Objects in Mirror

Objects in Mirror: July 29, 2008 Archive

What is the role of faith in public life?

Posted at 8:08 AM on July 29, 2008 by Julia Schrenkler

Join the online discussion about the church-state dilemma.

MPR's Online Managing Editor Mike Reszler opens the question, "What role does faith play in American life?" Some replies:

"It's socially unacceptable to be an agnostic, or a deist these days, so many claim to be Christian when they aren't, so the figures are a bit misleading. Church attendance is pretty low, historically, percentage wise and that might be a better indication than polls. Seems to me WalMart is a lot busier on a Sunday morning than the churches, in my town, anyway." - Ron & Buddy W.

"Faith plays an important role in every society. Our founders were secure enough in this notion that, even while some of them were athiests and agnostics, they saw fit to pay hombrage to a Deist entity in the penning of our founding documents." - Winston Smith

"Faith is the understanding of how a person or group fits within the context of all being. In this sense, everyone has faith; atheism and agnosticism can be very active faiths, but the passive 'who cares?' is a faith as well. There is individual faith (how do I fit?) and collective faith (how do we fit? where the definition of 'we' is part of the faith). America from the first has been very much about groups and individuals being able to choose their own faith. Conflict arises because the needs of different faith groups and different individuals may be incompatible. The idea of mutual tolerance as a solution to faith conflicts is a powerful idea tested in the history of America.That's my story, and I'm sticking to it." - Howie K.

* Comment on the online discussion
* Listen to MPR Midmorning, 09:06 a.m. CT (Archived audio available later today)

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