Does it matter what religious beliefs other people have?

(72 Posts)
LoveFoolMe Wed 21-Nov-12 11:14:01

I was a bit shocked to discover how many people in the USA doubt evolution. Do you think it matters what other people believe? Why (or why not)?

If you need the background, this was the data I was amazed at:-
www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/05/americans-believe-in-creationism_n_1571127.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false

LoveFoolMe Wed 21-Nov-12 11:31:33

(And can anyone show me how to shorten a link?!)

Snorbs Wed 21-Nov-12 11:38:57

It doesn't matter if they keep those religious beliefs to themselves.

It does matter when those with particular barking beliefs such as young-earth creationism try to get it taught in science classes, rather than just in RE classes where it belongs.

It does matter when those with particular beliefs use public money to set up state schools that exclude children of parents who don't share the same beliefs
It does matter when those with particular beliefs kick up such a fuss that something as simple and obvious as allowing gay people, who may not even share the same beliefs, to marry becomes a monumental issue.

It does matter when those with particular beliefs are so strident that we end up with situations such as the recent case where a woman died in Ireland because of a religious-fuelled ban on abortions.

In short, it matters when other people's religious beliefs impinge on the lives and happiness of other people.

paperclips Wed 21-Nov-12 11:55:14

It matters what people believe when their beliefs impact upon others. To take op's example, When those extreme groups in the US refuse to let their children be properly educated, by not learning about established, tested, rational, science and scientific methods because it contradicts their belief, it is a problem.

It matters when people try to use their beliefs to oppress others eg Women, gay people, other religions. There are too many examples to list, pretty much all religions oppress women IMO.

It matters when people try to bring their religion into political decision making, like with the Right wingers in America. This affects every one else. So yes, it matters.

paperclips Wed 21-Nov-12 11:57:58

Snorbs -cross-post, I'm too slow. You have put it across better than me. Well said.

LoveFoolMe Wed 21-Nov-12 12:03:22

Aside from the recent, tragic, death in Ireland, religious beliefs don't usually directly kill other people. Until it becomes hatred or war.

How about when a non-religious person lives in a state which is of a particular religious background? E.g. The UK is nominally and historically a Christian country so all state schools are meant to include Christian-based worship in their assemblies (not just church-linked ones). Should that matter to non-religious families?

Should countries separate church and state?

How much say should the state v parents have? E.g. The creationist v evolution teachings in the US.

How do you ensure education is non-religious/religious as parents wish?

confuddledDOTcom Wed 21-Nov-12 12:06:56

Yup, what they said. Even as a Christian I do not believe you can enforce your morals and beliefs onto someone else. We were all given freewill, not just to Christians.

I wouldn't want someone using their faith to rule a country in the Romney way, even if they held the same beliefs as me.

And in answer to your other question, copy this and add another square bracket in:

[www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/05/americans-believe-in-creationism_n_1571127.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false Americans believe in creationism]

StormyBrid Wed 21-Nov-12 12:11:26

Before considering how to ensure education suits parents' religious beliefs, should we not first establish whether they have the right to indoctrinate their children with those beliefs?

PieEyedAndLairy Wed 21-Nov-12 12:11:49

What Snorbs said. I'm all for separation of Church and State.

Snorbs Wed 21-Nov-12 12:17:34

The case in Ireland wasn't an isolated one-off. The religion-fuelled ban on abortions has directly led to other deaths where desperate women have resorted to using back-street abortionists and subsequently died of infection. And let's not forget JW's allowing their children to die rather than have blood transfusions, Christian Scientists allowing their children to die because they used prayer rather than medicine, kids being killed because their parents/carers thought they were possessed and needed to have the Devil beaten out of them and so on and so forth.

Essentially, what you're saying is that provided you ignore the many instances where religious beliefs have directly killed people, religious beliefs don't directly kill people.

The UK is nominally a Christian society but that's mainly because the CofE clings on desperately to its position of privilege. Historically it's been all sorts of different things. Yes, it does matter to (this) non-religious parent that my DD's school includes regular Christian worship. I'm fine with my DCs being taught about religion, I'm less happy with them being asked to praise a Christian god directly.

Should countries separate church and state? Absolutely yes.

The whole state-vs-parent thing, evolution/creationism thing is quite simple. School science classes should be where science is taught. Cosmology and evolution are science. Intelligent design/creationism are religious mythology and should be taught alongside other religious mythology in RE classes. If a parent wants their child to have specific religious indoctrination instruction, there's lots of time for that after school and at weekends.

What are your views?

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (a Mormon, like Romney although I most likely would NOT have voted for him), this is what our church says on the matter;

We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

The two statement are linked so while people are allowed to claim the right to worship as they wish, they are subject to the law. For example members of the church are forbidden in China to talk about their religion to Chinese nationals but allowed to meet for church on a Sunday.

I would therefore support a decision that church and state should be separate.

LoveFoolMe Wed 21-Nov-12 13:13:44

What are your views? Not dissimilar to yours Snorb:-

That church and state should be separated. Do you think that will happen here?

That children should be given a proper education in science - not mixed in with religious studies.

But that I should obey the law of whichever country I happen to in (whilst trying to get the law changed if I disagree with it) e.g. I wouldn't try to drive in Saudi Arabia but would debate the issue with everyone I could.

LoveFoolMe Wed 21-Nov-12 13:23:41

But I'm interested in everyone else's views whether they agree with mine or not.

Lovefoolme, I agree with you.

Personally I am happy for my children to be educated even with things that I either don't agree or believe in. It is a fact of life that other people won't always agree with you and that your children won't always agree with you. If my children weren't exposed to other beliefs and ideas then I feel that they would not be free to choose for themselves the way they way want to live their life. Sorry if I am going of on a bit of a tangent but that's the way my brain is going reading other people's comments.

LoveFoolMe Wed 21-Nov-12 14:40:43

I am happy for my children to be educated even with things that I either don't agree or believe in

Me too but....

If you were a strict Catholic would you want them to be taught about contraception?
If you were a creationist would you be happy with them being taught evolution as fact?
If you were an atheist would you be happy with their school assumption that God exists?

As well as the state v individual issue I'm also interested in how far religious tolerance extends.

LoveFoolMe Wed 21-Nov-12 14:43:45

Is there anyone on here who thinks religious beliefs DON'T matter?

(BTW, thanks confuddledDOTcom for the bracket tip)

I am an atheist. My eldest child will be starting school next year (not a church one, obviously!) so we will have the religious aspect of assemblies to contend with. However we have decided not to withdraw her from these, as the UK is a culturally Christian country and in terms of culture (Bible stories, hymns etc) I think it's useful stuff to be familiar with.

However, if I had the option of sending her to a secular school I would do so in a heartbeat. Religion belongs in an RE lesson, not assemblies or science lessons. As for creationists etc - science is about proving theories beyond reasonable doubt. If they can show me empirically measurable evidence for their stance on evolution and geology, then I will consider it. Otherwise it has no place in a science lesson.

Oh and as for how far my tolerance extends - I am happy for others to believe whatever they like as long as 1) they don't shove it down my throat and/or try to convert me, and 2) it brings no harm to anyone.

I would like others to be as tolerant of me and not keep turning up at my door with pamphlets

GrrrArghZzzzYaayforall8nights Wed 21-Nov-12 16:28:29

The US has separation of church and state in law. Doesn't stop Christianity affecting the science or history (actual history textbooks in the States being used in 2012 in state schools call the Trail of Tears good as it "brought Natives to Christianity" <ignoring the forced to or be killed and we'll take your kids either way bit>). It still fills school performances and education - I find I was taught a lot more about it in the US than most people I talk to have here in the UK through mandatory RE and I only went to 'secular' state schools. Unless schools/teachers actively try to be secular and/or multicultural, it remains in the status quo of Christianity regardless of law, I think, in countries with backgrounds like the UK and US.

nightlurker Wed 21-Nov-12 16:52:10

If I were Catholic I'd like to know when they will be taught about contraception, and be allowed to opt out.
If I were a young earth creationist, I'd let them be taught in the schools, and then I'd teach them what I believe at home.
If I were atheist, I'd be just fine letting the schools teach about God. I'd just teach them what I believe at home.

In the US, the Catholic church is being essentially forced to pay for coverage for contraceptives for their employees, or face a fine. I find this to be wrong.

As an aside, Romney was against the teaching of creationism in science classes.

nightlurker Wed 21-Nov-12 16:54:14

I live in the US and was given virtually no religious education at school. It must make a difference where you live.

nightlurker Wed 21-Nov-12 16:58:03

If I were an atheist, I'd be fine with the school assuming that God exists. I wouldn't want my child being taught that any one set of religious beliefs is fact, but in more of a "this religion believes" and "that religion believes" manner.

GrrrArghZzzzYaayforall8nights Wed 21-Nov-12 17:02:02

nightlurker - often the only treatment for many female problems with a hormonal basis is hormonal contraception because research into those areas is really underfunded because doctors like to just shove the Pill at it. It may leave those of us who can't take it out of luck (I can't medically) but it is currently an essential tool is dealing with a whole load of medical problems, not just birth control, and withholding someone life saving medication on religious grounds isn't something insurance companies (It isn't the church, it's the insurance company the church pays) are allowed to do.

nightlurker Wed 21-Nov-12 17:05:54

Could they write in a provision for providing the birth control pill in cases where it is deemed medically necessary?

MadCap Wed 21-Nov-12 17:06:04

The Catholic Church absolutely should have to fund insurance that covers contraception where it branches out to businesses that aren't church related (ie. Schools and hospitals) Also unless your employer is the actual church you shouldn't be able to impose your religious views on your employees.

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