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February 13, 2013
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Is there such a thing as freedom of religion?

:iconmihaihen:
Mihaihen Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013
Many states around the world have it in their laws\constitutions, etc.
Can such a concept actually exist?!?
Because, some religions like Christianity and Islam, Judaism, etc. are not tolerant towards other beliefs. The core of this religions is that there is no other religion but their own, only there way is the right way.
So giving them right to free religion basically removes the right from others to practice their religions.
In practice governments don't allow all out war, but there is still a war of hearts and minds if you will. A religions cold war perhaps, where each devotee tries to convert as much people as possible making their religion dominant.
And this, in the long term will lead to social unrest, strife...
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:iconshawnjohnston:
ShawnJohnston Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2013
I'd say you'll get as much freedom in religion as you get in freedom of anything. All freedoms have at least a LITTLE restriction. TOTAL religious freedom would be a terrible thing because you could hide behind belief to do whatever you want.

So long as laws aren't made to inhibit others from believing in something (or force people into believing something), I would consider it pretty free. At a social level you'll get some harassment based on your religion, but for how Christianity-accomodating the US government is, it's not as oppressive of other religions as some other places.
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:iconhai-etlik:
Hai-Etlik Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013
Freedom of/from religion means that the presence or absence of religious motivation for an action has no bearing on whether that action is allowed.

You are free to attend a lecture on linguistics and you are free to attend a religious sermon. You are not free to murder people for queue jumping at a lane merge and you are not free to engage in human sacrifice to Cthulu.
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:iconlyteside:
lyteside Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013
"The core of this religions is that there is no other religion but their own, only there way is the right way.
So giving them right to free religion basically removes the right from others to practice their religions."


I'm not following this. How does your second sentence relate to the first?

example:
"The core of my belief is that only by eating a steady diet of vegetables can you live healthier. There is no other way."
"So giving me my right to believe this removes your right to eat all kinds of meat and avoid vegetables."

I just can't reconcile it as a logical argument. Can you explain more?
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:iconsaeter:
Saeter Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2013
I assume it's about the mutual exclusivity of most religions make it impossible for people to freely practice their iwn beliefs so long as any one of them is in charge or favored by government.
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:iconlyteside:
lyteside Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2013
Right. In a theocracy, I would agree. If we make laws based on religious beliefs, there are bound to be conflicts.
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:iconsaeter:
Saeter Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2013
Even in the U.S. so called secular government have laws being promoted and passed with religiously (particularly Christian) based.
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:iconcarusmm:
carusmm Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
No man is above the law.
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:iconkeydan:
Keydan Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013
I really do find that to be a problem of freedom of religion. If anything the social law should always be above any religious law. And here we stand giving rights to people to follow any religion, even those that say "screw the official law, we have all the stuff you need". System is kinda broken that way. And same goes for some other freedoms.
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:iconiriastar:
Iriastar Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013
Yes there is. There is also the freedom to believe that you're right and everyone else that disagrees with you is wrong.
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:iconwolfyspice:
WolfySpice Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Yes.

Because no freedom is absolute.
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:icontacosteev:
tacosteev Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013  Hobbyist
Freedom of religion means you can worship without government interference. There's millions of folk in the US who worship and they're not all Christian, Islamic or Jewish. So yes, freedom of religion does work.
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:iconkalinka-shadows:
Kalinka-Shadows Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013
The three major Abrahamic religions are extremely intolerant. Can there be be freedom of religion as long as they exist? Yes. As long as the state constrains the religions, yes there can be freedom of religion. It boils down to freedom FROM religion. In order for freedom of religion to exist, laws have to be erected to act as a barrier between the church and the state.

