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Illuminatiprimus
09-27-2011, 04:38 PM
I'm not intending for this OP to come across as controversial - the question is simply as asked.

I don't have any religious beliefs, and fortunately I live somewhere that the majority of people are of the same mindset (or they're in the "don't know/don't care" category) so it presents no real difficulty. This means that when you do encounter someone with strong religious beliefs they stick out more than they might do where everyone is nominally religious (like in the US).

The debate about the place of religion in modern society (particularly in the narrative of multiculturalism and immigration), whether it's a force for good or not (islamic jihadism, catholic abuse scandal etc) continues, and often the debate between atheists who take the stance of being rationalists and people who profess to be religious comes down to the lack of evidence on the latter's part, and frequently how silly some of the beliefs held actually are.

When having these sorts of debates, or when there is a debate in society generally, it is often professed that religious beliefs should be respected (i.e. not mocked or strenuously challenged): but why? What is it about a religious belief that makes it different to any other than someone may not agree with? An obvious example is something like flat-earthism. There are people who seriously do profess to believe (key word) that the earth is flat and that no amount of "evidence" to the contrary is going to shake their faith. In general I don't think that many people would argue such a belief needs to be respected, yet it shares many of the components of religious belief that those who hold them maintain need special protection.

Sidestepping the question of whether a religious belief is a choice or not, it certainly is something you can choose to require others to listen to you talk about it, or have to work around you if you have religious beliefs. If others don't want to (and aren't just being intolerant dicks for the sake of it) what right do religious people have to demand their views, which others don't share, be given special protection against challenge, ridicule or condemnation? On a more serious level, when religions take stances that secularists think are contrary to the good of society or the individual (birth control, abortion, homosexuality, women's rights) can religions claim a special place of setting for their position that must be taken a priori, and that cannot be argued with at its root as flawed due to its foundation on belief? If I say "women should have less rights than men because I say so" is that actually less defensible than saying "women should have less rights than men because the Qur'an/Torah says so"? Using the "religious beliefs must be respected" policy I can criticise someone professing the former but not the latter, even though the impact on a woman due to these views is functionally the same.

Personally I can't see any reason particularly to respect religions and religious belief simply because they're religious in nature, even though I'm happy to respect a person's right to think what they want as long as it's not harming anyone else. Anyone got any arguments to the contrary? I'm keen to have some other perspectives I may not have considered.

Martin Hyde
09-27-2011, 04:42 PM
All about venue to my mind.

In a formal debate or an informal debate on a message board or whatever, anything that exists outside the world of falsifiable evidence I think you can definitely reject as a matter of fact, and owe it no special respect.

In the realm of satire, commentary and etc, I think it fine to mock or ridicule essentially anything (some things may be in bad taste, but I still think you can do it and it's not an inherently horrible thing--satire is sometimes about offending a little bit.)

Now, at a funeral if someone is giving a religious sermon if you stood up and screamed "You're full of shit, grandpa is just a rotting hunk of meat, there is no God and no afterlife!" the venue there makes that lack of respect extremely inappropriate. It serves no point other than to upset people who have done you no harm.

DigitalC
09-27-2011, 04:42 PM
Because they are the majority, simple as that. The reason we don't treat people who believe in god the same as people who believe in big foot is because there are tons of the first and very few of the latter, their whole delusion is supported by nothing other than having it be shared by others.

Punoqllads
09-27-2011, 04:51 PM
Because very few wars have been fought over the dimensionality of the Earth. Very few riots have occurred due to a disagreement over the radius of this world. In short, respecting others' religious beliefs -- no matter how silly they seem to you -- leads to a more civil society.

Illuminatiprimus
09-27-2011, 04:51 PM
All about venue to my mind.

...

Now, at a funeral if someone is giving a religious sermon if you stood up and screamed "You're full of shit, grandpa is just a rotting hunk of meat, there is no God and no afterlife!" the venue there makes that lack of respect extremely inappropriate. It serves no point other than to upset people who have done you no harm.If you chose to go to the funeral knowing it was religious you know what you're expecting to get. I agree it would be inappropriate but for that reason mainly. If you can't bear religious ceremonies so much that you know you'd feel compelled to shout in the middle of it about how bogus the sermon was then you could elect not to go.

Because they are the majority, simple as that. The reason we don't treat people who believe in god the same as people who believe in big foot is because there are tons of the first and very few of the latter, their whole delusion is supported by nothing other than having it be shared by others.With that reasoning we should happily let Africans continue burning children as witches whenever they experience problems in their communities at the insistence of their religious leaders, it's what the majority think after all.

furt
09-27-2011, 04:57 PM
When having these sorts of debates, or when there is a debate in society generally, it is often professed that religious beliefs should be respected (i.e. not mocked or strenuously challenged):Those are two very different propositions.

If others don't want to (and aren't just being intolerant dicks for the sake of it) what right do religious people have to demand their views, which others don't share, be given special protection against challenge, ridicule or condemnation?Again, you're conflating different things. Personally, I think ridiculing or condemning are generally in poor taste. Challenging, depending on how it's done, is IMO generally fine.

On a more serious level, when religions take stances that secularists think are contrary to the good of society or the individual (birth control, abortion, homosexuality, women's rights) can religions claim a special place of setting for their position that must be taken a priori, and that cannot be argued with at its root as flawed due to its foundation on belief? IME, most religious people (in the US, at least) do not think that. They do, however, insist that secularism or atheism not be taken a priori, either.

Since making every social issue hinge on a profound philosphical question that has been debated for centuries without resolution presents practical problems -- i.e., nothing will ever be decided -- ISTMost people that the best course is to attempt to address said issues while accomodating differernt belief systems as best we can. "Tolerance" or "respect" are common terms for this.

If I say "women should have less rights than men because I say so" is that actually less defensible than saying "women should have less rights than men because the Qur'an/Torah says so"?It's entirely defensible. In a liberal democracy, you are free to think what you wish, vote accordingly, and attempt to persuade others to agree with you. And so is the rabbi.

Using the "religious beliefs must be respected" policy I can criticise someone professing the former but not the latter, even though the impact on a woman due to these views is functionally the same.Says who? Sure you're not conflating "criticism" with, say "rude and gratuitious mockery?"

...even though I'm happy to respect a person's right to think what they want as long as it's not harming anyone else.So, in other words, you DO respect other people's belief systems. All good then.

TriPolar
09-27-2011, 04:58 PM
You don't. You should respect other peoples right to hold their beliefs.

Der Trihs
09-27-2011, 04:59 PM
Because very few wars have been fought over the dimensionality of the Earth. Very few riots have occurred due to a disagreement over the radius of this world. In short, respecting others' religious beliefs -- no matter how silly they seem to you -- leads to a more civil society.No, that's a matter of disrespecting religious beliefs by forbidding them to ram those beliefs down everyone else's throats or to attack people because their god wants them to. Civilized behavior in general requires that religion be disrespected and ignored since it is destructive and barbaric.

And really, all you are doing is rewording the "because they are numerous and powerful" argument to make it sound more noble.

Trinopus
09-27-2011, 05:00 PM
Because you don't want to be the sort of person who doesn't respect other people's beliefs.

Trinopus

Der Trihs
09-27-2011, 05:04 PM
Because you don't want to be the sort of person who doesn't respect other people's beliefs.A rational person?

The fact is, there are few people who respect everyone else's beliefs, and they are accurately regarded as solipsist goofballs. For the great majority of people this has nothing to do with respecting the beliefs of others; it has to do with picking a particular kind of belief namely religion and demanding that it be given special treatment.

Illuminatiprimus
09-27-2011, 05:12 PM
Those are two very different propositions.

Again, you're conflating different things. Personally, I think ridiculing or condemning are generally in poor taste. Challenging, depending on how it's done, is IMO generally fine.

IME, most religious people (in the US, at least) do not think that. They do, however, insist that secularism or atheism not be taken a priori, either.

Since making every social issue hinge on a profound philosphical question that has been debated for centuries without resolution presents practical problems -- i.e., nothing will ever be decided -- ISTMost people that the best course is to attempt to address said issues while accomodating differernt belief systems as best we can. "Tolerance" or "respect" are common terms for this.

It's entirely defensible. In a liberal democracy, you are free to think what you wish, vote accordingly, and attempt to persuade others to agree with you. And so is the rabbi.

Says who? Sure you're not conflating "criticism" with, say "rude and gratuitious mockery?"

So, in other words, you DO respect other people's belief systems. All good then.Oh man - six posts in and we're already into line by line quotation. The main point you made that I think rings false was when you said "It's entirely defensible. In a liberal democracy, you are free to think what you wish, vote accordingly, and attempt to persuade others to agree with you. And so is the rabbi." Fine, but what if the Rabbi says when you start to challenge him "these are my religious views, please stop attacking my beliefs"? And don't say it doesn't happen.

You don't. You should respect other peoples right to hold their beliefs.I already said I do, and I don't see the tension between doing that whilst telling them that the specifics of their beliefs are bullshit when they attack me personally or are at odds with my own code of ethics or morality (which happen not to be derived from religion).

Because you don't want to be the sort of person who doesn't respect other people's beliefs.

TrinopusWhy not? Implicit in your post is the notion that there is something bad or wrong about not respecting someone's beliefs. If I said (to Godwinise my own thread in less than ten posts, a record for me) that I believe Jews are a scourge on society and that they need to be driven out of positions of power, oh and by the way this whole democracy thing is a waste of time and I should have unlimited power as the Fuhrer, zeing Heil, would you shrug and say "oh well, it's what he believes, gotta respect that"? I'm sure not.

The point of this thread is examining the no-go area of challenging religious belief in and of itself, you've not told me why you shouldn't, just that you shouldn't.

TriPolar
09-27-2011, 05:19 PM
I already said I do, and I don't see the tension between doing that whilst telling them that the specifics of their beliefs are bullshit when they attack me personally or are at odds with my own code of ethics or morality (which happen not to be derived from religion).



Sounds about right to me.

furt
09-27-2011, 05:29 PM
Fine, but what if the Rabbi says when you start to challenge him "these are my religious views, please stop attacking my beliefs"? And don't say it doesn't happen.Ok, so it happens. What's your point? You can "challenge" him. He can decline the challenge. Depending on the context and how the challenge is presented and/or declined, some people may think less of you and/or some may think less of the Rabbi.

You really need to be much, much more specific. You give no idea what kinds of "respect" you're talking about. Are you seeking the legal right to publically criticise religion? You have it. Are you seeking widespread tolerance of some practices anathema to mainstream religion? You have it. Are you asking social approval for walking naked into Westminster Abbey during services and screaming "Lies, Lies, all Lies?" What, exactly?

gonzomax
09-27-2011, 05:36 PM
Because you don't want to be the sort of person who doesn't respect other people's beliefs.

Trinopus

Using Christians and Muslims as an example?

Trinopus
09-27-2011, 05:50 PM
. . . For the great majority of people this has nothing to do with respecting the beliefs of others; it has to do with picking a particular kind of belief namely religion and demanding that it be given special treatment.

Well, that isn't what I had in mind. Just simple ordinary decent human respect, as opposed to bigotry. I can disagree with their beliefs. I can even fight like hell when their beliefs promote actions that are harmful to me. But up until the point where it makes a physical difference... Shrug... Live and let live.

Using Christians and Muslims as an example?

Well, there are good, decent, respectful Christians and Muslims, as well as the bigots who pollute those faiths. I have met religious people who respect my atheism.

It just seems to me that the Golden Rule is a good first approximation to a moral system. I'd like others to respect my beliefs...

Also, bigots are ugly, nasty, small, hateful, stinkards -- and I do not want to be one!

Trinopus

gonzomax
09-27-2011, 05:53 PM
I care less about the bigots than I do about the religious warriors. There are a lot of wars in our history that can be laid at the feet of religions. I think they do more harm than good.
What is there to respect?

Der Trihs
09-27-2011, 06:07 PM
Well, that isn't what I had in mind. Just simple ordinary decent human respect, as opposed to bigotry. I can disagree with their beliefs. I can even fight like hell when their beliefs promote actions that are harmful to me. That's not the kind of respect most believers want, and it probably isn't the sort Illuminatiprimus is talking about, either. Disagreement or disapproval is disrespectful. Fighting back is also disrespectful.

Well, there are good, decent, respectful Christians and Muslims, as well as the bigots who pollute those faiths. I have met religious people who respect my atheism.Then they are good people, but bad Christians or Muslims.

Punoqllads
09-27-2011, 06:33 PM
Then they are good people, but bad Christians or Muslims.Coincidentally, they are also True Scotsmen.

Der Trihs
09-27-2011, 06:36 PM
Coincidentally, they are also True Scotsmen.No; being a good person contradicts the nature of both religions; they are both barbaric holdovers. Being a good person requires that you be a bad Christian or Muslim, much like how Oskar Schindler did good things, but was a bad Nazi for doing them.

Odesio
09-27-2011, 07:04 PM
When having these sorts of debates, or when there is a debate in society generally, it is often professed that religious beliefs should be respected (i.e. not mocked or strenuously challenged): but why? What is it about a religious belief that makes it different to any other than someone may not agree with?


Probably for a combination of reasons. First, we have a long history of religious discrimination here in the United States dating back to colonial days against Catholics, Jews and Mormons (as a few examples). Also, religion tends to be fairly private these days (with some exceptions) and we like to keep it that way. Other than creationist or anti-gay religious activist, religion seems to be in the background.

MichaelEmouse
09-27-2011, 07:06 PM
Much of the confusion comes from the many meanings of the word "respect".


1) A respectful argument might be one where I state my opinion of your opinion without resorting to insults or mockery.

2) If I respect your right to do something, I may disagree with it but I will not use the law, violence of the threat of violence to stop you from doing it. I might still try to convince you or mock it.

3) If I respect a rule, I obey it. "Respecting religion A" would then mean abiding by its prescriptions.

4) Another kind of respect is located in-between the 2nd and 3rd option; I don't have to obey it but I can't argue forcefully that it's erroneous.

Perhaps Illuminati has in mind the 4th kind of respect?


I can't think of many good arguments for allowing forceful argumentation against beliefs but not religious beliefs, at least in places that aren't close to civil war or where it just isn't appropriate (like the aformentioned funeral, where that's just being a disruptive cunt).

The people who want any but the 2nd type of respect are the same who protested The Life of Brian. They just don't want their beliefs challenged and use the powerful and vague word "respect" to get you to shut up.


Aside form the issue of respect, there are times when it isn't wise to challenge religious views. Sometimes, it just isn't worth it and is likely to make the situation worse. But that's a purely consequentialist consideration and not linked to any notion of respect. It's the same reason that in some situations, you shouldn't talk about potlics; too likely to make the social meeting awkward.

Ibn Warraq
09-27-2011, 07:28 PM
No; being a good person contradicts the nature of both religions; they are both barbaric holdovers. Being a good person requires that you be a bad Christian or Muslim, much like how Oskar Schindler did good things, but was a bad Nazi for doing them.

I'm impressed that someone who's grown-up in a Christian society like ours feels confident enough in his knowledge and understanding of Islam to make such a statement about it.

Have you read the Quran and most of the Hadiths?

Additionally, can we assume you've read several books on Islam to make it clear why you can say with full confidence that Akbar the Great and Irshad Manji were(or are in Manji's case) "bad Muslims".

I assume of course you know who they both are and don't need to go running to wikipedia(if you must please find a better source).

I say that because making such a comment about Muslims and Islam without knowing who Akbar the Great would show both extreme arrogance and extreme ignorance.

Peanuthead
09-27-2011, 07:44 PM
No; being a good person contradicts the nature of both religions; they are both barbaric holdovers.

Excellent point Der. Religion is a primitive notion that has no business in the 21st century. And the ones demanding respect are no more entitled to it than VooDoo, or Satanism. It's all nonsense. There is no invisible man living in the sky. There are no spirits. It's all based on magic and there is no magic.
The only reason they actually do get respect is out of fear. They are afraid of each other. "If I don't respect your brand of Voodoo, you won't respect mine." is their mindset.
So, Illuminatiprimus. No, you do not have to respect religion. But you are outnumbered and that's the sad part.

Indistinguishable
09-27-2011, 07:47 PM
You don't have to respect religious beliefs. However, the way things are, a great many people are religious and won't take kindly to your mocking religious beliefs (nor will a large number of non-religious people, for that matter). There's nothing more to it than that there are lots of people with that mindset around. If you already accept that there are lots of people around who believe some silly things (religion), then you should have no problem understanding that there are also lots of people out there (to a large degree, but not entirely, the same ones) who believe some other silly things (you shouldn't mock religion!). It's as simple as that.

In the world we live in, there are a great many people who I respect a tremendous deal who happen to also be quite religious. What I admire in them is other things than their religiosity, but it's understandable that they might not care to hear me mocking their religious beliefs all the time. (Their silly, silly religious beliefs...). And so, in deference to that, as social lubricant, as etiquette, as courtesy, I "respect" their religious beliefs. I don't really respect their religious beliefs, as such; I just shut up about it when it's not germane.

Indistinguishable
09-27-2011, 07:55 PM
I imagine a common version of this dynamic is found in discussions between atheist children and their religious parents. Have you ever experienced situations of that sort where you found it easier to just let it go than to argue? You love your parents, you disagree with them on religion, but you'd rather just "agree to disagree" than argue about it? That's the same dynamic at play more generally in society.

Trinopus
09-27-2011, 08:37 PM
Much of the confusion comes from the many meanings of the word "respect". . . .

