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Letter: A case for religion

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  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 12:07 a.m.

    "Without the belief in something greater, there is a great tendency to circumvent a given set of civil laws or standards because there would seem to be no long-term consequences for your actions."

    New Hampshire is #1 in the nation for highest percentage of atheists. It has one of the lowest crime rates in the nation. Neighboring Vermont is #2 in atheist percentage and also has one of the lowest crime rates in the nation. So much for circumventing a given set of civl laws...

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    Jan. 15, 2014 4:43 a.m.

    I don't adhere to civil laws because I fear getting caught - I adhere to civil laws because I value and respect my fellow humans and civil laws help protect us as a society.

    I don't need a belief in an outside source to tell me to respect the only planet humans have to live on.

    I don't need to fear eternal punishment or hope for eternal reward to know it is important to care for others - I only need to know how it makes me feel when others act towards me.

    If religion and a faith in God, Goddess, gods, and/or goddesses makes your life better and more worthwhile, that is excellent for you. But to discount me and my ability to lead a "good" life simply because I don't seek inspiration from the same source as you shows a narrow worldview.

    And within and among religions there are a great many variances of belief and what exactly the higher power you believe in requires.

    Additionally, based on world events and prison populations, religious belief guarantees good behavior no more than a lack of religious belief guarantees bad behavior.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Jan. 15, 2014 5:03 a.m.

    "The absence of religious conviction requires thousands of laws in order to maintain a safe and honorable society."

    So, are you saying that those with "religious convictions" don't need lawa?

    How about those on 911? Certainly THEY had "religious convictions"

    Lying, cheating and stealing are wrong. Not because "religion" tells us so. They disrupt society. We need rules (laws) to facilitate a structured and orderly society.

    Generally religion helps to reinforce those rules. But then goes overboard in what appears to be the desire to control others.

    Rules against murder make universal sense. Rules against eating meat on Friday, drinking coffee or playing golf on Sunday? Not so much.

    Good people don't need so many laws. That does not require "religious conviction"

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    Jan. 15, 2014 6:30 a.m.

    Well said, Jeff! One of the purposes of religion is to teach and define proper behavior toward each other, ourselves and to God!

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 6:43 a.m.

    People who believe in God and religions are among the luckiest people in the world. They are free from the angst and drudgery of thinking and analyzing the cruel and difficult world we live in. Thus they have a mind free to explore the universe and pursue the good things in life.

    But, if this be true, why are they so concerned about the lives of others? I guess it's only fair that they want the non-believers to abide by the religious laws because the non-believers insist that everyone abide by the civil laws. And if the laws conflict, which should prevail? Should civil business operations be allowed to place the religious law above the civil law in the civil world?

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Jan. 15, 2014 7:11 a.m.

    How is "I better do the right thing now or I'll pay in eternity" any different that acting merely out of "fear of getting caught"?

    People can and do find meaning and purpose without religion. People can and do practice ethical and moral integrity without religion. So I would argue that religion is not, in fact, the necessary ingredient here. It can act as an aid to some, but it is not required.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 7:24 a.m.

    Religious beliefs have led to many individuals in the USA trying to "circumvent civil laws". Just take a look at the multitude of states circumventing the Constitution with anti-marriage laws.

    So much for religious moral superiority over plain-old morality.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Jan. 15, 2014 7:52 a.m.

    Do we love and serve God because we fear His wrath, or, because we would like to become as He is, full of love, full of compassion, full of empathy, full of charity? Religion tells where we came from, why we are here on earth, and where we will spend eternity. It guides us towards that which we can become - if we let go of all things that would inhibit us.

    Man-made laws lack understanding. There are those who want to force us to be godly. Force is not a trait of godliness. In fact, force is the opposite of godliness. God invites and Satan invites. Each of us determines whose invitation we will accept.

    The challenge of life is to overcome the flesh, meaning that we must learn to control our thoughts, our feelings, our passions, our appetites, our desires. Civil laws will not assist us. They promise only punishment. God invites us to taste the fruit of charity. Government threatens to beat us into submission. Which plan elevates the soul?

    Religion has the answers. Government begs the question.

