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Past & present religious/ethical/moral conflicts


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Past & present religious/ethical/moral
conflicts: Some settled; some starting;
some dissipating; Some low key;
others very active:

star How this web site handles religious conflicts:

We are unlike probably 99.9% of the religious websites on the Internet. We do not promote:

bullet A single religion, or
bullet A single denomination, tradition, sect, or faith group within a religion, or
bullet A single point of view on "hot" religious topics, or
bullet A single point of view on controversial social problems.

Instead, we try to explain all viewpoints fairly, accurately, completely, and with balance.

As a result, you are certain to find material in this section and throughout the rest of this web site that agrees with your beliefs. You will also find other discussions that contradict your beliefs. Please don't E-mail us because you find information here that you don't agree with. That is to be expected. If it doesn't happen, then we are not doing our job properly.

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An introduction to religious and ethical conflicts:

For centuries, there have been active major conflicts of a religious, theological and/or ethican nature in North America and in the rest of the world. We refer to these as "very hot topics" -- debates that have generated enormous conflict and division within cultures. Many continue to do so today. These have occurred:

  • Within various faith groups, where they often lead to denominational schisms. That is why there are about 20 to 40 thousand Christian denominations, sects, and faith groups in the world rather than one.

  • Within a single religion, among various faith groups, often between theologically conservative and progressive denominations within the same religion.

  • Among religions,

  • Between various faith groups and secularists, and

  • Between various faith groups and other groups in society. In the U.S., during the 21st century, much of the religious conflict has been between religious conservatives and sexual minorities like the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community (LGBT).

Examples of past conflicts were:

  • Slavery vs. abolition: whether some people should be able to own and consider other people as property. In the U.S. the Civil War was fought over this conflict.

  • Status of women: whether women should be allowed to own property, to enter professions, to be considered on a par with men, etc. It was only in 1929 that Women were considered full persons in Canada who could be appointed to the federal Senate.

  • Universal sufferage: whether women should be allowed to vote in government elections. In the U.S., the vote was granted to women by the 19th Amendment to the federal Constitution which was ratified on 1920-AUG-18 after almost a century of protest. Women in Quebec, Canada were only allowed to vote two decades later, in elections after 1940-APR-25.

  • Whether women should be allowed to be ordained as clergy. This topic is still being debated today as the two largest faith groups in the U.S. -- the Roman Catholic Church and Southern Baptist Convention -- remain profoundly sexist in their opposition to allowing women to attain positions of power and authority. Other Christian denominations are gradually accepting women. We are only aware of two religious groups in which the majority of clergy/leaders are women. That is the Unitarian Universalist Association and some Neo-pagan faiths, like Wicca.

After studying past conflicts that have been partly or completely resolved we have noted that:

  • Resolution of these conflicts seem to be accellerating:
    • Slavery took centuries -- and in the case of the United States, a major war -- to abolish.

    • Allowing women to vote required almost a century of protests.

    • Debate over the existence of Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) was largely resolved over about 15 years (between 1980 and 1995).

    • Interracial marriages were legalized by a ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1967.

    • The debate over same-sex marriage in North America took about 25 years -- a full generation:
      • It started with the filing of an unsuccessful lawsuit in Hawaii during 1991.

      • During 2003, gay marriages became available in Ontario Canada.

      • During 2004, Massachusetts was the first U.S. state to reach marriage equality.

      • During 2005, gay marriages became available across Canada.

      • A decade later, during 2015-JUN, the conflict was settled in the U.S. -- at least from a legal standpoint -- with a decision of the U.S. Supreme Court to legalize gay marriages across the country with the exception of the Territory of American Samoa.

  • When conflicts are eventually resolved, they always seems to be in favor of greater equality and greater human rights for more people.

  • In most cases, when a group that is discriminated against is able to organize and fight to attain equality, they eventually win.

  • At least in recent decades, faith groups that oppose equality and human rights are experiencing a major loss in active membership, particularly among youths and young adults.

