The question may offend some, cause others to question whether I am a Christian. Or whether I believe in America and its underlying principle of religious freedom. But I simply wish to convey a thought, an idea, not create contention. Note: this is coming from a Christian point of view.
One thing I want to clarify before diving into the thought is that there needs to be a clear definition of what I mean when I refer to “freedom of religion.” My definition of freedom of religion is in line with what many Americans believe it to be. The freedom or right of an individual to worship whoever and belong to whatever religion one seems fit. That there should be no designated state religion. And that one does not have to believe in a God or belong to any religion. Freedom of religion includes the idea that there are no consequences for believing what one believes.
When I hear that freedom of religion is a principle taught by God, I can’t help but think of what a Zion or perfect God controlled community would look like. Would it have freedom of religion? When I picture a community, a society, or a country where God is the leader I think of unification. Unification in direction, labor, teachings, and purpose. Would freedom of religion not bring chaos to this unification?
When I hear that freedom of religion is a principle taught by God, I also can’t help but think about the Israelites in the Old Testament. It seemed to me that there was no room for religious dissenters. Unless you wanted to get stoned. What about the scattering of Israel? The Lord mentioned several times throughout the Old Testament that He would scatter Israel because they varied from His teachings. Freedom of religion without consequence?
Freedom of religion may be inspired by God, but will it continue through the eternities? Keep in mind I am talking about freedom of religion without consequence.
Before anyone goes off concluding that I don’t believe in freedom of religion or believe that it is inspired by God. I will tell you why I believe freedom of religion is inspired by God. I believe freedom of religion is necessary to achieve justice. Because humanity is imperfect, there is no measure of what is complete truth or what is completely false. Freedom of religion brings equality to an imperfect humanity where there is no perfect judge. Freedom of religion allows there to be a society where peace can reside. When practiced by humanity, religion intolerance brings war, genocide, and overall suffering to those who don’t believe. Note: I am in no way promoting the idea of irreligion. Rather, a society that practices freedom of religion should allow all religious and spiritual leaders to promote their religion (I.e. missionary work).
Religious freedom is inspired by God. I believe there to be no other way that a society can achieve peace and justice without there being freedom of religion. And I believe that God wants humanity to live in peace. But will God promote religious freedom without consequence through the eternities?