It bothers me that people still allow beliefs in divine revelation to pervade their law systems.
I was watching this program on the BBC about women in Islam and the marriage laws of Islam (called Sharia). These people argued for an hour about submitting to God's law and it bothered me that they never once seemed to ask themselves if this supernatural agent exists in the first place, and why a man has to communicate his laws to them instead of God doing it himself.
In the West, during the age of enlightenment, we learned that we needed to separate religion and state because 1. there was no justification for the belief in divine revelation, and 2. theocratic societies never come close to building a just society.
It bothers me that people still allow beliefs in divine revelation to pervade their law systems.
That people do not tangent off into discussing whether or not God exists while discussing religious law should not be a surprise, or even a bother - these people are applying religious law, and thus they come to the table with the assumption that God does exist. Discussing whether or not God exists while discussing religious law is off topic.
Actually, those two reasons were not the impetus for the separation of church and state in the west. The primary reason for separating church and state in the west was to insure the free practice of religion for people of different faiths.
What needs to be understood is that in some countries, like the UK, people can voluntarily take certain legal issues into Sharia Court. It is completely optional. If two parties with a disagreement freely consent to have their disagreement arbitrated in a religious court, denying them such an option is denying them their free expression of religion (which, in turn, is the reason we have church and state separated in the first place).
So it's off topic to question the foundation of religious law when religious law is discussed. That's a cop out.
Yes, freedom of religion was a reason, but read the literature of the enlightenment. Theocratic dictatorship was another reason, and the rise of deism in the west questioned the claim of divine revelation, which is what theocracy is predicated on.
The fact that the UK, which has a dogmatic conception of social liberalism, have allowed Sharia the co-exist with western law is beside the point. My point is that we shouldn't allow supernatural beliefs to pervade our law systems. Not only is it unjustified, but the consequences can be disastrous. That's what humanism and the enlightenment were all about. Humans can justify and decide what is or isn't right without the claim of divine authority.
Freedom to express religion is fine as long as that religious practice doesn't negatively affect the well being of others. What if it's religious practice to molest children or cut off an unfaithful follower's head?
No, the foundation is already assumed. If the foundation were not assumed, there would be no reason to discuss the religion law in the first place - you would still be concerned over the foundation.
Yes, read the literature. Read those letters of Jefferson. Read the Federalist Papers. Freedom of religious expression was the impetus, fear of a theocratic dictatorship was little more than imagining the extreme reverse of free religious expression.
What if it's a secular law to have children molested and cut off religious people's heads?
The primary reason for separating church and state in the west was to insure the free practice of religion for people of different faiths.
DT. How can a state do that? That state is made up of people. People have their different faiths. Agreed there are different tenets and beliefs and perceptions, but having a faith has it's rules to "live" by. How can a statesman become a statesman and deny his faith. If he can deny his faith then he doesn't have faith in that faith. I guess what I am saying is the impetus to become a statesman must be so strong if he is to abandon his faith to become a statesman. There is a disconnect here. The only way there can be a perfect union, or state is to completely abandon all faith.
Now we have to govern people of faith and if people of no faith that do the governing how can they govern the people of faith if their faithless governing goes against those faiths of those they are governing. That means the faith of those they are governing must not be taken into consideration. Or, ELIMINATE THE FAITH IN THOSE YOU ARE GOVERNING. How in the hell can that be done. That means there is no such thing a freedom of religion. It can't be. The only way is to eliminate all faith both in state and the people you are governing.
I understand that the foundation is already assumed. I'm saying that they should question that foundation if they care about the legitimacy of their beliefs.
The separation of religion and state in the west was inspired by the writings of enlightenment philosophers like Thomas Paine, and the humanism movement of the enlightenment. I'm not saying that freedom of religious practice wasn't the impetus; I'm saying that is was inspired by scientific skepticism and enlightenment humanism.
My point was that you can't justify a law based on freedom of religious practice if it violates equal rights, and you seem to agree.
