The decline of Religious influence and the increase of Police

Discussion in 'Politics and Society' started by Quahom1, Feb 26, 2006.

  1. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    Path of One presented a stupendous thought about today's society and the lawlessness we suffer from. With the decline of religious influence in today's society, wroughts the increase of lawlessness, the increase of society's police forces, and the losing battle over violence.

    Wouldn't it be prudent to consider that religion does in fact have a more powerful influence over society than that of no-religion, but having a "police force" to effect the same socially accepted behaviors?

    Instead of having the social civility enforced from without, why not stick with that which has worked more or less for thousands of years (religious convictions enforcing the social civility from within)?

    Of course this would require our social leaders changing course in mid-stream, but what they are cowtowing, isn't working (obviously), and prior to at least the 50s, the influence of basic religious principles did more or less maintain society within acceptable boundaries...

    what do you think?

    v/r

    Q
     
  2. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    Agreed - certainly in the UK the only time we seem to hear of the UK churches being active is when arguing the rights of minority groups - little on trying to shape overall social issues.
     
  3. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    i can only add what i have seen with my eyes & my experience & the changes i have noticed.

    my last visit to San Francisco revealed police force in front of just about every public building. i am in reference to hotels, office buildings, schools, mc donalds etc... it is not so noticed away from the inner city. i was kind of shocked at what i saw & this was in 1999. my last visit to Los Angeles & Hollywood was the same thing. police sirens & people being arrested all over the place & i have no interest in ever going back there not even to visit. i noticed a huge difference from the way both cities were in the 80s & even the replies from people who had lived there for a long time said it was not the same.

    Typically, one may not notice the changes as they take place when you stay in a particular place. but when you live there for awhile, leave, then go back to visit, you will notice the changes.

    There is a 'spirit' that seems to travel with this & i saw it coming many years ago. it seems to influence a negative with a negative & i can only see that as sure sign of decay.

    i kind of saw it coming with the individuality doctrine & other things that people were preaching back in the 80's. what i think has happened is, people do not have any real meaningful & common values which will in return cause the whole pradigm to shift where everyone is stepping all over each other.
    then the children have no direction because they are raised to think everything is normal because that is what they were taught from their parents or they were taught nothing.
    there is just no reason for there to be police force in schools monitoring the halls on a daily basis that way, searching young people for drugs & weapons. sadly, that is the way it is today in some schools.

    in my school, students were given the responibilty to monitor different things.

    will it ever get back to the days when the whole class respected the teachers & principal? i dont know

    it almost seems like some kind of long term set up, to where the globe will become policed & government will step in with militant type of procedures to restore law & order. i kind of suspect it will happen soon in the states in order to secure & protect the homeland. needles to say, i saw all these potential problems coming 20 years ago when i was still in my youth & very few would even listen to what i was trying to say.

    another thing i am seeing in all walks of life & in all areas, no one wants to take responsibility for anything with an I dont care attitude. we cannot do that to each other.
    what happens is, the sincere & honest man gets taken advantage of today because there are those who view honesty as a target to to take advantage of them. it becomes no big deal because after that trust is violated, they can just find another target. so, you end up with a confused society where no one trusts anyone or you have this fake sense / false pretense of love & trust.

    in my hometown of only about 1/4 million. there were no murders for about 20 years back in 1970. today, 2005 - 2006 there is a murder just about every week. it did not get that way over night. it was progressive.

    is it normal for people to be murdered in cold blood every week in my hometown??

    & who gets involved?
    the police
     
  4. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist Staff Member

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    http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/nation/200602/kt2006022717405311980.htm
    It seems that Korea has plans for robotic police/soldiers, all controlled by wireless technology. :eek:
    {As an aside, how does this "wireless technology" to control these police/soldiers differ from spirit in humans? Answer: It makes the State into "God" for these robots...} :eek: :eek:
     
  5. Awaiting_the_fifth

    Awaiting_the_fifth Where is my mind?

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    It's a nice idea, but who's religion will the state choose?