The state should prosecute, convict, and jail people who violate that oath. The best example of this is USian Texas Governor Rick Perry, his actions should be considered considered a violation of his oath to the US Constitution, he should be impeached for abuse of his power in that he has actively attempted to force his Protestant Christian views on the population.
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:iconmihaihen:
Mihaihen Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013
"The three major Abrahamic religions are extremely intolerant. Can there be be freedom of religion as long as they exist?" I agree, i on the other hand believe the answer is no. Because that sort of intolerance will always create fanatics!
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:iconcarusmm:
carusmm Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I believe in religions being free to create chaos. I am Satan.
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:icontimehasanend:
TimeHasAnEnd Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013  Hobbyist
True! But, Jesus Christ was the only one who can claim and say, "I am The Way, The Truth and The Life", no man can come to God, but by me." In another words, there's no other "Salvation Plan", for mankind. Only, through the Lord Jesus Christ.
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:icontimehasanend:
TimeHasAnEnd Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013  Hobbyist
THE WAY - Used the definite article to distinguish Himself as "the only way." A way is a path or route, and the disciples had expressed their confusion about where He was going, and how they could follow. As He had told them from the beginning, Jesus was again telling them (and us) "follow me." There is no other path to Heaven, no other way to the Father. Peter reiterated this same truth years later to the rulers in Jerusalem, saying about Jesus:

"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved...Acts 4:12. The exclusive nature of the only path to salvation is expressed in the words "I am the way."

THE TRUTH – Again Jesus used the definite article to emphasize Himself as "the only truth." Psalm 119:142 says "Your law is the truth." In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reminded His listeners of several points of the Law, then said "but I say unto you...Matthew 5:22, 28, 32, 34, 39, 44, thereby equating Himself with the Law of God as the authoritative standard of righteousness. In fact, Jesus said that He came to fulfill the law and the prophets (Matthew 5:17). Jesus, as the incarnate Word of God (John 1:1) is the source of all truth.

THE LIFE – Jesus had just been telling His disciples about His impending death, and now He was claiming to be the source of all life. In John 10:17-18, Jesus declared that He was going to lay down His life for His sheep, and then take it back again. He spoke of His authority over life and death as being granted to Him by the Father. In John 14:19, He gave the promise that "because I live, you also will live." The deliverance He was about to provide was not a political or social deliverance (which most of the Jews were seeking), but a true deliverance from a life of bondage to sin and death to a life of freedom in eternity.

In these words, Jesus was declaring Himself the great "I Am," the only path to righteousness, the only true measure of righteousness, and the source of both physical and spiritual life. He was staking His claim as the very "God of Creation", the Lord who blessed Abraham, and the Holy One who inhabits eternity. He did this so the disciples would be able to face the dark days ahead and carry on the mission of declaring the gospel to the world. Of course, we know from Scripture that they still didn't understand, and it took several visits from their risen Lord to shake them out of their disbelief. Once they understood the truth of His words, they became changed people, and the world has never been the same.

So how do we follow Him today? The same way the disciples did long ago. They heard the words of Jesus and believed them. They took His words and obeyed them. They confessed their sins to Jesus as their Lord and God. They believed that He died to take the punishment of their sins and rose from the dead to give them new life. They followed His example and command to tell others the truth about sin, righteousness, and judgment. When we follow Him in "the way," we can be assured of following Him all the way to Heaven.
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:iconaapis:
Aapis Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013
You're free to choose which, that's about it.
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:iconsiegeonthorstadt:
siegeonthorstadt Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013
no "war of religion" mishmash talk was around until the 9/11 and the middle east massacre that followed it. criticism doesnt create the data it criticizes. all intellectuals of Abrahamic religions used to stand together save for the extremists which were seen as antisocial psychopaths until the war. now they are heroes in society.. (ie [link])

