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How should we deal with religious belief in Irish society?

  • 22-07-2009 7:42pm
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 22,480 ✭✭✭✭ philologos


    Yes, another poll from me. Let me explain the purpose of this.

    This is a question that has been faced by many societies in the West already, and a question that will have to be faced by Ireland in due time also.

    My question is, how should we deal with religious belief as a cultural norm?

    Should we take the US model of free enterprise of religion for anyone to set up shop and for religion to operate as independently and as freely as possible, or should we take the European model of curbing religion, forcing it to the private rather than the public sphere? We've seen the effects of this in France in relation to the banning of religious symbols in schools, and the continued efforts to ban the burqa.

    Heres an interesting article from the Guardian a while ago that might get you thinking:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2009/may/18/religion-america-first-amendment

    I'm personally of the mind that the American model is better for society than the European policy is. People of faith groups, even minority faith groups seem to be far more integrated in the USA than they do in Europe. More respect for differing religious values, seems to produce more respect for the society people live in return.

    How should we deal with religious beliefs in Irish society? 23 votes

    Freedom of religion should be in play, if people want it public let them!
    0%
    Religion should be restricted and forced into the private.
    43%
    ManachbeansphilologosCorkfeenPeggypegturgon[Deleted User]Joey the lipsmickstuppdeg1445 10 votes
    Atari Jaguar
    56%
    the_sycoJC 2K3Cunning AliasCunny-FuntMenaMisterMonkeyAffableChocolateSauceCoriolanusHookeyxxmarymoxxOverbloodRHJ 13 votes


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Comments

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 43,143 ✭✭✭✭ Nevyn


    America is not an utopia of religious freedom of expression at all and it is disingenuous to represent it as such and so your position falls apart at it's initial premise due to that fallacy.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,571 herya


    You forgot about the option "express it freely but separate it from State systems". I bet it would be popular.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 22,480 ✭✭✭✭ philologos


    Religion should be restricted and forced into the private.
    Thaedydal wrote: »
    America is not an utopia of religious freedom of expression at all and it is disingenuous to represent it as such and so your position falls apart at it's initial premise due to that fallacy.

    Hence why I provided the article as a point of discussion. I think America is more free than many other European nations in terms of religious freedom. As Ireland is a country which is just starting to deal with new religious traditions, and with rising secularism, we need to start to make our own decisions about how to deal with it.

    As such I think my question is still legitimate.

    If you disagree about the US, tell me why instead of merely describing it as fallacious? :)

    herya: That's the first. Religion is separated from the State in both scenarios hence why I chose it. By public, I mean people advocating their beliefs in the public sphere. By private I mean people keeping their mouth shut about it :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,571 herya


    Jakkass wrote: »
    herya: That's the first. Religion is separated from the State in both scenarios hence why I chose it. By public, I mean people advocating their beliefs in the public sphere. By private I mean people keeping their mouth shut about it :)

    You didn't make it clear then :cool:


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 43,143 ✭✭✭✭ Nevyn


    The topic you want debated will not happen while you have it frame with that many fallicies and red herrings. You need to structure your permise in a clearer manner with out making assumptions and with a better frame work.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 22,480 ✭✭✭✭ philologos


    Religion should be restricted and forced into the private.
    Thaedydal wrote: »
    The topic you want debated will not happen while you have it frame with that many fallicies and red herrings. You need to structure your permise in a clearer manner with out making assumptions and with a better frame work.

    I've made it quite clear already:

    How should we deal with religion in Irish society:

    1. To allow religion to be free to set up shop, and to allow it to be expressed as freely as possible. I.E for rights of evangelism to be legal amongst other things. This is the idea that religion should be separate from the state completely and that the State shouldn't proactively involve itself in religion.

    2. To keep religion private. To discourage people to openly speak about religion in public in case it offends someone else, and to restrict religious practice if the majority do not see it as compatible with their culture. I.E the State should actively restrict religion to fit into their society, and their culture.

    If you think there is a fallacy in my reasoning concerning the USA and it being a freer society than many societies in Europe tell me why instead of merely calling it a red herring or a fallacy.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,762 turgon


    Religion should be restricted and forced into the private.
    I would be for freedom of speech, in terms of both the rights and responsibilities that entails. They have the right to make their case. They ave the responsibility not to pander people.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 39,023 ✭✭✭ Permabear


    This post has been deleted.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 43,143 ✭✭✭✭ Nevyn


    Jakkass wrote: »
    I've made it quite clear already:

    How should we deal with religion in Irish society:

    1. To allow religion to be free to set up shop, and to allow it to be expressed as freely as possible. I.E for rights of evangelism to be legal amongst other things. This is the idea that religion should be separate from the state completely and that the State shouldn't proactively involve itself in religion.

