Hell & Unfortunate Laws


Religion generally thrives where education is low, rule of law is weak, and people feel socially and physically insecure.  However, American seems to be an exception to these trends. Religion thrives here in America in spite of our higher-than-average (albeit still lacking) stats on these measures. And as in any country where religion thrives, Atheists are viewed with distrust and disgust.  It is religious parents and religious professionals that teach these horrible, dangerous attitudes and our laws allow it.

Laws are funny things.  Unfortunately, most people vote for laws to match their preferences — even if it means forcing their preferences on others. But should we vote for our preferences? Even if I believe some actions are unfortunate (abortion, hell-preaching and baby-sitting with video games), I won’t vote for my government to fine or imprison people who do these things (that is the consequence of resisting a law). As long as other people’s preferences don’t harm me, I won’t vote for the government to restrain them.  But the line is hard to draw.  In America, I opt for allowing the unfortunate law that allows parents to brainwash disgust into their children.  But even though I won’t vote for my government to stop such activity, I will fight it on a personal level.  But I am not sure what I would do if the situation got worse.  Consider the Middle East where it is legal for parents to brainwash their children that neighbors who leave Islam should be killed. [Egypt 86%, Palestinian territories 82%]

Question to readers:  I made at least four claims in this post — try to accurately and succinctly summarize at least one of my claims and tell us your opinion(s).

Credit:  I borrowed this US map and was inspired to write this post after seeing a Slate magazine pic where the red states are where concealed firearms are legal.  But I won’t share my opinion on that issue.



Filed under Philosophy & Religion

6 responses to “Hell & Unfortunate Laws

  1. My paraphrase of one of your arguments: The freedom to teach bigotry to your children and your community is a soul-searching challenge for those who believe in freedom of speech. It would set a bad precedent to outlaw it, but it should (at the very least) be resisted at every other level.

    My take: The worst thing we could possibly do is push bigotry underground with the force of law. Fundamentalists already have a siege mentality, so it would be best if we didn’t play into that. Bad ideas should be fought with better ideas.

    In general, social pressure is always more effective than legal force. If you want to get rid of smoking, it’s more effective (though harder work) to make smoking socially unacceptable than to ban tobacco.

  2. Well said, decourse.

  3. TWF

    Summary: Trying to legislate morality is messy. Freedom has consequences.
    Opinion: I’d rather the US faith environment than the middle eastern. Though it takes a long time, spreading knowledge evolves the faith to be more reasonable, such as with the slavery issue.

  4. Trying to legislate morality is very Puritan in thinking. I know this because they are my theological ancestors (congregationalists merged to form the UCC).

    It sucks, but I’m working my universalist heresy from the inside. Keep speaking out on the outside. And one day… who knows, we (meaning the royal we of theists and non) might actually treat each other as humans.

  5. Keep working the “heresy” Luke. And the less you reinforce old triggers, the better.

  6. rautakyy

    It seems to me, that the rule of law is comparatively weak in the US. I mean why would so many people otherwise feel a need to carry arms for their own protection? As if they did not trust the police to be able to handle the reality.

    It all comes down to values. Parents will teach their own values to their kids no matter what the law says. However, when kids grow up, they do not necessarily assume the values of their parents. Infact, a lot of the opposite happens, especially if the values of the parents are poorly justified. If a society supports values, that dehumanize other humans (like religious bigotry against other religious groups, atheists, or for example sexual minorities, or for example racism) then that is what sort of people that society easily ends up producing.

    Even if a society does not bann values, that dehumanize other people, but simply discourages it and teaches ethics why such values are wrong, then there is hope. We can not have a mind police. It is impossible to restrict ideas, or values, but it is possible to deny them the support of the society and to restrict action based on dehumanizing values.

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