Laws reflect a moral belief that is determined by society in one manner or other. In a democracy or democratic republic, each person has the right to vote and act according to their own conscience and beliefs, which for religious individuals are likely to be profoundly rooted in religious beliefs. To remove their right to hold and support such beliefs, you would be destroying freedom of speech and religion.
Further, many positive laws have been based on religion. Movements such as abolitionism were strongly religiously based, and our law system reflects the judaio-christian background from which our country begins. The civil rights movement also had religious underpinnings. (Martin Luther King jr. Studied theology,) The founding fathers were religious, and the beliefs about freedom and individual rights are based on religious codes. Modern society and legal systems are based on religious beliefs, Take the cumulative influence of religion out of laws and we would be back to tribal rules and slavery with whomever had the most physical or political power ruling as a tyrant.
If religion doesn't influence law or legislative systems what will take its place?
Philosophers would ponder on ? Rationalism would be based on? Secularism would be based on ? All of these are to a large degree dependent on religion or "divine design"
at the very basic of "modern secular ideology" why shall one not steal?Commit adultery? I would love to have a rational discussion with the thief, hell the scarlet scoundrel that met my wife at the staff party.... Overstepping these moral boundaries have repercussions on social systems even without punishment .
Secularism has not developed with out the aid of religion, there are chapters upon chapters in the Quran dedicated to moral codes,the rights of women,the rights of children(legal) civil matters how to conduct business the list is endless....
I implore anybody in context to show me the nastybits
I think Richard Dawkins made the point best:
"The absolute morality that a religious person might profess would include what? Stoning people for adultery? Death for apostasy? Punishment for breaking the Sabbath? These are all things which are religiously based absolute moralities.
I don't think I want an absolute morality. I think I want a morality that is thought out, reasoned, argued, discussed, and based upon, I could almost say, intelligent design. Can we not design our society, the sort of society that we would want to live in?
If you actually look at the moralities that are accepted among modern people, 21st century people: We don't believe in slavery anymore. We believe in the equality of women. We believe in being gentle [and] kind to animals. These are all things that are entirely recent, that have very little basis in biblical or quranic scripture. They are things that have developed over historical time through a consensus of reasoning, sober discussion, argument, legal theory, political and moral philosophy. They do NOT come from religion, to the extent that to find the good bits in religious text, you have to cherry pick.
Search your way through the bible or quran, and you'll find the occasional verse that is an acceptable profession of morality. And you'll say 'look at that, that's religion!' And you leave out all the horrible bits, and you say 'Oh we don't believe that anymore, we've grown out of it.' Well of course we've grown out of it! We've grown out of it because of secular moral philosophy, and rational discussion."
So, should we allow religion to influence law??
First off, hate to break it to everyone, but the United States law is influenced by religion. The constitution is based on Judaeo/Christianity already. Do you want to throw Sharira Law into the mix too? Personally I'd have to say no.
If we use religion to influence our laws, we are breaking the secularism of America. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." Thomas Jefferson himself said and made this to protect American freedom. The scariest part is that political advocates in the far-right are already breaking the separation of church and state. Especially down in the southern states like Mississippi, Florida, and Texas. They also point the fascist finger at any opposition from the left-wing, which isn't true. Technically speaking, the left-wing can't be fascist, because they are more open to new opinions and beliefs, and are will to discard traditional value for the greater good. Back in 2011 and 2012, Mississippi government made a serious effort to illegalize abortion. Despite all effort and odds, luckily the Supreme Court intervened with it. But now, Indiana is trying to do the same thing as Mississippi. Since the government made to many exceptions for religious liberty, we can't expect another miracle. If the ACLU and Planned Parenthood can't stop Indiana, than secularism in America is gone. This is due to more states willing to make the same choices as Indiana. The nation was founded by people, not Christianity! It is our duty to protect secularism at all costs, and not make anymore exceptions to religious liberty.
No. While I'm not gonna be as hardcore as these guys (seriously lighten up... Religion isn't the reason the world sucks it's the people that led it and used it as their scapegoat), I will say that since not everyone is Christian and people decide to use religion as a means to discriminate. However morality can stem from one's religion, and if it doesn't discriminate, use it. Otherwise, don't. The Bible claims "Love above all else"... That means don't discriminate and be an ass. Simple.
While overall I think religion has been and is used as a moral compass for people throughout history, specific ideas/theologies that discriminate against any one certain group of people should be used with discretion and question. Ultimately all human beings, atheist or religious, have a moral compass that guides us to live our lives with similar ideas. My big issue with most religions is that we are using texts that are hundreds, if not thousands, years old to govern a modern society. This is what shariah law does and we see the consequences of an archaic way of governing. As humans we naturally change and evolve over time, whether it's physically or psychologically, and our belief systems and laws need to as well. The Bible never specifically states that gay marriage is illegal, but it does comment on the morality of homosexuality. Today this isn't so much a religious issue as it is a human rights issue. Other passages in multiple religious texts talk about the ethicality of slaves, even though this is one subject the majority of the country agrees upon. Ultimately, if you are going to use the bible or other religious texts as a base for our laws, you can either follow it completely or not follow it at all; you don't get to pick and choose in order to discriminate against others
Religion has opposed almost every moral progress in the world from every mitigation of slavery or step towards the better treatment of colored races to improvements in criminal law. Without secularism there is no moral progress. The more intense has been the religion of any period and the more profound has been the dogmatic belief the greater has been the cruelty and the worse has been the state of affairs. I have to say with this evidence that religion is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world. If religion influenced laws then slavery would still be legal and people would still be tortured and killed for their beliefs or lack of them there of.
In a secular society, religion should have absolutely NO role in determining or influencing laws. Religion must remain separate from government in order to make sure the religious beliefs or lack of religious beliefs of everyone in society is respected, otherwise it would be considered a theocratic form of government. Eventually society will collapse because or it. There is no reason why religion should be combined with politics or influencing laws in a civilized society.
The relationship between organized religion and nation state should be an "arm's length distance". Our society should not have any traces of theocracy. We should not depend on religion as a basis of our laws, if that were to be the case, our government would become oppressive. Religion must stay in the area of spirituality where it belongs and not influence politics.
A truly democratic government should not hold any religious bias in their legislation. Once religion gets involved those who are faithful in one religion will demand that the government grant them attention for it. This also creates another factor in forcing social inequality involving religious preference. Freedom of Religion is a must for a truly democratic government and that requires that the government does not hold a bias toward any specific religion. Once lawmakers start including religion in their legislation it can start a bad trend toward religious inequality and unnecessary laws that can become oppressive. Religion and government do not mix.