    2. To keep religion private. To discourage people to openly speak about religion in public in case it offends someone else, and to restrict religious practice if the majority do not see it as compatible with their culture. I.E the State should actively restrict religion to fit into their society, and their culture.

    That is a lot clearer thank you.
    Jakkass wrote: »
    If you think there is a fallacy in my reasoning concerning the USA and it being a freer society than many societies in Europe tell me why instead of merely calling it a red herring or a fallacy.

    Sure if you set up a thread on it rather then mudding this one.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 3,368 Mod ✭✭✭✭ andrew


    Jakkass wrote: »
    I've made it quite clear already:

    How should we deal with religion in Irish society:

    1. To allow religion to be free to set up shop, and to allow it to be expressed as freely as possible. I.E for rights of evangelism to be legal amongst other things. This is the idea that religion should be separate from the state completely and that the State shouldn't proactively involve itself in religion.

    2. To keep religion private. To discourage people to openly speak about religion in public in case it offends someone else, and to restrict religious practice if the majority do not see it as compatible with their culture. I.E the State should actively restrict religion to fit into their society, and their culture.

    If you think there is a fallacy in my reasoning concerning the USA and it being a freer society than many societies in Europe tell me why instead of merely calling it a red herring or a fallacy.

    I don't think the states is a very good example here. A large number of the people who first colonized the USA did so in order to escape religious persecution. This means that America does not have a centuries long experience of a single religion and all of the associated baggage. In addition, the US is a migrant country. As a result, it is built upon a strong sense of nationality which is constantly emphasized; citizens are American first and catholic/Muslim second. And so the very idea of America as a country is one in which a multitude of nationalities and religions can live together. So first of all, your comparison of the states to Europe is a difficult one; the two situations are very different. Secondly, your assertion that there is very little state intervention in America is misleading - the state to a large extent controls religious expression through an emphasis on being 'American.'

    I think a better way to phrase what you mean is 'should religion be in the public domain.' Then perhaps the comparison with the states is a little easier, considering religion seems play a much bigger role in public discourse there than it does here. That said, I don't think that this is because religious discourse is suppressed in Europe or here; I think that it's a reflection of a more secular society in general. I personally don't think that religion has a place in public discourse or in wider society, and that the state should ensure religion is kept private and personal. First of all, IMO religion too dogmatic, leaving little room for compromise. Secondly, I think that it encourages differences within society which, by their very nature, can't be reconciled. Thirdly, I would rather that rational thought be encouraged within Irish society rather than pure belief in something just because it is written in scripture. Fourthly, in the absence of a strong sense of Irish nationalism (in comparison to the US), I think it's necessary in order to maintain societal stability in light of immigration.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 22,480 ✭✭✭✭ philologos


    Religion should be restricted and forced into the private.
    This post has been deleted.

    It's a cultural norm in America that conversations about and concerning faith tend to be more tolerated than in Europe. Religion seems freer there, whereas in Europe there have been several cases in recent years attempting to curb religious practice there. I mentioned the ban on religious symbols in French schools, and upcoming discussion of burqa bans in Holland and France. In Europe, faith is seen more as a "private matter" and something that people are not encouraged to speak about or promote in public on the same scale as in the USA.

    The poll takes into consideration, how we as a society should tolerate religion in the future rather than what specifically the State should do.
    This post has been deleted.

    Indeed, that's kind of my point. The State is separated from religion, but religious practice is rarely hindered by it.
    This post has been deleted.

    I mean the view that faith is a private matter, and if faith doesn't fit into the culture of a particular nation it should be restricted in order to do so. I have given examples of the French ban of religious symbols in schools and the Burqa bans being discussed, but also in relation to hate speech laws. The House of Lords recently defended a free speech clause for legitimate disagreement in homophobic hate-speech laws when the Westminister Government attempted to remove it. If you see the videos at the bottom of that page, laws such as these have already been abused in the UK.


  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    Religion should be restricted and forced into the private.
    I'm not going to get sidetracked in your examples, Jakkass. I chose the first option, as to me it is the only option that leaves freedom intact. I can't reconcile the second option -- the idea of oppressing a particular belief -- with the concept of true freedom. To enforce religion to be a strictly private matter is, in my opinion, to enact a partial dictatorship.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 22,480 ✭✭✭✭ philologos


    Religion should be restricted and forced into the private.
    andrew wrote: »
    I don't think the states is a very good example here. A large number of the people who first colonized the USA did so in order to escape religious persecution. This means that America does not have a centuries long experience of a single religion and all of the associated baggage. In addition, the US is a migrant country. As a result, it is built upon a strong sense of nationality which is constantly emphasized; citizens are American first and catholic/Muslim second. And so the very idea of America as a country is one in which a multitude of nationalities and religions can live together. So first of all, your comparison of the states to Europe is a difficult one; the two situations are very different. Secondly, your assertion that there is very little state intervention in America is misleading - the state to a large extent controls religious expression through an emphasis on being 'American.'

    In the USA religious persecution was the reason for allowing all people to have their free say in respect to religious matters. Puritans who fled England due to persecution found a place to express their views freely in America. Likewise Jews who fled found a place to practice their faith freely. It was this persecution that allowed people to set up and practice their faith as they liked with relatively little state intereference.

    I think that not having a long experience of a single religion is perhaps why America formed in the way it did. In Europe where there was an experience of a single religion, they are trying to replace it with a purely secular ideology for every walk of life. I don't think this is any better expecting people to shut up about what they believe even when they want to express it.
    andrew wrote: »
    I think a better way to phrase what you mean is 'should religion be in the public domain.' Then perhaps the comparison with the states is a little easier, considering religion seems play a much bigger role in public discourse there than it does here.

    Yes, but why doesn't religion play a bigger role in public discourse here, surely there is some form of reason for this.
    andrew wrote: »
    I personally don't think that religion has a place in public discourse or in wider society, and that the state should ensure religion is kept private and personal.

    Why should it be private and personal if it is a part of who people are surely they should be free to express it as with every other matter under the sun?
    andrew wrote: »
    First of all, IMO religion too dogmatic, leaving little room for compromise.

    For compromise in relation to what? I'm not referring to religion in discussion of laws, I'm merely referring to the free expression and propogation of religion within a particular society.
    andrew wrote: »
    Secondly, I think that it encourages differences within society which, by their very nature, can't be reconciled.

    Interesting, can people not keep an identity while also discussing common ground?
    andrew wrote: »
    Thirdly, I would rather that rational thought be encouraged within Irish society rather than pure belief in something just because it is written in scripture.

    Who says rational thought is limited to secularism? Some of the most esteemed philosophers that we have had have been religious. René Descartes, Dostoyevsky, Immanuel Kant, and so on. Were these people not rational thinkers also?
    andrew wrote: »
    Fourthly, in the absence of a strong sense of Irish nationalism (in comparison to the US), I think it's necessary in order to maintain societal stability in light of immigration.

    Let me get you clear here, it's necessary to suppress peoples religious identity in order to maintain societal stability?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 39,023 ✭✭✭ Permabear


    This post has been deleted.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,762 turgon


    Religion should be restricted and forced into the private.
    Interesting story on book censorhip in the states, does not explicitly state a religous affiliation but Im sure its pretty obvious:
    http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/07/22/wisconsin.book.row/index.html?iref=mpstoryview


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 22,480 ✭✭✭✭ philologos


    Religion should be restricted and forced into the private.
    This post has been deleted.

    I agree with you totally, but for the sake of argument, could it not be argued that it is acceptable to have this restriction given that many countries have restrictions based on public nudity or indecent exposure. Too much could be as bad as too little?

    turgon: Yes of course you will find that kind of behaviour from a small minority in every single country though surely? I was referring to my perception of the big picture rather than isolated cases.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 39,023 ✭✭✭ Permabear


    This post has been deleted.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,886 Darlughda


    Hallo Jackass,

    May I suggest that your poll have many many more options?

    The ferociously thorny and complicated question of how we deal with religious beliefs in Irish society has been going on for many centuries.

    I might have voted in your poll, if there was an option for absolute freedom of tolerance of ALL faiths, except State religions or nationalistic fascim of any kind.

    But who am I to claim to know the truth when I'm one voice in this tiny country, that has a horrific history of brutality caused by religious intolerance, and is part of a European Union that has an even crazier and more complex history of brutality caused by religious intolerance, with all the differing countries history and fears....

    "religious as a cultural norm" Can you clarify what you think this to be?

    'The US model of free enterprise of religion for anyone to set up shop". No thanks, we don't want mad politically ambitious egomaniacs peddling their cults in this country. We have enough of our own, already, thanks.
    Lets deal with them first.


  • Registered Users Posts: 644 ✭✭✭ Jeanious


    im not sure how to vote on this. On one hand i think its good that America has measures to prevent favouritism at a government level to any particular religion, however if adopting that stance over here results in every half-baked crackpot being given air time as it appears to do over there (scientologists, crazy evangelicals, mormons etc) than fcuk that rightly.

    However im also not in favour of pushing it underground either.

    My utopian ideal would be to have the state as a govermental, legislative, economic, legal etc etc etc. entity completely and utterly devoid of religion, and religious references. That includes our own constitution, swearing oaths, the entire education system and everything else therein.

