Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Religion and Semantics

What is the difference between the freedom OF religion and the freedom FROM religion?

Last night I caught part of an NPR broadcast about religion and the one guest made a comment similar to this. And it got me wondering. What is the difference?


Example: Does the CIA have detention centers or concentration camps?

Detention centers sounds like jails or prisons. Something law breaking citizens are sent to under judicial due process. Concentration camps are where innocent citizens go for fighting against their government.

Back to the NPR show .....

Being a non-religious but Bible reading person, I found the difference in semantics interesting. We (in America) founded our country to escape the religious persecution in Europe. So we fought for freedom OF religion. We wanted to practice whatever religion we believed in without any government interference. Thus we have a separation of church and state in the US.

But apparently there are now people fighting for freedom FROM religion. People wanting the freedom to believe in nothing. While I didn't catch the details of the story/issue, it sounded like people in Europe were being forced into a government driven religious arena. They were forced to practice a religion.

Added to the thoughts of semantic differences, I also began to analyze where I fit in between the two. And I think that's exactly where I stand, in the middle.

I don't believe in God, but I pray to him. I read the Bible, but I feel it is a work of historical fiction. Something written and re-written over time so that it has become more myth and legend than fact. I believe in a "supreme power" just as much as I believe in aliens. But I don't believe that either have visited Earth.

Feel free to flame away on the issue, you won't change my mind. I believe in what I believe. I also believe in freedom OF and FROM religion. Everyone should have the right to believe what they believe without being told or forced into something unwillingly.

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