Clay Christensen on Religious Freedom (His personal views, not HBS)

some time ago I had a conversation with a Marxist economist from China he was coming to the end of a Fulbright fellowship here in Boston and I asked him if he had learned anything that was surprising or unexpected and without any hesitation he said yeah I had no idea how critical religion is to the functioning of democracy the reason why democracy works he said is not because the government was designed to oversee what everybody does but rather democracy works because most people most of the time voluntarily choose to obey the law and in your past most americans attended a church with synagogue every week and they were taught there by people who they respected my friend went on to say that Americans follow these rules because they had come to believe that they weren't just accountable to society they were accountable to God my Chinese friend heightened a vague nagging concern of Harvard inside that his religion loses its influence over the lives of Americans what will happen to our democracy where are the institutions that are going to teach the next generation Americans that they too need to voluntarily choose to obey the laws because if you take away religion you can't hire enough police you

30 thoughts on “Clay Christensen on Religious Freedom (His personal views, not HBS)

  • Withput God's eternal law of love-the ten commandments which show us what love is- mankind are really just like other animal life, entirely self-serving and with no sense of moral law. Our nation was founded on the Bible. Without it, we have no foundation!

  • I consider myself to be a Rockwellian Mormon.

    In fact, I'd consider it an honor, to brew a
    Rockwell Porter, in his name!

    Brother Christensen knows about what he speaks.
    Wise man! Here in America, we have a LOT of
    freedoms. Without a standard to follow, (Religion)
    the country is going to fall into decay, and it will be
    VERY rapidly!

    Look at the cities and states being run by socialists.
    (California, Chicago, Detroit, NYC, Baltimore.) LA and
    SF don't need to be named, they are in California. But
    there are VAST areas in Ca, that wish they weren't!

    With all the cities and states, our murder rate is fourth,
    I think. Without the localities, I named, it is 195th.

    Anyone care to "spin" that? More difficult, with, uh, what
    are they called? "Facts?"


  • And Knowing MyY God is watching me, does not depend on a Church, yet Can include one. My God is All Loving, therefore no controversy. Game Over. God Bless All!

  • Response to one quoted before me:
    I Believe God is Watching me, not out of fear, but Gratitude. MY God, is a Loving God, whose watchful Eye and Angels Enfold me.
    I admire My God, therefore I wish to keep myself in line, by knowing all my thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are know by My God, The Great I AM.

  • If it were true that democracy only works because of religion, how do you explain much less religious countries like Japan, Australia, the Netherlands, UK, Hong Kong, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, etc.. All of which have less crime than the USA.

  • religion must find its own way and attract humans for the right reasons. Its not about govt its about religion.

  • The idea that people aren’t free in the USA to exercise their faith is fucking ridiculous. So then, the moniker “religious freedom” is laughable in a country where every lawmaker in its history has either been Christian or catholic. What makes MORE sense in this country is a moniker of “Athiest Freedom”. Wouldn’t it? Stop shoving your so-called, “made up as you go along to justify your prejudices” religion in my face because you don’t fucking know whether your god or someone else’s idea of god exists at all. You, like all living creatures, are a speck of dust in the big scheme of things. And planets and stars will continue to orbit and burn out and the cycle begins again and again long after the human race is gone. Come at me!

  • Now you've done it.

    Democracy does not work. A Republic has a much better chance to succeed over time. We don't have a democracy, thank heavens, because democracy is equal to mob rule. You'd expect a Harvard professor to know the difference? Really?

    If you do not have a system that is able to "flex" with positive change, what you get is North Korea — good little citizens who obey the law, whether the law is just or enforced for their own best interest. You get a nation that is paternal, authoritarian, lacking concern for the constituents whose rights have been given over to the abuses of absolute power — serious father issues. There must be a healthy balance of the best of both sexes (there are only two, thank you), the positive aspects of male leadership and the positive aspects of the maternal care for others and oneself.

    Religion generally is not the answer; Muslims have a religion. Fanatical adherence to the propaganda and distortions handed down to us through power structures such as the Catholic Church (that totally raped the Bible) and the Muslim faith (years and years of torture and inquisition to avert any free thinking or change) — also paternal, authoritarian regimes. Turn the other cheek, attend church and tithe, blow yourself up in the name of God and when you're dead you may get into heaven, and just like the Arabs, you get your heart's earthly desires if you obey. I call bullshit. At least we have a materialist president who prays. Hopefully, he concludes each prayer with, "Thy Will be done," not "My will be done" — but honestly, I doubt this.

    So we must have a system that allows for youth to protest in the streets and try to shake up old, crusty ways of doing the job while preserving the experience and wisdom of the old establishment — both sides need checks and balances. We need to have a fresh influx of ideas. Unfortunately, at this time our under-educated masses (thank you, state and federal governments, and the economic structure that demands both parents work outside the home) are exploring OLD ideas instead of coming up with any creative fix to replace those that work against the best interest. Youth screams a lot, but what is there to replace the crumbling hold on Federal Reserve/war industry/insurance industry greed??? We will get our genius — but he or she probably will face crucifixion before any effective change is made. That is usually the way of history.