    At the same time ive no problem with people joinin up to whatever madcap group they want, be it the Flat Earth Society, the GAA or any sort of religion or cult, but i reckon that a Church Tax should be imposed, with the proceeds going to your own choice of church (which would be tax-compliant of course!) with the only exception being people who can prove either atheism/non-belief etc (don't ask me how!)

    just a thought


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 22,480 ✭✭✭✭ philologos


    Religion should be restricted and forced into the private.
    coyle wrote: »
    im not sure how to vote on this. On one hand i think its good that America has measures to prevent favouritism at a government level to any particular religion, however if adopting that stance over here results in every half-baked crackpot being given air time as it appears to do over there (scientologists, crazy evangelicals, mormons etc) than fcuk that rightly.

    As for every "crackpot" being given airtime, that's precisely the point. Everyone should have a platform to discuss their beliefs. People should also have the right to openly challenge those beliefs and regard them as absurd. As for the Mormons, Evangelicals and Scientologists, I say let them at it as long as they are non-profit. If religions make profits I feel they should be taxed.

    I've never found any Evangelical in Ireland to be crazy but that's another matter :)
    coyle wrote: »
    My utopian ideal would be to have the state as a govermental, legislative, economic, legal etc etc etc. entity completely and utterly devoid of religion, and religious references. That includes our own constitution, swearing oaths, the entire education system and everything else therein.

    Would you want every single person to be devoid of religion also?
    coyle wrote: »
    At the same time ive no problem with people joinin up to whatever madcap group they want, be it the Flat Earth Society, the GAA or any sort of religion or cult, but i reckon that a Church Tax should be imposed, with the proceeds going to your own choice of church (which would be tax-compliant of course!) with the only exception being people who can prove either atheism/non-belief etc (don't ask me how!)

    If there was a church tax I would support taxing atheists with the proceeds going to the Secular Humanist Association of Ireland. However, I don't think a church tax should be imposed. It is up to people to decide how much they want to contribute to their own churches.
    coyle wrote: »
    just a thought

    Thanks for them :)


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,886 Darlughda


    The values of Atheists are no less valid than your own faith, Jackass.

    The same goes for Agnostics, and the huge number of people who just don't care and want to get on with their concerns and not think about religion.

    Many Irish people have been through and are experiencing spiritual crises, the last thing they need is someone trying to prove to them their religion or complete disinterest in spiritual matters is wrong.

    I would personally ban proselytizing in any form or way.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 3,368 Mod ✭✭✭✭ andrew


    Jakkass wrote: »
    Yes, but why doesn't religion play a bigger role in public discourse here, surely there is some form of reason for this.

    Well it used to, I just think that it doesn't anymore because we're no longer poor and don't need religion anymore to provide some sort of societal crutch.

    Why should it be private and personal if it is a part of who people are surely they should be free to express it as with every other matter under the sun?

    I'm not saying that people should be allowed no religious expression. Just that the state should ensure that it remains secular in it's business. I also think that the less religion is involved in public discourse the better because I don't see a lot of value in it. But I value free speech, and so wouldn't advocate any measures forcing religion out of public discourse.

    For compromise in relation to what? I'm not referring to religion in discussion of laws, I'm merely referring to the free expression and propogation of religion within a particular society.

    I get the impression that people with opinions based on religion are less inclined to change those opinions or even consider the opinions of others as being in any way valid. I think that this kind of mindset is bad - I'd rather people were encourage to form their own opinions rather than be told them. Of course, not every non-religious person forms their own opinion this, nor does every religious person some sort of automaton completely closed to change, holding opinions just because their religion says so. I just think that, in general, religious belief is too closed minded and conservative, which is bad.
    Interesting, can people not keep an identity while also discussing common ground?

    Yes they can, but this is difficult to do when religion not only removes a lot of common ground but encourages division. Fair enough, football encourages division. But when that divison comes from what people believe to be 'part of who they are,' these divisions become irreconcilable.
    Who says rational thought is limited to secularism? Some of the most esteemed philosophers that we have had have been religious. René Descartes, Dostoyevsky, Immanuel Kant, and so on. Were these people not rational thinkers also?

    I havn't read anything by those philosophers so I know nothing of their attitudes toward faith. But they seem to be the exception. Sure they were rational; I'd argue that most religious people aren't.


    Let me get you clear here, it's necessary to suppress peoples religious identity in order to maintain societal stability?


    Yeah. Thats what they've done in america - supressed people's religious identity with an american one. American first, whatever else second is how it is over there. Thats what they've failed to do in the UK, the result being that some Islamic immigrants feel no affinity toward Britian and have no qualms about killing British citizens. Compare that to the US, in which has less of a problem with homegrown extremism.


  • Registered Users Posts: 644 ✭✭✭ Jeanious


    Jakkass wrote: »
    I say let them at it as long as they are non-profit. If religions make profits I feel they should be taxed.

    Then we're agreed. :)

    Jakkass wrote: »
    Would you want every single person to be devoid of religion also?

