Mocking Those of Faith

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I wasn't sure whether this should be in off-topic or here in the R/P forum since this doesn't really have to do with any religious subject in particular, but rather the way people of religious faith are treated.

Anyhow, I saw an article today regarding a man who quit his job because his W-2 tax form was stamped with the number 666. Evidently this isn't his first run-in with the mark of the beast, as when he first got hired onto the job, his timecard was timecard # 666. He protested and got the number changed.

Sure enough in the comment section everyone was mocking the man calling him crazy, a moron, a stupid believer, and all the rest that has come to be expected from the majority of the internet when it comes to stories about people of religious faith.

The question I'm here to ask is this: is it really alright to just openly mock people of religious faith just because you happen to be an atheist? When you boil it down, isn't that simply mocking and insulting someone for being different than you? I really don't see a difference between calling a person of faith a moron/whatever and calling a homosexual one of the many derogatory names they've been saddled with.

Why is it that in this day and age in which homosexuality is becoming more and more accepted, that you come off as an enormous biggot asshole if you start insulting homosexuals, yet no one bats an eye at insulting people of faith? If we don't care what people do in the privacy of their own home as far as their sexuality is concerned, why should we care about what people choose to believe in the privacy of their own home as far as religion is concerned? Why is it socially acceptable to insult the (seeming) minority that is the faithful while you'll have people calling you a biggot if you insult the minority that is homosexuals?

For the record, I have nothing against homosexuals, indeed I really don't care what people do in the privacy of their own home and as far as gay marriage is concerned I go with a quote from Chris Rock: "Why not let them marry? Gay people have the right to be just as miserable as everyone else!" They're simply a minority that I point to as an example to establish a basis of comparison showing that it's no longer socially acceptable to insult them while it's becoming more and more socially acceptable to insult people of faith.

Really it just seems very hypocritical to me that society condemns insulting one group based on their private sexual lives yet doesn't care in the least about insulting another group based on their religious beliefs.

Yeah, you don't believe, we get it. Does that mean you have to call everyone that does a moron? Some might bring up religious zealots and people that are very eager to try and spread "The Word" as examples of the private religious lives of some intruding on the lives of others, but just as not every homosexual is a pedophile, nor is every person of faith a religious fanatic.

Edit: PS: Personally, I did find it a bit silly that the guy would quit his job over a number on his tax form, but at the same time I'm not going to start laughing and calling the guy an idiot nutcase just because of what he believes.

UPDATE:
Seems the genreal concensus of responses that I've been getting is that it's perfectly fine to make fun of these people because they chose their religion where as things such as sexuality and race are things that aren't chosen. This means that it's apparently ok to make fun of people who are different, so long as they're different for reasons they choose themselves. And evidently I'm the only one that sees that as hypocritical.

Thank you, my fellow escapists, for this little social survey. The results have been most enlightening. I didn't realize that the way someone differs from you is the key point to consider when determining whether or not it's alright to openly mock someone. Different by sexuality, race, etc: off limits. Different by beliefs: lol they're fucking morons lol!

RJ 17:
When you boil it down, isn't that simply mocking and insulting someone for being different than you?

Uh, no. Religions all claim to know the truth and can be damn harassing, intrusive and even threatening and dangerous about it. While they're all wrong.

In short: religion has earned the ridicule it gets, and so have rabbid followers of said religions. You can't paint it like it's some kind of even landscape where there's all sorts of philosophies of equal merit and conduct.

Blablahb:

RJ 17:
When you boil it down, isn't that simply mocking and insulting someone for being different than you?

Uh, no. Religions all claim to know the truth and can be damn harassing, intrusive and even threatening and dangerous about it. While they're all wrong.

So you've found the definitive proof that there isn't a higher power to believe in? If you did, I'd imagine you'd be the most famous person in the world. Also, it seems you didn't read my entire post:

Some might bring up religious zealots and people that are very eager to try and spread "The Word" as examples of the private religious lives of some intruding on the lives of others, but just as not every homosexual is a pedophile, nor is every person of faith a religious fanatic.

Yes, there are some psychos out there, but not all religious people are nutjobs. Again, just like not all hommosexuals are pedophiles.

Bad comparison, religious people get much less flak than homosexuals. Unless you mean certain minority religions, not religion in general.

But yeah, mostly just hating people for being different, but then hating people with a different worldview is rather more defensible, depending on what it is.

i don't really have a problem with people having the opposite of a lucky number but then i also salute at magpies.

Some things are just so absurd mockery is the only appropriate response.

Quitting your job because of a number on a tax form sounds like one of those things.