Currently, most of the recent conflicts between in North America over the past century are related anindividuals'

Scientific research has shown that all three are caused by genetic factors before birth. For example:

  • A person's biological gender is determined by the presence (male) or absence (female) of a "Y" chromosome in the individual's DNA. That is determined at conception, circa 9 months before birth by the structure of a single spermatozoon that fertilizes an ovum at conception.

  • A person's sexual orientation is fixed and determined by epigenetics. This a layer on top of their DNA that turns various genes on and off. In contrast, many religious conservatives still believe that one's sexual orientation is a choice typically made during teenage years that can be changed through counselling and prayer.

  • A person's gender identity is determined by internal brain structures whch can come in male of female types with different sizes and neuron density. In contrast, many religious conservatives believe that gender identity is caused by gender confusion and can be changed through counseling.

Since the vast majority of our web site's visitors come from the U.S. or Canada, and because about 70% of Americans and Canadians identify themselves as Christians, this section will mainly deal with the conflicts between some Christian sources and other elements in North American society.

Please be aware that we follow a very inclusive definition of the term "Christian." On this website, a Christian is defined as:

"... any individual or group who devoutly, thoughtfully, seriously, and prayerfully regards themselves to be Christian. That is, they honestly believe that they follow Yeshua of Nazareth's (a.k.a. Jesus Christ's) teachings as they understand them to be."

Thus, on this website, Christian denominations include a great range of faith groups, from the Southern Baptists to Mormons, from the Roman Catholic Church to Jehovah's Witnesses, from Christian Scientists to progressive Christian denominations. In contrast, many denominations teach that their faith group is Christian but that many others are not.

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Important stuff:

We strongly recommend that you read the following topics:

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Religious change:

Changes in religious beliefs are very different from changes in scientific beliefs.

  • In the larger world religions, religious beliefs are largely based upon the writings in a holy book -- the Hebrew Scriptures for Jews, the Holy Bible for Christians, the Qur'an for Muslims, etc. The actual text of these books is more or less fixed. Thus, religious beliefs evolve only as the interpretation of the texts change. This is often a very slow process.

    What the books say is fixed; how they are interpreted is evolving.

    Because of the close interaction between religion and culture, change happens at a very slow rate -- often over generations. For example, in the U.S. the level of acceptance of inter-racial marriage increased over the latter part of the 20th century by only about 1 percentage point a year; acceptance of same-sex marriage since 1988 has been increasing somewhat faster -- about 1.7 percentage points a year. Such basic changes are generational in nature because people normally develop their ethical and moral beliefs as older teens and young adults and maintain them unchanged for the rest of their life.

  • In science, all beliefs are open to falsification. Scientists know that their beliefs only approximate reality. Their beliefs are grounded in observations. They expect and aggressively search out reality through observation and study. Change can happen quickly.

  • The following section and essay discuss change:

Past conflicts, now largely settled:

Ever since the time of the scientist Galileo, there have been continual battles in the West between the dominant religion (Christianity) and persons who propose conflicting social, medical, scientific and other ideas.

bullet Human slavery: Slavery has been almost completely eliminated in much of the world. However near-slavery is still a serious problem in some areas of the world.

bullet Other conflicts which have been largely resolved

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One topic which has recently become fully engaged:

Transgender persons: This involves equal rights and protections for those who experience gender dysphoria. Their gender identity conflicts with the biological gender that they were assigned at birth. This topic became prominent as a result of a federal bill in the U.S. to end discrimination on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity. When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on 2015-JUN-26 that gay marriages were to be available across the country (with the exception of American Samoa), the attention of many religious and social conservatives rapidly switched from opposing same-sex marriage to opposing equal rights for transgender persons and transsexuals. As expected, debate on this topic accellerated rapidly, even though only about 0.6% of adults are transgender.

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One topic that may receive accellerated attention in the future:

Polygamy (a.k.a. plural marriage): Marriage is an amazingly flexible institution. It has taken many forms in various cultures and eras. It has not always been restricted to a union of two spouses. The current record holder for man with the largest collection of wives appears to be Solomon in the Bible. He is reported as having 700 wives and 300 concubines.