    Society's problems could certainly be solved by an 'official' religion where potential wrong do-ers are afraid of going to 'hell' or whatever equivalent there might be. The problem here is that this solution steps on everyone's right to freedom of religion, i.e. I might not believe what the state tells me to believe. Then what?

    Alternatively we could introduce a police state wherein the potential wrong do-ers would be afraid of almost certain capture and harsh punishment. But this solution steps on the rights of the non-criminals and the liberals to live a private, un-molested life.

    The experiment that is society today is an attempt to give equality and freedom to everyone, regardless of religion or politics. At the moment, no, it isn't working all that well, but I would personally prefer an unstable, possibly failing society in which I am free to pursue my own beliefs to a strong society in which I am required to subscribe to someone else's religion.

    And to those Christians who support this idea I ask this, would you still support it if this new state religion required you to renounce Christ?
     
  6. Awaiting_the_fifth

    Awaiting_the_fifth Where is my mind?

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    One further note.

    I wonder how the Baha'i community in Iran feel about the official state religion.
     
  7. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist Staff Member

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    Exactly. State religion can become an excuse for totalitarianism.
     
  8. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    i think that is what it will come to rather abruptly. there will be no more freedom of religion & we will all see a society of police & militant brutality in order to maintain. religion will go out the window for everyone & in its place will stand a rod iron fist of gadgets & technology monitoring every move for order with little or no remorse for offenders.

    a society where you would not dare litter or even spit for fear of being arrested.
    i dont think our laws in the U.S. are wrong, people just dont want to abide by them & seek for loopholes & do not appreciate or respect what they have, thus the whole class is punished. i dont think this has anything to do with an eternal hell belief, it has more to do with - right now.

    i am sadly seeing Christ removed already throughout the world & people being forced to renounce him. it has not taken much to achieve that in other places.
     
  9. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    it is icky.
    that seems to be what it is all being set up for, just in test mode for different functions in different places. i am seeing tons of cameras going up all over the place. even the freeways are loaded with cameras. i see all kinds of possibilites with these things.
     
  10. InquisitiveInHalifax

    InquisitiveInHalifax New Member

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    I couldn't agree more.

    I think that looking to religion to fix our current societal problems is looking for a simple answer to a very complex problem. I do see how religion can bring people together and create a feeling of community but it can also pull people apart and cause wars (my religion is better than yours/I'm right and you're wrong mentality). There are people in my family that hardly speak to me because I haven't chosen to be a Born Again Christian as they are. I think the problem is more a lack of family values than a lack of religion, imho.

    -R
     
  11. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    i think this is the key right here. it seems like a losing battle almost to try & get people back to the family values especially when values cant even be defined any longer & each person has there own set of values & that is all that matters. others can drop dead.

    everything that seems to pop up today is geared to a selfish, prideful type of attitude where it is all about me & have it your way & you deserve it. that spirit was broke in me at a young age- not just because of religion but because my parents made sure that i was going to respect them & others while i lived under their care. i did not as much as even steal a tulip from the neighbor or i was knocking on their front door, giving the tulip back & telling them i was sorry.

    so i just wonder how many religions today are still teaching quality family values to their people?

    even in my short time in the world & its affairs of wrong doings, my parents never cut me off & neither did my church or the people in my church. kids are being left on the curb with no direction. you would think the safest place for a child would be the home & the mothers womb. but it isn't always & i am just as guilty for that neglect as a parent, but he still turned out real good & he knows i am there for him always.
    i also see a lot of secular christians today & i dont think they even know who Jesus is.

    so, if religion is not the answer, (obviously Jesus or any other leader will never be agreed upon)
    if police force is not the answer... i would bet that technology does not have the answer either for it seems to be drawing people in a different direction in the last decade but gives an impression of being the answer.
    science obviously is just as confused & does not have all the answers to these issues but they can sure make it look like the answer. politicians lie & say they have all the answers, but they dont. people say more education is the answer, but that has not shown to be true either. others claim get rich & have tons of money for your answer, which can be just as corrupt. i can only imagine how corrupt some of these big wheels are & the movies can portray it very well.