Treat others like you want to be treated. Being religious doesn't automatically make you an idiot; one of scientists that did allot of work on the human genome was a religious man. Stereotyping everyone that belongs to a certain group is incredibly dangerous.

However in this individual case the man seems to be not that bright

There's a difference between hating someone because of their religion and calling someone an idiot for quitting over having their number be 666.

RJ 17:

Edit: PS: Personally, I did find it a bit silly that the guy would quit his job over a number on his tax form, but at the same time I'm not going to start laughing and calling the guy an idiot nutcase just because of what he believes.

Here's something that interests me. When someone is acting like an idiot or a nutcase, suddenly it is extremely inappropriate when that thing they happen to believe in is religious. He could be the smartest man in the world and I would mock that particular belief. Case and point, Hitchens held some incredibly laughable beliefs about Islam and the the Iraq war, and it's okay to point that out. You know what I don't do? I don't jump up and defend an idiotic idea simply because Hitchens was an atheist like you are doing now for a fellow religious person.

RJ 17:
So you've found the definitive proof that there isn't a higher power to believe in?

Yes. For this I would like to point out that there's no evidence of the existance of fictional gods.

(because I know a reversed burden of evidence fallacy when I see one)

Anytime someone makes a blanket statement about a group saying that they're all stupid, or crazy, or whatnot 99 times our of 100 they are just being assholes. I don't care if you are talking about Atheists, Christians, Blacks, Germans, or people who think Beef Lo Mein is the superior Lo Mein.

Notsomuch:

RJ 17:

Edit: PS: Personally, I did find it a bit silly that the guy would quit his job over a number on his tax form, but at the same time I'm not going to start laughing and calling the guy an idiot nutcase just because of what he believes.

Here's something that interests me. When someone is acting like an idiot or a nutcase, suddenly it is extremely inappropriate when that thing they happen to believe in is religious. He could be the smartest man in the world and I would mock that particular belief. Case and point, Hitchens held some incredibly laughable beliefs about Islam and the the Iraq war, and it's okay to point that out. You know what I don't do? I don't jump up and defend an idiotic idea simply because Hitchens was an atheist like you are doing now for a fellow religious person.

I don't believe I ever defended his idea or even his right to have it, I simply call to question the desire to mock him for being different.

RJ 17:
Yeah, you don't believe, we get it. Does that mean you have to call everyone that does a moron?

What? No. Of course not! That happens because the beliefs are regarded as stupid, not because of disbelief by itself.

There are things that I don't believe that I don't regard as stupid. And there are things that I don't believe that I do regard as stupid. If I mocked people for the former, that would be mocking people for being different. If I mock people for the latter, that would be mocking people for believing something stupid. One cannot simply reduce every form of mild verbal aggression to bigotry. It's not that one doesn't understand. It's not that one hates what is different. It is that the difference is actually something ridiculous. Take this to its logical conclusion: well, Todd Akin, racists, and people who believe the moon landing was a hoax or that vaccines cause autism just have different cultural values. One shouldn't mock their beliefs because... why?

Edit: PS: Personally, I did find it a bit silly that the guy would quit his job over a number on his tax form, but at the same time I'm not going to start laughing and calling the guy an idiot nutcase just because of what he believes.

In person, sure. In a comments section on the internet? Why not?

RJ 17:

Anyhow, I saw an article today regarding a man who quit his job because his W-2 tax form was stamped with the number 666. Evidently this isn't his first run-in with the mark of the beast, as when he first got hired onto the job, his timecard was timecard # 666. He protested and got the number changed.

Sure enough in the comment section everyone was mocking the man calling him crazy, a moron, a stupid believer, and all the rest that has come to be expected from the majority of the internet when it comes to stories about people of religious faith.

Well see, they're laughing because he did something extreme for no apparently good reason.

The question I'm here to ask is this: is it really alright to just openly mock people of religious faith just because you happen to be an atheist? When you boil it down, isn't that simply mocking and insulting someone for being different than you? I really don't see a difference between calling a person of faith a moron/whatever and calling a homosexual one of the many derogatory names they've been saddled with.

But see, if I mock something religious it isn't because I'm an atheist. It's because I see the idea and see no merit to it. It's an idea, and ideas can be mocked. It isn't 'for being different'. It is because the idea they are using itself is something I think is worthy of mockery.

And there's a significant difference. In one case they are judging someone based on their ideas. I am pretty sure that's fair game. If someone believes that we're all made of toast or something, I'd say it's worthy of mockery. Ideas are not to just be protected from criticism and laughter just 'because'. A homosexual person simply exists though. What's worthy of mockery about that?

