It has been thought that one can no more force his or her virtue on another, without also forcing his or her religion.
The human heart will accept no virtue by force alone. A virtue by definition is synonymous with high moral standards, for example if a person has honour, they have it because it was already in them. To give someone honour does not mean they did not already possess it, it means you are now recognizing it. People have long since realized that if a person has no nobility, no amount of force can force nobility on him.
So, instead of forcing virtues, people force religion. Religious people are thought to be the ones who carry the highest of virtues, so therefore if first religion is forced on someone. Then perhaps virtuousness can also be forced.
After declaring victory upon the person on which religion was forced, the one that forced said religion presumes also that the heart of the person has changed. Such a presumption is dangerous, to assume that every religious person now has a changed and virtuous heart would be wrong, and most evident. One needs only to look around at the world in its present state to see that virtuousness and religion are not one and the same.
We must separate religion from virtue, we have learned through the ages that when religion is required to teach morals and virtues that is when religion becomes something more, something more like an authoritative government.
Supposedly, religion is to lead a man to God, religion offers the answers and the knowledge required to access the road to Heaven. Religion teaches that only after its followers achieve certain requirements can they enter into the presence of God. Requirements such as being good, helping those in need, feeding the hungry or in other words being virtuous. This leads many to believe that virtues can be taught through religion and that is why it is thought that a religious person is a virtuous one. When in fact the virtues one perceives in a religious person are only there as part of a path to heaven and are not inherent.
The virtuous person comes not from religion, a person becomes virtuous when he forgets entirely about himself and his path to virtuousness. Virtues are inherited, not learned. There are only two ways to obtain a virtue and neither are in your control, either you are born with certain virtues already inside or you receive them later on in life through a transformation of sorts.
I’ll share with you a personal testimony on the virtue of charity, before I came to truly know Christ, I was a selfish and greedy person. Thinking only of myself and what I wanted next, and my money was spent accordingly. I could pass by the homeless and hungry without batting an eye, I could care less about the pictures of starving children living half a world away. It was only after Jesus pulled me from a deep, dark hole that I had dug for myself that I realized that I could help them, and then I actually wanted to. Before charity ever became something I wanted, charity was being placed deep inside of me and when I started to see people the way God saw me… in desperate need of help, is when I saw charity for what it was. Jesus gave me a charitable heart after I became a new creation in Him. A charitable heart I inherited from Him.
Many governments and leaders in the world today are again attempting to force the virtues they deem necassary on its people. Charity is one of them, raising taxes in order to help those in need, our governments say that they are doing the right thing and that we ought to submit to it. This leads many to abstain from giving to those in need because as they see it the government is taking care of them. Thus only perpetuating poverty instead of alleviating it, when governments obtain money from its citizens to feed the hungry, the citizens are not being charitable even though some think they are.
As much as religions need to step away from teaching morals, they need to again embrace the teachings that Jesus left us with. Though Jesus taught virtue and morality He never wanted it forced on another. Virtouosness and morality come only after Jesus is Lord, not before, after all He said He came for the sick.
If a church is a hospital for sinners and no perfect people can be found inside, then perhaps the church ought to offer the anecdote to its patients. …Jesus!
A church ought not prescribe religious actions to cure the ailing, the cure to the disease of sin is now and always will be… Jesus.
Among the virtues governments intend to legislate upon its citizens the list is not limited to…
Love….. but only the definition as given by government.
They specifically choose to leave out….
Love…. as defined by God.
Legislating virtues or morals never ends well for citizens, no one person owns all of the virtues necessary to become what one might call a good person.
This is the reason I’ve come to the conclusion that since many religions and most governments have not the slightest idea in how to make a person good, they should stay out of the business of virtues and morals. Rather let the moral law giver induce virtue and keep religions doing religious things and governments doing government things such as the health, safety and security of its population.