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NeoNote — Religion & morality

A couple of things.

Religion covers more things than Jews, Christianity, and a tiny smidgeon of Buddhism. There are different rules, different customs, many which you might not consider religious.

Faith is between you and the Divine.

The problem with making morality a part of religion is that some priests forget that they are measured by the lives around them. They think that their calling places them beyond "man's law."

As someone who has seen a lot of "pagan garb," standing out is not necessarily a good thing. It can be more of a "look at me" than standing apart.



Part I - Okay, let's start with the elephant that everyone tiptoes around.

Which religion?

I've been told repeatedly that the Decalogue is a good basis for law and morality. But Number One on that list (or numbers one and two depending on the translation) puts Yahweh first. Fine and dandy if that is the religion you have chosen. But what if it isn't? If the Decalogue is central to your faith but not your neighbor's, is it moral to insist that they abide by it?

Faith imposed is no faith at all. The only faiths and beliefs worthy of freedom are those freely chosen.

And that brings us to another point. Morality can't be imposed and still remain morality.

There have been times that neither Christianity nor Judaism have been particularly moral, especially towards other faiths. From this we can deduce that it is not really a specific religion that is the cornerstone of morality.

This follows because no matter how divinely inspired, religions are not created by the Divine. Religions are created by people claiming to speak for the Divine. Questioning a religion is not the same as questioning the Divine and someone's place in it.

No matter how much some priests insist otherwise.



Part II - Here's where I offend some of you. I'm sorry about that.

“An experienced faith differs from a revealed faith. It’s the Journey compared to the Story.

The Story is told while the Journey is lived.

I am not saying that one is superior. But one is active and the other passive. The Story is not the Journey and the Journey is not the Story.

A revealed faith always depends on what someone else says. The marvelous thing is that a Story can become a Journey if you just go a little beyond the nice polished gate and the carefully maintained path.

In an experienced faith, you will have to go out and do. That’s why so many pagan books never go deeper than cookbooks or the 101 level. Experience requires taking that first and seventh step into the unknown.

At some point in a Journey, it's going to be you and the Divine. No masks and no untruths allowed.

With a revealed faith, the answers could be in the very next book you read. A Story could become a Journey, but it takes hard work and stepping beyond the safe space.

How do you explain a Journey without moving into a Story? I am not sure you can.”

the Journey versus the Story from NeoWayland's lexicon


Way too many people are content to live the Story and not the Journey. That's okay, as long as they don't impose that on someone else.

It's why when someone tells me there is a Biblical basis for law, I point out that there are huge portions of Biblical law that they routinely ignore.

The point is that just as you don't have the power to define another's faith, you don't have the power to define another's morality.

Your beliefs don't shape the actions of others, especially without their consent.



Part III - At the same time, there are religious rites which you find uncomfortable. Some neopagans (neopagans are pagans but not all pagans are neopagans) practice some rituals nude or skyclad. There are some neopagan rites which have definite sexual connotations, acts, or ingredients. For some faiths such as vodun, blood sacrifice is an element. And that isn't even getting into things like curses.

If you wonder why I bring up curses in the context of religion, I suggest reading "War Prayer" by Mark Twain.

If you didn't choose it, it's not your faith or your morality. And that brings up a core aspect of morality, consent.

Just because I don't drink alcohol doesn't mean I should forbid others from drinking. At the same time, if I like sardines with my peanut butter, no one should have the power to tell me no.

So long as it doesn't hurt anyone else.

At that brings us to to keystone of Western Civilization and the thing that sets us apart. Christians call it the Golden Rule, but the Ethic of Reciprocity isn't uniquely Christian. Basically, don't do it if you don't want it done to you. Do what you want so long as you don't inflict harm on another or damage another's property.



Part IV - So without a specific religious writing and without invoking a specific aspect of Deity, we have a moral basis.

Most importantly it has to be chosen. And if someone chooses not to follow it, then those who do are under no obligation to respect the ones who don't.

It's not "God's will," it's human law. No one benefits without following the law.

At the same time, it leaves a lot unresolved. Vice law doesn't fit this model. Nor do blue laws. I'd argue that those laws can't be realistically enforced, but I freely admit my libertarian bias.

There is nothing that prevents people from following religious law. But there is nothing that demands others follow those same religious laws.

People should be free to speak and act as they choose, so long as they accept the consequences. "Free love" means greater risks both medically and emotionally. The world doesn't owe you diddly, although people may choose to help you out. You don't get to be shielded from the words and thoughts of others.

Before you object that this gives religion second shift, answer me this.

