How religion affects the values of society
Ross L. Talbott
Religion has become a major feature in our nation and on the major news networks. The issue of the mosque adjacent to the twin towers’ former location has certainly intensified feelings.
The big word of the day is “tolerance,” or the flip-side “intolerance.” Tolerance has become a verbal sledge hammer.
Groups who accuse their opponents of intolerance are usually great examples of intolerance. Should we tolerate intolerance?
I guess we are all supposed to hold hands and sing.
Religion is all just contrived and based on myths, right?
Therefore it doesn’t matter what you believe because you can invent your own truth, and it’s just as good as the next guy’s.
Tolerance levels the playing field. Or does it?
Years ago, I heard the saying, “You can’t legislate morality.” I soon came to realize that just the opposite is true. All legislation is the imposition of morality on people.
The difference is in who decided what was moral.
For instance Sharia law imposes, at great penalty, a system of morality that is totally counter to our American understanding of morality.
Our founding fathers constructed a legal system based on Biblical morality, but over time our courts are readjusting our concept of morality.
For instance, open sexuality, abortion, the definition of marriage, undocumented alien and many other issues have come under the sledge hammer of “tolerance.”
Morality is being redefined by law.
Is one religion just as good as another? Do all paths lead to the same god? Is there really a god, or do we just invent one to suit our emotions and needs? Are there consequences to our beliefs? Even atheism is a belief system and is therefore a religion.
Are the atheists the only really smart people? Can you prove there is no god?
If there is a god and eternity, can you afford to be wrong?
Since religion is a dominant and highly influential factor in most cultures a good place to start a religion comparison is to study the condition of the country.
Factors such as living conditions, life span, medical services, the prison system, homelessness, food production, military and education are all, to a major extent, a reflection of the ethics and morals of the dominant religion.
The dominant religion also determines the sense of values.
For example, the Roman culture set up gods and promoted luxury and sexual license. Their ultimate demise was the result of self gratification and decadence.
The Germany of World War II was controlled by a philosophy that rejected any god and embraced evolution. For the purpose of refining the human race, millions of handicapped, Jews and members of less “advanced” cultures were slaughtered.
Again the standard of morality was established by law.
No society with witch doctors or shamans has really prospered.
African nations embracing voodoo and demon worship live in object poverty and a dearth of medical services. Intertribal wars are common.
Islam-dominated countries spawn terrorist organizations and cruel dictators such as Saddam Hussein in Iraq, which have no problem gassing opposing religious groups.
These are extreme examples, but all cultures throughout the world are influenced by some religion’s philosophy and its prescribed standards of morality.
Even the tribes of American Indians were structured around belief in spirits inhabiting all of nature.
An Indian Shaman once told me that even rocks walk, talk and fly. White man was just too dumb to notice unless it was a rock slide.
By the same analysis we can turn to the most prosperous, powerful, generous and scientifically advanced society on earth.
America is where it is because its foundational faith was Christianity.
Biblical morality and the Ten Commandments work.
Compassion, unselfishness, responsibility, fidelity, strong work ethic, honesty, determination and a sense of interdependence are all Biblical principles of proven worth.
I challenge you to check it out.
In God we trust. It works!
Ross L. Talbott lives in New Castle.
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