Excellent clarification: thank you. I was thinking almost entirely of the first option, "...without resorting to insults or mockery," but the second option, "...will not use the law...to stop you from doing it..." is also important. Freedom of religion is vital to a free society.

I fervently disclaim and disdain any obligation to follow options three or four, actually abiding by the religion's rules or to refrain from criticizing it.

An important spectrum of respect!

I imagine a common version of this dynamic is found in discussions between atheist children and their religious parents. Have you ever experienced situations of that sort where you found it easier to just let it go than to argue? You love your parents, you disagree with them on religion, but you'd rather just "agree to disagree" than argue about it? That's the same dynamic at play more generally in society.

Exactly so. I just don't see any advantage in being rude. So long as they don't try to pass laws against, say, the eating of pork (no bacon? Pfui! Some religion!) or whatnot, then, shrug. No harm, no foul.

I seriously do see this as very much the equivalent of personal preferences or tastes in food, or music, or art. If you don't like Mozart, or Picasso, or Eggplant Alfredo, well, frankly, who cares? If you adore them, that's nice for you. Don't forbid, and don't inflict.

Trinopus

Sitnam
09-27-2011, 08:40 PM
Now, at a funeral if someone is giving a religious sermon if you stood up and screamed "You're full of shit, grandpa is just a rotting hunk of meat, there is no God and no afterlife!" the venue there makes that lack of respect extremely inappropriate. It serves no point other than to upset people who have done you no harm.
I'd hope every Atheist can agree yelling 'you're full of shit' at a solemn occasion is uncalled for, or for that matter, a certain religious groups classic hit 'your kid died in Iraq because this country loves fags'.

How about we don't dodge the question with fictional locations, the religious getting offended is an attempt at Special Pleading.

Fear Itself
09-27-2011, 08:46 PM
Because you don't want to be the sort of person who doesn't respect other people's beliefs.Exactly. When I meet a child who believes in Santa, I wouldn't dream of shattering his belief in jolly old elves. But he better not bust my chops about being naughty or nice.

málm
09-27-2011, 08:46 PM
I'm not intending for this OP to come across as controversial - the question is simply as asked.


When having these sorts of debates, or when there is a debate in society generally, it is often professed that religious beliefs should be respected (i.e. not mocked or strenuously challenged):

The question shouldn't be controversial at all, very valid question.

Regarding mockery and challenging- my father taught me to not associate myself with christians(religious people) unable to laugh at their religion or accept a certain amount of mockery.

I hope this doesn't become witnessing or other bullshit.

My own religious view is more or less like this: I believe in God, the Christian one. This should bother the rest of you as little as I can manage. The Bible is not the literal Word of God. It is written by humans who at best were inspired by or talking with him, and I wouldn't trust someone who claims to talk to God.
God has given us reasoning and senses, and I believe he wants us to use these abilities. In my opinion, the greatest heresy commited by christians is to discount reasoned thought and science and such because it doesn't fit with the Bible or last weeks sermon etc.

I don't want people to respect my religious faith, I want them to respect my right to practice my religious beliefs as long as i don't break the law or step on other peoples rights.

Voyager
09-27-2011, 09:01 PM
Probably for a combination of reasons. First, we have a long history of religious discrimination here in the United States dating back to colonial days against Catholics, Jews and Mormons (as a few examples). Also, religion tends to be fairly private these days (with some exceptions) and we like to keep it that way. Other than creationist or anti-gay religious activist, religion seems to be in the background.

:confused: Where have you been hiding, and can I hide there too? Rick Perry, a leading Republican Presidential candidate organizing a prayer meeting doesn't sound like private religion in my book. 40 years ago, yes, but today candidates have to wear religion on their sleeves (except in my Congressional District, that is.)

Voyager
09-27-2011, 09:12 PM
Ok, so it happens. What's your point? You can "challenge" him. He can decline the challenge. Depending on the context and how the challenge is presented and/or declined, some people may think less of you and/or some may think less of the Rabbi.

You really need to be much, much more specific. You give no idea what kinds of "respect" you're talking about. Are you seeking the legal right to publically criticise religion? You have it. Are you seeking widespread tolerance of some practices anathema to mainstream religion? You have it. Are you asking social approval for walking naked into Westminster Abbey during services and screaming "Lies, Lies, all Lies?" What, exactly?

You can believe that a person has the right to believe in astrology, you may believe that it isn't a good idea to point and giggle whenever she opens to the horoscope in the paper, but you don't have to respect astrology as an accurate representation of the universe. And if she is the CEO of a company and you are on the board, if she is making investment decisions based on what house Jupiter is in, you do have the right to say "wait a minute, this is crap" whether or not it is respectful.

I've read plenty or reviews of books by new atheists (and the books themselves) and the reviews by mainstream theists (not rabid fundamentalists) seldom discuss religion but mostly criticize the author for being so harsh, or maybe for discussing a different brand of religion from that of the reviewer. The theme seems to be that it is somehow dirty to bring this stuff up.
In 35 years of on-line discussions I have never seen one atheist imply that it is improper to logically challenge our lack of belief. Mention the IPU, on the other hand, and see even quite moderate theists fly into a tizzy.

Bricker
09-27-2011, 09:13 PM
When having these sorts of debates, or when there is a debate in society generally, it is often professed that religious beliefs should be respected (i.e. not mocked or strenuously challenged): but why? What is it about a religious belief that makes it different to any other than someone may not agree with? An obvious example is something like flat-earthism. There are people who seriously do profess to believe (key word) that the earth is flat and that no amount of "evidence" to the contrary is going to shake their faith.

I would argue that a key difference between flat-earth claims and typical religious belief is that the claims made about God are not falsifiable, and the flat-earth belief is falsifiable.

Kobal2
09-27-2011, 10:23 PM
Because very few wars have been fought over the dimensionality of the Earth. Very few riots have occurred due to a disagreement over the radius of this world. In short, respecting others' religious beliefs -- no matter how silly they seem to you -- leads to a more civil society.

So, wait, if I'm reading this right your argument is "when you disrespect religious folk, they riot and/or start wars, therefore you should humour them ; that way they don't try to kill you". That... doesn't sound like a good argument. And not entirely unlike craven.

Lobohan
09-27-2011, 10:30 PM
I would argue that a key difference between flat-earth claims and typical religious belief is that the claims made about God are not falsifiable, and the flat-earth belief is falsifiable.Some claims about God are falsifiable.

The bible says that God flooded the Earth. We have seen no evidence for the flood and great evidence contradicting it. So that claim isn't true.

The bible says that the sky is a rock dome that has water above it. That claim isn't true.

The bible says that we were descended by one couple. Modern genetics show that the genetic Adam and Eve didn't live at the same time. Further it shows that they weren't created, but rather evolved from previous forms. So that claim isn't true.

The trouble is that religious people have little desire to argue honestly. They can just dodge and weave and let bits drop off until the definition of God becomes a phantom.

Indistinguishable
09-27-2011, 10:40 PM
Falsifiability is in the eye of the beholder. Nothing is falsifiable except insofar as there exist conditions under which I can get a particular listener (or community of listeners) to declare it false. But what those conditions are, well, they depend on the listener. Absent prior explicit agreement about the conditions requisite, they aren't simply intrinsic in the statement to be judged.

So the same argument that might convince you to say "Ah, yep, these Biblical claims are false" won't convince some others. Those others might potentially be convinced by different arguments, or they might instead be playing such a different language game as that they would never be led to call those claims false. For example, I imagine, though I would not want to put words in his mouth, that Bricker would not consider many Biblical claims to be falsified, even by the very same arguments that lead you to consider them manifestly falsified. What's falsifiable for one person isn't necessarily falsifiable for another.

Candyman74
09-27-2011, 10:44 PM
When having these sorts of debates, or when there is a debate in society generally, it is often professed that religious beliefs should be respected (i.e. not mocked or strenuously challenged): but why? What is it about a religious belief that makes it different to any other than someone may not agree with?

Interesting you used the word "mocked". You feel it's OK to mock people?

The issue is one of common courtesy.

Regarding the mocking: generally, the status quo should be "don't be an asshole and mock people". I'm sure people could find something to mock about you, too. We don't mock fat people, we don't mock the disabled, we don't mock people of different ethnic backgrounds, we don't mock nerds and geeks, or the weak, or the poor - we don't mock people (yes, I know people do, but we shouldn't).

Mocking other people is being a dick. Do you want to be a dick? Do you like being mocked?

Well, we can mock people who make morally questionable decisions. But "believing in God" isn't one of those.

Regarding strenuously challenging them - what on earth makes you think people don't strenuously challenge them? The average religious person is barraged with people who feel the need to "strenuously challenge" them every day.

Think of it like saying to a tall person "how's the weather up there?" They've heard it several dozen times already today. You ain't saying anything they haven't heard, and mainly they just want to get on with their lives without being attacked about their beliefs everywhere they go.

Atheists are often assholes.

Sure, fundamental Christies often are, too. Doesn't make it right for them or you.

You can challenge their beliefs in an appropriate venue. But your job isn't to tell people Why You Are Right and They Are Wrong Wrong Wrong and Not Living Life The Way You Think They Should.

When they do something bad - then feel free. They will too, after all. But if it's just belief - as opposed to immoral action - leave them to it.

"Respecting religious beliefs" doesn't mean agreeing with them. It means not being a dick because someone else believes differently to you. Especially when their belief causes you no harm.

It's basic courtesy and politeness. Values which are, sadly, on the wane. Mocking people is bad. Save it for the bad people.

Der Trihs
09-27-2011, 10:49 PM
I'm impressed that someone who's grown-up in a Christian society like ours feels confident enough in his knowledge and understanding of Islam to make such a statement about it.
I also feel justified in judging the Aztec religion, Communism, Nazism, Scientology, the KKK, and other groups that I've never been a part of. Because their evil and stupidity are so extreme, so blatantly obvious and incontrovertible. Which is why people rather than defending them, prefer to try to shut down the conversation and demand respect by fiat.

Der Trihs
09-27-2011, 10:57 PM
Well, we can mock people who make morally questionable decisions. But "believing in God" isn't one of those.It most certainly is. It's highly destructive to the world and corrupts people both morally and intellectually.

Regarding strenuously challenging them - what on earth makes you think people don't strenuously challenge them? The average religious person is barraged with people who feel the need to "strenuously challenge" them every day.:rolleyes: Please. They live in a society that wraps them in a protective bubble, making hard for them to even come across anything even mildly disrespecting their beliefs much less "strenuously challenge" them. They live in a sea of praise for their beliefs where the idea that someone, somewhere honestly disagrees with them is often difficult for them to even imagine.

When they do something bad - then feel free. They will too, after all. But if it's just belief - as opposed to immoral action - leave them to it.So you wouldn't challenge the claims of someone who claimed that black people are subhuman half apes unless they actually went up to a black person and assaulted them?

Ibn Warraq
09-27-2011, 10:59 PM
I also feel justified in judging the Aztec religion, Communism, Nazism, Scientology, the KKK, and other groups that I've never been a part of. Because their evil and stupidity are so extreme, so blatantly obvious and incontrovertible. Which is why people rather than defending them, prefer to try to shut down the conversation and demand respect by fiat.

You did a little more than that.

You insisted that any tolerant Muslim was "a bad Muslim".

Obviously, you must have thoroughly read the Quran and the various Hadiths in order to make such a claim.

So, please tell me what books you've read on Islam that would lead you to be able to say with authority that I am "a bad Muslim".

Also, please explain to me why Akbar the Great was "a bad Muslim" and tell me what books you've read which has led you to such a conclusion.

Punoqllads
09-27-2011, 11:25 PM
So, wait, if I'm reading this right your argument is "when you disrespect religious folk, they riot and/or start wars, therefore you should humour them ; that way they don't try to kill you". That... doesn't sound like a good argument. And not entirely unlike craven.Not exactly. Not so that they don't try to kill anyone, but so that we can all get along as a society -- heterogeneous society of dogmatically irreconcilable earnestly-held unfalsifiable philosophies.

Candyman74
09-27-2011, 11:27 PM
It most certainly is. It's highly destructive to the world and corrupts people both morally and intellectually.

I disagree with you. I'm not religious in the slightest. But I recognise that religion has good points, and I firmly dispute that it morally corrupts people as an absolute. I will agree that there are examples of morally corrupted religious people; there are also examples of morally exemplary religious people who do crap loads of good for their communities and, indeed, for people outside their own communities. They feed the poor, give aid to third world countries, and more.

As for "intellectually" - I've met some friggin' intelligent religious people and some friggin' dumb atheists.

I don't believe that religion has any effect either way on morals and intellect. Certainly not the latter, and if I had to posit the former I'd argue that it tends towards morals, not away from them.

:rolleyes: Please. They live in a society that wraps them in a protective bubble, making hard for them to even come across anything even mildly disrespecting their beliefs much less "strenuously challenge" them. They live in a sea of praise for their beliefs where the idea that someone, somewhere honestly disagrees with them is often difficult for them to even imagine.

This is not true. Just look at this messageboard for proof. Religious people are both challenged (OK) and mocked (not OK) on a daily basis here.

So you wouldn't challenge the claims of someone who claimed that black people are subhuman half apes unless they actually went up to a black person and assaulted them?

1) This is a false equivalence. While both might be wrong, one is harmless while the other is harmful.

2) I didn't say don't challenge religious viewpoints. I said don't be a dick about it. Thus, strawman. I would totally mock a racist.

Trinopus
09-27-2011, 11:56 PM
. . . The issue is one of common courtesy.

Exactly: this uses MichaelEmouse's first definition of "respect," "not resorting to insults and mockery."

Atheists are often assholes.

Sure, fundamental Christies often are, too. Doesn't make it right for them or you.

In my youth, I was an asshole atheist. I went as far as chopping down crosses on hilltops. Major league asshat. My opinions were softened by having meaningful conversations with (very patient!) Christians. The good kind.

It's basic courtesy and politeness. Values which are, sadly, on the wane. Mocking people is bad. Save it for the bad people.

A writer once said that it's impossible to write "comedies of manners" for Americans today, as we have none. I hope it isn't true; I think that some vestigial remnant of etiquette exists, even in the "Limbaugh Era" of aggravation, irritation, aggression, and name-calling. I'm with you on this one: let's at least try to be genteel.

Trinopus ("Genteel? Genteel? What kind of s*** is that?")

bldysabba
09-28-2011, 12:57 AM
I'm impressed that someone who's grown-up in a Christian society like ours feels confident enough in his knowledge and understanding of Islam to make such a statement about it.

Have you read the Quran and most of the Hadiths?

Additionally, can we assume you've read several books on Islam to make it clear why you can say with full confidence that Akbar the Great and Irshad Manji were(or are in Manji's case) "bad Muslims".

I assume of course you know who they both are and don't need to go running to wikipedia(if you must please find a better source).

I say that because making such a comment about Muslims and Islam without knowing who Akbar the Great would show both extreme arrogance and extreme ignorance.

It would seem you're the one displaying the extreme ignorance here. I do not know who Manji is, but while Akbar was no doubt a great man, there is also no doubt that he was a 'bad muslim'. Unless you think deciding that Islam is insufficient and founding your own religion somehow makes you a 'good Muslim'. Reinforcing DT's point somewhat aren't you?

Ibn Warraq
09-28-2011, 01:44 AM
It would seem you're the one displaying the extreme ignorance here. I do not know who Manji is, but while Akbar was no doubt a great man, there is also no doubt that he was a 'bad muslim'. Unless you think deciding that Islam is insufficient and founding your own religion somehow makes you a 'good Muslim'. Reinforcing DT's point somewhat aren't you?

He didn't "found his own religion".

PBear42
09-28-2011, 01:46 AM
No; being a good person contradicts the nature of both religions; they are both barbaric holdovers. Being a good person requires that you be a bad Christian or Muslim, much like how Oskar Schindler did good things, but was a bad Nazi for doing them.Huh? I'm a card-carrying atheist, but I can't imagine what you think supports this claim. As a simple first approximation, being a good person means following the Golden Rule. No need for religion to recognize the justice of this principle, obviously. There, the religion-is-the-foundation-of-morality crowd goes off the rails. Conversely, though, since Christianity and Islam also cleave to the Golden Rule, they seem to accept the same definition of good person as do you and I. No win to them. No win to us. On this issue, it's a draw.

Voyager
09-28-2011, 01:48 AM
I would argue that a key difference between flat-earth claims and typical religious belief is that the claims made about God are not falsifiable, and the flat-earth belief is falsifiable.

Perhaps you say that because the Catholic Church has skillfully modified its belief system to be unfalsifiable over the past couple of hundred years. From a geocentric creationist system they moved to one accurate astronomically speaking and where even Adam and Eve aren't quite the way they are in the Bible. One has to think that the Catholic hierarchy realized that many of their previous god beliefs were indeed falsified and they moved on. You surely acknowledge that many religions in the US aren't nearly so clever.

Zoe
09-28-2011, 02:06 AM
Some might question whether Manji is a "good" Muslim, but I think that she is a wonderful leader who keeps pointing to the original meaning of Islam (peace). She challenges people to take responsibility for ridding Islam of the violence of the extremists. And so much more than that...

Ibn Warraq
09-28-2011, 02:18 AM
Some might question whether Manji is a "good" Muslim, but I think that she is a wonderful leader who keeps pointing to the original meaning of Islam (peace). She challenges people to take responsibility for ridding Islam of the violence of the extremists. And so much more than that...


And some question mine.

