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View Diary: "Sincerely Held Religious Belief" (154 comments)

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  •  I don't really agree. (1+ / 0-)
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    He has a right to the belief that Jesus is make-believe just as you have the right to believe he's real. He even has the right to SAY Jesus is make-believe, believe it or not.

    I feel that a large part of the problem is the deference/respect that is shown to religious beliefs in this country: we somehow aren't allowed to criticize or mock "religious" ideas even if we think they are absurd (and there are plenty of religious beliefs that I'm sure you think are absurd, too, so I'm not singling you or your beliefs out, when I have no idea what they even are). We're allowed to mock any other idea, so why not religious beliefs? I respect that many people do great work for social justice, etc, motivated by religion, and I think that's great. But that still shouldn't mean that the beliefs themselves are above criticism somehow.

    I also don't like how religion is treated to a double standard in this country. Religious believers demand that their beliefs be shown "respect" by people who don't hold them, but then many of them (not all, of course) don't show any similar respect to those who hold different beliefs in return. It's okay for the religious to call gay people pedophiles who should burn in the lake of fire, apparently, but it's not okay for gay people to call religious people bigots or mock their beliefs? I find that to be a sickening defense of majority privilege in our society.

    •  But is mocking necessary or helpful? (1+ / 0-)
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      How about we all just agree to disagree on the existence of a god/goddess, providence or whatever.  Save the mocking for idiots who propose and pass legislation like they did in Kansas.

      •  We CANNOT "agree to disagree" on that. (0+ / 0-)


        Most of the refusal to agree to disagree comes from the side of the people who want to write their religion into the law. By definition, that is saying that THEIR religious views should be applied universally to everyone regardless of whether everyone agrees with them or not. It kind of annoys me that people accuse people of "incivility" for fighting back against that garbage.

        It's sort of like how it only gets called "class warfare" when we fight back. It only gets called "uncivil" when we fight back. When it's the religious side demanding a privileged position in society for their unproven beliefs, well that's just normal according to most people.

        •  No, you're mixing up two different subjects (0+ / 0-)

          If people want to write laws based on their religious beliefs and to the extent that those beliefs conflict with constitutional rights, for example, the argument is to stick to the constitution.

          Besides the fact that mocking religious beliefs means that you're denigrating people in your own coalition, you're never going to win by convincing something that their god/goddess isn't real.  And, the bottom line is that we're bound by the constitution, not the Bible or the Quran or anything else.

          There can't be enough civility if you hope to win a debate on the merits of an issue.

          •  I'm mixing a few different arguments together. (0+ / 0-)

            I agree. This is a complex issue and there are no simple arguments or solution here.

            I would agree that "sticking to the Constitution" is one way to go in defending against this stuff. The fundamentalist religious law side doesn't agree with that. Instead, they've waged a determined, multi-decade PR battle against the legitimacy of the Constitution and of its chief interpreters (the courts and judges). They also like to make claims like that the Constitution doesn't actually require separation of church and state (it doesn't use those words, but it certainly requires the concept). They have opposed the Constitution not because the don't like the concept of the rule of law, but because they haven't gotten their way on writing their religion into law. It's not a principled objection to the role of judges, but instead it's a self-serving Machiavellian tactic.

            And I don't agree that you can't convince people their religious beliefs are wrong. People can and do change their religious beliefs, but usually are quite slow to do so. But in the face of enormous social pressure, they can and will change. Many American churches used to preach the inferiority of black people as a Biblical concept, and now they mostly don't (because social pressure forced them to change). More recently, most American churches used to preach that homosexuality was evil and sinful (and many still do). But they are starting to come around on that "sacred belief" too, simply because public opinion has been shifting under their feet. Religious beliefs are really just another form of politics, and they get reinvented with each new generation. Social pressure and effective activism (such as from the civil rights movement, or the marriage equality movement) can and does change people's minds about things that they used to think were part of their "religious beliefs".