If you choose one religion among all others and honor it's precepts, doesn't that make your choice worth more?
NeoNotes are the selected comments that I made on other boards, in email, or in response to articles where I could not respond directly.

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Rite to right

I'd argue that the writing was on the wall when marriage was legally defined and moved away from being a religious rite to being a secular right.

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Goldwater on religion and politics

There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God's name on one's behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in 'A,' 'B,' 'C,' and 'D.' Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of 'conservatism.'
— Barry Goldwater, September 16, 1981

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Friday supersized roundup

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Thursday super roundup

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❝All religions are not equal…❞

All religions are not equal, not because of their doctrine or sacred writings but because individuals chose to make it better. For example, for centuries the Bible was literally considered the how-to guide for making slavery practical. And not just among Christians.

The writings didn't change.

As a libertarian, I oppose government sponsored foreign aid. For what it's worth, I oppose government sponsored domestic aid for obvious reasons.
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Some monotheists

Some monotheists think that their religion belongs on top and take offense when you disagree.
 — NeoWayland
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Us versus them

Anyway, my point was that seeing the world solely through an us vs them lens only increases the conflict and division in the world, and dehumanizes the people we think are Them. It's the root cause of why these Christian folks in the article think that the Druids are Satanists out to do terrible evil. Their specific religious justifications are only the surface level. At it's root it is the poison of dualistic thinking, the idea that the world and it's people can be divided into good and evil. And the poison of dualism can infect anyone, or any religion.
     — Shawn Herles, comments from Wayist Druid public Samhain ritual draws threats

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NeoNote — My favorite party trick

Religions are created by people claiming to speak for the Divine.

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Demonic realms

If you use the law to "protect" your religion and your children from "demonic realms," that doesn't say very much about your god, your religion, or your faith.
     — NeoWayland
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Religion enshrined in law

I'm not demanding that you give up your faith.

I'm asking why religion should be enshrined in law.

Faith is between you and the Divine, no other person can change that. It's up to you and your choices.

I'm asking for no sacrifice unless you believe that your religion should govern the faith and religion of others.

And if that's the case, I'm asking why.
     — NeoWayland
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“American Independence”

Samuel Adams delivered this speech from the steps of the State House in Philadelphia on August 1, 1776. This was the day before the famous parchment copy of the Declaration of Independence was signed.

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“Socialism — Capitalism — Traditionalism”

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No one person and no one group has all the answers. No one group should be vested with THE moral authority to decide who is and is not a hate group.

The SPLC needs competition.

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Is it moral for the state to compel a product or service?

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Jesus is offensive

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Syncretism happens even if it offends

Faith and religion don't stay in the nice neat boxes and cabinets we make for them. Syncretism happens, even if it offends the True Believer™.
     — NeoWayland

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Concede the war

The question is not which religion or belief set is mainstream, authentic, or even legitimate. Define your faith in those terms and you concede the war.
     — NeoWayland, Faith worthy of freedom
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Older headlines that don't merit their own entry

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Parity

If you won't honor someone's religious choice, why should they honor yours?

If you are not willing to live with those of other faiths, why should they give way and not you?

Parity. The Golden Rule. It's in your own teachings if you look hard enough.
     — NeoWayland
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A choice that is imposed is no choice

A choice that is imposed is no choice. Religion imposed in the name of “freedom and decency” will be neither free nor decent.
     — NeoWayland
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Religion is the excuse

Religion is the excuse not the reason.
     — NeoWayland
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Mark 12:17

One of my professors pointed out that Mark 12:17 could be interpreted to keep politics out of religion and religion out of politics. It's probably not true, but I like the thought. Politics is about controlling others and we know it corrupts almost everything it touches.
     — NeoWayland
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Syncretism

Do you know how many cultures and nations Western Civilization borrowed from? Syncretism, it's not just for religion.

It's not necessary to claim WestCiv as “white.” Just say it's a collection of extraordinarily proven good ideas that have worked time and time again. Claim it as “white” and you're invoking tribalism and rousing people's natural defenses. Claim it as “white” and in a very patronizing way you grant permission to join.

Invite people to join because “they can make it better” works with more people. And it makes your life better too.
     — NeoWayland
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NeoNotes — Consider historical context to violence

What is to stop someone else from deciding that it's a good cause to thump you over the head? Once the excuses start, what's to protect you from the politics of the day?

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Special rights

Libertarians don't want special rights for certain groups based on their race, gender, age, orientation, or religion.

Libertarians want to protect natural rights for all people simply because they are human beings.
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NeoNotes — the Johnson amendment

As I said, the tax exempt status is a "devil's trade" intended in large part to silence churches.

