Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The "freedom of religion" illusion

One of the things you'll hear all the time from people is "I think it's cool that you have religious faith. I think everyone should have freedom of religion." This is probably true -- to a point.

People love to pretend they're open to all religions. I have my doubts. I think what they're really saying is "I'm open to all religions the media tells me to be open to."

(note: if the person saying that were a grammar snob s/he would probably avoid ending in a preposition and instead opt for "I'm open to all the religions to which the media tells me to be open)

Think about it: do you ever hear people or "the media" defending Mormonism? Christian science? Scientology? Absolutely not. I certainly can't ever remember hearing it, anyway.

The term "freedom of religion" exists a) so people can avoid offending other people; b) to protect the powerful religions; and c) so people can use this as a way to justify not coming to Jesus (i.e. "I believe anyone who believes in a religion goes to Heaven" and that sort of thing).

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