Tuesday, April 19, 2005

On Politics and Religion

I am not a historian but I think there was a time in America when Americans would have been very aware and appalled at any politician who used religion as a tool for political gain. This time was more then a hundred years ago and the reason for this behavior was the awakening of the rational American mind.

One major proponent of this view was one of the most popular lecturers of his day Robert Green Ingersoll. His arguments, and personal example, that a man could be moral, wise, and happy without relying on religious dogma struck a strong cord with the people of that time.

Why this past America is so different then the one we find ourselves in today is an open question. My guess would be that the idea of the separation of church and state was a fundamental belief shared by the people of this day. More fundamental then today because the population at large was more in touch with the writings and beliefs of the founding fathers - who strongly advocated this idea.

Secondly, and maybe more importantly, the average people of this day were beginning to open their eyes to the idea that rational thinking should play a more dominate role in the non-religious day to day decisions of life. Their openness to this rational view was probably caused by the amazing progress that they saw occurring all around them. Men like Robert Green Ingersoll were there, at this time, to make them realize that this progress was directly related to the advances that were occurring in the sciences - by way of the rational and educated human mind. His argument that this amazing progress, over just a few decades, was beyond the contribution that religion had accomplished over many centuries was irrefutable. Today this argument is just as irrefutable but you will not find a serious politician who would dare express this view.

This unique time in American made it possible for a large group of people to insist that non-religious topics be argued rationally. It only made sense then that politics, which the majority of people accepted as different then religion, was to be argued rationally and not religiously.

Why we went astray of this view is a question I would like to hear answered. Better yet, you can forget the answer to this question if you can answer the one about how we can again find our rational nature.

Some Republicans like to argue how one of the great burdens of their lives is living with the politically correct society that the liberal Democrats have supposedly created. The hypocrisy of this argument, in light of their own parties politically correct teachings, is laughable. In my view one of the most offensive politically correct masks that Americans are forced to wear today is the mask of religiousity. And without a doubt the ones who designed, cut, and glued this mask to the faces of all Americans are the creaters of, and participants in, the Republican Christian Crusade.