Impact of Religion on Society

[repost from October 24, 2004 @ 12:42]
More about the impact of religion on society

The Means and The End

It was questioned where I would weight the impact of religions on society,”you seem to think that religion has a smaller impact on society than homosexual marriage.”

I believe religion has the greatest impact of any single influence in society, if we include the philosophy/world view that comes from that religion. If we speak in spiritual terms -eternal reality-, I believe that your religion becomes the only determining factor in the outcomes of your society.

But I also strictly believe in specific means for promulgating religion, and that includes allowing the greatest freedom for expressing it while having the greatest restriction in forcing it. I do not believe in instituting any sort of theocracy.

I’ll tell you why. For a Theocracy to work you have to have God at the head of it. He has to agree to it…. and as far as I can see He is not agreed to any of the forceful, temporal means. If you are Christian, then you know that Jesus taught that His Kingdom was not of this world, or else His disciples would have physically fought. His Kingdom is spiritually established and spiritually enforced, and that is the way its influence will be established in the earth.

Because there is a place for that influence to be established, through the personal jurisdictions of His disciples. In our lives, in our homes, through our activities in our communities, through our votes, through our acceptance or our eschewing of mores, these are the means of religious impact in society.

That is why imposing religion from a legal status will never accomplish the goals of a free and willing people who serve God from their hearts. And that is God’s standard, the willing love of peoples hearts. But the world goes on….

The world is a place of conflict of values, it is not under that willing governorship of united willing hearts, it is a place where trespass abounds and so laws are necessary to contain the damage of that trespass. That is why thieves and murderers go to jail. It has to be that way for society to function and survive. The more breakdown, the weaker the society, the more order, especially when fueled by personal responsibility, the better the function for all the members.

Simple civics 101.

I think anyone familiar with philosophy will understand me when I say that it is the systems of thought which give birth to the realities of the culture. It sometimes takes a generation to filter into mainstream life, but this is what gives form and drive to our society. What we believe.

What we believe is not static, it is a constant swirl of influences and responses, it follows precedents, and it anchors and loosens anchor. The basic religious beliefs will dictate that in individuals and groups, and it has often been seen in history how new forms of religious thought has impacted society.

Sometimes hurried along with forced means, and this is the point of contention for all those who fear religious influence. I don’t dispute that, but I won’t acquiesce to the pendulum swing of “excise religion”, because that is a ruse. You never excise religion, you only replace one religious influence for another…. even when you call it secular, humanism, or atheism, it is a system of thought that replaces the role of religion and becomes religion, de facto.

So, no, I don’t think homosexual marriage laws have greater impact, but I do believe they are a demanded change to the most basic institution on the basis of yet unspoken philosophy. Unspoken because no one is defining what marriage is in this mode of thinking. We accepted for a long time the Christian model of marriage of two heterosexual people who then establish a home, given specific rights in the sight of society and in the sight of God. It has changed in details over the years, but with homosexual marriage… what is new definition? Who is included and excluded and under what circumstances? What are the new responsibilities for the law?

So my next question is what is the impact for society? Have we established that, at all? As I understand it, there are procedures that can insure ones partner, will ones worldly good to them, establishing lives together are available in the present system. I am having a very hard time seeing what the advantage is for legal marriage apart from the religious connotation.

I have to confess that I don’t see the full picture. On one hand, I am willing to say if the majority votes it in …let it. But on the other hand, I don’t have any of my questions answered on the impact of this change and what it means. And it is much easier to prevent societal chaos, than it is to remedy it. Or keep patching it as one goes along. Is marriage over for our society? Is its usefulness gone, so that it is merely an ornamentation for ones relationship?

Can marriage continue to be a strong institution, with the many rights and benefits it holds for women and children, without the Western structure it has had? Do societies with looser divorce and polygamous laws have as much protection for women’s rights? What is the argument for instituting homosexual marriage, but not polygamy? Just ’cause we haven’t done it thus far?

Do you see all these question marks? They are there because I am not solidly formed in how I look at this matter, yet. I am asking for compelling arguments to be made. My acceptance of the Word of God means I will never change the fact that homosexual relationship is immoral, but that same view will recognize the human rights of said individuals. Rights that I believe are outlined by that same God of the Bible.

Not all people have rights to be married if they wish it.

What I want to be assured of is just what the actual change is, that is being proposed. So I can make a considered decision on it. What I am saying is I want to know if this is something that I will vote against, but accept from the 51% majority? Or is this something I will fight whatever the cost to me? What is at stake in this decision?

I think this is reasonable.

Addendum:

Not every homosexual is in favor of this sort of legal change, even though in favor of equal rights, and while I may surmise on some of the issues, I have not looked into it.