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Can True Liberals be Religious?

AnarchyintheUS

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Here is a post I made on another forum:

This thread is looking more to the philosophy of political thought. I personally believe that true liberals, meaning those who do not define themselves as liberals because they are democrats, i.e. Libertarian Socialists, Communists, Socialists, Social Libertarians, etc...; cannot be religious, as the basic principles of religion are counterproductive to the political goals.

Let's look at the basics: religion, specifically monotheistic, believes that human beings are naturally bad. Looking even more specifically at Christianity, we have the idea of "original sin", the idea that because we are born, we are sinners and we always have a tendency to evil within our souls.

Liberals, especially those on the far left, are of the belief that human beings are naturally good. They would need to be in order to realize the types of societies that these groups are trying to create.

Religion in also regressive by nature. Religion relies not on reason, science, or common sense, but rather on emotion and faith. If one is pushing for a truly liberal society, it is difficult to reconcile that desire with the conservative nature of religion.

What are your thoughts?
 

Sir_Alec

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Anybody can be religious. Even people who hurt and kill, so yes "true liberals" can be religious.
 

Stace

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Religious beliefs are not dependent upon political beliefs, and vice versa. Besides, most people don't follow ALL of their religious teachings anyway; look at all of the adulterers out there that are "good" church going folk; rapists, murderers, abusers, etc. Doesn't necessarily make them any more or less religious.
 

F41

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Sir_Alec said:
Anybody can be religious. Even people who hurt and kill, so yes "true liberals" can be religious.

Yes, anyone can be religious.

AnarchyintheUS, Is there a certain religion you speak of or is this religion in general?
 

AnarchyintheUS

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For someone like me, who believes in a classless society based on complete equality, religion is not an option. Nor do I believe that it is an option for anyone who holds the belief that humans are naturally good. The reason why I do not believe those of us on the far left can be religious is because it keeps intact a hierarchy that is oppressive.
 

F41

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AnarchyintheUS said:
For someone like me, who believes in a classless society based on complete equality, religion is not an option. Nor do I believe that it is an option for anyone who holds the belief that humans are naturally good. The reason why I do not believe those of us on the far left can be religious is because it keeps intact a hierarchy that is oppressive.

Very interesting stance on you position, curious to here other liberal responses.
 

jfuh

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I don't think you can tie religious ideology with political leanings. However I do see your point in religion inherently being conservative; thus preventing advancements or evolution.
Hmm, I'm going to need to contemplate on this one a bit more.
 

mixedmedia

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ThePhoenix said:
Very interesting stance on you position, curious to here other liberal responses.

Well, he specifically stated monotheistic religions and therefore, I tend to agree with him.
 

Iriemon

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I dispute the foundation of your hypothesis. I don't think most liberals think people are inherently "good." I can't speak for all liberals, but most I know would agree there is good and bad, even good people have a little bad and most bad can have a little good, and some are certainly badder than others.

I think what the difference you perceive comes from the 60s behavioralist pyshcological movement, and that it is a liberal trait to think that the environment someone lives in, and particularly are raised in, can affect the kind of person they are and become. That's why liberals think kids should be able to eat, go to school, live in houses, and have basic health care. We think people with those basic things have a better chance at becoming "good" and less chance they will be "bad."

Conservatives tend to believe people are all bad, the environment doesn't matter, and so its ok to let kids starve, stay uneducated if they aren't rich enough to afford private school (which is why they want to ban public education), live in the streets, and get no health care.

Tounge-in-cheek, but not too far.

I don't think religion has anything to do with one or the other to a large extent, except conservatives tend to be conservative christians and liberals tend to be liberal christians, for some reason. Now, most conservative christians I know don't think liberal christians are truly religious, which goes to your question.
 

AnarchyintheUS

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Stace said:
Religious beliefs are not dependent upon political beliefs, and vice versa. Besides, most people don't follow ALL of their religious teachings anyway; look at all of the adulterers out there that are "good" church going folk; rapists, murderers, abusers, etc. Doesn't necessarily make them any more or less religious.

If you look at the history of the United States, religion has played an enormous role in policy and in voting habits. For instance, recently in the 2004 presidential election the number one issue for voters was "family and moral values." What kind of BS is that? Most of the people who said this was their number one concern were conservative religious people who were appalled by the actions of former president Bill Clinton. This kind of behavior shows that people vote more for candidates who believe the same religion as them, then people who actually want to improve their lives.

