Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Democracy best served?

  1. Jan 27, 2005 #1
    democracy best served????

    i have a guestion for everyone who wishes to answer.
    is democracy best served by STRICT separation of churcha and state?

    i have mixed feelings on this so plze tell me what you think so i can figure out my stance.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 27, 2005 #2
    The only benefit I see of having church and state together is that religion dictates morals to the community, and people are generally opposed to being immoral. Thus you have a two-fold resistance to crime, the fact that it is illegal and has possible punishment, and that it is immoral and a sin, and therefor legality appeals to your morality.

    Unfortunately this can lead to manipulation of religion by the state, which can lead to redefinition of morality by those in control, which takes power away from the greater public.

    The way I see it now is rather than having church and state together, we should trust in the state alone for governmental operations; trusting in their intelligence.
    Most intelligent people have the reasoning capability to analyze which actions are moral and immoral. By moral and immoral I mean whether or not the action will be beneficial or detrimental to both the singular person and the community as a whole. The general well-being of the population should be that which dictates morality. Unfortunately in the US we do not have a clear idea od "population". I believe all of our actions should reflect a positive interest in the well-being of the world-population, not just the USA. A country should not be a group of people with strict self-interest and self-preservation. It should be aware of struggles and strife in the world population and attempt to lessen the suffering of others. Unfortunately many current wars are binary in nature and have no clearly defined moral/immoral sides.

    These are only my thoughts, discuss if you wish.
  4. Jan 27, 2005 #3
    In my opinion, democracy would be best served by elimination of the church. Secularism has no realistic application and never will. You can't seriously expect someone who believes something is wrong to discard that belief, because it's religious. In conclusion, religious organizations need to change dirastically (unlikely) or be eliminated.
  5. Jan 27, 2005 #4


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    There are gray areas. In the US the churches do various good works, and so does the government. Often they cooperate and the Republican administrations of recent years have made it easier for government to contribute funding to church based outreaches to the poor and homeless for example. This is not an entirly bad thing, though I acknowledge the slippery slope arguments put forward against it by the Democrats.
  6. Jan 27, 2005 #5

    Les Sleeth

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    If we let religion be involved in the state, then the state has rights to get involved in religion. But neither are served well by the other's laws. The state needs to make decisions about what best promotes and protects its citizens' quality of life. That's a very practical issue, so it can't let itself get bogged down with some of the decidedly non-practical matters of religion.

    I think total separation is the only way to ensure our freedoms. That separation helps to make it clear what is duty/obligation, and what is personal choice. We have obligations to the state, but religion is supposed to be a personal thing between an individual and God . . . 100% personal and 100% choice.

    I can't see how what you are saying makes sense. First of all, who is going to "eliminate" the church . . . the government? A government that prohibits religion is not a democracy (theoretically it could be, but it wouldn't meet the modern democratic standard of respecting individual freedoms).

    After saying that you say secularism has no realistic application! What's left if you get rid both religion and state? Anarchy? :tongue2:
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2005
  7. Jan 27, 2005 #6
    Secularism = The view that religious considerations should be excluded from civil affairs or public education.

    Government still exists without secularism. I'm saying that religious individuals strongly believe they are right. If I believed I was correct I wouldn't not vote based on my beliefs because of secularism. Religious people can't be expected to put aside what they believe. Therefore, secularism can't prevent illogical people from living their lives based on a single book. Democracy is a government, for the people, by the people, and should be aloud to limit so called "fundamental rights" for the good of the people.

    How the church is to be eliminated is the problem. The definition of democracy can be changed and is also subject to discretion in some areas.

    Anarchy isn't realistic either, lol. Governments would naturally reemerge if anarchy being reality.
  8. Jan 27, 2005 #7

    Les Sleeth

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Do you mean like redefining democracy to allow imposing the state's sanctioned beliefs on its citizens, and (in the case of religion) denying individuals' right to personal beliefs?
  9. Jan 27, 2005 #8
    When the person has beliefs that are clearly wrong, yes. For example, do I have the right to start a racist based religion? Does a racist-based religion have the right to gather weekly? Do members get religious holidays off? Could I start this faith and celebrate racism on Martin Luther King Day? I would certainly hope not. Certain modern religions damage logical progression, and the government needs to take action to change them or eliminate them.
  10. Jan 27, 2005 #9

    Les Sleeth

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    At 17 years old, I doubt if you've had time to study history sufficiently to know how many times your theory has been tried unsuccessfully. I wouldn't throw age in your face for any other reason than you are obviously not familiar with the misery caused when some group decides they can force others to believe a certain way. Religion has done it, and the state has done it. Autocratic parents have done it, and business managers have done it. (And all categories are still doing it.) It's evil no matter who does it and no matter how "perfect" you think the ideas being forced are. Force against individual choice is the evil, not stupid beliefs.
  11. Jan 27, 2005 #10