Why is it that in this day and age in which homosexuality is becoming more and more accepted, that you come off as an enormous biggot asshole if you start insulting homosexuals, yet no one bats an eye at insulting people of faith? If we don't care what people do in the privacy of their own home as far as their sexuality is concerned, why should we care about what people choose to believe in the privacy of their own home as far as religion is concerned? Why is it socially acceptable to insult the (seeming) minority that is the faithful while you'll have people calling you a biggot if you insult the minority that is homosexuals?

Because you're insulting someone for just existing how they are in one case, and you're insulting someone for something they believe in another. Similarly to how we can judge racists for their beliefs etc. Of course not necessarily to the same degree, I am not saying it is inherently worthy of negative judgment. But ideas are open to being judged and I don't see how that is unfair.

As for why care, I don't all that much. But notice it came up in a news article. And you know, you're free to try to criticize my atheism and utter lack of religious beliefs if you like. I'm not treating my beliefs any different, they are open to scrutiny. Just make it good. Or not, I can't stop you. The difference for homosexuality is notice that all that's asked is people treat it the same as something just like it. Heterosexuality. I don't ask you to treat my atheism any differently.

And religious people are not a minority at all. Seriously, don't try and go down that.

For the record, I have nothing against homosexuals, indeed I really don't care what people do in the privacy of their own home and as far as gay marriage is concerned I go with a quote from Chris Rock: "Why not let them marry? Gay people have the right to be just as miserable as everyone else!" They're simply a minority that I point to as an example to establish a basis of comparison showing that it's no longer socially acceptable to insult them while it's becoming more and more socially acceptable to insult people of faith.

But being a 'minority'(which the religious are not) is not why it isn't okay to insult a homosexual. I'd call Nazis a minority nowadays. Guess how I'd feel about someone insulting them?

Really it just seems very hypocritical to me that society condemns insulting one group based on their private sexual lives yet doesn't care in the least about insulting another group based on their religious beliefs.

But religious beliefs and sexual orientation are not particularly comparable. One is ideas that can be judged. The other is simply how people act because of how they are. Criticizing homosexuals makes as much sense as criticizing heterosexuals, just that bigoted people see it differently even though those are just the EXACT same thing. Beliefs though... those are ideas and what do we do to other ideas? We criticize them, we mock them, we look for support for them.

Yeah, you don't believe, we get it. Does that mean you have to call everyone that does a moron? Some might bring up religious zealots and people that are very eager to try and spread "The Word" as examples of the private religious lives of some intruding on the lives of others, but just as not every homosexual is a pedophile, nor is every person of faith a religious fanatic.

That's kind of an insulting comparison because a pedophile is not some kind of subset of homosexual.

Edit: PS: Personally, I did find it a bit silly that the guy would quit his job over a number on his tax form, but at the same time I'm not going to start laughing and calling the guy an idiot nutcase just because of what he believes.

And why is what he believes sacrosanct? Aren't we supposed to judge ideas before we accept them? Are we not supposed to think about ideas and tell whether they are worthy or not?

Notsomuch:

Here's something that interests me. When someone is acting like an idiot or a nutcase, suddenly it is extremely inappropriate when that thing they happen to believe in is religious. He could be the smartest man in the world and I would mock that particular belief. Case and point, Hitchens held some incredibly laughable beliefs about Islam and the the Iraq war, and it's okay to point that out. You know what I don't do? I don't jump up and defend an idiotic idea simply because Hitchens was an atheist like you are doing now for a fellow religious person.

Id say theres a difference between personal attack and attacking a belief. Very smart people think very stupid things. Ergo to call a PERSON into question over a single belief is silly and unfounded. However its VERY valid to mock the BELIEF if it makes absolutely zero sense.

If i worked in a call centre and one man believed the phone wouldnt function unless he screamed "REEEEEEEEEEEEEK REEEEEEEEEEEK" and slammed his fist into the wall 4 times before answering it id call his behaviour out as lunacy. I wouldnt attack HIM persay, but i see no issue with saying "That action is fucking stupid" as opposed to "Youre fucking stupid".

well to be fair, a lot of religious ideas just sound absurd and silly and to someone not of that faith. man quit job because he doesnt like the numbers on his timecard? really that is really petty. i was thinking his co workers were mocking him or something(which isnt okay). not him announcing to the world that he is a superstitious to the point he acts comically.

Every group has it's jerks, that's probably the best answer. Some atheists are tolerant and/or polite and some are jerks just as some religious people are tolerant and/or polite and some are jerks.

I try not to be a dick about my atheism, but quitting your job over a coincidental number on a tax form? That's pretty silly no matter which way you slice it.

