Essay: Personal Views on Religion in American Society

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Personal Views on Religion in American Society

Religion is not a reliable way of making decisions or of determining right from wrong. Religious values are largely arbitrary because they reflect the views and beliefs of the people who created them. If there is any doubt about that characterization, one need only look at the sheer number of different religions that exist and at the diametrically opposite beliefs and values that many of them espouse. Objectively, it is fundamentally impossible for the conflicting beliefs of any two religions to be true. While it is understandable why religious teaching may once have been necessary to control human behavior, in the modern era, there is no longer any need because modern societies have formal laws and the necessary authorities and mechanisms to control human behavior and deviance as necessary for the benefit of society. Today, religion promotes unnecessary antagonism among people and also undermines genuine appreciation of objective morality and ethics.

Religion is an important factor in my voting choice only in one sense: I cannot trust the judgment of or take any candidate for political office seriously whose political philosophy is based in religion. On one hand, every person (including politicians) has the right to maintain any religious values or beliefs they may choose. On the other hand, to whatever extent those values or beliefs relate to matters of social policy, it is a form of imposing religious beliefs on members of a society built on the fundamental concept of religious freedom. Perhaps the best example is that raised by early-term abortions and (especially) by contraception via the so-called "morning after" pill. The crux of the political objection to abortion and to contraception are religious beliefs pertaining to when human life supposedly "begins." Early-term abortions and (especially) any contraceptive method that actually prevents a pregnancy from occurring violate no objective moral principle. A zygote that is only days or hours old cannot sense pain… [END OF PREVIEW]

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