I'm asking DT to provide evidence to support his claim to being versed enough in Islam to be able to authoritatively claim that I'm a "bad Muslim" for tolerating non-Muslims and that Islam is comparable to Nazism.

Indistinguishable
09-28-2011, 02:49 AM
He didn't "found his own religion".
I've often heard he did (Din-i-Ilahi), but I see now on Wikipedia there is some debate as to whether this really was an attempt to found a new religion. So I'll mention it, even though I imagine you already know far more about it than I do, and, indeed, I do not know enough to speak any further.

Jragon
09-28-2011, 03:00 AM
I, personally, think all beliefs should be treated with respect insofar as they're not harmful. That doesn't mean immune to challenge or mockery (in the correct context, such as a movie or book), but at least treated as something that people can talk about and respectfully disagree on. And before anybody asks, this includes bigfoot, fair folk, witches, and invisible pink unicorns.

Now, not all religion is immediately harmful. Just the mere belief in a silly invisible sky man isn't bad, trying to force beliefs on others, or use it to dictate justice systems IS silly, and those should definitely not be protected under society, law, or anything else from question and ridicule. But the more positive aspects (respect your fellow man blah blah), no matter if they stem from a completely illogical sky faerie or not. I think we can respect parts of religion (God says to help the poor) while challenging and ridiculing the less desirable parts (no, your magic sky faerie did NOT tell you to crusade).

Unfortunately, since these beliefs are linked, if you encounter someone that believes their sky faerie tells them both to murder and love the poor, well, I think it's more important to stand against the bad beliefs than it is to respect the good ones despite their source. So, it really depends on the person. I don't think any broad brush belief system ("religion" or even "Christianity" since many Christians like to pick out and focus only on the positive rhetoric in the bible) is necessarily open to unrepentant mean-spirited attack and ridicule just for existing and being illogical, just a more fine-tuned or personal one that espouses unsavory things.

Ibn Warraq
09-28-2011, 03:09 AM
I've often heard he did (Din-i-Ilahi), but I see now on Wikipedia there is some debate as to whether this really was an attempt to found a new religion. So I'll mention it, even though I imagine you already know far more about it than I do, and, indeed, I do not know enough to speak any further.

That certainly wasn't the way it was viewed then. He certainly wasn't an Orthodox believer but that hardly means he tried to found his own religion.

Mangetout
09-28-2011, 03:41 AM
When having these sorts of debates, or when there is a debate in society generally, it is often professed that religious beliefs should be respected (i.e. not mocked or strenuously challenged): but why? What is it about a religious belief that makes it different to any other than someone may not agree with? An obvious example is something like flat-earthism. There are people who seriously do profess to believe (key word) that the earth is flat and that no amount of "evidence" to the contrary is going to shake their faith. In general I don't think that many people would argue such a belief needs to be respected, yet it shares many of the components of religious belief that those who hold them maintain need special protection.I wonder if it might be that you're perceiving it as more common than it really is.

Sure, religious people don't like to be mocked - few people like to be mocked, but are people really asserting some right to mockery-immunity, or are they just saying "please stop mocking me, I don't like it/don't think it's helping"?

Illuminatiprimus
09-28-2011, 04:02 AM
Ibn - please stop hijacking my thread, I don't care if Akbar was a good muslim or not and I don't think it's as relevant to the discussion as you clearly do.

I think I need to provide some clarity here as many of you have latched onto mockery as the key part of my OP rather than challenge, which was what I was really driving at (and thought I'd made clear in subsequent posts).

I'm not arguing for a right to be a douche about other people's beliefs without any consequences; you mock what someone thinks or believes, they can tell you that you're a prick, and probably mock you back. Unless we're talking about satire or some kind of artistic work I don't find it particularly useful to resort to mockery generally for the sake of it. I have been in situations where religious people have behaved in ways that could be construed as mocking, and I think I would have been justified in pointing out how ridiculous their views were as a result (my choice if I want to do that, I'm a great believer in lex talionis after all).

It is more challenge that I'm thinking about, and the example above of the Rabbi was kind of what I was getting at. To widen it, when the Catholic church says something like this (http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/apologetics/ap0001.html) and uses the beliefs of their religion as foundation for it, I feel justified (as a feminist) to say I challenge the very notion of a belief that says women are not equal to men, and should be prevented from doing when what men can do. Another good example on the same topic here but for Islam this time (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/28/saudi-woman-lashed-defying-driving-ban). Furthermore, I don't feel like I particularly have to be nice about saying what an odious belief it is that treats women like this, why should I?

Finally, and this is my major question, should someone say when I'm prosecuting my reactions to such viewpoints "you're attacking my belief in god, you must respect my beliefs" in that rather catch all nebulous way that people do, should I? Do I have to simply desist at saying that I think any viewpoint is despicable if it has religion attached to it? If so I'm having to respect an institution that puts its own members above the law when it comes to child sexual abuse, or beliefs on sex that encourage people into abstinence education that has been proven does not work, or on executing homosexuals (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/07/iran-executes-men-homosexuality-charges) for being a scourge against society, or singling out and killing innocent children as witches (http://www.soschildrensvillages.org.uk/charity-news/archive/2009/11/witch-children-in-africa).

I find it interesting that the majority of people in this thread seemed to have latched onto mockery and "let them have their belief in the magic sky man, it's not hurting anyone", when in fact I thought I made it clear that it was challenging the religious foundation of unpleasant and harmful beliefs that I was talking about. I've been told to my face by a Muslim that his religion gave him permission to kill me as a gay man, should I have respected such a belief or should I have been free to say it as I see it and tell him that his religion is hateful garbage and no foundation for any kind of moral code (in my view, of course).

Grumman
09-28-2011, 04:09 AM
Because you don't want to be the sort of person who doesn't respect other people's beliefs.
I do. If you believe that women are inferior to men, I'm not going to respect that belief. If you believe that 2+2=5, I'm not going to respect that belief. And if you believe that your imaginary friend is going to set everyone on fire if they don't believe in him, I'm not going to respect that belief either.

Mangetout
09-28-2011, 04:44 AM
Finally, and this is my major question, should someone say when I'm prosecuting my reactions to such viewpoints "you're attacking my belief in god, you must respect my beliefs" in that rather catch all nebulous way that people do.They can say this, but shouldn't, because it's feeble and dumb. You should be able to respond in any way you see fit.

But as I said, I don't think it's as common as you might perceive it to be. Just like the 'God moves in mysterious ways' response - it's not that common (unless stated by the other side and prefixed with "I expect they'll just say...")

aruvqan
09-28-2011, 05:32 AM
Because very few wars have been fought over the dimensionality of the Earth. Very few riots have occurred due to a disagreement over the radius of this world. In short, respecting others' religious beliefs -- no matter how silly they seem to you -- leads to a more civil society.
IMHO this.

I have a friend of some 18 years standing that I enjoy the company of. He is highly intelligent, very literate, we can have wonderful conversations, go to stuff and have a blast. He is also *very* deeply Roman Catholic. Almost to the point of deciding to be a monk or priest deeply believing. [Not rabid like Mel Gibson] He also believes that I am bound for hell because I am not Roman Catholic. Same with mrAru [I am atheist and he is Episcopalian or as mrAru puts it Catholic Lite.]

He will pray for me, but we do not argue about religion because he is of the opinion that salvation comes from God, not from bitching and arguing with someone. More or less discuss once and let God do the rest, and let your own life serve as an example. I can deal with that, he respects my inability to "know" and I respect his firm belief in something that you have to take on faith.

Now if more people in the world could be like him, it would be fantastic.

aruvqan
09-28-2011, 05:34 AM
A rational person?

The fact is, there are few people who respect everyone else's beliefs, and they are accurately regarded as solipsist goofballs. For the great majority of people this has nothing to do with respecting the beliefs of others; it has to do with picking a particular kind of belief namely religion and demanding that it be given special treatment.
Wo0t!!1!

I am a solipsist goofball!

I wish I had the money to get a custom title *sniffle*

Bricker
09-28-2011, 08:50 AM
Some claims about God are falsifiable.

The bible says that God flooded the Earth. We have seen no evidence for the flood and great evidence contradicting it. So that claim isn't true.

The bible says that the sky is a rock dome that has water above it. That claim isn't true.

The bible says that we were descended by one couple. Modern genetics show that the genetic Adam and Eve didn't live at the same time. Further it shows that they weren't created, but rather evolved from previous forms. So that claim isn't true.

The trouble is that religious people have little desire to argue honestly. They can just dodge and weave and let bits drop off until the definition of God becomes a phantom.

As to claims that:


There was a literal Flood
The sky is a rock dome
All humans literally share two genetic ancestors that lived at the same time


I would agree it's appropriate to treat those claims, and the persons making them, in just the same way we'd treat flat-earthers.

SecondJudith
09-28-2011, 08:56 AM
Hell, I mock religion all the time. Have you seen a Sukkot service? That lulav business is straight-up ridiculous.

I am also happy to respond to "my religious belief is that women are inherently inferior to men" with "well then your religious beliefs are harmful and stupid".

They can say this, but shouldn't, because it's feeble and dumb. You should be able to respond in any way you see fit.

But as I said, I don't think it's as common as you might perceive it to be. Just like the 'God moves in mysterious ways' response - it's not that common (unless stated by the other side and prefixed with "I expect they'll just say...")

I agree with both parts of this.

furt
09-28-2011, 09:00 AM
It is more challenge that I'm thinking about, and the example above of the Rabbi was kind of what I was getting at. To widen it, when the Catholic church says something like this (http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/apologetics/ap0001.html) and uses the beliefs of their religion as foundation for it, I feel justified (as a feminist) to say I challenge the very notion of a belief that says women are not equal to men, and should be prevented from doing when what men can do. Another good example on the same topic here but for Islam this time (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/28/saudi-woman-lashed-defying-driving-ban). Furthermore, I don't feel like I particularly have to be nice about saying what an odious belief it is that treats women like this, why should I?You don't. Have at it. Feel free.

Finally, and this is my major question, should someone say when I'm prosecuting my reactions to such viewpoints "you're attacking my belief in god, you must respect my beliefs" in that rather catch all nebulous way that people do, should I? Do I have to simply desist at saying that I think any viewpoint is despicable if it has religion attached to it? If so I'm having to respect an institution that puts its own members above the law when it comes to child sexual abuse, or beliefs on sex that encourage people into abstinence education that has been proven does not work, or on executing homosexuals (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/07/iran-executes-men-homosexuality-charges) for being a scourge against society, or singling out and killing innocent children as witches (http://www.soschildrensvillages.org.uk/charity-news/archive/2009/11/witch-children-in-africa).

I find it interesting that the majority of people in this thread seemed to have latched onto mockery and "let them have their belief in the magic sky man, it's not hurting anyone", when in fact I thought I made it clear that it was challenging the religious foundation of unpleasant and harmful beliefs that I was talking about. I've been told to my face by a Muslim that his religion gave him permission to kill me as a gay man, should I have respected such a belief or should I have been free to say it as I see it and tell him that his religion is hateful garbage and no foundation for any kind of moral code (in my view, of course).AFAICT, you're upset at a prohibition that does not exist. Books with the exact same point of view as you have been bestsellers in America and the UK. Speech laws are somewhat different in the IK, but in America you are quite free to criticise any religion in any manner you see fit so long as you are not abusing an individual or inciting a riot.

Now, the kind of no-holds barred rhetoric you seem to favor may turn off people, or it may simply fail to persuade, but that's another issue.

You've now given us some clarity of the kind of things you want to say (not mockery but "challenge" -- still a very vague word), but I'm still struggling to understand what problem you're having. If your thread was prompted by an actual event, it would help enormously to recount it. If it's prompted by what you fear might happen, give us exactly what kind of thing you'd like to say and what kind of reaction you expect.

My suspicion, frankly, is that you're going around being a douche about other people's religions, and people are treating you as such. But if that isn't the case, enlighten us.

Bricker
09-28-2011, 09:01 AM
Perhaps you say that because the Catholic Church has skillfully modified its belief system to be unfalsifiable over the past couple of hundred years. From a geocentric creationist system they moved to one accurate astronomically speaking and where even Adam and Eve aren't quite the way they are in the Bible. One has to think that the Catholic hierarchy realized that many of their previous god beliefs were indeed falsified and they moved on. You surely acknowledge that many religions in the US aren't nearly so clever.

Of course, I could equally claim that science has "skillfully" moved its belief system to be unfalsifiable.

And as well they should, because the willingness to abandon beliefs that have been falsified is in fact the hallmark of the scientific method. Of course, in describing science, I would use different words, rather than a description that seems calculated to disparage.

I'm a Catholic because my faith does not require me to accept anything that can be proved untrue, and thus I have no conflict between what my senses and reasoning tell me is true, and what my faith requires me to accept.

As you say, there are other religions in the US, and they may well demand of their adherents the belief in things that we can falsify. In my view, those beliefs can be treated just as we'd treat flat-earthers.

Moreover, and as an aside, I absolutely acknowledge that to the rational observer, any claims about God must be regarded as both unproven and, by Occam's Razor, likely false. My reason for believing is solid, but unfortunately it's not one I can effectively communicate. I experienced evidence that I can't show you. It's rational for me to accpet that evidence, just as it would be for you to accept it if you had experienced it. But since you haven't, I can hardly demand that you in effect "Take my word for it."

Odesio
09-28-2011, 09:03 AM
:confused: Where have you been hiding, and can I hide there too? Rick Perry, a leading Republican Presidential candidate organizing a prayer meeting doesn't sound like private religion in my book. 40 years ago, yes, but today candidates have to wear religion on their sleeves (except in my Congressional District, that is.)

And in your day to day life? Are you coworkers concerned about what church you belong to? Do you have a hard time socializing with others because of religious beliefs? I bet the answers are no.

Bricker
09-28-2011, 09:05 AM
To widen it, when the Catholic church says something like this (http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/apologetics/ap0001.html) and uses the beliefs of their religion as foundation for it, I feel justified (as a feminist) to say I challenge the very notion of a belief that says women are not equal to men, and should be prevented from doing when what men can do.

Your link goes to a discussion of why the Catholic Church won't ordain female priests.

So if I understand your argument correctly, you believe that "the beliefs of the Catholic religion" are NOT a valid basis to determine who may be a priest in the Catholic religion?

Ibn Warraq
09-28-2011, 11:12 AM
Ibn - please stop hijacking my thread, I don't care if Akbar was a good muslim or not and I don't think it's as relevant to the discussion as you clearly do.

I'm not sure exactly why I'm being accussed of hijacking this thread.

Der Trihs decided to insult me and millions if not tens of millions of other Muslims by claiming that since we were tolerant of non-Muslims we are "bad Muslims" which is comparable to in some ways(though not entirely) like saying that black people who speak grammatically correct English are Oreos.

I merely asked him to provide evidence that he had remotely enough knowledge on the subject to make such an assertion.

He essentially admitted he was completely ignorant of the subject and then went on to compare Islam to Nazism and being a Muslim to being a member of the KKK.

Bidysabba then went on to accuse me of "extreme ignorance" while displaying it himself by claiming that Akbar founded his own religion, which he didn't."

Beyond that, based on the examples you're giving, I'm a bit confused by the suggestion that we can't challenge or criticize them.

You mention the sex abuse scandal and Saudi Arabia's law banning female drivers, but those are things that are regularly criticized and condemned and I've never heard anyone condemned as being a bigot for criticizing Saudi Arabia's law.

The only time people get angry is when you attribute beliefs of a fringe to an entire group. For example there are around fifty or sixty Muslim nations on Earth and, to the best of my knowledge, Saudi Arabia is the only one that has such a law. Even such countries as Iran, not known as the bastion of women's rights doesn't have such laws.

Similarly, nobody disputes that homophobia and the oppression of gay people isn't a serious problem in much of the Islamic world, but it's hardly a subject that's ignored and I'm not aware of anyone being accused of being a bigot for condemning Iran executions of gay people.

Beyond that, the status of gay people in the Muslim Middle East is considerably more complex than many make it out to be.

My mother was first introduced to my father by a very good friend of her's who worked for the American Embassy and he found life in Tehran of the early 70s, as a gay person vastly easier and more pleasant than life as a gay person in either Canada or the US. In fact, he was always incredibly careful to try and make sure his superiors didn't find out or he'd be fired, which his Iranian friends and counterparts always found absurd.

Nor is his story all that unique. Since the 19th Century numerous gay foreign service personel from the West found the Muslim Middle East vastly preferable to their native countries.

Sadly, this is no longer the case.

Acid Lamp
09-28-2011, 11:47 AM
There is no reason to respect religious beliefs. The trick is to convey that without insulting the believer personally, or coming across as a total dickhead. That is not an easy line to walk. My most successful method is to simply dismiss religious talk as one would santa or elves. Not be judgmental, or launch into a lecture or challenging argument; just simple disbelief that an adult would seriously believe in such a ludicrous concept.

Rune
09-28-2011, 11:50 AM
You shouldn’t. Respect is personal and something you have to earn. And the same could be said of any other idea. Why respect feminism, republicanism, liberalism, humanism, communism, capitalism, Darwinism, nationalism, Java programming, helio-centrism, football, matchbox collecting, veganism, internet message board posting, .. Well you shouldn’t. You may choose to respect the people involved in all these worthwhile pursuits if they prove themselves respect-worthy. Feminism sucks, but I know a couple of hot feminists whose tits I deeply respect. It’s the same respect bullshit they were crying about during the Muhammed Cartoon Crisis, although I especially remember the idiots that attacked the Swedish artist Lars Vilks who had also made some kind of drawing of Muhammed. So some whiners attacked and shouted at him “show respect you pig!” when he was talking at a University. Which kinda breaks the first rule of earning respect: you
can’t have it if you don’t show it. Anyway, respect belongs to people, not inanimate objects or abstract ideas.

