On Different Religions and Moral Discernment

The most fundamental component of a religion is a belief system. The ideas and precepts of such a belief system help determine the thoughts and actions of the followers of that particular religion. It seems common among members of the Left to embrace moral relativism: all religions are equal as are the moral codes such religions seek to prescribe. As a result, the Left frowns on discriminating against or criticizing someone on the basis of their religion. One can discuss what one likes in the political arena, but religions are off limits.

I believe this to be a tragic mistake.

Religions are not off limits. They are fair game for criticism, as long as that criticism is respectively done. To do otherwise is to insulate potential sources of evil or trouble from necessary examination. After all, adhering to a particular religion leads to certain actions that that religion prescribes. By what else are we to judge an individual than by the actions that that person takes in their life? And if their religion is the sources of such actions, should not then we scrutinize it accordingly? I say, ‘yes.’ History is replete with religions that embraced and did bad things. Take human sacrifice, for example. This was once practiced by both the Aztecs of the Americas and the Thuggees of India. Those are perfect examples of religion gone bad to a degree that should not be tolerated. Today, we have certain segments of the Muslim religion (although clearly not all) embracing suicide bombing. We can’t just ignore that fact and give Muslims a pass.

This is the age of “Tolerance,” but it is foolish and counterproductive to “tolerate” evil. Of course, discerning good and evil is not always easy (then again, sometimes it is very easy (e.g. suicide bombing)). Tolerance, although a virtue, is not the only virtue. Other factors come into play. We shouldn’t tolerate murderers, rapists, or child molesters for example. In the case of religion, there is a point to which members of different religions can agree to disagree, just as there is also a point at which such an admonition is actually naive.

Religions are not morally equal by definition. They must be compared and contrasted and examined to make a proper discernment. Unfortunately, such a task is herculean in nature. It would be impossible to do such a job thoroughly for more than just one or two religions in a single lifetime. Most people cannot make such an effort. As a result, we are left with saying that religions, like people, are usually roughly equal because we lack the time to make a proper accounting; it is a satisfactory compromise that fails only at the extremes of behavior (i.e. human sacrifice, suicide bombing) where we are forced to discriminate more thoroughly. Theoretically, though, the moral code of each and every religion could be examined and compared to that of every other, if we had the time and made the effort. Most species of Christianity, I believe, would do well in such an accounting, as I think would Buddhism and Judaism. As for the others, I don’t know enough about them to really comment. Terrorism is giving Islam a black eye, but beyond that, I can’t really say.

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2 thoughts on “On Different Religions and Moral Discernment

  1. Since when does the Left frown on criticizing someone based on their religion? It seems to me they pick and choose which ones deserve to be discriminated against. Sent from my iPad

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    1. Yeah. I think’s it’s partly a “grass is always greener” situation. Christianity can be attacked because its the “default religion” of the West. In some sense, since we are citizens of the West, it is “our religion” and therefore held up to higher scrutiny. Other “alien religions” like Islam should be protected lest we (the West) make the mistake of persecuting them. Also, there is the question of persecution vs. criticism. Criticism, I believe, is fine regardless of which religion is in question. Persecution or discrimination, is not.
      Regardless, the Left has embraced moral relativism. And yet, according to them, Nativity Scenes in public places should be banned while tenets of Islam should be taught in the classroom. I sense that they may not be very consistent in the application of relativistic principles. But that may be partly due to the incoherence of the relativistic principle in the first place.
      Ultimately, I think the Left wants to claim that they treat all religions equally, but they don’t actually do so.

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