    I have absolutely no interest in anyone's personal beliefs (or lack thereof) however in my view, religion's position of power is just a bad hangover from medieval days and should be done away with poste haste.

    If your point was something about a particular TD being religious for example, well that's hard to account for. You could have someone who only likes darts end up as the minister for soccer, doesnt mean he has to let his own beliefs influence him to the detriment of his duty.


    Jakkass wrote: »
    If there was a church tax I would support taxing atheists with the proceeds going to the Secular Humanist Association of Ireland.

    I must say i have absolute no knowledge of, interest in, or affiliation with said Association, contrary to the vast majority of religious people in this country.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 43,143 ✭✭✭✭ Nevyn


    Jakkass wrote: »
    It's a cultural norm in America that conversations about and concerning faith tend to be more tolerated than in Europe.

    Can you provide citations for this please, and what countries in Europe are you refering to exactly?
    Jakkass wrote: »
    Religion seems freer there, whereas in Europe there have been several cases in recent years attempting to curb religious practice there. I mentioned the ban on religious symbols in French schools, and upcoming discussion of burqa bans in Holland and France. In Europe, faith is seen more as a "private matter" and something that people are not encouraged to speak about or promote in public on the same scale as in the USA.

    Again can you cite anything for this at all?
    Jakkass wrote: »
    Indeed, that's kind of my point. The State is separated from religion, but religious practice is rarely hindered by it.

    That is not the case, there issues with the state doing just that.
    From the forcing of people to have blood transfusions to the lack of the right to assemble a group of a certain size in any place.

    Jakkass wrote: »
    I mean the view that faith is a private matter, and if faith doesn't fit into the culture of a particular nation it should be restricted in order to do so. I have given examples of the French ban of religious symbols in schools and the Burqa bans being discussed, but also in relation to hate speech laws. The House of Lords recently defended a free speech clause for legitimate disagreement in homophobic hate-speech laws when the Westminister Government attempted to remove it. If you see the videos at the bottom of that page, laws such as these have already been abused in the UK.

    It is free speech until it becomes incitement to hatred.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 22,480 ✭✭✭✭ philologos


    Religion should be restricted and forced into the private.
    andrew wrote: »
    Well it used to, I just think that it doesn't anymore because we're no longer poor and don't need religion anymore to provide some sort of societal crutch.

    The US isn't a poor nation either, yet it still finds a place for discussion of religion in the public sphere.
    andrew wrote: »
    I'm not saying that people should be allowed no religious expression. Just that the state should ensure that it remains secular in it's business. I also think that the less religion is involved in public discourse the better because I don't see a lot of value in it. But I value free speech, and so wouldn't advocate any measures forcing religion out of public discourse.

    Surely whether or not there is value in your view is irrelevant if we are talking about personal freedoms here? I mean you could not give a hoot about religion but yet still support the freedom of others to be open with their beliefs in society.
    andrew wrote: »
    I get the impression that people with opinions based on religion are less inclined to change those opinions or even consider the opinions of others as being in any way valid. I think that this kind of mindset is bad - I'd rather people were encourage to form their own opinions rather than be told them. Of course, not every non-religious person forms their own opinion this, nor does every religious person some sort of automaton completely closed to change, holding opinions just because their religion says so. I just think that, in general, religious belief is too closed minded and conservative, which is bad.

    Right, why should they have to change their opinions? Surely one can discuss ideas without changing their own? I think you can find atheists who are as closed minded as you are accusing people of faith to be. It depends on who you are talking to. Yes there are some very closed minded theists, and some very closed minded atheists, but there are others who are open to think about other ideas but who will keep their own ultimately.

    As for coming to their own opinion instead of being told. I don't feel this is accurate either. Most people come to a particular religion because they decide that they want to through their own views, and they decide that this religion has values that they want to advocate and support. I don't see how that is different from any atheist or agnostic coming to their position.

    As for religious belief being conservative. What is wrong with conservatism? Some things are worth defending, and change should only occur if it is reasonable to do so. I'd be relatively opposed to changing the teachings of Christianity for example because I feel there is nothing wrong with them. I wouldn't be opposed to changing church practice, because that is something that people in the church have devised over the years.
    andrew wrote: »
    Yes they can, but this is difficult to do when religion not only removes a lot of common ground but encourages division. Fair enough, football encourages division. But when that divison comes from what people believe to be 'part of who they are,' these divisions become irreconcilable.

    It's interesting that you mention this. I consider my personal Christianity to be a defining part of who I am. Yet I don't feel that it encourages division, yes it means that I form different groups of friends. I have friends of mine who are Christians who I would talk more about faith related matters and I find them to be great for that. I have other friends of mine who don't feel that religion is that serious a part of their life yet my religion doesn't separate me from them. I learn to communicate with people with different beliefs. I can disagree with people without it causing division. Why can't people agree to disagree in general? I'm not sure if the differences we have in faith are irreconcilable.
    andrew wrote: »
    I havn't read anything by those philosophers so I know nothing of their attitudes toward faith. But they seem to be the exception. Sure they were rational; I'd argue that most religious people aren't.