Voyager
09-28-2011, 12:29 PM
Of course, I could equally claim that science has "skillfully" moved its belief system to be unfalsifiable.

And as well they should, because the willingness to abandon beliefs that have been falsified is in fact the hallmark of the scientific method. Of course, in describing science, I would use different words, rather than a description that seems calculated to disparage.

You are a bit confused about the scientific method. Abandoning falsified beliefs does not mean that the new ones are unfalsifiable - just that they haven't been falsified yet. Consider the interest flap about neutrinos going faster than c. There is a request for verification and more details - not in the least from those reporting the results - but no one is saying it can't be true because it goes against the word of St. Albert. If it turns out to be true there will be a lot of very happy physicists out there.
Now, imagine the reaction if someone dug up the bones of Jesus or found a journal of a disciple that had full information about the days after his death with no mention that he rose. Or that he actually got run over by a chariot. Happy priests? I think not.

I'm a Catholic because my faith does not require me to accept anything that can be proved untrue, and thus I have no conflict between what my senses and reasoning tell me is true, and what my faith requires me to accept.

The first two items on your list are not particularly important. The third, Adam and Eve, would seem to be more so, since I though salvation depended on our sinful nature which came from a choice by our common ancestors. If God created us sinful, then there is a problem with him requiring salvation. This of course does not affect all religions. In Hebrew School they did not consider the creation story as history. and it is treated as a just-so story explaining death, having to work, the pain of childbirth, and the hatred of snakes, and is not fundamental.
You may not have to accept things that have been falsified - but those in the past who claimed a conduit to God certainly did - but you certainly also accept things that have rather shaky foundations when they fall in line with your religion and do not accept things with equally or less shaky foundations which do not.
I accept that you had a private conversion experience of some sort - but lots of people do, and they wind up in all sorts of religions and political philosophies. These seem more a function of brain chemistry and our environment than anything actually supernatural. I don't think they represent an external fundamental truth any more than a taste for lobster or chocolate ice cream does.
Finally, the big difference between science and religion is that science acknowledges that it stumbles on a path to getting closer to the truth, a place it will never actually reach. Religion begins with a supposed revelation of the truth - most if not all religions. "Proofs" of God start from this premise and try to justify it. What religion would you wind up with if you began with evidence of the past which would be accepted by a panel of competent historians and used only solid logic? I'd guess weak deism, at best, certainly no modern or ancient religions.

Voyager
09-28-2011, 12:34 PM
And in your day to day life? Are you coworkers concerned about what church you belong to? Do you have a hard time socializing with others because of religious beliefs? I bet the answers are no.

I live in the most diverse area of the country, and I work in high tech which seems to have a higher percentage of non-believers than most. But when I visited Charlotte, NC, the paper ran a column asking townspeople to stop mentioning God and Jesus with every breath, since it was scaring the tourists. If I were gay and wanted to get married I might be affected even here. If I had to fight through a throng of protesters to bring someone to an abortion clinic I might not think religion was so private. And I'm old enough to remember blue laws.
If one of the religious fanatics get elected (Romney is not one of them, at least) we might all suffer.

Darth Panda
09-28-2011, 12:48 PM
And in your day to day life? Are you coworkers concerned about what church you belong to? Do you have a hard time socializing with others because of religious beliefs? I bet the answers are no.

I live in the most diverse area of the country, and I work in high tech which seems to have a higher percentage of non-believers than most. But when I visited Charlotte, NC, the paper ran a column asking townspeople to stop mentioning God and Jesus with every breath, since it was scaring the tourists.

I live in Charlotte, NC and it is indeed an issue at times, with regard to work, socializing, etc. It's also annoying as hell. If you're non-religious here, there's definitely a lot of self-censoring that needs to occur.

Spiff
09-28-2011, 12:59 PM
My own religious view is more or less like this: I believe in God, the Christian one.The Christian one? Huh?

You believe in the God of Abraham, who is worshiped by both Muslims and Christians.

There is no "Christian god." (And this is a separate point made outside of the question of whether there is actually a god or gods.)

CJJ*
09-28-2011, 01:01 PM
I guess I've always understood "religious beliefs" to be somewhat narrower than many examples presented in this thread: Beliefs about strictly religious claims (like "Yahweh exists," "Jesus died for our sins," or "the Quran was dictated to Mohammed by an angel"), not social, moral or scientific beliefs justified by religion. The former should be respected (in most cases by simply being avoided or ignored), the latter not so much. And IMO it is not "disrespecting religious belief" to point out that a purely religious justification for a social/moral/scientific belief is unacceptable (at the very least a believer should admit its unworkable/arbitrary/unfalsifiable).

Here's an example: A phrase like "God hates f*gs" may be dressed up like a religious belief, but in my experience it's really a social perscription. If you really want to take this ugly sentiment on, arguing over whether God really does or doesn't hate homosexuals is pointless (equivalent to arguing the color of the eggs an elephant might lay). Instead, ask the person "do you hate them as well? Do you think there should be laws against them?". The answer to those questions do not deserve respect if you find them repugnant.

Bricker
09-28-2011, 01:16 PM
You are a bit confused about the scientific method. Abandoning falsified beliefs does not mean that the new ones are unfalsifiable - just that they haven't been falsified yet.

Agreed, but I'm not confused -- I never said otherwise.

Now, imagine the reaction if someone dug up the bones of Jesus or found a journal of a disciple that had full information about the days after his death with no mention that he rose. Or that he actually got run over by a chariot. Happy priests? I think not.


You're right, but you seem to think you've proved something. I certainly would be happy to learn such a thing, because I would then have more, and better, information than I do now.

How are the reactions of priests relevant to the discussion?

The first two items on your list are not particularly important. The third, Adam and Eve, would seem to be more so, since I though salvation depended on our sinful nature which came from a choice by our common ancestors. If God created us sinful, then there is a problem with him requiring salvation.

That problem exists even with the story of Adam and Eve, since they were His creations also. What of it?

This of course does not affect all religions. In Hebrew School they did not consider the creation story as history. and it is treated as a just-so story explaining death, having to work, the pain of childbirth, and the hatred of snakes, and is not fundamental.

Correct, and in like fashion, I don't regard the story of Adam and Eve as fundamental, and neither does the Catholic Church.

You may not have to accept things that have been falsified - but those in the past who claimed a conduit to God certainly did -

So what?


but you certainly also accept things that have rather shaky foundations when they fall in line with your religion and do not accept things with equally or less shaky foundations which do not.

Yes. But as a general statement, the things I accept are those things consistent with my personal experience, and the equally shaky things I reject are those that don't.

Therefore, for me, the two sets are not equally shaky.

I accept that you had a private conversion experience of some sort - but lots of people do, and they wind up in all sorts of religions and political philosophies. These seem more a function of brain chemistry and our environment than anything actually supernatural. I don't think they represent an external fundamental truth any more than a taste for lobster or chocolate ice cream does.

Sure. And that's an eminently reasonable position for you to take. But since I have experienced my experience, so to speak, and have not experienced what others might have seen or felt, it makes less sense for me to credit their experiences over my own.

Finally, the big difference between science and religion is that science acknowledges that it stumbles on a path to getting closer to the truth, a place it will never actually reach. Religion begins with a supposed revelation of the truth - most if not all religions. "Proofs" of God start from this premise and try to justify it. What religion would you wind up with if you began with evidence of the past which would be accepted by a panel of competent historians and used only solid logic? I'd guess weak deism, at best, certainly no modern or ancient religions.

So what?

I started by proposing a principled distinction between religious claims and flat earth claims. I didn't purport to show religious claims are true, or even more likely true than not. I simply said that the religious claims I advance are not falsifiable, and that this is a reason to treat them differently than flat-earth claims.

Illuminatiprimus
09-28-2011, 02:09 PM
AFAICT, you're upset at a prohibition that does not exist.Not everyone agrees with you. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/sep/30/pressandpublishing.religion)

Moreover there have been several (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/8578787.stm) attempts (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article4312447.ece) now (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/catholic-group-granted-gay-adoption-exemption-1923222.html) to use respect or the notion of the sanctity of religious beliefs to permit discrimination against others in the UK. You can argue it's not the same thing, but it's related to the point I'm making. If someone's religious beliefs are considered an exemption from the law (specifically against discrimination) then respecting those beliefs is effectively a legal requirement, no matter how odious one might find them. These cases aren't just a thought experiment.

You've now given us some clarity of the kind of things you want to say (not mockery but "challenge" -- still a very vague word), but I'm still struggling to understand what problem you're having. If your thread was prompted by an actual event, it would help enormously to recount it. If it's prompted by what you fear might happen, give us exactly what kind of thing you'd like to say and what kind of reaction you expect.

My suspicion, frankly, is that you're going around being a douche about other people's religions, and people are treating you as such. But if that isn't the case, enlighten us.Why is that your conclusion? You go from saying that I am positing a situation so artificial and hypothetical that it doesn't actually exist to suggesting that I'm going around savaging people's beliefs and want some kind of pat on the back for doing so; which is it?

For the record, no, I don't routinely attack other people's beliefs because I don't see the need to, and fortunately live in a country where I don't have to put up with the kind of witnessing or god bothering that would make me want to. However if someone were to try and loudly inflict their religious views on me, or make statements that I find to be morally repugnant and gave their religion as justification, I would not feel required to be polite about their beliefs particularly. Is that going around being a douche? I don't remember interacting with you on this board before so I'm not clear why you're presuming towards such a negative view of me.

Your link goes to a discussion of why the Catholic Church won't ordain female priests.

So if I understand your argument correctly, you believe that "the beliefs of the Catholic religion" are NOT a valid basis to determine who may be a priest in the Catholic religion?I didn't say that, and quite frankly don't really care about who can and can't be a priest in the church. I linked to that to make the point that the catholic church/faith states that women can't be priests because essentially they hold a lesser position in society and in their religion than men. My point was that that belief is at odds with my views as a feminist, so if I were in a discussion with a catholic espousing that view I would simply say I thought that notion to be wrong and the fact that it's religiously-based no special justification.

I guess I've always understood "religious beliefs" to be somewhat narrower than many examples presented in this thread: Beliefs about strictly religious claims (like "Yahweh exists," "Jesus died for our sins," or "the Quran was dictated to Mohammed by an angel"), not social, moral or scientific beliefs justified by religion. The former should be respected (in most cases by simply being avoided or ignored), the latter not so much. And IMO it is not "disrespecting religious belief" to point out that a purely religious justification for a social/moral/scientific belief is unacceptable (at the very least a believer should admit its unworkable/arbitrary/unfalsifiable).

Here's an example: A phrase like "God hates f*gs" may be dressed up like a religious belief, but in my experience it's really a social perscription. If you really want to take this ugly sentiment on, arguing over whether God really does or doesn't hate homosexuals is pointless (equivalent to arguing the color of the eggs an elephant might lay). Instead, ask the person "do you hate them as well? Do you think there should be laws against them?". The answer to those questions do not deserve respect if you find them repugnant.Yes I see what you're saying, and I think this kind of gets to the nub of it. I agree that the distinction should be made between what the belief is and the impact of it, but I would continue to question whether respect is due to a belief that is clearly falsifiable or plain nonsensical. "The world was made in 7 days by god" is simply not true, we know it isn't, and if someone declares that's what they believe and I have to respect that then, well, they're wrong, I don't, any more than I need to respect the flat earther's world view. That doesn't mean I would see a point in challenging it - as I said in another thread (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showpost.php?p=14297972&postcount=47), why bother when there's no prospect of a productive exchange?

Malthus
09-28-2011, 02:18 PM
You shouldn’t. Respect is personal and something you have to earn.

I dunno about this. I show respect to perfect strangers on the subway, and they haven't "earned" squat.

I'd say respecting others is the default position, which respect may be forefited by their actions - say, someone on the subway acting rudely.

The reason to respect religious beliefs has nothing to do with the beliefs, but with the people who hold them. Given that, to these people, their beliefs are sometimes part of their self-identity, it behooves one to show respect to the people as a default, as one would any stranger - unless of course those individual people forefit that respect through their actions.

Illuminatiprimus
09-28-2011, 02:30 PM
I'm not sure exactly why I'm being accussed of hijacking this thread. Because you're going on a tangent about something quite specific that doesn't actually relate to the question I posed.

Der Trihs decided to insult me and millions if not tens of millions of other Muslims by claiming that since we were tolerant of non-Muslims we are "bad Muslims" which is comparable to in some ways(though not entirely) like saying that black people who speak grammatically correct English are Oreos. Rather than play semantics I'm sure you know what Der Trihs was saying vis a vis religion vs morality; I don't think your example is very good.

I merely asked him to provide evidence that he had remotely enough knowledge on the subject to make such an assertion.

He essentially admitted he was completely ignorant of the subject and then went on to compare Islam to Nazism and being a Muslim to being a member of the KKK.

Bidysabba then went on to accuse me of "extreme ignorance" while displaying it himself by claiming that Akbar founded his own religion, which he didn't."Fine, I'm just asking this tangent not consume the thread.

Beyond that, based on the examples you're giving, I'm a bit confused by the suggestion that we can't challenge or criticize them.

You mention the sex abuse scandal and Saudi Arabia's law banning female drivers, but those are things that are regularly criticized and condemned and I've never heard anyone condemned as being a bigot for criticizing Saudi Arabia's law.

The only time people get angry is when you attribute beliefs of a fringe to an entire group. For example there are around fifty or sixty Muslim nations on Earth and, to the best of my knowledge, Saudi Arabia is the only one that has such a law. Even such countries as Iran, not known as the bastion of women's rights doesn't have such laws.
:dubious:

Here (http://answering-islam.org/Silas/apostasy.htm) is some summary information on the crime of apostasy (renouncing Islam) of which I'm sure you're very aware.

Any country that has Sharia as its judicial foundation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Countries_with_Sharia_rule.png) must hold apostasy as a capital offence, even if it doesn't prosecute it, and often they do (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostasy_in_Islam#Apostasy_in_the_recent_past). Actions of a fringe?

Triskadecamus
09-28-2011, 02:37 PM
I am a Christian.

I don't ridicule and belittle the beliefs of Wiccans, or Hindus, or atheists because I don’t like being rude, and mean. Being rude and mean is not philosophical failing, or logically indicative of false premises in someone’s views. But I don’t like it.

I would prefer that more people chose to avoid being rude, and mean. However, I have not noticed that trend over my lifetime. Nor have I found that Christians, atheists, or any other particular subset of humans divided by beliefs are more, or less likely to be mean and rude. It’s a sad thing. (On reflection, I feel that the Hindus I have actually met seem to be less rude, and mean than other specific groups, but I have only a small sample, and cannot make the generalization with any confidence.)

Tris

Voyager
09-28-2011, 03:00 PM
You're right, but you seem to think you've proved something. I certainly would be happy to learn such a thing, because I would then have more, and better, information than I do now.

How are the reactions of priests relevant to the discussion?

Really? You think most Catholics (not to mention other Christians) would feel happy and fulfilled by learning that all they believed in was a lie? That the Pope would cheerfully close up shop, make the Vatican into a museum, and sell the land and give the money to the poor?
Scientists should love science, not any particular theory, though there are always Fred Hoyles out there. There should be no faith involved. There are some people who seem to love religion for religion, the ones who change faiths every week, but I think most are pretty committed to one. You might be happy, but I doubt it, since the scholarship does not point to the Gospel story being true, so I suspect you would not believe what you do if it were based on an analysis unaffected by faith.


That problem exists even with the story of Adam and Eve, since they were His creations also. What of it?

But God gave them free will - he did not make them inherently sinful. They also stand for all of us. But my religion never rested on their sin, so I can hardly defend the story as it stands.


Correct, and in like fashion, I don't regard the story of Adam and Eve as fundamental, and neither does the Catholic Church.

My understanding is that the current view is that there were Adam and Eve stand-ins amongst our true ancestors. Do you believe that mankind is inherently sinful by choice?
Given either denying the historical and scientific record and accepting it and rejiggering the justification for core beliefs based on what really happened, I'd prefer the latter and I respect the Catholic Church for preferring the latter also.



Sure. And that's an eminently reasonable position for you to take. But since I have experienced my experience, so to speak, and have not experienced what others might have seen or felt, it makes less sense for me to credit their experiences over my own.

As you know better than most, people's personal experiences are notably unreliable.
I'd want supporting evidence myself, for either.


I started by proposing a principled distinction between religious claims and flat earth claims. I didn't purport to show religious claims are true, or even more likely true than not. I simply said that the religious claims I advance are not falsifiable, and that this is a reason to treat them differently than flat-earth claims.

I have no idea of which claims you advance, but as a Catholic as opposed to a deist I would suspect many of your claims are indeed falsifiable. In any case, I was talking about claims with no evidence as opposed to claims with evidence that have not been falsified. We can all make up zillions of unfalsifiable beliefs, but we tend not to act on them unless there is some evidence that they might be true, as opposed to lack of proof that they are false.

Algher
09-28-2011, 03:38 PM
I have always liked the Boy Scout definition of Reverent:

A Scout is Reverent.
A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others.