  • Mick Murray, Utah
    Jan. 15, 2014 7:54 a.m.

    atl134-

    explain atheism and communism? The soviet union forcing atheism? Please explain. Was there less crime there? KGB? Gulags? Please explain.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 8:06 a.m.

    Fine. Religion is (or can be) good. (Sometimes it isn't). But it is ultimately a personal thing and something the government should not seek to influence or implement.

  • EDM Castle Valley, Utah
    Jan. 15, 2014 8:17 a.m.

    Jeff,

    You don't have to have a religion to have a very fine moral compass. Furthermore, religions' abuse of "fear" is unparalleled. And how about the opposite? - a reward (heaven) as a requirement for doing good? No, the people I trust the most to do the right things are atheists.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 8:28 a.m.

    What were the morals in the Old Testament, from which modern Christianity has sprung?
    I'll tell what they were, there really weren't any. Slavery was acceptable. "Marriage" was more of a man owning a woman as opposed to what it has become today.
    There are very little morals in the Old Testament and there was certainly no civil rights in that society.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Jan. 15, 2014 8:37 a.m.

    What does the 1st Amendment say about religion? "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech"

    Read it carefully. Read it until you understand what it really says. Is there a clause that separates government and religion? I don't see it. Government can promote religion. Government cannot restrict prayers without infringing our right of speech. Government cannot instruct us to remove memorials without inhibiting our right of speech.

    Most of the uproar over government and religion comes from those who will not read nor accept the clear and concise words of the 1st Amendment, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;".

    For example, Congress shall not require the Catholic Church to fund contraceptives because the Catholic Church is "an establishment" of religion and "no contraceptives" is doctrine of the Catholic Church.

    Religion is complex if it is studied. It contains the answers to life. Reading Cliff Notes on religion shortchanges the reader.

    God invites. The Holy Spirit clarifies. The choice to listen remains with each of us.

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    Jan. 15, 2014 8:38 a.m.

    If we eliminate religion, life loses all meaning! If there is no God, when we die, the lights go out and we cease to exist which means everything we learned in life, everything we experienced and everything we loved ceases to exist with us and therefore our life had no meaning! If there is a God, then everything I learned in my life, everything I experienced and everything I loved belongs to me forever! I for one can not wrap my mind around the idea that I lived for no reason, no purpose. That is impossible for me to believe. Therefore, I am compelled to be a believer because the alternative is not comprehendible.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 8:48 a.m.

    Mike Richards says:

    "What does the 1st Amendment say about religion? "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech""

    ---

    YES! Please STOP trying to have "congress" pass an establishment of YOUR religion!

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Jan. 15, 2014 9:07 a.m.

    Ranch. How about keeping YOUR religion, of lack of it, out of our Government? Goes both ways doesn't it? What ever happened to the DOMA? Wasn't part of YOUR religion was it? Why do I have to pay for your birth control and abortions which is part of YOUR religion but not mine?

  • GZE SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 9:06 a.m.

    You are free, Jeff, to believe whatever you like. I am happy that your choices bring you peace. Please allow others the same freedom.

  • Sense Maker SANDY, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 9:21 a.m.

    Your letter is a masterpiece. Thank you for stating exactly how I feel in such eloquent words. It is difficult for many people to understand your letter when they have different definitions of religion, ethics and morality. "As for me and my house,I will serve the Lord."

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Jan. 15, 2014 9:33 a.m.

    I see it like this...

    Civil law is the MINIMUM,
    Religous law is the HIGHER law.

    In America,
    your free to drink, smoke, gamble, drink coffee, and more.

    In the LDS Church, you are not.

    If you are living your relgion,
    you are meeting the and exceeding the minimiums.

    Let others be free to live life as they see fit,
    so long as the meet our civil minimums.

    And Mike --
    PLEASE stop forcing everyone to live a Mormon lifestyle.
    How is that any different the taliban and Sharia Law?

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 9:35 a.m.

    GZE
    Well spoken. When it comes to religon I know of only one fact. The only ones who know for sure are the dead, and they're not talking. But, if religon works for you, here on this earth, and it brings no harm to others, than you should be free to embrace it.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 9:39 a.m.

    Religion is the one thing that will cause and enable otherwise moral people to do evil. Suicide bombings, oppression of women, it's all faith based. It is often necessary to eschew religion in order to live to a higher standard.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 9:55 a.m.

