Which is more important, freedom of faith or freedom of speech?

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  1. stuff4kids profile image61
    stuff4kidsposted 9 years ago

    Which is more important, freedom of faith or freedom of speech?

    Many religious folks are decent, good people. Some of my best friends subscribe to institutionalised superstition - and are good humored enough to let me say that without taking offense. But most religions per se enshrine some deeply offensive  and discriminatory views and practices (against women, gays, people of other faiths, animals, freedom of thought etc.). Isn't it weird that such faith systems seek to exempt themselves from rational criticism on the grounds that they are being discriminated against? So which is more important, freedom of faith or freedom of speech?


  2. amiebutchko profile image70
    amiebutchkoposted 9 years ago

    It is true.  I am deeply Catholic, yet I do see that the Catholic faith discriminates sometimes and it causes me to question why this can be acceptable, especially when loving your neighbor is the great commandment.  I think to reconcile this, I need to evolve further along in my own faith journey.  I love my religion and of course, freedom of religion is a critical right, as is undeniably, freedom of speech.  I think both are equally necessary.  One is not more important than the other and this is just one of those truths that contradict.   We must work it out as humans.

  3. aguasilver profile image71
    aguasilverposted 9 years ago

    Both are equally important.

    Freedom of speech is only wrong when that speech incites others to commit criminal acts, likewise freedom of faith..

    Offending others may not be polite, but it is the offended who normally want to stop freedom in order to save them from offence.

    The answer is not to be offended when we meet bigots, illiterates (who are to be pitied and if possible educated) and haters.

    All these people are also victims, for our natural attributes are not to be as such, those derogatory attitudes come from the abuse or fear that these people have been damaged by in their lives.

    1. Seafarer Mama profile image80
      Seafarer Mamaposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Very compassionate! :0)

    2. cjhunsinger profile image61
      cjhunsingerposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Well stated.

    3. lone77star profile image71
      lone77starposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Beautiful, John. Said with love and responsibility.

  4. bethperry profile image83
    bethperryposted 9 years ago

    I agree on your assessment about religious intolerance. As to the question, as rights are earthly matters, I think the right of free speech is most important to have. Our spiritual beliefs don't just manifest on our tongues or even the written word; they are something we embrace heart and soul. So even if we are forbidden in this world to voice our ideas, no one can censor our earnest spiritual beliefs.

  5. chef-de-jour profile image96
    chef-de-jourposted 9 years ago

    What an interesting question. Without wanting to be divisive or controversial I'd say the most important is freedom of speech, the right to protest and articulate reasonable grievances and publicly oppose authority.
    Without freedom of speech we tend to gradually descend into the darkness of dictator states, feudal systems, totalitarian regimes and what have you. The right to free speech helps humanity to thrive, it should always be a clear priority.
    I would love to say that freedom of faith = freedom of speech but sadly in my own experience most religious faith is based upon prejudice, fear and powermongering.These are not conducive to free speech, indeed it could be said they undermine the concept itself.

  6. peeples profile image92
    peeplesposted 9 years ago

    All of our rights are equally important. The first amendment was suppose to protect all of us from any laws being made based on religion or it's beliefs. Many have the belief we were founded on religion, but clearly our first amendment is saying that should not be the case. Our freedom of speech gives us both the right to speak up for what we believe or be as ignorant as we so choose. With all positives comes negatives. The problem is that many of the same people who scream about protecting the constitution are the same people who want to ignore the first amendment. ALL constitutional rights should be enforced equally!

  7. pattyfloren profile image74
    pattyflorenposted 9 years ago

    What I find interesting about this question is that it's true about religion in the general sense that religion is like 'they are "peculiar people", and now that I think about it (it could be in a different context or different tribes) some things are forbidden, but it was okay when one was learning about faith, but when some things don't seem to mesh with our daily striving or contradict my feelings, that's when I would want to speak up so freedom of speech is important, that's way I don't have to pretend everything is okay right now but with freedom of exercising faith, will be revealed someday.

  8. profile image0
    Sri Tposted 9 years ago

    Freedom of faith is most important. Because with faith comes power. With power comes change. Faith can overturn laws. In fact, every form of progress is achieved by faith. Freedom of speech is even here by faith. Take away faith, and the whole world as we know it falls apart.

