simply does not make sense:

The whole idea of faith is anti-liberty to begin with. Faith is a very statist concept. Most people have faith in their politicians and look what that has done!

WHAT? Apparently, in this writer's mind, having faith in God and having faith in a lying politician are equal. Well maybe that's why the author of this poll doesn't understand religion and doesn't understand faith. I have faith in God, but I don't trust my elected officials as far as I can throw them!

Next, the author misunderstands history:

The US is a perfect example. This country used to be far closer to libertarianism, minus the racist laws. Now because of religious fundamentalists we have

Yes, we had more freedom in the past. But we have less now because of the removal of religion, rather than because of it. As a long I like once said, "Chewing gum and talking used to be the biggest problems we had in schools. Now that we've taken the Bible out, murder and pregnancy are rampant."

Throughout the thread for the poll, there are various statements, of course, bashing Christianity. Some even call for violence against "this God, if it exists." Certainly there is a great deal of open hostility towards Christianity (though strangely none towards Islam) -- while at the same time, most posts have a general thought of "Well, other people can do what they want, I won't tell them what to believe, but they're all stupid idiot morons that better not tell me what to do or I'll kill them."

But I simply do not understand the mindset that claims that religion is dangerous to liberty -- especially the dominant religion of the US, Christianity. Sure, Islam is dangerous to liberty, because the religion openly wants to destroy freedom. The positions of Islam don't say, "let people alone," it says, "force people to do these things or kill them." But that's not in the Bible.

The Bible gives rules and directions to people -- but it does not say that anyone should force anyone else to do anything. This country really was founded on Christianity, no matter what you've been told in the government-run schools. Look at the darn Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Endowed by their Creator. That's not anti-religion. That's certainly "faith." But this document CLEARLY outlines that people should be FREE. They should have liberty -- BECAUSE of their creator.

Christians still make up a large portion of this country. Libertarians, by alienating them, are making a horrible mistake. Are there Christians who are statists? Most certainly. Is the religion overall destructive to liberty? Not only is it not destructive, it's conducive. The religion of Christianity talks about people being responsible for their own actions -- a thorn in the side to liberals and big-government supporters.

Some will talk about the Jerry Falwell-types who try to get government to pass laws regarding pornography, gambling, abortion, and gay marriage. All of those are issues that can be discussed in different terms. What's the freedom-based position? The position that generates the most freedom -- which is often one that protects some people from others. I'm not going to go into each of the issues above, but in most cases, the religious position is about protecting the innocent, rather than interfering with freedom.

I'm sorry, but those of you who think the spread of Christianity will reduce liberty and freedom simply do not understand much about the religion itself -- and that is hurting the cause of liberty.

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