    I don't expect anybody else to live by the same standards I do, but just as I am expected to be tolerant of those who don't share my moral code... I expect them to be tolerant of me and how I choose to live my life.

    Don't tell me I must accept the gay lifestyle as "Normal", and I won't insist that you adopt MY standards.

    If we can do that.... we don't have a problem.

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 10:11 a.m.

    Religion certainly can be a tool used for good.

    However, many, many terrible and horrific deeds have been carried out in the name of "God" Some of the worst thing humanity has done has been under the banner of religion.

    Religion certainly can and does add meaning to a lot of people's lives but to say those without it are not good people is a fallacy.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 10:14 a.m.

    @mick
    One would find that if you look at all 50 states instead of the cherrypicked two I did that there's basically no correlation between religion (or lack thereof) and crime rates. My point is not to claim that atheists are more moral but that religion doesn't really correlate to crime.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    Jan. 15, 2014 10:16 a.m.

    2 bits
    Cottonwood Heights, UT

    Don't tell me I must accept the gay lifestyle as "Normal", and I won't insist that you adopt MY standards.

    If we can do that.... we don't have a problem.

    9:55 a.m. Jan. 15, 2014

    =========

    Let's apply the golden rule, and test your comment;

    Then don't tell others they must accept the MORMON lifestyle as "Normal".
    and don't insist that they adopt YOUR standards.

    If we can do that.... we don't have a problem.

    See how that works?

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 10:48 a.m.

    airnaut,
    Good point, but I think you misunderstood what I was saying. To clarify... I don't expect anybody who doesn't want to, to accept my lifestyle, but they need to be tolerant of it. And I think I do the same for the GLBT community. I don't care what they do. But quit trying to push their agenda on me by Government mandate and legislation!

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 11:05 a.m.

    I know of no one who is saying you may not have your religion. What I think we stand for in this country is that others are free to make choices different from yours.

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 11:04 a.m.

    Three quick points:
    - The LDS church does not pass laws. The LDS church does not "force" anybody to do anything. Like the LGBT community, they enter the public discourse and advocate for what they believe in. The problem is that many people seem unable to differentiate between advocacy and force. And don't try to force me away from the bargaining table or the exchange of ideas. If they only way you can win is silence the opposition, you lack a good argument.

    - We should define religion. The root for religion is the same as for ligament. Simply it is to bind or connect. Ligaments bind muscle to bone. Religion is designed to bind men to God. That is not a bad thing. Those that use religion for nefarious purposes are not bound to God but to power, greed, lust or some other non-religious idol.

    - All our laws are moral laws. Whether they are insider trading or traffic laws, they are designed to enable people to interact with each other in a moral way. What purpose would there be for a law if it did not do that?

  • mcdugall Murray, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 11:30 a.m.

    @Mike Richards - You are misinterpreting the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. It explicitly instructs that Congress will not make any law that establishes or promotes religion. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.." It really cannot be any more clear.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Jan. 15, 2014 11:41 a.m.

    Another confusing letter (or writer) that mistakenly believes religion & morality is synonymous. Religion did not give us morality – it hijacked morality.

    Human beings learned to cooperate and show sympathy & compassion tens of thousands of years before religion was invented, for the simple fact that if we didn’t we wouldn’t be here now. Interpersonal conflict, not to mention more powerful predators, would have long ago ended our species without our innate moral sentiments.

    And the irony of the “fear of getting caught” comment should not be lost – it makes me think that religious people (who see the world this way) should definitely stay religious because perhaps their fear of eternal damnation - and please explain how this fear is fundamentally different - is the only thing keep them in check… sad indeed!

    @Thid Barker – “If we eliminate religion, life loses all meaning!”

    Shocking!

    You mean your day to day life has no meaning including raising children (who will be here after your “lights go out”) and generally trying to leave the world a better place? That means nothing to you?

    I’m speechless…

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 11:50 a.m.

    mcdugall: So instead of just saying it is clear, why don't you explain exactly what it means.
    - Does religion mean Christianity as a whole or individual denominations like Baptists, Presbyterians, or Methodists?
    - Is this restriction on Congress only? Do state legislatures have the right to make establishment laws?

