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Religious Morality, Liberalism & Politics

Envisage
Posts: 3,646
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6/2/2015 3:54:53 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
This blog post is by our fellow DDO member salam.marcos - which closely mirrors my own stance regarding religion and politics. I have asked him if I could reproduce this here and he seemed cool with it - check out his profile and blog pages in the links below:
http://www.debate.org...
http://ihavetoargue.blogspot.ca...

"It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that most religious people are conservative and support right-wing parties. For instance, 80% of white evangelical protestant voters supported the Republican Party in the 2014 US presidential elections. In a 2006 study, research showed that most UK Anglicans remain firmly on the right. I also experience this in my own Church community where almost the entire congregation supports the Conservative Party of Canada. These conservative views, often called family values, include opposition to the right to same-sex marriage, abortion and euthanasia.

The part that frustrates me the most is that it has become expected or even required from a Christian to be conservative. Christians with liberal views are outnumbered and sometimes accused of veering from the true teachings of the Bible. I have to argue that they are very wrong. I believe that not only Christians can be liberal... but rather that they should be liberal!

Let"s look at euthanasia. Most would agree that euthanasia is considered a sin in the Christian faith, as well as most religions. As a Christian, I also believe that euthanasia is wrong. Nevertheless, it's very important to make a clear distinction between what someone might deem as right or wrong vs. the right to freedom of choice, belief and religion. I have the right to believe that euthanasia is morally or religiously wrong" but that doesn't mean in any way that others don"t have the right to do that very thing that I consider very wrong!

We must also not forget that no individual or belief system holds a monopoly over the truth" I might think that euthanasia is wrong, others might think otherwise" Why should my opinion be considered more right than theirs?

What I find very remarkable is that Jesus Christ Himself advocated for the separation of Church and State and supported the freedom of choice. And yes" this even includes the freedom to sin. Jesus didn't coerce anyone to following any of His teachings. Here are some examples:

Separation of Church and State " "...Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." (Mark 12:17)
Freedom of choice " "All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful..." (1 Cor 10:23)
Jesus reprimanded his disciples when they wanted to call down fire from heaven on the village that didn't welcome Jesus. (Luke 9:51-56)
Jesus spoke about His wish to gather the people of Jerusalem to believe in Him, but they weren't willing. (Matthew 23:37)

Someone might say, "That"s fine! We"ll put this into a vote, and let the vote decide. I"ll vote against it" another might vote for it" and so on." But that"s not enough! By doing so, minorities will be deprived from their rights and freedoms. There are many examples in history were minorities" rights were suppressed. It"s our duty to support the rights and freedoms of minorities.

So I have to argue that Christians don"t have to support euthanasia, but must support people"s right to euthanasia. The maximum that you can do is to pray for them and try to convince them against it. But in the end, it"s their choice. The same applies to other issues such as same-sex marriage. You have the right to believe that the sacrament of marriage is between a Christian man and a Christian woman and that they become one in Christ. But homosexuals have the right to demand same-sex marriage even if you think that it"s wrong!"
jkerr3
Posts: 177
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6/2/2015 4:07:46 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/2/2015 3:54:53 PM, Envisage wrote:
This blog post is by our fellow DDO member salam.marcos - which closely mirrors my own stance regarding religion and politics. I have asked him if I could reproduce this here and he seemed cool with it - check out his profile and blog pages in the links below:
http://www.debate.org...
http://ihavetoargue.blogspot.ca...

"It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that most religious people are conservative and support right-wing parties. For instance, 80% of white evangelical protestant voters supported the Republican Party in the 2014 US presidential elections. In a 2006 study, research showed that most UK Anglicans remain firmly on the right. I also experience this in my own Church community where almost the entire congregation supports the Conservative Party of Canada. These conservative views, often called family values, include opposition to the right to same-sex marriage, abortion and euthanasia.

