Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course

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Religious Freedom

440px-President_Barack_Obama

Image via Wikipedia, Barack Obama

“Religious freedom doesn’t mean you can force others to live by your own beliefs.”

The following statement can be made into a syllogism with three premises and a conclusion:

Premise 1: Your religious choices should not be subject to interference or limitation

Premise 2: You have the right to follow or to not follow a religion

Premise 3: Your religious choices should not affect others

Conclusion: Therefore, religious freedom doesn’t mean you can force others to live by your own beliefs.

After evaluating this argument, I came up with the following 3 premises and conclusion:

  • Premise 1: Is practiced by most but not accepted by all. I believe the majority of people would agree that our religious choices should not be subject to any sort of interference or limitation, though it can not be argued that this is a premise accepted by everyone.
  • Premise 2: Is again practiced by most but not accepted by all. I believe that the majority of people would agree that everyone should have the right to follow or to now follow a religion, though again it can not be argued that this is a premise accepted by all.
  • Premise 3: Is again practiced by the majority of people but not accepted by all. Most people would agree that your religious choices should not affect others though this premise is not true for all.

This argument can be accepted as valid as the conclusion follows the premises though it can not be accepted as sound as the premises are not accepted by all. This argument is not a sound argument in everyones eyes but the majority of people would agree that everyone has the right to choose and practice their own religion without limitation or interference. Those who have strong beliefs about the rights and wrongs of religious/non-religious beliefs may not agree with this statement making it an unsound argument.

After further research on the origin of this statement I have come to find that this is an entirely fictitious statement most likely formed by someone other than Barack Obama.  

 

One Response to Religious Freedom

  1. bryanjack says:

    Hi Tara,

    Another way of tackling this argument might be to ‘sketch out’ who you think President Obama’s remark was addressed to: ie, who might believe that their right to religious freedom allows them to impose their beliefs upon others? It might be interesting to consider the logic and underlying premises supporting this other perspective, and then whether Obama’s words would have the desired effect… which may or may not be relevant as it doesn’t sound like he even said it! I found the whole tale of the fabrication to be an interesting extension of the argument at hand, though: http://www.newrepublic.com/blog/plank/104649/anatomy-wishful-viral-rumor#

    Mr. J

     

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