    Bear in mind these facts:
    - When the Constitution was passed, most of the new states did have a "state religion."
    - The constitution of every state includes reference to diety.
    - For almost two centuries, nearly every act of Congress was rooted in Christian doctrine and belief.

    So, since it is so clear to you despite being unclear to clergy, judiciary, and scholars since its inception, please explain it to us. And please don't belabor us with your opinion on the matter but a clear, irrefutable, and conclusive statement is what we need in our country today.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Jan. 15, 2014 11:58 a.m.

    @Thid Barker – “If we eliminate religion, life loses all meaning!”

    And even if this were true, how do you know your religion has the correct story (hint: unless you’re God, you don’t, period.)?

    What if, for example, the Hindus actually have it right – and they have been receiving revelations and having profound spiritual experiences “verifying” the truth of their religion for literally thousands of years – and we return to the Earth countless times (reincarnation) taking on different bodies and personalities each time.

    In that case, yes the lights do indeed go out on you as an individual, but surely the endless cycle of returning here 3 or 4 generations later to reap what the former you (and prior generations) have sown is profoundly meaningful.

    In fact from the standpoint of ethics and stewardship, I would assert this to be a far better way to get us to learn the lessons of love and caring than the Christian story of “we come here once and then leave it behind for the eternal barcalounger or torture chamber.”

    That sounds about as consequence-less (from Earth's pov) as it gets…

  • ugottabkidn Sandy, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 12:00 p.m.

    Jeff, I respect that you have your religious beliefs but remember that they are your religious beliefs. Remember that no two Mormons, Catholics, Muslims or any other religion have the same exact religious beliefs. Beliefs are interpretations and nothing exemplifies this more than the recent confession from the predominate faith about their history with race. No one is forcing anyone to use birth control or enter a same sex marriage. As I understand it a key tenant of all religion is treat others as you would like to be treated, respectively. So please, don't scold me when I interpret the Constitution, Bible or all the Mormon literature differently than you. My faith is personal and mine. It's up to you to get your own, or not.

  • cavetroll SANDY, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 12:04 p.m.

    Re:2bits
    "But quit trying to push their agenda on me by Government mandate and legislation!" Then why can't I buy a bottle of wine on Sunday? Why can't i buy any alcohol in some cities on Sunday. Why can't I buy a car on Sunday?

    Joe5
    "The LDS church does not pass laws." Not directly, but you can't expect me to believe they in some way or another don't inlfuence most laws in this state.

    Mike Richards
    "There are those who want to force us to be godly. Force is not a trait of godliness." Does this group include you? You seem to be more than willing to force others to lead your acceptable lifestyle.
    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"
    Of course Congress can. However, using your logic, since my religion believes human sacrifice is an essential part of worship, can I offer you as a sacrifice to my gods?Of course not.

    "As me me and my house, I will serve the Lord. Lord Vader, that is."

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 12:17 p.m.

    If you need religion to tell you that stealing is wrong or lying is immoral than you really do need religion!
    Christ gave us the golden rule, that was the only law he taught, the simplicity of this concept is to difficult for many to follow, because they need justifications hidden in the complexity of religions to treat others poorly with prejudice or animosity. Religions are like political parties, vying for supporters by using the us vs them like am radio.

    Nope religion, isn't the the key to good behavior.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 1:06 p.m.

    @Joe5
    "For almost two centuries, nearly every act of Congress was rooted in Christian doctrine and belief."
    At first I thought this wasn't correct, then I started thinking back on what the 1st two centuries of America looked like, and you might be on to something.
    Slavery, yup, that's ok in the bible
    Treating women as subhuman and a mans property, yep that's in the bible as well
    Christians believing that they are morally superior to the native people of a land, and slaughtering them to take the land for themselves, yep that's in the bible too.
    Yes sir, many fine christian values were reflected in this countries history.....

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 1:11 p.m.

    cavetroll
    RE: "Why can't I buy a car on Sunday"?

    That's a good point. I don't care if you buy a car on Sunday. But should I be required to WORK on Sunday so you can buy a car on Sunday?

    I think that is the reason for it. Not just to prevent you from buying a car on Sunday (or to force you to comply to a moral code).