While this is contradictory for many faiths (especially those who require evangelizing), it does strike at some of the issue. Follow your path, but respect that others follow their own path. Now, if you don't like how I ACT on my beliefs, that is fair game IMHO. If I start thumping my Bible while trying to pass some new blue law - I am fair game. But acting like an asshole about me taking my kids to church camp? That means no more pot luck invites for YOU.

Voyager
09-28-2011, 04:11 PM
I am a Christian.

I don't ridicule and belittle the beliefs of Wiccans, or Hindus, or atheists because I don’t like being rude, and mean. Being rude and mean is not philosophical failing, or logically indicative of false premises in someone’s views. But I don’t like it.

Tris

Let's take politeness as a given. Don't you think that you are inherently disrespectful of Hinduism if you ever say to him that his gods are false? Which is of course inherent in your statement you are a Christian. How about if you become convinced that you need to tell him the Good News for the good of his soul?

Before I was an atheist I still absolutely rejected the concept of Jesus as either the Messiah or the son of God. I demonstrated this by going to Temple. By the very act I was not respecting Christianity. The OP is about respecting religious beliefs after all, not religious people.

SciFiSam
09-28-2011, 04:22 PM
I imagine a common version of this dynamic is found in discussions between atheist children and their religious parents. Have you ever experienced situations of that sort where you found it easier to just let it go than to argue? You love your parents, you disagree with them on religion, but you'd rather just "agree to disagree" than argue about it? That's the same dynamic at play more generally in society.

Yes, ish. That kind of 'respecting other's beliefs' is mostly sensible and I just smile grimly and put up with it for some of my family. Not just for religion, but for alternative therapies.

Ibn - please stop hijacking my thread, I don't care if Akbar was a good muslim or not and I don't think it's as relevant to the discussion as you clearly do.

I think I need to provide some clarity here as many of you have latched onto mockery as the key part of my OP rather than challenge, which was what I was really driving at (and thought I'd made clear in subsequent posts).

I'm not arguing for a right to be a douche about other people's beliefs without any consequences; you mock what someone thinks or believes, they can tell you that you're a prick, and probably mock you back. Unless we're talking about satire or some kind of artistic work I don't find it particularly useful to resort to mockery generally for the sake of it. I have been in situations where religious people have behaved in ways that could be construed as mocking, and I think I would have been justified in pointing out how ridiculous their views were as a result (my choice if I want to do that, I'm a great believer in lex talionis after all).

It is more challenge that I'm thinking about, and the example above of the Rabbi was kind of what I was getting at. To widen it, when the Catholic church says something like this (http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/apologetics/ap0001.html) and uses the beliefs of their religion as foundation for it, I feel justified (as a feminist) to say I challenge the very notion of a belief that says women are not equal to men, and should be prevented from doing when what men can do. Another good example on the same topic here but for Islam this time (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/28/saudi-woman-lashed-defying-driving-ban). Furthermore, I don't feel like I particularly have to be nice about saying what an odious belief it is that treats women like this, why should I?

Finally, and this is my major question, should someone say when I'm prosecuting my reactions to such viewpoints "you're attacking my belief in god, you must respect my beliefs" in that rather catch all nebulous way that people do, should I? Do I have to simply desist at saying that I think any viewpoint is despicable if it has religion attached to it? If so I'm having to respect an institution that puts its own members above the law when it comes to child sexual abuse, or beliefs on sex that encourage people into abstinence education that has been proven does not work, or on executing homosexuals (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/07/iran-executes-men-homosexuality-charges) for being a scourge against society, or singling out and killing innocent children as witches (http://www.soschildrensvillages.org.uk/charity-news/archive/2009/11/witch-children-in-africa).

I find it interesting that the majority of people in this thread seemed to have latched onto mockery and "let them have their belief in the magic sky man, it's not hurting anyone", when in fact I thought I made it clear that it was challenging the religious foundation of unpleasant and harmful beliefs that I was talking about. I've been told to my face by a Muslim that his religion gave him permission to kill me as a gay man, should I have respected such a belief or should I have been free to say it as I see it and tell him that his religion is hateful garbage and no foundation for any kind of moral code (in my view, of course).

If I get you right, what you're talking about is the sort of thing like where a religious school in England (cite (http://news.pinkpaper.com/NewsStory/4342/22/11/2010/bbc-show-exposes-uk-islamic-schools-anti-gay-agenda.aspx) - but I also once gota teaching job at a Catholic school which I'd assumed was as secular as most Catholic schools in the UK are, and it REALLY wasn't, so it's not just Islam) is teaching that homosexuality is bad, and others are told that they shouldn't do anything about it because you have to respect their beliefs?

FWIW, Der Trihs, Islam isn't an all-or-nothing religion. There are different sects - mainstream ones - that have different views. Islam officially depends on the views of the later prophets and on the Imams. Catholicicism, in reality, often depends on the views of the later writers (like Paul), the Saints and the Popes, but that's not the official stance.

Some Shia sects are fine with drinking alcohol, for example, so just because you know someone's Muslim it doesn't necessarily mean their religion says they shouldn't drink alcohol.

Illuminatiprimus
09-28-2011, 04:46 PM
If I get you right, what you're talking about is the sort of thing like where a religious school in England (cite (http://news.pinkpaper.com/NewsStory/4342/22/11/2010/bbc-show-exposes-uk-islamic-schools-anti-gay-agenda.aspx) - but I also once gota teaching job at a Catholic school which I'd assumed was as secular as most Catholic schools in the UK are, and it REALLY wasn't, so it's not just Islam) is teaching that homosexuality is bad, and others are told that they shouldn't do anything about it because you have to respect their beliefs? Yes that's the one. :mad:

CJJ*
09-28-2011, 05:33 PM
Yes I see what you're saying, and I think this kind of gets to the nub of it. I agree that the distinction should be made between what the belief is and the impact of it, but I would continue to question whether respect is due to a belief that is clearly falsifiable or plain nonsensical. "The world was made in 7 days by god" is simply not true, we know it isn't, and if someone declares that's what they believe and I have to respect that then, well, they're wrong, I don't, any more than I need to respect the flat earther's world view. That doesn't mean I would see a point in challenging it - as I said in another thread (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showpost.php?p=14297972&postcount=47), why bother when there's no prospect of a productive exchange?
Let me break that example into two parts, since I think it's the combination that makes it deceptive.

"The world was made in 7 days" is a scientific claim, and as such should not be respected as a religious belief. However in my experience when someone does advance it they often abandon the literal meaning of "day", stretching it to mean some long, ambiguous time. Once they do this they're acknowledging that the claim isn't scientific--they would rather leave the question elusive and open to interpretation. IMO interpretive thinking isn't always a dodge--I acknowledge some value in pondering imponderables--so I'll give it some respect.

"The world was made by god." is a religious belief--one that is even more subject to intepretation (does "create" mean the physical earth directly? The processes of evolution that brought about the earth? The big bang?). I'll give this one a pass.

Really, the question for me comes down to what do I hope to gain from disrespecting someone's beliefs? Attacking someone's beliefs carries the risk that I cause another person to be humiliated or (if there are people watching) that I end up looking like a dick. It's often worthwhile to risk that when the claim is offensive or dangerous--i.e. when it means something in the real world. Personally (at least when I've been sober), purely religious claims don't meet that bar, so I have no problem respecting them by leaving them alone.

Voyager
09-28-2011, 07:00 PM
Let me break that example into two parts, since I think it's the combination that makes it deceptive.

"The world was made in 7 days" is a scientific claim, and as such should not be respected as a religious belief. However in my experience when someone does advance it they often abandon the literal meaning of "day", stretching it to mean some long, ambiguous time. Once they do this they're acknowledging that the claim isn't scientific--they would rather leave the question elusive and open to interpretation. IMO interpretive thinking isn't always a dodge--I acknowledge some value in pondering imponderables--so I'll give it some respect.

Nice example. Let's examine who might say something like this.
First might be the person who only has read summaries and childrens bibles. When you show them that Genesis actually says "the evening and the morning, the nth day" which clearly implies actual days, they may thank you for fighting their ignorance. Surely respecting beliefs does not include respecting demonstrably incorrect ones.
Now, some people who say this might actually know better, and have an ulterior motive for saying it, such as the conviction that saving souls is more important than the truth. They may also be deliberately deluding themselves. That person will be more likely to bring up respect as a way of avoiding the facts. I don't respect deliberate lies either.
Then there are people who can't intellectually grasp the content. Those people are definitely not worth arguing with, but their beliefs don't need to be respected either, just as you wouldn't respect a Santa Claus belief of a 20 year old.


"The world was made by god." is a religious belief--one that is even more subject to intepretation (does "create" mean the physical earth directly? The processes of evolution that brought about the earth? The big bang?). I'll give this one a pass.


This one is unfalsifiable. Or could be. I don't think asking for further details would be disrespectful. If they say God started the Big Bang, then definitely the only response is "I can't argue with that" since you can't.

Trinopus
09-28-2011, 07:03 PM
Let's take politeness as a given. Don't you think that you are inherently disrespectful of Hinduism if you ever say to him that his gods are false?

A matter of diplomacy. I would not say, "Your gods are false." I'd merely say something like, "I hold different beliefs than you do," or "Our beliefs are incompatible." And add, "So...what sports teams do you follow?" or "How about the weather, eh?"

Which is of course inherent in your statement you are a Christian.

Yes...and in mine that I am an atheist. It can be stated politely, and it leads to a conversational impasse.

How about if you become convinced that you need to tell him the Good News for the good of his soul?

I meet proselytizers all the time... Some will stop when I ask them to stop. That's a form of respect. Some won't stop when I ask them to stop. That's a form of disrespect.

Before I was an atheist I still absolutely rejected the concept of Jesus as either the Messiah or the son of God. I demonstrated this by going to Temple. By the very act I was not respecting Christianity. The OP is about respecting religious beliefs after all, not religious people.

Rejecting a faith, especially in a passive fashion, simply by celebrating a different one (or none at all) isn't really "disrespectful."

It's like the difference between an "I Love Jesus" bumper sticker and one that says, "Know Jesus, Know Peace; No Jesus, No Peace." The former may be an intrinsic rejection of Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, etc., but it isn't disrespectful. The latter, by denying other religions' role in peacemaking, is disrespectful.

If an open debate is welcome, then, certainly, engage in it. If it isn't (or if you aren't sure) then...avoid it.

Trinopus (sex, religion, and politics...)

mister_mistro
09-28-2011, 07:10 PM
Religion should only be respected by it followers, as a fellow person, respect that persons right to believe in that religion.
Religious leaders an groups take things to far and are full of crap as far as i'm concerned.

Ají de Gallina
09-28-2011, 08:54 PM
A matter of diplomacy. I would not say, "Your gods are false." I'd merely say something like, "I hold different beliefs than you do," or "Our beliefs are incompatible." And add, "So...what sports teams do you follow?" or "How about the weather, eh?"

Yes...and in mine that I am an atheist. It can be stated politely, and it leads to a conversational impasse.

I meet proselytizers all the time... Some will stop when I ask them to stop. That's a form of respect. Some won't stop when I ask them to stop. That's a form of disrespect.



Rejecting a faith, especially in a passive fashion, simply by celebrating a different one (or none at all) isn't really "disrespectful."

It's like the difference between an "I Love Jesus" bumper sticker and one that says, "Know Jesus, Know Peace; No Jesus, No Peace." The former may be an intrinsic rejection of Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, etc., but it isn't disrespectful. The latter, by denying other religions' role in peacemaking, is disrespectful.

If an open debate is welcome, then, certainly, engage in it. If it isn't (or if you aren't sure) then...avoid it.

Trinopus (sex, religion, and politics...)



Exactly. I completely agree and I can't see why many of the atheists here can go for common civility.
Because, apparently, the "atheisty" thing to do is something like this.

"Hi"
"Hi, whatcha doing?"
"I just finished praying the rosary"
"Ha ha ha, stupid praying beads for the whore mother of a crazy dead carpenter!!! You believe that shit?!?!?!?! What a fucking moron!!! Why aren't you converting me Jesus-boy? Don't you have kids to molest today?"

All in the name of rationality.

Triskadecamus
09-28-2011, 09:51 PM
Let's take politeness as a given. Don't you think that you are inherently disrespectful of Hinduism if you ever say to him that his gods are false? Yes, it would be. But I have never done that. Which is of course inherent in your statement you are a Christian.? It is not inherent in my statement that I am a Christian. How about if you become convinced that you need to tell him the Good News for the good of his soul?? In order to convince me of that, he would have to ask me about it. In which case, telling him about my faith would be somewhat less than disrespectful. Before I was an atheist I still absolutely rejected the concept of Jesus as either the Messiah or the son of God. I demonstrated this by going to Temple. By the very act I was not respecting Christianity. The OP is about respecting religious beliefs after all, not religious people.Perhaps that is the problem. My faith requires to to respect people, and to live an example of love, which would, in my opinion, make being mean and rude to them a bad idea.

Tris

Lobohan
09-28-2011, 10:02 PM
Exactly. I completely agree and I can't see why many of the atheists here can go for common civility.
Because, apparently, the "atheisty" thing to do is something like this.

"Hi"
"Hi, whatcha doing?"
"I just finished praying the rosary"
"Ha ha ha, stupid praying beads for the whore mother of a crazy dead carpenter!!! You believe that shit?!?!?!?! What a fucking moron!!! Why aren't you converting me Jesus-boy? Don't you have kids to molest today?"

All in the name of rationality.That's just nonsense. It would more likely go like this:

Catholic: Hi.
Atheist: Hey, whatcha doing?
Catholic: I just finished praying the rosary.
Atheist: Is something wrong?
Catholic: I just found out my dad has cancer. Will you pray with me?
Atheist: I hope he gets better, but I don't pray, I'm an atheist.
Catholic: ::Fuming silence::

But in any case, I'm sure more theists would go off the rails than atheists.

Lord Ashtar
09-28-2011, 10:15 PM
Because you're going on a tangent about something quite specific that doesn't actually relate to the question I posed.

I think it's quite pertinent to this thread. Der Trihs challenged, even mocked, Ibn Warraq's beliefs, and he seemed just fine with it. That kind of goes against the whole premise of your OP, doesn't it?

Apollyon
09-28-2011, 10:26 PM
Because, apparently, the "atheisty" thing to do is something like this.

"Hi"
"Hi, whatcha doing?"
"I just finished praying the rosary"
"Ha ha ha, stupid praying beads for the whore mother of a crazy dead carpenter!!! You believe that sh*t?!?!?!?! What a f*cking moron!!! Why aren't you converting me Jesus-boy? Don't you have kids to molest today?"Oh man, I must be doing something terribly wrong, because a similar exchange with me would more likely go:

"Hi"
"Hi, whatcha doing?"
"I just finished praying the rosary"
"Oh, cool. Would it be OK if I asked you about it? What sort is it? I mean, how many decades and that sort of thing..."

Does this mean I have to turn in my atheist card?!

Revenant Threshold
09-28-2011, 11:07 PM
Oh man, I must be doing something terribly wrong, because a similar exchange with me would more likely go:

"Hi"
"Hi, whatcha doing?"
"I just finished praying the rosary"
"Oh, cool. Would it be OK if I asked you about it? What sort is it? I mean, how many decades and that sort of thing..."

Does this mean I have to turn in my atheist card?! Yeah, no kidding. I think the limit of my unpleasantness as an atheist in such a situation would probably be asking that kind of technical question without realising that they might well have good reason to be praying, thus mouth-footing.

Also i've never spoken in a red font.

Lobohan
09-28-2011, 11:26 PM
Also i've never spoken in a red font.It kind of stings.

Ají de Gallina
09-28-2011, 11:39 PM
That's just nonsense. It would more likely go like this:

Catholic: Hi.
Atheist: Hey, whatcha doing?
Catholic: I just finished praying the rosary.
Atheist: Is something wrong?
Catholic: I just found out my dad has cancer. Will you pray with me?
Atheist: I hope he gets better, but I don't pray, I'm an atheist.
Catholic: ::Fuming silence::

But in any case, I'm sure more theists would go off the rails than atheists.

it may well b true, but in this thread, apparently, it isn't for some.
Dunno about the fuming silence, though

Oh man, I must be doing something terribly wrong, because a similar exchange with me would more likely go:

"Hi"
"Hi, whatcha doing?"
"I just finished praying the rosary"
"Oh, cool. Would it be OK if I asked you about it? What sort is it? I mean, how many decades and that sort of thing..."

Does this mean I have to turn in my atheist card?!

No, you can keep it.
You dialogue is what happens in my experience. Decent people wondering abput stuff without insults.

Yeah, no kidding. I think the limit of my unpleasantness as an atheist in such a situation would probably be asking that kind of technical question without realising that they might well have good reason to be praying, thus mouth-footing.

Also i've never spoken in a red font.

