Monday, July 2, 2007

Joining a Blogswarm

I'll join in on , which is having a blogswarm through the 4th. To my mind, freedom of religion includes freedom FROM religion.
I'm not religious in any way, but I have studied all the major religions from a perspective of history and philosophy (hey, I'm only a thesis away from a master's degree in philosophy, which would open up some great career opportunities). Historically, theocracies have repressed freedoms in order to maintain power, and dissenters punished to varying degrees. Religions begin as a way to pass on certain "social rules" (i.e. 10 commandments) but evolve into "us vs. them"-isms. Think catholic vs. protestant, shia vs. sunni, etc. In our more tribal history this was a means to control behavior, for the good of the whole tribe, but now is used to judge "morality". One simple example would be the area of sexuality. All major religions have a set of sexual rules which were intended to promote the tribal/family unit for the future. So all religions condemn sexual behavior that is outside their rules. Because the human animal is a sexual animal, there are always some people for the religion to condemn. How dare someone enjoy something other than what is allowed? In truth, the sexual rules were broken all the time, but were kept secret to avoid shaming the tribe/family.
Now, we have "laws" that are the means to maintain social order. Surprise, laws get broken. Just like the rules of religions.
I know many people (including my own family members) who find great comfort in religion. Believing helps them make more sense of their role in society. And I support their right to believe. But I sure as hell don't want their beliefs forced on me (especially the sexual rules). I do like my freedoms.
There was a poll a while back (can't seem to find it now) that said people would be less likely to elect an atheist president than a minority, woman, or gay. I found that astonishing, in that us atheists are a relatively quiet bunch. While our current crop of presidential candidates represent a variety of religious sects, all claim to be religious and some form of christian. None would dare appear as "non-religious". And that's a sad, scary situation.

Your thoughts?


Anonymous said...

Well said.

zymurgian said...

drinking lots of beer most every day is a rational activity, because it keeps me from going crazy.

Bing said...

I believe that that study was done by the University of Minnesota, or Wisconson...there was some sort of cheese producing state involved.

Atheists need to organized...humanists of all stripes need to. We are being written out of the political process. We need to let them know that we are moral intelligent and active.