    1. cjhunsinger profile image61
      cjhunsingerposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      As I understand you, power over others is your driving force?
      I believe you are recommending a theocracy and if so would you articulate the great benefits that this has brought to humanity. Which god are you promoting?

    2. profile image0
      Sri Tposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I am saying faith to believe in an idea or a direction. Everybody has faith but everybody will not use it. The people who achieve have faith in their ideas and ability. If you want to win you must have faith. Very little is achieved without faith.

    3. profile image0
      mbuggiehposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      To win you must have faith? So faith (for you) is nothing more than some material advantage; a stick to beat the competition?

      What god says have faith in me and achieve and win at every game?

      Sounds like what Satan, however mythical, claims.

    4. cjhunsinger profile image61
      cjhunsingerposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      SRi T
      Your explanation is ambiguous, as you are equating faith with ambition, perseverance and any other form of motivation. Your 'faith' then has nothing to do with a god?

    5. IndependentMind profile image77
      IndependentMindposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      faith:a firm belief in something 4 which there is no proof. Everyone has faith in something.This concept is not limited 2 religious beliefs & is always blind 2 fact, & often 2 reality itself. Plus it is strictly an individual 'choice'

    6. profile image0
      Sri Tposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      If you don't have faith, or any beliefs, what do you have? It is belief in God or a higher power that gives you the faith to do everything. It is spiritual power. I guess Jesus was a materialist.  He said you could have whatever you desire by faith.

    7. profile image0
      mbuggiehposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Having rarely been exposed to people who put their gods above all others---who value something never heard, never seen, never touched, and never experienced---prior to being on Hubpages, I am actually beginning to feel very sorry for you all.

    8. profile image0
      Sri Tposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      You don't realize what you are saying. Your next breath is taken by faith. You have the assumption that you will live. You have faith that this country will allow free speech. They could stop honoring it. People have faith in it. Laws are forced.

    9. cjhunsinger profile image61
      cjhunsingerposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Stereotyping is not a particularly wise approach. You gain nothing and endear an ignorance.

    10. IndependentMind profile image77
      IndependentMindposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      While we may not agree with any particular religion's philosophy,we must respect their right to exercise their beliefs, as long as that right is not willfully projected on others or to judge them as inferior.

    11. profile image0
      mbuggiehposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      The facts are simple: Putting one's "eggs" in the god/religion basket is sad and pathetic. How about instead of some investing in imagined or mythical beings, we invest in each other---human beings, focus on here/now and make the REAL world better.

    12. cjhunsinger profile image61
      cjhunsingerposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Sadly, space is limited here. If you refer to me and assume that I am a theist, you are wrong.

  9. profile image0
    temptor94posted 9 years ago

    Both are important and very much needed. But they have to be well-balanced. freedom of speech doesn't mean we pass offensive comments on anyone who's different from us or try to abuse them publicly. Everyone has right to freedom of faith, but that doesn't entitle them to cause trouble, harm or any negative impact to others in the name of religion.

    1. cjhunsinger profile image61
      cjhunsingerposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      temptor 94
      Your comment, as with some others, is of concern. You are saying that free speech is good, as long as it is not to free. Who is the arbiter of free speech? Can that arbiter create laws against certain words and jail for their use?

  10. Bongani Sibeko profile image60
    Bongani Sibekoposted 9 years ago

    Both are indeed important. Freedom of faith give rights to freedom of speech in a sense that before you express your views there is a position (foundation) where you source your views. So when you finally do air your speech, it is simply letting your faith speak. We all have what we believe in and to fully express our belief we need freedom of speech to do so.

    In a nutshell, both are important.

  11. Seafarer Mama profile image80
    Seafarer Mamaposted 9 years ago

    I believe that both freedoms are equally important. To me, my faith is very personal, and expresses who I am. I don't believe everything that any religion tells me to believe without thinking about it deeply first.

    With that, I believe that with freedom comes responsibility...respect for one another is a bridge toward unity in what matters most...our humanity. Refraining from saying things that are hurtful to another (like their being damned to eternal punishment for what they think or believe) is an important evolutionary skill to develop, especially for humans who are prone to passionate discourse about their pet belief system.