    sci-fi is not that far off when i see what it is really projecting. someone is getting those ideas from somewhere.

    people cant even agree today on what the word respect means without some long overly defined political correct meaning for each individual. people are indeed born selfish without discipline. at the age of two a child knows the difference between yes yes & no no but the child still does not listen & wants to rebel. i dont know very many perfect children who never want to rebel.

    then what is the answer? maybe someone out there has the 'answer' but that answer seems to be an agenda for all this mess to happen under the covers with a slightly bent agenda. someone is calling the shots. hmmm

    i guess nobody knows the answer - so this man or beast or whatever will just have to run its course.

    i am not saying there are not some good honest people & good loving parents & good children in the world coming from all faiths, because there are:) .


    not sure what yanked my chain on this because no matter what anyone says we appear to be answerless. i still have my freedom to disagree, so i guess that is a good thing.
    you know there is such a thing as a point of no return & maybe that is where we are real close on in flight.
     
  12. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    Perhaps I can clarify a bit what I was saying- I was speaking of religion in the anthropological sense, which means that it is wrapped up in social values and standards of everyday living, and is not divorced from the practicalities of life. In most small-scale, traditional societies: family values = religion, or at least they overlap to the point of utter blending.

    It is only somewhat recently that religion has been divorced from the rest of life, and I think this is at least as problematic as the "decline" of religion. There are many in the States who would consider themselves "religious" and go to church on Sunday, but still have no problem lying, cheating, stealing, and overall being buttheads the rest of the week. This is one part of the decline of religion- it isn't just more people becoming atheists.

    In fact, I was speaking about religion very broadly. Some of the most moral people I know are secular humanists or agnostics; religion in this sense is (the best definition I've heard so far) "human transformation in response to perceived ultimacy." So some philosophic traditions, such as Confucianism, can lead to the same social betterment as the more mainstream "religious" ones.

    I would not advocate any sort of state religion, nor that the government need be religious. It is the PEOPLE that need some sort of religious or philosophical tradition, very much bound with their everyday lives, in order to live according to higher moral standards without policing. It doesn't matter whether you are Buddhist, Catholic, Pagan, or secular humanist for this purpose- it is the necessity of having moral standards and guidelines that are wrapped up in everyday life and not perceived as some separate category of action. Most small-scale, traditional societies' religious beliefs overlapped with everything in their lives- how to interact with the environment and how to manage resources, economic interactions and who had to take care of whom, how to be a good political leader, how to relate to one's family, one's responsibilities to one's community, etc. Nowadays it seems that all these things are regulated through law and then must be policed...

    I leave you with what I think was a very wise argument by Confucius:
    "The Master said, 'Guide them by edicts, keep them in line with punishments, and the common people will stay out of trouble but will have no sense of shame. Guide them by virtue, keep them in line with the rites, and they will, besides having a sense of shame, reform themselves.'" (The Analects II3)

    How many CEOs, government officials, etc. do we hear about that claw, and cheat, and lie their way to the top? How many are generous with their own workers, let alone the wider society? How many corporations ship their factories oversees to avoid environmental and labor costs in the US, to exploit children and the poor in other countries, and to dump toxic waste without cost? How many people make their fortunes off the backs of others, caring little for generosity, charity, and taking care of others? How much do we hear about the world's governments resorting to violence rather than to love? If we lead by law and punitive regulations, we will only ever have a society as safe and good as our capacity to police it. If we lead by relationships, love, and virtue, people learn to police themselves.
     
  13. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    this is the way i got it growing up. it was all incorporated into one system. the church, the parents, the leaders, the schools were all doing something for others & they were in agreement.

    it aint that way any more. not even in a lot of churches.

    but i am thinking like you say, it is because people have divorced religion & have made religion this old lost thing that no one needs where they used to overlap.... so now it is believe what you want, do what you want & whatever cause religion dont matter.

    you hit it right there Path, as far as i can see.
     
  14. Kaldayen

    Kaldayen Spiritual ronin

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    Greetings everyone,

    I don't think the decline of religious influence per se is directly involved with this situation. (i.e. The situation isn't different in the US bible belt). I think it's by what we replace it : the money god.

