Wednesday, February 23, 2005

"Are these things right or wrong?"--T.S. Eliot

materfamilias gratia: you have basically said what I meant to say. I to will not throw my religion out but at the same time I would not use it to control others.
When I said everyday world I meant the workings of our society. I.E. The government. The controllers. The powerful. The war makers. The haters.--Maxcat49

This is the most delicate of issues: How do we integrate religion into public life without trying to take control of public life? The two cannot be segregated: it is simply false to say religion is a "purely private matter." As is apparent in societies around the world, even sexual preference is not a "purely private matter," nor can it be. We are social creatures, and our identity will always, to one degree or another, depend on the social constructs of our community. We may argue about what those social constructs should be, but we can no more deny that fundamental than we can conduct the discussions without using language.

So religion is not purely private. But it has a bad track record of being an excuse for controlling others. How, then, do we strike a balance? How do we act morally, without being moralistic? It is our morality that determines, for example, the validity of our compassion, the legitimacy of our actions, the validation of our intentions. Divorcing morality from religious belief is not the answer (at least for believers). But what limits do we place on how we assess what is right, and what is wrong?

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