Religion and Politics

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by Sky Dancer, Jun 29, 2010.

  1. Sky Dancer
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    Should religion and politics mix? Why or why not? The Christian right is very political. I've been asked by several posters whether Buddhists engage in social or political activism.

    Two resources come to mind, The Buddhist Peace Fellowship, and Thich Nhat Hanh's socially engaged Buddhism.

    Here is Thich Nhat Hanh's recommendations for Buddhists. What are Christians and Jews and Muslims advised?

    In his book Interbeing, Nhat Hanh lays out the following 14 Precepts of Engaged Buddhism (here paraphrased), which emphasize social change as beginning with oneself.

    1.Do not be idolatrous about or bound to any doctrine, theory, or ideology, even Buddhist ones.

    2.Do not think the knowledge you presently possess is changeless, absolute truth. Avoid being narrow minded and bound to present views. Learn and practice nonattachment from views in order to be open to receive others' viewpoints.

    3.Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education. However, through compassionate dialogue, help others renounce fanaticism and narrow-mindedness.

    4.Do not avoid suffering or close your eyes before suffering. Do not lose awareness of the existence of suffering in the life of the world. Find ways to be with those who are suffering, including personal contact, visits, images and sounds. By such means, awaken yourself and others to the reality of suffering in the world.

    5.Do not accumulate wealth while millions are hungry. Do not take as the aim of your life fame, profit, wealth, or sensual pleasure. Live simply and share time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need.

    6.Do not maintain anger or hatred. Learn to penetrate and transform them when they are still seeds in your consciousness. As soon as they arise, turn your attention to your breath in order to see and understand the nature of your hatred.

    7.Do not lose yourself in dispersion and in your surroundings. Practice mindful breathing to come back to what is happening in the present moment. Be in touch with what is wondrous, refreshing, and healing both inside and around you.

    8.Do not utter words that can create discord and cause the community to break. Make every effort to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.

    9.Do not say untruthful things for the sake of personal interest or to impress people. Do not utter words that cause division and hatred. Do not spread news that you do not know to be certain. Do not criticize or condemn things of which you are not sure. Always speak truthfully and constructively. Have the courage to speak out about situations of injustice, even when doing so may threaten your own safety.

    10.Do not use the Buddhist community for personal gain or profit, or transform your community into a political party. A religious community, however, should take a clear stand against oppression and injustice and should strive to change the situation without engaging in partisan conflicts.

    11.Do not live with a vocation that is harmful to humans and nature. Do not invest in companies that deprive others of their chance to live. Select a vocation that helps realise your ideal of compassion.

    12.Do not kill. Do not let others kill. Find whatever means possible to protect life and prevent war.

    13.Possess nothing that should belong to others. Respect the property of others, but prevent others from profiting from human suffering or the suffering of other species on Earth.

    14.Do not mistreat your body. Learn to handle it with respect. Do not look on your body as only an instrument. Preserve vital energies (sexual, breath, spirit) for the realisation of the Way. (For brothers and sisters who are not monks and nuns:) Sexual expression should not take place without love and commitment. In sexual relations, be aware of future suffering that may be caused. To preserve the happiness of others, respect the rights and commitments of others. Be fully aware of the responsibility of bringing new lives into the world.

    Thich Nhat Hanh, Interbeing: Fourteen Guidelines for Engaged Buddhism (2005).
     
  2. bruzz
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    bruzz marauder

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    Religion and politics should not mix. They should be like oil and water. We all know that monarchs imposed one religion on their subjects and didn't allow them to practice their own faith. In the same way it is wrong for government to influence religion in any way. The goal of government is to perform any duty that the citizens either cannot or will not do. How anyone can fit religion into that is beyond me.
     
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  3. Big Black Dog
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    Big Black Dog Gold Member Supporting Member

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    I swear to God that I am a conservative.
     
  4. FA_Q2
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    FA_Q2 Gold Member

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    You make an interesting point but I would like to point out that this is a one way street. Government needs to be COMPLETELY separated from religion but you cannot pull all religion out of government. What I mean is that people draw their beliefs and morality from the tenants that they believe in. The government is made up of those people and whether or not they attempt to sterilize it or not that belief will always reflect in how they carry themselves and how they vote. You cannot stop the basic morality of Christianity working its way into the government but you CAN stop the government getting into individual rights and religions. Even as a Buddhist your vote will be affected by your base beliefs and therefore your religion is influencing who you vote for. That makes your religion affect government.

    Bottom line - religion WILL effect government but that does not mean that government should effect religion.
     
  5. Mad Scientist
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    Mad Scientist Deplorable Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Should religion and politics mix? Why or why not? The Christian and Religious Left is very political. I've been asked by several people whether so called religious people like Jessie Jackson, Al Sharpton and Rev. Wright engage in social or political activism. And of course It's obvious they do.
     
  6. Sky Dancer
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    Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton don't represent organized Church politics. Just sayin'''
     
  7. Avatar4321
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    Avatar4321 Diamond Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I'm all for religious people of all persuasions being political. As long as the government doesn't stop me from practicing my religion and doesn't pass any orders to exterminate us again.
     
  8. Sky Dancer
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    Whose ever ordered your people exterminated? Rome 2000 years ago?
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2010
  9. uscitizen
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    uscitizen Senior Member

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    The more persecuted a Christian feels the closer to their god they are.
     
  10. Sky Dancer
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    Maybe we should persecute Christians for their own benefit. (Just kidding)
     

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