    You claim that the society wants to promote equality but still, some don't have the same possibilities than others, and it's getting worse every day. That creates jealousy and crimes. People are always hungry for more money, at the expense of others... and often they don't even realize they're taking it from the others. IMO that's the crime-generating problem in our world.

    We need to see responsible governments encouraging community and personal efforts and creating social programs and access to education. That's not what we see nowadays... we see the exact opposite and some leaders even claim they're working in God's name. :rolleyes:
    ___
    Kal
     
  15. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    Yes, Kal- that is my point. One can profess all they want is in the name of God, but if it isn't, it isn't. There is a difference between being "religious" in the sense that one goes to a church on Sunday and checks the "Christian" box on the census, and being religious in the sense that the belief system permeates one's life and causes one to put others and God before oneself and money.

    I agree with you that many people in the States (and elsewhere) have decided to worship the almighty dollar. It is unfortunate. Money is not the root of all evil, but the love of money is...
     
  16. Kaldayen

    Kaldayen Spiritual ronin

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    Unfortunate eh? :p
    ___
    Kal
     
  17. Faithfulservant

    Faithfulservant New Member

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    Because you asked I will answer.. I believe this is going to happen and I also believe that I wont be here when it does.. because thats when the anti-christ will be in power.

    My opinion on this is extreme.. when they seperated church from state they took any moral accountability that our government and society had.

    My view on the U.S. history is such that we left a country to form a new one with the freedom to worship God as each individual wanted.. God was still the basis on which this country was founded. Its on our currency.. its in our pledge of allegience.. it in our anthems and our declaration of independence. With the seperation of church and state we see the increase of moral decline in our society. I also believe that our country and its leaders will be held accountable before God for that fact.. So I pray for my country always that God continues to bless us despite those that remove Him from its very core.

    FS
     
  18. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    I think that can come to pass again, but there will be much reform required ...
    I wouldn't give up on education. In George Carlin's most recent HBO special, he reminded us that here in the US we've gone from Head Start to No Child Left Behind ... "sounds like someone's losing ground here." ;) And no small wonder. In 2005, the US spent over $437 billion on military, which is more than every other nation combined!!! That is also well over 50% of our total spending for the entire year!!! :eek: How much did we spend on education? Well, of the supposed meagre $34.32 billion that Bush pledged ... only a paltry $24.52 billion ever actually showed up. That's ummm, slightly out of proportion - to our military spending. So maybe if we gave education a chance, for starters by paying our teachers a decent wage, and by revamping the whole system, so that we stopped sending unprepared, under-educated dolts out into our society & workforce, just maybe things wouldn't be so bad. :( I feel quite passionately about the importance of a good education, and I think the shortcomings rest not with our teachers (by & large), but with those who are supposed to be leading this great country of ours. What a great example they set ... :mad:

    Here in the US, and also in some countries abroad (but especially here), the filthy stinking materialistic rich are getting billionaire-buddy-fund-richer .... while those who already have little, are receiving little-er, and those with nothing, are almost becoming an untouchables class. You know, the caste system in India did not start out that way, but look what happened. A Brahmin (the "priestly" caste, the Pharisees & Sadducees) in India will have nothing to do with an "untouchable," because of caste. In his eyes, the latter is less than, not as worthy. Pity - that here in the US, whether admitted or not, this is the same attitude that the aristocracy maintain. We have no middle class ... and right now our goverment is making matters worse, by ensuring that we won't have one! Those who would minister to the needy, and lobby for the provision to those without, which is exactly the kind of Christian ideals (being put into action) which Christ advocated ... are scoffed at, called "bleeding-hearts" (as if that were a bad thing), and told that people must work, not live off of handouts. And yet people are forced into the lowest of jobs, with no benefits, with sweatshop conditions, and that's if they are fortunate enough to find work at all! Many have various addictions, or mental illness, and they need help. What about the social programs that might help them? More budget cuts, gotta fight those Iraqis, gotta build bigger, better bombers, gotta build more nukes, the war machine keeps turnin' ... :(