The part that frustrates me the most is that it has become expected or even required from a Christian to be conservative. Christians with liberal views are outnumbered and sometimes accused of veering from the true teachings of the Bible. I have to argue that they are very wrong. I believe that not only Christians can be liberal... but rather that they should be liberal!

Let"s look at euthanasia. Most would agree that euthanasia is considered a sin in the Christian faith, as well as most religions. As a Christian, I also believe that euthanasia is wrong. Nevertheless, it's very important to make a clear distinction between what someone might deem as right or wrong vs. the right to freedom of choice, belief and religion. I have the right to believe that euthanasia is morally or religiously wrong" but that doesn't mean in any way that others don"t have the right to do that very thing that I consider very wrong!

We must also not forget that no individual or belief system holds a monopoly over the truth" I might think that euthanasia is wrong, others might think otherwise" Why should my opinion be considered more right than theirs?

What I find very remarkable is that Jesus Christ Himself advocated for the separation of Church and State and supported the freedom of choice. And yes" this even includes the freedom to sin. Jesus didn't coerce anyone to following any of His teachings. Here are some examples:

Separation of Church and State " "...Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." (Mark 12:17)
Freedom of choice " "All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful..." (1 Cor 10:23)
Jesus reprimanded his disciples when they wanted to call down fire from heaven on the village that didn't welcome Jesus. (Luke 9:51-56)
Jesus spoke about His wish to gather the people of Jerusalem to believe in Him, but they weren't willing. (Matthew 23:37)

Someone might say, "That"s fine! We"ll put this into a vote, and let the vote decide. I"ll vote against it" another might vote for it" and so on." But that"s not enough! By doing so, minorities will be deprived from their rights and freedoms. There are many examples in history were minorities" rights were suppressed. It"s our duty to support the rights and freedoms of minorities.


So I have to argue that Christians don"t have to support euthanasia, but must support people"s right to euthanasia. The maximum that you can do is to pray for them and try to convince them against it. But in the end, it"s their choice. The same applies to other issues such as same-sex marriage. You have the right to believe that the sacrament of marriage is between a Christian man and a Christian woman and that they become one in Christ. But homosexuals have the right to demand same-sex marriage even if you think that it"s wrong!"

I couldn't agree with you more the most valued element of a society should be individual freedom. You can force religious views on people who aren't believers, as long as I don't infringe on another persons rights I should be able to do whatever I want.
Varrack
Posts: 2,410
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6/2/2015 4:15:04 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/2/2015 3:54:53 PM, Envisage wrote:

Yep...I've heard this before. However, I don't think I can agree.

This post goes off the assumption that it immoral things should be legal because some find them moral, but this logic doesn't work well. Crime is illegal because it is immoral to some, despite some people (criminals) finding it morally acceptable. That is no reason to allow crime.

On abortion, some say that they are personally opposed to it but think it should be allowed. My question to them is: why do you personal oppose it? Prolife people oppose it not because they want to disallow choice but because it negates the choice and rights of the unborn. In the Lincoln-Douglas debates, Douglas said he was "personally opposed" to slavery but didn't think it should be banned due to personal choice. Today it is banned because of the obvious reason: it is immoral. I tend to think the same logic goes for abortion.

The euthanasia debate is trickier, but it kind of follows the same thinking. People shouldn't have the agency to choose to die because their life is valuable, and it is immoral. For same-sex marriage, the debate isn't about choice but rather the definition of marriage...people under voting age shouldn't be allowed to vote because they want to, but rather because they don't fit the voting criterion.

For those reasons, I prefer to call myself a conservative Christian.
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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6/2/2015 4:22:58 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/2/2015 3:54:53 PM, Envisage wrote:
This blog post is by our fellow DDO member salam.marcos - which closely mirrors my own stance regarding religion and politics. I have asked him if I could reproduce this here and he seemed cool with it - check out his profile and blog pages in the links below:
http://www.debate.org...
http://ihavetoargue.blogspot.ca...
I have to argue that Christians don"t have to support euthanasia, but must support people"s right to euthanasia.

Thank you for posting, Envisage.

