Which philosophy do you use?

I had previously posed this question in a poll: Which philosophy is better: Your religious views should inform your political views; your political views should inform your religious views; or, both should be compartmentalized and neither should inform the other?

I would like to know where my readers stand on this. But more importantly, I’d like to know why. How would you make a case for your view? How would you argue against opposing views, why are they wrong?


  1. It’s important to recognize that there will always be an interaction of both. I think religious views, and more broadly, one’s core values, theistic or nontheistic, will come first.
    People should draw inspiration for political decisions from their core values. But inspiration means ideas and direction. But the line has to be drawn when one makes justifications for political decisions that affect others.
    “My Bible says gay is wrong” is an inspiration. “Gay’s can’t get married because the Bible says so” is an unconstitutional imposition of religious values on society. “Gay’s can’t get married because sociological research shows it will damage society” – this is a secular albeit made-up justification.
    Feel free to reference religion but when making policy decisions, the justification has to be one that is not based on sectarian beliefs.

    • Jason

      “the justification has to be one that is not based on sectarian beliefs” How do you justify this aside from personal preference, especially when this (your) preference would affect me?

      Moreover, as you can see from clicking the “Same-Sex Marriage” tab above I argue extensively against same-sex marriage without envoking God/ the bible/religion at all. I think this demonstrates that one can argue against it without using the word ‘icky’. Additionally, there is peer reviewed research which argues the potential negative effects widespread implimentation same-sex marriage will bring. It can’t be hand-waivingly dismissed because you don’t agree.

      So I’m clear, do you think one’s religious/atheistic views can be used interchangably with core values?

  2. Jason,
    Your concept that “the line has to be drawn when one makes justifications for political decisions that affect others” sounds good – but it is absolutely wrong. Our political decisions are based on our values. Our values, in turn, are (largely) based on our religious beliefs. If I take religion out of the picture, then I can’t vote with my values.

    You have no such delima since you have no religion I don’t know where your values come from, but certainly they don’t come from any religious text or interpritation.

    Let me give you a couple examples:
    1) Human rights: My faith tells me that all people are created in the image of God and have IMMENSE value. This leads me to generally vote for candidates who uphold the value of ALL human life: From conception to the grave. This certainly has an impact on people who do not hold my beliefs. Therefore you seem to think that I can’t vote this way.
    2) Social services: My faith teaches me to help those who are in need – to be a father to the fatherless and to help the widows and the poor. As such, I think it is important to have a social safety net and to provide encouragement (tax breaks, etc) for charitable giving. Libertarians (and some republicans) argue that we should eliminate many of these programs. My faith tells me otherwise. But my vote (EITHER WAY) has a significant impact on people.
    3) International relations: My faith tells me that all people are of equal value – Americans are not “superior” to citizens of other nations. As such, we have an obligation (within reason) to come to the aid of the oppressed throughout the world. I will not vote for an “isolationist” candidate who refuses to share our good fortune with the world community.
    4) Marriage: My faith tells me that marriage is a reflection of God’s love for his people. That leads me to value marriage and to support laws which make divorce difficult and define marriage as being between two members of the opposite sex. By asking me to “leave my faith at the door”, you are essentially asking me to redefine what I believe about marriage.

    Each of these are issues where my faith leads me to a particular political position. In each case, my vote (either way) has an impact on real people. “Leaving your faith at the door” really ONLY works when you have no faith (or a marginal faith) to begin with. Anyone with a genuine faith CANNOT leave their faith out of these sorts of decisions.

  3. My faith does inform my political beliefs, but that is confirmed by an honest observation of reality. I cannot vote any other way than toward those with the most conservative ideals because, like my faith, logic, reason, truth and reality are all aligned with both my faith and my politics. Really makes it easy.

  4. My worldview certainly informs my politics, and I don’t see how it could be otherwise. When I was religious, my faith informed my worldview- and this in turn affected my political leanings. I wouldn’t vote against my conscience, but I understand that my conscience is not the only possible good.

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