The thing is… I’m torn on this question.
On the one hand I know it’s silly to encourage people and humanity in general with this adult fairytale stuff that places people in a vulnerable position to be manipulated and controlled… but then on the other hand, you have people you care about who have been brainwashed into taking it REALLY seriously from a very young age, to the point they consider their religion to be something sacred to them and who they are, and whose religion have probably helped them cope with some rough patches in life. Ridiculing it will hurt and offend.
It’s a delicate thing.
Comment by thebooreport — January 14, 2010 @ 7:02 pm
It is, and I appreciate you saying as much. But keep in mind that as much as criticizing and questioning religious belief can be hurtful and offensive to some, it’s a relief to many to know that they are not alone with their unspoken doubts. Once freed from the dogma and belief set, one can experience the power and freedom of owning one’s own morality and be responsible for one’s own ethical behaviour. One can take on the Sisyphus-ian task of living an authentic life with one’s own purpose and meaning and not some other person’s/people’s insistence on the only right supernatural belief set that informs and defines a life well lived.
My rule of thumb is to respect a person as a human being first but not the unjustified beliefs he or she may hold dear. It’s a very biblical approach – love the sinner but not the sin, so to speak. Another way to think of it is this way: If you failed to ‘respect’ the alcoholic’s public drinking and the negative effects that public behaviour had on others, would you cause undue hurt and offense to the alcoholic if you said as much? If when sober, let’s say that the alcoholic was incredibly nice and very caring and compassionate, does that in any way reflect poorly on your opinion that the binge drinking in public causes unnecessary harm?
Comment by tildeb — January 14, 2010 @ 8:28 pm
You can not make an omelette without breaking some eggs……….
A good example is (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jane_Elliott) whose social experiment against racism caused outrage, offence and controversy. Yet she still persisted in with her experiment, and the more people pushed against it, the more she demonstrated the necessity for her experiment. We have the same challenge with the atheism / religion debate. Jane Elliot in my opinion is noble woman, she fights to expose the truth in the face of much academic, professional and sometimes physically violent victimisation and for large part of it she stood up alone – that is brave.
And whilst I do not fully agree with the technique that she used or her methods, I recognise that they had an effect, and helped greatly in our social understanding of racism in society.
However, back to religion….
The religious people call it religion (Christianity) or whatever. I call it child abuse.
No one is born a Christian, or a Hindu, or a Muslim, or a Pagan. We are taught what religion we are by our parents and the society we live in. If you lived in India you would more than likely be a different religion, and you probably think that Christianity is wrong. There is no such thing as a Christian child; there is just a child that has Christian parents.
So if anything I have sympathy for Christian’s they are vulnerable victims of physiological abuse, the stronger their faith is, the more brainwashing and misguided teaching they have had.
Some parents choose to use religion as a framework to bring up their children, but I think even when it is used in this fashion, the parents have to provide a guiding hand through the bible – you could bring up a really twisted kid, if they believed in the bible literally – and this is exactly the root cause of the problems we have in society, and why by my moral standard a disproportionate use of religion to teach young minds is tantamount to child abuse.
I have made it clear to others, some neighbours; that I will not let them look after my children because of their religious faith – for me it is totally unacceptable. I will not allow people who believe in imaginary things to have such a responsibility, because they are deluded, and are lying to themselves, and I know they will at every opportunity try to push their snake oil on my children.
In addition, there have been countless prosecutions and investigations all over the world involving religious people who have committed serious child abuse, some of it sexual abuse on a mass scale – and terrifyingly they often remain undiscovered for decades. The victims are absolutely terrified of both the natural and supernatural consequences of telling of their abuse – this is the tragic reality of religion and it just shows how religion can be used to manipulate young minds, and allow the perverse to masquerade behind a false image of their ‘caring loving personality’.
Please note that physical abuse does not have to occur for this to be abuse. Many Catholics are terrified of contemplating the possibility that Jesus does not exist – because they think if they do they will go to hell – this *IS* physiological torture. As atheists we laugh at this scenario – but I can assure you, that religious people struggle with this issue, and it is the main cause of the religious trap during their immature years.
To undo this crime, you have to attack it, right at the root cause – and as long as you are not unreasonably or unnecessarily vulgar towards individuals, then you should be free to criticise religion openly and honestly, without censorship.
Everyone has to understand that religion is not perfect, the people preach it do not always have a clean record or the right morals, and I have every right to question them, and their ‘faith’ and their self appointed right to control society and teach children.
So what is the point of hurting people just for the sake of it? Well we have to stop religious meddling, it is preventing cures in disease and science, namely in genetic engineering, that could save the planet from environmental disaster, help create new fuels, medicines and food.
We have to stop the fundamentalism, that is stripping away at our social fabric and freedoms and the only way of doing this, is to be frank from the start – religion is wrong, it is socially unacceptable, and if you must ‘masturbate’ your faith, you should do it in private or at least do not affect everyone in society who chooses not to be restricted by a religious framework.
The more atheists that come out and speak, the more confidence other atheists will have, and more indoctrinated children will realise that they have a choice that religion is not necessarily what everyone in the world believes.
Of course, you need to be prepared for religious people protesting their sensitivity to their blind faith being challenged. You must get ready for arguments that propagate emotional blackmail – but you must stand firm – religion is not special, or precious it not immune to being challenged, and as soon as anyone suggests that it should be then our alarm bells should be ringing, because if such a situation did occur for any reason, then many abuses and crimes in the name of religion would be allowed to propagate.
Religion is a physiological disease and the treatment is open honest debate – what ever you do not tread on eggshells when approaching the subject with believers – be frank be honest, stay calm.
However, I will caveat all of this by saying that do not underestimate the social *power* of religion – it is still very strong. Many people in power have the religious delusion, and they do close ranks quickly – they have organisation in there ranks, and will do everything they can to shut you up. This is all the more reason why we have to get organised, show our beliefs and reason, lobby and demonstrate against this terrible sociological and physiological affliction.
Comment by misunderstoodranter — January 15, 2010 @ 2:58 pm
I will caveat all of this by saying that do not underestimate the social *power* of religion – it is still very strong. Many people in power have the religious delusion, and they do close ranks quickly – they have organisation in there ranks, and will do everything they can to shut you up. This is all the more reason why we have to get organised, show our beliefs and reason, lobby and demonstrate against this terrible sociological and physiological affliction.
Wow – LOL Conspiracy theories now too – whose crazy here? Split personality maybe? Go over and look at this guys info on defendtheword’s blog – insane!
Comment by 4amzgkids — January 16, 2010 @ 7:15 pm
Should read psychological… please excuse my crap speeellling ;o)
Comment by misunderstoodranter — January 15, 2010 @ 5:22 pm
Read this first – for a definition of the word ‘conspiracy’, so that we are both reading from the same ‘hyme sheet’ (figuratively speaking).
Now read this:
It would appear that religious people do conspire after all.
Comment by misunderstoodranter — January 16, 2010 @ 9:26 pm
Check and mate.
Comment by tildeb — January 17, 2010 @ 12:15 am
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