Faith has been the focus of our recent elections. Those who believed that our country values religious liberty are those that understood themselves as the faithful in protesting a "government take-over". But, how faith and politics interacts is a sticky situation.
Many have sought to define faith based soley on scripture. Their is a fundamentalist view of life and knowledge that is stringently defined by "holy scripture". The academic disciplines are suspect in this view.
Others have understood their faith based on the institution of the Church. And the Church has created a rationalization of faith claims which becomes doctrine. Those that do not adhere to these definitions are ex-communicated.
Still others have sought to use their reason to defend faith by theology. But, theology is still the Church's defense or rationale to believe without "grounding".
Some have sought to "ground" and live out their faith by a "logos' understanding. These have brought about an idealization of faith (Christ of faith) through Jesus, as a life example. These are piestic/behavioral oriented believers.
Those that have given up on definitions and are prone to a negative theology, where God ceases to be defined, because he is beyond definition, are pluralists. These are universalists in their understanding of faith. And they attempt to unify faith along the lines of human need.
Those that want to understand faith in regards to a particular tradition study the historical, political, and social structuring of such a faith. These are apt to be useful to political goals for peace.
Because I have doubts about the practicality of ideals when it comes to faith claims, I am in "limbo" and will not commit. Political goals and purposes seem to be the most realistic value to and for me. Therefore, our country's value of individuality/diversity and liberty are important values to me. These can only be protected if those in power understand that we are all created equal, without imposing thier ideological understanding of the way the world works or how the individual "should be" in the world.
I am afraid that religion has been useful to further political ends without considering that indivdual liberties will be undermined by such social engineering. And our American ideals of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" will be a distant memory unless we defend such liberty, as the most important value for American identity.
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