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NewsUpdating My Laws of Religion in Light of Recent Events

Updating My Laws of Religion in Light of Recent Events

Updating My Laws of Religion in Light of Recent Events
Ten Commandments includes ‘Thou shalt have no other god before me’ and that can be practiced without disrespecting other religions.
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Back in 2004 I wrote an article, Creating a Set of Laws for All Religions, Like Asimov’s Laws of Robotics.

Here are the three most basic “laws:”

1) Any religion must respect other religions which follow this rule.
In other words, if your religion respects other religions then it deserves the respect of other religions. Religions which do NOT respect other religions do not deserve respect.2-No religion is better than any other religion which follows rule one. Certain religions may be better for an individual, family, tribe or community, but this does not apply to all people, not in a neighborhood, town, city, state or nation.

3-No religion has the right to force or insist that its values and rules of culture and behavior be required of people who do not sign on, buy into or agree with that religion– whether the person is a member of the relgion or not. On the other hand, a specific church, synagogue, temple, mosque, etc. has the right to set requirements for its members.

I added a few more rules too:

4) assuming rule number 2, no religion should set rules that aim to maximally expand their numbers.

5) Evangelism that aims at destroying other cultures is unacceptable. Evangelism that does not take precautions for communication of diseases is unacceptable.

That was almost twenty years ago. I’d add a rule 6) That no religion or nation is more chosen or favored by God… and the same goes for rulers. They are never, ever, ever chosen by, anointed by or empowered by God. And, as a corollary, religions should never be used to aid or justify empire or conquest. To be fair, in the early days of European colonization, disease transmission and spreading was not well understood. But then we have the giving of cholera infested blankets to Native Americans. That was known and understood.

And let’s throw in that no religion has the right to justify the theft of land from others, or to justify any nation from doing so.

Any disagreement That might mean that you embrace a religion that would fail the test of respecting other religions– the first law of religion.

I’ve been told or heard from adherents that their religions are the only true faiths, the one chosen by god, the only one that is genuine, or even that other religions are of the devil. There are tens of millions, perhaps even hundreds of millions of these people who practice a religion that does not meet my criteria for meriting or deserving respect. Yet in the same religions there are practitioners of the same religion who have beliefs and attitudes that respect other faiths and religions.

Sadly, I fear that there are far fewer of those other-religion-respecting people practicing the big religions than there are of the people with religious beliefs and practices that do not deserve respect. One might even argue that these scores of millions of practitioners of disrespecting religions are practicing the devil’s version of religion– that they are the Devil’s Christian, Devil’s Jews, Devil’s Muslims and Devil’s Hindus. Look at how India’s dominant Hindu’s and Myanmar’s Buddhists have treated Muslims so badly.

As a Jew, I’ve encountered many Jews who believe that they are the chosen people, which they translate as being the people God chose over other people because they are more deserving and, bottom-line, better. Those people do not respect practitioners of other religions. They think they are better than them. They do not practice a religion deserving respect, or, their religious beliefs do not deserve respect. I’ve had an Orthodox rabbi suggest to me that I am so lucky to be a Jew because “we are the chosen people.” It was hard to hide my contempt for such a sad, pathetic way of thinking. But he’s a rabbi, and it’s likely that much of his congregation buy it.

Other jews see the concept of Jews being the chosen people to mean that they have a responsibility to engage in tikkun olam– healing the world. They have no sense that they are better, only that they have that responsibility. That is worthy of respect and it leaves open the possibility to respect all other religions.

Then there’s the contempt tens of millions of Evangelical Christians hold for Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists who don’t believe what they believe. They feel superior because they will be allowed, by Saint Peter, to pass through the pearly gates while all the others will not, and maybe the others will go to hell or purgatory. Not very respectful. A lot of Trump’s supporters fall in this category. Some of them feel so superior that they literally want to kill lefties and people who are not like them. And somehow, in their cult-addled, twisted minds, they see Trump as a good Christian and good for Christianity. Sorry. They do not deserve respect.


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