My mother for instance is a devout protestant who votes Republican for that very reason. Even though she is a public educator, and is in a union. You would think that given these ideas she would vote for candidates who are pro union and not trying to destroy public education the way the republicans are. But because of religion, she does not.

In addition, the ten commandments have always been a staple of our legal system but only 2 of these ten "infallible works of genius" are in fact laws. Do not steal, and do not kill, other than that, they are merely opinion. With these ideas in mind it is very obvious that religion and politics often do interact and this is my problem. Assuming I have to live under a government, I do not want a government that to quote Bill Maher "legislates taste" by passing religiously minded bills.

This is why for all intents and purposes I do not think liberals, liberal being someone who wants to radically change the society or at the very least massively reform it, can be religious.
 

jfuh

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AnarchyintheUS said:
If you look at the history of the United States, religion has played an enormous role in policy and in voting habits. For instance, recently in the 2004 presidential election the number one issue for voters was "family and moral values." What kind of BS is that? Most of the people who said this was their number one concern were conservative religious people who were appalled by the actions of former president Bill Clinton. This kind of behavior shows that people vote more for candidates who believe the same religion as them, then people who actually want to improve their lives.

My mother for instance is a devout protestant who votes Republican for that very reason. Even though she is a public educator, and is in a union. You would think that given these ideas she would vote for candidates who are pro union and not trying to destroy public education the way the republicans are. But because of religion, she does not.

In addition, the ten commandments have always been a staple of our legal system but only 2 of these ten "infallible works of genius" are in fact laws. Do not steal, and do not kill, other than that, they are merely opinion. With these ideas in mind it is very obvious that religion and politics often do interact and this is my problem. Assuming I have to live under a government, I do not want a government that to quote Bill Maher "legislates taste" by passing religiously minded bills.

This is why for all intents and purposes I do not think liberals, liberal being someone who wants to radically change the society or at the very least massively reform it, can be religious.
This was never an issue before the Clinton impeachment trials. Then more and more did Religion start to violate seperation of church and state. Look at Regan, Carter, Ford, Nixon, hell JFK was Roman Catholic not the dominant evangelicals.
It is the current look we're the same as you attitude vs the former, I'm highly qualified that's why you should elect me attitude that's dragging everything in the mud.
I thought about this question for a while and I agree, a true liberal is probably not going to be religious in the sense of monotheistic religions.
 

AnarchyintheUS

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jfuh said:
This was never an issue before the Clinton impeachment trials.

Last year, I studied Early United States Political Culture and I found that the same issues we are having now were going on then. Poor people especially would vote for the Democrats, who at the time were the conservatives of the country, because they were catholics. This party did not care about them in the least but they still got their votes, why? Because people voted for who had the same religious beliefs.
 

jfuh

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AnarchyintheUS said:
Last year, I studied Early United States Political Culture and I found that the same issues we are having now were going on then. Poor people especially would vote for the Democrats, who at the time were the conservatives of the country, because they were catholics. This party did not care about them in the least but they still got their votes, why? Because people voted for who had the same religious beliefs.
You're referring to the old day "southern democrats" (no offense to the poster of dp). Whom were anti-civil rights movement and so on.
yes however back then in those days, that movement was irrelevant in effect of a nation as a whole. There was no active political speel about support me because look I'm also an evangelical or so on.
Hmmm, perhaps I need to refresh up on my pre-90's political landscape knowledge.
 

talloulou

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AnarchyintheUS said:
For someone like me, who believes in a classless society based on complete equality, religion is not an option. Nor do I believe that it is an option for anyone who holds the belief that humans are naturally good. The reason why I do not believe those of us on the far left can be religious is because it keeps intact a hierarchy that is oppressive.

Well there are many religions out there and some of the more new age religions are very much with the live and let live mentality and we are all one lovey dovey stuff. Why couldn't a liberal join up with one of them?

Also the "religious" are not made up of extreme fundamentalists. There are tons of spots on the continuom between atheist and strict fundamentalist. I know tons of religious people who pick and chose which parts of their religion means the most and they have no problems tossing any doctrine that doesn't fit with their ideas.
 

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talloulou said:
Well there are many religions out there and some of the more new age religions are very much with the live and let live mentality and we are all one lovey dovey stuff. Why couldn't a liberal join up with one of them?