the governments dont "not allow an all out war", its just that no war can materialize over ideologies. thats a childs concept. wars are fought over survival instincts, such as resources, territories or communication. even america couldnt justify their whateverth crusade to the world even though they managed a large scale organized cold war style propaganda. this is because the general of the religious population is just not dumb enough to campaign for a waste of life and resources for beliefs that are on the whim of arguments. there is only a minority of extremists who think that way. but the problem is that this minority has grown in percentage and in rural areas are majorities. and they keep getting louder and louder, so much that they start to represent their religions or political views without the consent of the billions of people that are seriously bothered with it.
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:iconkemcar:
kemcar Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013
According to me, Religion is how you feel God around you in life's day to day happenings. Well if you ask me, everybody SHOULD have the freedom to practice a religion of his own choice. And I feel converting into one religion from another does not bring you any closer to God.
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:iconsachi-pon:
Sachi-pon Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
"The core of this religions is that there is no other religion but their own, only there way is the right way."

i'm so tired of people saying things like this.

EVERYONE BELIEVES THIS, not just religious people.

EVERYONE believes their way is the right way, that is why they believe it in the first place! everyone, religious or not, tries to convert others to their beliefs. non-religious people constantly talk about how religion is brainwashing, and they are always trying to convince religious people to leave their beliefs behind. so don't act like only religious people try to convert others. everyone does it.

and trying to convert others is called freedom of speech. there is nothing wrong with one person trying to convince another person to follow their belief system. yes there is a war for hearts and minds. everyone has their own opinions and we can passionately debate and argue and that is a GOOD thing. it does not remove the right of others to practice their religions. you are going to have to realize that there are always going to be tons and tons of people who have huge disagreements with you. the government shouldn't make a law against that just because you don't like it.
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:icondivine--apathia:
divine--apathia Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Could you please point out in the atheist doctrine where it says we need to kill non atheists?
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:iconmihaihen:
Mihaihen Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013
Good point sir. And i might add, where does the atheist dogma demands we smash and\or burn other gods statues(witch from my point of view are art and should be treated as such) and their holly texts(which have historical value)?
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:icontacosteev:
tacosteev Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013  Hobbyist
It's towards the back ;)
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:iconsaeter:
Saeter Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013
Even that is after making the mistake of believing there is an atheistic doctrine.
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:icondivine--apathia:
divine--apathia Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
No atheist doctrine is kinda the point of my comment.
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:iconkingstephenarthur:
KingStephenArthur Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013
"EVERYONE BELIEVES THIS, not just religious people."

they are talking about the religions, not the people.
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:iconhorus2299:
Horus2299 Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013
Yes, there can be freedom of religion, but we aren't free from the consequences of behaving unreasonably. If someone tries to blame violent behavior against "enemy groups" on their religion, it's either the End Times, or the police need to get involved and take them down. It's still freedom, because they made the choice to do something, but they can't complain if they get punished for it. As a matter of principle, the religion with the most followers should be the one with the most political power. If they weren't, it would be disproportionate.
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:iconsaintartaud:
saintartaud Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013  Professional General Artist
I thought it came down essentially to the government being unable to impose a state religion and people being able to believe in or practice whatever religion they like (or no religion), so long as it's legal.  I won't say there haven't been challenges or that everything's always been peachy as far as religious freedom in the US is concerned.  But we've never technically been a theocracy, and there's currently a fair bit of diversity in what people believe (or don't), so it doesn't strike me as an impossibility.

I also disagree with your blanket statement that religions are not tolerant towards other belief systems.  It would be more accurate to say that certain individuals, sects, denominations are intolerant.  You seem to be conflating tolerance with agreement.
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:icondivine--apathia:
divine--apathia Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Suppose you hear in one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you that some worthless rabble among you have led their fellow citizens astray by encouraging them to worship foreign gods. In such cases, you must examine the facts carefully. If you find it is true and can prove that such a detestable act has occurred among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock. Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the street and burn it. Put the entire town to the torch as a burnt offering to the LORD your God. That town must remain a ruin forever; it may never be rebuilt. Keep none of the plunder that has been set apart for destruction. Then the LORD will turn from his fierce anger and be merciful to you. He will have compassion on you and make you a great nation, just as he solemnly promised your ancestors. "The LORD your God will be merciful only if you obey him and keep all the commands I am giving you today, doing what is pleasing to him." (Deuteronomy 13:13-19 NLT)
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:icontacosteev:
tacosteev Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013  Hobbyist
The events of Deuteronomy would have taken place thousands of years ago. Any examples from the new testament which would be a little more relevant?