What if the law is changed so that only Mormon men can have more than one wife, and so that they can marry underage girls because it's their freedom of religion?
The sharia courts, even as an optional extra, are utterly unacceptable. Islamic women filing for divorce will 99 times out of a 100, I guarrentee, get pressured into going through a sharia trial, which will inevtibly be biased in favour of the man, and usually grants them custody of the children. Any civillised society recognises that though a farther has a right to play a part in a childs life, there can be no worse thing than to take a child from its mother, which is what usually happens.
Yeah, I've read my Thomas Paine. I'm unabashedly patriotic. And yes, separation of church and state was inspired by scientific skepticism and enlightenment humanism. But "scientific skepticism" and "enlightenment humanism" do not translate to " no justification for the belief in divine revelation" and "theocratic societies never come close to building a just society."
Scientific skepticism and enlightenment humanism led to the conclusion that there was no justification for the belief in divine revelation, and the Dark Ages led to the conclusion that theocratic authoritarianism isn't conducive to a just society.
Scientific skepticism and enlightenment humanism led to the conclusion that there was no justification for the belief in divine revelation as well as the conclusion that church and state should be separated.
Rejection of divine revelation and opposition to theocracy played a role in drumming up support for the separation of Church and State. However, casting rejection of divine revelation and opposition of theocracy as the two causes of the separation of Church and State is to ignore the body of work regarding the debate. It's a terribly misleading claim from the historical perspective. Did you read the Danbury Letter?
Jefferson's Letter to the Danbury Baptists (June 1998) - Library of Congress Information Bulletin
Or you can look into Locke's arguments about the issue; he argued that such a separation was necessary as the government has no right to interfere with such private decisions, like how to worship, and in order to defend the right to make such decisions government and church must be separate.
Or you can check the Wiki for this great Madison quote:
"We are teaching the world the great truth that Govts. do better without Kings & Nobles than with them. The merit will be doubled by the other lesson that Religion flourishes in greater purity, without than with the aid of Govt."
Scientific skepticism and enlightenment humanism led to the conclusion that there was no justification for the belief in divine revelation
the Dark Ages led to the conclusion that theocratic authoritarianism isn't conducive to a just society.
Actually the enlightenment led to nothing of the sought- you don't 'discover' that there is no justification for divine revelation, you decide it, and in this case without real justification when they did, which they did less than you think.
The 'dark ages' led to no such conclusion, if you actually know anything about them. Theocratic authortarianism was implicit to Islam, but hardly the case in Christendom, where secular and religous rulers were in balance.
Actually, enlightenment humanism did lead to it, just like the renaissance and the scientific revolution lead to the enlightenment. The justification for the position that there is no justification for the belief in divine revelation stems from the fact that there is no evidence for the existence of the supernatural, and no actual evidence that a God has revealed his ethical theory to us.
Right, the Muslims were the only ones who practiced theocratic authoritarianism :sarcastic:. The church was a ruthless dictatorship during the Middle Ages, and to deny that fact is to be in denial.
No the justifications for the existance of God were rejected because of their own unjustified empiricist assumptions. When of course they were rejected, as a number of prominent enlightenment figures, including some in what we would now call the scientific community, were quite mystical in bent.
The church was not a ruthless dictatorship in the dark ages, where it was struggling for survival, and though it gained greater measures of control by the 11th century, it was constantly struggling against the ambitions of secular rulers. Islam, at least in the area relavent to the terms dark ages and middle ages, was the only form of theocratic auhtoratarianism. The Christian church had to work through secular rulers to get what they wanted, whereas in Islam one ruler would dictate both secular and spiritual rule. That is a matter of historical fact. Was the Church's use of power authotarian? That would be a generalisation, but not an unassertable one. However it was not theocratic in nature as its exercise of power was not due to direct control over the instruments of the state, in as much as the state even existed in any sense in the Latin West.