Quantcast

Religious Tolerance logo

Religious change

A VIM: Very Important Menu

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.

horizontal rule

An introduction to religious and ethical conflicts:

For centuries, there have been active major conflicts of a religious, theological and/or ethical 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 40 thousand Christian denominations, sects, and faith groups in the world rather than one.

  • 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. Women were granted the vote first in New Zealand during 1893. It was only in 2020-AUG that the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gave women the right to vote. It was only in 1929 that Women were considered full persons in Canada who could be appointed to the federal Senate. Women in Quebec, Canada were only allowed to vote 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 accelerating:
    • 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 and nature of Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) was largely resolved over about 15 years (between 1980 and 1995).

    • Interracial marriages were legalized after a long-running conflict, 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. Most people who live there are considered residents, not American citizens. Thus rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court are not necessarily recognized there.

  • 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.

As of early months of the year 2020, most of the recent conflicts between in North America over the past century are related to an individuals'

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. It is developed long before birth and does not change through life. 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 counseling and prayer.

  • A person's gender identity is determined by internal brain structures which 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 mental 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 broad 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 interpret 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.

horizontal rule

horizontal rule

Important stuff:

We strongly recommend that you read the following topics:

horizontal line

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 largely 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.

horizontal rule

Sponsored link:

horizontal rule

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 accelerated rapidly, even though only about 0.6% of adults are transgender.

horizontal rule

A topic that public opinion has intensely focused on:

During mid-2020, demonstrations -- some violent -- were seen across the U.S. and in some other countries. The trigger ocurred in Baltimore, MD when Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, leaned his knee on the neck of George Floyd, a black man. Within less than ten minutes, George was dead. Chauvin was part of a four-officer team which also included J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao face. None of the latter intervened to save Floyd's life. All four have been fired and face murder/manslaughter charges in the death of George Floyd.

One result of the killing and the demonstrations was a very rapid change in public opinion in the U.S. concerning whether "Black Lives Matter."

horizontal rule

One topic that may receive accelerated 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. A concubine is a type of junior wife.

horizontal rule

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 < This topic is changing at an unprecedented speed starting in 2020

  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 Theosophic Counseling

bullet Therapeutic Touch: valid healing method or hoax?

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

bullet Educational 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 per-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, hand-fasting, 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)


 

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 Evolution 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 Other items (in alphabetic order):

bullet
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

Medical management of pain


bullet

Evolution 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:


 

Gun control in the U.S.


 

Gun control in Canada


bullet

Globalization (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)

bullet Hate crime legislation

bullet Hate 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 1Part 2Part 3

bullet Inter-faith marriages

bullet Intersexuality┬ 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"

bullet Polygamous 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

bullet Same-sex marriage

bullet Satanic ritual abuse

bullet Sex related topics

bullet Separation of church and state; Recent court decisions

bullet Spanking (corporal punishment) of children

bullet Stem cell research

bullet Suicide

bullet The Ten Commandments; should they be posted in public schools, etc.?

bullet Being transgender, transsexualism and gender identity

bullet Truth and falsehood: absolute or relative?

bullet "Spare the Rod:" an essay describing partnership and dominator cultural models by Riane Eisler

bullet Vouchers for religious schools

bullet War costs in Iraq and Afghanistan

bullet Witchcraft and Wicca

bullet Women in the clergy: female priests, pastors, ministers, rabbis

Sponsored links:

Additional "Hot" Topics can be seen elsewhere on this Web site at the following menus:

bullet Overlap and conflicts between science and religion

bullet Religious hatred and other not-so-spiritual matters

bullet "Cults" - (a.k.a. New Religious Movements)

bullet Morality
line.gif (538 bytes)
Sponsored link

to the previous page, or return to the home page, or choose:

Google
Search:
Web ReligiousTolerance.org
Medical management of pain
Go to home page We would really appreciate your help

E-mail us about errors, etc.Hot topics

FreeFind search, lists of new essays... Having problems printing our essays?


Twitter link

Facebook icon