There have always been men who claim to speak for God and done horrible things (crusades, "holy" wars and witch trials come to mind), but they don't speak for the religion. At least for Christianity the message of the new testament is about loving, forgiving and helping folk.
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:icondivine--apathia:
divine--apathia Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
All of the bible is from thousands of years ago, even the new testament.


Romans 1:24-32

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death.
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:icontacosteev:
tacosteev Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013  Hobbyist
I know, but 2000 years old is much newer than whenever the Moses books were written. Also its more applicable to Christians :)

That chapter is Paul talking about the judgements of God not what society should do. Folk that choose to sin even knowing God's commandments will be rewarded with death (they won't make it into heaven).
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:iconsaintartaud:
saintartaud Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013  Professional General Artist
OK? Again, I'm trying to think in more practical terms here, since I thought the question was whether tolerance was possible. I get that scripture can be used to support all sorts of heinous stuff, and this is but one example that doesn't require much reading into. But many religious people are capable of tolerating other religions or non-religious people.
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:iconmihaihen:
Mihaihen Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013
1 st commandment in the bible, i think it goes something like: Thou Shalt Not Have Any Gods Before Me ?
Islam and Judaism stand on the same line, since they stem from the same Jewish roots.
Plus, the bible, coran both praise people that smashed idols, aka other peoples Gods. How is that tolerant?
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:icontacosteev:
tacosteev Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013  Hobbyist
The ancient Hebrews didn't have freedom of religion. Can't exactly say an entire religion is intolerant because of what some folk did thousands of years ago. :shrug:
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:iconmihaihen:
Mihaihen Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013
Oh really? Read their bible( i think they call it tora), and then come back and try and say their religion is tolerant.
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:icontacosteev:
tacosteev Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013  Hobbyist
I don't know much about Islam so I can't comment, but have known a bunch of folk who followed Judaism. They're tolerant of other religions just fine. Just like most folk, they don't mind what others believe.
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:iconsaintartaud:
saintartaud Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013  Professional General Artist
Thanks for better clarifying my point.
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:icontacosteev:
tacosteev Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013  Hobbyist
You're welcome. So many folk come to a conclusion first and then try to justify that conclusion by looking at one offs or taking scripture out of context. There's no changing their mind.
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:iconsaintartaud:
saintartaud Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013  Professional General Artist
Yeah, context is such a big thing with scripture. Christians have a different relationship to the OT than Jews, and most Jews don't read it all literally or follow the old laws to a T anymore.
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:iconsaintartaud:
saintartaud Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013  Professional General Artist
Yes, and that commandment is for followers within that religion to follow. It says nothing about imposing your religion on others. Which is not to say that a believer reading scripture couldn't decide to use it for that purpose, but that's not exactly what it's saying.

Anyway, I thought we were talking the practical reality of a concept, not what happened in the Bible. Freedom of religion goes back about 500 years and has been supported by many Christians. There are also numerous societies historically where several religions (including those mentioned) has managed to live side by side in a relatively tolerant manner. Clearly some level of tolerance of other belief systems is possible.