    What is rational to you? I think atheists abuse the word a lot. There are two elements to thought. Empiricism or what is gathered through experience, if you will this is the source data. Reasoning only comes after empiricism.

    I think atheists and Christians are both rational. However, I think that they use different empiricism. Christians use different sources for how they view the world than atheists do. Hence why we differ.
    andrew wrote: »
    Yeah. Thats what they've done in america - supressed people's religious identity with an american one. American first, whatever else second is how it is over there. Thats what they've failed to do in the UK, the result being that some Islamic immigrants feel no affinity toward Britian and have no qualms about killing British citizens. Compare that to the US, in which has less of a problem with homegrown extremism.

    I don't think they have though. People can feel both American and be of a particular religion. I think there are many people in America who would put their religion first, but can still consider themselves American. I think it's more to do with how comfortable one is in a certain country.

    You mention Muslims in Britain who would have no qualms about killing British citizens. I'd point out that most Muslims wouldn't kill. However, I think the ones who do feel aggression do so because they don't feel comfortable in the societies that they live in. One can still hold religion as first without killing others.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 43,143 ✭✭✭✭ Nevyn


    Jakkass wrote: »
    It's a cultural norm in America that conversations about and concerning faith tend to be more tolerated than in Europe.

    That varies a lot and in many many places talking religions and/or politics is considered extremely rude.
    Jakkass wrote: »
    Religion seems freer there, whereas in Europe there have been several cases in recent years attempting to curb religious practice there.

    Again seems, can you please provide citations.
    Jakkass wrote: »
    I mentioned the ban on religious symbols in French schools,

    Religous symbols are banned in many schools in the USA from the cross and cruscifix to the pentacle.
    Jakkass wrote: »
    and upcoming discussion of burqa bans in Holland and France.

    a lot of those arguments have nothing to do with relgions but health and safety and security and protcol.
    Jakkass wrote: »
    In Europe, faith is seen more as a "private matter" and something that people are not encouraged to speak about or promote in public on the same scale as in the USA.

    I would say that religious diversity is more the norm an irrelevant when it comes to politics in a lot of the EU member states where as it plays a bigger part in politics in america from the very grass roots level upwards.
    Jakkass wrote: »
    Indeed, that's kind of my point. The State is separated from religion, but religious practice is rarely hindered by it.

    Have you read the opening of our constitution?
    Do you know of how religious schools are exempt from the equality laws?

    Jakkass wrote: »
    I mean the view that faith is a private matter, and if faith doesn't fit into the culture of a particular nation it should be restricted in order to do so.

    That does happen in america, the American senate had it's first non christian opening pray by one of it's senators last hear and he was heckled form the floor during it.
    Jakkass wrote: »
    In the USA religious persecution was the reason for allowing all people to have their free say in respect to religious matters.

    Please show this.
    Jakkass wrote: »
    Puritans who fled England due to persecution found a place to express their views freely in America. Likewise Jews who fled found a place to practice their faith freely. It was this persecution that allowed people to set up and practice their faith as they liked with relatively little state intereference.

    This is often not the case on the ground esp with towns being set up with the towns ordinance and by laws being set to drive those who do not fit in with a christian ethos from the town.
    Jakkass wrote: »
    I think that not having a long experience of a single religion is perhaps why America formed in the way it did.

    From the very start America has had 1 single religion influencing it, there is a huge difference in it being ok to be any type of christian you want and being of any religion you want.

    Jakkass wrote: »
    In Europe where there was an experience of a single religion,

    Really?
    So you see protestantism, Methodist, lutherianism, quakers, heathens and Catholics all to be the same?

    Jakkass wrote: »
    they are trying to replace it with a purely secular ideology for every walk of life. I don't think this is any better expecting people to shut up about what they believe even when they want to express it.

    Please cite your references for this happening.


    Jakkass wrote: »
    Yes, but why doesn't religion play a bigger role in public discourse here, surely there is some form of reason for this.

    In this country it is because so many people assume that everyone or the majority is catholic or christian.

    Jakkass wrote: »
    Why should it be private and personal if it is a part of who people are surely they should be free to express it as with every other matter under the sun?

    That depends on how they experess it, shouting fire in a theatre is not permitted.


    This post has been deleted.

    please do.
    andrew wrote: »
    Yeah. Thats what they've done in america - supressed people's religious identity with an american one. American first, whatever else second is how it is over there. Thats what they've failed to do in the UK, the result being that some Islamic immigrants feel no affinity toward Britian and have no qualms about killing British citizens. Compare that to the US, in which has less of a problem with homegrown extremism.

