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Faith Communities & Community Cohesion

Do you agree with the Uk government's involvement of faith communities and religious organisations in building and maintaining social cohesion at the community level? Do such faith communities and religious organisations have a greater role when the communities in question are DIVERSE and DEPRIVED?

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    Aug 10 2012: Faith and Community Cohesion are two terms that should not be put into the same sentence. Faith is a belief system that brings people together based on conviction. On this definition alone we can point to a contradiction with community cohesion – but I will go a step further. All faiths claim truthfulness hence they are mutually exclusive. The Christians believe the one who does not submit in his God is condemned forever – the Muslim thinks the same. How does faith bring such groups together? It is precisely faith that put them apart in the first place.

    I wish no religion was ever created– it deprives decent people of their ability to love. Folks start hating on others for no reason simply because it is a religious duty to do so - be it homosexuals or people of different faith.
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      Aug 10 2012: Do you not think though that you are only using the word "religion" in general terms? I would argue that in reality at the very basis of what 'religion' or the Church should look like is people who actually enhance the ability to love within community. As well as this it's good to realise not all Christians go down the route of saying people are condemned forever, in fact large fractions of the Church now believe in a universal God- although that is a separate argument and certainly not all Christians hate people of different beliefs such as other religions or homosexuals etc. I certainly don't.
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        Aug 10 2012: You are right Luke, perhaps i was not careful enough when i used the word "religion". Though It is important to distinguish between 'what Church should look like' and 'what church actually looks like'. I agree with you that the church should enhance peoples ability to love but this has not been the case. The only love enhancement in the church is for in group members. I take your second point - i am one of those who don't go down that route - but we need a sense of proportion. It is fair to say that Christians have some work to do on issues around discrimination.

        But on the specifics; Britain is a 'Christian State' (i use this term with caution) that's why you have the government using the church to forward its policy.
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        Aug 12 2012: Luke, if some Christians believe in a universal god and drop hell, creation, supernatural this and that, revelation, most the bible and pick and choose the nice bits, then they have little in common with more biblically orientated Christians.

        Potentially you might end up with someone who believes there is probably some supernatural realm and beings, and that Jesus taught some nice things. If you just focus on the nice things you basically have humanism.

        Unfortunately Christainity at its roots is connected to the bible, and the biblical god is not that nice, the concept of hell is not that nice, and in the end there is no evidence to support any of the supernatural claims or many of the other details.

        Yes people with all sorts of spiritual beliefs identify as Christians, even if they can not agree on anything else. But it comes back to religious beliefs that do not need to be justified because they are based on faith and can go either way.

        The very nature of any scripture, revelation or authority (pope) based beliefs is that all sorts of baseless nonsense can be prescribed and is not supposed to be challenged. Its hard to debate "god said so""

        Government should butt out of religion, even if it is a vote winner.
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      Aug 12 2012: I mostly agree with you Ehis.

      Actually the UK is problematic in terms of separation of church and state.

      The head of state is the head of the Church of England and defender of the faith.

      A lot of history, and at least Catholics or whatever can stand for parliament these days.

      I suggest it is better to base community cohesion on something factual and that we all share, our humanity, not based on different religious dogma.
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    Aug 10 2012: It's first important to maybe address a general issue of Church and State? One which I think never works as the views of the Church are bound to eventually contrast to that of the state on numerous issues; at the minute the biggest one perhaps is that of homosexual marriages within the Church of England where some churches agree with it and others don't. The govt however will always have to view this as correct I think because it is a larger issue of equality and not just what has been written in the Bible. So really no matter what any marriage between Church and State will always be a troubled one in my opinion.
    As far as communities themselves go then in general I think the involvement of faith based organisations is a good thing and when we think of issues such as diversity of depravation I think it's good to note that there are perhaps no places more diverse than any given church building on a sunday, or so it is in principle anyway; people of separate social standing can all come as one. However the problem is always that it works in principle, when so many faith communities have such contrasting views how could anyone guarantee they will work effectively; the best example I can think of, of a well run and progressive faith community is that which Shane Claiborne set; seems to be almost totally self sufficient; although that would ironically be in opposition to what the state would require of such communities i would imagine. I think in the UK and particularly in Northern Ireland we can notice that small villages are still more tightly knit and held together by the religious institutions which are in them, with many people perhaps all attending church on a sunday and thus knowing everyone in their community. I think though as a whole as we move to what I think is a "post Christian" Britain there isn't that many positives of always trying to force people to acknowledge the Church as driving force, can we not start community based on other things than religion?
    • Aug 10 2012: What about in multi-faith deprived and diverse urban communities? Can these faith groups and religious organisations still aid community cohesion?
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        Aug 10 2012: This is my point exactly, is there any use in using, for example, a Christian based faith organisation in a community which would be increasingly pointed towards Islam? I think the government is trying to hard to appease the established Church by pretending that it is still exactly that, established, to improve diversity and equality surely the government itself must become more diverse? How many cabinet members can we name who don't claim either Christianity or agnosticism in their beliefs? I think we must accept secularisation if we are to answer it instead of trying to pretend it hasn't already happened. In reference to your second question I do think it is slightly strange, I think it is because the government acknowledges Church influence but perhaps now over states it, the problem with gauging Church today is the large numbers of nominal Christians who in reality never profess a faith and thus wouldn't be much use in forming a "faith community" anyway. In terms of other religions I think we can notice a huge amount of commitment to faith from within Islam but it is also unclear how much of this is merely because of family or choice which is another question altogether and comes back to the fact that really the government is better remaining separate from religion.
    • Aug 10 2012: Does it seem strange the UK government is increasingly turning towards faith groups when we are rapidly approach a post-Christian UK?
  • Aug 31 2012: Spirituality. Without. Humanity is incomplete
  • Aug 22 2012: IF a church, synagogue, mosque, wat, temple or some other building of worship burns to the ground, is the religion dead?
    No, it isn't because it isn't the building, it is the people.

    People of religion who have done and continue to commit, unspeakable horrors on others, represent everyone who is in that religion. They are "your people" (whoever you are), so to speak and until the spokespeople, leaders, followers and believers, do everything they can in condemnation of those actions today or, nor matter how far back they go, and do so consistently until the leaders abdicate their positions of wealth, power and influence, then everyone who is religious is guilty of crimes of inhumanity to others, because they continue to perpetuate that particular religious bent. And it is bent.

    If they really want to help they would be inclusive of all, would not have separate communities and wouldn't even call or name themselves as religious, faith-based or a community cohesive organization. You are there to help and you see what community forms around it rather than making a form first. The people will find a way to come together, sort of a group conscious, rather than first having a solid form to join.

    Once you make a boundary, you have to protect what is inside the boundary. Boundaries have to go. That is inclusive.
    Everyone has a right to exist, to be who they are, without persecution, especially in systems that are so unjust to begin with, that many will be automatically be made into outsiders, deviants, abnormal, when it is the other way around.