    And when someone dares nowadays to bring these things up (which is Patriotism, par excellence, in my book), our misguided leaders take swift action to cry traitor, and terrorist, and Commie, and whatever else they can come up with to put down the rebellion. Some people at CR will remember McCarthyism, and some of us ... are too young, but can nonetheless feel the disgusting waves of fear & paranoia that still resound in the ethers, just 50 years later. My God, it's happening all over again ... :mad:

    Exactly ... and the converse is certainly true, as you say here:

    As Bandit, and others, have said ... it has to do with what's in the heart, not what we preach. Has to do with how we live our lives from day to day, how we treat others, and why ... not whether we toss a fifty, or a five, in the collection plate - of if we even go to church at all.

    Personally, I am quite proud of my First Amendment Rights ... in this still-great nation ... and I fear the day when some back-country, short-sighted, narrow-minded zealot & demagogue steps up and forces me to bow down to his personal, tribal god. Oh wait ... :(

    To me, that is blasphemy, and tyranny, and a form of totalitarianism, and only proves how far out of tune, how much out of step, we really are ... from the BandLeader (name Him if you will, or not at all, if you prefer).

    The churches, imo, could play a vital role in helping Humanity to come to know, and live by, spiritual values ... and many churches are so doing. In other situations, I'm afraid that the churches have failed to keep up with the times, and still insist on looking thousands of years into the past - when what we need, is guidance for the present, and to help us through these times of amazing change ... with all of the technology that Bandit and others have referred to. Nothing wrong with technology, electronic or otherwise, just so we use it properly. Worship the idiot box over in the corner, or sprawled out across the whole wall (as it is nowadays), and lo, we have our reward. Will it make any difference if we flip to the televangelist channel? Nope. You'll just go broke a lot faster! :p

    But I don't think we can scapegoat the churches, or the government (easy as that would be today!), nor the schools, nor any other instituation in our society ... for the lack of morals and "family values" that is devastating our nation. We must not forget, that the family itself is where so much of this inculcation comes from, and when I do find myself wandering through Target, or Sears, or the grocery store, what I often notice is children without any discipline, and parents/adults who behave like children. I used to wonder why so many people home-school their children, and I had serious doubts about the whole prospect. Now, I understand completely. And I find it a wonderful idea!!! :) And I know that those who do a very careful job, still manage to help their children understand the value of interaction with others, and often these very home-schoolers are better able to teach their children the importance of Community, and of responsibility to one's fellow members of society, and of one's country ... than the public schools (for all their lack of funding).

    I have been very privileged to see firsthand a number of Communities that also managed to beautifully and wonderfully embody the ideals of a Sustainable Society (being discussed in this, and other threads at present) ... perhaps decades (or even centuries) ahead of the rest of us! I learned a great deal by being among these people, and by sharing something of the Heaven on Earth which they truly live, every day. Interestingly, not a one of them are founded on conventional religious principles, at least not as embodied by any one religion. Yet they are by no means secular, either, welcoming all, but being extremely principled, and quite spiritual. Perhaps it has something to do, with getting beyond the stage where we try to dictate to others, what they should believe, and lording our particular religious choice(s) ... over others. That - will never work. Surely we know this by now .... ;)

    andrew
     
  19. Faithfulservant

    Faithfulservant New Member

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    As a person that receives Earned Income Credit every year.. I believe that I have been a partaker in some of that money spent each year by our taxpayers.. God Bless America.

    I have a question though.. how did you understand anything George Carlin says? I cant get beyond the language barrier. :)
     
  20. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    lol ... Watch the first 3 minutes of his latest HBO special. It's kind of a, Carlin "rap," and it's amazingly cool. It is a commentary on society unto itself, and one can get the gist in about 10 seconds, even if you only understand every third word! :p Listen to the whole thing, and if you're like me, you may just be sitting there saying, My God, My God! (It's cuz he's right! I would link you to a transcript, if I knew where one is. Definitely worth hearing/reading/seeing!) ;)

    andrew
     

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