    People either have the internal compass to do right and know the difference, or they do not, regardless of their religion. Tammy Faye and her husband come immediately to mind, as does Joel (I wanna kick his ass) Olsteen. I know and have worked with moral, ethical, compassionate Muslims. The Bible stories and parables give us symbolic guidance, but if given the cold hard facts about the work and responsibility that actually are required for any one of us to be righteous is often overlooked. Can we control our tongues, our thoughts? Recently I read that "Thought is prayer." In other words, what you think is charged with a desire — for what? Revenge, jealousy, greed? It takes effort to overcome the pull of the material magnet (over which the Prince of this world has dominion, and he is no fool when it comes to what will keep us in that material mindset). That is why listening to advice and leadership from men like Bill Gates and Elon Musk will never cut it. And forget about Hawking and De Grasse — total trash.

    So thank you, Harvard professor, for bringing us some thoughts on why it's important for the masses in our nation to stand as a majority of ethical, moral people. Amen. Good luck with that. That's not how gears of the current economic system work. People are desperate, hence, the anger. They know our monetary Federal Reserve IRS system is a sham. How can we replace it and maintain integrity in the government structure? Let's do whatever that is, for starters, without spitting on the flag.

    I am confident that the future of this country eventually will return to its inherent strengths and face the future remaining the beacon of hope and bastion of principled freedom upon which it was founded. It has to go through a period of readjustment in order to do so, for greed has overtaken the positive aspects of a capitalistic system, and any time such a gluttonous vice takes hold, it is very difficult to kick.

  • "The views in this video do not necessarily represent the views of the Harvard Business School." No shit, Sherlock!!!

  • As Russian novelist Dostoevsky said: "If God doesn't exist then everything is permissible." Without God and His law as the absolute standard you have no absolutes by which to judge anything.

  • But it can’t just be religion, because that doesn’t work for everyone. It has to be the culture that is built by parents and schools that teach children that there are parameters by which they may act, and that there are consequences for acting beyond those parameters. We have our parameters being set by anyone and everyone – there are no longer common parameters.

  • We are a "Republic" not a "democracy" ( "Demon-rats" )

  • While a culture's religion plays a part in said culture's identity, nothing that you've said here makes any sense.

  • Since the 90s, as more people are turning away from organized religion crime rates have been dropping.  Weird, tt's as if they have nothing to do with each other.

  • So, if you are correct then the enormous population in the prisons of the USA would all be atheists, but they are mostly Christians. Religion does nothing to teach ethics, in fact it teaches intolerance and the ability to make up lies without conscience, such as this video.

  • This pitiful academic does not recognize civil forfeiture as unlawful but legal, the secret FISA courts' complicity in a deep state's attempt to thwart the will of the people, the legal anarchy that smoking a joint in one state is jail and in another it is so what. Most importantly, the law is directed most violently at dispossessing men of their children, assets, homes and income in the divorce courts. Obey the law – what does religion have to do with the lawlessness we see all around by those very church going hypocrites in the congress, senate, judiciary and executive? A tinkling bell of the yoke perhaps.

  • If this is true then how come Iceland with its mostly atheist population has a far lower crime rate – religions invent the concept of sin which fudges the line between wrong and right in their favor and for much of history was a nice little earner – redemption at a price – personal responsibility and things like the UN charter bring harmony to the world while religions squabble for power wealth and influence – any religion that makes brand loyalty their first rule is corrupt – a true god would never be that insecure

  • Even Science agrees. The Big Bang Theory points out that the universe required creation from an outside causal agent (God). Yet there is another aspect of today’s scientific evidence that strengthens this claim even further—the intentional design of the universe. Rather than a series of random occurrences or simply explainable evolutionary chain, the complexity and intentionality of the observable universe points toward an outside force of vast wisdom and power.

  • If this were true, why do secular countries and cities have the lowest crimes and religious has the highest?
    As an atheist, I do good for myself, society, and others, not for god

  • I prefer Christians in the mold of Mr. Rogers. He had a long running television show teaching children all about how to behave and work together in society all without ever once thumping his buybull. THAT'S a Christian to look up to, not these false prophets for profit.

  • #1, Democracy was invented by the Greeks, who were Polytheists. #2a, how exactly is it "voluntary" if they're being threatened with punishment? #2b a lot of people do not choose to obey the law #2c EVERY country has a system of punishing people for committing crimes. #3 statistically, Christians commit way more crimes than Atheists. The Christian population of American jails is about the same as the Christian population of America in general, but while we are a small population in america in general, our population in jail is so small we're basically a statistical anomaly there.

  • Agree completely. The strong family structure is crap in most "oh but 'insert westernized nation' is doing good!". Secularism leads to eventual destruction. Destroy the family structure and morals that combat your hedonistic instincts and you destroy society.

  • That's an interesting opinion. However it fails to explain why Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Switzerland and Czech Republic are one of the most atheists countries in the world and manage to have almost no crimes when compared to the USA. The most religious countries are the most violent. Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Syria and so on.

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