Over the past few weeks, the Bridge the Divide community has focused on the role of religion in modern society through multiple lenses. In this room for debate, ambassadors weigh in on what they think the relationship between religion and state should be.
Question: To What Extent Should Religion Influence the State?
Secularism Should not Conflict with Freedom: written by Lucy Arundell, Australia
As the West becomes increasingly secular, discussions around the separation between religion and state have become more important. For most of human history, any kind of leadership and government has been strongly characterized by religion. The ancient Athenians created the world’s first democracy, while their leaders frequently referred to signs and portents from the gods to validate their decisions. Religion has gone hand and hand with leadership and government since the beginning of organised society. But what is the place of religion in government in our modern era?
Over the past few weeks, Bridge the Divide has turned its focus on religious divides that exist globally. In the BTD: Converge conference we ran a panel discussing different ways people are divided both between different religious groups and between religious and secular groups. As part of an ongoing attempt to increase interfaith dialogue and understanding a group of ambassadors have joined to share their thoughts and experiences regarding religion.
Christianity - Jeffrey Che, Maryland:
I believe that religion brings people together, but there is a cutoff point. Religion can help people develop morals, but when stark differences exist between people with different religious backgrounds and values, they clash and remain close minded.
Judaism - Jac Guerra, Connecticut:
My hometown, like many other southern New England areas, is mainly Catholic with a much higher concentration of Jewish representation than other areas. It wasn't until I started getting involved in media that...