    I do not believe that freedom of religion includes people being disagreeable to one another, or knocking on doors ~ which offends my sense of my right to privacy. True ministry is not intrusive. It is developed from a sense of mutual trust between 2 people.  I think that ministry that is asked for is more authentic than "ministry" that is thrust upon someone...which is little better than the forced conversions to Christianity that were initiated by oppressors years ago.

    So, both the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion can co-exist for rational people who think about what they say and believe, and about how they treat their fellow humans.

    (Background = grew up Catholic; currently engage in liberal Catholic and UU community life and activities)

  12. IndependentMind profile image77
    IndependentMindposted 9 years ago

    This is a great question.  I attempted to write a comment, but it became too long, so i wrote a hub on it instead with a reference to you for being its inspiration.  You are welcome to visit and comment on its contents.

  13. cjhunsinger profile image61
    cjhunsingerposted 9 years ago

    I do not think that you can have one without the other. Perhaps, this is the reason that the Founders of American freedom placed freedom of religion and speech, along with assembly, a free press and redress in the same Amendment. It would seem that these exercises are all connected.
    Theistic belief, I would venture, is an expression of our insecurities with regard to nature and each other. It is our innate need to provide order and definition to a perceived hostile universe. We did not come (evolve) to this planet with instructions. We made them up as we went along. Current theistic beliefs and their dogmas are remnants of such archaic and child-like (now) practices. As repugnant, as they now seem they were necessary for our survival.
    What I find more repugnant is the looming possibility of a secular theism, which replaces spiritual theism. An omnipotent government entity that defines speech in terms  of a politically mandated correctness. As you find it strange that these theism's exempt themselves from any criticism, I find it strange that a government would do the same thing.
    So, it would follow that you are suggesting that government define and limit freedom of expression and if so, who limits government?  If you would suggest that government limitations are controlled by a democratic process I would suggest a reading of how Adolph Hitler came to power.

    1. profile image0
      mbuggiehposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Sri T: Laws exist because we do NOT have "faith" that everyone will be good. We have a constitution---a written framework of government, because we do NOT have "faith" in leadership being good.

      Faith, in your description, is wishful thinking.

    2. cjhunsinger profile image61
      cjhunsingerposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Well said.

    3. profile image0
      Sri Tposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Laws are beliefs that things should be done a certain way. They are enforced by the military, the courts, the police etc. due to noncompliance. The law itself is built on faith in doing the "right" thing. They believe its right. Not wishful thinking.

    4. profile image0
      mbuggiehposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Sri T: Don't you see the conflict in your comment? If we had "faith" in people and institutions we'd have no laws. We'd all just be acting in "good faith" with each other OR all be hoping and wishing that we'd all behave.

    5. profile image0
      Sri Tposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      There is no conflict. The whole constitution is built on ideas, beliefs that certain things should be. Obeying  has nothing to do with those beliefs. They must be enforced. The belief is only in the decided direction to go. Everybody will not obey.

  14. profile image0
    mbuggiehposted 9 years ago

    First, faith and religion are not the same thing.

    So freedom of faith is not freedom of religion. Our founding fathers understood this and so we have (in the First Amendment) both the Free Exercise and Establishment clauses.

    Freedom of faith, then, can be exercised without any reference to a public sphere or political space of rights and liberties.

    Speech is a public act. And freedom of speech is the cornerstone of all political and public freedoms, civil rights, civil liberties.

    Without question: Freedom of speech is the most important right we have---particularly when speech is NOT limited by US law and/or judicial precedents to spoken words.

  15. edhan profile image36
    edhanposted 9 years ago

    Frankly for me, it is the same for both.

    Anyway, I believe we are should live in peace regardless of race or religion.

    1. cjhunsinger profile image61
      cjhunsingerposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Most people do. The question is how to achieve that peace. Is peace defined by the Crusaders, ISIS,  Marx or one who says, lets just have peace?

    2. profile image0
      mbuggiehposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Yes, we SHOULD all live in peace, but the truth is---particularly in the present, that sectarianism disrupts peace and the possibility of peace. Religion is the new geopolitics.