    That is a problem when the national identity is tied to a creed,
    what are the two words that comes to mind, "Irish, XXXXXXXXXX"
    It's not Irish Protestant which Wolfe Tone learned the hard way and
    it sure as hell isn't Irish pagan, Irish Muslim, Irish Hindu or Irish Buddhist.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 43,143 ✭✭✭✭ Nevyn


    Jakkass wrote: »
    The US isn't a poor nation either, yet it still finds a place for discussion of religion in the public sphere.

    How exactly are you defining poor?
    Are you aware of what the national debt of america is?
    Are you aware of what the child povery stats for america are?

    Jakkass wrote: »
    Surely whether or not there is value in your view is irrelevant if we are talking about personal freedoms here? I mean you could not give a hoot about religion but yet still support the freedom of others to be open with their beliefs in society.

    That certainly is not how things are in america with people's spiritual and religious believes being outed when they run for public office.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 22,480 ✭✭✭✭ philologos


    Religion should be restricted and forced into the private.
    Darlughda wrote: »
    The values of Atheists are no less valid than your own faith, Jackass.

    On the objective, the validity may be no lesser. In the particular however, as a Christian, I believe that Christianity is more valid than any other life path. As an atheist, you'd believe that the values of atheists are more valid than the values of those who have faith. Let's not pretend otherwise.
    Darlughda wrote: »
    The same goes for Agnostics, and the huge number of people who just don't care and want to get on with their concerns and not think about religion.

    I'm aware that there are people like this. I'm just wondering if freedom for people of belief is better than clamping down on it.

    Many Irish people have been through and are experiencing spiritual crises, the last thing they need is someone trying to prove to them their religion or complete disinterest in spiritual matters is wrong.
    Darlughda wrote: »
    I would personally ban proselytizing in any form or way.

    Why? Again, isn't this excessively curbing the right to free speech?


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 3,368 Mod ✭✭✭✭ andrew


    Jakkass wrote: »
    The US isn't a poor nation either, yet it still finds a place for discussion of religion in the public sphere.

    America is very much the exception when it comes to being both wealthy and religious. Link.
    Surely whether or not there is value in your view is irrelevant if we are talking about personal freedoms here? I mean you could not give a hoot about religion but yet still support the freedom of others to be open with their beliefs in society.

    IMO, religious opinions get in the way of other more valid opinions. Yes, I am aware that there is no such thing as an objectively valid opinion.
    Right, why should they have to change their opinions? Surely one can discuss ideas without changing their own? I think you can find atheists who are as closed minded as you are accusing people of faith to be. It depends on who you are talking to. Yes there are some very closed minded theists, and some very closed minded atheists, but there are others who are open to think about other ideas but who will keep their own ultimately.

    I never said they should have to change their opinions, just that they're less inclined to do so, moreso than people who aren't religious.
    As for coming to their own opinion instead of being told. I don't feel this is accurate either. Most people come to a particular religion because they decide that they want to through their own views, and they decide that this religion has values that they want to advocate and support. I don't see how that is different from any atheist or agnostic coming to their position.

    Woah. No way to most people come to a particular religion because they decide that they want to. Most people are born into a religion. I would also say, (though this is based on what I perceive to be true, and I have no figures to back this up) that it is actually the atheists who come to being atheist because they decide that they want to through their own views, and they decide that this atheism has values that they want to advocate and support.
    As for religious belief being conservative. What is wrong with conservatism? Some things are worth defending, and change should only occur if it is reasonable to do so. I'd be relatively opposed to changing the teachings of Christianity for example because I feel there is nothing wrong with them. I wouldn't be opposed to changing church practice, because that is something that people in the church have devised over the years.

    Yeah some things are worth defending, it's just that conservatives seem to believe that some things are worth defending for the sole reason that they're traditional/old/you know what I mean. As well as that, conservatism seems to have a narrow definiton of what constitutes reasonable change.
    It's interesting that you mention this. I consider my personal Christianity to be a defining part of who I am. Yet I don't feel that it encourages division, yes it means that I form different groups of friends. I have friends of mine who are Christians who I would talk more about faith related matters and I find them to be great for that. I have other friends of mine who don't feel that religion is that serious a part of their life yet my religion doesn't separate me from them. I learn to communicate with people with different beliefs. I can disagree with people without it causing division. Why can't people agree to disagree in general? I'm not sure if the differences we have in faith are irreconcilable.

    In general though, I would say religion tends to cause and encourage division.
    What is rational to you? I think atheists abuse the word a lot. There are two elements to thought. Empiricism or what is gathered through experience, if you will this is the source data. Reasoning only comes after empiricism.

    I think atheists and Christians are both rational. However, I think that they use different empiricism. Christians use different sources for how they view the world than atheists do. Hence why we differ.

