Re: I'm going to say it again......... by John Cullison ..... Atheism Debate Forum
Date: 12/5/2005 3:16:39 PM ( 16 years ago ago)
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Every religion of any worth whatsoever calls upon its members to strive to be a more "decent" individual. The source of argument is what qualifies as "decent".
To me, the only thing that is decent is respecting the right of others to make their own choices for themselves. It all boils down to what freedom really is. Making one's own choices for one's self is freedom.
This rule -- respecting the right of everyone to make his own choices -- makes it very easy to see what qualifies as right and what qualifies as wrong. Forcing a choice on someone else that he wouldn't otherwise choose for himself (rape, murder, secretly poisoning someone's food, forcing a religion on him, preventing him from following a religion, forcing him to take drugs, preventing him from taking drugs, whatever) is a violation of the rule and, thus, wrong.
Religions have never really respected this rule (perhaps some forms of Buddhism are close). They dictate personal choices and enforce them on others, with threats of physical punishment or eternal damnation or excommunication or whatever for failure to comply. These are wrong religions, as far as I'm concerned. They've always been about control, never about freedom.
My rule isn't something that came out of any religion that I know of. In fact, most Christians, who are thrilled that legislators enforce Christian morals on the rest of us, would be horrified by true freedom, precisely because they've been taught to believe that the only thing "making" them "decent" is their fear of God.
And for them, it's probably true.
But it doesn't have to be.
It's just a choice one makes for one's self.
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