    You realise that for you to buy your car on Sunday... a lot of people have to work on Sunday... right? So are you not forcing them to violate their standards and accept YOUR morality, so you can buy your car?

    Doesn't seem like a big sacrifice (not being able to buy a car absolutely any time you want to).

    ===

    You have a good point on alchol. I don't understand those laws. You should be able to get your alchohol any time or place you want (IMO). Those laws are changing gradually though.

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 1:28 p.m.

    cavetroll: Convincing you is not high on my list of priorities. What you choose to believe or not believe evidently has very little in common with reality and there's nothing I can do about that. Your comment completely ignores the point of my post which is that all of us should be able to advocate for their point of view in political discourse. In fact, I would suggest that organizations that support SSM have had a greater "indirect" effect on laws that the church has. Why are you not up in arms about them? Simply because you share their perspective. Pretty lame thought processes in my mind.

    Tyler D: "(hint: unless you’re God, you don’t, period.)" demonstrates a pretty closed mind. It implies that because YOU haven't had spiritual confirmations, nobody can. The fact is that God can and does reveal things to man constantly. If you aren't on the bandwagon, that's no reason to assume it's empty. Unless you think you are God. Maybe you do and maybe you don't but the people in the world are not limited to your experiences.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 1:43 p.m.

    Happy Valley Heretic,
    If you need a government law telling you (or forcing you) to wear your seatbelt or your motorcycle helmet before you can see it is the right thing to do... then you really DO need government, and more government regulations.

    Politicos are like Political parites, vying for supporters by using the us vs them like am radio.

    Nope government, isn't the the key to good behavior.

  • gmlewis Houston, TX
    Jan. 15, 2014 1:50 p.m.

    Lots of comments have suggested that the author is trying to force folks into religion or into obedience to higher laws. I didn't see anything in his suggestions that included force.

    Some comments defend athiests as high-minded, moral individuals, citing obedience to civil laws. Would they also affirm that most atheists are 100% faithful to their spouses and children? Do they repent when they fall short of that ideal? If so, then what is the nature of the influence that leads them to that change?

    Religious folks are also prone to attitudes and actions that hurt the family. However, they have an influence that urges them to repent and change. For Christians, this is recognized as the Light of Christ.

    Repentence and subsequent obedience is the key to a happy life, now and forever.

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 1:57 p.m.

    @2bits

    That's a good point. I don't care if you buy a car on Sunday. But should I be required to WORK on Sunday so you can buy a car on Sunday?

    I think that is the reason for it. Not just to prevent you from buying a car on Sunday (or to force you to comply to a moral code).

    ================================

    Why not let the free market decide that? If everyone decided to not buy a car on Sunday, the dealerships would not open. If the demand was there, shouldn't supply be allowed to match demand?

    Isn't less government better?

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 2:43 p.m.

    @2Bits
    Maybe you aren't aware of why that law is in place. It's because a car dealer who owned the Utah Jazz is LDS and didn't want to work on Sunday. I'm 100% ok with that, but instead of just closing his dealers on Sunday, and letting other businessmen make their own decisions, he forced his morals onto everyone in the state, and lobbied successfully to mandate that dealers could only be open one of two weekend days, essentially forcing all dealers to close on Sunday. If you don't want to work on Sunday's that is your right, but why is it one persons right to force all competing business's to conform to their morals? If you don't want to work on Sunday, get a job where you don't have to. I mean honestly if we were fair to all 3 major religions, we wouldn't make anyone work on Friday(muslims) Saturday(jews) or Sunday(christians) or we could just let them worship their day, and let the rest of us work or purchase on whatever day we feel like.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Jan. 15, 2014 2:54 p.m.

    @joe5 – “Tyler D: "(hint: unless you’re God, you don’t, period.)" demonstrates a pretty closed mind. It implies that because YOU haven't had spiritual confirmations, nobody can.

    That’s a fair point but it wasn’t the one I was making…

    My point was about knowing you have the RIGHT religion or more to the point, since this is what many believe, that you have the right story and everyone else does not.

    In the context of what happens after we die, there is no objective way of knowing whether the Mormon story is correct or the Hindu story is or some other religion is (assuming the stories are mutually exclusive) or none of them are.

