6. THE PHILOSOPHY OF DEMOCRACY,
Could you please clarify the following paragraph from lesson 4?
Uncertainty also has a second major implication for democracy and government,
on its relationship with organized religion. Religions actually reject the above
contention. They say, at least regarding what they consider to be the most important
issues in life (what is its purpose and what happens when we die), that there
is no uncertainty. However, these claims are based on faith, in revelations and
miracles. There is no proof.
In a philosophical sense, life is uncertain. We really do not know what is going
on with the universe, or life, including what they are, where they came from,
and what purpose, if any, they have.
As individual life forms, we don't know if there is a larger purpose to our existence,
nor what, if anything, happens when we die.
Religions reject this. They say that they have the answers. They also say that
because they have the answers, we have to follow their rules. In theocratic societies,
where the religion controls the government, this extends beyond ordinary behavioral
guidelines (for example, to be a good person). The rules can be very extensive.
You cannot believe in another religion. You have to dress and act in a certain
way. In other words, many personal freedoms are restricted.
Democracy is a response to the philosophical uncertainty of life. It says that
since there are limits to our knowledge, we should be entitled to believe what
we want, and, with only a few restrictions, to live the way we want. Theocracy
denies uncertainty and tries to force its world view and its way of life on everyone.