Freedom and Religion - January 18, 2015
In this time of the life of humanity important questions concerning freedom are in the forefront of the news media, political agendas, economic concerns, and religion. If we ask ourselves, “What is Freedom?” the answer is not always clear.
What then is freedom? Does freedom mean that you have the right to do whatever you wish? I would surmise that the answer is no! A person cannot do whatever they wish because the structure of our social communities does not permit that kind of behavior. Does freedom entail some modicum of conformance to social morality, ethics and responsibilities? I would surmise that the answer is yes! Having arrived at this conclusion one could argue that this answer is freedom as perceived and acted upon by everyone who believe in freedom.
Freedom is the right to be responsible for your actions. Freedom is the right to pursue the religion of your choice, the politics of your choice, the marriage or relationship of choice. Freedom is the right to be free from oppression by politics, or religion, or by cultural habit, or even commitment to act in ways offensive to your belief. Such habits or acts that force a person to behave in a particular way runs counter to freedom except where such enforcement is compliance with law. If the law is unjust change it!
Freedom of expression is quite an important and hard fought for right in the Western ideologies, the same is reasonable to assume for freedom of religion. It is curious then is it not, that certain religions of a particular nature do not really accept this ideology. The religions in question are those of the form that devolved from the Abrahamic traditions and also from the Hindu traditions. The only reason that non-Christian religions can flourish in areas of the earth where Christianity has dominated and is to some extent the dominant religion, is the predominance of these concepts of freedom aforementioned. In most areas of the world where a different non-Western religion dominates other religions are treated with a high degree of disrespect and in many cases not tolerated or barely tolerated. It is surprising then that such dominant religions that sprout in the former Christian areas that have accepted concepts of freedom that are in many cases counter productive for the continued influence of Christianity should make demands that include a reduction of the rights enabled by those very societies that permitted their religious beliefs to have existed there in the first place.
The idea that certain things, such as a religious ideology or a political ideology, can exist within a society that expounds the concept of freedom, and run counter to those beliefs of freedom is part of the concept of freedom of speech. This activity requires political change not enforced change by violent actions, violence is abhorrent in any form against any person and is an act of extremism which is only permitted under the most dire of circumstances. If freedom of speech, religion, and political thought is to be maintained and give ideologues a platform from which to launch their ideas it stands to reason that the freedom must be maintained. Persons who expound their ideology, using concepts of freedoms that do not exist within the ideology itself, and the consequent rantings and ravings to change the system of Western cultural concepts to fit their ideology is beyond understanding.
This is particularly so when that ideology uses acts of violence to implement their wishes when no actual violence against persons has been committed. In a society where every thing, including the society and community itself can be criticized and parodied, it is surprising that there are those who wish to quench that freedom to their own ends. Their activities are only possible because of the permissive attitude towards ideas and concepts that are allowed in the first place by the attitude towards freedom.
What then is freedom? Is freedom an idea whose basic premise is wrong? Is freedom of speech and expression wrong? If the answer is no, then those who depend upon it to advance their agendas to destroy it are absolute hypocrites. Those that commit violence to suppress freedom are not deserving of freedom, they have have it by virtue of societies good grace to give everyone freedom regardless of belief.