Bad Religion

Mark Isaak has written an interesting essay over at the Panda’s Thumb called “The Larger Issue of Bad Religion.”

What is “bad religion”? Everyone has different ideas about what is good in a religion, so it might seem that defining bad religion would be impossibly contentious. But there is one simple criterion which gets to the heart of most religion-related problems and which must be embraced by anyone who accepts the Golden Rule: A person is practicing bad religion if he or she, uninvited, attempts to impose any of their religious beliefs on another. A bad religion is any religion which condones such behavior. Other bad practices and beliefs can appear in religion, but by sticking to that one criterion, we can keep this simple and hopefully less controversial.

On this board, we see bad religion mainly in the form of attempts to ban the teaching of evolution and/or to force the teaching of miraculous creation (aka “intelligent design”). But, as anyone who pays any attention to the news in the United States knows, the battle is far more wide-ranging, covering issues such as putting graven images of the Ten Commandments in courtrooms, prohibiting certain love-based marriage, and allowing pharmacists to impose their religious practices on their patients. In other parts of the world, bad religion imposes strictures on every aspect of life and kills people for noncompliance. The problem of bad religion is already widespread, and it appears to be spreading. It must be fought.

Say Hallelujah!

A lot of Christianists who have been kind enough to give feed back to the Sword of Freedom have characterized this blog as anti-Christian or anti-religion. After all, I occasionally quote atheists! The truth is, I have no problem with people who practice their own spiritual path but do not try to make other people do it. The idea of MAKING someone be spiritual is incomprehensible. It’s as incomprehensible as making someone pray. If a prayer does not come from the heart, it can’t be anything but empty words.

Isaak points out that Christianists (he doesn’t call them that) think their religious opinions are the laws of the universe. A little humility would fix that, but I know that’s a lot to ask for.

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