Good faith (no pun intended) question are always welcomed.
No red-font speaking? No wonder the economy is tanking.

bldysabba
09-29-2011, 02:54 AM
Bidysabba then went on to accuse me of "extreme ignorance" while displaying it himself by claiming that Akbar founded his own religion, which he didn't."


ahem. You accused Der Trihs of extreme ignorance and used Akbar as an example of a 'good muslim' who was also a good person. I merely implied that you shouldn't be so quick to fling around that particular accusation. Don't get me wrong. I'm not in agreement with DT's original point, but your example in support of your rebuttal is way off base, and doesn't become correct just by your repeating it, and now you've gone and accused me of 'extreme ignorance' as well!
Here are cites from an islamic website (http://www.islamicart.com/library/empires/india/akbar.html)
The establishment of a new religion, Din-i llahi (Divine Faith), was a result of Akbar's consistent confrontations with his orthodox opponents

from encyclopaedia brittanica (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/163768/Din-i-Ilahi)
Dīn-i Ilāhī, (Persian: “Divine Faith”), an elite eclectic religious movement...
In its ritual, it borrowed heavily from Zoroastrianism, making light (Sun and fire) an object of divine worship and reciting, as in Hinduism, the 1,000 Sanskrit names of the Sun
Even if you contend Din-i-illahi was only an ethical system, Islam has an ethical system of its own. Why did he feel the need to make up another one, especially one that ritualises symbol worship and incantations? If you still think he was a 'good Muslim', in my view your definition of that term is too loose to bother with.

p.s: I apologise for the thread hijacking. I'm new to these forums, and don't quite know how/where to respond to this, and I don't want to just let it pass. If someone will tell me a better way to do this, I'll be happy to.

jamiyl
09-29-2011, 03:16 AM
wonderful reply. Thank you.

Illuminatiprimus
09-29-2011, 03:33 AM
Exactly. I completely agree and I can't see why many of the atheists here can go for common civility.
Because, apparently, the "atheisty" thing to do is something like this.

"Hi"
"Hi, whatcha doing?"
"I just finished praying the rosary"
"Ha ha ha, stupid praying beads for the whore mother of a crazy dead carpenter!!! You believe that shit?!?!?!?! What a fucking moron!!! Why aren't you converting me Jesus-boy? Don't you have kids to molest today?"

All in the name of rationality.Has this actually ever happened to you? Or anything close to it?

Otherwise this is quite simply an excluded middle, it's entirely possible to disagree with someone's religious beliefs, even deny them, whilst being civil. You're not separating out the atheist aspect of this exchange from the douche exchange. It could equally have gone:

"Hi, watcha doing?"
"I just finishing prayin the rosay?"
"Ha ha ha, stupid praying beads and for what? Mary ain't nothing special. I know so because my pastor said so, and it's right there in the KJV thou shalt not worship graven images, you fucking popish heretic. Don't you have kids to molest today?"

See?

Grumman
09-29-2011, 03:57 AM
Exactly. I completely agree and I can't see why many of the atheists here can go for common civility.
Because, apparently, the "atheisty" thing to do is something like this...
Get down off the damn cross, Aji.

Uzi
09-29-2011, 04:13 AM
Some Shia sects are fine with drinking alcohol, for example, so just because you know someone's Muslim it doesn't necessarily mean their religion says they shouldn't drink alcohol.

The Quran expressly forbids it: http://quran.com/5/90-91
By default if someone doesn't follow the 'rule' then they are not a 'good' Muslim because a good muslim is one who follows what their prophet said rather than their interpretation.

But the issue here is not what the Quran actually says because what it actually says is, apparently, not what it actually means, or because I've used Wikipedia or some other similar 'lesser' source, my argument is invalid. And because I've used google to find this information rather than having spent my life researching and living within Islamic countries (and apparently only certain countries actually count - thus Illuminatiprimus links will be declared invalid for any number of reasons and ignore what the Quran and the Hadiths state) anything I might say is tainted and no proof at all.
That seems to be the contention of people like Ibn Warraq when you attempt to make any claim about the religion of 'peace' (actually the religion is about submission to god, not peace at all as another poster alluded to in this thread. But then most people's ideas about religion are based upon what they want it to be rather than what it is.)
So, show respect for people's religion? I don't call stupid people stupid because it is rude, but sometimes in a discussion when they are being stupid, evasive, or not willing to debate in good faith, it is hard not to show a little or a lot of contempt.

bldysabba
09-29-2011, 06:06 AM
Originally Posted by Bricker
Your link goes to a discussion of why the Catholic Church won't ordain female priests.

So if I understand your argument correctly, you believe that "the beliefs of the Catholic religion" are NOT a valid basis to determine who may be a priest in the Catholic religion?

Actually, why should the beliefs of the catholic religion be a valid basis to determine who may be a priest in the catholic church and who may not? Why are they different from any other employer who discriminates against women?

p.s: Glad to be posting something on topic in this thread :)

Mangetout
09-29-2011, 06:20 AM
Has this actually ever happened to you? Or anything close to it?

Otherwise this is quite simply an excluded middle, it's entirely possible to disagree with someone's religious beliefs, even deny them, whilst being civil. You're not separating out the atheist aspect of this exchange from the douche exchange. It could equally have gone:

"Hi, watcha doing?"
"I just finishing prayin the rosay?"
"Ha ha ha, stupid praying beads and for what? Mary ain't nothing special. I know so because my pastor said so, and it's right there in the KJV thou shalt not worship graven images, you fucking popish heretic. Don't you have kids to molest today?"

See?

Well, wait a minute, because you could also be excluding the middle in your OP. I'm pretty sure I've seen people get shirty and defensive on topics other than their religion (mistaking their freedom of speech as freedom not to be disagreed with, for example).

furt
09-29-2011, 06:21 AM
Not everyone agrees with you. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/sep/30/pressandpublishing.religion) Ah, now we come an example. You are opposed to religious people intimidating others into silence.

So am I, and I think you know full well that everyone else on this board will be as well. This goes far, far beyond religious people seeking respect, and into religious people imposing their will on others. If that was what your concern was, you should have said so from the start.

Moreover there have been several (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/8578787.stm) attempts (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article4312447.ece) now (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/catholic-group-granted-gay-adoption-exemption-1923222.html) to use respect or the notion of the sanctity of religious beliefs to permit discrimination against others in the UK. You can argue it's not the same thing, but it's related to the point I'm making. If someone's religious beliefs are considered an exemption from the law (specifically against discrimination) then respecting those beliefs is effectively a legal requirement, no matter how odious one might find them. These cases aren't just a thought experiment.No, they aren't, and I thank you for trying to make your point clearer; however, these three articles are nearly the opposite of the first. Nobody in them is seeking to impose religious beliefs or behavior on others; they are merely seeking the right to not have non-religious values imposed on them.

The vicar is not seeking to prohibit gay weddings, nor the adoption agency to prohibit gay adoptions; both have been merely granted the right to act in accordance with their own conscience without fear of retribution. Do these seem like gross injustices to you? Is your vision of a more just and tolerant society one in which these people would be forced to act against their conscience?

Why is that your conclusion? You go from saying that I am positing a situation so artificial and hypothetical that it doesn't actually exist to suggesting that I'm going around savaging people's beliefs and want some kind of pat on the back for doing so; which is it?I said it was my suspicion you were being a douche, not my conclusion: suspicions are what you have when you lack data. Now that I have data, I have a clearer idea of what you're getting at.

You seem to be operating under the assumption that irrelgiosity is the norm, and that religious folk are in some sense obligated to justify themselves, their belief, and their behavior in a way irreligious folk are not. This is simply not the case; historically and globally, religiosity is the norm, with nonbelievers obligated to justify themselves. Like it or don't, that's the planet you live on. Religion is the natural condition of man.

Happily for you, you live in a secular state, which is neither religious nor irreligious, but insofar as possible neutral, and seeks to find a middle ground. Thus, while it rules that a vicar may not be forced to perform gay marriages, it also rules that the vicar may not operate a B&B that excludes gay couples. Such are the compromises we make to live in a secular society.

If that seems intolerable to you, there are officially antireligious states (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_atheism) on offer.

Illuminatiprimus
09-29-2011, 06:51 AM
I'm glad my position is clearer, however (as I thought you might) you've not understood the ramifications of the cases I've pointed out. Whilst they might seem like religious people protecting their right to be religious (as they should be able to, I would never want to deny someone that) the actual outcome is discrimination against others using religion as justification.

For this to even be permitted it must be accepted that it is allowable and defensible to use religious belief as a reason for discrimination in the first place (as opposed to just not liking something but without a religious conviction, which isn't protected). In all three cases religious beliefs ARE being forced on others by the withholding of services - the beliefs are gays shouldn't be able to marry, shouldn't be able to share a bed, and shouldn't be able to adopt. As these have or were attempted to be permitted under the law it's religious belief being enforced on those who don't share those beliefs. Gay and want to adopt a baby? You can't, the Roman Catholics believe you shouldn't. Want a civil partnership? Tough, I don't want to carry one out because I think it's wrong.

Also the registrar case is particularly worrying - you've referred to her as a vicar, but she isn't, she's a civil registrar of marriages working for a public authority; her job is to carry out civil ceremonies in accordance with the law. Her being allowed to decide whether or not she should have to carry out a civil partnership (not a gay marriage) and that be allowable in her job has horrifying ramifications - it means that individuals, again using religious beliefs, can simply decide which bits of their jobs they do and what laws they follow (the Equality Act makes such a refusal against the law, for example) without challenge. Registrar opposed to mix raced civil marriages? Fine, using this reasoning. Muslim butcher? You don't have to touch pig flesh if you don't want to. Christian doctor with a patient who wants an abortion? You don't have to provide her one or refer her to anyone else if it conflicts with your beliefs. Yes your honour, I killed that man, but he's gay and I'm a muslim you see, and my religious beliefs require me to do this, it's in the Qur'an (the most extreme example I could give, intentionally so to take this to it's illogical conclusion)

You don't see where this takes us? It means, as I set out originally, that the requirement to respect religious beliefs can be used to trump the law and override someone not wanting to respect their beliefs if they find them unpleasant or at odds with their own beliefs.

Furthermore your appeal to the majority, saying that most of the people in the world are religious and I need to suck it up, is weak. The majority of people in Uganda want homosexuals executed according to their latest surveys, does that make it right or just?

bldysabba
09-29-2011, 07:07 AM
Furthermore your appeal to the majority, saying that most of the people in the world are religious and I need to suck it up, is weak. The majority of people in Uganda want homosexuals executed according to their latest surveys, does that make it right or just?

Unfortunately, as I see it, appeal to the majority is the only strong argument religious views have in terms of requiring respect. Technically speaking, if those people in Uganda care strongly enough to have their preferences made into law (and what is law after all if not the will of the majority?), then execution of homosexuals in Uganda would be 'just', or, at the very least, 'right'. This is actually why I'm worried about religion.

Illuminatiprimus
09-29-2011, 08:12 AM
Unfortunately, as I see it, appeal to the majority is the only strong argument religious views have in terms of requiring respect. Technically speaking, if those people in Uganda care strongly enough to have their preferences made into law (and what is law after all if not the will of the majority?), then execution of homosexuals in Uganda would be 'just', or, at the very least, 'right'. This is actually why I'm worried about religion.True - but the religious are not in the majority in the UK (where I live, and those cited examples are from) and yet it seems religion still takes primacy in matters of conscience. This is why I'm EVEN MORE worried.

bldysabba
09-29-2011, 08:48 AM
True - but the religious are not in the majority in the UK (where I live, and those cited examples are from) and yet it seems religion still takes primacy in matters of conscience. This is why I'm EVEN MORE worried.

Yeah, I sometimes wonder if a different sort of protest might be effective - break some silly laws (maybe about streaking?) and claim your religion requires it (FSM, IPU, druidism, Scientology, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism - take your pick). True, your case would get struck down and leave you with a fine or summat, but you would also have established a handy little legal precedent :)

Rune
09-29-2011, 08:56 AM
Technically speaking, if those people in Uganda care strongly enough to have their preferences made into law (and what is law after all if not the will of the majority?), then execution of homosexuals in Uganda would be 'just', or, at the very least, 'right'. This is actually why I'm worried about religion.Religion is not a prerequisite for hating homosexuals, nor is it at all evident that people who profess to organized religion are any more or less bigoted than the average non-believing person or persons who believe in fuzzy spiritualism or new-age hokus pokus.

bldysabba
09-29-2011, 09:13 AM
Religion is not a prerequisite for hating homosexuals, nor is it at all evident that people who profess to organized religion are any more or less bigoted than the average non-believing person or persons who believe in fuzzy spiritualism or new-age hokus pokus.

You miss my point entirely, I never claimed that religion is a prerequisite for hating homosexuals or for any other sort of bigotry.

Now that you've brought it up though. It could be argued that religion encourages certain kinds of bigotry. For instance, doesn't a large part of the opposition to same-sex marriage (read-bigotry) in the United States take its sanction from religion? Aren't the b&b lady, the registration officer and the adoption service in Illumin's cite taking their sanction from religion?

This does not mean all religious people will be bigoted, or that all bigots will be religious. It merely means that religious bigots will lay claim to exactly the kind of respect that the OP does not want to give them. Why should it be due?

furt
09-29-2011, 10:05 AM
I'm glad my position is clearer, however (as I thought you might) you've not understood the ramifications of the cases I've pointed out. Whilst they might seem like religious people protecting their right to be religious (as they should be able to, I would never want to deny someone that) the actual outcome is discrimination against others using religion as justification.

For this to even be permitted it must be accepted that it is allowable and defensible to use religious belief as a reason for discrimination in the first place (as opposed to just not liking something but without a religious conviction, which isn't protected).The error you make is in associating religious belief with merely "not liking something." The more apt description is they are failing to provide a service because such provision violates their conscience; and if we look, we do find analogous instances in which people are allowed to withhold services based on moral or ethical considerations. Top of my head:

If I am a drunkard, a bartender who pities my wife may deny me service; similarly, a casino may deny entry to a gambling addict.
A surgeon may decline to perform elective surgery if he feels it is unwarranted; similarly, a psychologist may decline to treat a patient.
A veterinarian may refuse to euthanize a pet.
Except for Public defenders, lawyers cannot be ordered to take clients.
Many Tattoo parlors refuse to do certain kinds of work.
Artists may decline commissions.
A contractor who is asked to demolish a historical building or to pave over a stand of redwoods is free to decline the job.

And so on. Some of the specifics may be different in the UK, and you may object to one or two of those, but the general principle is clear: if it can be avoided, citizens ought not be compelled to do things they find immoral/unethical/wrong. Most questions of conscience are going to involve religion, as that is where most people derive their moral codes. But both the state and the society recognize and respect freedom of conscience within certain practical restrictions. Religion is only part of that (even if the largest part).

In all three cases religious beliefs ARE being forced on others by the withholding of services - the beliefs are gays shouldn't be able to marry, shouldn't be able to share a bed, and shouldn't be able to adopt. As these have or were attempted to be permitted under the law it's religious belief being enforced on those who don't share those beliefs. Gay and want to adopt a baby? You can't, the Roman Catholics believe you shouldn't. But this is not true. Homosexuals can and do adopt in the UK; here is a list of 70 agencies (https://www.newfamilysocial.co.uk/agencies/)that will provide that service, including six in Yorkshire. Given that, why is it necessary for Catholic Care of South Yorkshire to act against their conscience?

Want a civil partnership? Tough, I don't want to carry one out because I think it's wrong.

Also the registrar case is particularly worrying - you've referred to her as a vicar, but she isn't, she's a civil registrar of marriages working for a public authority; her job is to carry out civil ceremonies in accordance with the law. Her being allowed to decide whether or not she should have to carry out a civil partnership (not a gay marriage) and that be allowable in her job has horrifying ramifications - it means that individuals, again using religious beliefs, can simply decide which bits of their jobs they do and what laws they follow (the Equality Act makes such a refusal against the law, for example) without challenge. Registrar opposed to mix raced civil marriages? You're right, I had misread that. But as I read it now, it's not going to prevent anyone from getting married. As far as I can tell, it may be simply a matter of her passing the paperwork to someone else to sign.

If her objections made getting a legal civil marriage in Islington significantly more difficult, or if they significantly complicated the functioning of the office, then I'd agree that she shouldn't be in that position.

If, on the other hand, there are a whole slew of registrars in Islington and accomodating Ms. Ladele requires no more than her passing the form off to someone else to sign ... is that really a battle you think is worth fighting? Does forcing someone to violate their conscience, when there is a readily-available alternative, make for a better, more tolerant society? :dubious:

Fine, using this reasoning. Muslim butcher? You don't have to touch pig flesh if you don't want to. Ok by me, and the law; in point of fact, the nearest butcher to me is a Halal shop. I want bacon, I drive two blocks farther. the inconvenience is trivial.

Christian doctor with a patient who wants an abortion? You don't have to provide her one or refer her to anyone else if it conflicts with your beliefs. Again, fine by me and the law; Abortion is legal and freely available. There's no need to demand that one specific doctor perform it unless you're on some kind of crusade.

Yes your honour, I killed that man, but he's gay and I'm a muslim you see, and my religious beliefs require me to do this, it's in the Qur'an (the most extreme example I could give, intentionally so to take this to it's illogical conclusion)Entirely different. Now his religion has massively imposed on someone else. Apples and Watermelons.

You don't see where this takes us? It means, as I set out originally, that the requirement to respect religious beliefs can be used to trump the law and override someone not wanting to respect their beliefs if they find them unpleasant or at odds with their own beliefs.No, it generally can't. Well, I mean they can try, but in most sane countries, "The Bible told me to kill him" is not going to work as a defense.

It's true that in some European countries, one particular religion is succeeding in getting civil authorities to knuckle under in some ways, but I'm not persuaded in the least that this is a general trend among all religions; Christianity's influence in the UK has been on the wane for a century or more, and I don't think the Buddhists are oppressing anyone.

If your complaint is about the inroads Islam is making, you should say so. Islam in particular is a very different topic from religion in general.

Furthermore your appeal to the majority, saying that most of the people in the world are religious and I need to suck it up, is weak. I said no such thing. Please read carefully: I said that you are not entitled to presume that irrelgiosity is the norm, and that religious folk are in some sense obligated to justify themselves. A secular state assumes that their religion is every bit as valid as your nonreligion, and seeks to prevent either from imposing on the other.