I would also point out that Judaism has never had the same zeal for conversion as Christianity or Islam. Perhaps by necessity, they have learned to live as outsiders within many different societies and have had no problem tolerating the existence of those around them. Some of the societies have not been so tolerant.
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:iconmihaihen:
Mihaihen Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013
"Anyway, I thought we were talking the practical reality of a concept, not what happened in the Bible. " Alright, how about the witch hunts? Those where reality. Or the missionaries forcefully converting natives?
" Perhaps by necessity, they have learned to live as outsiders within many different societies and have had no problem tolerating the existence of those around them. " They are not and never whore tolerant. They have on the other side always been too weak to impose their will on others.
I remember this little tid bit, Romans put that eagle thingy on top of the Jewish temple. Jews go full retards and revolt, they get massacred. They remember those hard learn lessons and they restrain themselves more.
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:icontacosteev:
tacosteev Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013  Hobbyist
The bit about the natives is untrue, it had nothing to do with religion. The colonists viewed them as savages and were "europeanizing" them, civilizing them.

The witch hunts were horrible but where in the new testament does it endorse that kind of behavior? Men will always use religion as their justification for evil works, doesn't make the religion evil. How many have been killed in the name of democracy? Does that mean democracy is evil?
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:iconmihaihen:
Mihaihen Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013
If you think democracy is not evil you are dead wrong. Spend a week in any American "secret" prison and you will see just how democratic those are.
Have you seen the leaked photos of the Americans abusing Iraki prisoner?
Those guys are the shinning example of noble knights striving for democracy am i rite guis?
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:icontacosteev:
tacosteev Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013  Hobbyist
I'm not talking about the prisons and there're more countries that support democracy than the US. Are they evil by association?
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:iconsaintartaud:
saintartaud Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013  Professional General Artist
I have pretty clearly stated that I am not denying any intolerance on the part of the religious. Rather, I am arguing with your blanket assumptions about those religions.

Like I said, "perhaps by necessity," because they haven't had much power in many of these societies and it's in their best interest to tolerate others. Actually, for the reputation Jews have had for being insular, foreign, etc. they have absorbed a great deal from other cultures. You could say that a policy of tolerance is usually in the best interest of a minority, since it's the main principle ensuring their safety.

I'm not exactly sure which incident you're referring to. I guess you might be referring to this? [link]
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:iconmihaihen:
Mihaihen Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013
Ok, so i did mess things up a bit, sowwy. Herod actually put that there, guess he was kissing ass to the Romans.
[link]

Not that it makes much difference do. Just show how hateful they are, when they get the chance. Hateful i might add to an empire that had free religions. Rome had so many cults operating within it's walls. Probably the reason Christianity spread. When they realized they had to put a stop to it(cause they where causing revolts, strife and all manner of hell), it was too late.
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:iconsaintartaud:
saintartaud Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013  Professional General Artist
Yes, I'm aware that the Roman Empire contained many different religions. This is partly why they were so successful as an empire, since apart from paying tribute to the emperor and some other bits, citizens were allowed to pretty much live as they saw fit. Still, many Jews, Christians, and other saw allegiance to the empire as a conflict of interest. Not really surprising, considering that they were foreign occupiers with a different culture in a city with lots of symbolic value for a particular group.

But Jews and Christians were not absolutely resistant, and Hellenistic culture and philosophy had a substantial influence on their theology. If you went south of Jerusalem into Alexandria around the same time, you would have encountered a diverse society with lots of cross-cultural exchange.
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:iconmihaihen:
Mihaihen Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013
I honestly believe if the world would just get rid of any religion that teaches only it is the right way. Fallow our religion or you will be "punished" by the big guy in the sky. I think, things would be a lot better. There are many religions that are accept ant of others, like Buddhism and Shinto for example. They coexisted and still coexist in Japan without conflict. And what conflict did exist in the past, was not do to the religion itself, it was people wanting to make their organization more influential then the other. But in those religions there is nowhere thought to smash other peoples object of worship!
The other ones clearly ask their followers to be utter assholes to other peoples beliefs.
Sure, some believer are moderate and not fanatical. But that does not mean the religion and it's teaching itself is not wrong.
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(1 Reply)
:iconorangekrissy:
OrangeKrissy Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013
Not with all the atheists here. They will be the ones with the number of the beast on their foreheads in the last day, persecuting and executing Christians.
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