    Believing in something just because the bible says it is so is not a 'different empiricism.' It is not empiricism.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 22,480 ✭✭✭✭ philologos


    Religion should be restricted and forced into the private.
    Thaedydal wrote: »
    That varies a lot and in many many places talking religions and/or politics is considered extremely rude.

    It's this phenomenon that strikes me as odd moreso than anything else. Why are people so hostile to it?
    Thaedydal wrote: »
    Again seems, can you please provide citations.

    I could spend all night finding citations, but I'm merely speaking my opinion here. In America faith is far more talked about than in Europe. If I was going to give a particular example, Tony Blair and his faith in British politics. Certain figures in the Labour Party felt it was best if he did not speak about his faith in public:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1429109/Campbell-interrupted-Blair-as-he-spoke-of-his-faith-We-dont-do-God.html

    Blair himself discussed the difficulty of speaking about his faith in politics saying that "If you talk about God people think you are a nutter":
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-496279/If-talk-God-people-think-youre-nutter-Why-Tony-Blair-didnt-talk-religious-beliefs-charge.html

    Now if you are telling me that Obama or Bush would have had the same difficulty talking about their respective faith, you must be mad. Obama even quoted from the Bible in his inauguration speech.
    Thaedydal wrote: »
    Religous symbols are banned in many schools in the USA from the cross and cruscifix to the pentacle.

    There is a difference between telling someone what they can or cannot wear, and deciding what to display on Government property. I should have been more specific. The French law says that you cannot wear a headscarf, a crucifix, a Star of David, turbans and so on in school. I.E Muslims and Sikhs are forced to compromise their religion to go to school.
    Thaedydal wrote: »
    a lot of those arguments have nothing to do with relgions but health and safety and security and protcol.

    They may be, but they hinder the free practice of religion.
    Thaedydal wrote: »
    Have you read the opening of our constitution?

    Yes, it has references to the Holy Trinity and Jesus Christ. I wasn't referring to Ireland, but rather the USA in the piece you quoted.
    Thaedydal wrote: »
    Do you know of how religious schools are exempt from the equality laws?

    You mean in order to protect their religious ethos? If so yes I'm aware.

    Again just to clarify, I was referring to America, not to Ireland in that quote.
    Thaedydal wrote: »
    That does happen in america, the American senate had it's first non christian opening pray by one of it's senators last hear and he was heckled form the floor during it.

    I'm aware I saw the footage. However the State didn't directly curb religious freedoms, rather it was protestors who did. I don't find that to be correct. Everyone should have a platform.
    Thaedydal wrote: »
    Please show this.

    It should only take a look into some of the founding fathers to show that this was the case. Thomas Jefferson supported the freedom of religion. George Washington supported the toleration of Jews in the United States when they were being ostracised in Europe. This was rather progressive for the revolutionary era:
    President George Washington remembered the Jewish contribution when he wrote to the Sephardic congregation of Newport, Rhode Island, in a letter dated August 17, 1790: "May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in the land continue to merit and enjoy the goodwill of the other inhabitants. While everyone shall sit safely under his own vine and fig-tree and there shall be none to make him afraid."
    Thaedydal wrote: »
    This is often not the case on the ground esp with towns being set up with the towns ordinance and by laws being set to drive those who do not fit in with a christian ethos from the town.

    Now Thaedydal, that's quite an allegation which I'd need you to cite :)
    Thaedydal wrote: »
    From the very start America has had 1 single religion influencing it, there is a huge difference in it being ok to be any type of christian you want and being of any religion you want.

    If you mean that most Americans were Christians, I'd agree. However there were Jews in the USA from independence and before. Islam was brought to the USA through the slave trade, and after emancipation, I think they enjoyed the same freedoms as the Jews did, I'd have to check that out though.
    Thaedydal wrote: »
    Really?
    So you see protestantism, Methodist, lutherianism, quakers, heathens and Catholics all to be the same?

    I mean in particular nations. France was predominately Catholic, as were most of the southern German city states, Ireland was predominately Catholic and so on and so forth. Actually, what better example than Britain in which Anglicanism was the State church. I should have made myself slightly more clear as to what I meant.
    Thaedydal wrote: »
    Please cite your references for this happening.

    It's my personal opinion that this is happening. It isn't certifiable fact, many would disagree with me. I've gone through how there has been a suppression of religious expression in many different ways in European nations from the bans of religious clothing, to restrictions on free speech if you see the link I gave about the attempted removal of free speech allowances in hate speech law in the House of Lords recently. Religious opinions are forced to be superceded by secular ideas even where it affects the lives of religious people.
    Thaedydal wrote: »
    In this country it is because so many people assume that everyone or the majority is catholic or christian.

    People could also assume that in relation to the USA and Christianity.


This discussion has been closed.
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