secular activities of faiths

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From: Eirikur Hallgrimsson (
Date: Thu Feb 01 2001 - 07:42:31 PST

On Wednesday 31 January 2001 09:19, ThosStew wrote:
> funding social work through "faith based organizations" is a terrible
> thing ... for faith. There is no public money without strings attached.

Wow, Tom, good post.

That put me in mind of my take on the tendency of many faiths to try to enact
civil legislation that compels people to practice (or conform to) a given

This seems impractical in the extreme, because people who want to practice
that religion are doing so, and others may be presumed to not want to.

So, it's impractical. But, there's more. It's *extremely* poor theology,
because most faiths prohibit coerced conversion on the grounds that
faith requires willingness.

I realize that I shouldn't expect rationality from what are essentially
tub-thumping empire-builders, but the irony really gets me, and they
undermine truly spiritual leaders.

Even the modern Islamic states are inexplicable based on the theology.
I don't recall anything in al Quran that allows coercion; willing submission
being the name of the whole idea. I'm fairly surprized that there are no
Quran-brandishing women's lib movements in those countries--the book doesn't
particularly oppress women.

Trying for a concise summation of this post, I came up with "Religions are
not about theology." It's been said before that institutionalized
spirituality isn't very spiritual, but it seems so ironic that the
book-brandishing fundamentalists of all sorts don't ever seem to be
particularly well-supported by the contents of their faith.

Oh, god, it's a religous post. Mea culpa.


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