            And while I don't really advocate "incivility", I think that pointed, direct criticism of some religious beliefs is sometimes very warranted. A lot of religious beliefs are just totally logically and/or empirically unsupportable AND destructive to modern society. Religious beliefs need to adapt to the modern world and modern understanding, and the only way they do that is people calling for them to be revised. The idea that the universe is 6,000 years old was a perfectly reasonable idea a long time ago when people didn't know as much about the natural world as we do now, but now it just marks you as an idiot if you believe that.

            I think that it's necessary to confront that kind of idiocy head-on, because otherwise society gets stuck with stupid ideas and worse implications of those ideas forever. We don't have to be unnecessarily nasty about it, but "agreeing to disagree" is not good enough for me when religious beliefs are leading to the oppression of people worldwide. Just letting that go unchallenged in order to protect the sensitive feelings of "nice" religious people constitutes unilateral rhetorical disarmament, and I won't do it. The problem comes from the fact that many people can't seem to emotionally distance themselves from criticism of their religious beliefs, and take such criticism as criticism of them as people. They need to just grow thicker skins and get over that, because more of it is going to be coming as society evolves. We also need to accept that people who are otherwise really great people can often hold beliefs that are just wrong ideas. Criticizing those bad ideas does not mean we are dismissing all of the good things about those people.

    •  The difference between "respect"... (0+ / 0-)

      ...and "tolerance", perhaps?

      I'm not demanding respect; anything beyond the general respect due all persons as human beings should be earned by each person. I merely suggest that outright mocking is out of bounds when one reaches topics as personal (and individual) as faith and beliefs. I would say the same if people here were mocking believers of other faiths/traditions, agnostics or atheists.

      Now, should I reasonably expect tolerance? To be fair, a big part of that question depends upon how we define the term.  For me, tolerance is the ability and desire to handle our differences with something along the lines of "not my thing, but I wish you well" and little (or nothing) more. Now, we have far too many people who conflate 'tolerance' with 'acceptance'--on both sides of contentious issues--and that sets up a no-win situation.

      Are there nominal Christians whose words and actions merit strong criticism? Absolutely--and if I agree, I'll join in right beside you. However, there are millions of Christians, including many Kossacks, whose words and actions do NOT merit such treatment. (Go take a look at Street Prophets - I think you'll find more than a few examples there.) This comment was an insult to ALL people of Christian faith - and that's why I HR'd it.

      The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

      by wesmorgan1 on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 09:31:24 AM PST

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      •  I don't think the church (1+ / 0-)
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        has acted in good faith. I believe in religious freedom, and the rule of law. The church has not lived by either principle.

        In defending your faith, you point out that many church folks and organizations are doing important and charitable work. That is a fact, but its ignoring the underlying damage that happens when religion is abused.

        If you love your faith, go back to your leaders and demand they clean up their act, and come out publicly against these bigoted ideas wherever they crop up. And tell your church to get away from the issue of women's reproductive rights, as they have no business there.

        A true craftsman will meticulously construct the apparatus of his own demise.

        by onionjim on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 09:53:01 AM PST

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        •  Not only gave they not acted in good faith... (1+ / 0-)
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          ...they've acted in pretty much the opposite of that. Take the Roman Catholic Church, as an example. Wherever they have enough of a numerical advantage in a country, they worm their way into the country's politics, essentially subordinating democracy to the Church hierarchy. They would do it here too, if they had the numbers of reliable voters to do it. So there is no reason to believe that they want to be good fellow citizens of our democracy. Instead, they want to control and dominate it if they can get away with it.

          The problem is that organized religious leaders have NEVER fundamentally accepted the principle that democratically elected leaders and democratic processes of law can make rules that bind even the church. At a deep level, they believe that their religious beliefs trump the rule of law, which is why some churches have often found a natural power alliance with dictators and fascists.

      •  That's a nice sentiment. (0+ / 0-)

        It's never going to happen in the real world. Ever. Or at least it will never happen unless we can get everyone to start strongly supporting and respecting the wall of separation between church and state. If we had a STRICTLY secular government and politics, then I think we could agree to live and let live. But because people with a religious agenda have flushed that particular aspect of our constitution down the toilet in recent decades, those of us who disagree are now obliged to push back against religious ideology.

        They opened that Pandora's box, and now they get to live with it.

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