Also the "religious" are not made up of extreme fundamentalists. There are tons of spots on the continuom between atheist and strict fundamentalist. I know tons of religious people who pick and chose which parts of their religion means the most and they have no problems tossing any doctrine that doesn't fit with their ideas.
The original post seemed to be geared toward monotheistic religions. So in that sense one that picks and choses which part of thier religion means more are not religious, but spiritual.
I myself am not the least bit religious, but I am highly spiritual. I believe faith to be a personal matter and no one has the right to tell me whether my practices are acceptable to the religious establishment.
 

kal-el

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There is no litmus test in order to be religious. I would say religion has nothing to do with politics. I found most liberals tend to try and emulate Jesus' teachings, and the Republican's I've ran into, follow the OT. But that's just 1 situation.
 

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AnarchyintheUS said:
For someone like me, who believes in a classless society based on complete equality, religion is not an option. Nor do I believe that it is an option for anyone who holds the belief that humans are naturally good. The reason why I do not believe those of us on the far left can be religious is because it keeps intact a hierarchy that is oppressive.
I must disagree. I am a Christian. I am also a liberal, RATHER liberal as some here can attest to.

And I see no conflict in these two belief systems
 

Iriemon

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jfuh said:
This was never an issue before the Clinton impeachment trials. Then more and more did Religion start to violate seperation of church and state. Look at Regan, Carter, Ford, Nixon, hell JFK was Roman Catholic not the dominant evangelicals.
It is the current look we're the same as you attitude vs the former, I'm highly qualified that's why you should elect me attitude that's dragging everything in the mud.
I thought about this question for a while and I agree, a true liberal is probably not going to be religious in the sense of monotheistic religions.

IMO, the cultural wars had their genesis long before the Clinton Administration. The passage of Roe v. Wade by the Supremes in 1973 is probably a better starting point, but you can look back through history and see this struggle continuing throughout American history.
 

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kal-el said:
There is no litmus test in order to be religious. I would say religion has nothing to do with politics. I found most liberals tend to try and emulate Jesus' teachings, and the Republican's I've ran into, follow the OT. But that's just 1 situation.
Most Conservative Christians are New Testament Christians... Recognizing that Christ fulfilled the law of the Old. Thus, making all things New. That is not to say we discount the old. Combined we are able to gain a broader perspective and greater appreciation for the plan of salvation which God has provided us, as well as meaningful insight and purpose for our individual reasons for being.
 

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Jesus....was a liberal thinker. Read the Bibles, and it is obvious.
 

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tecoyah said:
Jesus....was a liberal thinker. Read the Bibles, and it is obvious.
In a sense, somewhat... Yes.
...And the first church were all commies.
 

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steen said:
I must disagree. I am a Christian. I am also a liberal, RATHER liberal as some here can attest to.

And I see no conflict in these two belief systems
Christian in the spiritual sense or Christian in the religious sense?
 

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tecoyah said:
Jesus....was a liberal thinker. Read the Bibles, and it is obvious.
A total feminist, but many ppl edited out that portion.
 

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Iriemon said:
IMO, the cultural wars had their genesis long before the Clinton Administration. The passage of Roe v. Wade by the Supremes in 1973 is probably a better starting point, but you can look back through history and see this struggle continuing throughout American history.

The more I think about it, yeah that seems very ture.
Even though there is clear notice of seperation of church and state, seems that religion has tried to influence state all the way.
I guess I was more so referencing the supreme courts change since justices like Scalia came to be.
 

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Iriemon said:
I dispute the foundation of your hypothesis. I don't think most liberals think people are inherently "good." I can't speak for all liberals, but most I know would agree there is good and bad, even good people have a little bad and most bad can have a little good, and some are certainly badder than others.

To be considered liberal, belief in a "good humanity" is inherent. In order to be able to come forth with ideas of true liberalism, such as complete social and economic equality, you would have to believe in a benevolent human nature. At the very least you would have to conclude that humans are not inherently bad. The problem I believe this thread is running into is we are taking a definition based more on American Liberalism, in which issues such as universal health care are considered liberal, while true liberalism goes far beyond these issues.

As for the topic of this thread I do not believe true liberals can be religious by any means. Religion as we can see throughout history has been the steadfast for the oppressed. Religion to these people was the one saving grace the only thing they could hold on to. It is said by most religious people we suffer on earth in order to appreciate and be saved by the grace of God (or gods). It is frankly an answer for their suffering. True liberals have a different idea of the cause and answer for the suffering of people. In other words liberals believe something can be done about the suffering in the world. These completely contradict themselves. Since there can not be more then one answer to the suffering of humans or the cause/reasoning for it, then true liberals can not be religious
 
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