Paper2_RD - 1 Teachings of Liberty in Religion In his book...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
1 Teachings of Liberty in Religion In his book Democracy in America , Alexis de Tocqueville highlights religion as one of the most important factors influencing the organization and success of American Democracy, as well as politics in general in America. Religion, specifically Christianity, teaches morals and promotes justice. Most importantly, however, emphasized by Tocqueville’s quote, “it is when [religion] does not speak about liberty that it best teaches Americans the art of being free,” (132), religion supports the backbone of American politics, the ideas of liberty and freedom. Tocqueville speaks of religion’s silence on the matter of liberty as being a key factor of American freedom. However, while not speaking of liberty, religion does speak of many other elements that contribute to political freedom. Religion first and foremost teaches morality. God’s ten commandments in the Hebrew Bible provide moral laws for most of America, as well as a foundation for justice. The influence of religion on our laws can be seen in multiple facets, such as the general non-sale of alcohol and closing of stores in most states on Sundays (“remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy”), as well as in instances like the extreme difficulty one must go through to get a divorce. General guidelines for morality are also taught by religion, not necessarily reflected in American laws, but in the attitudes and expectations of behavior American citizens place on themselves. Religion looks poorly on lying and adultery, as do most Americans. Altruism and volunteerism are also encouraged by most religions, as well as in America, as Tocqueville points out. Tocqueville specifically relates Christianity to American democratic morals on page 223, when he says that “Christianity tells us, it is true, that one must prefer others to oneself in order to gain Heaven, but Christianity also tells us that one must do good to one’s fellow men out of love of God.” This “doing good to one’s fellow men” is seen throughout America, helping to form a cohesive, united community.
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
2 While self-imposed morality is certainly a key to liberty, religion more importantly teaches moderation and restraint in connection with this idea. These characteristics, although not directly speaking of freedom, greatly help Americans with the art of being free. Religion, specifically Christianity, recognizes that human instincts promote taking actions that will be satisfying and make oneself happy, regardless of the harm it does to oneself or others, physically, emotionally, or spiritually. Therefore, to counter these instincts, religion teaches humans to moderate their desires and restrain themselves from impulsively acting on every instinct they have. Tocqueville describes on page 222 how American priests bring benefits of moderation and restraint into the current, earthly lives of their parishioners, as well as reward in the next life. He also explains that religion teaches men to gain material goods and have well-being only through
Background image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

Page1 / 7

Paper2_RD - 1 Teachings of Liberty in Religion In his book...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 3. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online