I've recently tried to explore this with one of our colleagues, Roderick, in his "Is Religious Freedom Under Fire in the U.S.?" thread. [http://www.debate.org...]

There are many reasons one might be concerned about the undesirable impacts of certain policy decisions. Euthanasia has moral questions that anyone can ask (like the prospect of pressuring the vulnerable to relinquish life), and there are legitimate social questions about how far the definition of marriage might be extended beyond gay unions (e.g. how many people make a marriage, and how committed should they be?) There are questions about human genome experimentation (like copyright, and hybridisation), and stem-cell research (like questions of consent, and evaluation of medical risk.)

Anyone -- whether of faith or not -- is free to ask these questions, and if some people of faith wish to focus on these concerns and insist they are addressed, I don't feel they can be blamed for that.

However -- and this came up in my discussion with Roderick too -- when people take a rigid position devoid of even compassionate compromise... so they start consigning others to prolonged and needless misery just to uphold the authority of their beliefs, then they are not expressing a moral voice but claiming moral authority.

One needs to be very careful doing that. In particular, either a claim to moral authority is accountable to others based on contestable physical evidence, or it is not. When it is not -- when it's simply the expression of an ideal, whether religious or otherwise -- then the democratic conversation has broken down. This is especially of concern in pluralistic societies, since the only thing that really holds them together is sufficient respect for one another that people can converse.

I don't believe that all or even most people of faith want to assert moral authority in all matters of conscience. However, there are what I would label hegemonistic influences -- people who want (or believe they are already entitled to) religious privilege, who demand others capitulate to their authority, even at the cost of prolonged misery.

I see this evidenced in certain kinds of opposition to gay marriage; euthanasia; abortion and stem cell experimentation. There are genuine concerns about all these questions and they do deserve to be discussed, but there are also uncompromising appeals to principle, which prevent any discussion at all.

As I tried to explain to Roderick in the other thread, freedom of worship is freedom to honour and celebrate. It is not the license to impose unaccountable moral authorities on others.

In my experience, some people of faith understand and accept this; but after centuries of secular democracy it disturbs me how many still don't.
Envisage
Posts: 3,646
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6/2/2015 4:22:59 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
This post goes off the assumption that it immoral things should be legal because some find them moral,

This is false, and also it presupposes those things are immoral in the first place. The point of the post is that the legality of actions should be independant of whether or not it is perceived to be immoral.

but this logic doesn't work well. Crime is illegal because it is immoral to some, despite some people (criminals) finding it morally acceptable. That is no reason to allow crime.

That is false for the above reasons.

On abortion, some say that they are personally opposed to it but think it should be allowed. My question to them is: why do you personal oppose it? Prolife people oppose it not because they want to disallow choice but because it negates the choice and rights of the unborn. In the Lincoln-Douglas debates, Douglas said he was "personally opposed" to slavery but didn't think it should be banned due to personal choice. Today it is banned because of the obvious reason: it is immoral. I tend to think the same logic goes for abortion.

That is not to say there isn't a case for making certain things illegal, or prohibited, only that it is independant of people'e perceptions of morality. We do not prohibit things just because we find them immoral, but for other reasons (which are often complex). Conversely, some things that are not necessarily immoral (e.g. victimless crimes) are also prohibited under law, which is an even larger divorcement of morals from statute.

If in a society we need to maximise the opportunity for choice, and it follows that abortion should be prohibited, then that is fair enough. But that doesn't in any way disagree with salam's blog post.

The euthanasia debate is trickier, but it kind of follows the same thinking. People shouldn't have the agency to choose to die because their life is valuable, and it is immoral. For same-sex marriage, the debate isn't about choice but rather the definition of marriage...people under voting age shouldn't be allowed to vote because they want to, but rather because they don't fit the voting criterion.

For those reasons, I prefer to call myself a conservative Christian.
Varrack
Posts: 2,410
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6/2/2015 4:40:43 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/2/2015 4:22:59 PM, Envisage wrote:
This post goes off the assumption that it immoral things should be legal because some find them moral,

This is false, and also it presupposes those things are immoral in the first place. The point of the post is that the legality of actions should be independant of whether or not it is perceived to be immoral.

