I think it’s very odd that liberals feel the “right” way to be religious is to do so quietly. They seem to forget that religion deals, quite literally, with the fate of humanity’s soul, in the form of eternal suffering and damnation.
It’s the kind of thing that prods believers into being somewhat vocal. And isn’t that the right thing to do for someone who holds these beliefs? Why not annoy the crap out of anyone who will listen? Why not try and get evolution pushed out of the schools, or kill an abortion doctor. Greater good, right?
Actually, yes, assuming they’re right about their religion being true the actions of any religious extremist are completely moral. Everything hinges on the truth of their claims. So, no. It’s not a private matter.
The reason liberals think of religion as a private matter is because they’re talking about their kind of religion–the kind you don’t think about much and doesn’t interfere in your life. In other words, the kind not in the primary holy books.
And that’s where the disconnect is.
You can’t tell religious people that they need to shut up about the fact that the world is disobeying God and dying right in front of their eyes. It would be immoral for them to listen to you (or anyone else who doesn’t get it), and, furthermore, it’s immoral for you to even ask. Why would you want to stop someone from doing the right thing?
So where does that leave us?
If we accept that the right thing for religious people to do is to try and save as many people as possible, and we accept that for many that means getting evolution out of schools or taking out doctors who perform abortions (life of a sinner vs. the life of an innocent), then why should we be surprised when religious people attempt to affect the world we live in?
Isn’t that precisely the expected behavior? Isn’t that what they should be doing, given their beliefs? In fact, wouldn’t they be less moral if they just sat around and watched the world go to shit around them? Remember, they have the big picture, and we liberals are looking at little stuff like the freedom of doctors to not get shot in the face.
On a grand scale, though, wouldn’t you kill a doctor in order to save the lives of millions? I damn sure would, and so would they. That’s why there are dead abortion doctors.
No, religion isn’t a problem when it’s vocal. If it were true it would be immoral not to be pushing itself. The reason religion is a problem is because there is no evidence that what it’s pushing is actually true.
Truth is the key. Objective truth–verifiable by others. This is what leads us to secular humanism–a set of guidelines based on universal human experiences such as happiness and suffering. And we can’t be content in simply adopting this ourselves; we have to require that those who want to participate in our society adopt the standard as well.
Religion is harmful to the extent that it is believed and acted upon, and it is benign to the extent that it is diluted and restrained by modern, secular morality. The stronger religion becomes, the more it penetrates and changes society. Religion was most powerful during the Dark Ages, and it’s the weakest it’s ever been now; this is not a coincidence. ::