    That was my point…

    Now whether those “spiritual confirmations” provide factual knowledge about the objective world is another matter. Personally, I can grant the possibility that spiritual feelings might lead to subjective truths, but not that these feelings can tell you, for example, that it is an historical fact the Jews once lived in ancient America (with horses and steel swords, no less).

  • Mister J Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 6:22 p.m.

    ...the role of religious moral imperatives,... Johnny-come-lately role that emerged only as an addition to our natural instincts for cooperation and empathy. - The Bonobo and the Atheist - Frans De Waal

    Morality is doing what is right regardless of what you are told. Religion is doing what you are told regardless of what is right. -- Anonymous

    People use religion for much, mostly to explain their own shortcomings. Books filled up by foolish people who don't want to take control of their own lives. So, they look for some divine providence to explain their desires.- Deliver us from Evil David Baldacci

  • GK Willington Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 6:30 p.m.

    to 2 bits 9:55 a.m. Jan. 15, 2014

    Normal is someone else's definition of whats socially acceptable.

    to Tyler D 11:41 a.m. Jan. 15

    But, where would organized religion be w/o motivating through fear and/or guilt?

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 6:34 p.m.

    Noodlekaboodle really nailed it. This Auto Dealer believed that his businesses should be closed on sundays because of his religious beliefs and pious appearance. Fantastic for him. However when it came down to it, he was losing money on Sundays to the dealers that were open. By passing such a law it protected his bottom line with crony capitalism, that forced his competition to observe his religious traditions and forcefully remove their ability to profit from a different business model, that provided a service which was determined by the "free market."

  • spring street SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 6:48 p.m.

    @2bits

    Here is were your logic falls apart, by state law if I own a car company I cannot sale a car on Sunday, allowing me to make my own decisions about my business is not forcing you to do anything , same with gay marriage no one is doing anything other thnn saying gay people get to make their own choices in life.

  • Curmudgeon Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 7:56 p.m.

    After all is said and done, I still like the apostle James' definition of religion:

    "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." James 1:27.

    All purported religions should measure themselves against this standard.

  • Neanderthal Phoenix, AZ
    Jan. 15, 2014 9:15 p.m.

    Atheists might be disadvantaged if it turns out they're wrong and there is a God... It's better to believe there is a God and be wrong than to believe there ain't and be wrong.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 11:43 p.m.

    Well, that's interesting Neanderthal.

    So by that logic, you believe in Allah. After all it's better to believe Allah is God and be wrong, then to believe he isn't and be wrong. Right? Or Zeus. You believe in Zeus, right? After, by your logic. . . Or Apollo, or any of the other hundreds (or thousands) of gods that have been worshipped. By your logic you must believe in all of them. Because, after all, if you are wrong about the one you choose. . . Well. . . Do you really want to take that chance? And some of those gods are pretty jealous. So good luck.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Jan. 16, 2014 7:33 a.m.

    The older I get,
    the more right "Imagine: by John Lennon" becomes.

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    Jan. 16, 2014 8:27 a.m.

    LDS Liberal: Yes, the song "Imagine" (and I might add "From A Distance" by Bette Midler) probably provide a pretty good description of the Telestial Kingdom. To me, that is confirmation that God loves all his children. After all, except for very few who deliberately disqualify themselves, all his children will receive that as a minimum reward.

    However, I have higher aspirations.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Jan. 16, 2014 8:56 a.m.

    @Neanderthal – “Atheists might be disadvantaged if it turns out they're wrong and there is a God... It's better to believe there is a God and be wrong than to believe there ain't and be wrong.”

    Maybe the best response to Pascal’s Wager comes from Homer Simpson:

    “Suppose we’ve chosen the wrong god and every time we go to church we’re just making him madder and madder.”

  • Mister J Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 16, 2014 8:58 a.m.

    re: Mike Richards

    "Religion has the answers. Government begs the question."

    Its not black or white, Mike. Neither aforementioned entity is going to solve any/all problems. I feel sorry for those who think either can or will.

    re: Open Minded Mormon

    "And Mike --
    PLEASE stop forcing everyone to live a Mormon lifestyle."

    Ironically!? If this were a discussion about comparing political ideologies *force* would be bad.

  • Wally West SLC, UT
    Jan. 16, 2014 9:13 a.m.

    to joe5 earlier today

    What about "Lift me up" by 5 finger death punch?

