Friendship and religion

Yesterday I lost a friend, that is always a sad thing to me because friends are big part of every ones lives and loosing one due to a disagreement over something as profoundly subjective as religion doubly so. Asserting that some one is wrong by simply repeating that they are wrong over and over is in it’s self difficult to justify, at least for me. I am intelligent enough to know I am not all knowing, my current avatar is my way of poking fun at myself not a declaration of knowledge and a way to show that only a fool thinks he is all knowing, Bullwinkle was of course a fool in the most sever definition of the word.

If you declare someone to be wrong, you should be able to point out why, if for no other reason than to correct ignorance, we are all ignorant in some way, no one knows every thing about anything and of the things we do know about there is always a certain amount of error. I have no problem with being told I am wrong, I have been wrong many times in my life and often this resulted in paying a steep price for the knowledge I was ignorant of. But due to this if you assert that I am wrong, I will almost certainly pursue your assertion with some vigor and do my best to find out why you assert I am wrong, more assertions of “wrongness” will not convince me. I require either verifable evidence or an admission that your assertion is simply based in belief.

I should say here that belief does not equal knowledge, no amount of belief equals even a tiny amount of knowledge. But then again every one is entitled to their beliefs as long as your beliefs don’t include forcing some one else to believe your way. If I see you assert something I feel is incorrect I will generally tell you and then back it up with evidence, if I have no evidence I will keep my mouth shut and go on but since I do appreciate new knowledge feel free to point out my mistakes if you have real verifiable evidence I am wrong. Do not bother to simply shout you are wrong, it will lead to a serious disconnect and we may as well not be friends and go our own way to avoid an unproductive argument to begin with.

Personal attacks are also non demonstrative of knowledge, I am I think far more than just some one who keeps paddlefish or for that matter keeps fish in a glass box although I think I am pretty good at after close to 50 years of doing it I guess I should be. I have a wide variety of diverse interests and I display many of them on my face book page. One thing I am not is arrogant enough to assert my belief as knowledge or to assert some one is wrong simply because their beliefs do not coincide with mine. When it comes down to the wire we all have separate beliefs and while some are more similar than others we all live in a world we make up as we go along inside our heads. I doubt anyone’s total belief system is exactly the same as anyone else’s which brings me to this…

My very strong belief that separation of church and state protects us all and is of fundamental importance in our society. A Secular government is necessary for there to be true freedom of religion, if you think that your religion is so beneficial that the government should support it then we have a problem, yes I mean a personal problem. I cannot support that assertion, I am member of several fora, with well over 10,000 posts in several hundred threads and many of them deal with this very thing.

The only conclusion I can draw from all the evidence of both sides is that separation of church and state prevent MEN, from distorting the word or idea of GOD into something evil that serves only to empower and glorify MEN. Men use religion to justify some of the most horrific atrocities the world has ever seen, it is very important to understand it is MEN who do this not GOD.

It is also important to understand that freedom of religion is a concept that came from men, not God or more properly religion because they are often not the same thing. It is this separation of church and state that allows all of us to live together in a relatively peaceful society despite real differences in religious beliefs. One only has to go back a few years to find Protestants and Catholics killing each other over who worships god the correct way. Back a few decades and you’ll find Protestants and Catholics killing Jews, millions of them, I see no reason to keep going back but this sort of thing has happened routinely and regularly the further back you go between and inside all sects of religions world wide the worse it gets, yes Muslims, Hindus and others are not innocent either, all MEN have at one time or another have been guilty of using the concept of GOD as an excuse to persecute their fellow man often in a horrible degrading manner.

Secular governments have at least attempted to put an end to this and inside the USA this has been relatively successful in at least recent history although you don’t have to go back very far to find it even here. I think it of vital importance that this is not allowed to occur any longer and that all of us allow others to have their belief systems in private but in the world of the government secular is the only way we can live together reasonably peaceably. And so the Earth rotates, the Sun still fuses hydrogen into helium and shines it’s light down on us as we go about our daily routines, all I ask is that you do something helpful or kind to someone today even if they don’t know, because you will know and be a better person for it.

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4 Responses to Friendship and religion

  1. Ringer says:

    I’m sorry to hear about you and your friend. It seems so outdated to ruin a friendship based on theological differences. It is amazing how often contempt is directed toward those with different religious views. My fiancee is a middle school teacher and while she was in school another student was talking about a time when she was student teaching. She was talking about Columbine, for whatever reason, and said that the boys who were shooting were atheist. The teacher that actually leads the class pulled her outside and told her to be careful because one of the students was atheist, why she would know or care is beyond me, and she should be careful how she proceeded. So far all standard procedure. The kicker is that she didn’t want her to be careful so the kid wasn’t mocked for being atheist or anything like that; it was so she wouldn’t give the atheist kid ideas!! The real ridiculous thing is most of the class she was telling this story to agreed that they shouldn’t give little atheist kids ideas on how to kill people. Like being atheist immediately takes away all moral codes

  2. Moontanman says:

    This is really strage, it is verifiable that fewer atheists per capita are incarcerated than any other group, by a consideralbe margin as well, if it had been my child the teacher would have had a come to jesus meeting with me…. lol

  3. jimmydasaint says:

    Moontanman, the blessings of God upon you my friend. I am sorry to hear of your loss. However, Stalin, Chairman Mao and Hitler believed in something other than God, and, between them, allowed the deaths of over 20 million non-combatants. Peace.

  4. Moontanman says:

    While Stalin and Chairman Mao might have been atheists, and their personal philosophy atheistic, Hitler was indeed a Christian a Roman Catholic to be precise (he claimed it so, many times) and all this soldiers were either Catholics or Lutheran for the most part and they had no problems committing the atrocities he ordered them to do. Hitler was quoted many times that he was protecting Christians from the Jewish threat which was seen as real by almost all Christians and had been taught as dogma by both protestant and catholic religions for centuries before his actions. Jews are recorded in the bible as committing genocide in the name of god as well so while they were victims during WW2 and even before they or their religion was not innocent of such atrocities either. As for the other two I cannot see how there is a logical connection that goes from being atheist to committing mass murder since most if not all their followers were either Russian Orthodox Christians or in the case of Mao ancestor worshipers (I can’t recall the exact nature of their religion right now but it can be found in a Google search quite quickly) and not atheists and it is the followers who commit the crimes, if your belief in god or gods is real and forbids such behavior then how can you be ordered to kill? So to say they believed in something other than God can I assume you mean your version of god? A far greater number of people have been murdered, often horribly, by people who worshiped god in one way by people who thought that was the incorrect way to do so or who worshiped another god. Who’s to say which god is correct and which way is the correct way to worship him? Protestants and Catholics did quite a bit of killing each other as well. Christianity was established by the threat of killing anyone who refused to worship as a Christian and that threat was carried out many times by Roman law. (of course the reverse was also true before Christianity was established as the official religion of the Roman Empire) Religion generally has shown it has no problem killing anyone who doesn’t agree with that religion. I cannot think of any religion that has not at one time or another been more than willing to kill to enforce it’s theology. That’s why it is so important, at least in my opinion, that God and government be separated and your right to worship god be protected by law but no particular god enforced by law. In history it has been the case that religion, especially Abrahamic religion, has had no problem with killing others to enforce their religion. I don’t see how you can have freedom of religion with out freedom from it. I bear no ill will toward anyone for who or what they worship, I see no reason to persecute anyone for their religious beliefs or lack there of. A peaceful and rational agreement to disagree seems the logical choice to me.

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