Belief of the Masses This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

November 8, 2012
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How do you define the word 'belief'? Perhaps it's confidence in something not immediately evident, or maybe it's faith, or trust. Whatever it may be, keep it in mind as you try to define the next word: 'religion'. If you're like most people, the definitions are almost identical, except religion is in regards to multiple people's belief in the same thing. But, if you've ever participated in a religion I'm sure you're familiar with the phrase “open interpretation”, meaning not everyone believes the same thing. Thus bringing us back to individual belief or string of beliefs. So again, what is 'religion' other than a superfluous word in the English language used incorrectly to give individual's opinions substance? If the belief doesn't stand on it's own, there should be no word that magically makes it gain gravity. Especially not some loosely defined fancy way of saying other people kinda sorta believe what you're saying as well; which is what religion really means. Thus, the word 'religion' should be eliminated from the English language.

The supreme court has defined religion as, “A sincere and meaningful belief that occupies in the life of the possessor a place parallel to the place held by a god in the lives of other persons.” There is no need for the belief to be held by multiple people or a person of a certain age. Still, congress has to respect any practice a 'religion' poses, including exempting people from certain legal obligations. That being said, What if I truly believed that by using facilities made from state funds, or giving to the state would cause me to spend eternity frozen in a lake from the waist down staring into the eyes of Satan? I have a hard time believing that congress would see fit to exempt me from my obligation to attend school until the age of 16, pay for medical insurance, and pay taxes. Since my belief isn't held by anyone else and I'm a 17-year-old girl, I wouldn't be taken seriously no matter how “sincere” I claim my belief to be. This means that even by a legal standard, the word 'religion' has no logical meaning, even though it is used directly in our constitution.

How many times has a person told you that you've offended their 'religion'? For some reason we feel we've breached some sacred boundary when we've crossed into 'religion'. Why is that? Would it have as much meaning if they were just to say you offended them? No, for some reason we don't respect a person's opinion unless it is affiliated with a group of people. That's a fundamental flaw in society. We should respect a person's beliefs no matter if it's because they grew up believing it, or if they just feel like it. It's not that 'religious' people shouldn't get preferential treatment, it's that everyone else should too. By eliminating the word 'religion' from our vocabulary we'd be forced to acknowledge each and every individual opinion as one to take into consideration. If this one word were eliminated from our vocabulary we'd probably have to reroute the entire legal system basing what we accept not on the amount of people who accept it, but the legitimacy of the belief itself. It'd be chaos, but it would finally make sense. In a logical society, the word 'religion' isn't needed.

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