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Friday, July 26, 2013

Religious freedom is about more than religion

Religious freedom is about more than religion and a Republican and Democrat have teemed up to explain why that is, and why religious freedom is essential as a right across the world. Here's part of it:
Some argue that this experience is illusory, and that we are determined in our actions purely by material causes. But these arguments themselves presuppose that the quest to understand the truth about the human condition is a deeply worthy one. They honor the questions that give rise to the quest, even in proposing answers meant to establish its futility.
(...)
It should be equally obvious that respect for the flourishing of people requires respect for their freedom—as individuals and together with others in community—to address the deepest questions of human existence and meaning. This allows them to lead lives of authenticity and integrity by fulfilling what they conscientiously believe to be their religious and moral duties.
Religious faith by its nature must be free. A coerced "faith" is no faith at all. Compulsion can cause a person to manifest the outward signs of belief or unbelief. It cannot produce the interior acts of intellect and will that constitute genuine faith.
Coercion in the cause of belief, whether religious or secular, produces not genuine conviction, but pretense and inauthenticity. It is therefore essential that religious freedom include the right to change one's beliefs and religious affiliation. It also includes the right to witness to one's beliefs in public as well as private, and to act—while respecting the equal right of others to do the same—on one's religiously inspired convictions in carrying out the duties of citizenship. Religious liberty includes a heavy presumption against being coerced to act contrary to one's sense of religious duty. This is a presumption that can be overridden only when necessary to achieve an essential public interest and when no less-restrictive alternative exists.
Because the freedom to live according to one's beliefs is so integral to human flourishing, the full protections of religious liberty must extend to all—even to those whose answers to the deepest questions reject belief in the transcendent.
I'll now make this more specific to the United States itself. If only those who reject belief in the transcendent realized they made their conclusions in response to the same fundamental questions we all ask in this life, maybe they'd allow others the privilege of arriving at conclusions different than their own without condescending to all people of faith as delusional. To grant us the dignity inherent to observing this right. Media, you're guilty too!

Secularists mistake the physical means for finding physical truths such as the scientific method and reason as the only means to find truth. This is a fallacy. Spiritual truths are found in faith, as taught in all kinds of scriptures. Now, if secularists don't want to take the proverbial leap of faith for themselves and begin acquiring spiritual knowledge for themselves, that's their own business and their right. It is not their right to ridicule those of us who do take that leap and find spiritual knowledge for ourselves.

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