The OP is assuming that these things are immoral, and the OP believes them to be. So to counter that they might not be immoral is not in question.

but this logic doesn't work well. Crime is illegal because it is immoral to some, despite some people (criminals) finding it morally acceptable. That is no reason to allow crime.

That is false for the above reasons.

On abortion, some say that they are personally opposed to it but think it should be allowed. My question to them is: why do you personal oppose it? Prolife people oppose it not because they want to disallow choice but because it negates the choice and rights of the unborn. In the Lincoln-Douglas debates, Douglas said he was "personally opposed" to slavery but didn't think it should be banned due to personal choice. Today it is banned because of the obvious reason: it is immoral. I tend to think the same logic goes for abortion.

That is not to say there isn't a case for making certain things illegal, or prohibited, only that it is independant of people'e perceptions of morality. We do not prohibit things just because we find them immoral, but for other reasons (which are often complex). Conversely, some things that are not necessarily immoral (e.g. victimless crimes) are also prohibited under law, which is an even larger divorcement of morals from statute.

Any other reasons can always be traced back to morality. Murder is illegal because it wrongfully strips someone of their life, which is wrong. Stealing is simply unacceptable as well. Anything that involves "right" or "wrong" is automatically categorized under morality. I highly doubt that stealing is illegal simply for reasons such as that it hurts the economy..(which is arguably a moral problem as well). Even if there are reasons for prohibiting it besides moral complications, the distinction between right/wrong plays a huge factor in the law.

If in a society we need to maximise the opportunity for choice, and it follows that abortion should be prohibited, then that is fair enough. But that doesn't in any way disagree with salam's blog post.

The euthanasia debate is trickier, but it kind of follows the same thinking. People shouldn't have the agency to choose to die because their life is valuable, and it is immoral. For same-sex marriage, the debate isn't about choice but rather the definition of marriage...people under voting age shouldn't be allowed to vote because they want to, but rather because they don't fit the voting criterion.

For those reasons, I prefer to call myself a conservative Christian.
jkerr3
Posts: 177
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6/2/2015 6:41:58 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/2/2015 4:15:04 PM, Varrack wrote:
At 6/2/2015 3:54:53 PM, Envisage wrote:

Yep...I've heard this before. However, I don't think I can agree.

This post goes off the assumption that it immoral things should be legal because some find them moral, but this logic doesn't work well. Crime is illegal because it is immoral to some, despite some people (criminals) finding it morally acceptable. That is no reason to allow crime.

On abortion, some say that they are personally opposed to it but think it should be allowed. My question to them is: why do you personal oppose it? Prolife people oppose it not because they want to disallow choice but because it negates the choice and rights of the unborn. In the Lincoln-Douglas debates, Douglas said he was "personally opposed" to slavery but didn't think it should be banned due to personal choice. Today it is banned because of the obvious reason: it is immoral. I tend to think the same logic goes for abortion.

The euthanasia debate is trickier, but it kind of follows the same thinking. People shouldn't have the agency to choose to die because their life is valuable, and it is immoral. For same-sex marriage, the debate isn't about choice but rather the definition of marriage...people under voting age shouldn't be allowed to vote because they want to, but rather because they don't fit the voting criterion.

For those reasons, I prefer to call myself a conservative Christian.

Your actually wrong about the crime argument. Crimes are illegal because they violate people's inalienable rights. If I steal something from you I have violated your rights and thus it is a crime. If I cheat on my wife although it may be considered immoral it is not a violation of her inalienable rights and thus it is legal. The only exceptions to this rule that I can think of are taxes and duty to serve in the military.

2 people of the same sex getting married does not violate anyone's rights and thus by default should be legal. Abortion is more of a grey area because it depends on whether you consider a fetus to be a human or not to determine whether or not it should be legal.