Bricker
09-29-2011, 11:26 AM
Actually, why should the beliefs of the catholic religion be a valid basis to determine who may be a priest in the catholic church and who may not? Why are they different from any other employer who discriminates against women?


Well, in some sense, they're not: both the Catholic Church, and any other organization which discriminates against women, must be able to show that the job in question requires a man -- that is, that there is a bona fide occupational qualification that only a man can meet.

So a Catholic school cannot refuse to hire a female janitor or a male receptionist, because gender is not an occupational qualification for those jobs.

But for a priest, it is. The job of a priest is to teach, and exemplify, the beliefs of the Catholic Church. So the beliefs of the church are a priori a qualification for the job. The Church's discipline is that only men may receive the sacrament of orders.

bldysabba
09-29-2011, 11:38 AM
Well, in some sense, they're not: both the Catholic Church, and any other organization which discriminates against women, must be able to show that the job in question requires a man -- that is, that there is a bona fide occupational qualification that only a man can meet.

So a Catholic school cannot refuse to hire a female janitor or a male receptionist, because gender is not an occupational qualification for those jobs.

But for a priest, it is. The job of a priest is to teach, and exemplify, the beliefs of the Catholic Church. So the beliefs of the church are a priori a qualification for the job. The Church's discipline is that only men may receive the sacrament of orders.

Ah, but see, there is the special dispensation that rings hollow. If, lets say, Acme inc. were to hold that 'women do not exemplify our beliefs which are that only men can receive orders from customers' and deny women jobs in a sales department, they would be culpable of discrimination. Now as far as anyone who is not religious can see, 'The Church's discipline is that only men may receive the sacrament of orders' is absolutely no different from Acme's belief that only men may receive orders from customers, yet you would strike down one, but respect the other. Why should religion have this respect?

Clothahump
09-29-2011, 11:47 AM
When having these sorts of debates, or when there is a debate in society generally, it is often professed that religious beliefs should be respected (i.e. not mocked or strenuously challenged): but why? What is it about a religious belief that makes it different to any other than someone may not agree with?

Religions are very good at disguising themselves as being a "force for good" and at brainwashing their adherants. I believe Arthur C. Clarke said it best: The greatest tragedy in mankind's entire history may be the hijacking of morality by religion.

I spent over a decade of my life studying religion. I discovered that it is a lie, nothing more than a massive con game. And yet every time I point that out, and even show people how they can go dig up the facts for themselves, I get dissed because I'm not showing respect to religion. It's a stacked deck, that's for sure.

Candyman74
09-29-2011, 12:00 PM
Ah, but see, there is the special dispensation that rings hollow. If, lets say, Acme inc. were to hold that 'women do not exemplify our beliefs which are that only men can receive orders from customers' and deny women jobs in a sales department, they would be culpable of discrimination. Now as far as anyone who is not religious can see, 'The Church's discipline is that only men may receive the sacrament of orders' is absolutely no different from Acme's belief that only men may receive orders from customers, yet you would strike down one, but respect the other. Why should religion have this respect?

Receiving a sacrament is not the same thing as employment; that's not a good analogy.

bldysabba
09-29-2011, 12:09 PM
Receiving a sacrament is not the same thing as employment; that's not a good analogy.

Does being a priest not count as being employed? Priests also do a job. Only to the religious would 'receiving sacrament' set it apart as something above and beyond employment, when in point of fact it is the same thing.

Voyager
09-29-2011, 12:16 PM
I meet proselytizers all the time... Some will stop when I ask them to stop. That's a form of respect. Some won't stop when I ask them to stop. That's a form of disrespect.


As atheists we don't have to go pushing our lack of faith in others faces, though it appears we are accused of doing so when we just state what we don't believe. I think proselytizers are inherently disrespectful. Here, at least, they can hardly claim that they have to inform us because we just can't be aware of Christianity. I got this once when a bunch of Baptists came to my door and I politely told them I wasn't interested because I was Jewish (which I figured was an easier way of getting rid of them than saying I was an atheist.) When I was at the wedding of my step-nephew the father of the bride (they had become evangelical Christians) saw fit to tell his Jewish relatives that we should covert. Now that was disrespectful both of us and of my former faith.
These people probably complain about the so-called war on Christmas. I suspect many of those who complain about the disrespect of atheists the most are the most disrespectful of other religions.

Bricker
09-29-2011, 12:25 PM
Ah, but see, there is the special dispensation that rings hollow. If, lets say, Acme inc. were to hold that 'women do not exemplify our beliefs which are that only men can receive orders from customers' and deny women jobs in a sales department, they would be culpable of discrimination. Now as far as anyone who is not religious can see, 'The Church's discipline is that only men may receive the sacrament of orders' is absolutely no different from Acme's belief that only men may receive orders from customers, yet you would strike down one, but respect the other. Why should religion have this respect?

Because Acme isn't in the business of promoting their beliefs. They're in the business of selling items. Their beliefs, even if sincerely held, are not objectively related to selling.

The Church's business is promoting its beliefs; the two are inextricably intertwined.

Voyager
09-29-2011, 12:30 PM
Yes, it would be. But I have never done that. It is not inherent in my statement that I am a Christian.

Sure it is. "The Lord is our God, the Lord is One." Now the Hindu might say (and I've known some who do say) that your God is just one of his. Polytheistic religions are inherently more respectful of others than monotheistic ones, since others beliefs are not a rejection of yours. Evidence - the lack of religious warfare in the ancient world, and the ability of Alexander the Great to live with the religions of the regions he conquered. I was taught that the reason Alexander is a Jewish name is in thanks to his respect when he conquered Judea. Probably not true, but a nice thought.

In order to convince me of that, he would have to ask me about it. In which case, telling him about my faith would be somewhat less than disrespectful. Perhaps that is the problem. My faith requires to to respect people, and to live an example of love, which would, in my opinion, make being mean and rude to them a bad idea.

Tris
When have missionaries been invited in? Is letting your friend burn in hell because he never got around to asking you is respectful? Being polite to other people is usually a good tactic in any case. But any sort of religion which considers non-believers to be destined for a bad end clearly doesn't respect the faiths or non-faiths of the non-believers.

bldysabba
09-29-2011, 12:37 PM
Because Acme isn't in the business of promoting their beliefs. They're in the business of selling items. Their beliefs, even if sincerely held, are not objectively related to selling.

The Church's business is promoting its beliefs; the two are inextricably intertwined.

I'm somewhat taken aback that you would bring in the word 'objectively'.

Very well. Which belief is the catholic church selling that objectively requires men to sell it?

Bricker
09-29-2011, 01:07 PM
I'm somewhat taken aback that you would bring in the word 'objectively'.

Very well. Which belief is the catholic church selling that objectively requires men to sell it?

The belief that priests stand In Persona Christi Capitis; the belief that because Jesus was male and HIs disciples male, His vicar on Earth has no authority to have anyone other than men stand In Persona Christi Capitis.

bldysabba
09-29-2011, 01:24 PM
The belief that priests stand In Persona Christi Capitis; the belief that because Jesus was male and HIs disciples male, His vicar on Earth has no authority to have anyone other than men stand In Persona Christi Capitis.

Ok great, now Acme's mission statement says that selling dyna-explodimatics is just what puts the bread on the table. What it really must do is promote the belief that its founder the late great Mr. W.C Smith was the best salesman and manager ever, and since he was a man, to promote its beliefs, they must hire only men as salespeople and managers as they stand In persona Smithi on earth. They can, of course, hire women as janitors and HR trainers since that doesn't matter to their core mission. This is, objectively speaking, indistinguishable from the Catholic Church's stand. Do you respect it?

Apollyon
09-29-2011, 02:55 PM
I think the limit of my unpleasantness as an atheist in such a situation would probably be asking that kind of technical question without realising that they might well have good reason to be praying, thus mouth-footing. :smack: Yep... I can certainly see me doing that... I hope my social skills have improved enough that I could detect that the other party was genuinely upset and modify my nosey curiousity, but yeah... I can visualize getting mouth-footy all too easily.

Bricker
09-29-2011, 04:07 PM
Ok great, now Acme's mission statement says that selling dyna-explodimatics is just what puts the bread on the table. What it really must do is promote the belief that its founder the late great Mr. W.C Smith was the best salesman and manager ever, and since he was a man, to promote its beliefs, they must hire only men as salespeople and managers as they stand In persona Smithi on earth. They can, of course, hire women as janitors and HR trainers since that doesn't matter to their core mission. This is, objectively speaking, indistinguishable from the Catholic Church's stand. Do you respect it?

No, because I don't agree that it's objectively indistinguishable from the Catholic Church's stance.

You seem to think that claims cannot be evaluated in any way -- that one claim is as good as another, with no mechanism to weigh the credibility of the claim. What you've described is almost certainly a case of Acme trying to dodge discrimination claims by falsely claiming a religious motive, and you seem to think the courts would be powerless to weign and evaluate their claim.

This was also the plan of Kimberly Cloutier, who wished to work at Costco and retain her facial piercings, notwithstanding Costco's employee appearance policy. Ms. Cloutier announced that she belonged to the Church of Body Modification, and thus her religion required those facial piercings, confident that she was making an unassailable claim because, after all, who can say what's genuine in these matters?

The court expressed serious doubts as to whether Cloutier's claim was based on a "bona fide religious practice" for purposes of the first element, noting that even assuming arguendo that the CBM is a bona fide religion, it "in no way requires a display of facial piercings at all times. The requirement that she display her piercings, open and always, represents the plaintiff's personal interpretation of the stringency of her beliefs." The court also questioned the sincerity of Cloutier's personal interpretation, given that she initially offered to cover her piercing with a band-aid, an alternative that she now claims would violate her religion.


So an analysis of Acme's mission statement would similarly have to survive scrutiny of seriousness. What you've described is a dodge that would not.

But if, bizarrely, Acme was serious, and all their actions showed it -- if they were genuinely selling the idea of supersalesman Smith and not simply trying to dodge employment law -- yes, they should be permitted to hire only men.

bldysabba
09-29-2011, 05:05 PM
No, because I don't agree that it's objectively indistinguishable from the Catholic Church's stance.

You seem to think that claims cannot be evaluated in any way -- that one claim is as good as another, with no mechanism to weigh the credibility of the claim. What you've described is almost certainly a case of Acme trying to dodge discrimination claims by falsely claiming a religious motive, and you seem to think the courts would be powerless to weign and evaluate their claim.

Actually, I'm trying to show that claims can and should be evaluated, and that upon evaluation the only thing which separates hypothetical Acme and the Catholic Church is that one is not religious while the other is(not a particularly solid difference IMHO), and that you're holding religious claims to be above and beyond other, extremely similar claims. Your statement "...you've described is almost certainly a case of Acme trying to dodge discrimination claims by falsely claiming a religious motive..." shows that you are in fact doing so since you assume that if Acme could genuinely claim religious motives, it would then no longer be 'dodging' but in fact entitled to discriminate. Please tell me, in the spirit of the OP, why religion should be permitted such respect? (or instead of religion, put strong belief, since later you extend the special pleading for religion)


....So an analysis of Acme's mission statement would similarly have to survive scrutiny of seriousness. What you've described is a dodge that would not.

But if, bizarrely, Acme was serious, and all their actions showed it -- if they were genuinely selling the idea of supersalesman Smith and not simply trying to dodge employment law -- yes, they should be permitted to hire only men.


And here you go on to say that not only should special pleading for religion be allowed, but as long as someone else is actually 'serious enough' about their beliefs, even if such beliefs run counter to something that we're beginning to take as one of the fundamental morals of modern society (non-discrimination against women), then they should be allowed to act upon those beliefs! Brings to mind the quote "Good people will do good things and bad people bad things, but to get good people to do(in this case - allow?) bad things, you need religion"

Farmer Jane
09-29-2011, 05:07 PM
Because it's the mark of being civilized.

MichaelEmouse
09-29-2011, 05:32 PM
Because it's the mark of being civilized.

So, no Monty Python then? The life of Brian (where they make fun of the Jewish prohibition on saying "YHWH") and The meaning of life (where they make fun of the Catholic Church's position on birth control) are a detriment to civilization?

If I say that young earth creationism is utter idiocy or make fun of it, this is reprehensible?

If a man believes Leviticus 20:13 "If a man lies with a man as he does with a woman, that is an abomination. They shall be killed, their blood is unto them."

Or if a man believes this:

1 Timothy:
2:11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.


I am to respect his belief, am I? What does that entail? Otherwise I'm not civilized?





Also, it's a bit rich of you to say that respecting religious beliefs is the mark of being civilized when you said:

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=623047&page=2
post 73

"This is not like Christianity where Christians require a belief in Jesus to go to Heaven. We don't entertain such hierarchical nonsense."

Bolding mine.

Candyman74
09-29-2011, 06:41 PM
Does being a priest not count as being employed? Priests also do a job. Only to the religious would 'receiving sacrament' set it apart as something above and beyond employment, when in point of fact it is the same thing.

I'm no expert. But I don't think you automatically get a job along with the sacrament, any more than a kid does when they takes the sacrament of Baptism, or Confirmation, or any of the other sacraments. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but it's more analagous to a privately awarded qualification than a position of employment.

Agreed, a requisite for being a working priest is to have taken said sacrament.

No idea on the employment status there (The Vatican is a state, not a company; I'm not sure what "The Catholic Church" is, and clearly it operates in a lot of countries).

Farmer Jane
10-01-2011, 02:00 AM
So, no Monty Python then? The life of Brian (where they make fun of the Jewish prohibition on saying "YHWH") and The meaning of life (where they make fun of the Catholic Church's position on birth control) are a detriment to civilization?

If I say that young earth creationism is utter idiocy or make fun of it, this is reprehensible?

If a man believes Leviticus 20:13 "If a man lies with a man as he does with a woman, that is an abomination. They shall be killed, their blood is unto them."

Or if a man believes this:

1 Timothy:
2:11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.


I am to respect his belief, am I? What does that entail? Otherwise I'm not civilized?





Also, it's a bit rich of you to say that respecting religious beliefs is the mark of being civilized when you said:

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=623047&page=2
post 73

"This is not like Christianity where Christians require a belief in Jesus to go to Heaven. We don't entertain such hierarchical nonsense."

Bolding mine.

There are many religious things that I think are complete and utter baloney. It doesn't mean I can't be respectful to people who practice such things (to a degree - some things will always be outside of my realm of grace). Note that I was talking to a person about Judaism (my faith) -- not talking to a Christian about theirs and making fun of it.

There's a difference between saying on a message board, 'Oh, I think a belief in a human-God is nonsensical and a rather unfair requirement' while still being known for defending theists against assault versus being the type of person who posts constantly that religions are stupid, people who take their children to church are child abusers, anyone who believes in God or follows a religion in a mindless sheep, etc. etc. We have plenty of those on SDMB.

Locrian
10-01-2011, 02:55 AM
[edit] ...being the type of person who posts constantly that religions are stupid, people who take their children to church are child abusers, anyone who believes in God or follows a religion in a mindless sheep, etc. etc. We have plenty of those on SDMB.

Ahem. Hi, everybody! :D






(my bolding)

Locrian
10-01-2011, 03:13 AM
On the OP though, I try my best to judge people on an individual basis, certainly not their faith or lack of. I've met plenty of both types of individuals that made the biggest asshole list. Some thoughts:

I'll respect a priest or reverend on his personality. But I will not respect his religion. Even a nun (shudders) deserves my respect as a person. I'm still jilted if they tell me "God bless" or "I'll pray for you" to which I'd usually reply "No thank you" or "I"ll think for you" as a response... but it's always with a smile. ;)

People deserve respect, and as a non-believer, I feel I can be more open to people. As a young catholic, it was common for me and many of my friends to not "hang" with those of other faiths. This was mainly because of our parents influence, not the schools or churches we attended. But it is damn well supported in the TEXTS of the religions that have been mentioned thus far.

Religion segregates waaaaay too much. If it's not supposed to help people do that so easily, where does it really benefit society?

Boyo Jim
10-01-2011, 03:30 AM
If you're an atheist, or even rational, IMO it's impossible to respect the religious beliefs of others. The best you can hope for is to either keep your mouth shut altogether, or keep the tone of your voice neutral. I've gotten into a few discussion when I ended up just laughing out loud at the crazy. I really didn't intend it, it turns out to be a pretty spontaneous and natural reaction for me. But I was sorry that in a couple of cases it truly hurt their feelings or angered them, which wasn't my intent either. Other times I wasn't sorry at all, because they were pricks with or without religion.

There are religious people I respect, but not their faith.

Locrian
10-01-2011, 03:32 AM
There are religious people I respect, but not their faith.

Yes, this. You said it much better than I.

gracer
10-01-2011, 06:30 AM
IMO "tolerance" is the word we are looking for.

I don't even know if you can respect a religion. I can respect a person' for being kind, intelligent, a fast runner, funny etc. When I first meet someone I might give them the benefit of the doubt and respect them because they are probably a wonderful person, then I might lose some of my respect for them, perhaps when it turns out they believe something that is not true, or when it turns out they are mean or have no sense of humour. Doesn't mean I have no respect for them, just less.

For religions I think it is important to be tolerant. That means you allow people to believe what they want and practice their beliefs to the extent that it does no harm and does not break any laws. This is clearly an entirely different thing to respecting the fact that they believe something that isn't true, as that would obviously be dishonest. How can I possibly respect something I fundamentally think is silly? I can only tolerate it.