      As the song says: "Imagine no religions."

      The world---a better place.

    3. cjhunsinger profile image61
      cjhunsingerposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      melz14-If you assert that a god created our DNA; does it take responsibility for the creation of dna mutations ie. deformed babies,  still births and brain malfunctions?

  16. snerfu profile image70
    snerfuposted 9 years ago

    If you are a person who has the time to rationalize, then freedom of speech would matter a lot. For all other people -- women, gay, other faiths, freedom of faith is important. Being this or being that is not important, what others say about your being this or that becomes important and that causes the hurt. A mother knows how hard it is to bring up her child and what is important to her -- her faith that she will bring up her child. She does not stop to sermonize about it -- she just does it.

    1. cjhunsinger profile image61
      cjhunsingerposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Are you saying that women and gays do not have time to reason or that they are incapable and should not be penalized because of that infirmity?

    2. profile image0
      mbuggiehposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I am not sure I understand your comment snerfu.

      Freedom of speech is something we "rationalize"; freedom of faith matters for the "other" (women, gay, other faiths).

      Advocating freedom of speech is "sermonizing"?

      Can you clarity these comments?

    3. cjhunsinger profile image61
      cjhunsingerposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      It would seem that you have deleted a father's role in raising children,  as a father and grandfather I find this enormously offense and insulting. Would you like to apologize?

  17. profile image53
    kaverycariappaposted 9 years ago

    I think freedom of speech is more important than freedom of faith .Freedom of speech helps one to express their thoughts and opinions freely.Voicing out what one feels,reduces complicating things.Voicing out what you believe in and what you practice is a way of freedom of speech and expression.
    Freedom of speech helps in opening up one's mind and expressing their point of view about a particular thought.Whereas freedom of faith sticks to one aspect and there is no exploring of opinions or thoughts involved.It stays constant i.e,believing in one particular thing.

  18. profile image0
    AKChenoweth2014posted 9 years ago

    Yes, I am one of those 'institutionalized superstitious' persons you refer to, therefore I believe that freewill is a gift from God and not from man. I choose not to be offended.

    Freedom of faith or freedom of speech are man made laws aimed at reflecting what God ordained in the first place. It should really all come under the banner of freewill don't you think?

    1. cjhunsinger profile image61
      cjhunsingerposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      The assertion of a god given freewill is a curious thing. You were born with a coded DNA that makes you what you areand the decisions you mak. Were you consulted when your d-helix of nucleic acid was composed? If not then where is your free will?

    2. profile image0
      mbuggiehposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Free will is a sort of Christian "Catch-22". God (supposedly) invested people with free will and then punishes them for using it---particularly if they (according to the myths) exercise that free will and choose NOT to believe in him.

    3. IndependentMind profile image77
      IndependentMindposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      the sad part of being 'instit..super..' is that 1 was not given a choice when indoctrination is done at an age before 'reasoning' sets in, therby 'negating' the choice factor.brainwashing a child offers 0 choice.

    4. cjhunsinger profile image61
      cjhunsingerposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      If your god did not give you a free choice as to the make-up of your DNA, which is you. You then are destined to be  what the god designed you to be--no free choice. This is called predestination.

    5. IndependentMind profile image77
      IndependentMindposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Cj: Ur right in respect 2 the physical. My reference is 2 the psychological development especially with the indoctrination into cults, or religions that children have no choice in. Deprogramming is rarely achieved in adulthood. i.e.;no choice

    6. cjhunsinger profile image61
      cjhunsingerposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      As DNA constructs your body, it constructs your brain, your talents, your IQ. Nurture plays plays a role, but all is contingent on the chemical structure of the brain. To bad space is so limited.

    7. profile image0
      AKChenoweth2014posted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I am delighted to see you all exercising your freewill! Personally I believe God gave us boundaries and rules in order to live good lives. If we make decisions and break those rules, which already have consequences is that not our responsibility?.

    8. melz14 profile image60
      melz14posted 9 years agoin reply to this

      cj et al - who made the DNA etc?  Also its easy to judge others when you don't know what you are talking about.

