The Logic Train
This needs to be addressed head on and straight forwardly. There’s way too much strife all over the world caused by the misunderstanding of this one issue.
Let’s follow the logic train, one station at a time:
- The government provides services on behalf of, and to, the people it represents
- The government must, therefore, represent itself as the people, to the people
- The people are many and varied in their beliefs and opinions about the nature of life beyond the physical senses and are free to be so
- There is no way of independently arbitrating between different beliefs and opinions about the nature of life beyond the physical senses, because they are beyond the physical senses
- So all beliefs and opinions held by the people must be equal, in the eyes of their government
- So the government must either represent all of the people’s beliefs and opinions, or none of them
- Representing each person’s beliefs and opinions to them individually is impossible to achieve
- So the government must abstain from representing any beliefs and opinions
- And the government must abstain from discriminating amongst its citizens based on the citizen’s beliefs and opinions
If you made it to the end and are satisfied, congratulations!
If you had to get off the logic train at one of the stations, please consult the guide below according to the station you had to stop at:
- You don’t believe in democracy/service/the people/yourself/government – (pick as many as you like)
- See 1 above
- You live in a unique place (of your imagination) where there is unified and complete agreement amongst all the people about the nature of life beyond the physical senses
- You believe that, so long as you’re the one in charge (see 1 above), you are right and everyone who disagrees with you is wrong/ill informed/misguided/ignorant/willfully disobedient – (pick as many as you like)
- Sorry, you can’t get off here. (If you passed station 4 then you will have to stay on board at least as far as station 6)
- You believe that some other people’s beliefs and opinions are held by a sufficiently small minority to allow for dismissal and/or see 4 above.
- Nice idea, but really? Who’s working in the government you imagine? Not people presumably, because people can’t do this; and even if they could, they certainly would not have the time in their entire lives to read the cannon of law for your society, so effectively there would be no law. So you must be an anarchist?
- Sorry, you can’t get off here. (Go back to station 7 and check yourself, otherwise you will have to stay on board at least as far as station 9)
- You want to live in a society based on the principles of monarchy/dictatorship/feudalism/patriarchy/oligarchy/ someotherkindofgarcy – (pick as many as you like)
While some of the responses given in the guide above may appear to be humorous, they are, in fact, not and are deadly serious. As deadly serious as the death of the people who die every day around the world at the hands of willfully misguided, ill informed and ignorant dictators, despots, theocrats and oligarchs who believe that they are right and everyone who disagrees with them is wrong.
The stations where most people (who see themselves has having a generally kind and gentle disposition toward their fellow humans) think about getting off are 3, 5 and 8.
As discussed in the guide, getting off at 5 or 8 demonstrates a lack of logic that means that there is probably no reason that can be introduced to assist in resolution of the matter and it has to be left there.
Asserting a right to get off at 3 is really about whether of not one acknowledges people as having differences; and people do, quite patently, have differences. So, while inside a debate it might be possible to theorize about a society of completely homogenous views and beliefs, in the real world no such place exists. Because even if all the original members are there of choice and agreement, the birth of the very next child breaks the mold.
The conclusion is that governments of free peoples have no choice but to be secular. They must not represent any beliefs or opinions about the nature of life beyond the physical senses and they must not discriminate against anyone based on their beliefs or opinions about the nature of life beyond the physical senses.
The common theme in all religions of stature is that loving kindness is the true path to happiness for humankind.
Practicing loving kindness needs development and training in humans, and so all religions incorporate guidance to their adherents as to how to accomplish the discipline necessary to develop the enduring practice of loving kindness. To promulgate these behaviors there is an obvious progression, in societies dominated by a single religion, to incorporating that guidance into the rules and laws of that society.
The root problem with legislating the path to loving kindness is that it is an internal journey accomplished by individual humans for themselves and cannot be externally imposed. So the whole endeavor becomes a completely self-defeating strategy as the freedoms of the humans subjugated thusly are curtailed and replaced with intimidation and oppression – the opposite of loving kindness! Spiritual traditions can offer a path to happiness but they cannot force anyone down that path; faced with this reality religious governments invariably conclude that their only option for non-conforming people is to imprison, maim or kill them, otherwise they lose the credibility of their attempt to legislate their path.
Compounding the error, spiritual “laws” do not provide good guidance on the practicalities of running a developed society with millions of citizens. Inevitably, religious societies bring in the services of commercial minds to accomplish those tasks. Thus is born the moralist-capitalist state, of which there are many examples today, not least of which include Iran, China and the USA. This is doubly ineffectual because the commercial interest is not the same as the social interest, and now you have moralists restraining freedom at the same time as you have commercialists restraining the growth of wealth (the commercial mind is concerned primarily with the concentration of wealth).
For humans to develop their innate faculties for loving kindness they must live in a free society that is run for the benefit of its citizens. If we are to give ourselves the government we deserve we MUST take PERSONAL responsibility for our own path to loving kindness. This insight is incorporated in the Standards of LIFE, and determines the absolute requirement for secular government.