Questionable Motives

July 6, 2011

How did Chris discover what’s true?

Filed under: belief,Critical Reasoning,Mormons — tildeb @ 8:07 pm

By asking an honest question and seeking an honest answer and discovering a richer, more meaningful life.

 

(h/t Project Reason – 23 minutes)

March 1, 2010

Identity politics: Does pandering to superstitious beliefs help or harm the public good?

Excerpts from Muriel Gray’s article in the online HeraldScotland:

I believe in the Norse Gods. Everyone from our own dear First Minister, to the current UK Labour Government and the likely incoming Conservative administration firmly holds the view that a belief in the supernatural, and the indoctrination of supernatural beliefs in our children by state-funded schools, is a good thing. This is marvellous news. When we finally get our state-funded school, Odin’s will and the family values that he laid down for all mankind will finally be taught as fact. About time too.

For too long our children have suffered under the bigoted education system that teaches them lightning storms are a result of charged electrical particles in the atmosphere, when the faithful know it is our lord Thor beating his mighty anvil with his Divine hammer. And our truths, we believe, are particularly important in sex education. Our school will teach no nonsense about homosexuality being natural and contraception being important because we know that the jotuun Ymir’s son, from whom Odin descended, bred a man and a woman from his armpits. So we will be insisting that armpit reproductive health will trump all other considerations. We will teach young boys and girls to cover their armpits modestly, and how to avoid unwanted pregnancies from the oxters. Happily, Ed Balls has made provision for this in law, so our children can grow up with these all-important values in place.

Meanwhile, the astonishing decision by Ed Balls to allow faith schools to tailor sex education towards teaching their “values”, such as making gay children feel they are abominations and declaring that the only contraception for the unmarried is abstinence, is just another nightmarish example of this insane trend to appease the superstitious, despite the damage it will do to the innocent. It is the ultimate journey into identity politics, imagining the faithful as one-dimensional beings who do as they’re told and that the ballot box is an extension of the pulpit.

But the beam of hope amid this idiocy is that it doesn’t work. Catholic voters have rarely voted as sheep instructed by a priest. If it were otherwise then legislation in this country would look very different. In fact, they vote like any other citizen on matters of the economy, education and health, and while their beliefs may guide aspects of their personal life it would seem it is not the only factor in their choices. Similarly, Muslim voters still largely vote Labour despite the Iraq war, because the majority of UK Muslims currently remain working class and vote on pragmatic issues of unemployment and housing rather than obeying fatwas.

So it would seem that all this genuflecting to the pedlars of mythology is a waste of politicians’ time. Still, it’s been useful. Mr Murphy’s strong implication in his speech was that people who don’t believe in a god know less about “family values” than those who do. It’s good to know where you stand in your Government’s affections. I’ll certainly be keeping that in mind come the election. I imagine many of you faithless heretics who sneer at Odin’s power will think likewise. .

January 23, 2010

What’s wrong with passing a few laws based on religiously inspired belief/bigotry?

California’s successful passing of Proposition 8, which reads “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California” raises the question if state laws can be constitutional if they are based on religious belief/bigotry?

This question is important because if the state democratically passes such laws by plebiscite, then can it maintain the First Amendment’s separation of church and state? Which has greater authority: the Constitution or the temporary majority of one vote? How about a vote to outlaw religion? If 50%+1 could ever be achieved to outlaw all religion, would all the members from the various denominations respect this law and disband, give up their beliefs out of respect for the will of the majority? More importantly, should they respect the law passed by majority vote moreso than respecting <i>first</i> the law of the Constitution which guarantees religious freedom?

There is a cost in liberty and freedom to every citizen when a religiously inspired piece of legislation passes into law and undermines that vital component to religious freedom called the separation of church and state. Whether it’s the commandments on courthouse walls, prayers in legislative chambers, governmental consultations with religious organizations shaping legislation, or scripture embossed on military hardware, every encroachment by religion into the public domain even for the best of intentions is another chip removed from the foundation of the religious freedom component of the US Constitution.

The religious would do well to ponder that cost in liberty that they themselves levy upon us all in the name of legalizing their favoured beliefs; someday, the same exercise of a majority vote will take away the legal right to individual religious freedom, using the same democratic tyranny of the majority that these religious supporters are so willing to use to take away the legal rights of those minorities whose rights and freedoms they wish to reduce.

A case in point is the organized effort by two main religions to fund the successful passing of Proposition 8:

Documents unveiled later revealed the Catholic and Mormon churches played a major role in passing Proposition 8.

An e-mail from the executive director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to the bishops and a cardinal said Catholics were crucial in providing money and volunteers to qualify Proposition 8 for the ballot.

The e-mail also praised the Mormon Church, saying it had provided “financial, organizational and management contributions” for the measure.

A memo by a Mormon Church public affairs officer said the Proposition 8 campaign was “entirely under priesthood direction,” and the minutes of a Mormon Church meeting said members should not take the lead in promoting Proposition 8 but should work through protectmarriage.com.

The church document said a teleconference had been held in Salt Lake City with 159 of 161 Mormon leaders in California. The leaders were told to encourage members to contribute $30 each for Proposition 8, toward a projected goal of $5 million, in addition to general fundraising.

From an article in the LATimes here.

For shame.

Every Catholic and every Mormon who supports this legal discrimination is supporting the ongoing attack against their own religious freedom. Too bad that so many people simply refuse to see that their religiously inspired bigotry and bullying – because that is what it is to reduce the rights of others to be less than your own – in that honest light. But that’s nothing new. Even Jesus from the cross supposedly had to ask god to forgive those who knew not what they were doing to him, so I guess there is precedence as we try to forgive these people who so righteously claim false victory by trampling on their own rights and freedoms while thinking that they are protecting them.

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