Even as an anti-theist, I respect other people's rights to believe in whatever they want to believe and making any decision that affects only themselves (such as that man's decision). It's the use of religion as a tool of oppression that bothers me. That and proselytising.

I'm pretty sure I would mock somebody who is so caught up on numerology, even if I believed in gods. Who says everybody who left a comment there was an Atheist? Plus, it's unclear whether that actually is the number of the beast.

I think it should depend on the content of what is being mocked whether it's okay or not. A person believing in Theistic Evolution is much less ridiculous and mock-worthy to me than a person believing in Young Earth Creationism and the Hovind ice shield, even though both of them believe in gods.
I'm also more than happy to mock Atheists who believe in nonsense like crystal magic or horoscopes, so once more it's not really about gods. It's about mocking nonsense.

Also, and this is important, homosexuality is considered something out of one's control. Whether you're born with it or it's deterministic in your development, it's pretty clearly not a simple choice. That's why people often compare it to bigotry towards minority races and the like.

Religion isn't exactly a choice either as people are raised with it and often have no option in the matter until much later, but it is an ideology that you are at least partially responsible for if you hold on to it.
Not to mention, again, that religious =/= religious: Just because you were raised a Christian doesn't mean you have to be a YEC. You can still be religious and (largely) accept scientific progress and the real world.

but just as not every homosexual is a pedophile

There isn't even a link or correlation, as far as I know. Comparing the two is simply a method for bigots to try and spread fear of "the other". You almost sound like Santorum. That's bad and you should feel bad.

Blablahb:

RJ 17:
When you boil it down, isn't that simply mocking and insulting someone for being different than you?

Uh, no. Religions all claim to know the truth and can be damn harassing, intrusive and even threatening and dangerous about it. While they're all wrong.

In short: religion has earned the ridicule it gets, and so have rabbid followers of said religions. You can't paint it like it's some kind of even landscape where there's all sorts of philosophies of equal merit and conduct.

Hinduism considers it one truth "out of many".

Buddhism considers itself as "teaching the right path"

Catholicism has adopted a sort of "you can take different paths and get to the same destination" ideology to it.

Yeah, no, most religions don't claim "to be the one and only source of the truth"; this isn't the freaking dark ages. In fact, the majority of world religions have become more and more tolerant as time has gone on, it's only some of the sects that get up on the "WE ARE TRUTH!" crap.

Anyways, back on topic; I personally think it's a bit ridiculous to quit your job over the number on your W2 form.

Depending on the site, might not of been many atheists.

I don't mock people of religious faith because, well that's their deal. As long as they don't try and save me, I'm cool. Regardless, if that guy had another random number on his form like 712 or something and made a big deal (phobia or something), everyone would have said the same, or worse. While not degrading his religious background, they would have picked something else out, maybe his nationality/race/gender.

I'm not saying it's right in anyway but it isn't just people of faith/non-faith being singled out. If the guy was an 'Merican, people would have made fun of that.[1]

And, I think it is slightly different as Atheists/non-believers aren't trying to keep rights from Christians (based on their intolerance or personal bias; or, well, aren't succeeding if they are)...well, besides ones like erecting a giant Jesus statue in our high schools and daily required worship or something. [2]

[1] Not to say Americans get more flack, just an example.
[2] Not to say all Christians are trying to erect giant Jesus statues in our Schools. Vocal minority and all that jazz. 'Some of my bestfriends are Christians!'

When you claim to know the will of super daddy creator man...

And then do something REALLY REALLY REALLY retarded/immoral/whatever...

What do you EXPECT?

I mostly agree with BiscuitTrouser. Attacking a belief isn't so bad and can lead to some excellent discussion, attacking the person in a petty way oftentimes just makes you look like someone who doesn't know how to handle themselves in a debate.

That said, I do have trouble defending the man mentioned in the OP. I have trouble imagining what was going through his head...

Well dunno if anyone is mocking him because he's religious, but I'm sure it probably happened. EDIT: It is indeed happening, in this very thread it seems.

Regardless quitting over a tax form number seems like something to be mocked, regardless of what he believes.

Blablahb:
While they're all wrong.

Yeah. You're doing the same thing wrong as they are.

Congratulations, you're a hypocrit.

I don't mock those of religious views. I don't share them, for the most part, but I don't mock them so long as they do not interfere with me or bystanders.

I work with religious people. I get along with them. I don't bring up the issue, and they don't bring up the issue. They are as aware of my agnosticism/igtheism as much as I'm aware of their religious views. But we're professionals, so we simply don't bring it up. I don't believe it is right to mock someone just because they believe in something you do not believe in. I am perfectly aware that, for the most part, religious people have grown up in a religious environment and have cultural, personal and emotional reasons for holding on, dearly, to their beliefs. Even if I do not think it is factually correct, I do acknowledge that a person's religious belief can be a key component to their lives - and as long as that doesn't affect me, I'm fine with it.

The vast, vast, vast majority of religious believers that I've met have never done a single thing to harm me. I've lived in Muslim Majority nations, Buddhist/Chinese Traditional Beliefs majority nations, Christian Majority nations - I have gotten along juuuuuuuuuuust fine with virtually everyone in those countries.

As for your case, the worker who got the 666 card, I can somewhat relate. Obviously he feels very threatened by that card, and if it's easy to change, why not let him change it? I do not hate or despise the man, nor do I think he is a "moron" - but I do think that he is a bit highly strung. I mean, really, is a card with a number on it going to hurt him? The Christians I know would have just laughed it off as no big deal.

SimpleThunda':

Blablahb:
While they're all wrong.

Yeah. You're doing the same thing wrong as they are.

Congratulations, you're a hypocrit.

Strictly speaking, no. Not in this case. To say someone is wrong is not necessarily to say that what they believe is false. It can as easily be to say that they have inadequate justification. But even were that not the case, there is a substantial difference in scope between "X" and "not X". "Not X" leaves quite a lot of possibilities. Claiming to know what isn't the case is substantially different from claiming to know what is the case. He also isn't this: "harassing, intrusive and even threatening and dangerous about it".

Whatever happened to Sticks and Stones and Mockery IRL will ruin my day, but written words on the internet will never harm me?

SimpleThunda':
Yeah. You're doing the same thing wrong as they are.
Congratulations, you're a hypocrit.

For that to be true, you first need to prove that gods exist and I'm therefore unfairly assuming to be right.

I can't wait to see that.

Blablahb:

SimpleThunda':
Yeah. You're doing the same thing wrong as they are.
Congratulations, you're a hypocrit.

For that to be true, you first need to prove that gods exist and I'm therefore unfairly assuming to be right.

I can't wait to see that.

As long as you can't disprove the existence of god, you have just as much right to say God doesn't exist, as they have to say God does exist.

I'm probably talking to a wall, though.

Atheists these days are pretty much just irritating as theists are when it comes to their "faith".

SimpleThunda':

As long as you can't disprove the existence of god, you have just as much right to say God doesn't exist, as they have to say God does exist.

It comes across as if you do not understand how burden of proof works, especially in existential claims.

I'm probably talking to a wall, though.

Poison ALL the wells!

Atheists these days are pretty much just irritating as theists are when it comes to their "faith".

It also comes across as if you do not understand how atheism works, too.

Now, to make this perfectly clear. I am calling out your ignorance on the matter. You seem to lack knowledge and information to discuss this on a relevant level. Whether or not you wish to obtain that knowledge/information is up to you, of course, but you simply cannot enter any relevant debate without it.

...did I just invoke Hanlon in an overly elaborate way?

I will gladly mock any belief that is not based on some kind of logic or evidence.
It doesn't have to be religious, it could be political, scientific, or in reference to any topic imaginable.

What makes you think it's only atheists who mock religious people?
That's pretty closed-minded.

I've seen religious people mock other religious people just as much as I've seen atheists do it.
I don't get this weird mentality where religious people are allowed to declare me immoral and doomed to eternity on fire but if I use the phrase `Sky Daddy` I'm going too far.

SimpleThunda':

As long as you can't disprove the existence of god, you have just as much right to say God doesn't exist, as they have to say God does exist.

I'm going to add to the dogpile here and repeat points other have made and I don't care. You obviously don't understand how the burden of proof works.

RJ 17:

The question I'm here to ask is this: is it really alright to just openly mock people of religious faith just because you happen to be an atheist?

Yes.

It's not okay to mock and marginalize people for having a different color of skin, for being a certain height, for being a certain gender, for having a certain sexual affiliation or so forth, because those things are not choices. Religious beliefs are, in fact, a choice. Most of us don't have a choice to be indoctrinated in them as children, but it's very possible to grow up into a studious, thoughtful individual who can cast off nonsense and superstition.

Ridiculous beliefs warrant ridicule. If you are a grown adult and you tell me with conviction that you believe that alien abductions are real, that you saw bigfoot, that Elvis is still alive, and that a completely arbitrary arrangement of numbers holds magical power, I'm going to ridicule you.

Also, it really stretches things to feel bad for someone who belongs to such a sweeping majority as the jesus cult. It's always cringe-inducing when people cry out "Won't someone please think about the poor, oppressed 80% majority?!" Spare me.

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