  • Mike in Cedar City Cedar City, Utah
    Jan. 16, 2014 11:34 a.m.

    I understand his point of view, but many outrageous and harmful acts have been done in the name of "religion". Strict adherence to religious dogma does not always lead to a just outcome.

    I suggest that a religion based moral underpinning is not necessarily an exclusive foundational prerequisite for a moral life. .

  • cavetroll SANDY, UT
    Jan. 16, 2014 11:46 a.m.

    Re Joe5:
    "What you choose to believe or not believe evidently has very little in common with reality and there's nothing I can do about that." My beliefs are very connnected to reality. The LDS church has a greater say in laws in Utah than any other group.
    "Your comment completely ignores the point of my post which is that all of us should be able to advocate for their point of view in political discourse." If every group should be able to advocate, why are people upset that the LGBT community is advocating?
    "Why are you not up in arms about them?" If the jugde ruled church must perform gay marriages, I would oppose that.
    "In fact, I would suggest that organizations that support SSM have had a greater "indirect" effect on laws that the church has." The LGBT community doesn't receive the same attention by our government leaders as the church.
    "Pretty lame thought processes in my mind."

  • RFLASH Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 16, 2014 1:37 p.m.

    I am gay. Despite what people think, I also have deep religious beliefs. I believe strongly that all our lives have great importance and God does not intend us to all be the same. Often, people end up using their religious beliefs to harm others! I guess that is why I say that spirituality is not the same as being religious. A person can be very religious and not have a spiritual bone in his body. Being gay does not make a person immoral. So, it isn't always easy to judge what those higher standards should be. People discriminate because of their so called higher values! I think we always need to evaluate ourselves. We need to treat each other better and try to lift people up, not judge and tear them down!

  • Bloodhound Provo, UT
    Jan. 16, 2014 5:02 p.m.

    Without a belief in God, everything is permissible. Why? Because there is no ultimate moral standard to judge things by. One set of beliefs is as good as another one. Mother Teresa is no better or worse than Hitler. Sorry, atheists and agnostics. But, belief in God does matter and the letter writer made some good points!

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 16, 2014 8:03 p.m.

    Bloodhound, you are telling me that you really would not be able to tell the difference between Mother Teresa and Hitler if you did not have religion to tell you? Wow. That is absolutely terribly sad.

    I don't know where you get the very flawed idea that without a believe in a god everything is permissible. Your argument that it is because without a higher moral authority anything is permissible is. . . well, is just not well thought through, to be kind.

    It is a conceit of the religious to believe that they alone have access to morality, and that without religion morality would not exist.

    Many beasts show strong elements of morality with never having any religion. Many beasts take care of their young, some beasts form strong family units, some practice monogamy, some practice charity, and kindness, and loyalty. All of this with never having been babtized, or even ever considering it. Many beasts obviously practice morality.

    The difference is, humans have defined it, put a name to it, and some have claimed to know a source for it: religion.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Jan. 17, 2014 9:07 a.m.

    Tyler made the point; "Human beings learned to cooperate and show sympathy & compassion tens of thousands of years before religion was invented.".

    In fact religion was created to facilitate this cooperation. It's the very reason there are so many different religions. Each culture had to have it's own inherent spin to generate the needed cooperation.

    Further evidence is the spiritual experiences some have spoken of here. Christians have Christian supporting experiences, Muslims have Muslim supporting experiences, Hindus have...well you get it. I'd maybe entertain a different perspective if a four year old child from a devout Christian had a near death experience and said hey guess what I met Allah.

  • Confused Sandy, UT
    Jan. 17, 2014 11:52 a.m.

    CaveTroll,

    So what the LDS church has more influence? duh, the majority of the state is LDS... the same can be said in Massachusetts and Catholics, Georgia and Baptist or Methodist, Midwest and Pentecostal.

    It is part of what living in a community is about, contrary to popular opinion the Constitution does not prohibit "influence" by a religious group.

  • nonceleb Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 17, 2014 1:53 p.m.

    Saying nonbelievers (humanists) are only moral because they fear getting caught is the same thing as saying the pious are only moral because they fear divine eternal punishment. Wait a minute, the latter is often true.