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America in a Religious Context

by: andrew sandon
America in a Religious Context
Today American society is faced with very interesting and controversial problem concerning religion and its status on the state level. For a long time it has been considered that America is religiously diverse country which Constitution protects the freedom of religious denomination. Nevertheless, God is not accepted as the creator on the government level. If “God” does not exist why we talk about religious diversity and fight for equal religious rights and religious freedom? Is it possible to seek for something which does not exist?

If religion and God has no influence on the social values and unimportant for the state, why dozens of different sects and religious studies flourish today? In his book “What’s Wrong For America Is The Christian Right” Joseph Alberghini expresses the idea that the religion in America means that those who opposed the close ties between the established churches and the ruling class could pro¬duce sects and denominations better suited to their own interests and to their vision of the world. It means that truly religious beliefs (conservatives) are always common to a specific group which professes to adhere to them and to practise the rites connected with them. The individuals who compose the group feel themselves bound to each other by the very fact that they have a common faith. In reality, religious syncretism and tolerance are dominant features of religion in America which are closely connected with historical and cultural development of the nation.
If God has not been involved in out creation why existing religions shows the universal character and a very large variety in the ritual doctrines and practices: Hinduism, Buddhism, Shintoism, Confucianism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Christianity which divided into Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Evangelic churches? It is possible to say that a society has been replaced not by a self-consciously secular one but by a society which pays occasional lip-service to Christian¬ity and by a culture in which people still claim attachment to religious ideas and beliefs.
On the other hand, if people were created equal by God and their values is based on his legacy why we do not accepted such “values” as revenge. For instance, Old Testament Genesis, Ch 34 v 7 states that God “by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children, to the third and fourth generation”, This command is one of the most odd concepts which disagrees with God’s love and total mercifulness. Similar examples can be found in other religions as well. Old Testament Matthew Ch l8 v 22 states that “How many times should a man forgive his brother? …Seventy-times Seven”. So, the question is why should we follow God’s commands if He does not follow them? Instead of forgiveness preached by God, we have an example of revenge and punishment. If we assume that a man is created in His image, we can follow his actions as well. But, punishment and revenge has nothing to do with morality and goodness. This interpretation of sacred text proves the fact that God and goodness is not the same thing, because He embodies weaknesses of common people and which religion tries to hide. For this reason, some scholars argue that society cannot follow God’s legacy and cannot accept the dogma of God as a creator.
Even if we accept these point of view the following question needs to be answered: “is it possible that at least 2 thousand years people have been mistaken following God’s legacy and rules? In spite the fact that religious studies have a lot of controversial questions (Catholicism, Protestantism, Orthodoxy) our society follows their moral principles and accepted them as a basis for their values and beliefs.

For instance, Richard Rodriduez in his essay “The roots of Tolerance” appeared in 2002 marks that in community, different religious groups live closely to each other, and their religious dogmas do not influence their social life and do not cause intolerance. In this case, they adapt their traditions to environment becoming more patient and open-minded to neighbors. Richard Rodriduez underlines that: “with toleration has come mixing, a kind of spiritual mysogenation”.

If we reject forgiveness and equality of all men will we need to deny racial equality? Probably, we will. But, in his famous speech “I have a Dream”, Martin Luther King addresses a very important problem of racial inequality in America and its impact on the society, and appeals to millions of people saying that “all men are created equal”, but the question is by whom people created equal? Will nor we live in chaos if we deny the Bible and its Commandment, if we do not base our valued on religious dogmas? To be sure, in his article written for the Washington File Robert J. Lieber states “each of the presidents invoked liberty as a God-given right, an idea that goes back to the original founding of the United States”. Why we cannot accept God as a creator if the Presidents of the country accepted this fact?

Taken into account different philosophical and religious arguments it is possible to say that America as we know it is religiously agnostic country. The dogmas and legacy is accepted only in those cases and in those forms which are advantageous for people and state. People fight for those things which really exist in their mind, but deny things (God or religious dogmas) constantly if they do not benefit them according to social and political situation.

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