A few weeks ago, I had a short conversation with my sister about this topic. She mentioned that she has a close acquaintance who is liberal, except for when it comes to religious topics. I told her that if she is religious, then she cannot be liberal. This made me think, is that really the case? If you are a religious person, and you believe in a supernatural being, and you follow an organized religion, can you still be liberal?
I would say no, for the most part.
For one thing, most religions rely on a limited set of principles where they base their beliefs. The Bible, the Qur'an, a bunch of golden plates, et cetera. And most of the time, these so-called "holy books" dictate what should and should not be done. After all, if the purpose of religion is social control and regulation, then these rules are hard and fast and cannot be violated. Hence, there are people who shun those who violate them.
Now, if you believe that following such a rule will get you to heaven, and that not following such a rule will make you worldly, an infidel, or an unbeliever, then you can never think that those who don't follow your religion will be okay.
See, that is the main qualm I have with religious people. I see these Christians, these Muslims, these religious folk, and they are all pious and all that, worshiping in their churches, their mosques, and their temples. I don't. Do they think I am still a sane human being? Do they approve of me? If they are religious, then logically they won't. Because based on their standards, I am an infidel, I am not going to heaven or paradise, and so I am not to be associated with. Hence I am shunned by the Witnesses.
The thing is, if one is liberal, then indeed, it is a situation of live and let live. If I pray to a different God than you, then that is okay. If I eat pork and work on Saturdays, then that is okay. If I don't believe in your set of irrational beliefs, then that is okay. That is being liberal. But if you are religious and you think that I am morally defective because I am not religious, then you are not a liberal.
The funny thing, is that if you still claim to believe in God, and are spiritual, and try to adhere to the laws of your religion, but you honestly think that those who do not follow this religion are sane and cool people too, then you're not religious. You're probably spiritual, but you're not religious. Or in other words, you're simply picking and choosing what set of beliefs you want to adhere to. Because if your Bible tells you that those who do not believe in God will be destroyed, and so you shouldn't associate with them, and yet you still do, then you're disobeying some religious tenet, and therefore you're basically saying that you know better than your Bible.
That's basically what this boils down to. It all boils down to how much you want to think for yourself, and how much you want to surrender your brain to some holy book. If you are liberal, you're basically saying that it is okay if other people don't live and behave the way you do, and that is totally okay. But that also means that you're thinking for yourself, and superseding what your holy book has told you. That's a good thing, but that would make you not as religious as you think.