Someone once asked me to stop swearing because they were a Christian and I should respect that ("damn it", was the offense). I asked if he were willing to say that the bible's position on women is wrong, which he was not. I explained that I did not respect his religion and was inherently offended by his beliefs, just as he was by my swearing. I suggested we would not respect each others ways & beliefs, but instead tolerate them. It worked just fine :) Of course, I could still respect many other aspects about this person.

kanicbird
10-01-2011, 07:44 AM
It's a complex question, as to me many atheists hold irrational beliefs just like religious folk, just when you are surrounded by a like mind set you don't notice the irrationalities of your beliefs (or disbeliefs if you prefer).

But it is good that we have them, including atheism because it shows there are other ways, and other ways work. So that can allow people to think outside their local culture of beliefs. In a very like sense it is the growth one can experience while traveling to forien lands.

The OP is coming from the point that is commonly expressed as the 'ugly American', the type that believes that their way is right and every other culture is wrong. It is a local culture group think mentality. In traveling, or respecting others beliefs, a person starts to learn that the way they know is not the only way, and over time learn that some thing work better in the different mindset.

From this point it is personal growth, being able to chose what to accept and what to reject, to question authority and learn to operate your own mind.

By not respecting the other beliefs you limit your chance for growth and limit the possibility to see your own indoctrination.

gracer
10-01-2011, 03:54 PM
NB: I didn't mean "I don't know if you can respect a religion" as in "religion should be disrespected". What I meant is: I think people should be respected for their good qualities, I don't think you can respect things, like religion, logical positivism and lampposts. Just to clear that up...

elbows
10-01-2011, 04:22 PM
Why not?

What's it cost to be respectful of someone else's beliefs? You can disagree with them, certainly. Hold a different view, also okay. None of that requires you be disrespectful. So why would you?

Der Trihs
10-01-2011, 04:54 PM
Why not?

What's it cost to be respectful of someone else's beliefs? You can disagree with them, certainly. Hold a different view, also okay. None of that requires you be disrespectful. So why would you?Because it gives unearned respect and therefore encouragement to extremely destructive beliefs. And because the believers certainly won't return the favor, and it becomes tiresome playing punching bag.

Triskadecamus
10-01-2011, 10:32 PM
When have missionaries been invited in? Is letting your friend burn in hell because he never got around to asking you is respectful? Being polite to other people is usually a good tactic in any case. But any sort of religion which considers non-believers to be destined for a bad end clearly doesn't respect the faiths or non-faiths of the non-believers.I never sent any missionaries anywhere. I do know some that were invited, though.

I don't think your understanding of specific theological interpretations represents my faith. Of course you may consider that I am not a Christian, because of it. It doesn't change my faith. I believe only one opinion on that matter has any significance at all.

And when He was asked, He said, “I condemn no one.” I prefer to follow that example.

Tris

Guinastasia
10-02-2011, 12:41 AM
And because the believers certainly won't return the favor, and it becomes tiresome playing punching bag.

SOME believers won't. Not all of them.


(I've said it before -- I don't give a shit generally what people believe, or don't believe, as long as they're not a dick about it. Otherwise, you can worship a can of tomato soup if you want)

Der Trihs
10-02-2011, 01:22 AM
SOME believers won't. Not all of them. Enough insist on pushing their beliefs down the throats of others that they are constantly and often successfully getting laws passed pushing their religious dogma. The few who are willing to leave everyone else alone are just that; a few. And I've seldom seen any great effort from them to criticize the believers who want to force themselves on others.

Triskadecamus
10-02-2011, 01:28 AM
Ah, I see, it is the inconsistancy of not being critical of your belief system, and at the same time not criticizing the belief systems of someone you object to that you find hypocrital.

Yeah. Ungrateful bastards.

Tris

Voyager
10-02-2011, 01:42 AM
I never sent any missionaries anywhere. I do know some that were invited, though.

I don't think your understanding of specific theological interpretations represents my faith. Of course you may consider that I am not a Christian, because of it. It doesn't change my faith. I believe only one opinion on that matter has any significance at all.

And when He was asked, He said, “I condemn no one.” I prefer to follow that example.

Tris

I'm not one to argue with anyone about how they self-identify. I am interested in how you came to your faith, and how you relate it to what is in the Bible, always remembering that at least some of the Bible has to be divinely inspired. How do you determine that the parts of the Bible you are rejecting are not divinely inspired.
I agree that you are free to choose any faith you wish - but you do understand that your position more or less puts religion on the same footing as choice of ice cream flavors. Not that this wouldn't be a better world if this were recognized - Dairy Queen and Carvel seldom go to war, after all.

Voyager
10-02-2011, 01:45 AM
It's a complex question, as to me many atheists hold irrational beliefs just like religious folk, just when you are surrounded by a like mind set you don't notice the irrationalities of your beliefs (or disbeliefs if you prefer).

I can say with some degree of certainty that all atheists hold irrational belief. All theists hold irrational beliefs outside of their religious beliefs. In both cases it is often true that we can do better. And usually someone not wanting to sit in row 13 at least admits he is being irrational.

Leaper
10-02-2011, 02:10 AM
I think some of the previous posts hit on my opinion: that this issue is really about "okay, so you don't respect religious beliefs. What does that mean for how you treat religious people in general and in specific situations/contexts/sets of beliefs/behaviors?"

Atheists have given some very good reasons why they don't respect religious beliefs. It was only on the second page, IIRC, that how this affected how they actually treat other people started getting discussed. Which, of course, might lead to the question (at least for some) of "why should I care if I treat religious people like morons? That's what they are, that's how they treat me as an atheist, and they objectively make the world worse for their beliefs, so why should they be treated any respect?"

Hmm, actually, that's a good summation: "why, exactly, do I need to respect religious beliefs" is sort of about "why, exactly, do I need to respect religious people" in some ways.

Triskadecamus
10-02-2011, 02:16 AM
I am interested in how you came to your faith, and how you relate it to what is in the Bible, always remembering that at least some of the Bible has to be divinely inspired. How do you determine that the parts of the Bible you are rejecting are not divinely inspired.I experienced a miracle. I had doubts and questions. I met the Lord. I didn't get answers, but didn't have questions any more. I did not check his I. D. Later, I returned to my doubts. I had the same miracle again. I have not needed to be convinced again.

I believe the bible is a book about men who sought to know God. I find wisdom in it. I could believe as I do without it. My faith is in the Love of God, not the book. I also find wisdom in the works of Lao T'su, and others. But for me, wisdom, knowledge, and the matters of the intellect are not a part of faith. For me it is entirely and completely personal.

Tris

Locrian
10-02-2011, 02:34 AM
(I've said it before -- I don't give a shit generally what people believe, or don't believe, as long as they're not a dick about it. Otherwise, you can worship a can of tomato soup if you want)

Yes, but what if the Tomatoites had a tomato ritual every year to honor the god Cambell by throwing hot tomato soup at each other and they hit you in the ace by accident. You sue for 1 million and win plus they go to jail, the OTHER tomatoites would have to riot for their Lord Tomato and use more than iron chariots. Tomatoes all over your house, your car, your kids, your place of business! It is written in their Tomatu-ran!

Okay, so maybe it's less bloody than what real religion leads to, but no real difference on the lack of logic and maturity in the first place. Yes, go worship the fairies you love, but no guns! Ooop! That's a requirement.

This is why I'm impotent whenever I hear the word "sects". They all claim their tomatoes are the TRUE tomatoes and are sacrificed for the holiest salads. Some reject the adding of buffalo mozzarella to the cut tomato and only the male may do that. Others forbid the making of, distribution and ingesting of all marinara sauces, some allow meat sauces. Don't get me started on the Cucumberites.... :D

Uzi
10-02-2011, 02:47 AM
I met the Lord.

You've had two miracles and met god.:dubious:
More likely 'an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato' or similar explanation.
Gone around healing the lame or leading people out of bondage lately? Just wondering how you managed to pull off such an audience.

Der Trihs
10-02-2011, 03:49 AM
Ah, I see, it is the inconsistancy of not being critical of your belief system, and at the same time not criticizing the belief systems of someone you object to that you find hypocrital.

Yeah. Ungrateful bastards.It's them criticizing me for not being "respectful", while looking the other way or outright making excuses for people who not only aren't "respectful" but who are actively trying to impose oppressive laws.

BigT
10-02-2011, 04:46 AM
Hmm, actually, that's a good summation: "why, exactly, do I need to respect religious beliefs" is sort of about "why, exactly, do I need to respect religious people" in some ways.

Yip. And that's where you find the answer. You want them to respect you and your beliefs, so you do so for them. Furthermore, while it's not the goal of every atheist, most that are disrespectful want less people to believe in religion. Part of what is attractive about most religions is a sense of fairness, and appealing to that by treating them well is a good idea. Getting them all defensive is not.

Plus, when you think about it, what stuff about religion really bothers you the most? Is it the fact that they believe differently than you, or that so many act as assholes? Does it make sense to harp on the least important part, and risk alienating them, rather than focusing on the part most of us already agree with?

Now, on the other hand, if you are just being disrespectful because you enjoy it. (A position at least one atheist has admitted to), then, yes, this doesn't apply. But that makes the question meaningless as what you "need" to do doesn't factor into it.

Uzi
10-02-2011, 05:32 AM
Plus, when you think about it, what stuff about religion really bothers you the most?

The division of people into different groups, groups willing to kill each other at the drop of a hat, based upon mythology.

Der Trihs
10-02-2011, 09:31 AM
Yip. And that's where you find the answer. You want them to respect you and your beliefs, so you do so for them. Except they won't and have no intention of doing so. When they say respect, they mean "submit!"

Plus, when you think about it, what stuff about religion really bothers you the most? Is it the fact that they believe differently than you, or that so many act as assholes? Those are not two different things in this case.

gaffa
10-02-2011, 02:50 PM
As H. L. Menchen said:

We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.

Sensible advice. Are you going to tell someone that his wife is homely as a mud-covered stick and his children appear to be the result of some dark deed in a pig sty? Or are you going to refrain from being a jerk?

The Tao's Revenge
10-02-2011, 04:24 PM
But if, bizarrely, Acme was serious, and all their actions showed it -- if they were genuinely selling the idea of supersalesman Smith and not simply trying to dodge employment law -- yes, they should be permitted to hire only men.

In living memory some southerners thought segregation was a moral imperative, as Catholics seem to feel about denying women sacraments.

Should they have been permitted to serve only whites?

Candyman74
10-02-2011, 04:46 PM
The division of people into different groups, groups willing to kill each other at the drop of a hat, based upon mythology.

What, like, say "Americans" and "Vietnamese"? Should nationality be mocked, also?

It's easy to generalize. It being easy to simplify issues and generalize about them doesn't make doing so right.

Trinopus
10-02-2011, 05:15 PM
What, like, say "Americans" and "Vietnamese"? Should nationality be mocked, also?

It's easy to generalize. It being easy to simplify issues and generalize about them doesn't make doing so right.

I won't mock nationality....but it sometimes is hard to see any point to it.

Two kids, alike in every way, are born fifteen miles apart. One gets health care, an education, a good job, and retirement benefits. The other lives in a hut made of cardboard and old tires...

Ideally, there would be no more difference between "nations" than there is between states in the U.S., or counties in England. Equality of Opportunity would really mean something.

Trinopus

Boyo Jim
10-02-2011, 05:26 PM
In living memory some southerners thought segregation was a moral imperative, as Catholics seem to feel about denying women sacraments.

Should they have been permitted to serve only whites?

In the sense of a church having white-only membership or allowing only whites to participate in some rituals like communion, much as I dislike it, I'm reasonably sure the answer is "yes".

Der Trihs
10-02-2011, 06:32 PM
As H. L. Menchen said:

We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.

Sensible advice. Are you going to tell someone that his wife is homely as a mud-covered stick and his children appear to be the result of some dark deed in a pig sty? Or are you going to refrain from being a jerk?He can't change what his children are biologically like, and ugliness is neither irrational nor dangerous to others; its a badly flawed analogy. Do you tell your neighbor that his wife is a lunatic who talks to invisible people and cuts herself with razor blades, and that his children torture small animals? That's what religion is like.

The Tao's Revenge
10-02-2011, 07:28 PM
In the sense of a church having white-only membership or allowing only whites to participate in some rituals like communion, much as I dislike it, I'm reasonably sure the answer is "yes".

That's where we disagree. I feel there's an inherent human right to equal treatment, except that which is earned. Having a penis is not usually a personal accomplishment.

Ibn Warraq
10-02-2011, 07:46 PM
In living memory some southerners thought segregation was a moral imperative, as Catholics seem to feel about denying women sacraments.

Should they have been permitted to serve only whites?

Are you saying then that Synagogues and Mosques should be required by law to allow men and women to pray together?

sqweels
10-02-2011, 09:09 PM
I recall a few years ago a poster here complained when someone wrote, "the Bible is just an old book", insisting that such "disparagement" of religious beliefs should be off limits. I think this is an example of what the OP is talking about.

I've noticed the tendency of people arguing the religious viewpoint to run their opponents' rhetoric thought a fine-tooth comb in search for even a hint of flippancy that they cay use to change the subject to one of "mocking religion".

The Tao's Revenge
10-02-2011, 09:58 PM
Are you saying then that Synagogues and Mosques should be required by law to allow men and women to pray together?

I suppose I am

Ibn Warraq
10-02-2011, 10:05 PM
I suppose I am

Ok, should Mormon Temples be required to allow non-Mormons to enter.

Also, how do you do this without violating the right to freedom of association as granted by the Constitution?

Boyo Jim
10-02-2011, 10:18 PM
Ok, should Mormon Temples be required to allow non-Mormons to enter.

Also, how do you do this without violating the right to freedom of association as granted by the Constitution?

That/s what my answer was getting at. As unappealing as it certainly is, there is nothing to stop some group of nutjobs from worshiping Hitler, excluding Jews and blacks from their membership and services, and any number of other repulsive things.

We can mess with the constitution, but I can't see how we could restrict freedom of religion without restricting freedom of speech, freedom of thought, and freedom of association.

I think the best we could manage is to eliminate all the tax benefits for churches -- all churches of course, not just the "bad" ones. I am entirely in favor of this.

Frank
10-02-2011, 10:19 PM
Ok, should Mormon Temples be required to allow non-Mormons to enter.
While I'm inclined to believe that within a house of worship, the members of such a house or worship should, in general and within limits, be allowed to act as they choose, this is a ridiculous comparison. The blacks and whites in the post you quoted, and the men and women in your post, are of the same religion. You are again stretching your analogies beyond reasonable limits.

Ibn Warraq
10-02-2011, 10:28 PM
While I'm inclined to believe that within a house of worship, the members of such a house or worship should, in general and within limits, be allowed to act as they choose, this is a ridiculous comparison. The blacks and whites in the post you quoted, and the men and women in your post, are of the same religion. You are again stretching your analogies beyond reasonable limits.

Why?

Orthodox Jews and most Muslims object to men and women praying together because they think it will cause men to think about sex. As a result they pray separately.

If that's what they want, I don't see how we can stop them from doing that without violating freedom of association laws.

That's also why the Nation Of Islam can exclude whites from attending their meetings.

Boyo Jim
10-02-2011, 10:36 PM
While I'm inclined to believe that within a house of worship, the members of such a house or worship should, in general and within limits, be allowed to act as they choose, this is a ridiculous comparison. The blacks and whites in the post you quoted, and the men and women in your post, are of the same religion. You are again stretching your analogies beyond reasonable limits.

I don't think so. I can't think of any reason why a religion couldn't allow only male or female members, and then not allow non-members in. Or for that matter, have some kind of half-assed junior membership for some group they don't like, and not let THEM in for various services or rituals.

Not that there's anything right with that...

Frank
10-02-2011, 10:42 PM
Orthodox Jews and most Muslims object to men and women praying together because they think it will cause men to think about sex. As a result they pray separately.

...

That's also why the Nation Of Islam can exclude whites from attending their meetings.

I can't think of any reason why a religion couldn't allow only male or female members, and then not allow non-members in. Or for that matter, have some kind of half-assed junior membership for some group they don't like, and not let THEM in for various services or rituals.
On further reflection, I believe that both of you are correct, and that I jumped the gun in my response.

Naxos
10-02-2011, 10:50 PM
...it is often professed that religious beliefs should be respected ...

No, they should not.

What you should respect is the choice a person makes to support a false claim - as long as it does not interfere with the well being of society.

For example, a Christian should be respected in their choice to be a Christian in, let's say 1785, but when they use their religion to justify slavery and torture then respect goes out the window and they have to be judged according to universal humanistic moral values (more on that on a different thread, maybe).

It's like the other popular notion we have - that family members should give their support to a criminal just because the criminal is family. Like religion, it's understandable why people would have strong emotional ties with people in their family, siblings, parents, etc, but when it comes to their behavior, such expectation of blind support is destructive and immoral.

Same goes with religion.

The Tao's Revenge
10-02-2011, 10:57 PM
Ok, should Mormon Temples be required to allow non-Mormons to enter.

Also, how do you do this without violating the right to freedom of association as granted by the Constitution?

I think not allowing non-Mormons is okay, because anyone can become Mormon. It's when the requirement become Mormon and not female, that it crosses a line.



You make a good point about Freedom of Association. I honestly don't have an answer for you. I suppose it'd require Constitutional amendment, however mucking about with Bill of Rights opens up a lot of potential trouble that could be worse than the problem to be fixed.