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from crux № 13 — Competiton

Competition drives the free market…

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NeoNotes — Marriage revisted

That is when marriage ceased to be religion and control shifted to the state.

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NeoNotes — Religion enshrined in law

Why should any religion be enshrined in law? Raised above all others as THE Moral Standard?

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That's the excuse, not the reason

Here's the dirty little secret that you're avoiding. The evil is not in a belief system. That's the excuse, not the reason. No book has ever committed genocide. No song has ever burned someone alive. No long lost chant has ever raped.

It's people who speak and people who act. It's people who do good, and people who do evil.
     — NeoWayland
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I can't stress this enough

I can't stress this enough.

The state is not a moral entity. Government is not your friend, at best it is a bad servant.

Religion can not be allowed the coercive power of the state and the state can not be allowed the moral justification of faith.

You can't trust law to do the right thing. You have to watch it. You have to argue with it. And sometimes you have to fight it.
     — NeoWayland

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from crux № 11 — Ultimate truth

I've seen the arguments in enough other contexts to distrust anyone who claims rationality prevents any opposing view. Even more so when they dismiss any other possibility unheard because they have the Ultimate Truth That Must Not Be Questioned.
     — NeoWayland
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NeoNotes — government requires

If you didn't choose your morality and if you do not commit to your morality, is it really yours?

Or did it just get sacrificed for the greater good?
     — NeoWayland
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Faith & religion

I believe that faith and religion can be a tremendous source of individual morality and a dangerous tyranny in society.
     — NeoWayland

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from crux № 16 — My beliefs

I believe that people are perfectly capable of making their own choices and that society is the better if people do exactly that.

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Freedom of religion

Freedom of religion does not mean deferring to Christianity.
     — NeoWayland
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from crux № 15 — make it better

“I want a government that is smaller than absolutely necessary.

I believe that people are perfectly capable of making their own choices and that society is the better if people do exactly that.”

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NeoNotes — Prostitution

Do you really want politicos deciding what is moral harm?

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NeoNotes — Pardon…

It would not honor my faith, and it dishonors the Divine as I perceive it. It would require me to break oaths & promises that are at least as important to me as yours are to you.

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Government & religion

Religion cannot be allowed the coercive power of government. Government cannot be allowed the moral justification of religion.
     — NeoWayland, United We Stand

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NeoNotes — Shame game

I played this game many times until I tired of it

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NeoNotes — Sin

Pardon, but who defines the sin?

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NeoNotes — Reciprocity

We can build a moral system based on the Ethic of Reciprocity

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NeoNotes — Undermine your own

Perhaps what frustrates you most is that you can't denounce my faith without undermining your own. At the end of the day, we don't have anything but our faith. Mine is just as valid as yours by every "objective" measure you trot out.

Live and let live. Why is that so hard for you to accept? class="ghoster">

NeoNotes are the selected comments that I made on other boards, in email, or in response to articles where I could not respond directly.
Comments

Religion becoming the law of the land

When it comes to religion becoming the law of the land, the devout don't need it, the non-believers don't want it, and the politicos will corrupt it.
     — NeoWayland
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The political fringe and their crazy, insane ideas

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the ORIGINAL NeoNotes™

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Cruz goes evangelical

Why does Cruz assume that the only worthy values are Christian ones?

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It's not how it appears

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from crux № 2 — defining liberty

It’s not a right unless the other guy has it too.

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When truth is dissent

Very silly.

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I believe that economics and morality should be based in free choice.

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Religious or spiritual

…that's the difference between an individual having a religious view and a spiritual view. The individuals that have a spiritual view don't force anyone else to accept what they think.
     — “Grog,” Religion vs Rightful Liberty, Kent's "Hooligan Libertarian" Blog

Worth thinking about anyway.
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A Pagan looks at the “War Against Christians”

Some people are deliberately confusing the issues to advance their beliefs

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Christian America Redux
The Ten Commandments Controversy

Was the United States really founded as a Christian nation?

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Faith and the public sphere

Does religion really define public morality? Should government control religion?

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Faith worthy of freedom

The only worthy faiths and beliefs are those freely chosen

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A Pagan looks at “Christian America”

Once again, news stories about meeting prayers and the Ten Commandments are making the rounds. Here's what a real Pagan thinks.

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Pagan•Vigil FAQ

Just the FAQs about my Vigil

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from crux № 4 — The U.S. is not a "Christian nation"

And here is where I am about to offend many of you. Are you paying close attention?

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