There is room in this world for many different beliefs, even those that are wrong.
Beliefs are only truly incompatible when one of them includes the belief that it is okay to force others to believe a particular thing. Or, more exactly, to force others to pretend to believe, since belief is not imposed. Any such belief discredits itself; no valid belief should be imposed on others.
I agree with other people’s beliefs, even beliefs that I find crazy. It’s only when these believers try to impose their beliefs on me that I have a problem with them. If they push hard enough, I’ll push back. This is why I write — I reject a dangerous belief.
The most universal belief today is the belief in the legitimacy of political government. Even local churches often fly a US federal flag above their Christian flag, indicating which belief system they prioritize. They are not – at this time – required to fly the federal flag outside of their facilities; they choose to do so. I’m sure they can find excuses for their divided loyalties and upside-down priorities, but those excuses fall flat.
If the government respected those who don’t believe in it, as more civilized religions do, I would have less of a problem with it and its faithful believers.
Fortunately, the government also allows you to practice other beliefs, if they are compatible with a belief in the government. What generosity.
Imagine if another church decided that you should send your tithes to them even though you belonged to a different denomination. Or if it was declared that you would be beaten and caged if you broke any of the rules he imposed on his members, even if you belonged to a church that had no such rules.
Some churches have used the government to do this; leading it to impose its rules on everyone by legislative means. Using the government in this way is just as wrong as using it to punish someone because of their race, gender, or eye color.
Thus, the government is less a religion than a sect. Deprogramming yourself is difficult when almost everyone around you is a true believer. The main disagreement you will normally find with the cult of government is that of those who want someone else to be the high priest. Might as well reorganize the deckchairs of the Titanic. Believe all the madness you want, but don’t burn the lifeboats or prevent others from using them.
Farwell’s Kent McManigal stands up for freedom. Contact him at: