Mocking Those of Faith

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AgedGrunt:
Christianity is a very broad belief system, yet the secular counterculture seems to focus on it because it's an easy target. This is behavior fitting a bully and all I've asked is for people to get along.

Christianity is chosen because in the Western world, it's the largest religion by far, the one with the power of politics, institution and tradition behind it. Where Islam is criticised on a daily basis in the tabloids, Christianity is usually seen as just 'the default'. Christians are hardly a victimised group; they're a vast majority.

Silvanus:

AgedGrunt:
Christianity is a very broad belief system, yet the secular counterculture seems to focus on it because it's an easy target. This is behavior fitting a bully and all I've asked is for people to get along.

Christianity is chosen because in the Western world, it's the largest religion by far, the one with the power of politics, institution and tradition behind it. Where Islam is criticised on a daily basis in the tabloids, Christianity is usually seen as just 'the default'. Christians are hardly a victimised group; they're a vast majority.

Tell me something. Go and ask any poster here about Catholicism. Assume they won't use the internet to find out information. How much do they know about it? The Pope's resignation made me aware that oh so many people are ignorant of this religious institution yet they can allow themselves to criticize what they do not understand.

So before you start making fun of the priest, the preacher and the nun, take the time to educate yourself about what they believe and do not dismiss it out of hand.

I see awful, awful lies about my faith. I see even worse about Judaism and Islam. When you generalize, you turn people into paper dolls. You make them into something that is not human, that is merely one dimensional.

Also, Christianity is not "chosen". Many that stand up against religion are the people who began their lives there and now feel this feeling of vengeance or anger that they need to unload, and thus they push against the system and the faith. It only happens that the religion that is most prevalent in this day and age of 'enlightment' is Christianity. So many faiths, so many creeds, so little time.

Glasgow:
SNIP

To be honest, I actually agree with you that people probably understand a lot less than they think they do about Catholicism and others. Can I ask, from genuine interest, what misapprehensions you believe people have? I'd like to compare what I understand myself, and maybe challenge a few things you bring forward.

As for "dismissing it out of hand", I do so purely on the basis of evidence. Everybody's fine dismissing Coatlecue-worship out-of-hand, and I'll bet they haven't done their research about ancient Aztec belief-- I apply the same standard to anything that has the exact same body of evidence.

AgedGrunt:

itsthesheppy:
Please point out where I said you were personally responsible for witch burning and thumbscrews. I don't think I ever did.

You didn't, that's why I quoted the piece which writes off the belittling, mockery and deplorable things said about faith and followers as intelligent debate, when it's more like comeuppance from people who can't leave well enough alone and help themselves to prejudice.

itsthesheppy:
Matthew 5:22

" But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister[a][b] will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, 'Raca,'[c] is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell."

Be careful. You almost danced with hellfire there.

Speaking of prejudice, I'm apparently a Christian for defending faith. I could be Buddhist, Islamic or, gasp, an Atheist myself.

I find it very telling when critics jump straight to the Bible and Christianity when the topic of faith is brought up. It's a big world, you are capable of applying your badgering to Islam, Buddhism, Hindu religions or mocking the Native American Sun Dance. Christianity is a very broad belief system, yet the secular counterculture seems to focus on it because it's an easy target. This is behavior fitting a bully and all I've asked is for people to get along.

It doesn't matter if you're a christian or not; if you call someone a fool, Christians would be poor ones indeed if they didn't consider the very real possibility you'd be going to hell for doing so. If you don't see the problem with adult individuals assuming as a matter of course (thanks to a book they believe to be the inerrant truth of the universe), that your destiny is one of eternal torture and hellfire for something as trivial as schoolyard namecalling, then you haven't been paying very close attention to history.

Also, I'm unfamiliar with the phrase "help themselves to prejudice". Recall for a moment that we're not talking about something you're born with. When we're belittling and attacking the faithful, what we're attacking are their ideas. It's a little bit different than attacking them for being of a different skin color or something similar. And the "attacking" we're doing falls somewhat short of, say, thumbscrews. To say nothing of having to never forget that the godly represent the sweeping majority, who have enjoyed complete cultural domination up to perhaps this generation. Imagine what life was like for nonbelievers so few as fifty years ago. It wasn't quite as easy as it is today, and in some places in even the developed world, voicing opposition to the prevailing faith brings with it real, physical danger.

And yet symbolic hair blow drying is bullying? Quoting their own books back at them is bullying? Wearing colanders on the head and passing out pamphlets about a celestial spaghetti dinner is bullying? It's bullying, perhaps, when the big kid on the playground gets fifty of his classmates to point and laugh at the two or three scrawny kids. It's not quite the same when the reverse is true. In the story of David and Goliath, you do know that David was the protagonist, right? Not many tears are shed for the huge, aggressive, overconfident behemoth.

Religion's power comes from the awe it demands, the sanctity of its proclamations. It's power is wholly reliant on the shared idea that it is above reproach; that "it's my faith" should be the ultimate conversation ender and trump card, because that is supposed to be something people politely don't talk about, like each other's weight gain or sex lives. The colander represents a blow struck against that fortress wall. Religion is not above mockery, and by pointing and laughing at it, and the god-botherers who consider themselves above reproach, the iron grip religion imposes on our culture is weakened, in parts and pieces. It says a lot to the "power" of these haughty religions that jokes and spirited criticism are such a threat that they cry foul at even the lightest retaliatory punch, delivered at the end of a millenia-long beatdown.

Glasgow:

Silvanus:

AgedGrunt:
Christianity is a very broad belief system, yet the secular counterculture seems to focus on it because it's an easy target. This is behavior fitting a bully and all I've asked is for people to get along.

Christianity is chosen because in the Western world, it's the largest religion by far, the one with the power of politics, institution and tradition behind it. Where Islam is criticised on a daily basis in the tabloids, Christianity is usually seen as just 'the default'. Christians are hardly a victimised group; they're a vast majority.

Tell me something. Go and ask any poster here about Catholicism. Assume they won't use the internet to find out information. How much do they know about it? The Pope's resignation made me aware that oh so many people are ignorant of this religious institution yet they can allow themselves to criticize what they do not understand.

So before you start making fun of the priest, the preacher and the nun, take the time to educate yourself about what they believe and do not dismiss it out of hand.

I see awful, awful lies about my faith. I see even worse about Judaism and Islam. When you generalize, you turn people into paper dolls. You make them into something that is not human, that is merely one dimensional.

Also, Christianity is not "chosen". Many that stand up against religion are the people who began their lives there and now feel this feeling of vengeance or anger that they need to unload, and thus they push against the system and the faith. It only happens that the religion that is most prevalent in this day and age of 'enlightment' is Christianity. So many faiths, so many creeds, so little time.

I target Christianity because it is not only the faith in which I was raised (I was brought up, reluctantly, Irish catholic, come at me bro) but it is also the faith with which the posters of this forum are most likely to belong to or be familiar with themselves. It's a common ground that facilitates more spirited discussion.

In fact, one of the debate tools I routinely employ is the bold statement that my debate partner does not believe in the Hindu monkey god, Hanuman. I make this proclamation frequently without a moment's thought that they might actually believe in him; I've never missed. That's why we don't talk about Hinduism or Islam here. Because the amount of people who can engage passionately about them is statistically far smaller.

The thing is, though, most of the central points often raised - the lack of evidence for a god, the outdated nature of god's eternal commandments and guidelines, the charlatanism involved in godly preachings - translate across religious boundaries.

That's why we pick on Christianity here. It's the biggest and most convenient target. If you feel like we're wrong, by all means, let's have it out.

Silvanus:

Glasgow:
SNIP

To be honest, I actually agree with you that people probably understand a lot less than they think they do about Catholicism and others. Can I ask, from genuine interest, what misapprehensions you believe people have? I'd like to compare what I understand myself, and maybe challenge a few things you bring forward.

As for "dismissing it out of hand", I do so purely on the basis of evidence. Everybody's fine dismissing Coatlecue-worship out-of-hand, and I'll bet they haven't done their research about ancient Aztec belief-- I apply the same standard to anything that has the exact same body of evidence.

What you asked me to do is broad, and I don't know where to start... I'll try something.

The schisms in religion of Christianity are not something new or uncommon. At the beginning some people held different interpretations of the spirit of the words and the texts, and so a single interpretation for the benefit of the follower had to be found between all of the different views. One man cannot make a religion, and ecumenical councils were the gatherings of bishops to discuss and basically iron out the different aspects of the faith. You can find your stream of Christianity by the ecumenical councils that your religion accepts. It's the basics that your faith can accept from the "mainstream" that is shared by many others. For example, mormons don't believe in the holy trinity, which makes they complete and utter heretics. The different churches only accept certain councils as cannon. These councils contain within them definitions of the different aspects of faith and whatever is around them. Some protestant churches have the habit of pissing all over that (not the big movements like Lutherans, mind you) and reject all of the councils. Anglicanism is similar to Catholicism in essence, but the great difference lies in the schism between the two and the creation of the church of England (over a goddamned marriage dispute). They had to start from somewhere (and that's Catholicism). There are changed between the two, most significant are the additions & changes made to the Catholic faith and the Anglican faith after the schism.

The authority to interpret and reform is key in this debacle of a splintered faith. It is the same in Judaism and Islam. When you stray away from the beaten path you become a heretic, but then again you can be wrong and you can always correct yourself. The trouble of the matter is to keep yourself within the boundaries of the interpretation of the church. Some disregard the authority of the Catholic church and founded their own, which had their own interpretation of the faith. Some Christians do it on the fly, and some... *shudders* have a special relationship with Jesus.

There is absolutely no detail in my faith that is not disputed or challenged by heretics. This, by its essence, makes treating "Christianity" as one group kind of degrading. It's when you joke about the trinity and forget about the Nontrinitarianism that you make one massive disservice to the entire range of faiths in this class.

I hope I hit it in the right direction.

itsthesheppy:

Glasgow:

Silvanus:

Christianity is chosen because in the Western world, it's the largest religion by far, the one with the power of politics, institution and tradition behind it. Where Islam is criticised on a daily basis in the tabloids, Christianity is usually seen as just 'the default'. Christians are hardly a victimised group; they're a vast majority.

Tell me something. Go and ask any poster here about Catholicism. Assume they won't use the internet to find out information. How much do they know about it? The Pope's resignation made me aware that oh so many people are ignorant of this religious institution yet they can allow themselves to criticize what they do not understand.

So before you start making fun of the priest, the preacher and the nun, take the time to educate yourself about what they believe and do not dismiss it out of hand.

I see awful, awful lies about my faith. I see even worse about Judaism and Islam. When you generalize, you turn people into paper dolls. You make them into something that is not human, that is merely one dimensional.

Also, Christianity is not "chosen". Many that stand up against religion are the people who began their lives there and now feel this feeling of vengeance or anger that they need to unload, and thus they push against the system and the faith. It only happens that the religion that is most prevalent in this day and age of 'enlightment' is Christianity. So many faiths, so many creeds, so little time.

I target Christianity because it is not only the faith in which I was raised (I was brought up, reluctantly, Irish catholic, come at me bro) but it is also the faith with which the posters of this forum are most likely to belong to or be familiar with themselves. It's a common ground that facilitates more spirited discussion.

In fact, one of the debate tools I routinely employ is the bold statement that my debate partner does not believe in the Hindu monkey god, Hanuman. I make this proclamation frequently without a moment's thought that they might actually believe in him; I've never missed. That's why we don't talk about Hinduism or Islam here. Because the amount of people who can engage passionately about them is statistically far smaller.

The thing is, though, most of the central points often raised - the lack of evidence for a god, the outdated nature of god's eternal commandments and guidelines, the charlatanism involved in godly preachings - translate across religious boundaries.

That's why we pick on Christianity here. It's the biggest and most convenient target. If you feel like we're wrong, by all means, let's have it out.

I heard a story once. I'll try and translate in my head to English, so excuse any difficulties. It was about a Spanish missionary that was sent to Equatorial Guinea - or the Spanish equivalent of the colony at the time. He was supposed to preach to the natives and turn them into good little Catholics. With him came some soldiers just to keep him safe from harm. After all, transporting a missionary all the way from Spain was expensive and it would have taken some time to bring a new one there. The missionary was preaching the word of god to the natives for several weeks. At some point one of the natives, a tall young man approached the missionary.

"Sir, I do not understand something. Why did you came to us and tell us about this?". The man asked.

"Well, my child, it is written in the good book that spreading the good news is what god wants us, the clergymen, to do, among other things. You can now be saved from eternal damnation".

The man seemed saddened from what the missionary said. "I was first curious about your faith. I wanted to know more of it, so we could share our gods and their teachings. But what you have said saddened me. If I do not believe in your God as you have told me, then I will be feeling great agony after my demise. Why have you brought this tragedy upon us?".

The priest was at a loss of words. He tried to end the conversation on a lighter note and said, "God works in mysterious ways".

It was at that point that the black man charged the missionary and began to choke him. He was screaming at the man in his native tongue. "You evil man! Because of you I have learned of this, and ignorance will never save me from the agony of the after-life! What have you done to my soul?". The man was about to choke every last ounce of life from the missionary when a soldier spotted the two and shot him. When the missionary recovered he was held up and he and a soldier both looked at the dead black man.

"It never did baptized the man". The missionary said before watching off.

The end.

At the end of the day, we could always be that black native.

Glasgow:

I heard a story once. I'll try and translate in my head to English, so excuse any difficulties. It was about a Spanish missionary that was sent to Equatorial Guinea - or the Spanish equivalent of the colony at the time. He was supposed to preach to the natives and turn them into good little Catholics. With him came some soldiers just to keep him safe from harm. After all, transporting a missionary all the way from Spain was expensive and it would have taken some time to bring a new one there. The missionary was preaching the word of god to the natives for several weeks. At some point one of the natives, a tall young man approached the missionary.

"Sir, I do not understand something. Why did you came to us and tell us about this?". The man asked.

"Well, my child, it is written in the good book that spreading the good news is what god wants us, the clergymen, to do, among other things. You can now be saved from eternal damnation".

The man seemed saddened from what the missionary said. "I was first curious about your faith. I wanted to know more of it, so we could share our gods and their teachings. But what you have said saddened me. If I do not believe in your God as you have told me, then I will be feeling great agony after my demise. Why have you brought this tragedy upon us?".

The priest was at a loss of words. He tried to end the conversation on a lighter note and said, "God works in mysterious ways".

It was at that point that the black man charged the missionary and began to choke him. He was screaming at the man in his native tongue. "You evil man! Because of you I have learned of this, and ignorance will never save me from the agony of the after-life! What have you done to my soul?". The man was about to choke every last ounce of life from the missionary when a soldier spotted the two and shot him. When the missionary recovered he was held up and he and a soldier both looked at the dead black man.

"It never did baptized the man". The missionary said before watching off.

The end.

At the end of the day, we could always be that black native.

I just want you to know, in perfect honesty, that I have no idea what you're trying to tell me with your anecdote. I have no idea what it has to do with what we're talking about, or what the moral is supposed to be. Care to explain?

Silvanus:
Christianity is chosen because in the Western world, it's the largest religion by far, the one with the power of politics, institution and tradition behind it. Where Islam is criticised on a daily basis in the tabloids, Christianity is usually seen as just 'the default'. Christians are hardly a victimised group; they're a vast majority.

You could visit the rest of the world where you would not even have the freedom to mock other dominant religions (or the government, for that matter).

A political cartoon, Youtube video and throwing a Koran into fire are enough to ignite riots and attacks on embassies. Is that tabloid news?

itsthesheppy:
It doesn't matter if you're a christian or not

It most certainly does when you toss out scripture. That's personal and doesn't apply to everyone. You go on to admit that you were raised Catholic. Again, this is extremely relevant because you have personally been affected by a religion, which means you might not speak impartially. That you were "reluctantly" raised this way offers a very real chance of bias from your personal experience. That's not to dismiss your opinion, but at least admit that your upbringing plays a significant role in your opinion toward Christianity and possibly faith itself.

Secondly, prejudice isn't restricted to innate qualities. It's having preconceived and unreasonable, unfavorable opinions about something. People with unusual piercings, tattoos and smokers go through this every day. Ask them.

The exhaustive efforts to mock, belittle and offend can get excessive and shows poor character. Imagine all the good that could be done in the world if we didn't need to have these arguments, which really boil down to respecting one another. It's undeniable how some here clearly have no respect for faith or followers.

To be clear, I have no problem with good people who disagree and jest, my objection is to those who disrespect and demean.

AgedGrunt:

You could visit the rest of the world where you would not even have the freedom to mock other dominant religions (or the government, for that matter).

Uhrm, Yes, I could, but I'm not sure why I'd want to, or what that has to do with anything.

AgedGrunt:
A political cartoon, Youtube video and throwing a Koran into fire are enough to ignite riots and attacks on embassies. Is that tabloid news?

Again, I know all this. What's your point? Is your point that Islam is just as worthy of criticism, if not more?

Usually, when those things happen, the British tabloids run pieces on how barbaric the Muslims are. Often followed by racist caricatures or calls to halt immigration.

Kind of a pointless thing to say. Every claim to universal truth with zero evidence is equally ridiculous in my book. The fact is, there would be little point in criticising Islam in and around where I live or even in the British media, for example, because I'd be preaching to the converted (excuse the terminology).

itsthesheppy:

Glasgow:

I heard a story once. I'll try and translate in my head to English, so excuse any difficulties. It was about a Spanish missionary that was sent to Equatorial Guinea - or the Spanish equivalent of the colony at the time. He was supposed to preach to the natives and turn them into good little Catholics. With him came some soldiers just to keep him safe from harm. After all, transporting a missionary all the way from Spain was expensive and it would have taken some time to bring a new one there. The missionary was preaching the word of god to the natives for several weeks. At some point one of the natives, a tall young man approached the missionary.

"Sir, I do not understand something. Why did you came to us and tell us about this?". The man asked.

"Well, my child, it is written in the good book that spreading the good news is what god wants us, the clergymen, to do, among other things. You can now be saved from eternal damnation".

The man seemed saddened from what the missionary said. "I was first curious about your faith. I wanted to know more of it, so we could share our gods and their teachings. But what you have said saddened me. If I do not believe in your God as you have told me, then I will be feeling great agony after my demise. Why have you brought this tragedy upon us?".

The priest was at a loss of words. He tried to end the conversation on a lighter note and said, "God works in mysterious ways".

It was at that point that the black man charged the missionary and began to choke him. He was screaming at the man in his native tongue. "You evil man! Because of you I have learned of this, and ignorance will never save me from the agony of the after-life! What have you done to my soul?". The man was about to choke every last ounce of life from the missionary when a soldier spotted the two and shot him. When the missionary recovered he was held up and he and a soldier both looked at the dead black man.

"It never did baptized the man". The missionary said before watching off.

The end.

At the end of the day, we could always be that black native.

I just want you to know, in perfect honesty, that I have no idea what you're trying to tell me with your anecdote. I have no idea what it has to do with what we're talking about, or what the moral is supposed to be. Care to explain?

If you never heard of the original sin, God, Jesus, the whole deal - you won't go to hell. You can't be punished for it. When the missionary tells the man of the faith in God and the consequences of having faith - or rejecting it, the black man realizes that he had doomed him for hell if he doesn't succumb to his demands and converts. To him, hell is real because he have just heard about it. Had he never heard about it, he would have never entered there.

You make a few seperate points here and I'll address them individually.

AgedGrunt:

It most certainly does when you toss out scripture. That's personal and doesn't apply to everyone.

I regret to inform you that you don't quite get the point of scripture. It applies to everyone; or at least, it's intended to. The bible doesn't intend to only speak to Christians, it's intended for everyone. If it wasn't, explain why its representatives knock on my door from time to time. Explain why so many of its devotees seek to guide public policy based on what is written inside of it? My point is, whether you belong to the faith or not, it's still targeted at you.

You go on to admit that you were raised Catholic. Again, this is extremely relevant because you have personally been affected by a religion, which means you might not speak impartially. That you were "reluctantly" raised this way offers a very real chance of bias from your personal experience. That's not to dismiss your opinion, but at least admit that your upbringing plays a significant role in your opinion toward Christianity and possibly faith itself.

This is a tired objection. We are all of us biased; nobody is truly objective, nor can anyone be. It's a cheap shot to try and discredit someone. Feel free to go after my ideas, but where I come from, though it provides color I will not deny, does not devalue in the slightest. Whether I came to you as an ex-bishop, or as someone who had never before even heard of the religion, my ideas and thoughts and opinions generate their own worth. Address them if you can.

Secondly, prejudice isn't restricted to innate qualities. It's having preconceived and unreasonable, unfavorable opinions about something. People with unusual piercings, tattoos and smokers go through this every day. Ask them.

There is some science out there to suggest that secondary smoke can indeed effect other people. Also, the health ramifications of smoking can in some small part find their way into other people's lives, directly or indirectly; it's weak, but it's there. so there might be something to it.

But the prejudice you see against those with piercings and tattoos is indeed unjust, but not because it's prejudice, full stop. It's unjust because it's negative feeling and mild oppression based on bad reasons. There is, again, no objective truth here; society establishes for itself what is right and wrong, and the vast majority of us will agree that if you have a problem with people with piercings and tattoos, that problem is not justified. Piercings and tattoos do not negatively effect our lives on their own, nor have they been demonstrated to significantly cause people to act badly.

Bibles are another story.

The exhaustive efforts to mock, belittle and offend can get excessive and shows poor character. Imagine all the good that could be done in the world if we didn't need to have these arguments, which really boil down to respecting one another. It's undeniable how some here clearly have no respect for faith or followers.

To be clear, I have no problem with good people who disagree and jest, my objection is to those who disrespect and demean.[/quote]

Yes. Imagine how peaceful and progressive the world would be if we kept things to ourselves. The moment religion pledges, worldwide, to cease all attempts to oppress people, to affect public policy, to restrict free speech and education, I'm sure resistance to it will quiet down. I know I'd have less to complain about. But as I've pointed out time and again, religion has no interest in following the request to 'keep it to yourself' and apply mutual 'live and let live' philosophy that you've made above.

Also, I'm interested to know why you think they are deserving of respect, as though such a thing was an implied right, and not a privilege to be earned. Ideas stand on their own merits, and warrant their own respect. Your objection is noted, and summarily rejected. Your endorsement and permission was neither asked for or needed. You're welcome to hold whatever opinion you like about me, but I find your arguments in opposition to the mockery of the godly less than compelling.

Glasgow:
If you never heard of the original sin, God, Jesus, the whole deal - you won't go to hell. You can't be punished for it. When the missionary tells the man of the faith in God and the consequences of having faith - or rejecting it, the black man realizes that he had doomed him for hell if he doesn't succumb to his demands and converts. To him, hell is real because he have just heard about it. Had he never heard about it, he would have never entered there.

I'm still not sure what point you're trying to make. Are you legitimately trying to educate me about a heretofore completely unknown aspect of catholic belief that states that souls are immune from hell if ignorant of scripture? Well that would be silly. Why spread it, then? Are not the agents who do so condemning through passive action the multitudes to eternal torture?

Or... are you making a point against that? Is the "black native" of your story (who I am not sure if you're framing as the 'noble savage' or not) an ignoramus for thinking that learning about hellfire that one does not believe in condemn them to it? Why would he go to the hell of a god he doesn't believe in? Not many Christians lay awake at night worried that they're pissing off Zeus, even though most at least know OF him.

Whatever point you're trying to make has drifted rather wide of the mark. Care to back up and take another run at it?

itsthesheppy:

Glasgow:
If you never heard of the original sin, God, Jesus, the whole deal - you won't go to hell. You can't be punished for it. When the missionary tells the man of the faith in God and the consequences of having faith - or rejecting it, the black man realizes that he had doomed him for hell if he doesn't succumb to his demands and converts. To him, hell is real because he have just heard about it. Had he never heard about it, he would have never entered there.

I'm still not sure what point you're trying to make. Are you legitimately trying to educate me about a heretofore completely unknown aspect of catholic belief that states that souls are immune from hell if ignorant of scripture? Well that would be silly. Why spread it, then? Are not the agents who do so condemning through passive action the multitudes to eternal torture?

Or... are you making a point against that? Is the "black native" of your story (who I am not sure if you're framing as the 'noble savage' or not) an ignoramus for thinking that learning about hellfire that one does not believe in condemn them to it? Why would he go to the hell of a god he doesn't believe in? Not many Christians lay awake at night worried that they're pissing off Zeus, even though most at least know OF him.

Whatever point you're trying to make has drifted rather wide of the mark. Care to back up and take another run at it?

Not what I meant to say before. I think I misspoke. You're right that this leads to proselytizing being not needed since if we introduce them to god and the scripture then they will have the option of rejecting it but if we do nothing they are guaranteed for heaven. However that native would have no idea what awaits him in the after-life. His ignorance essentially saves him from the torment during life, but I myself have trouble understanding that after his demise he will enter hell.

The issue here is that today we follow the word of the lord, but in some day another aspect of the faith will be introduced to us - some aspect that we cannot abide to or accept, and thus will be deemed for Hell. This can be done even after death, which brings the rather uncomfortable nature of the church to light. It's a joke (that I mangled) which my Uncle used to tell me when I was younger. He said that one day, some future pope could make us all retroactively heretics if he so desires. It's when he tried to explain the different sects of Christianity to me.

Fun stuff.

Glasgow:

itsthesheppy:

Glasgow:
If you never heard of the original sin, God, Jesus, the whole deal - you won't go to hell. You can't be punished for it. When the missionary tells the man of the faith in God and the consequences of having faith - or rejecting it, the black man realizes that he had doomed him for hell if he doesn't succumb to his demands and converts. To him, hell is real because he have just heard about it. Had he never heard about it, he would have never entered there.

I'm still not sure what point you're trying to make. Are you legitimately trying to educate me about a heretofore completely unknown aspect of catholic belief that states that souls are immune from hell if ignorant of scripture? Well that would be silly. Why spread it, then? Are not the agents who do so condemning through passive action the multitudes to eternal torture?

Or... are you making a point against that? Is the "black native" of your story (who I am not sure if you're framing as the 'noble savage' or not) an ignoramus for thinking that learning about hellfire that one does not believe in condemn them to it? Why would he go to the hell of a god he doesn't believe in? Not many Christians lay awake at night worried that they're pissing off Zeus, even though most at least know OF him.

Whatever point you're trying to make has drifted rather wide of the mark. Care to back up and take another run at it?

Not what I meant to say before. I think I misspoke. You're right that this leads to proselytizing being not needed since if we introduce them to god and the scripture then they will have the option of rejecting it but if we do nothing they are guaranteed for heaven. However that native would have no idea what awaits him in the after-life. His ignorance essentially saves him from the torment during life, but I myself have trouble understanding that after his demise he will enter hell.

The issue here is that today we follow the word of the lord, but in some day another aspect of the faith will be introduced to us - some aspect that we cannot abide to or accept, and thus will be deemed for Hell. This can be done even after death, which brings the rather uncomfortable nature of the church to light. It's a joke (that I mangled) which my Uncle used to tell me when I was younger. He said that one day, some future pope could make us all retroactively heretics if he so desires. It's when he tried to explain the different sects of Christianity to me.

Fun stuff.

Yes, yes. The eternal, undying torture in a fiery pit. Lots of fun. Hard to imagine why this might not be the healthiest superstition to teach children. If you have a moment to watch an interview this women offers an opinion of what the teaching of hell does to children. I'm not just throwing that at you to bludgeon you with it, by the way; rather, this resonates with me because I grew up catholic, and when I was young, hell was a very real place that I dreaded going. It was a source of significant anxiety.

If you believe in hell, or have had belief in hell indoctrinated into you, you have my pity. How horrible a concept, how utterly wicked and malicious. Yet another way that religion encourages the sinister practice of doublethink, where you are forced to love god and regard god as a benevolent force, and yet this same god will cast you into eternal torture for petty, victimless crimes, like loving the wrong kind of person. It's not hard to see how this cognitive dissonance can be such a source of stress for so many people.

We are all supposed to be god's children, according to the faiths of the godly. What kind of parent would torture their children, for any reason. Is there a crime on earth where any parent would willfully chain their own child up in a basement to have their fingernails pulled out, the skin flayed from their bodies? Of course not, hearing about that would sicken us, and we would prosecute such a horrible person to the fullest extent of the law. And yet we're forced to recognize that the all-loving Yahweh will certainly do this to you, for the crime of not loving him back.

Sinister. Despicable. Foolish superstition and in my humble opinion, abusive to children, to force those ideas into their trusting, spongelike heads. What an abdication of parental responsibility, and shameful.

Silvanus:

AgedGrunt:
You could visit the rest of the world where you would not even have the freedom to mock other dominant religions (or the government, for that matter).

Uhrm, Yes, I could, but I'm not sure why I'd want to, or what that has to do with anything.

Again, I know all this. What's your point? Is your point that Islam is just as worthy of criticism, if not more?

Usually, when those things happen, the British tabloids run pieces on how barbaric the Muslims are. Often followed by racist caricatures or calls to halt immigration.

Kind of a pointless thing to say. Every claim to universal truth with zero evidence is equally ridiculous in my book. The fact is, there would be little point in criticising Islam in and around where I live or even in the British media, for example, because I'd be preaching to the converted (excuse the terminology).

The violence perpetrated by these radicals is neither panned nor mocked at any significant level, but free speech is condemned. If I have this right, you see no point in criticizing Islam because its followers are "settled" in their beliefs? Is there some difference with Christians that I'm missing?

I gave an example of some people who respond to their critics with fatwa, anger and sometimes violence. While on the topic of the ethics of mocking faith, yes there is my point to bringing this up when there is a lack of social criticism.

itsthesheppy:
But the prejudice you see against those with piercings and tattoos is indeed unjust, but not because it's prejudice, full stop. It's unjust because it's negative feeling and mild oppression based on bad reasons.

Piercings and tattoos do not negatively effect our lives on their own, nor have they been demonstrated to significantly cause people to act badly.

Bibles are another story.

Bolded: The definition of prejudice. Underlined: Prejudice.

itsthesheppy:
The moment religion pledges, worldwide, to cease all attempts to oppress people, to affect public policy, to restrict free speech and education...[1]

religion has no interest in following the request to...[2]

Also, I'm interested to know why you think they are deserving of respect[3], as though such a thing was an implied right, and not a privilege to be earned.[4]

Apparently this is what you get when you ask people to get along with their fellow man.

[1] Hate speech
[2] Hasty generalization
[3] Moar hate speech
[4] RIP tolerance?

AgedGrunt:
-snip-

You bolded/underlined response doesn't make sense to me. Or I'm not seeing exactly how it bolsters your point, or attacks mine. There's a difference between holding negative feelings about something because it's different, versus because it is comprised of malicious (however intentional) potential. Can you not see it?

Also, you label the things I have said as "hate speech", completely divorcing yourself from reasoned debate. How is what I am saying hateful? What is "hateful", to you? You're struggling.

AgedGrunt:

The violence perpetrated by these radicals is neither panned nor mocked at any significant level, but free speech is condemned. If I have this right, you see no point in criticizing Islam because its followers are "settled" in their beliefs? Is there some difference with Christians that I'm missing?

Yes; you're missing what I actually meant. I did not mean I would be "preaching to the converted" in that sense. I meant that the British public is already distrustful and often hateful of Islam and Muslims as it is. Criticising Islam would be adding my voice to an already-deafening roar. Christianity receives criticism on a much smaller scale, from a tiny atheist minority and a defensive gay rights movement, and that's about it.

AgedGrunt:
I gave an example of some people who respond to their critics with fatwa, anger and sometimes violence. While on the topic of the ethics of mocking faith, yes there is my point to bringing this up when there is a lack of social criticism.

If you genuinely think there's a "lack of social criticism" of Islam, I'd have to suggest you must be blissfully unaware of the trends of the British popular press.

I dont see the difference in why its alright for athiests to do that, but a religious person say something and they're automatically bad. thats my only real problem. but then again I alawys thought religion should be a personal thing more so than a group.

Zeh Don:

Polarity27:
Hi, are you a Christian? ... If so, yes, I do indeed hold you at least partly responsible for the persecution, and in some places, torture and murder of "heretics and witches", and cultural genocide that is happening RIGHT NOW...

"As one is guilty, so are they all" then? What a horrendous position to take, even ignoring the obvious and inane separatism and bias present in even the first five words of your response.

"We must reject the idea that every time a law's broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions." - Ronald Reagan.

A quote from one of the worst presidents my country has ever had is unlikely to move me. I can't imagine why you thought it would.

And "hi, are you a Christian?" shows "obvious and inane separatism and bias"? Dude, wat?

To punish, condemn or to hold responsible the whole for the actions of the few you described as "Radical Christians" is not only the worst type of response, it is also the most dangerous of thinkings. I could easily state that you obviously believe that the word "Christian" is indistinguishable from the word "evil", and should be expunged accordingly. I won't.

Christian is not indistinguishable from "evil", Christianity, collectively, is responsible for an awful lot of very evil things. I'm not seeking to "punish" you, I'm simply shining a light on reality. So let's turn your very defensive glare away from something I think you share in responsibility for to something I think *I* share in responsibility for. Let me ask you a question: why is the US out of Iraq and on its slow way out of Afghanistan? Answer: lots of reasons, but very high on the list is the fact that the American public, collectively, has "war fatigue". We do not support it. We vociferously do not support it. That weight of public opinion moves policy. Sometimes it moves it slowly, but don't doubt that it does move it.

So here's the thing-- I'm an American. The US has been stepping up its drone strikes, and those drone strikes have killed thousands of innocent civilians. That's a fact. There is *not* vociferous, mass disapproval of these drone strikes. There is some, yes, but on the whole, Americans don't really care enough to make their voices heard on this. In this, I am guilty. Right now I'm more interested in my own personal struggles than in writing letters to my representatives to demand fewer drone strikes. There is power in my voice, as there is power in every American citizen's voice. We are not, for the most part, using that power to stop this killing. If the families of the slain were to say "you goddamned Americans, you're ignorant of our plight and you don't give a shit that we die", THEY'RE RIGHT. I sit here and think "when I move and resolve my present issues, I'll research this more and write a good letter", and maybe a lot of us are thinking that. A lot more of us don't even know it's happening. We could throw our mass behind this, as both US citizens and most of the world polity did on waterboarding, and demand coverage and demand action. We could. We don't.

Do you get me now? There are tons of Americans. We're not all equally culpable-- many of us know nothing of this, some very tiny number of us actually pulled the trigger, in some distant control room. But every person who could do something-- some little action toward a greater whole of public outrage-- who shrugs and walks away or thinks, like I have, "I'll do it later", has made it that much harder for the people most affected by our drone warfare. Likewise, if you are Christian, you are part of a greater whole, some of which is wreaking almost unimaginable harm. The connections between groups are often greater than you might think, the opportunities for outraged Christians to demand action and shine a needed spotlight on horror are also likely greater than you might think.

If I implicate you, I also salute the many, many Catholics, as an example, who've put their livelihoods and sometimes their lives at risk to expose abuses by the greater Church leadership (I cannot, for instance, recommend the book "Good Catholic Girls" highly enough). But what you seemed to be saying is that these abuses are in the distant past-- if you believe that, *you're* the one who needs to educate yourself, not me. Educate yourself, and speak up. If enough outraged Christians cared enough and were vocal enough and threw enough attention, work, and funds at these abuses, it would make a huge difference in most of these cases. I don't care about punishing Christians, I simply want these flagrant abuses of power and privilege to stop. If you don't think you have the power to do that, who the holy hell do you think *does*?

Polarity27:
A quote from one of the worst presidents my country has ever had is unlikely to move me. I can't imagine why you thought it would...

Move you? This isn't an emotional appeal, rather it is a simple statement - and one you failed to address. My apologies if I didn't present it as I intended, I thought I had. In any case, regardless of the person who says it, the commonly held belief in most of the world is that a person is responsible for his or her own actions, and not the actions of others. Do you disagree with that belief?
If no, then you are responsible for any crime committed by another person where you failed to intervene in some capacity. Even if you had no knowledge of the crime. That doesn't sound like a very sound principle to me, though.
If yes, then terrific - you understand personal responsibility... yet then the rest of your original post shows untold bias towards Christianity and religion in general.

Polarity27:
And "hi, are you a Christian?" shows "obvious and inane separatism and bias"? Dude, wat?

I stated it quite clearly, I thought. You're appropriating the "us and them" stance for your obviously bias position towards Christianity, given the wording of your original post. The rest of that post devolves into paragraphs that amount to little more than a "Why are you letting this happen?" mentality. It begs the question: Why are Christians solely responsible for the murderous actions of other Christians?
If one is indeed responsible for the actions of others, why the separatism? Would not the people geographically closest to the offending people be held accountable, being the ones most realistically able to intervene, regardless of religion?
Why are only Christians responsible for the actions of other Christians if a person is responsible for the actions of others?

...Christian is not indistinguishable from "evil", Christianity, collectively, is responsible for an awful lot of very evil things...

"Collectively"? Then, once again, a person is apparently responsible for the actions of others.
I really am fascinated by this, and how far it goes. If a man tells you to kill someone, and you do - who is responsible for that crime? Are you both responsible?

Polarity27:
...So let's turn your very defensive glare away from something I think you share in responsibility for...

I'm sorry, at this point I fail to see how I'm responsible for the actions of others that, in most cases, took place before I was born. Can you please explain this, as I'm really struggling to understand it.

Polarity27:
Let me ask you a question: why is the US out of Iraq and on its slow way out of Afghanistan? ...We do not support it.

Many Americans never supported the decision to invade Iraq and Afghanistan, are they responsible for the actions of their Government who acted against their wishes? As I said in my previous post, "As one is guilty, so are they all"? You failed to address this issue.

Polarity27:
...I'm an American. The US has been stepping up its drone strikes, and those drone strikes have killed thousands of innocent civilians. That's a fact. There is *not* vociferous, mass disapproval of these drone strikes. There is some, yes, but on the whole, Americans don't really care enough to make their voices heard on this. In this, I am guilty...

You're arguing moral responsibility, then? That's much clearer - I'd recommend being quite specific about the type of responsibility you're referring to, as it prevents confusion and makes you're statements that much more clearer.

As for the accuracy of your statements in this regard, that is to say moral responsibility, I'd still have to question the logic you've applied to yourself.
Do you have a moral obligation to inform your Government that you disagree with them doing something that everyone acknowledges as wrong? In a more personal context - are you morally responsible for a murder if you didn't tell the murderer that murder is wrong, despite the fact that they knew it was wrong? I'd argue no, as your input would not have altered the outcome of them ignoring accepted moral behaviour in the first place - they've absolved you of your responsibility with their original action to ignore accepted behaviour - in terms of your Government, that accepted behaviour being stated and agreed to during the outcome of the Genova Convention of 1949.
If the American Government needs public outcry to not murder another countries civilians, then I'd argue that the American people need do more than merely write letters and complain. The responsibility you have inherited is not that of moral responsibility, as you have appeared to infer, but that of societal responsibility due to the nature of society; the Government is abusing it's power that your society has granted it and no longer represents that society as such, defeating it's purpose and dissolving it's power.

Polarity27:
Likewise, if you are Christian, you are part of a greater whole, some of which is wreaking almost unimaginable harm. The connections between groups are often greater than you might think, the opportunities for outraged Christians to demand action and shine a needed spotlight on horror are also likely greater than you might think...

While I can understand your thinking here, the difference is that anyone can call themselves a Christian; there is no single ruling body of Christianity that covers all denominations, nor are the recent actions the actions of such a body that Christians belong to.
Having said that, I agree with some aspects of your position; if someone does something wrong in the name of whatever I believe, then I believe that it is my responsibility to educate them to the correct course of action. But I am not responsible for their actions if they deliberately ignore the correct course of action - which, in the vast majority of cases today, is exactly what happens. They have made a conscience decision to ignore what they know to be that correct action. In the case of Christianity, if they declare themselves Christians then they are bound to following "correct action":

Book of Matthew, Chapter 22:
36 "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"
37 Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'
38 This is the first and greatest commandment.
39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'
40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Note verse 40 in particular, which allows this commandment to override everything else in the Christian Bible. As a result, if they do not act in accordance to this passage, they are not truly Christians, despite their self-proclaimed title. As you can imagine, this means a lot of people who claim to be Christians aren't by this definition. If they do know this and they ignore it, then other Christians are not morally responsible for their actions, as they have deliberately ignored what their holy figure literally declared "The greatest commandment in the Law" - "Love your neighbor as yourself".
If you hold that they are still responsible, then you make every man responsible for every crime that they didn't stop - regardless of the practicality of their intervention.

Polarity27:
...I simply want these flagrant abuses of power and privilege to stop. If you don't think you have the power to do that, who the holy hell do you think *does*?

Theoretically, you and I could get on a plane, fly to the appropriate country and try and stop them. We may well die for our efforts, but it's worth a chance, right? My question, then, is simple: why is it the responsibility of other Christians as opposed to any one other person, regardless of their religion?
If an African-American kills someone, is it the responsibility of other African-Americans to bring them to justice? How about a Jewish American? I'd argue that it is the responsibility of everyone who is realistically able to stop them - that is to say the Police, in most cases - and not merely others who share their religious, racial of patriotic belief.

So, why the separatism?

emeraldrafael:
I dont see the difference in why its alright for athiests to do that, but a religious person say something and they're automatically bad. thats my only real problem. but then again I alawys thought religion should be a personal thing more so than a group.

You don't understand why its alright for atheists to do what? The man in the OP's example was not discriminated against. He left his job because he was compelled by his own superstitions. He was roundly mocked for it; that's a crime? Since when? People counter-protest the Westboro Baptists too, are they being unfair the prejudicial to the WBC?

In places where religion has all the power they like, they don't mock and make fun of their opponents. They stone them, hang them, and burn them at the stake. We've managed to get away from that in the west, and we should thank our lucky stars that we have the freedom to mock religious nonsense, and that we don't live in the Orwellian nightmare the strong religious right would like us to. What atheists are passing laws to forbid the godly from voting, or marrying? What laws are we passing to prevent them from bowing to whatever made-up forces they like? None.

Zeh Don:

In any case, regardless of the person who says it, the commonly held belief in most of the world is that a person is responsible for his or her own actions, and not the actions of others. Do you disagree with that belief?
If no, then you are responsible for any crime committed by another person where you failed to intervene in some capacity. Even if you had no knowledge of the crime. That doesn't sound like a very sound principle to me, though.
If yes, then terrific - you understand personal responsibility... yet then the rest of your original post shows untold bias towards Christianity and religion in general.

We are not only responsible for our actions, but also for our associations. If I join a white supremacist group, you are welcome and encouraged to hold a certain opinion about me, even if you have not ever seen me conduct myself in a racist manner. Perhaps I merely joined them to adopt a highway and hold some community bake sales. Maybe I'm a nice guy. A nice guy who counts himself among white supremacists. It's a tacit endorsement; "These guys are okay by me". It's a profession of an opinion, and we are all responsible for our opinions, and not all opinions have value.

If you walk down the street with a shirt on that says "Pol Pot Had Some Good Ideas" you're welcome to; I'm similarly welcome to cross the street to avoid you and decline from inviting you to my birthday parties. Not because I think you'll show up and conduct a little casual parlor-room genocide, but because who you choose to associate with is offensive and, by extension, I would not want to associate with you.

I'd be well within my rights to point at your shirt and say "Explain yourself". You don't have to answer, but you do have to accept the social stigma that may be imposed on you. To this end (if you are a christian), the crimes of a religion are indeed a burden you must shoulder; not as the one personally responsible for those crimes and injustices, but as one who belongs to an organization in spite of them.

itsthesheppy:
To this end (if you are a christian), the crimes of a religion are indeed a burden you must shoulder; not as the one personally responsible for those crimes and injustices, but as one who belongs to an organization in spite of them.

Hang on, are we genuinely claiming that by association, all Christians share collective responsibility for the crimes of the religious...? Because that's illogical in the extreme.

Uninvolved Atheists and Communists have zero responsibility for Stalin's crimes (unless they had direct influence they failed to use). Uninvolved Brits have zero responsibility for the crimes of the Empire (unless they seek to romanticise the period, as the tabloids do).

They have zero responsibility for the crime. They DO have responsibility to right any wrong they can, but no more so than anybody does, and they shoulder no greater responsibility as a result of sharing a demographic with the culprit.

Highly illogical "guild-by-association" stuff going on right here.

(Note: This is not to say Christians should be under any illusions about the history of the religious institutions, which is bloody and immoral in the extreme).

Silvanus:

itsthesheppy:
To this end (if you are a christian), the crimes of a religion are indeed a burden you must shoulder; not as the one personally responsible for those crimes and injustices, but as one who belongs to an organization in spite of them.

Hang on, are we genuinely claiming that by association, all Christians share collective responsibility for the crimes of the religious...? Because that's illogical in the extreme.

Uninvolved Atheists and Communists have zero responsibility for Stalin's crimes (unless they had direct influence they failed to use). Uninvolved Brits have zero responsibility for the crimes of the Empire (unless they seek to romanticise the period, as the tabloids do).

They have zero responsibility for the crime. They DO have responsibility to right any wrong they can, but no more so than anybody does, and they shoulder no greater responsibility as a result of sharing a demographic with the culprit.

Highly illogical "guild-by-association" stuff going on right here.

(Note: This is not to say Christians should be under any illusions about the history of the religious institutions, which is bloody and immoral in the extreme).

It's not the religion, faith or dogma. It's the political drive to come on top, and some people will do what they can in order to be influential. Some people are born to it, others need to climb a mountain of corpses to get to it. It's the same then and the same now. No difference between overthrowing a dictatorial regime in the spirit of democracy and conquering the infidels to convert them. Secular dogma is not too far from Religious dogma.

Silvanus:

itsthesheppy:
To this end (if you are a christian), the crimes of a religion are indeed a burden you must shoulder; not as the one personally responsible for those crimes and injustices, but as one who belongs to an organization in spite of them.

Hang on, are we genuinely claiming that by association, all Christians share collective responsibility for the crimes of the religious...? Because that's illogical in the extreme.

Uninvolved Atheists and Communists have zero responsibility for Stalin's crimes (unless they had direct influence they failed to use). Uninvolved Brits have zero responsibility for the crimes of the Empire (unless they seek to romanticise the period, as the tabloids do).

They have zero responsibility for the crime. They DO have responsibility to right any wrong they can, but no more so than anybody does, and they shoulder no greater responsibility as a result of sharing a demographic with the culprit.

Highly illogical "guild-by-association" stuff going on right here.

(Note: This is not to say Christians should be under any illusions about the history of the religious institutions, which is bloody and immoral in the extreme).

Stalin didn't do anything he did in the name of atheism. He certainly did it in the name of his political ideology. If you subscribe to the same ideology then you very much do take upon yourself the social stigma of the nasty things done in its name in the past. It's the stigma to which I am referring. If you wear a Stalin T-shirt and talk at length about what a great man he was, that does not mean I can try you for the political genocide for which he was chiefly responsible. I can however hold a certain opinion of you; I can direct pointed questions demanding that you explain yourself; I can stand on the soap box next to yours with a sign that says "I'm with Stupid --->".

You're not guilty of the crime. The stigma attached to the group that has not only not appropriately atoned but in fact continues to commit crimes to this very day, is very much yours if you choose to associate yourself with them. Join the KKK and I'm going to assume you're a racist. You might not be, but if you don't want to be seen as one and you don't want very pointed questions brought to you about the group's history and their current practices, don't join.

itsthesheppy:

emeraldrafael:
I dont see the difference in why its alright for athiests to do that, but a religious person say something and they're automatically bad. thats my only real problem. but then again I alawys thought religion should be a personal thing more so than a group.

You don't understand why its alright for atheists to do what? The man in the OP's example was not discriminated against. He left his job because he was compelled by his own superstitions. He was roundly mocked for it; that's a crime? Since when? People counter-protest the Westboro Baptists too, are they being unfair the prejudicial to the WBC?

In places where religion has all the power they like, they don't mock and make fun of their opponents. They stone them, hang them, and burn them at the stake. We've managed to get away from that in the west, and we should thank our lucky stars that we have the freedom to mock religious nonsense, and that we don't live in the Orwellian nightmare the strong religious right would like us to. What atheists are passing laws to forbid the godly from voting, or marrying? What laws are we passing to prevent them from bowing to whatever made-up forces they like? None.

...

I didnt say anyone was discriminating against anyone (though mocking one based on religious preference is prejudice and should wrong. if its not, please then go and feel free to laugh at someone for being any race different than yours and tell me how that went).

I only said i dont see why its acceptable for athiests to mock christians (or any religion) based on their belief (which is what the central idea of this thread is), but when a christian turns around, they're vilified and called "preachy" or accusing of trying to turn someone to their faith. Its perfectly fine to disagree with a group when the members are doing wrong by the beliefs (see WBC, fundamentalist and even for a while regular mormons, muslims who insist on a jihad and use it as a justification for terrorism) and taking that to mean they can do as they wish. No one of christian faith likes the WBC (hell, have the sects dont like each other just based on general practices like do you hang a crucifix or regular cross), just like muslims distance themselves from the radicals.

Should I say I can mock atheism and its alright, because men like Jeffrey Dahmer, Jim Jones, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong were all notable atheists, or at least against the idea of religion as a uniting factor? I cant think of anyone who would say those men were good. Im sure any atheist would tell me no. So why is it right to mock good decent religious folks just because tehy believe in something you dont. sure that man above went too far, and i agree its a bit ridiculous. But the idea of the thread is mockery on the whole against anyone with faith by those who choose to not hold faith in a central deity figure(s) above.

emeraldrafael:

itsthesheppy:

emeraldrafael:
I dont see the difference in why its alright for athiests to do that, but a religious person say something and they're automatically bad. thats my only real problem. but then again I alawys thought religion should be a personal thing more so than a group.

You don't understand why its alright for atheists to do what? The man in the OP's example was not discriminated against. He left his job because he was compelled by his own superstitions. He was roundly mocked for it; that's a crime? Since when? People counter-protest the Westboro Baptists too, are they being unfair the prejudicial to the WBC?

In places where religion has all the power they like, they don't mock and make fun of their opponents. They stone them, hang them, and burn them at the stake. We've managed to get away from that in the west, and we should thank our lucky stars that we have the freedom to mock religious nonsense, and that we don't live in the Orwellian nightmare the strong religious right would like us to. What atheists are passing laws to forbid the godly from voting, or marrying? What laws are we passing to prevent them from bowing to whatever made-up forces they like? None.

...

I didnt say anyone was discriminating against anyone (though mocking one based on religious preference is prejudice and should wrong. if its not, please then go and feel free to laugh at someone for being any race different than yours and tell me how that went).

Fallacious reasoning. You can't choose your race, skin color and other hereditary traits. You can't choose the religion you are, as a child. indoctrinated into. but you do choose to stay in it, or convert to it, as an adult. What is being mocked is the choice; more than that, what is being mocked is the act of behaving superstitiously.

I only said i dont see why its acceptable for athiests to mock christians (or any religion) based on their belief (which is what the central idea of this thread is), but when a christian turns around, they're vilified and called "preachy" or accusing of trying to turn someone to their faith. Its perfectly fine to disagree with a group when the members are doing wrong by the beliefs (see WBC, fundamentalist and even for a while regular mormons, muslims who insist on a jihad and use it as a justification for terrorism) and taking that to mean they can do as they wish. No one of christian faith likes the WBC (hell, have the sects dont like each other just based on general practices like do you hang a crucifix or regular cross), just like muslims distance themselves from the radicals.

Remember that youtube video that went around recently, of the congregation of some southern church making their children sing "Ain't no homo's gonna get into heaven" or something to that effect? You're myopic if you think the WBC stands along on an isolated island. They inhabit, rather, the tip of a peninsula. There are people right behind them who, while unwilling to go to the same extremes, are at the very least sympathetic. Embarrassed not so much by the content, but by the execution.

Also, I find it hard to shed many tears for the oppression and "abuse" levied at people who inhabit what is statistically the sweeping majority of the human race, who has enjoyed unquestioning power and influence up to just this past century and, in many cases, just this past couple generations. Also, search the hashtag #ThingsTheGodlySay on twitter sometime. You might be interested to see what the faithful have to say about those who don't follow their particular myth.

Atheists, at their worst, belittle, make fun of, and mock the religious. The equivalent on the other side oppress civil rights through legislation, oppose what could be lifesaving stem cell research, and harass, menace, and legislate against women who was to have (constitutionally legal) abortions. They are not so sad and vulnerable a group as so many try to make them out do be. But then, it's hard to rally to their spirited defense when you're defending Goliath from David, isn't it?

Should I say I can mock atheism and its alright, because men like Jeffrey Dahmer, Jim Jones, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong were all notable atheists, or at least against the idea of religion as a uniting factor? I cant think of anyone who would say those men were good. Im sure any atheist would tell me no. So why is it right to mock good decent religious folks just because tehy believe in something you dont. sure that man above went too far, and i agree its a bit ridiculous. But the idea of the thread is mockery on the whole against anyone with faith by those who choose to not hold faith in a central deity figure(s) above.

My challenge to you: provide evidence that atheism was causal to any one of those men doing what they did. I'll bet you a nice, shiny nickel you can't do it. You'd need to show me how it was atheism that led to those actions. Saying that they were atheists isn't any more significant to me than saying that they were all men, or that they all had hair, or they all had brown eyes, or any other shared unrelated trait.

Better than you have tried. Stalin committed heinous genocide because of his political ideology. The men who stone adulterers in the middle east, on the other hand, are doing it because their religious teachings explicitly instruct them to. Jihad is mandated to them from their religious leader and backed by their religious texts. Homosexuals are barred equal rights in many parts of the US because the bible says its wrong. Are you seeing a difference?

itsthesheppy:
SNIP

But vocal support for Stalin would suggest support for what he did. I'm talking about Communists who are not Stalinists, and the illogical thinking involved in judging them guilty by association.

After all, we're drawing conclusions here NOT on the basis of these Christians supporting the institutions that perpetrated the crimes, but simply because those Christians share a demographic.

So there is no confusion, I am talking about Jews-the religious group. Not Jews-the ethnic group.

boots:

The difference is that sexuality and race are not things that people get to choose. You cannot wake up one day and decide to be Asian because you read a book by an Asian and liked it. Likewise, if you're born gay then you can't just decide that it's too much hassle and decide to be straight instead. People are what they are, and to ridicule them for something that they have no control over is dickish.

Religion, on the other hand, is something that you choose. Not only do people choose to be religious, a lot of them also try to force others to make the same decision, and condemn them for not doing so. Now I have nothing against someone who is simply content to believe in God themselves, but the second they start telling other people that they're going to hell, committing hate crimes or making hate speech against those who their religions deems to be "unholy", or trying to force religion into government law - then they deserve as much ridicule as they get.

Just to clarify, you can't always choose your religion. Case in point is Judaism. In Judaism there is something called Halkha Law and it determines who is a Jew or not. It states that if your mother is a Jew, then you are as well. It doesn't matter if you renounce Judaism, do the exact opposite of every one of the 613 miztvahs and declare yourself atheist or attempt to convert to another religion. Under Judaism, you would still be just as much of a Jew as a rabbi. So for example, Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud are equally as much a Jew as Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar.

Comedian David Cross summaries exactly what I'm referring to(skip to 6:15)....

Silvanus:

itsthesheppy:
SNIP

But vocal support for Stalin would suggest support for what he did. I'm talking about Communists who are not Stalinists, and the illogical thinking involved in judging them guilty by association.

After all, we're drawing conclusions here NOT on the basis of these Christians supporting the institutions that perpetrated the crimes, but simply because those Christians share a demographic.

This is why it's important, when dishing out a little mockery, that you understand what it is you are mocking. If someone tells me that they're a communist, I'm more likely to question them about the fact that all real-world implementations of communism seem to either lead to failed states, or stagnant ones. I would not accuse them of colluding with genocide. Very much for the same reason that I would not come at a christian with accusations of colluding with the Crusades. Accusing a protestant of colluding with the backwards declarations of the pope would make me look rather foolish.

But remember, we're not talking about me hypothetically going door-to-door, searching the world for Christians to mock and belittle. We're talking about someone's actions in the public sphere being criticized. If you happen to belong, for example, to a Christian sect that is cool with homosexuals, that recognizes a woman's right to choose, that supports safe sex practices, that doesn't adhere to creationist worldviews, that doesn't believe that apostates and heathens burn in hell, that doesn't want to put prayer in schools, etc, etc, then I won't be accusing you of those things and it would be unfair to apply that label. I might take issue with you if you do bring up some superstitious goofiness but I certainly won't go seeking you out. You'll be amazed to learn I can conduct conversation with people wearing crucifixes and somehow manage not to draw attention to it even once!

But if you do decide to join or be a member of the Catholic church, to use one example, then the legacy of misogynist, homophobic, anti-scientific nonsense is yours to inherit. Affiliation colors opinion, as it rightly should.

itsthesheppy:
... Are you seeing a difference?

not particularly. Its not the bible that forbids its the lawmakers that do, because there are now I believe five states that allow homosexual unions and none are huge atheistic populations. again, I said the common, good, decent people of faith are the ones who suffer most, because tehy're lumped in with no good reason to the acts of the vocal minority. because ONE preacher does that, or even say two or five, or 10, out of the literal hundreds and thousands of churches in the country does that does not mean it should be held against the whole. you yourself say you shouldnt hold what the men I mentioned against atheism, despite Dahmer stating he does not believe in god, and should not be held accountable to his whim. Just as Jones was quoted on saying he "took the church and used the church to bring people to atheism," and that Stalin promoted Atheism in schools (not saying atheists are wrong for it, but tihs man believed he was right and targeted churches) while holding a terror propaganda against religion (something I find personally to be in some relation and cause to be atheist himself and using that to promote what he did) and torturing/executing those of faith on wide scale.

its easy to pick the lawmakers who are old and dont like the idea, who harbor the subtle racisms and validate themselves because tehy can say a book that is not meant to be taken as a history book (especially when half of said book isnt even theirs to quote) and more a lesson in life and the good you should practice as a ways of getting votes.

The jewish section (the old testament) is the idea that by being good and suffering through the hardships that may befall you, you will be rewarded, or at least that those against you will be punished for evil acts (a belief any civilized nation holds through its judicial process, which everywhere is flawed in some way). the christian section (the new testament) is a message of rebirth and virtue, that living by ten rules (or more, depends on the sect you follow) you can attain a lasting paradise, or at least that you can not have to worry about strife. as the world becomes more and more modern the church has been going against itself more and pushing for a more modern view on issues like homosexuality.

I still also dont see why its right to mock them for their choice to stay religious if its not right to mock the atheists who also make their choice. it sounds hypocritical to me. Just as you find it hard to shed tears for the religious, I find it hard to shed tears for atheists when they dont provide a shining example either. Im sure you could find equally disgusting and hateful things gainst christians that should not be justifiable on twitter.

Look I can see where this is going, and I know myself Im not nearly qualified to give a long arguement. all I can say is my opinion, and that is There are good people and bad people in both sides, and they area a vocal minority. Atheists can point to the power the church held and say its evil (despite during one of the most famous periods [the dark ages] it was not religion that lead directly to, and was in fact religion that saved the knowledge), just as I as a person of faith can point to men of power like Pol Pot, stalin, Zedong, and I would say hitler, but I think he honestly believed in that occult stuff as a religion and thats a point I dont wnat to argue (again im not qualified to). those who go out of their way to harass and hold to points a 2000 year old book that has no basis in the modern world any more because it is the way they interrupt the word themselves (as I do not hold those indoctrined at fault without going to the source, because again, I believe that religion is a personal experience you should find yourself with only light guidance from someone wiser) deserve the perception against them. hwoever, the good and decent people, as they are I would bet the quiet majority should not be mocked or have their belief (or lack of) against them.

evilneko:

SimpleThunda':

evilneko:
snip

That is, in my opinion, ungrounded.

Pretty much as long as humanity has existed, until recently, there has been little dispute over whether a god exists or not. Before that, it was always assumed a god or multiple gods exists, or that there was atleast the supernatural.

Now, that is no proof that a god exists, but based on that I'd say it's unreasonable to call the atheist's perspective the default position.

Well, I'm sorry but, that would be wrong.

And if I find it amusing that you don't realize the wiki quote you later use doesn't actually support your position. Perhaps you should explore wiki a bit more to see why.

Do you have have sources to back up your claim that atheism and not (poly)theism or deism is the default position the humans are born having? I'm actually quite curious if Psychology has focused on the subject at all.

itsthesheppy:
I might take issue with you if you do bring up some superstitious goofiness but I certainly won't go seeking you out. You'll be amazed to learn I can conduct conversation with people wearing crucifixes and somehow manage not to draw attention to it even once!

Please; I disagreed with something, that doesn't mean I see you as a fanatic. I don't.

itsthesheppy:
But if you do decide to join or be a member of the Catholic church, to use one example, then the legacy of misogynist, homophobic, anti-scientific nonsense is yours to inherit. Affiliation colors opinion, as it rightly should.

I agree completely. But it's not association with institutions that I was talking about; associate with a Church, and I agree that the crimes of that Church should be a point of criticism and mockery. I was talking about association with a belief.

Join or voice support for an institution, the crimes of that institution count against you. Share a belief with a perpetrator, that perpetrator's crimes do not count against you.

emeraldrafael:
-snip-

I see you dodged my challenge. It would have been a nice little bit of validation if you would just admit that there is no causal evidence to suggest that what Stalin was based on some atheistic worldview. I think it's pretty clear what your examples did and why they did it. Stalin attacked the church because he was attacking the old way of governance; the Tsars that preceded the communist upheaval were something more than men, not gods or directly divine, but close to it. By coming down hard on religion he was making a very clear point. There's a new boss in town. He didn't commit genocide because he was atheist. He committed genocide because he was totalitarian dictator who dealt with opponents by killing them. Jim Jones was a megalomaniac who wanted to build a religion centered around himself and his political ideology. Dahmer liked killing people. Hitler had "God on our side" engraved onto the belt buckles of his military officers so... there's that myth debunked. Again.

Not believing in god is not causal to any of these things; what was the last sin you committed in the name of not believing in Amon-Ra? Stop trying to link atheism to atrocities. You're embarrassing yourself.

You do bring up a salient point. Why should the religious moderates feel at all to blame for the actions of the extreme adherents to their faith? Well, that's the core question, as it happens. I would argue that the moderates are who is really to blame. Stay with me for a sec, it's not as crazy as it sounds.

First of all, there isn't a christian I've ever met who isn't some breed of "country club" or "buffet" christian. Nobody follows every rule of the bible. Oh, and before you say again that the New Testament does away with all the homophobic stuff, you should first consider that Jesus clearly stated that he was there not to destroy the old laws, but to affirm them; secondly, look up 1 Corinthians 6:9. Yeah. New Testament, baby. It's repeated in Timothy, if that's your bag.

The 'extremists' are different from the 'moderates' only in that they adhere much more closely to the same books and rules that everyone else is using; they just don't cherry pick as much. They are only extreme in their adherence to a religion that most people only half-follow. Obviously, very few people would be okay with slavery or the stoning of homosexuals. But for the few who are, there is a book right there that advocates all that stuff and wouldn't you know it? It's a nationwide bestseller since forever.

The moderates are the bulwark of the extremists. The bricks in the foundation of Crazy House. There wouldn't be extremists if there was nothing to be extreme about. We don't see suicide bombings today carried out by neophytes of Athena, because the Cult of Athena is no longer a thing. If there were 1.5 billion Athenian cultists, you can bet your bottom dollar a few hundred of them would be nutcases about it. It's like, hundreds of thousands of people read Batman comics. But only a handful show up at conventions dressed like Batman.

Worse than that, however, is the fact that the moderates will always protect the extremists, whether they want to or not. A politician can, today, get on television and say that homosexuals are against the bible and immoral, and not lose his job immediately. All he or anyone else has to say is "It's my faith" and suddenly the statement, and the man, is untouchable. Rather, people will applaud him because having faith is considered virtuous. For as long as there are billions and billions of people who fervently believe the Qu'ran to be the inerrant word of god, you'll find a nice big group of people who will take it that extra step further, who will decide not to overlook those parts about executing apostates. Not until the moderates abandon the religion will it lose its power. We will never be free of it because we cannot criticize the source of the extremism. At the end of the day, they always have the bible to fall back on, and the President is never going to go on TV and say "Yeah, well, obviously the bible isn't the word of god, so, what else you got?"

Moderates are the unwilling defenders of extremism. For as long as there are billions of moderates, we will always have handfuls of extremists. Well-meaning, smiling, family-oriented extremists who will kiss their children on the heads before work in the morning, and then vote to prevent women from accessing reproductive health care or homosexual equal rights[1]. It needs to stop, and by punching holes in the "religiously moderate" shieldwall we can chip away at their legitimacy and actually erode their power and influence.

[1] In many places, this represents the majority opinion, still.

Realitycrash:

Shadowstar38:

Aris Khandr:

Is that you offering to answer questions, or wanting to ask some yourself? Kind of ambiguous.

Offering to answer them. Sorry about that.

Is homosexuality wrong, and if so, why?
I never honestly got why this would be, other than 'God created Adam and Eve' and 'thou shalt not lie with a man as one does with a woman'. God created Adam and Eve, sure, but so what? Does that mean that Adam and Steve can't have sex? B (No Adam and Steve) does not follow from A (God created Adam and Eve).
'Thou shalt not blah blah' wasn't even Jesus, as far as I know, so basically there's a fallible man preaching, and not the word of God.

*Note, I'm not that religious so take this with a grain of salt* If you are referring to Homosexuality's condemnation in the Old testament, then the question should be rephrased as "is male homosexuality sinful" and the answer would be,yes it is.....for Jews. While the Rabbinical Laws condemn Lesbianism, the Torah[1] doesn't specifically condemn "Amanda and Eve". However it needs to be said that these laws only apply for Jews, gentiles are not asked to follow these laws and failure to follow said laws does not result in internal damnation[2]. If you want to know what Judaism does ask gentiles to do, then you should read up on the Noahide Laws. Those are the only laws that Judaism ask of gentiles.

[1] that's the Old Testament in case you didn't know
[2] its more like six months to a year

Silvanus:

itsthesheppy:
I might take issue with you if you do bring up some superstitious goofiness but I certainly won't go seeking you out. You'll be amazed to learn I can conduct conversation with people wearing crucifixes and somehow manage not to draw attention to it even once!

Please; I disagreed with something, that doesn't mean I see you as a fanatic. I don't.

itsthesheppy:
But if you do decide to join or be a member of the Catholic church, to use one example, then the legacy of misogynist, homophobic, anti-scientific nonsense is yours to inherit. Affiliation colors opinion, as it rightly should.

I agree completely. But it's not association with institutions that I was talking about; associate with a Church, and I agree that the crimes of that Church should be a point of criticism and mockery. I was talking about association with a belief.

Join or voice support for an institution, the crimes of that institution count against you. Share a belief with a perpetrator, that perpetrator's crimes do not count against you.

Institutions have been my target all this time, and I think I've been pretty clear about that. I'm maybe not entirely sure what you're talking about. If you believe in ghosts, you're not to blame for the crimes of everyone who believed in ghosts.

However, if you belong to a club of people who have in the past all committed crimes in the name of that same ghost, then you take on the responsibility of affiliation. Religion has always been about institution. It can't really survive without it. We're a tribal species; everyone needs a flag to wave.

Sam Harris once gave a very powerful, very moving and logical argument for why 'atheism' shouldn't even be a thing; after all, there aren't clubs for people who aren't racist. But it's easier and more comforting to ally yourself. So to me, when you're talking about religion, you're talking about an institution. I have very rarely ever been exposed to any examples of atrocities carried out by single people who were not just psychopaths. When discussing the great crimes o the world - genocides, cultural oppression, that sort of thing - you are inerrantly talking about some institution or another.

itsthesheppy:

Silvanus:

itsthesheppy:
I might take issue with you if you do bring up some superstitious goofiness but I certainly won't go seeking you out. You'll be amazed to learn I can conduct conversation with people wearing crucifixes and somehow manage not to draw attention to it even once!

Please; I disagreed with something, that doesn't mean I see you as a fanatic. I don't.

itsthesheppy:
But if you do decide to join or be a member of the Catholic church, to use one example, then the legacy of misogynist, homophobic, anti-scientific nonsense is yours to inherit. Affiliation colors opinion, as it rightly should.

I agree completely. But it's not association with institutions that I was talking about; associate with a Church, and I agree that the crimes of that Church should be a point of criticism and mockery. I was talking about association with a belief.

Join or voice support for an institution, the crimes of that institution count against you. Share a belief with a perpetrator, that perpetrator's crimes do not count against you.

Institutions have been my target all this time, and I think I've been pretty clear about that. I'm maybe not entirely sure what you're talking about. If you believe in ghosts, you're not to blame for the crimes of everyone who believed in ghosts.

However, if you belong to a club of people who have in the past all committed crimes in the name of that same ghost, then you take on the responsibility of affiliation. Religion has always been about institution. It can't really survive without it. We're a tribal species; everyone needs a flag to wave.

Sam Harris once gave a very powerful, very moving and logical argument for why 'atheism' shouldn't even be a thing; after all, there aren't clubs for people who aren't racist. But it's easier and more comforting to ally yourself. So to me, when you're talking about religion, you're talking about an institution. I have very rarely ever been exposed to any examples of atrocities carried out by single people who were not just psychopaths. When discussing the great crimes o the world - genocides, cultural oppression, that sort of thing - you are inerrantly talking about some institution or another.

A question - was the latest pope (which is due to leave office soon) who was in the Hitler youth and later a part of the German Army responsible for the acts of these groups?

You're really out there, man. Take it down a notch. There's some serious anger with you.

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