Today I encountered a lot of distressing vitriol and religion-based ranting on, of all places, LinkedIn. Several prominent business leaders have put up posts talking about why they feel diversity and inclusion are good for business—of course in the context of the recent SCOTUS ruling affirming the right to same-sex marriage. Predictably, there were many comments—unprofessional and sometimes outright ISIS/Taliban-level scary—spewing many tired and long-discredited tropes about why all this is horrible and evil and we’re all doooooooooooomed.™
The one bright spot in all of this sad commentary on how screwed-up religion has made some people was being engaged (after my own pro-Constitution comment) by a religious business owner from Europe. He was respectful and constructive and asked me some really damned good questions. He not only wanted to understand how I viewed the world, he was honestly concerned about how my stance affirming the rights of freedom and liberty differed from total anarchy.
I was more than happy to sit down and try to quantify where I’m coming from in those terms and, after I wrote and replied, I realized my little missive might be a useful thing to share here in the off-chance you actually care about how I see the Life, the Universe, and Everything. Here goes….
Hi again, Marco!
Thank you for your thoughtful questions. I will do my best to make sense.
My worldview is that the Universe is a wonderful, magical place filled with wonders we will probably never fully understand. I’m fully aware there probably exist entities, cultures, phenomena and whatever that we cannot even imagine, much less comprehend. I would never, for example, presume to declare there could never possibly be such a thing as a “god.” I simply am not qualified to say that, nor is it possible to prove a negative. On the other hand, before such a declaration can be acceptable to me it must be accompanied by empirical, solid evidence that can be independently verified. All the claims made thus far in human history related to such beings have failed to meet that requirement, so I do not accept them. I am still a good, kind and loving person who does good in the world, gives to charity, and I raised three wonderful, happy children who are now successful and productive citizens. I am happy, I am disgustingly happily married, and my life is a wonderful thing. There are no holes, nothing is lacking. I have no need of any sort of religious influence in my life.
On the idea of anarchy. Every law ever passed in human history is a threat of violence to take away a freedom. Every single one, there are no exceptions. That being said, I accept the necessity of trampling on personal freedom for the good of an orderly-functioning society. That I can walk the streets without fear of violence, and live without the fear of my property being taken from me, such things I recognize and their value to society can be shown through rational, logical argument without any need for resorting to the supernatural. In such cases the needs of the many outweigh the rights of the one. I accept that. Beyond that, though, no, the government has no standing to interfere with the freedom of personal choice. Doing things such as trying to prevent gay people from getting married serves no justifiable purpose, only religious ones. Since every religion is a personal choice, and no one has the right or authority to force religious restrictions on non-believers, such laws are tyranny and cannot be allowed to exist.
America is, first and foremost, a land of individual freedom and liberty. I served, and fought, for over 23 years in the US military to defend that freedom and liberty and I will not permit anyone to take it away from me, or from any other American. The US Constitution is the law of our land and was set into place, among other reasons, specifically to prevent religious dogma from overtaking the rule of secular law. The evils of religious interference in European governments (such as the Church of England’s influence) was part of why our nation was founded in the first place.
I have no problem with religion, or with people of faith, so long as they do not seek to push that faith onto anyone else by force (which is what passing laws is).
That pretty much sums it up. Hope I made sense.