    9. profile image0
      AKChenoweth2014posted 9 years agoin reply to this

      In a world that offers a diet of violence, disrespect, disharmony, greed and a world without boundaries, I believe that church offers children the opportunity to experience relationships with their peers, outside of the classroom, teaching them how t

    10. cjhunsinger profile image61
      cjhunsingerposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      AKC--There can be much of the social structure within a religion that is positive. We are pack animals and are drawn to the camaraderie, as many are drawn to any social gathering where they are acknowledged.

  19. lone77star profile image71
    lone77starposted 9 years ago

    All freedoms are important.

    As Aguasilver said, though, each freedom carries with it certain responsibilities. Here's where the universally accepted Golden Rule comes in.

    For instance, people should be free to be delusional, like those who cannot feel God's presence. They may require many lifetimes to grow their ego to the point where the things of this world seem pointless and empty of fulfillment. It may take millennia for them to bump into the ceiling of the hierarchy of physical needs (including the intellectual).

    But they should be free to keep their "skepticism" so long as they don't abuse others with it. Likewise, those who hold religious beliefs should not be allowed to abuse others because of their limiting beliefs.

    I would find it equally unwelcome to have a religious state which executes unbelievers, as I would to have a secular state which executes believers.

    There is a great deal of overlap in freedom of belief and freedom of speech.

    The press and entertainment industries seem to be incrementally manipulating the masses toward increased polarization along many different dichotomies. Religion vs. secular is only one of them. Why such divisiveness? Could it be divide and conquer?

    Be wary of questions which are divisive -- that ask you to choose between one option and another. Through false associations people are being herded like sheep.

    For instance, global warming is actually good, because it means more evaporation, more rain, more plants and more life. Conspiracies happen all the time, but we are being blinded by attitude not to look at such things; only crazy people think of conspiracies. But this is perfect for criminals who conspire.

    9/11 was an inside job, but we are told by the elite-owned press and governments not to look at such "crazy" ideas. They have even hired scientists who perjure themselves with crazy ideas like solid steel can offer zero resistance to explain the collapse of 3 buildings in New York without controlled demolition. One of those buildings was not hit by a plane, yet went into perfect free fall that afternoon.

    All freedoms have been attacked by our governments and the people who secretly own them. If you dig, you will find the evidence.

    Be very afraid of someone taking away any freedom as was done after 9/11. The road to tyranny has been ongoing for many, many years.

  20. deepdy009 profile image57
    deepdy009posted 9 years ago

    Both are important but i really do feel that freedom of faith is more important.as my faith is my belife it makes me what i am and it is what determine my freedom of speech

    1. cjhunsinger profile image61
      cjhunsingerposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      deep---You might consider that if you do not have freedom of speech you have no voice to speak of your beliefs. The government defines beliefs and you will not speak differently. Please understand what the Bill of Rights is and why it is.

  21. profile image0
    Richie Alburoposted 9 years ago

    For me freedom of faith and freedom of speech are both important because if there is no freedom of faith what life can we have even simple things in our every day life we cannot do.And if we do not have freedom of speech how can we explain what kind of faith do we have.

  22. profile image57
    LiyahTalksposted 9 years ago

    To me the Freedom of Speech is more important, plainly because you can have the freedom to worship anyone you want. But, if you don't have freedom of speech you will never be able to say I worship Allah or I worship God/Jesus. So you'd be able to worship behind closed doors, but never aloud. Its like giving your child a candy bar, but saying they can never eat it. Its like holding all your Dreams , hopes and aspirations, but being unable / help back from achieving them.
    I hope this answers your question.

  23. shwetha123 profile image60
    shwetha123posted 9 years ago

    freedom of faith and freedom of speech in my view are the two faces of the same coin. And both are equally important untill and unless your freedom of speech does not hurt someone's faith.

    All i can say my "freedom ends where your nose starts". Its all about my own feeling...

  24. moneymindit profile image60
    moneyminditposted 9 years ago

    The problem is that only the religious want both freedoms.

    1. cjhunsinger profile image61
      cjhunsingerposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      moneymindit---Absolutely not true and to explain that would require more space than allotted here.


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