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Currently active religious/spiritual/moral conflicts:

bullet

The current big five moral/ethical concerns:

  1. Abortion access including methods of reducing the abortion rate

  2. Capital punishment

  3. Climate change, global warming, and the environment

  4. Racism

  5. Sexual minorities:

 

bullet Mental and physical therapies and treatments:
bullet Psychological and other hoaxes

bullet CAM: "Complementary and alternative medicine"

bullet Facilitated communication for people with Autism and other communication disorders

bullet Faith healing via prayer vs. medical treatment

bullet Vaccines and immunization programs

bullet The HPV vaccine and cervical cancer

bullet Recovered Memory therapy (RMT)

bullet Theophostic Counseling

bullet Therapeutic Touch: valid healing method or hoax?

bullet Ending discrimination in hospital visitation
 
bullet Psychiatric service dogs for people with mental disabilities

bulletEducational topics:
bullet In the U.S.:
bullet Religion in the public schools

bullet School library book censorship

bullet Condoms in the schools, sex-ed, and pre-marital sex

bullet Posting the Ten Commandments in public schools

bullet In Canada:
bullet Past abuse in residential schools for Native students in Canada

bullet Anti-bullying "wear pink" day

bullet Faith-based, government financed schools
 
bullet Marriage topics:
bullet About marriage: Changes in marriage, marriage in the Bible, marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution, covenant marriages, same-sex marriages, inter-faith marriages, handfasting, polygamy.....
 
bullet Other items (in alphabetic order):
bullet Asexuality: a fourth sexual orientation?

bullet Angst: a feeling of deep anxiety or dread
bullet

Character counts and What is it that 'Makes America (or any country) Great'?


bullet Christian urban legends: really neat stories with a Christian theme that never happened

bullet Clergy sexual abuse of children and youth

bullet Cloning of humans; Therapeutic cloning 

bullet Conscience clauses: Discriminating against people motivated by religious belief

bullet Corporal punishment of children (Spanking)
bullet

Cremation vs. burial:

bullet

Culture wars: "They Are Out to Change/Destroy Our Culture!" (donated by Contributing Editor Susan Humphreys)


bullet Embryo and stem cell research

bullet Euthanasia and assisted suicide

bullet Medical management of pain

bulletEvolution vs. Creation Science

bullet Fantasy role playing games Dungeons & Dragons, etc.

bullet Female Genital Mutilation (a.k.a. Female Circumcision)

bullet Female ordination

bullet Freedoms: erosion of freedoms and human rights in the U.S.

bullet

Gay marriage (We prefer the term "same-sex marriage" as being more inclusive of persons with a bisexual orientation)


bullet

Government:


bullet

Gun control in the U.S.


bullet

Globalilization (donated by Contributing Editor Susan Humphreys)


bullet Halloween: Facts and misinformation

bullet Hate: What it is & how it damages the hater: An essay by Contributing Editor, Susan Humphreys.

bullet The Harry Potter books (children's imaginative fiction)

bulletHate crime legslation

bulletHate groups in the U.S.

bullet Homosexual marriages (We prefer the term "same-sex marriage" as being more inclusive)

bullet Individual vs. group effort: The power of "WE:" Part 1  Part 2  Part 3

bullet Inter-faith marriages

bulletIntersexuality  and Intersexual Genital Mutilation

bullet Jesus' body: where is it now? In heaven or a Jerusalem tomb

bullet License plates with anti-abortion or pro-Christian messages

bullet Masturbation

bullet Nudism, Naturism, Public Breast-feeding, Toplessness

bullet The "Occult"

bulletPolygamous marriages

bullet Priests' sexual abuse of children and youth

bullet Recovered Memory therapy

bullet Religion in the public schools

bullet Residential schools for Native students in Canada

bullet Ritual abuse

bulletSame-sex marriage

bullet Satanic ritual abuse