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    Amen to that, Les! Convince 'em if you can, persuade 'em if you can't, and if that fails ram it down their throats with a night stick. That's the philosophy we've got to transcend and replace.
  12. Jan 27, 2005 #11


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Somewhat playing devil's advocate (and somewhat just clarifying) here: it is ok (mandatory) to allow all beliefs, but it is not ok to allow all actions. Its ok for a KKK member to hold a sign saying whites are superior to blacks, but burning a cross is illegal because it is an overt threat.
  13. Jan 28, 2005 #12
    I have to say this:
    I'm 17 too but I agree you shouldn't foce your beliefs on anyone.
  14. Jan 28, 2005 #13

    Les Sleeth

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Yep, people intent on hurting often try to find ways to do it by camouflaging themselves within the tolerances a just society fights to maintain.
  15. Jan 28, 2005 #14

    Les Sleeth

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Obviously being young doesnt prevent one from understanding things. It might mean one hasn't had time to look at everything that's gone on in the world, but not necessarily. The force thing has been a particularly painful area of human history.
  16. Jan 28, 2005 #15
    I'm not saying beliefs have to be forced upon people violently. Propoganda can be used to determine a peaceful resolution. People cannot be trusted to think for themselves, at least not without limiting the rate of progress within society. Religion uses propoganda and may have to be eliminated with propaganda.

    I don't think my age has any more significance than the fact we both come from a democratic country. You could assume a lack of knowledge due to my age, but I could assume you have a biased opinion due to where you were raised.
  17. Jan 28, 2005 #16

    Les Sleeth

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Who is going to handle the propaganda if people cannot be trusted? Do you know of a computer that can take over to brainwash all us dumb humans?

    Alternatively, if it's the world's intellectual elite who are going to be in charge of the propaganda, are you sure propaganda-induced change is what you really want? It's just going to create a bunch of mindless humans walking around following the perfect programming the world's geniuses have figured out. How do you know which group you get to be in. Maybe the world's geniuses decide you need to be programmed and so keep you out of the elite class of thinkers. How are you going to like that?

    The reason humans can't be trusted is because of the very thing you want to do more of. People are conditioned by life's circumstances so that they often aren't responding to reality consciously, but instead are unconsciously reacting from their conditioning.

    If you propagandize them, all you have done is reinforce what's wrong to begin with. What humanity really needs is to be consciously present in reality, not slaves of and lost in conditioning. You might consider the option of promoting consciousness rather than more programming.

    You know how sometimes a judge will give an attorney replacing another attorney some time to catch up and prepare his/her case? Well, that's all I meant . . . that you might not have had time to study history sufficiently to know what has been tried, what has failed, what has worked.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2005
  18. Jan 28, 2005 #17
    Having people think for themselves, without being victim to propoganda, would be ideal but will they come to correct conclusions? Do you believe that the average individual can understand and appreciate pacifism? Can people disregard personal benefit for the good of society? History has often shown humanity's selfishness but rarely its altruism. Realistically, myself included in the majority, how can the majority lead the elite?

    I'm just throwing out possible ways to govern or eliminate religion. Regardless of the solution, something needs to be done about religion. Secularism doesn't have realistic application, since you can't tell someone to disregard what they believe. Religion needs to be changed; however, it will not change when ancient documents are used as a subsititute for logical thinking.
  19. Jan 29, 2005 #18


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    Who shall decide what are correct conclusions? During the last election there was a deep division over whether the Bush administration was fit to govern. The voters decided. Were they right or wrong? The same deep division persists over this very question.

    I don't believe intellectual elites are essential to decisionmaking.
  20. Jan 29, 2005 #19
    The voters were wrong to elect Bush. IQ test results would probably show a correlation between voting Kerry and having a higher IQ. Furthermore, Bush played on the religious to win. The citizens of the U.S fell victim to propoganda and it prevented them from making the right decision.
  21. Jan 30, 2005 #20
    It probably should be, but consider this:

    I think most humans might consider the 5th commandment a correct moral principle.

    In a nation with separation of church and state you have the same atrocities committed as you do in a nation without separation of church and state. Both types of nations violate this principle.

    So why do you think it would make a difference?
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Similar Discussions: Democracy best served?
  1. Democracy And Cashocracy (Replies: 27)

  2. Democracy best served? (Replies: 3)

  3. Virtual democracy. (Replies: 8)